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It's 5 a.m. It's November 30. I'm in central New York. And I can go outside without a coat.


Poll shows Americans don't care about Bush's rights abuses

"Marta Salcedo said she had little regard for the rights of suspects held in connection with the attacks. "They should torture them," she said. "Sometimes you have to do things that are uncivilized.""

Ah, principle of innocent until proven guilty. We hardly knew ye.


He said 25. I did 46. Wow.


I'm attempting to overdose on cranberries. I've been eating cranberry bread and cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving, and drinking a nice glass of cranberry juice.
This morning we got an email from Prof. Cashman, who directs the jazz band, saying he called in two professionals to perform with us at our December 4 concert. One plays trombone, the other plays trumpet. Prof. Cashman said he was "getting the third parts ready."

They came to rehearsal today for the first time. It turns out Prof. Cashman pushed Aaron down to third part and left me at second so the new guy could play first. It's a logical move, because that means only one of us has to learn a new part, and the first and third parts are more similar than either of them are to second. But that means our best student player is playing the lowest part, while I'm still playing the parts that really ought to be played by a better musician.

I can understand bringing them in for a few rehearsals, so that we can learn from them (not that either of them said a word the entire rehearsal). But why spring them on us a week before our first and only performance this semester? And why do we need to perform with professionals, anyway?


OK. I think is up and running again. So I'm publishing again at Note the change of file name -- this way I don't have to type "blogger.html" on the end all the time.


I don't know why, but I'm getting a kick out of the fact that I'm citing Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods? in my anthropology seminar paper. I think if I had to do another seminar paper I'd do it on crackpot archaeology. Or on the amish.


Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!
Computer-adaptive tests (where they give you a harder question if you get one right, and an easier question if you get one wrong) mess with your head. They keep you at your maximum level of competence, which fools you into thinking you did much worse than you actually did. Even so, I still don't know how I managed to get a higher score on the analytical section of the GRE than on the verbal. I'm much better at finding antonyms for "apocryphal" than I am at determining whether Bob can sit next to Sally given that there are six seats and Joe can't sit to Steve's right and Sally and Edna have to be across from one another.


Quincey is shedding all over my keyboard.


Today I read. A lot.

When I got home I felt really lost. Zeke was using the computer, so I couldn't be online. I certainly couldn't do non-computer things while signed on to IM in case someone decided to talk to me. So I felt really disconnected when I went up to my room. I don't even have a stereo there (not that it would do me much good, as my CDs are all at school anyway).

So I got lots of reading done, having no distractions. I finished Seeing Like A State. It wasn't that much reading, and I would have just left it until I got back from break, but I need to use it in my anthropology paper that I'm writing over the next few days. I'm using it in my geography seminar paper, too. And as I think about my honors thesis (more on that in a bit), I think it will be key there as well.

Then I picked up Gold of the Gods, by everyone's buddy Erich von Däniken. I'm not entirely sure why. I think some part of me just needed to read something -- a book, preferrably -- that was inconsequential and had no bearing on anything for any class. Crackpot archaeology is always good for that. Although I could probably rationalise it somehow -- maybe saying that since von Däniken is unfortunately more widely known than, say, Tom Dillehay, I should be familiar enough with his ideas to be able to point out how patently absurd they are.

Then I started in on background research for my thesis. I decided suddenly a few weeks ago that I was going to do my project on Aboriginal fire ecology. I've had mixed luck with the sudden inspiration system of picking topics. My summer research fiasco started as an inspiration. So did the Oneida Land Claim GIS project that gave us so many problems. But my geography paper on the Aral Sea, which is working out ok, was conceived 20 minutes before I committed to it. So we'll see.

What I can say now is that, contrary to expectations, I'm finding myself interested in this. I don't mean to say I expected the whole project to be drudgery. But I had thought there would be a lot of boring background reading on how fire ecology works before I got to the good stuff about Aboriginal burning practices. Anthropology is great, but I thought the biology and physics of it would be a pain. But that isn't proving to be the case. Maybe it's just a matter of Rob Whelan being an accessible writer, as I'm sure some of the more technical papers on the subject would bore the crap out of me, but I'm genuinely interested in how fire works. I just need to keep this up for a few more months.
Tell me about taxidermy.


Sometimes it's the simplest things, like plugging in the speakers so you can jam with They Might Be Giants while you turn off the computers in the geography lab. Socks get no traction on this floor.
Amanda has also temporarily moved to blogspot, and Marty has creatively used blogspot to update his site. So there are now three Colgate server blogs active.
OK, so I've temporarily moved to blogspot, since seems to not want to work properly. Hopefully going through this trouble will jinx into working again. Although saying that might jinx it into not working. This would all be very confusing if I were superstitious.


It's interesting how liberal students are always complaining about how entrenched Colgate is in the conservative status quo, while conservative students feel they have to resort to "freedom of speech" arguments to keep from being silenced by the pervasive liberalism on campus.





