# It’s not from France.

Yesterday I received a package with shipping instructions written in French. But the package wasn’t from New Caldonia, it was from Canada! My mom sent an advent calendar. Counting down the days ’til Christmas is much more fun if on each day I can devour a smallWarner Bros. character fashioned in chocolate.

Today I stole a five-year old’s Sox cap, though only because he left before taking it back. Sort of like lying by omission, it was a case of theiving by keeping. I have since contacted his mother, who is my residential dean. In the meantime, I shall wear it. I don it now, even as I rock out to house music as I write to you, kind reader.

Also, today, I met with my advisor for my post-thesis meeting. He said that spinors are very subtle. And he gave me a problems which are designed to eek out a very concrete, geometrical understanding of them. I’m so excited I don’t think I’ll study for my ethomusicological listening quiz!

Perhaps I will go swimming, however.

# A Breaktime Blog.

It’s been a dead sprint to the end today. The end, however, is Monday. Having finished — the definition of finished is a bit flexible, so I revise — having started a new section, the last section, of the third chapter, I have decided to take a break. Rest-time activities include push-ups, showering, and looking at graphs of Ian’s thesis.

Ian lives down the hall and also does general relativity-type things. While I’m wrestling with mass of gravitationally bound systems, he’s trying to detect isolated black holes through gravitational lensing effects.

Lensing works something like this: a heavy object, like a neutron star or a giant loaf of bread, causes space to dip down. Light from an object behind the bread, like a neon sign, travels in all directions, including toward the loaf of bread. Light rays which were very close to each other but hit the bend around the loaf on opposite sides cross in front of it. If we’re just the right distance away from all this wacky bending, we see not one, but TWO copies of the neon sign. This is how lensing works, roughly.

Tonight Eda and I went to Adams’ dining hall for dinner. She suggested that we eat out, but I told her I couldn’t. “Broke?” she asked. And that got me thinking, I need a job. I’m broke because I don’t work. So, because I’m broke, I should work. And then I thought some more. Idioms just don’t respect causation. Funny.

# Oh, Brother. Bear.

I’m not sure if it was the story or Phil Collins’ music, but Disney’s Brother Bear leaves me feeling incredibly lonely. Semi-Fredholm operators don’t make for the friendliest companions, and so, aren’t helping the matter much. This isn’t to say I won’t buy the DVD as soon as I start working again.

Tomorrow is the annual Thanksgiving throw-down at D’Ann’s, back in H-block. If I get things together, I’ll even allow myself some quality,though short, time with some high school friends. Liz has even promised to drive me back to the T.

Here’s to waking up around 7am to make sure I’m in a position to go. I’d like to outline chapter 4 on the ride back. This, however, requires my finishing chapter 3 before then.

Good luck.

# I Lied.

I no longer feel compelled to explain my weekend at Yale. I slept, did some math, drove some people around in my dad’s Prius. I was really impressed with its handling. Should I need to purchase a car, I should purchase one of those.

For my mother [and snipers]: I’ll be joining the Tobins for Thanksgiving.

# Sitting in the Parking Lot.

Jamie is in the back seat, sleeping. Luke is starting to doze off, too. Only Stephanie is awake, and mumbling about Barcelona. I suppose that’s fair, we are, after all, listening to that Crow’s song Holiday in Spain. We’re in the parking lot while Marion returns the UHaul.

Yale has been surreal. But then again, it always is. And whenever I drive my friends around, I feel older. This time I got to play the strikingly sober, strikingly responsible dad figure. With great power, and all that, I suppose.

Look for something more complete a few hours from now. We’ve got some driving to do.

# ‘Tis the Season.

It doesn’t matter that twelve days isn’t so long. A lot can happen in that time. Consider the following: on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying five golden rings (each), four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. You know what happened in the lead time. I am hopeful that I can get a complete draft done, edit it, and turn in the polished version of my thesis before the twenty-eighth.

It stopped raining. I almost wish it hadn’t. Perhaps this is safer for my orange sherbert freeze, on its way directly from the Brigham’s in Bellmont courtesy Susannah, J.D.

A week ago I threw a pumpkin into the river. It had a hard time negotiating between up- and downstream. The current, you see, is not very strong where I live. That’s not to say I gave the cucurbitaceous* little guy any help. I have to believe he’s made his way out to the ocean by now. Either that, or the river rats got him. [shudder.]

*Diana knows this word even when she’s so drunk she doesn’t know her own name. Here’s to Harvard-Yale; Diana, this one is for you.

# The Pool Was Open.

Today, I woke up, having been sober the entire night before despite Danny’s being in town, fairly well-rested and rearing to meet life at 1:30 this afternoon. After a quick lunch with Ian, I set out for the library to conquer my thesis. The Leverett library has become something of my personal den. Truly, I write to you now, a full twelve hours later, well after the library closed, from there now.

