I found a good poem last night. With Russian poems I'm never sure if I've understood the meaning correctly or not, but in my mind it amused me. I'll make an attempt at translation (it's much prettier in Russian, of course).

Евгений В. Харитоновъ /Yevgeny V. Haritonov (the author)

В "Детском мире" / In "The child's world"
в детство впал / in childhood it sank in

невоздержимо / uncontrollably
захотелось купить / that I wanted to buy
пластмассовый / a plastic
пистолетик / pistolette

из тех / from which
что стреляются водой / shoots water
я хотел такой / I wanted that kind

в детстве/ in my childhood

но они были жутким / but there were terrible
дефицитом / deficits

теперь я счастлив - / but now I'm happy
и у меня есть / and I have a
пис / pist <-- you will not here that he's starting to break words apart
толетик / olette
стреляющий водой / that shoots water

есть у меня свой / I have my own
личный пистолетик / personal pistolette
писто / pisto
летик / lette


<--- peace сто лет = the same sounds as the word pistol, but means "peace for 100 years"

<--- лети к = the diminutive ending, but means "fly away to..."

иду / I'm walking
стреляю в прохожих / I'm shooting passersby
мокрый террорист/ I'm a water terrorist
из-за меня / because of me
не умирают люди / people don't die

+30° в тени / +86° in the shade
29.05.2007 / May 29, 2007

Well, I've passed my comprehensive exams, so it looks like I'll be officially graduating (not that there was ever any doubt that I would). I also apparently won honorable mention in a national Russian essay contest. My professors congratulated me Wednesday, and I happily accepted the congratulations (I had mostly forgotten about that contest, I'd done it once or twice before and never won anything) and decided that I would go online later and find out more information. However, I haven't been able to find anything! I really wanted to see who the other winners, since there's a good chance that I know at least one or two of them...and it's always fun to see your name in print. I think that I was in the 4th and hardest group, so that's pretty impressive.

The essay contest news couldn't have come at a better time either. I found out on the day that I had to give the oral part of my comps, and it's always a good idea to put your professors in a good mood before they begin the interrogation section of your exam.

With comps out of the way, I now just have to write my honors thesis, write another paper, survive a couple of more classes, and take my final exams. Unfortunately, I only have about a week to do the honors thesis (which will probably be 20-30 pages) and the other essay (probably 8ish pages), so I'm freaking out a little bit. I also found out a bit of irritating news. It looks like I'm going to graduate .001-.05 GPA points short of summa cum laude because Sewanee doesn't round. This didn't bother me before because I figured I either had it or I was too far away for it to be an option, so I could just get my work done and coast to the end with a clear conscience. If I end up getting a 3.749 I am going to be severely irked.

While we're on the subject of GPAs, let me rant a little bit more. Basically, it's unfair. Everything is severely weighted here. Unlike many schools, where an A is a 4.0 regardless of a plus or minus beside it, an A- here is a 3.67. A B-, in comparison, is a 2.67. Since when is a B of any sort below average? Teachers don't seem to realize the extent of the damage done by those pesky little minuses, and slap them on at random if there's any doubt. I also find math unfair..one bad grade can drop your entire GPA drastically, but one perfect grade can only bring it up a tiny bit. Math is also unfair in another sense...I only wanted to take Calculus I, but I was forced to take Calculus II because by some fluke I got a 5 on the AP exam. I know I suck at math, and I tried to say so...I blame that B- on Sewanee.

There's a reason I only donated $2 to the Sewanee Anual Gift Fund (that and the fact that I got a hilarious thank you card)....

In other news, Coolio (THE Coolio) is coming to Sewanee tomorrow. One of the fraternities was suspended from having parties last year, but they still collected dues. As a result, they've amassed a large quantity of money, and they figured that the best way to spend it would be to hire a famous rapper to come for Spring Party Weekend. It's a pretty good idea, I have to admit. Unfortunately, it's supposed to be really stormy tomorrow, so hopefully it won't get canceled.

This summer is looking like it's going to be hectic, to say the least. However, I think that it will be an improvement from last summer, which was completely inactive (save for 5 or 6 days in there). I'm going to begin by driving solo cross-country. I've driven up to 13 hours by myself, but I've never had to go for multiple days. More specifically..I've never had to book a hotel room on my own before. I think it'll be pretty easy though...as long as the credit card works.

Well..this is enough procrastinating for now. Mostly I just wanted to rant about my grades, and there's no one online and everyone that I live with has disappeared. That's the way it usually works.

When you're perfect in every way. I can't wait to look in the mirror, 'cause I get better looking each day!"

I can identify with this song so much.

