Saturday, February 19, 2011


Excellence has become much more concentrated in my life, as far as the graphing of excellence over time goes. Philadelphia has opened enormous opportunity for activity. It's impossible to grasp how much I didn't do living the in the 'burbs and the ever growing expanse of things yet to do.

Once springtime becomes semi-permanent, I'll go on a murals tour of Philly. I'll get cheesesteaks from Geno's and Pat's and watch Rocky and visit the Liberty Bell. I'd like to see Viv. My first year here is passing by at an incredible rate. Hopefully, I will spend more of my time in metropolitan areas. Hopefully, I'll be seeing a few more than Philadelphia.

in Heaven, everything is fine

Last night, I went to the hippest house show I've ever been to. Ukulele, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, accordion, pump organ, glockenspiel, acoustic bass, and ocarina were some of the instruments in attendance. There were Ray Bans e'rywhere. Surprisingly, I knew quite a few of the people there. I didn't realize how strong my hipster association was. Advertised as a "candlelight serenade," it lived up to its title. Hosted in a basement with tapestries covering the floor, the entire party sat on the floor during the performance, which was indeed lit by candles and Christmas lights. The first performer, Jill, was friends with nearly everyone I knew, so we had a great first introduction. Her original compositions utilized the uke and mandolin, sweetly adorable songs that set the night. She wrote her own love song from a boy to her, the second about being friend zoned as a female. Giggly cute, that song included the phrase, "I'm not your bro, so when you put your dick in my face, don't expect me not to blow." By the third repetition of that line, the entire basement was singing with her in laughter. Her final song was a collection of nearly everyone I knew at the party singing, "In Heaven, everything is fine..." from the movie Eraserhead. It was beautiful.

The second performer was my friend Abi and her guitar playing friend in their band, Uandi (You-wand-ee). Her voice is some sweet and delicate gospel choir nostalgia. While the guitar went through intricate little rhythms, she sang of love and being really real. It was a very mature performance.

The last duo we stayed through was meh. The lead singer was douchey, and banjo man in the background didn't say much. We sang more of their songs though, so that made up for it.

I realize that these kinds of parties are few and far between. While I can hope that my life will continue to host intimate musical performances, it's not likely to last very much beyond college without significant effort. I don't know where I will go to sing in a group when I am older, especially as I cannot sing very well.

First Day of Work

Thursday marked the first day of my first ever job, and I shouldn't even be getting paid for something so awesome. After a two day training session with Temple, I was certified to enter the Time Out program, where students serve as companions to the elderly while their caretakers take some time for themselves. The gentleman I've been matched with is a real wit, a former boxer and gym teacher. He's a good guy and in great physical shape. From 9-12, I talk to his grandkids, a girl and boy, ages 3 and 1 respectively. Once we're good to go, we walk to nearby activity centers and get our work out on. I burnt 200 calories on the bike my first day.

Walking to work from the subway, I passed a pimp cane in the trash with a gold diamond on top. What luck! I stashed it in an ally during work, then picked it back up leaving. After getting back to Temple, I retrieved my phone with Matt and then checked out the abandoned elementary school. It was the most gorgeous day for February, stupefyingly so. We just wore t-shirts while circling the building, and upon finding an open door, were met with an eerie flow of freezing wind. The sun hadn't even remotely touched the inner halls. We'll go back with a flashlight sometime in the future.

Upset about having to go the basketball game, I was doubly amused to find a.) Kit-Kats can be purchased on the meal plan, and b.) I had a package! Picking it up right before the game, I opened it in the Liacouras Center with smiles. It was a care package from Mrs. G., complete with cookies, gummies, gum, Wawa coupons, granola, fruit pieces, and a leprechaun hat. Of course, I shared the goodies with my band friends, collectively raising spirits as apparently nobody wanted to be at this game. That statement was reversed by the end of the night. Juan's confidence is back with a vengeance, and the ladies went wild. We got some dunks, and remain undefeated in Liacouras, defeating Richmond, with whom we'd been tied for something. Katy and I walked back to our hall afterward, where I finished a project then hurried over to Gab and Kira's for another lovely night. Sam showed up after some time, and we ventured down to J&H for fourth meal. It was a wonderful time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harrisburg Protest

Tuesday morning saw me rise with the sun for a protest in Harrisburg. Students from four Pennsylvanian colleges gathered to fight recent austerity cuts that threaten state funding for higher education. With those cuts comes an inevitable tuition hike, as much available to be cut was already in previous years. The school buses left at 8, but not actually. Fortunately, the media turned out to support our cause. Unfortunately, no students did. Of the approximately 300 signed up to attend, ~65 did, including our entire student government. At least the ride was fun. Jacob and Abi turned out, both aspiring photojournalists. They're both politically aware and ideologically opinionated, so a beautiful conversation began from their meeting. I did manage to get some reading of The Botany of Desire in, so I was much satisfied by the transportation experience.

I'd never realized from my times there with HiQ that Harrisburg is kinda more town than city. Yes, it has skyscrapers, but maybe two unimpressive ones. The capitol building remains a lovely building, and the February weather was slightly more bearable than expected. Sadly, there was little actual protesting. Students from Temple, PSU, Temple, and Lincoln were gathered on the rotunda staircase as a backdrop to our student speakers. Some were excellent. Original poetry was read and our homecoming king gave an impassioned speech. Give him a cause to speak on, and I would follow. Most others were forgettable or unintelligible from my location. The only moment of group solidarity was during the Temple Gospel Choir. They sang Lean On Me, and the entire student body began swaying and singing together. It was almost like an honest to goodness ole' fashioned protest movement. Afterward, Temple and Lincoln students gathered in a circle for a step off. We lost by a lot. It was still a great exchange.

Our bus ride back had much more exaggerated stories from a few seats up, but quiet reflection for us sleepyheads. Jacob even managed a nap.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


"My collective frustrations burst forth from my tiny body like bees from a nest that had just been pelted with a rock."
-Hyperbole and a Half (highly recommended)