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Archive for March, 2002

wax nastalgic…

Friday, March 29th, 2002

Well it’s Friday night 11:10pm local time, and I have finished classes, and projects. I know I still have exams in a little more than a month, but effectively I am done with school. As soon as my exams are done and my grades make there way back to GMU I will be awarded my diploma. Funny thing is I do and don’t want to be done with college. I guess everyone goes through this — I will miss the college life, but not the homework. I will miss the learning, but not the required classes that where not fun.

My immediate plan is to travel, I leave for Paris tomorrow afternoon — I don’t have a hotel room, and I am meeting my sister at the airport Sunday at 11am… this will be fun. Anyway I will spend a week in Paris then put Jennifer back on a plane next Sunday and I have a month to go where ever. I have a interrail pass good for all countries in Europe (plus Morocco and mainland Turkey, but not Russia and Poland or Romania or the Ukraine or… well at least it’s good for Western Europe and a few of the former Eastern block countries — more places than I can get to in a month.) My current plan is to head South to the French Riviera then to Switzerland to see Cristina for a day, then on to Italy for a week and a few days — want to see Milan, Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Rome and Napoli… we’ll see. After that it’s back across Southern France and into Spain — Barcelona, Ibiza, Granada, Madrid, then on to Morocco just so I can go to Casablanca and send Rachel a post card form the namesake of her favorite movie! After that I plan to hit Portugal — just Lisbon I think, then back to school to take exams… Think I can do it all?

The problem is what to do after exams — the original plan was to travel again, through central and Eastern Europe, down the Danube and around to Istanbol and Greece… But I don’t have a job yet, and that is starting to concern me. I would like to stay in Europe… At least for a few years — and no, it’s not just because I am dating as Swiss girl, though that has made it more desirable, but I have wanted to stay since before I met her. The issue here is lack of an EU passport — I am qualified for the jobs, but no one will consider me because I don’t have an EU passport or a work permit (and you need a job to get a work permit!) If I cannot stay in Europe then my first choice is to go back to Genesis but I am skeptical as to the chances of them being in a position to hire me. So I don’t know, and this is causing me an existential crisis — not worthy of Camus or Sartre, but looming there before me like the Monolith — “My God. It’s full of stars!.”

dublin!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002

Ok, so Friday morning after language processors class I went to lunch with my friend Liana, while we where there a couple of the Americans I know from my database class show up. We sat around talking about what we wanted to do for the weekend and one of the Americans, Andrew, liked my idea of going to Dublin for St. Patricks day. So we walked down to STAtravel‘s office on campus and purchesed two round trip tickets to Dublin — departing Sunday morning at 9 am and returning Sunday night at 9 pm! What could be better than 12 hours of Dublin on St. Patricks day?

Anyway that night I got a call from another of the Americans, Sherman, that they where all going to go out to a bar in Angel to drink Guinness because if you drank 5 you got a free hat (it’s big, green-black-and-white and says Guinness – St. Pat’s 2002,) whats not to love about a free hat? I’ll tell you, 5 pints of Guinness! That shit taste like used motor oil! Not to mention it has almost 1000 Calories a pint! Lets just say that we where all quite drink by the time we all hat the hats! And for some reason we decided it would be a smart thing to eat spicy Thai food afterwords! Oh… my stomach!

In the morning I got up at a quarter past 5 to take a shower and meet Andrew down in his room. I had to remind him to bring his passport — which lead to much comidic irony later, but I am ahead of myself. We walked, in the pooring rain down to Barbican station. It was closed. The tube does not open till 7 on Sunday’s. That was not a good thing, as we thought we needed to be at Herthrow by 7ish since our fligh left at 9… So we took at cab — cost: 50 pounds! (25 each!), not a good beginning to this story…

We got to the airport, it stoped raining, and checked in, they told us we did not need to be there till 8, meaning we could have taken the tube and saved ourselve a collective 50 pounds! So we sat in a cafe in the terminal and drank OJ to help recover from the Guinness binge of the night before.

