October 31, 2009
I'm filling out university applications today. Some of you might be interested to learn I'm applying to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
That is, I'm thinking I will apply there. I'm nervous, after discovering that their application form was constructed by someone that thinks "New York" follows "Nevada" in an alphabetical list. As opposed to, say, "New Mexico."
October 29, 2009
October 26, 2009
I'm off to take the GREs! I should get two of my three score components as soon as I finish, so I'll update this post with results when I can.
UPDATE: It took me three hours; my research section was a new version of the analytical test. I got a 680 verbal / 740 quantitative, which are 96/82 percentile. I'm hurt; this is the first time I've taken a nationwide exam and didn't get in the 99th percentile. Of course, the GRE is self-selected more than the SAT, PSAT, or ASVAB were. And being hurt about scoring that high is kind of evidence that I'm a self-centered jerk. In my defense, I'm a self-centered jerk who is worried about if I'm going to get into a grad program.
Higher scores would have been nice, but I hope these are good enough to get me into some good schools.
October 20, 2009
October 15, 2009
A specific young lady and a specific young gentleman are both members of my university social club. They had been dating, but broke up a few weeks ago amidst much drama. By "much drama" I mean the campus police got involved, as they were unable to return each other's property in a mature manner. I was friends with both of them, and did my best to counsel patience, politness, etc., with little effect. Ah, to be 19 and in love…
Anyway, the young lady has become involved with another young man recently. Which is none of my business. But when I came into the club's room after lunch today, she was present, and I noticed a good dozen small bruises around her neck.
This drew my attention, for two reasons. Primus, during my early high school years, I amused myself by reading my mother's professional books, many of which were about abusive relationships and the problems thereof. Secundus, as a Marine NCO, I had to know if my troops were getting into fights and not telling me about it. So, without even thinking about it, and while maintaining a small-talk conversation, I stared at her neck, trying to decide if the bruises were "digital marks" caused by choking fingers.
She noticed me staring, blushed, and pulled her shirt collar up. At which point I decided they didn't look like digital marks. "Hmmm," I said to myself, and I knew it was me because I recognized the voice.* "How could she have gotten those marks? They don't look like fight injuries, but I don't think she sticks her head into aircraft inspection panels on shipboard and gets bounced into the hatch edges by the waves. What other possible way is there for a young lady to get bruises on her neck? And why would a young lady be embarassed about them?"
Then, of course, slow old me caught up. Ahem. As I said before, it has been some time since I was young and in love…
P.S. When she showed up to chorus tonight, she was wearing a scarf. Excellent choice, that.
* Joke courtesy of my friend Iggy.
October 12, 2009
Our latest work in German class has been the famous compound nouns. We think it's hilarious that Germans jam words together into huge compounds.
According to our professor, a native Austrian, German-speakers think it's funny too. It's a game for both children and adults, to come up with the longest parsable word. For adults, it's sort of a party game, where each person in a circle has to add another segment onto the head of the word; the loser is the first that forgets part of the enormously unwieldy word that results. Sort of like "Antidisestablishmentarianism," but much more complex.
Anyway, there is also a game to make the worst possible tongue-twisting agglutination. The exemplar is the following monstrosity (although it can be further extended): "Die Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbierbierbarbärbel," which translates as "'Bärbel' [the name of] the bartender at the bar [that serves] the beer [prefered by] the barber [that cuts] the beards of the barbarians [that frequent] Barbara's Rhubarb [-serving] Bar."
Pronouncing that mouthful takes we students a significant length of time. But here's a German video that makes everything crystal clear:
October 11, 2009
Saturday evening, I went to my old college buddy Krispy's birthday party. He's hitting the big three-oh. Krispy possesses a happy-go-lucky nature, so it didn't seem to bother him.
He's got a nice house in a not-nice part of town, of which Buffalo has many. (With the city's decline in population, housing is crazy cheap.) I am still wondering how old the building was; it had some stained-glass windows, but the kitchen had a chimney with the circular hole indicating it once had a freestanding stove with a stovepipe.
At any rate, there was a big crowd, as Krispy is good at making friends. "Genial" is a good word for him. I brought along the first angel-food cake I've even made, which came out quite well. A cake needs topping, but I figured icing would be too sweet; instead I took a cup of cream, added a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and whipped it until it was just about to become overwhipped. I then folded in a cup of blueberries and called it done.
It was a big hit, far more popular than the conventional commercial cake someone had bought. The regular cake was really really sweet, and I think our crowd has aged enough that pure sugar is not the rush it used to be.
Another guest brought something I'd never seen before: "Birthday Cake Milk." It's a plastic pint bottle of milk, colored blue, flavored with the artifical cake flavoring used for birthday cake-flavored ice cream, then with 60 grams of sugar added. Yes, sixty grams sugar. I did the math: 60 grams is slightly more than two ounces. A fluid ounce of water weighs one ounce. A pint is sixteen fluid ounces. This beverage was 1/8 sugar. That's about as sweet as Mountain Dew.
I suspect the "milk" got opened eventually, but I didn't stay. As it was nearing midnight, I was getting more and more tired. I left at 12:15 AM, and was tired enough perhaps I shouldn't have been driving.
Last time I was in college, I could pull all-nighters with much greater ease.
October 02, 2009
For my German test today, I had to "write a paragraph describing your best friend". However, I could not recall all my vocabulary words. So I claimed he was short, blond, and stupid, his hobby is playing soccer, and that he worked in a GM factory. For the record, that is a bundle of lies. I did, however, mention that he came from Regina, Canada, and that his father's father's brother was an American author.
Leaving the class, a classmate admitting that he had claimed his best friend had several children, so he could use more vocab to describe them. I was annoyed that I didn't think of that: I remember the words for family members, so I could have invented for my friend a wife, son, and daughter. "Seine Frau heißt Mildred. Mildred und Paul haben zwei Kinder: ein Sohn heißt Corwin, und eine Tochter heißt Cattie-brie. Corwin ist neun Jahr alt, und Cattie-brie ist vier Jahr alt."
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