Juggler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.