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April 26, 2005

An Ordinary Week, Topped with Spices
life, log

Finally had a nice row at crew; the water was rather calm, and I felt that I was recovering from the, uh, stagnation of the last few practices. We didn't work too hard either. In other news, my community service is finally falling into place very nicely; I have something lined up which involves typing (that is, data entry), so it should be neat.

Just got in a nice half hour or so of random fun fiddling with my banjo ukulele, at risk of blowing my ears out; that thing is loud! I'm having fun experimenting, but I want to learn about playing chords up (down? everyone seems to say up, even though that doesn't make sense...) the neck – I understand the concept, but I'm not really sure why one would want to do it in the first place – as well as how to play/pick melodies; I don't really understand what melodies even are (on an instrument) yet.

Other than all that, it's been a rather normal week so far. We're doing SAT review in math (which is rather fun) and english (which is rather boring). I'm kinda addicted to SAT math problems; they tend to require equal parts of problem solving and math skills, so they're rather fun. The english ones just slog along though. They're not very fun in the first place; while solving math problems is, generally, what math is all about, you don't read book for the purpose of answering foolish little questions! And, furthermore, the questions can be VERY picky; does ponderous have a good or bad connotation? In my mind, depending on the situation, it could be either. And yet some of the questions hinge on such feeble supports. English is inherently much more subjective and not so well suited to standardized testing, although the essay that they added is definitely a step in the right direction.

Tomorrow we start decorating for prom; I have no idea what to expect, but it should be an interesting diversion at any rate. And I'll jump on any chance to play with duct tape! I don't have much of an aversion to constructing things or doing light manual labor either, so it shouldn't be too bad. And now that our ranks include a few crewbies, I'm sure the labor shouldn't be too onerous whilst socialization lightens the pain. Anyway, I'm off to find some good music and indeed socialization. Have fun, and may your tongue be the harbinger of many great conversations!

Posted by Trevor Savage at 8:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

Selfreflection: Summer and School
'philosophy', life

In which Trevor ruminates in a potentially boring fashion on the present and the past which lead up to it.

I'm starting to look forward to prom, which is next weekend, primarily because it's a great social opportunity – for some reason I'm feeling a bit starved in that regard. I'm feeling a wee bit stifled by responsibilities, and just want an opportunity to be quintessentially Trevor for a while; which now, rather surprisingly, involves being with real life friends. In this pursuit, most responsibilities become both a blessing and a curse; although school and crew mean being with friends occasionally, they also mean doing work, more so at school than at crew.

Last year this time, computers were just about my only hobby. Since then many things have changed. I've finally become social and I've picked up a horseload of hobbies, so many that I have trouble juggling them all at times. Many of these changes can be tracked back to the summer preceding the school year, and enacted themselves throughout the first half of the year.

The first substantial event of the summer was Port Isobel (just found that awesome picture while googling; that's the building we stayed in); it instilled me with a love of oars which carried me full blast onto the crew team, which in turn helped miles with my sociableness.

Next to take to the plate was JHU CTY on Franklin & Marshall College's excellent campus. The course, Philosophy of the Mind, was great and infinitely mind bending, and, although after the first day I was a bit beaten back by the scores of people who already knew each other, I eventually settled in with a nice group of people and began to, perhaps, become a bit more social. At CTY I also was introduced to dancing (without which I probably wouldn't have been driven to poetry), as well as They Might Be Giants.

Finally, over the summer I generally became more defined, thanks to the internet. A forum post prompted me to think about and define my philosophy, and further thinking lead me to change my mindset about being social. Last year, my goals on this front were meager; I hoped to make people laugh occasionally, and other than that I didn't care what anyone at all thought of me. The height of my happiness in this realm came only occasionally when jokes were flying in the classroom or, much more delightfully, during field trips.

The rest of this last year's changes can be more or less directly attributed to crew. The crewbie scarf knitathon, the results of which were sold to raise funds for crew, got me into the field of knitting – without which I wouldn't have started reading the blogs which made me decide to get create this website, which lead me to discover that I do fairly love writing. The proliferation of crewbies with instruments, as well as my own desire for music, drove me to the banjo ukulele. And, last but not least by far, crew lead me to meet the niftiest people in the entire school, people with whom I finally had something to talk about.

