Monday, February 28, 2005

Still Procrastinating...


It's Really Better When You Don't Do These Things Phonetically

How long have I been singing the Greek national anthem? Since I was what, 7? How many times did I get up in front of hundreds and hundreds of people to belt it into a microphone? At least 3, right? (oh man, I still can't believe I did a significant percentage of the Buffalo population has heard me sing...the horror.)

Have I ever known what the words meant?

I remember Dad explained it to me once - something about fallen bones and the holy Greeks, and "hair[e] o hair[e], eleftheria", which is "freedom is awesome!" - but I never got a real honest translation.

Thank God for Google, my friends, because the Greek national anthem could beat the crap out of the Star Spangled Banner. It's 100 verses long or some such craziness, but I won't subject you to that. I'm not evil.

The Hellenic National Anthem
A translation in English by Rudyard Kipling in 1918

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes
And the light of thy Sword

From the graves of our slain
Shall thy valour prevail
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

Long time didst thou dwell
Mid the peoples that mourn,
Awaiting some voice
That should bid thee return.

Ah, slow broke that day
And no man dared call,
For the shadow of tyranny
Lay over all:

And we saw thee sad-eyed,
The tears on thy cheeks
While thy raiment was dyed
In the blood of the Greeks.

Yet, behold now thy sons
With impetuous breath
Go forth to the fight
Seeking Freedom or Death.

From the graves of our slain
Shall thy valour prevail
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

Lyrics: --Dionysios Solomos, 1824

FROM THE GRAVES OF OUR SLAIN SHALL THY VALOR PREVAIL! And then, 100 years later, we shall attempt to turn Communist. But shhhh...that's on the down low.

(in case you couldn't tell, I'm hopped up on caffeine and procrastinating. As usual.)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A Short List of Things Not to Do

1. Drink a beer in the commons room of a freshman dorm.
2. Ignore this.
3. Miss Hotel Rwanda.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


You thought I was kidding about writing a post for trolls. You were wrong.

Please accept it as a given that these notes are intended for those who wish to leave truly cutting troll-comments, the kind that make their recipients cry alone in their beds at night. In order to be a foolish, knee-jerk troll, the opposite of all these rules apply. Right. Well then.

1. Unearth relevant information about your trolled.
A comment left quickly about a single post just doesn't have that necessary oomph. "This is dumb", the trolled probably thinks. "BA-LEETED!" And then they will ba-leet you.
To be an effective troll, you need to utilize the resources the internet has placed at your fingertips. Go through archives to find significant harmful events (breakups are fantastic. "No wonder s/he doesn't love you anymore" can cut through even the most powerful psychic armor) and exploit them as thoroughly as possible. Does your trolled have any contact information on their website? See what you can do with it - a cutting IM is even more hurtful than a cutting blog comment. Got their full name? Google them. Find out where they live and go through the police reports. And remember - even the most seemingly innocuous event can be a deadly weapon if wielded correctly.

2. "Anonymous" is lame.
Don't you have ANY creativity? Come up with an alter ego - "Everyone Hates [Trolled]" is a good standby, but use your inventive side. An even better plan is to leave a link to your "homepage" (anything including porn will work for this, especially porn with unlimited and unending popup windows). Confident? Link to your real homepage - your trolled will see how perfect you are and be further shamed by their own inadequacies.

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of any troll comment. SPELLCHECK AND RE-SPELLCHECK. THEN GRAMMAR-CHECK. Nothing takes the sting off a well-formulated zinger like a misplaced apostrophe. Capitalize what is supposed to be capitalized. Don't end sentences with prepositions. Your goal should be nothing short of perfection - make your trolled think they're being insulted by a Harvard professor or corporate magnate. If in doubt, leave it out.

4. Reread your post for clarity.
What to you might seem like a cutting commentary on your trolled's life and sexual habits will, more likely than not, sound like a pack of gibbering hyenas to your audience. Reread. Do you fully explain your thought process? Is there any room for ambiguity? If so, find a way to rephrase your sentence - clarity is the single most important aspect of trolling, so beware.

