Formerly Felines for Anarchistic Green Democracies

A Bostonian at the University of Michigan.

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Harry Potter and the Boston Red Sox
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Tuesday, September 07, 2004  
OK, I attempted to write this blog two nights ago, when I was planning to sit in all night, but Pam came over and then a large and unexpectedly friendly group of kids from across the hall came over, and nothing got done. Then I was meaning to write it yesterday, honest, but I was in and out all day what with trying to remember where Subway was and having hall meetings and whatnot. So I'll write what I can now, before dinner and my next class.

I warn you now: this will be long.

Oh, and before, I forget-- Happy Birthday, Dave!

The drive up here was fine-- long but uneventful. The actual move in was hell, but then it seems that it is always going to be. I don't deal well with move in. Or move out, actually. I apparently just don't deal well with large semi-permanent residence changes. I assume it's some bizarre psychological thing, but the reactions are, evidently, physical. So I was feeling pretty ill the day of move in. At least I didn't spend the whole night after move in throwing up, like I did last year. Then again, that might've been the food. Or the roommate.

The evils of move in were as follows:

1. The box spring didn't fit on the bedframe, which meant that when I sat on the middle of the bed it would sag to the ground. This was fixed by my handy mother, who found the magical bed winch and fixed it. The bed is still incredibly wobbly, but at least I can sit on it now.

2. The internet wasn't working. Last year I just plugged in the computer, and all was happy fast ethernet. This year I couldn't get the computer to hook into the system. Something about some address or other being already in use, but then I couldn't change the address, and oh man oh man big mess. So I called ResComp, the University computer helping people. I was on hold for about an hour. They played elevator music at me. I eventually couldn't take it anymore, hung up, fiddled with the computer for a while, and fixed it myself. Thank you, ResComp. *insert ironic bow here*

3. The cable wasn't working. I was getting, for some unknown reason, a bunch of University channels, a couple of Japanese channels, and ESPN. And nothing else. This only got fixed today. I was going to call Comcast, because I had specifically looked up the diagram of how to hook up your TV to the cable and had very carefully plugged it in accordingly, and still it was not working. This morning, however, I decided to shuffle the wires around one last time, just in case, because it would be the height of stupidity to call Comcast and drag them out here for a mis-plugged TV. Lo and behold, the diagram had been incorrect. I'm still not getting Bravo, inexplicably, but that's fine. All I need are the channels that the Lions, Patriots, and Red Sox are going to be on, and I appear to now have those. Huzzah.

4. No powerstrips or extension cords. I had thought that I had packed them up with all the computer wires and things, but when we got to the dorm it became apparent that I had not. Whoops. So my mother got a powerstrip when she went to Bed Bath and Beyond, and my dad went tromping all over campus to find an extension cord. Even with the powerstrip I have four plugs plugged into a four-plug socket. One look and you think to yourself 'fire hazard!', but such is dorm living.

The joys of move in were as follows:

1. The room was much, much, much bigger than I had been anticipating. I was expecting a single along the lines of what Kevin or Anne had last year, which would have been something approximately the size of a Harry Potterish cupboard under the stairs. Instead I think I actually have more floor space than last year. Obviously the room itself isn't bigger, because even a relatively large single isn't as big as a small double, but since there's only one set of furniture I have more actual space. And I have a lot more wallspace, since I hung up all my posters from last year, plus some new stuff (like the Red Sox inserts that have been in the Sunday Boston Globes recently), and still had a ton of blank space. Also, I had room for a bean bag chair! Huzzah! It's blue and white with a giant Michigan 'M' on it. And my closet is ridiculously big. Last year's offering didn't have room for a suitcase in it. This year, with nothing in it, you could fit four people into that closet.

A couple of shots of my box-for-a-year. Note the beanbag chair.

2. No roommate. Last year it was clear from the very first hour of move in that a harmonious existence with the delightful girl was not to be. Now, I know very well that I like having my own space, but I still maintain that I could've had a reasonably pleasant experience with another person. Say, someone who showed evidence of the slightest amount of normal human courtesy. Anyways. No roommate this year, I have the lovely single all to my own self. And, you know, with a single as relatively comfortable as this is, that fact can bring me only happiness.

3. I am now a sophomore. I am well aware that it's not that much better than being a freshman, in the grand scheme of collegiate things, but it was awfully nice to come back to a school which I already knew how to navigate (somewhat), and where I already had some friends. As opposed to last year, when I didn't know where anything at all was, and I didn't know a single person for miles and miles around (except for the two people from my town who went here... but you know what I mean. People I was actually friends with. Not that we're enemies... you know. Aargh).


The day after move in, being Saturday, was the first football game of the year. Michigan vs. Miami (of Ohio). Since almost none of the art students I know had season tickets, I had gotten tickets with Beth's seating group at the end of last year. Beth was one of the lovely First Jo ladies, so I knew her quite well, but the rest of the seating group are mostly people she knows from high school. Meh, I don't care, so long as I'm at the game and know someone there, I'm perfectly content.