In sum, I'm delighted at all the changes that've occurred in the last year, although after tallying them all up I do find them responsible for my current blessed plight: if not for these changes, I wouldn't be longing for the socialization & sociability which have been compressed by responsibility. But it's pointless to complain; I'm off to work on both the responsibility and the sociability, that they might both be improved!

Posted by Trevor Savage at 8:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

Savage Says Happiness
'philosophy', poetry

Savage says "Happiness
is the ruler of mens' minds,
the golden fruit which all
     hope to pick,
either to grant as a gift
or to consume themselves."

"But," asked the wombat,
"does not the man who
seeks pain forsake

"No," said Savage,
"for no man seeks pain
as it's own reward,
unless it be a happy
sort of pain."


At this point the otter cried,
"But ho! If happiness is man's desire
why does he perspire
to render justice unto liars?"

And Savage did reply,
"For justice does please the mind,
and it's presence does find
the innocent pleased in kind."


"But also, he who is just
must to all happily entrust
his thoughts without any fuss."

"But why, then," asked the pumpkin,
"do some sit without compunction
and think to themselves without any function?"

"Why," said Savage,
"Those boil inside and refuse to eat
of the golden fruit which is such a treat."

[Notes: Savage is, in fact, my last name. I wrote this for an English class assignment, but I quite like it, and had fun writing it. It's modeled after Ezra Pound's Canto 13.]

Posted by Trevor Savage at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005

Roaring into the Week with a few Deadweights
life, log

I just got back from a nice long row at crew – during half of it I rowed and during the other half I coxed. The rowing was nice to get back into the week with, although it left my hands a bit roughed up, and the coxing was fun too, except for docking and a few times when my fluid dynamics model in my head reversed. I haven't ever really docked on my own, and I'm kinda nervous about it, although I suppose it shouldn't be much different from the rest; just use the oars to turn and pull the boat in, one way or another. Most of the time there's a coach on the dock at that point though, so I tend to get nervous over whether I should try to bring it in or if I should just let the coach call it.

Anyway, crew set me into a nice, happy mood, despite a few things which're worrying me and which I'm doing my best to forget about. The first's just a take home history test, which isn't too hard, I just have to buckle down and think about it. I'll have to make sure to do that tonight, so I can put my mind to rest... The other thing is community service; It was nicely lined up to all be finished one day at a regatta, but wind canceled it... Now I'm rather lost as to what to do; the only time I have free from here on out is Sundays, really. And the library isn't open on Sundays. Conceivably, I could skip out on a regatta, but I really don't want to do that, especially since we only have a few left. Thankfully, this is the last time I'm forced to do community service.

We really should have a debate team or somesuch at our school, even if all I really want to do is rip through those who don't think some people deserve equal rights. And, if we did have a debate team, I'd rather join it next year than this, when a few certain people with rather excessively fiery opinions won't be here anymore (although that'll be a mixed blessing, what with some of the nifty people who're in the present senior class). But history class has a tendency to get me rowed up, when the (also nifty) teacher mentions certain issues. What with it being a lecture, I have to just boil in silence with visions of me at the head of an army of liberals roaring in my imagination. And, if you happen to be conservative in issues like gay marriage: jolly good, but you'd best have some great arguments to back yourself up, ones that don't fall back on religion or marriage-for-reproduction...

I feel a bit guilty about not having included any photos or many textual tidbits recently, so I'll just vow to put together an album from my last Italia trip soon. And I'll also post the one from Washington D.C. last December; it has some nice pictures. Anyway, it's high time I put on some TMBG, so I'm off to do some hard core relaxing; y'all be happy, you hear?

Posted by Trevor Savage at 8:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2005

Project Ductboots
life, thing

A few days ago I realized that the duct tape boot would be the apogee of pedal apparel, and since then I've been pondering how to create such a thing. I plan to use black duct tape for the body, and orange for the "cuff" at the top. In addition I'll attach a pair of soles which I suppose I'll try to order through a shoe repair shop, as recommended by this site which served to help plan out my process – it provides instructions on how to use duct tape to make a pattern for leather boots.

I plan to double over strips of duct tape to form the main of the boot, and then to add additional duct over the inside and outside seams between the strips. Hopefully this should provide adequate material, and if not I suppose I'll just add additional duct tape to the outside. I plan to build the boot around my foot, which I'll cover in a sock or two stuffed with some newspaper, to give it a less foot-like form and to give some wiggle room for my toes. The leg and the foot portions will each be constructed separately, and then joined together at the end. A bit of orange duct tape, cement, and a sole should finish off the boot, which will hopefully work well enough to be worn to school! Now then, to plan a ductboot supply trip to Ace's hardware...

