Stuff from September, 2003

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on September, 2003.

Long-Delayed Update

The speaker who came to motivate us talked of “dead wood” in our lives, and how the storms clear that dead wood and make the tree of ourselves stronger. However, I don’t have any “dead wood.” And I didn’t have any dead wood. But my tree is damaged. I’ll explain. Trees have branches called “leaders.” Merriam Webster defines this as the “a primary or terminal shoot of a plant.” There are usually only one or two on a tree, and this leader is an extension of the solid trunk; the growth of the tree follows this thick branch. My leader has been violently ripped off the tree, destroying years of growth. It was coursing with life right up until the day it was agonizingly twisted and then wrenched free of the rest of me. Thus, I will start out in a new direction and forget about that old branch. The tree still lives and is stronger for it. It doesn’t need any crutch or enabler to get through these rough days; it only needs time. Time to forget and bottle up and throw away.


Another First

It’s almost as if the weather knew that classes started today. The air was brisk with a morning tinge of cold that announced fall has begun the slow march to take over summer. The cool breeze reminds me of many fall afternoons spent playing football at Richard’s. The evening will remind me of those football games I always speak of. It is time to associate some new memories with weather.


Hand in Hand

Every night I hear footsteps and I look out my window to see the guitar major from two floors up, leaving the dorm with his girlfriend. Every night they walk hand in hand to North Campus. Every time I see this I am filled with an emotion. It’s the emotion that you feel when you are laying out in a hammock for hours in the filtered shade of a warm summer afternoon. It’s the emotion you feel when you step out into the first winter snow and see the flakes drift gently down and sparkle in the light. It’s the emotion that fills your heart when you welcome someone home who has been gone for a long time. That emotion is peace. But more than that, I am filled with the sense that everything is right with the world. That this crazy rock we live on isn’t filled with psychos who will destroy everything soon. It convinces me that good will triumph.


Completely Pumped

Do you believe in destiny and second chances?

Destiny exists; free choice moderates. You know the answers inside you. Go on a journey within your being and find the truth. You’ll know when you’ve found it. It’s been there all along.

Adam Smith points out that people who lose their mental faculities are the objects of our compassion even though they themselves are not aware of this loss: what is significant is the magnitude of the loss, as the onlooker estimates its role in the life of the loser. This requires, in turn, a highly complex set of moral abilities, including the ability to imagine what it is like to be in that person’s place (what we usually call empathy) , and also the ability to stand back and ask whether the person’s own judgement has taken the full measure of what has happened.



I’m not sure why I have stayed up so late tonight. I think going to bed early would have been admitting defeat to all the factors affecting me. I plan on getting up early tomorrow and getting my work done, and resting on Sunday. We all need a Sabath even if we aren’t religious. I don’t miss the summertime nearly as much as I thought I would. I am sincerely and truly enjoying the richness of the college intellectual experience.


86F in the Shade

I made the worst bowl of oatmeal this morning. It might have been that I ran out of milk and had to switch to water during the preparation stage. It might have been it was in the microwave too long. It might have been the mega high viscosity. Either way, this oatmeal was like concrete. When your oatmeal is like concrete, it’s simply not appetizing. When I restock my oatmeal-making foodstuffs, I will try again and generate The Best Bowl of Oatmeal; the oatmeal I remember from Sundays at home.


Everybody Jam

I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind. Depending on the day, that certain thing on my mind will fade from my conscious thought, stay with me the rest of my waking hours, or randomly blindside me when i’m drinking a glass of orange juice. Things don’t really change, do they? Oh, we think we’ve turned ourselves around and changed our lives around. Change takes time; you can’t look back and say “wow I have totally changed since last month” - it doesn’t work that way. Check with yourself from 3 years ago - now that’s change. Check with yourself from 10 years ago - that’s real change.


Katha Upanishad

I was wading through my daily dose of Philosophy and I stumbled across a very good quote from Katha Upanishad:

When he has been comphrehended by the thought “He is”
His real nature manifests itself.
When are liberated all
The desires that lodge in one’s heart,
Then a mortal becomes immortal!


Two Years Ago

The following is my own tribute to an event that changed the world.


Take one minute and be happy to be alive.