A little before 11 am I trotted down to her apartment (which, for those of you who know Ann Arbor, is in University Towers, right on the corner of South U and something or other). It was pretty damn nice. Two bedrooms, bathroom, little kitchen, little living room area. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but probably as nice as you can get without paying downtown Boston prices for an apartment. And the location certainly isn't bad either. I would've said hello to Elisa while I was there, but she was very soundly asleep. Sorry Elisa, but we didn't want to wake you up.

We walked down to the stadium, marvelling at all the little but undeniably awesome stuff about walking down to the stadium on gamedays that you forget over the summer. Like the sheer number of people. Or the crazy frats on State St. Or all the alumni hurrying past the crazy frats with their hands over the eyes of their small children. Or the guy with the crazy dreadlocks and the pickle-tub drum who sits down by Yost Ice Arena and makes really quite impressive and clever rhymes about the people walking by.

Or the guy running down the street with his pants around his ankles. Or the people standing outside their house (obviously student housing) with a hose, spraying anyone who walked by in Miami of Ohio red. Or the two guys who were weaving in and out of the thronging crowd on a two-person bicycle, who slowed down next to us so that the one on the back could say "Hey, blue hair, that's cute, I like that, I'll see you 'round later," and high five me. Yes, I do so love gameday.

My seat this year is much closer to the field than last year, although I didn't move any closer to the 50 yard line. I was in row 90-something, and now I'm in row 50-something. Makes a difference in view. Of course, it also makes a difference in the crowd.... it was always crowded up in the top rows, but there was usually breathing room. Down in the middle rows people just kept cramming in, so that you couldn't stand without rubbing shoulders with your neighbors (literally). Mind you, it was still a lot of fun, but it would have been even more fun if the temperature hadn't been so hideously high, or the game quite so long.

I sort of met Beth's friends, but the place was so crazy and loud that I didn't really catch anyone's names, except for the girl standing next to me, who I think was called Abby. One of the other girls there whose name I didn't catch (although she seemed quite nice when I talked to her) was dating one of the football players (!). This particular football player, to be exact. He's not a starter or anything, but he did get in for at least one play of the game that we saw, and heck, to be on the football team in any capacity at Michigan is a great, great thing.

The game ended around 4:15, at which point we were dead from hunger, heat, and exhaustion (you don't sit down except at halftime, at a Michigan game). Beth and I staggered our way back to the Union for food, and then back to our respective living quarters to shower and collapse bonelessly for a while. During this time I discovered the Position of Ultimate Dormroom Comfort: sitting on my beanbag chair, with my feet up on the desk chair, the laptop on my lap (cords running everywhere, but that's immaterial), the fan sitting on my bed blowing right at me, and the TV in plain view for some ESPN viewing (since that was the only channel I was getting at that point). Ah, t'was bliss.

Later that night I met up with Heather who, in her infinite art schoolishness, had not gone to the football game. Sigh. We had dinner at Cosi, which is our default place when we can't think of anywhere else to go and it's too early to get ice cream. She spent the spring semester taking classes at Michigan and living on her sister's apartment floor, so three and a half hour long calculus classes looked delightful in comparison.


Sunday I was planning very firmly to do nothing at all, since the combination of 12 hour drive, move in, and overheated football game had mostly killed me. Imagine then my horror when I found myself, at around 9 am, starkly and irrevocably awake. The frelling curtains in this room don't keep out a single photon of light. They're like some horrible translucent fabric that keeps you from being seen by anyone outside your window but permit any and all light to pass through. I soundly curse the deranged mind that created them.

That evening I met up with Pam and went out to dinner at some bizarre, bizarre place on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. She wanted to see my room and to chat, so we went back to Couzens and sat. The night grew more interesting when the kids across the hall from me came storming in to chat with us. These were people whose names I barely knew. Our discourse previous to this had consisted entirely of "Hi. How's it going?" So it was terribly amusing that they suddenly stormed my room and entered into a detailed and intense discussion about romantic relationships (using as focal points the histories of Pam and JR, who is one of the kids from across the hall). It all ended with them eventually trooping out, chanting, "Remember, YOU ARE THE REWARD! YOU ARE THE REWARD!" Very odd. But hilarious.

Monday I finally got to sit in and rest.


So I have indeed finally begun to get to know a few of my hallmates. It's a bit difficult, because initially a bunch of people kept coming in and introducing themselves. The problem was that the second they left my room I would immediately forget their names. Eek. But I'm getting better. The room across the hall from me is a triple, and I finally got them all sorted out. Nate, JR, and Lee. I've only really talked to Nate and JR, but they're pretty cool kids. They keep bugging me to hang out in their room (which is admittedly pretty nice, since they're in a triple suite, but put all three beds in one room, thusly leaving the other room as a sort of entertainment lair). I also met a friend of theirs named Shannon (I think) who lives in Couzens on some other floor.