5. Be prepared for the consequences.
Some trolleds are more resourceful and less resilient than others - they will find your IP address and track you down. You can use aliases for some small amount of protection, but be aware that it won't always thwart the hungry. If your trolled should find you and confront you, know how to back up your argument. If you've done your research (see step 1), this shouldn't be too hard - however, it's possible that the mere happenstance of the encounter will take some wind out of your sails. Don't let this happen. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

6. Know that you will become a trolled.
There are two reasons for step 5: first, it is likely that the fellow-commenters on your trolled's website will be offended by your insult to their friend/relative/idol. The minutest of details will be fodder for these hungry beasts (ref. step 3). Second, by perpetrating one of the dumbest of Internet etiquette crimes, you make it more likely that you will be trolled yourself someday. If this happens, I do not want to hear you complaining. Track down the troglodyte's IP and let him have it, thereby restarting the circle. It's a beautiful, natural thing.

Well, oh my trolls, this is my sage advice. Use it; don't abuse it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Compensation for Previous Ridiculous Post

Save Toby.

Day 1, After the Waking Up

Right. Germany. I am bad - shoot me.

Flesh wounds only, plz.

So when we left our intrepid, multicultural heroes, it was December 5th (by a ridiculously small margin) and they were cruising around Central Europe. They had started out by letting Jorge drive - an idea quickly vetoed by the time he had managed to stall out the car twice while getting lost for half an hour on the way across Munich (a distance of approx. 5 miles) to pick up Kristina. He blamed it on the dark. Juan and I blamed it on his being Mexican. (nb: though this post contains a number of "dirty Mexican" jokes, as did the trip in question, they are to be read ironically, please.) All four heroes then set off (intrepid/multiculturally) to Lindau, Germany, the first stop on the list.

So. Lindau.

Well, the first thing that I noticed when I stepped off the plane was that it was very, very, very very cold. I'm-wearing-a-sweatshirt-under-a-peacoat-and-gloves-and-a-scarf-and-still-freezing cold. The second thing I noticed was that I was tired. I-went-to-bed-at-1-and-woke-up-at-5 tired. The third thing I noticed was that I was hungry (no hyphens for this one) and it was 9am on a Sunday (this either) and ALL the shops were closed.

"Hey guys, what're we doing about food?"

"There's food in the trunk. We brought some so we wouldn't have to spend much money."

"Wow, really? Great!" *opens trunk* "Umm...what is this?"


It was, indeed, Walmart brand! It was a veritable treasure trove of Walmart brand! Walmart cookies, Walmart bread, Walmart tuna, Walmart mayonnaise, Walmart mustard - the ultimate dream of any self-respecting college student was contained within the trunk of that VW Golf.

I was afraid it might reach event horizon and implode at any minute. But then - then, my friends - I saw the fatal flaw.

"Guys? Where's the FRUIT?"

They chucked a bag of bananas at me.


(extended collector's edition nb: for the sake of brevity, I will be condensing all conversations here into English. Just for comparison's sake, here's what the above exchange sounded like in real life:

Allison: I'm hungry.
Jorge: You're what?
Allison: Hungry.
Jorge: What?
Allison: Ich habe hunger.
Jorge: Was?
Jorge: Ooooh! Bueno, pues tenemos some food im Koffer.
Allison: Como?
Jorge: We've got food in the...Koffer, Koffer, what's Koffer?
Juan: Trunk.
Allison: Oooh! Ok.)(it got marginally better as we went along, I promise. And apparently, while I can understand German AOK, I am completely unintelligible when it comes to SPEAKING the stuff. They all complimented me on my accent at the end, but it was offset by their tendency to follow my every comment with "Wie bitte?")

So, right. Lindau.

It was cold and nothing was open, so we decided to take a walk. Fortunately, Lindau is an excellent place to take a walk, what with it being a gorgeous island/town on the incredibly picturesque, deep, and COLD Bodensee. Jorge has sent me a very few pictures; however, some of them suck. As such, I will regale you both our pics and Googled stock photos. Can you count the number of copyright laws I'm breaking?

1. Here's the town at night (obviously), taken from over the Bodensee. This is facing sort of rightish, so you can't see the lighthouse. Googled photo.

2. Here's the lighthouse. This is looking out over the Bodensee, and those are the incredible ridiculous Alps, which I love. They were not quite so agreeably snowcapped when we were there. Googled picture.

3. Lighthouse the way WE saw it (aka. misty and early in the morning)

4. This is a sweetsweet building. It would have been sweetsweeter had we not passed it 476933 times.

So where was I? Lindau. Right.