Posted by Trevor Savage at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005

life, thing

Rain and fruit and companions and paintings
People and language and Venice and food
Glass and lace and countryside and photos
Nighttime and lights and delight and desert
Caves and churches and statues and things.
There are steps and steps and steps;
	then Happiness.

Thanks to a sad turn of events, in about 342 days, just a short two years after I last donned my Jacket Italiano, I'll be hopping onto a plane with a whole load of nifty people and heading straight for Roma. Assuming I get my name on the list in time. The things I enjoyed most about Italia 2004, which was my first trip to the country, were the adventure, the places, the language and the food.

The adventure came with every step I took, mile I flew, and revolution the bus's wheels made. We were in a different country. Every time I looked up, I didn't know what new and minutely different thing I'd see. Just as for a newborn babe the entire world is one big playground ready to be explored, Italia opened itself up as a jungle gym for the explorer, offering all sorts of delights for all the senses. In addition, navigating the cities and finding your way around to the shops, sights, and succulent sustenance was an adventure in it's own.

The locales of Italy were delightful grounds for adventure. Merely walking in Florence or San Gimignano or Venice or Rome was a delight; and seeing how the city changed when it rained or when night fell was amazing. One of my fondest memories of Italia is walking back to my hotel in Florence from the museum while it poured down rain and I wore my Jacket Italiano. Later I discovered nighttime Florence's awe inspiring nature, as the lights shine out of the bridges and are reflected on the water, as the rumble of the river is heard, and as you snake your way through streets and past squares which just a few hours before were bustling with activity and which now are only marked by the pools of light leaking out of restaurants.

Another vivid memory from Italia is of sitting by the fountain in front of the Spanish steps in Roma, drinking from it and watching the pigeons and the people as they streamed through or as they scurried about their jobs, pausing only to refill a water bottle from the statue's mouth.

Likewise, Venice was a water-filled sanctuary of happiness. Traversing the streets, making your way to and through the lines and lines of shops which resided on either side of the bridges and streets, walking through a walkway which you later ride under in a gondola, searching out a bathroom while following innumerable signs, and finally working your way back to Plaza San Marco while accidentally taking odd side streets which end in water, the cities of Italia themselves were all delightful places of adventure and happiness. Such grand structures as the Duomo and the Tower of Pizza also provided great adventure for those who choose to climb them.

The language also added to Italia's appeal. Confronted at every turn by a strange, foreign tongue which you only know a handful of words from, it's quite a delight for the linguaphile to try to use this strange thing to his advantage, picking up words from seeing them and reading them, and trying to figure out what they mean and how they're used. When, a few days into the trip, I ordered an acqua con gas and some pizza without stepping into English once, I was quite happy to come skipping out of the pizzeria with my loot, ready to tackle all of Italia.

Finally, the food topped the rest of the trip off. Gelato, not too rich, not too cold, not too flavorful, and never too much, soothed the mind and spread happiness about while one shopped and explored. Pizza, acqua con gas, delightful fruit and goodies from the supermarket, strange but delightful puddings, delicious bread, candies, and more all helped top off one's happiness meter, especially after a full day of climbing stairs and walking roads. The food, like much of the rest of Italia, also provided an adventure, thanks to it's variety and differences from American cuisine.

Overall, adventure reigned supreme in Italia, whether manifested in the food, the places or the language. And so I eagerly away spring break 2006, when not only will I get to further explore Italia, but when I will also get to sample the fruits of la Franηe and la Suisse, expanding my life's vocabulary and discovering more at every turn. 342 days remain, but already excitement reigns.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005

On MGA, or The Dead Fish Essay
life, thing

Two weekends past, during spring break, a sizable chunk of my high school headed over to Richmond to participate in the Model General Assembly, which puts the roles of various parts of our government on the heads of students and lets them work in the position, mostly creating, debating, and passing laws.

To be more accurate, I myself went to MGEC, the Model General Executive Committee, or something along those lines. I always mix up the letters. The topic was transportation, and although I had no blooming clue what the heck I was supposed to do, and was rather worried about this during the few days leading up to it, it didn't turn out too badly.

