Friday, July 25, 2003

I think Nesting Man is finally gone.
Most people know what Dresden looked like after the second World War. It was pretty trashed. There was a nifty church there, the Frauenkirche. The name means Church of Our Lady (even though it was a Protestant church - the Germans were weird that way). I found a German website with a bad English translation that called it "the Woman Mrs. Church." After the war, it looked like this.
Back last year when the Elbe was flooding, I got curious and researched Dresden. I discovered that the post-war East German Communist regime had actually recreated some old buildings that had been destroyed, like the Zwinger Palace and the opera house.
But until about ten years ago, the Frauenkirche was still a pile of rubble. That was when the new government begin a project to rebuild the Frauenkirche. They sorted through the rubble and identified what old pieces they could, and fitted them into the new structure. The church was sandstone, and the old stones were black from the incendiary bombs, while the new ones are pale, giving the building a cool, mottled appearance. This is about how far they've gotten now. I think they plan to be finished in 2004.
And in a gesture that I think speaks volumes about the New Europe, and people of Coventry, England, bought the people of Dresden a cross to replace the one which was on top of the dome, which was smushed when the building collapsed. This is terribly cool, because I have heard the fire-bombing of Dresden was retribution for the Germans' fire-bombing of Coventry. Or was it the other way round?
Another interesting note is that the eighteenth century Italian landscape painter Belloto, the nephew of the famous Canaletto, went to Dresden, and painted views of the city in which the Frauenkirche can be seen. Your eyes did not deceive you - that painting is in our very own North Carolina Museum of Art.
Finally, brush up on your German.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The week is dead. Long live the weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Nesting Man Update
But first, I have to say I just saw a Sedgeway in person for the first time. It was going down the street outside.
Nesting Man (first mentioned a couple posts below) is STILL here. I don't think he's ever left. I've never known anyone who wasn't a student to stay in here anywhere near that long.
Yesterday after work when my chauffeur and I were leaving, chauffeur pointed out a turquoise pick-up with a license plate that read "truckoise." It didn't have a parking sticker and we surmised this was Nesting Man's truck. I think he talked the housekepper he got chummy with into letting him into the lot. I didn't see it this morning and I hoped it had been towed or he was gone.
But no. He was here. This morning he started a second, smaller nest at a new table.
But it's an ill wind, etc. Nesting Man smokes. He smokes really stong-smelling, really nasty-smelling Camels. He's motivating me to quit.

Now I've Seen Everything
Is this what Al Gore envisioned when he invented the internet?

Where Do I Sign?
At the beginning of the summer an Asian fellow sub-let an apartment at the front corner of my building on my floor. I would see him from time to time in the parking lot. He was very friendly, which actually made me suspicious. The second time I saw him he started complaining about how noisy the aprtment was. At first I thought he meant his neighbors, but later I realised there is a bus stop right at that street corner. The Asian guy said, "I ask landlord if he got something else." I thought, "Good luck, buddy," because I had been trying to get into a different apartment for over six months.
Last night I saw him at the grocery store. He said he has bought a house.
I'd like to know who bankrolls these people. I don't mean Asians, I just mean anybody who can buy an actual new car. And a house. And how do I get a piece of the action.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

So Tired . . .
I guess being pissed off at the world wears you out. It's a waste of energy.
I swam 17 laps yesterday after work. I've worked up to doing that many over several weeks, so I don't think that's why I'm so beat. I had to share a lane with a large fellow who was a pretty sloppy swimmer, and at times I had to pay more attention to staying out of his way than on my own swimming. It was a bother.
There's some older guy who has been here all day. When I got here this morning at eight he was sitting outside the library on a couch talking to a housekeeper. I assume the housekeeper let him in. From five pm to eight am this building is secured, and you can't get in unless you have a campus ID with a magnetic strip coded to let you in. Or if someone lets you in.
As soon as this guy got into the library he created a nest of books and papers covering a table in the reading room. He keeps moving back and forth from his nest to an internet terminal. His nest includes library no-no stuff like Coca-Cola in a can and little paper cups of coffee from the automat-like machine near the student lounge. Back during the big ice storm in December campus was the only part of town with power and people were living in here and we stopped trying to stop people from having drinks in here.
I was thinking of working out tonight, but I don't think so any more. Going to bed early? I just can't seem to do that. Plus, "Andy Griffith" comes on tonight at ten. I'm not a raging "Andy" fan but I don't have cable and when I get a chance to see classic television like this in my own home I grab it. The local CBS affiliate is refusing to show Simon Cowell's "Cupid," a reality dating show. Instead, in that one-hour time slot the station shows two episodes of "Andy." Each evening's episodes are the personal favourites of anchors from the news team, and the anchor hosts the episodes. It's kinda cool. They also use video magic to stick the host, in appropriate black-and-white, into the background or a crowd scene at some point in the show.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Food for Thought
This article is making me re-think it all.

Monday, July 21, 2003

You Know, Perhaps . . .
. . . maybe I have been trying to fly too close to the sun.

One More Try
I called a place in Chapel Hill named the College Foundation of North Carolina. They're supposed to help people find and/or get money to go back to school. The woman I spoke to was very nice, and told me about a loan I could apply for through their organisation. The conversation came to an abrupt halt when I told her about my old loans. Their default status makes me ineligible for the loan she'd described.
A representative of another organisation I contacted about getting a loan, a private non-profit named TERI, didn't think the defaulted loans would hinder my application as long as the loans defaulted long enough ago. The problem with TERI is that they don't let you get a deferment on payments after you finish whatever program you borrow the money to go to, even if you're back in school again in a different program.

What's that Quote?
Remember in "Silence of the Lambs," when Clarisse is having trouble with her case, and she goes to see Hannibal Lechter? Lechter has been moved out of the big scary stone sanitarium and is in a cage in the middle of a large, stately, paneled room. Lechter tells Clarisse some thing about going back to first basics - this is the line I can't remember very well - and I think he makes a reference to Marcus Aurelius.
"What does he do, this man you seek?"
"He kills women?"
"No, Clarisse, that is incidental. He covets."
I decided to go back to first basics myself. I traced back my idea about going to grad school in classics. It all started because I was sick of the dead-end wage-slave jobs I've had for the past several years. I decided I had to go back to school in something to be qualified for better jobs. I had somehow ended up with a dead-end wage-slave job at a big university where employees could take classes. I asked myself, If you could study anything you wanted, anything at all, what would it be? And I answered myself, Classical studies.
That's how all that got started.
I needed to go back over all that because I needed to reconcile myself with the fact that if I'm in a class this fall, it will probably be as an auditor, again, here at this school. Again.