Nothing was open, so we decided to take a walk. Jorge had scheduled for us to spend half the day in Lindau, so we relished the idea of a nice stroll. Unfortunately, what Jorge had not counted on was the fact that Lindau is little. Itty bitty. Teeny tiny. Diminuitive. And, while it is gorgeous and has a lake beach with water so clear you can see the shadows of the rocks on the bottom, it is also very cold. Have I mentioned that nothing was open? And that it was cold? And that we had to keep moving our car before our parking passes ran out? I hadn't? Oh, ok.

Looking for somewhere to shelter ourselves from the vicious lake breeze, we dodged into one of the two Baroque churches that faced into the main square. Jorge, Juan, and Kristina started oohing and aahing. I started getting nervous.

"Uh, guys? Hey guys! I think they're going to have a service in here or something. Yes, I agree, the little kids with recorders are very cute, and it's fun to listen to them play, but don't you think we should be getting out of their way? NO, I don't want to go upstairs! That's the choir! Guys, get OUT of the choir! BECAUSE THE CHOIR IS COMING TO SING IN THE CHOIR!"

Luckily, we escaped before being trampled by marauding Bavarians, but not before Jorge had taken pictures and I had been thoroughly embarrassed.

We continued to walk, passing abovepictured fancy house and tiiiiiny lighthouse (seriously, it's only like 20 feet high). We saw the pretty houses. We wandered down to the beach and played with the ducks. (I don't know why this won't be big, like a good picture.)

We hopped on the (short) retaining wall. We sat on the bench. Then we got up to walk again...and ended up at the fancy house...and the lighthouse...and the beach. Again. Because Lindau is like three blocks long.

A tower next to the lighthouse. We were trying to figure out what it was for but couldn't read the plaque. I ad-libbed. "This tower was built in 1978 to accentuate the subtle, bright yellow beauty of Lindau's harbor and to attract more gullible tourists."

Eventually we wised up and headed towards the mainland, stopping at the bridge that connected the town to the rest of the world. There, we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to name the flags that dotted the rail of the bridge.

Kristina: That one's Slovakia!
Allison: Really? What's that yellow one? Hey look, there's Russia!
Jorge: There's USA. Why is there no Mexican flag? I want a Mexican flag.
Juan: Because nobody likes the dirty Mexicans.
Allison: Amen, brother.

We ended up walking around the island to the not-so-pretty part of town where people actually live - by the time we'd circled around again, it was time to go. Civilization was beginning to stir once again, seeing as how it was a decent hour of the morning. On our way out, we passed what had previously been a small circle of boarded-up booths in the main square (see picture of weird building for visual reference). Now unboarded, the booths contained...sheep?

Juan: Good job, you know your animals!
Allison: What are sheep doing in the middle of town?
Kristina: It's Weihnachtsferien!
Allison: *computecompute* Christmas fair?
Jorge: Yes! and they sell Glühwein. You HAVE to try Glühwein before you leave.
Allison: *computeroadblock*
Juan: Sweet wine. With spices and stuff.
Allison: Oh. Can we get some now?
Jorge: No.
Allison: Why not?
Juan: Because it's 11am.
Allison: We're in Germany! Isn't drinking wine at 11am considered prudish?

Apparently not. Damn.

After seeing sheep, we decided the apex of Lindau had been reached. We decided to take off for


Jorge: Ok, guys. There's two ways to get to Konstanz. We can drive for another couple hours or we can take this ferry.
Kristina: How long's the ferry ride?
Jorge: An hourish.
Allison: Ooh, let's take the ferry!
*ten minutes later, we arrive in Konstanz*
Allison: Jorge, you are the biggest crock of shit I have ever seen in my life.
Jorge: Que significa "crock of shit"?
*Juan bursts out laughing*

more later!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

It Will Be Awesome and So, So Hard

I am writing a paper on The Garden of Earthly Delights.

*bites knuckle excitedly*

Now, if I can only keep from humming XTC for the next 2 months straight.

Pictures and Things That Go Bump In the Night

or Really Awful Pictures Taken Out the Windows of Moving Vehicles, But They Are Still Better than Your Pictures Because They're the Swiss Alps and Not Someone's Runny-Nosed Monster Children

Ooooh. (crop out bottom half of picture = much more oohworthy)

So we're driving, we're driving, we're looking, we're taking pictures, and all of a sudden...
Jorge: What the hell is that?
Others: What the hell is what?
Jorge: That pyramid!
Others: You mean the Central American-looking pyramid right next to the elevated EPCOT center there?
Jorge: YES!
Others: No idea.
Jorge: Great! Mexicans are colonizing!


