Nostalgic for Hampshire….

7 02 2009

I smelled pot for the first time since leaving Hampshire the other evening. I am very used to cigarette smoke at this point, but when I walked into the stairwell of my apartment I paused and wondered why I was suddenly reminded of school… and then I realized it is because of the cloud of pot smoke! I am on the sixth floor, so walking up the stairs smelling poit was very nostalgic. It was exactly like I was doing rounds in Merrill A again.

Oh Merrill A.


More silliness

24 12 2008

Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band needs stationery.


Okay, that’s enough procrastination. I actually have a story to write. Happy Holidays!

You Just Don’t Understand Me

19 12 2008

As the snow blows sideways in this wonderful storm, I want to relate to you a really meaningful interaction I had with a three-year old this morning.

There’s this little boy who we’ll call ‘Jack’ for the purposes of this story. Jack is three years old, intelligent, articulate, and imaginative. He was in our parent-child program for a few sessions, but now he’s old enough to take classes by himself, with a group of other children his age. This is his first real class.

He is also L-O-S-T lost in his own world. Lost like wandering off during activities, collecting bean bags and rubber stars and stashing them under various mats in his own little game, that sort of lost. Lost like swishing his saliva around in his mouth to the point where it bubbles out and you have to say, “Jack, why don’t you go get a tissue from your mother,” because there’s really no polite way to breach the subject in the middle of class. (Don’t say, ‘eew,’ because I know you all did that when you were three or four, or twelve or twenty, in the shower by yourself.)

Now, I have no problem with this in general, because I think kids should have as much free play in their lives as they want — especially three-year olds. No sense in sticking them in structure if they don’t want it, except when their parents are paying two hundred mumble dollars for you to teach their wee one to roll over and stand on one foot.

But it really actually is a problem when you have seven three and four-year olds in a gymnasium and one of them wanders off, because then the other six get it in their heads that they can just go play too, and suddenly you’re herding… well, cats would be too easy. And safety wise, you don’t want oblivious kids wandering unsupervised around the equipment because “they could get hurt.” And it’s my liable ass that has to make sure they only get the good type of excitement.

Anyway, at the end of class, my co-teacher ‘Lisa’ and I take the kids over to a carpeted wooden pirate ship that was built specially for the gym. It’s probably the most rocking-awesomest thing in the world, with a steering wheel, slide, rope ladder, plastic rock wall and an honest to gosh plank that kids can jump off into the pit. Now, usually kids like to haul on the steering wheel a bit and then go down the slide, or they like to climb up to the plank and jump off, over and over. There are a special few who find the crawl space under the rope ladder and rock wall, and my little friend Jack is one of them.

Generally, I let them stay under there for a few minutes. At least I know where they are and that they can’t get hurt and won’t hurt anyone else. But eventually (being less than five minutes), it’s time to go. Now I have to get this kid to let go of his imagination for long enough to get him back to mom.

“Jack,” I say a few times to get his attention. He crawls out from behind the rock wall and looks at me through the rope ladder. While I address him, he starts fiddling with the ropes. “Time to come out,” I say.

“But I need to fix my windows,” he says. He picks at the ropes a bit more, but keeps an eye on me too.

“You need to come out now and either take your last jump into the pit or go line up with Lisa.”

He turns and looks at me straight on, with this intense gaze that only a smart, preoccupied kid can have. Then he scrunches his eyebrows together and in his adorable three-year old voice says, “Jacob, you don’t understand me.”

I love kids. He totally won my heart today.

Things you learn from British SF

15 12 2008

My friend over at liniment & lead posted a fun list of thirty things you learn from current British SF:

05. Creepy people are creepy for a reason. Children are automatically creepy and are much more prone to accepting contact from alien life, hostile or otherwise.

06. Sometimes humans are the most alien of all.

07. Never question someone immortal, nearly immortal, or just bloody old. Especially if he has really great hair.

Also posted are some interesting limericks.

This neighborhood is under OUR protection

15 09 2008

(I promise I am done with LHC jokes after this…)

Every neighborhood should have one of these:

I’m taking orders for folks who want one of these. If ten of you respond, I’ll look into vinyl printing and aluminum signs. I think I’m also going to put them on T-shirts It probably wouldn’t be more than $15 or $20.

Helpful Hints When One is Attempting to Start a New Club at College…

14 09 2008

This semester I have added to Hampshire’s long list of student groups: The Hampshire College Space Program. I’m quite excited for the club to start meeting (I attracted members by asking “Do you want to go into space?” so everyone in the group answered yes to that question… really I think that about sums up my expectations.) Additionally exciting is the fact that every single Hampshire College Signer sweatshirt will have “The Hampshire College Space Program” on it. As a college we officially have a Space Program! I wish I knew how to bounce up and down in excitement via the internets.

I did learn a little bit from the process of creating this group which I feel the need to share with everyone.

One Major Thing I Could Have Done Differently

(which ultimately would have made my life much easier)

Approximate answers from the official student group recognition form submitted to the college last spring.

Group Name: The Hampshire College Space Program

Group Mission Statement: We love space. We love learning about space. We want to bring a love of space to the community at large. We want to go into space.

Things you want to accomplish: Building a rocket and going into space.

Now, I thought this was all very amusing seeing as how new student groups are given no more than $300 (and the chance of receiving that much funding is fairly slim.) But I guess Hampshire College was not amused. They demanded Safety Write-ups, Faculty/Staff advisers, Waivers for every club member and basic bureaucratic nonsense because I believe that they actually believe we might be attempting space exploration on a budget of less than $300 dollars.

Well shoot – I guess if we have to jump through all these safety hoops we might as well do it! Does anyone know where I can buy a whole lot of rocket fuel? (And I do not mean the drink that is traditionally made at Arisia.)

More LHC humor

12 09 2008

You know what they call that thing they look through to spot Higgs particles?

A Collide-a-scope.