MGEC consisted in part of a number of speakers who spoke on transportation, reviewing how exactly things relating to roads, railways, ports, and airports get done in this here state, as well as how these services get funded. These speakers were mildly interesting, especially considering that transportation isn't exactly a striking issue itself. The other part of MGEC was when we split up into groups and, with all of our newfound knowledge, tried to come to a consensus as to how exactly we could solve our transportation issues – primarily, how to fix the great funding hole that is widening with every year.

MGEC actually reminded me of CTY, except with the topic of the governing of transportation replacing that of the philosophy of the mind. I must say, I like debating and learning about philosophy much better, although I expect MGA proper will be much more intriguing than MGEC was. In addition, CTY offered a much longer period of time to get to know your fellow participants; at MGEC, we only had a handful of hours in which we worked together over the course of two days.

In addition to MGEC itself, there were the elections for next year's officials, a tea-toting banquet, and a rather fun ball. The elections were interesting, with speeches ranging from meager attempts which fell on their face to humorous entries of various qualities to full blown guitar-backed songs. One of the adults affiliated with the event later complained that the speeches relied too much on audience appeal, rather than expressing the qualities of the actual candidate. While I agree with this sentiment, I think that it's rather infeasible in the MGA environment.

The few offices and leadership positions which candidates can cite as past experience don't prove much; the voters have no idea how well the candidate did in these positions, whether they were a dead fish who merely enjoyed the title, a good worker who fulfilled the duties, or an exceptional officer who used his power for the greater good.

Rambling on about the qualities that you think will help you fulfill the office you're running for doesn't help much either; even if you're doing more than trying to sound professional, we have little way of knowing if you actually have these qualities. Only a few of the pieces of supporting evidence which the candidates provided actually motivated me to feel that they may indeed have good leadership abilities. Studiously maintaining a job or doing great in school doesn't necessarily mean you have great people skills, and I'm not inclined to take just the word of a candidate who I've only just been introduced to as proof of their claimed skills.

So, while I sympathize which the plea for more seriousness in the candidates' appeals to the voters, before we scour the humor away I think we need to make sure the material beneath it is strong enough to hold the weight of the candidates by itself; if not, we may end up with a bucket full of dead fish to feast on in place of real speeches.

But, on the whole, MGA was an entertaining diversion and an interesting opportunity to learn about things I wouldn't normally even think about. I eagerly await next year when I'll get to participate again, and I hope that my legislative fellows in the House and the Senate then will be more lively and participatory than rumor has it they were this year. Otherwise I may be forced to slap them around a bit with a large trout...

Posted by Trevor Savage at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2005

The Extremes

I've started to notice that there're a few extreme moods which I tend to frequently have.

Expressiveness is often brought on by listening to music and thinking about dancing. Whenever a movie mentions dancing, this emotion is sure to follow. Expressiveness demands more music, and makes me long to dance. It also makes me want to express myself in general, by find really cool clothing to wear, expressing my beliefs (primarily that I'm happy and that everyone should be happy), and by delighting in friends. Expressiveness also tends to mean that I'm "living in the moment". The best and happiest extreme.

A close second in intensity to Expressiveness, ranting comes about when I get roared up on an issue such as abortion, gay marriage, or so called sex-ed. Anger rages towards the conservatives who are on the other side of the line in these issues which are so clear and obvious to me (as I'm sure they are to those on the other side as well), and, being unable to do much about it, I find someone to rant to lest I explode.

Bleakness comes up rather randomly, but it's a general feeling of unhappiness. Bleakness demands that I be creative and generally productive, programming and writing and playing my ukulele. It doesn't mind reading, but doesn't look too favorably upon it. Thankfully, after writing a bit of code or a blog entry, bleakness is replaced by pride.

Pride comes on after I've successfully completed some piece of work, generally a piece of programming or writing. It entails happiness, although less than an Expressive mood, and is accompanied by relaxation, maybe some food, and some appreciation of my work.

Longing occurs when I start to feel like playing a big 3D MMORPG, or when I long for any other game or piece of software which I don't have access to. Occasionally longing's desire is for something more physical, such as a dance. Longing results in a typically fruitless search for what I desire, and ends when I either find it or distract myself with something else.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 9:48 PM | Comments (0)