August 25th, 2003

you think you know...

Well, i'm back.

My uncle had to finish a job yesterday, for Al and Stephanie, a couple in South Walpole whom i think Miles and Donnamarie met at a quick-build around March of last year. Al heard that i went to NHS, asked when i graduated, and asked if i knew his niece Elena Dafonte. Why yes, yes i do. We were stand partners in Orchestra, plus she's really good friends with Joe. The world it is small, though of course in my neck of the woods it always is.

We got stuck in as "15 mile parking lot on the Mass Pike" as my uncle put it, so we arrived at ITT shortly after 5. I still got keys, though -- whew! I'm in Wilder 313. (x4739, though for some reason the buttons don't work if i try to call out) Wilder does indeed have an elevator, though i'm at the opposite end of the hall. My room is much bigger than my room in Lamont and someone left a fan in there. I thought about trying to dump some of my stuff in my Lamont room, but it's such a small room that it would be insanely cramped. I'll just move my stuff on Thursday. I could whine about temp housing more, but really, it's not that big of a deal. There's lots wrong with this picture (temp housing in Comstock/Wilder with dining in Tyler [edit: HONS eat in King-Scales; i'm definitely figuring out where the entrance is for that, 'cause that's much more convenient], for example, or King House -- i talked to the HP and she didn't know she was gonna be in Wilder temp housing until she arrived) but i'm done talking about it until i find out who's in charge and talk to them.

Miles and Donnamarie took me out to dinner last night. Yay, Fresh Pasta Bistro. The food was, always, wonderful (i had sweet potato ravioli with romesco) but the service was horrible. Rob, sweet young red-head, was our wholly incompetent waiter. My aunt was amused at first, and she used to be a waitress so she kept pointing out to me how he should be doing things differently, more effectively, but amusement passed into frustration. It took a long time for people to get anything and he would say things like "Can I interest you in....?" and then never get it, so we weren't the only aggravated people there, but we definitely had the worst. The two groups who sat down shortly after us were nearly done eating by the time we got our food, and we never did get our bread. Then when we finally got the check my uncle gave his credit card and it came back with no slip to sign -- we totally could have walked out without paying (which we could have done at numerous points). My uncle spoke to the manager, who was obviously distressed and said "What would you like me to do?" to which my uncle replied, "I don't want you to do anything, I'm just letting you know that the kid with the shorn-head down there is gonna ruin your business." She voided the check and i'll be surprised if Rob still has a job there. My uncle was furious but was very calm and rationale in speaking with her and made it clear that the food was wonderful, that we would tip the chef if we could, but that the service was abominable. It makes me sad that some of the other people there will probably just leave angry and tell all their friends to stay away from Fresh Pasta because it's a great place. We went to Bart's for ice cream afterward because i prefer that place to Herrell's and then walked back along the water. My uncle made several jokes about the fact that i'm living in "Paradise" :) Oh, and we also saw a guy with a pet lizard on a leash on Main Street. *grins*

A lot of people are back on campus, but with so many in temp housing it's hard to track down people. Plus, this whole not being able to call out on my phone thing. I'll probably see a lot of people at lunch today, though, so that'll be good. Particularly with no computer set up in my room, i really want to actually hang out with people. SAA training starts this afternoon and that'll help fill up the time, though it looks like there's a lot of free time, too (which is good, 'cause the training looks kinda vom-inducing).

Saw Isabel this morning. Found out where the postal center is in the campus center. (And okay, the white and the glass and all that, out of place at Smith but don't really bother me. The green/orange/yellow furniture decor, much less appealling.) There's no person window there, though, which is strange, because you get package notices in your mailbox and yet we didn't see anywhere to pick them up. I got my Fleet statement, so they must have stopped forwarding my mail, which is good. The ATM there is Easthampton, though, which throws me into a dilemma, because Fleet's accessibility was a big selling point (though one can possibly still access the Greeen Street ATM and certainly there are ATMS at the bank itself on Main Street), though Easthampton is more inconvenient because i can't access it over the summer (and Town of Norwood checks expire after 90 days). The debit card feature is really great, too, and i suspect Easthampton doesn't have that, so i'll probably stay with Fleet till the end of college.