1) Draw a comic depicting the President in some situation (on the toilet, swimming, a steamy love scene with Laura, etc.) that would cause his legs to be bare.
2) Underestimate the size of the pen you use to put some hair on his legs, causing them to appear far hairier than you intended, perhaps even Sasquatch-like.
3) Place the drawing on the bed of the scanner and close the lid.
4) Select Apple > Recent Applications > PhotoStudio
5) Select File > Acquire > ScanGear
6) Click "Preview"
7) Use the marquee tool to select just your drawing
8) Click "Scan"
9) File > Save As Name your file something appropriate, such as "hairylegs.tif"
10) File > Quit
11) Apple > Recent Applications > Adobe Photoshop Elements
12) File > Open
13) Enhance > Brightness & Contrast > Brightness & Contrast
14) Raise the contrast to +70, then hit OK
15) Select the zoom tool from the toolbox and click on the President's legs. You may need to click several times until his legs pretty much fill the screen
16) Select the eraser tool from the toolbox
17) Use the eraser to thin the lines of the hair and selectively remove about half of them
18) File > Save As Name this file something appropriate, like "nair.tif"
(test post to see if is still broken)


On some level I feel like I've wasted the day. I slept until 12:30 today, because my 8:30 class was cancelled (of course, I was up until 4:30 last night, but that's another story). After my shower I realised I hadn't eaten in something like 20 hours (since dinner the previous day). Then I did laundry and did some very leisurely looking through the grad school catalog.

It will all change tonight, though. Maroon-News, band, and calling four more people to take this stupid survey. I'm not sure when I'll fit the survey in. I probably should have done it this afternoon.


There's a keypad on our front door. After a year of asking to have a door code installed instead of the old key lock (which none of us had keys to), B&G has finally given us a keypad. It's a beautiful thing.
Military May Try Terrorism Cases

Bill Maher was right. Our government is cowardly.


The Taliban gained support and came to power on the premise of freeing the people from the oppression of the Northern Alliance (though they weren't called that at the time). So are we just swapping a repressive regime we hate for a repressive regime that will cooperate with us in beating a common enemy? Given what good buddies we are with Saudi Arabia, and Bush's professed distaste for "nation building," my hopes aren't too high.

And on a bit of a tangent, the capture of Kabul was the big banner headline this morning on the Washington Post, the LA Times, and the New York Times, but it was only the fifth story on the Washington Times, and the second in the Miami Herald and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It doesn't even appear on the front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


And everyone else's blog on is demanding a password. Stupid Colgate web server.
Even when I'm at band, I feel like I'm an archaeologist.

One of my favorite things to do when the game is boring, or hasn't started yet, is to inspect my trumpet. I've had the same horn since the beginning of High School, and I haven't taken particularly good care of it. So I can look at all the scratches and wear and dings in the bell and see everything that it's gone through. The rim of the bell is scraped where it sits on concrete when I put it down at games. There are dents in the bell that line up with the way it sits across a folding chair. There's a worn spot under the tubing in front of the first valve where my left thumb scrapes. The finish is eaten away by the acid in my sweat on the casing of the third valve. There are pliers marks on the mouthpiece from yanking it out. There are stained rings around the tuning slide to mark where I've tuned to.

Today I started to do the same thing with my shoes. Why did my left shoe develop a hole near my pinky toe, but my right show has a hole by my big toe? I want to say it has something to do with fencing, since that's the only activity I can think of where my feet are moving in different ways, but I don't think I've fenced often enough since I got these shoes to account for that degree of different wear.
One of the 10 most recently updated blogs was called "efficient german lovemaking." I was going to link it here and make some snide comment to Marty. But before I could come up with a suitable thing to say, I clicked through (so as to be able to copy the link out of the address bar) and discovered that a page redesign had apparently completely removed any reference to efficient German lovemaking from the site itself. How sad.


It's creepy to listen to the sound of my own voice. I had to tape-record an interview I did with Sarah, the RA of '34 House, for my anthropology field methods course and write up a transcript. I never realised how much I sound like my brother. It's weird. I'm not sure I like it, either.
To successfully publish to or to not successfully publish to That is the question.


Too tired to accomplish any work, and too much work to take the time to nap (not that I'm a big fan of naps anyway). So I spent all morning on the Brunching board debating about the Pharisees. Gah.


My CD player wasn't cooperating, so I told it I would listen to WinAmp instead. So I put on a bunch of TMBG mp3s. But WinAmp is, as usual, skipping. Gah. I just can't win. I wonder if threatening to use RealPlayer would straighten them out ... nah, they'd never believe me.
I shouldn't have been nearly so relieved to be done with interviewing Monte Bennett for my anthropology paper. I'm supposed to be an anthropologist. I believe very strongly that archaeology shouldn't be about just intellectual curiosity -- there should be real engagement with real people. So I ought to be able to make a half-hour phone call to a fellow archaeologist. But I could feel myself reaching for any excuse to put off arranging it, and then to put off making the call. There was a definite nervousness when I read him the informed consent spiel. And then when it was over, it was a huge weight off me (since I was deliberately ignoring the fact that I still have to set up an interview with Dixie Henry).