Well, today is Easter. It's kind of hard to contrast mentally with last Easter when I was still in Irkutsk. I suppose the dates don't exactly match up, but the general time frame is still the same. Last Easter it was still cold and snowy, and I remember Igor's family invited me to spend the night with them. It's interesting that Easter here is more of a morning event, generally involving a sunrise service or morning church service, followed by lunch and Easter egg hunts. In Russia the most interesting events happen at night. The most devout people spend an entire day and night in services, but I only went for an hour or so.....mostly because I'm not Orthodox, and I lock my knees, so standing up for hours and hours wasn't a smart idea. Inside the church everyone crowds together holding lit candles (seems dangerous to me, but Russia never was one to be much concerned with safety) and listening to a priest recite prayers. I suspect it's sort of like what happens here -- most people never go to church except for the big religious holidays, so on those days the churches are completely packed. At midnight (I don't actually remember if it's at midnight, but it seems like a logical time) everyone left the church and stood outside. Then a couple of priests come out and led a procession around the church (I believe 3 times). I found it somewhat funny that there was a police officer stationed in one spot to make sure that no one fell into an open drain while walking around in the dark (it seemed like an awful lot of foresight for Russia). After the solemn candlelit procession, everyone stopped and gathered around the priests, who then led the gathering in a chant about the fact that Christ had risen. After that we went back to Igor's house (while the more devout returned to the church for more services). There we had a long meal that lasted until about 3am. The whole family got together and ate, toasted, talked, and exchanged gifts. Then Igor and I stayed up even later watching some movie on tv and then soccer. It was a pretty good Easter. I probably should have written about it sooner so that I could remember more, but sometimes it's annoying to take time to write about things when they happen..it feels like you're wasting the time that you could be using for more interesting things. It's weird to think that Igor is dead. I still can't decide if I want to remember these memories more or forget them completely because of it.

Today, in contrast, is bright and sunny and almost uncomfortably warm. I woke up late and then had lunch with Kendra. To our pleasant surprise, the cafeteria workers at McClurg had hidden Easter eggs, and we found a few of them. It always feels strange to be away from home on Easter, but I guess in reality it's been 4 years since I was home. For a religiously affiliated school, we sure don't get much time off for holidays. In celebration of the day we went to the library and got a movie to watch later, and may or may not spend some time outside enjoying the weather (the couch is awfully comfy..I'm content to enjoy the weather via the window).

Yesterday I had my last regatta ever...at the collegiate level at least, I suppose that there's always the possibility that I could join a club later. A lot of people asked me if I was sad that it was my last race, and I answered them all with a "NO!". I'm pretty glad that crew is over, but yesterday did make me wish a little that there was more time. My first race was with my regular boat, and we improved dramatically from last week's regatta. We ended up 4th in our race and just missed finals...but that was probably the perfect position to be in, because if we had made it to finals we would have had to row again. I think that with a couple of more weeks and some coaching we could have done even better. I'm the only senior though, so perhaps the boat will stay together and that can be their project for next year. My next race was in a "mixed 8", which means that you put boys and girls together. Not all regattas have this category, so for us it was more of a fun/experimental race. None of us had any high hopes because we'd never rowed together before (I'm not sure why, we already knew who was going to be in the boat). We had a somewhat shaky row up to the starting blocks and practiced a start or two for the heck of it (it's hard enough to start with 4 rowers who are used to each other, we were pretty sure that there was no hope for the 8 of us). We get there to find that all the other teams are pretty jovial about this event too...although I think that they had at least practiced a few times together. After some jostling about to get pointed the correct way (the wind had picked up by then, which makes it very hard to stay straight in your lane), we were off! When you're going backwards it's very hard to tell where your competition is at...especially when you're a club sport who practices 2-3 times a week vs. a varsity school who practices twice a day and you are pretty sure they are way ahead of you. There were 4 boats in our heat, and 2 shot ahead of us in the beginning..but one was behind us the whole way. They looked like they were struggling quite a bit (especially since the water was insanely choppy by now), but I just figured that they weren't very good rowers. I guess we weren't actually that far behind the other boats though, because at one point our cox shouted "You're almost there, and it's not as embarrassing as you think it is!". We got 3rd in our heat...and as it turns out, 3rd in our race (there were 2 heats), meaning that we medalled! Our time was a 7:37..which isn't THAT fast in the whole scheme of things, but it's certainly faster than I've ever rowed (it helped that there were boys with us). The winning boat had a time of 7:06 and the other was about a 7:10, so we really weren't that far behind.

I also got some of the glory that I've felt that I've deserved since I'm the only senior who has stayed (my freshman year there were at least 20-30 of us, and of those 20-30 I'm the only one who has remained). The coach/team gave me a Sewanee sweatshirt and a little necklace with an oar on it. So, I came away with a medal, a sweatshirt, a necklace, a shirt from the event, and an overall feeling of satisfaction with my races. I'd say that's a pretty good way to end a 4-year athletic career. I've been unspeakably irritated with crew before, but I've had some really good times too, so I'd say that overall it was worth it.

As always I have a ton of homework to get done that I don't want to do. Comps are looming ever nearer, but more frighteningly so is my honors thesis. However, it's a beautiful Easter afternoon, and I am going to watch a movie instead of thinking about that.

Happy Easter everyone!

Here is a song for you:



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