Pfft. Some guy in a towel with his hair all wet and rucked up just stopped outside my door and asked if I "drew all this stuff on here?" Yes. Yes I did. He seemed impressed. I assume he lives down the hall somewhere, I have no idea. Ha ha. Amusement.

That's one of the other things. This floor is co-ed, and I guess after the all girls hall of last year I was sort of expecting there to be more girls than fellows. But we had a short and pathetic hall meeting yesterday, and apparently the vast majority of my hall is male. It was a bit disconcerting, the first day, to see people just wandering down the hall in a towel and nothing else, but I got used to it rather quickly. It's kind of funny, after the football game on Saturday you could just walk down the hall and almost every room had a college football game on TV.

Other than the folks across the hall, I know Rob (about whom I have already spoken herein), a sophomore girl a couple of doors down named Carolyn (engineer, likes to play the piano in the dorm lounge), and Tom and Gabe, the two guys whose room is in the center of the crosshall to mine, so that their room sort of faces into the end of my hall. Gabe I sort of accosted the first day I was here, because he was wearing a shirt with the Yankees symbol on it. He assured me that it belonged to a friend, and was a little league kind of thing anyways.

There are a million more kids on my floor alone, and I have no idea who any of them are. Ah well. I don't even know the names of either one of my RAs. I know one by sight, because he came in to chat, but it was one of those 'he told me his name and I immediately forgot it' things. Ah well.


Classes started today. Allow me to say 'hooray' in a sarcastic monotone. The one happy fact was that I would normally have had a biology lab this morning, from 9 to 12, but since we hadn't even had a lecture yet, there was no lab this week. So I just had two classes: CFC version 3, and art lecture. I was happy that the CFC class had a reasonable number of people I already knew in it. Taylor was there, and Megan, and Abbas, and Danny, and Hye Jin. Of course there were people I knew in art lecture, since it's our entire grade. I caught up with Emily, Brandon, Adamo, and Carla (Carla came back to my room to chat for about an hour after class, since she lives somewhere on the 3rd floor in Couzens). I saw Tomas and got to give him a hug, but didn't really have time to chat. Pretty much the only person I didn't even see there was Joe, but presumably he was around.

We had a girl in CFC who had transferred in from LS&A, named Bertha. She is the least Bertha-like girl you could imagine. She's this tiny, really pretty asian girl, with tastefully trendy clothes. It's actually kind of hard to address her, since the name seems so extremely unlikely.

Anyways, it's obviously hard to tell how classes are going to go this early in. CFC seemed OK, but who knows, it might turn into installation-art-horror by the time we get into our first project. The lecturer this semester was funny and relatively interesting when he was just talking to us, but the moment he started doing his actual lecture he lost it and everyone reverted to the old glassy eyed stare standby. I also would like to know what moron in the art school thought it would be a good idea to have the big art lecture 7:30 to 9 at night. This is a bad idea. This is an exceedingly bad idea.

Especially since they've changed the bus schedules and routes, meaning that the buses come much less often than they used to. It's annoying having to stand around waiting for the bus now. I can only imagine how horrible it'll be once it gets to be winter. Not to mention the fact that if we're leaving for this class at 7 (you generally leave half an hour to get from central to north campus) at night in the winter, it's going to be pitch black out and depressing.


I happily got to watch the Red Sox/Athletics game last night, since ESPN was the only actual channel I had. What a delightful game. Manny and Ortiz made me squeal with happiness. The fielding... ah, the fielding. Poor Kotsay, or whatever his name is. I wish tonight's game was televised, but I guess it's only on NESN, which of course we don't get out here in the distant Midwest.

I recently came across a couple of very good Red Sox websites. Funny, intelligent, well-written. There's Surviving Grady, which I think is alternately written by two different guys. It's very, very funny. I suggest you head down to the entry for Thursday, September 2. I laughed out loud. Delight. Delight.

Another quality site is Cursed and First, which focuses on both the Red Sox and the Patriots. Go read her entry from September 3, before you read anything on there. It details her journey to a preseason Pats game. It. Is. Hilarious. I imagine it would be funny for anyone reading it, but if you're from Massachusetts and recognize some of the things she's talking about... it's all so true! and so funny! Just go read.

Clearly, someone over at the ESPN website has lost their mind. The first link is page one, the second link is page two. It's the Yankees/Red Sox story. Told in, um, Legovision. Told, um, interestingly. A lot of stuff happens. And it will make you laugh.

I think a nice note to end this obscenely long blog on is the statement made just now as I was watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN 2, about the way that the Yankees were demanding a forfeit from the Devil Rays because they couldn't get out of Florida, due to the hurricane:

"They handled that incorrectly... you know [the people who were demanding the forfeit], just mouthpieces for Steinbrenner...It was an embarassment to baseball."

Man, that's what the Red Sox fans have been saying about the Yankees all along.

4:54 PM

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