This doesn't bode well for my Fulbright/Watson project, which is basically this paper going on for a year in New Zealand. Then again, chances are I won't get either of those fellowships.


I actually remembered to go to jazz band today. And then we didn't have practice. I had forgotten that Prof. Cashman was doing a concert for the Modernity classes today. Gregg showed up accidentally too. He interviewed me for half an hour for his sociology research project on musicians at Colgate. So it wasn't a total waste.
It's really great to come across a book for class that you really want to read. I'd been kind of looking forward to this book, James C. Scott's Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed, ever since I bought it for my anthropology seminar. I realise it probably doesn't sound very exciting to most of you, but I'm not most of you.

Part of the problem is probably that I've been thinking of the reading for this class as being really bad. Looking at it rationally that's not true -- I liked Aihwa Ong's Flexible Citizenship, and in retrospect Sherry Ortner (Making Gender) had a lot of good ideas. I'm just biased by how much I hated Arjun Appadurai (of course, I'm citing that book in my geography seminar paper...).

Either way, I started reading Seeing Like A State last night, and it was great. It's not a page-turning literary style, though it is certainly on the accessible end of anthropology writing. But the subjects he was dealing with were really interesting. A central part of his argument is about the limits of human understanding -- how, in order to comprehend something, we have to simplify it into some sort of easy-to-remember pattern that leaves out a lot of complexity. A topic Amanda and I had been talking about just a few days before. He related that to the development of scientific forestry, and how it failed because forest planners couldn't take into account all the processes that keep a natural forest healthy.

Sometimes the best books aren't the ones that come up with something completely new. They're the ones that put clearly into words things you'd been suspecting for a while.


The other day, while I was in the shower, it occurred to me that the most commonly referenced date last year was the same as the most commonly referenced date this year. This year you can't turn around without hearing the phrase "September 11." I doubt this was true here in the US, but in Australia last year I was constantly hearing about "S11." It was the name of an anti-globalization protest scheduled for the World Economic Forum meeting in Melbourne on September 11-13. There were S11 stickers all over uni, and it was constantly in the news.

Obviously it's just coincidence that these things happened a year apart, but it's still weird to think about.
I'm not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I found this amusing: On the Washington Post's front page today, the top story was Despite Loss, Yankees Lift City. Underneath the picture and blurb for that story, there was a little link to Arizona Wins World Series. Looks like the Post has its priorities straight -- featurey analysis over the basic facts of the game.


After spending an hour digging through fun code on the Geography webpage (that I tried to post here as an example, but for some reason I couldn't get any paragraph breaks to show up when I published), I have decided to put FrontPage in the kiosk.


During the Mikey and Missi vs. Meredith and Kevin game of Beiruit, something told Amanda to pick that moment to go upstairs to turn the music off. Shortly thereafter something told me to go figure out what had happened to Dave, JJ, and the Merry Men. As we came down the stairs (I had been unsuccessful in my quest, as I later learned the Merry Men took Dave and JJ to 'storm the castle' on the Persson steps"), we saw four campus safety officers, the HR on duty, and the director of Res Life come walking through our hallway.

Our house is in big trouble now.
Courses registered:

GEOG 499: Honors
GEOG 332: International Environmental Policy
RELG 318: Native American Religions
SPAN 354: Latin American Literature


For once I agree with the Republicans and President Bush. Federalizing airport security seems too big a step. Maybe it's just because I can't see the hijackings on September 11 as being some huge failure of airport security, given that the weapons in question were pocketknives and box cutters. You could conceal a blade that would be just as effective inside a metal pen. Or learn some martial arts, so you don't even need a weapon to threaten people.

If you want to live in a free society, you run the risk of occasionally getting burned.
I hate abdicating responsibility. But last night I had to.

When the new Brunching board started up, nobody even questioned that I should be made an admin again, now that we weren't subject to the wrath of Pahl. It was really weird at first, because I felt like I was suddenly off the hook for all the inflammatory things I said on the old board. I didn't complain, though, because (if only for selfish control-freak reasons) I like being an administrator there. I like feeling that I have the power and responsibility to make sure things run smoothly. But last night, I realised I was spending too much time on the board that I should have spent working on school things. I decided I wouldn't be able to give the board my full attention again until after Thanksgiving, when my two seminar papers will be turned in. I'm sure you're all laughing at the concept of a geography/anthropology major being swamped with work, and there isn't really a good reason I shouldn't be able to do it all with time to spare. But I'm still failing at time management.

So last night I posted that I was going to have to take a month-long hiatus. And that meant that I had to permanently step down from being an administrator. I don't like the fact that when I come back in December I'll be an SMU, but it would be dishonest of me to think I could leave and then be fully reinstated when I come back.