Dear World,

Hi, it’s your friend Alex. We haven’t talked in a while, and I guess I wanted to announce some things that I have learned. You can react however you would like, but I think you’ll be happy to know that since we last talked, I have come to some conclusions, put to rest some demons, and worked out some priorities in my life. I’ve decided to be the best person I can be. Because if I am the best person I can be, everything else will fall into place. Working to maximize my potential will help me meet people who have the same goals. There is not a plan for us, that is, not in the limiting sense of the word plan. World, I will not confront you but realize that you encompass me. I will accept you and love you and do unto you as I would have you do unto me. I am slowly learning to appreciate the magic and wonder of the unknown and to look at each day not as a blank slate but as tightly wound bundle of cords, waiting to be unraveled so the beauty of each strand can be appreciated. But I ramble.



Friday night kicked all the other nights of college so far right in the butt. We all had an absolutely fantabulous time. Early in the afternoon, after I carded myself into the room (I locked myself out … I am a moron) I finished getting ready and awaited Matt and Shayla’s arrival. They found St. Thomas pretty easily and then we searched for a parking space; we ended up north of north campus. Ah! Then I gave them the tour from north to south of our lovely school and we killed time that way. They met my roommate; unfortunately he was dressed in only a towel when I introduced everybody. He was cool about it and we hung out in our room for a while. Matt and Shayla are right in saying having a wall in between rooms is nice - I really underestimated our living conditions. I should be more grateful. Anyways, we piled in Probe Deutsch at around 4pm and promptly ran into rush hour.


Old Chats

Here’s one from way back:

ajmicek: 13/69
alyahsear: ….
ajmicek: ha same color
alyahsear: whats going on?
ajmicek: somethings fishy in the state of denmark
alyahsear: omg stop being random and just talk normally!!
ajmicek: there is no true randomness - its mathematically impossible - only approximations of randomness are possible - so its really all falling into a pattern
alyahsear: explodes
ajmicek: i’m working on the pattern still, in the meantime i request you try to maintain uni-shaylaness
alyahsear: eh?
ajmicek: uni as in one
alyahsear: well it’s too late Alex



I was keeping a tally of the number of passwords/numbers I have to remember to function in my life. Let’s start with the most imporant ones … I have my bank member number, my account pin number, the phone number for the TellerNet service, my credit card pin number, another miscellaneous pin number, and my social security number. To change courses at St. Thomas I have a pin number matched to my social security number. To access email I have three passwords (at least). AIM has four passwords (no I won’t tell you my other screen names). This website has four passwords (admin file, the server control panel, the mySQL password, and the FTP password) to make this all work. My St. Thomas account has (thankfully) one password for email, blackboard, and the fileserver, but that has to be changed every 120 days. Oh and then there’s my snail mail box has a three digit combination. Ah, my VoiceMail has a pin number, too. My gym locker has a lovely combination as well. Oh, the service I used to register this domain also has a password. What else … the Outlook Express account at home has a password as well and this computer has a password. As for the websites, here’s a list of websites I have an account at (that’s username and password to remember): waferbaby.com, phpfreaks.com, audiokarma.org, fool.com, sparknotes.com, and audioasylum.com - ok well what’s the total? counting Ok, I can conclude that to function in this world I need 31 passwords. Just to function! That’s terrible. But it’s secure.



This post will be full of links. First of all, I finished my profile at waferbaby.com - I am especially happy with how the tumbledry image turned out - I hope to continue refining that idea until I get something to stick up there in the header (see that orange bar thing?) and make things look better. That said, I’ve been having some very interesting vintage audio gear discussions with the folks over at audiokarma dot org. But wait, there’s more. I need to once again link to the metal 40 pound hard pad that RedOctane makes. What is it with me and really heavy and big electronic stuff? Anyways, wouldn’t it be great to play DDR in the comfort of your own home with your shoes on? I’ve been looking around for a new belt and needle for the ol’ Dual 1245 record player. Things are looking promising. Found the Audio Society of Minnesota; looks like they have some awesome projects going. Really loving some of the new vocal mixes from The Cynic Project, a fantastically successful local trance project of sorts. I really like how great this Celica looks - I wish they would get those dang women out of the pictures though, they really ruin it. No, I’m not gay, but there is a time and a place for everything and I do not connect scantily clad females with muscular cars. The juxtaposition still strikes me as strange. I see this page at least 12 times a day. I’ve also found the nearest Goodwill stores, pawn americas, pawn shops in the area, and apparently the pawn shop voted “best pawn shop” by Twin Cities magazine … “American Pawn Shop.” Why all these thrift shops? To find that Pioneer SX-1250 of course. I’m not going to get scalped on ebay and then eat the shipping cost as well; I am going to find myself that receiver. Bah, good luck to me. Guess we all need a hobby, don’t we? They’re quite healthy. Next link I found in the paper, it’s about sleep and features Garfield the cat. Strange, no? Either way, I am starting to see the importance of sleep; I really underestimated it before. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can replace the value of a good night of solid, uninterrupted sleep.Finally, a good link to use to pass some hours is the city creator at CityCreator.com; it’s really quite nifty. I made my own and e-mailed it to my friends! I made a cute little city where it was snowing and everything.


