Friday, November 5, 2010

If I had to do it all over again, babe, I'd do it all over you.

Those poor American kids. To keep things in check for Halloween, parent's week at campus coincidently fell on the same weekend. The dining halls were full of families, confused at how to work a smorgasbord system while their children suffered the indignity of regressing from adults. It was like watching parents take their kids out for a happy meal, though this time paying tuition fees replaced a plastic toy. It was meant to be a happy weekend, but I found it sad. Not because my family are on the other side of the world, we've both become used to these situations, but because both the university and parents seem to be afraid to let these people grow up.

I can only speak from my own experience, but going overseas on my own for a year was a fantastic thing. I was forced to talk to strangers, to fend for myself and most importantly, be independent. If this opportunity is not available to you, then I'd suggest moving away from your family to go to school is the next best thing. Because of this I found it upsetting that some poor girl was being berated at a shared table because her mother didn't thing she was putting in another effort in math. You're never going to learn to wipe our own arse if you keep getting your folks to do it for you.

Thankfully parent's weekend ended on the Sunday evening. Bill Cosby (UMass Alumni) donated a small fortune to the dining services here so to celebrate Halloween we were treated to Maine lobsters. Now I know my financial situation comes up more red than black, so I am glad I had that foresight to know that my opportunities for all-you-can-eat lobster are few and far between. Accordingly, and messily, I cracked my way through two of the red beasts. If it weren't for a fear of food poisoning I would stuffed myself with a few more, I'm sure the Cos wouldn't have minded.
Lewis of Lewis

Given that the U.S. midterm elections were on Tuesday, I was extremely impressed that Congressman Richard Neal was willing to teach our class for two hours ahead of the big day. Not coming from a politics background it is easy to get confused in the statecraft rhetoric, but that effort certainly left a strong impression. The following he day he retained his position, with a record that Muhammad Ali would proud of, and if I were able to vote over here, he would gain one more supporter. It's just a shame the rest of the country - despite John Stewart's best efforts - seemed to disagree with his outlook.

Mike and I decided it was time for some intermediate grooming and found ourselves at the campus salon. The banter was brilliant, talking about skateboarding, 'Chopper' Read and Glasgow Rangers but as soon as the clippers touched my hair the power for the whole campus went off. Now I understand that my hair was a bit unruly, but I did not expect it had the potency to blow up the clippers and half the township. As flattering as it was, I was still left with a semi fulfilled haircut that had to be finished in the dark. It may be time to invest in a baseball cap and adopt this strangely popular 'bro' lifestyle.

Or not. Despite the blackout, the weather was perfect, and a nice change from the freezing night's that had preceded. With out semi haircuts we went for a walk into town, taking advantage of what promises to be a rare showing of warmth. In one of Amherst's two streets, we managed to find a record store. They had an original pressing of some Minor Threat and Andrew W.K. 12"s, but without a record player (or cd player) it would have been a redundant purchase. Instead I opted for an incorrectly stickered Rubik's Cube on a keychain. Awesome.
I don't want to change the world, I'm not looking for a New England.

That night my skate posse and I headed to the Fine Arts Center to put on our own performance. I felt I had mastered the 'ollie' enough to go about trying it on the run. A mix of overconfidence and incompetence instead landed me on the concrete, and hard. My whole right side hit the ground and two days on my arm is still tender. Any other bruising has been reserved for my ego. Oh well, it was still (and remains) a ton of fun.

Anyway, the next few weeks promise to be amazing. Tomorrow night is Matt & Kim in Noho, followed up with a long weekend trip to Montreal with the lads. Bob Dylan down the road is the weekend after that and Thanksgiving in New York City should just about top it all off. It's tough, but I think I'll manage.

Feist - I Feel It All
I only just go into The Inbetweeners and this song is played extensively. Also, she's in Broken Social Scene, so there's two reasons to love it without even having heard it.

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