At 10 am we landed at Dublin Airport, and we got off the plane and line up for immigration. But I could not find my Passport! So I ran back to the plane and found it on the seat! (ok thats a little bit of comidic irony but just wait.) Then took the city bus to the city center. It was raining. The next 9 hours is like a modernist novel — short extracts of situations that don’t quite fit together to form a coherent story…

…pub-beer-statue of James Joyce-bar-Bailey’s-rain-parade-pub-beer-jumping fence to take pictures of statue-parade-pub-Bailey’s-beer-driving wind and rain-gift shop-pizza-beer-“should we buy Sherman that sheep?”-rain-beer-Bailey’s-bought Sherman that sheep-beer-pizza-Malaysian Grande Prix on tv at bar-Bailey’s-“why did we buy Sherman a sheep?”-beer-rain-choaking statue of James Joyce-Bailey’s-“Because he will like the feeling of soft sheep wool against his skin at night.”-beer-buy post card of Joyce and burn him in effigy-beer-bus-airport…

After all this we checked in at the airport and went to get a beer at the lounge — at this point we are completly drained, but hte buzz is waring off after a 40 minute bus ride and we have another hour till the plane takes off. So while we are sitting drinking our last Irish beer I start looking for my passport — lo and behold I could not find it! So I’m sitting there going through all my pockets and my camera bag trying not yot Andrew know I cannot find it again and thinking to myself — I just had it in my hands when we checked in and when we ordered the beer. So Andrew says to me “Don’t leave you damn passport on the plane this time dumb ass, you loose that thing and your screwed — especially at Heathrow, they’ll do a full body cavity searh on your ass.” So I, hand in my camera bag feeling for my passport, says to him “I won’t loose it, just as soon as I find it.” “What? Tell me your joking.” “No, I just had it but it’s not in my pocket. Where the hell…?” So I look over to the bar and there it is… (p.s. for those among you too slow to pick up on it, that was the comedic irony alluded to above!)

Anyway, we managed to get back to London sans full-body-cavity-searches, and guess what. It was rainning! Anyway, we stumbled back to dorms and all was well… We even gave Sherman his sheep — now named Molly, the failed first copy of Dolly, the organs did not clone so well. (Note: Molly is a fake sheep skin rug about 3 feet long with an oversized stuffed animal head.) The only thing Sherman could say was; “What made you think of me when you saw this?” Answer: Beer & Bailey’s!

Last note, on the subject of Irish Beer: Guinness is nasty, see above, but Andrew and I ordered one in Dublin to test the old tale that it is better in Ireland… it’s not true. And half way through the pint Andrew looks down at his and says, “I really don’t want to finish this.” “Neither do I.” I said back, “Want to leave it?” “Yea.” So we turned and walked out of the pub while the bartender just looked at us.

in all the pain there is joy, you simply have to find it…

Friday, March 8th, 2002

A Zen Poem:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge.

The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man then saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

How sweet it tasted.

— I think I have found the strawberry. —

feel good about yourself!

Monday, March 4th, 2002

Yea! You ever do something, maybe it was really nothing in the grand scheme but just something, that made you feel good about yourself because it was about the way things should be? I went to a lecture on International Human Rights tonight at the Inn’s of Court School of Law here in London, hosted by Amnesty International. The first half of the lecture was about stuff I have no understanding of — British Law, specifically the 2000 Human Rights Act. But I did learn something; the courts here have no way of over ruling an “Act of Parliament.” One of those problems in a country that has no formal constitution and all the laws are based on tradition… But the second half was very cool, it was about the ICC (International Criminal Court) and the history behind it. Very cool stuff, the lecturer talked about the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and how what hinders them — the main thing is the lack of a police force to carry out their orders, and the inability to prosecute aggression. Anyway, I was suffering from intellectual withdrawl here in London, I have only a few people to have meaningfull conversations with — one of them left for Paris recently, and I have not had a chance to go to any really intellectual things. I felt real good to think about something that is both intellectual and important in the world. Go out and do something intellectual! Learn about things like this, it’s good for you and good for the world!