The lights are, for the most part, off. I’ve assembled a personal station in the center: a table for my laptop and whichever book, notes, paper or book has most immediate importance to me, a smaller table to my right just big enough for a library-issue lamp, and a large arm-chair for me. The floor has collected several stacks of parts of relevant journal articles alongside my socks and shoes. Because I just walked back from some bar in Boston, the Lir perhaps, on Boylston just a block or so from the Hynes Convention Center, I’ve draped my peacoat and a white oxford on the neighboring chair. Tonight I have not one, but two tuques with me — the red one from earlier before, and the grey one which accompianed me on my journey back from Boston. I tried to stay longer, but playing the sober card once more, and feeling the weight on an impending thesis, I told Danny that “I don’t have the energy even to pretend I’m having fun.”

This afternoon I brought the quillow that Qui’s mother made me and each of the girls to ensure we had some sort of quirky though useful home- and handmade good to accent our dorm rooms to the library with the intent of napping. Indeed I did. There’s a good chance I’ll do it again before long. The mood light is starting to effect me.

I set an after-lunch goal. If I should commit myself to math for a full hour, I’d reward myself with a trip to the pool. It was a long time coming. Last night I decided to shower once I discovered that Blodgett and the MAC both were closed for Veteran’s Day. A shower is a poor substitute. I stood just under the shower head, brought my hands to my face to capture the water, and held my breathe for what I imagined was the duration required to swim three to five strokes. Perhaps googles would’ve made my make-shift pool experience slightly more authentic.

But today wasn’t Veretan’s Day, so my goal was within reach. I can’t say that I spent that hour working on math. How could I; Lisa Lareau was the librarian-on-duty. We have a knack for discussing developmental psychology and its connection to education, usually within public schools. I invited her to live with Liz and Nick and me after graduation. She seemed somewhat relieved to have a place to stay during her pre-med post-back. Next she’ll have to overcome her fear of blood. While passing out informational pamphlets at a recent blood drive on campus, she fainted.

Right now I’m listening to a song called “At the Ballet” from A Chorusline. Its soft 1970s Broadway style works well with the light and architecture in the library. I should probably get back to weighted Sobolev spaces and spinors and sleep before lunch with Dan Aaron (not to be confused with Danny). He has been entertaining the doctors. Tomorrow Susannah and I are going to his house for lunch to see if we can entertain him. Should I not wake up in time, I hope Susannah will wake me here; I’ll be on the couch nearest the south wall. I have my quillow, after all.

# If I Drank Coffee.

Thankfully, I’ve stopped drinking coffee before it became a habbit. You see, I try never to touch the stuff. And so, when I do, it does a number on me. You can ask some pre-law non-resident tutor Amy. I ran into her last night in the dining hall a full two hours after I had but one single cup of coffee. (The redundancy was for emphasis.)

By that time, of course, the effects of the drug had dissipated. On my way to section — I had stopped by the dining hall for cookies and coffee on my way to music section — I fantasized about what would happen should I continue drinking coffee. I would purchase a lizard, I thought. Frank — as that is what I called the lizard in my head at the time, though I noted carefully and to myself, that his name would depend essentially on his temperment and to call him Frank without regard to his personality would be unfair. For simplicity, I draw upon the stereotype that all lizards are called Frank. At least the hypothetical ones are, in much the same way humans use John or Bob as a common enough name when describing some abstract, fairly anonymous man. This stereotype, regarding the name Frank, is particularly less well-known in human spheres simply, I believe, very few of us speak any of the varieties of lizard; and few of them, human. So, you, kind reader, will excuse my use of the name Frank — he would sit upon my shoulder and sip my coffee. But, as my tastes are well set in their place, and for a generic lizard, as Frank is, we would almost certainly disagree on the ratio of sugar and cream to coffee. Being a lizard, he would demand more sugar. Lizards, you well know, have an insatiable sweet tooth. Between the caffeine and the fights with Frank, I’d lose too much sleep, never finish my thesis, and be forced, by a hypothetical lizard no less, into the navy for the next five years, never to rise above the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

Instead, I’ve turned to my collection of hats. For they and I bicker far less. Today my grey tuque and I purchased a very nice new set of jammers. They are navy blue with a yellow stripe down either side. You will note their accidental but happy coordination with my goggles.

The jammers wear like the skin of a seal that I onced clubbed and skinned while on a trip to a reservation in northern Oregon when visiting a friend who worked on a reservation investigating native forms of art, specifically vase painting, but also sculpture. When I swim in them I feel agile, and breathless, and deft. It’s like a good novel. But underwater and not on the back cover, breathless is a desperate adjective. I swam at the MAC, not having the patience to try out my new suit in at the Blodgett. The warmer water and heavy chlorination makes for dry skin. Even if that skin happens to have come from a seal.