Turning to New

Sometimes you feel lost and broken, like an inadequate part of a larger machine. A machine that no longer needs you and marches on without you. Sometimes you feel like the outdated piece that was tossed into the junk heap, ready to work but whose function is no longer needed. Sometimes you feel like the used, the seen-through, the loser, the target, the mis-represented, enigmatic, used-up.


Water Heaters

Here on the St. Thomas campus, Cretin, Grace, and Loras hall were all designed by architect Cass Gilbert. Even though this is a common known fact, I was surprised to learn we live in buildings designed by such a prominent name in architecture. The part of the story that most people don’t know, however, is that James J. Hill, the railroad tycoon owner of the Great Northern Railroad and resident of St. Paul donated some of the money to build these buildings. For this reason, there were originally four 5-story red brick buildings, lined up and quite close to one another and built to resemble the boxcars on a railway train. Unfortunately, we are missing one so the effect is not nearly as strong, but these relics of 1895 continue to surprise and fascinate me as they come with all the marks of character of really old buildings. No floor is exactly the same, few rooms are identical, the ceilings are high, and the windows are big. It’s truly a unique experience to live here.



I keep having these epiphanies. I mean, I was going to check my mail today and stopped to watch part of The Truman Show; it turns out it was that scene that is the lynchpin of the entire movie: when Truman gets out and realizes what his world really was. For some reason, that scene just threw a switch inside of me. I feel like I am in this post-meditative state of acute, powerful concentration and equally intense calm. How can five minutes out of a movie do that to you? It’s strange, I am back at the room now and I will be making a list of things I have to do. I haven’t been able to sort out everything so I need to write it down. For once, however, I don’t feel worried or even agitated. I just decided that’s what I was going to do because that’s what would be best. No hesitation. No wailing or nashing of teeth.


To Boldy Go

And our English teacher was talking about split infinitives. He made the very interesting point that, in fact, the rule for split infinitives is an old remenant from Latin. Additionally, it really has no place in our language. A direct quote:

Split infinitives are everywhere! Take Star Trek, for example. They say “To boldy go where no man has gone before.” They don’t say “To go boldy” they say “To boldy go.” “To BOLDLY go.” You don’t fuck with the guy who says it that way!


Streamed Consciousness

If I were to make a rough estimate, I would say I have listened to this song quite literally over 1,000 times and, although it may sound cliche, each time I find something new. The song is by George Winston and it is from his album Summer. It is called “Where Are You Now.” It randomly (literally randomly, as that’s what the player was set to) began playing just now and I felt an urgent need to write. Just now, in this past listening, I heard something in the song; it is saying ‘where are you now,’ the very rise and fall of the melodic line beautifully articulates that idea better than any lyrics could. And the title, the title is not a question, it’s a statement. A question indicates a limited scope of thought; the person is searching for a specific answer and a solution. But a question without the question mark is indicative of much more. It’s the question combined with the gentle sigh, the gaze off into the distance, and the memories gently wafting past the window of consciousness; all these rolled into a title.



John will not jump out of an airplane today as planned. That event has been rescheduled to next week. I really hope he makes it ok when he does jump, I guess this place has only had one accident in the ten years it has been open. No, the guy didn’t die, he just broke his legs. That’s not too bad, right? Not that I would love to break my legs - but good lord it would be better than dying.


One Euro??

I’m not going to say some of the things I want to say because this is a public log. Then again, withholding things would be me putting myself under the illusion that people actually read this! I realized today that when you are ugly on the outside, you have to do your best to be beautiful on the inside. ‘Cause let’s face it, that’s all ya got. Am I saying beautiful people can afford to act like jerks and get away with it? I’m not saying they can, i’m saying they do.