I can in fact return to my job at the Art Museum -- woo hoo! Ann's response to my e-mail included:
If you have any time in the afternoons between 1-5 pm, I'd be delighted. Our student budget was cut and I have to do with 15 hours a week. If you're interested, you'd be, as always, a lifesaver. How's your schedule look now? We can wait until you know your permanent schedule but give me a glimmer. Your message raised my hopes.
People have started up again asking what i plan to do after college. My new answer is: queer activist massage therapist young adult librarian. I think that sounds like a wonderful plan. *hugs zzrg*
I have begun a new phase in my magickal work. JOY is my new standard for action. I shall accept into my life that which brings me joy, and I shall reject that which interferes with my joy. My chief question regarding any decision shall be: "Does this contribute to or detract from my joy?" Just like statements such as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law", my dedication to joy may seem at first to be a decision to become a plain old hedonist. I have, at times in my life, been a plain old hedonist, and it did not bring me joy. Some unpleasant acts may contribute to my greater joy, while some pleasant acts may detract from it. I am entering into this pursuit of joy with the hypothesis that I will find the most blissful fulfilment in doing what I truly love
-Toby
hermione by oatmilk

Continuing the "I'm back" thread.

Had lunch in Tyler. I'm definitely back at Smith because it was salad on bread. There were also chips and cookies and grapes, which was nice. [Also, could i be more of a Smithie? I plugged in my stereo last night to have music while putting my pictures in my mini-album -- and Mommy, that's done now! yay me! -- and what did i put in but Tori's Little Earthquakes. I'm not even a big Tori fan.]

Turns out Comstock is open for dining as well. Why don't they give us a nice list of which houses are open for dining? Yay for the convenience of Comstock, though.

Am in Washburn for the first time in my life as everything closes at 5 [After that, well, you just got the bars, /Dar, "The Ocean"].

Spent some more time in the campus center. I neglected to mention that the 3 big TVs on the wall really annoy me.

I absolutely cannot handle the decorating scheme. Except for the red room with the free-standing fireplace. Isabel said it's "how the 70s imagined the space-age" which is exactly accurate (though Gillian says it's more late 60s). I may have to take some pictures to show people at home. *cringes at the idea of anyone visiting me here*

Training was blah blah blah for the afternoon. Amanda said last year they arrived when the regular first-years arrived and orientation was packed into 2 days. Having training spread out would be nice except that everyone else is in training all the time and i don't have my real room set up, so the free time is not so great.

We have t-shirts, but i don't understand the front design. It's these little colored houses with various labels. College Hall and Campus Center and some student houses (Cutter, Capen, Lawrence, something else). Why?

I managed to make it through my first year (and sophomore as well) without ever meeting Tom Riddell. Gonna be seeing a lot of him these next few days, though. He talked about the campus center for a long time. It's been something he's wanted to have happen for ages apparently. And it sounds like he had some major say in the decorating scheme, though he also seemed to be implying that he didn't want to claim responsibility for the architectural design itself.

He talked about the budget, which seemed odd for an introductory SAA meeting, and he talked about how last year they cut down on spending $2million and the plan for the next 3 years is to cut down $9million. Some of us at least looked around at the vast space we were in and thought that perhaps Carol Christ's obscene salary could be cut down. Isabel later mentioned that paper-less week thing we had last year, and i would be a big fan of that. If stuff got sent on e-mail instead of on paper, it would be much less hassle for everyone and we would save a fortune as well. Anyway, Tom mentioned "enhancements" -- basically financial incentives for people to retire early. About 30 people took advantage of this last year, all in Phys Plant, RADS, etc. I was relieved because i don't want to lost faculty. He said that's 30 jobs that have basically disappeared. Wait? So we're not just hiring new people in those positions at starting wage? Yeah, because having fewer people to maintain this campus is a good thing. Then he starts talking about the student:faculty ratio -- 9:1. Apparently this is largely the result of increased hirings in the past 5 or 6 years (new engineering department, growing interest in sociology, etc.). "We want to bring that ratio back to 10:1," he says. I start doing math in my head. That means either fewer teachers or more students. They can not admit more students. The housing crunch is getting insane as it is. And fewer teachers? You cannot start firing (or not hiring replacement) teachers unless they suck. The academics are the point of this place. Yes i'm all about taking advantage of the surrounding area and making lasting friendships and spending way too much time online and all that, but the real point of Smith is the academics. That should be the last thing they start fucking with. And why mess with the student:teacher ratio? That's one of the things that gets people coming to Smith. "What makes Smith different from Harvard?" as Isabel put it. *fumes*

We watched Cheaters. We kinda talked about it afterward, but i felt like the way the movie was set up it didn't lend itself to real discussion about cheating. Mostly i wanted to take apart some details of the movie, but i felt that would be inappropriate. Collapse )