Oooooh. Damn December and its stupid not-quite-snowy-and-therefore-ugly weather.

I took this FANTASTIC picture of the moon over a mountain peak but I'm not sure if it came out/what happened to it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I Don't Know if You've Figured It Out Yet Or Not, But I'm Totally Just Stringing You Along As Regards This Topic

Me, Kristina, Jorge, and Juan on the ferry

Me being glad I am on the mountain in one piece rather than all over the mountain in several pieces

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Today on the way back from work I was walking behind the Marketplace and like oh my God I saw a bunny a real live bunny! And I walked down the sidewalk and I was like "hi Mr. Bunny how are you Mr. Bunny don't worry don't worry I won't hurt you" and it didn't run away! It was a good bunny! It was a fuzzy bunny! Bunny bunny bunny!

I don't know if you can tell or not, but I am quickly losing what little remains of my sanity.

I exaggerate; this week hasn't been that bad. I have a paper due in 10 days (I'll get to that...eventually) and my fish STILL AREN'T HAVING SEX, but otherwise I am happy. Marcy sent me a monkey - I think it is supposed to sound like it's kissing when you squeeze it, but personally all I can discern are the sounds of a man receiving 60 very emphatic lashes. Or someone stepping on a chihuahua. Anyway, I hung it on my dry-erase board with a sign that says "Squeeze my monkey - it screams in pain!". Feedback has, on the whole, been positive.

Yesterday we had choir rehearsal from 6-9:15! That's, like, a WHOLE EXTRA HOUR! And we were singing Verdi's Requiem, and there's this part in the Libera Me where we have to hit F# above high C. So we did that oh, I don't know, 4 or 8 billion times. And, while my range theoretically ends at G above high C or thereabouts, it's not like I relish blasting it at top volume/repeatedly (Billy has kindly recorded these notes so that you can hear the ridiculousity for yourself). I'm an alto, for God's sake. My throaty parts hurt.

It is ridiculous how flamboyantly gay my fish is. If he were a person, he would carry a handbag. Why are they always the pretty ones whose genes we should be propagating? Why? Why? And why do they insist on teasing the straight females? Cotter is practically bursting out of her skin, and this dude's like "well...I'd really LOVE to have your babies, but you know, there's this sale at Saks..." She is so angry that she is beating the everloving crap out of him. Funny to watch, actually. It's sad, too, because I think he would make a spectacular dad.

I'm supposed to have substance in these things, you say? After not really updating for several weeks I owe it to you, you say? Go to hell, I say. If I had time to create substance, I'd be honing my gee-tar skills. While you are heeding my command to run to UNC, you can amuse yourself with this. Or this. But only if you PROMISE to get me one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I = Procrastinator!

You could cart bushels of apples to market in the bags under my eyes.

I think I have figured out that my recent desire to become a pirate is Freudian. Observe:

1. Pirates do not go to class. But when they do decide to go to class, they show up half an hour late, smelling of cheap rum and cheaper perfume, and rob everyone in the room before stumbling back home to sleep it off.
2. Pirates do not do oral presentations. Pirates' parrots do oral presentations.
3. Pirates forge their own academic recommendations:






4. Pirates do not go to the gym. Pirates get workouts by choppin' off yon heads an swabbin the deck an scalin ye rigging and getting ye flask (you can't get ye flask!).
5. Rather than using rhetoric or clear thinking, pirates solve their problems with cannonballs and STDs.
6. Pirates wear dreadlocks and an abundance of dark eye makeup, but do not have to write angsty poetry to pull it off.
7. Booty. I mean, um, plunder.
8. All essays written by pirates start with the phrase "I never knew me cabin boy was so flexible, but..."
9. Camping out in the crows' nest on high seas can lend a spark of adventure to even the most humdrum night.
10. Pirates have weekends whenever they want.


Holy crap, dudes!

Google Search: "allison clarke"


... website. About Me. Name:Allison Clarke Location:DUKEDUKE!, Durham North Carolina,
United States View my complete profile. Previous Posts. ...

I am my own first result!

basis for comparison:
Googled: "chris clarke"
5th result: Creek Running North

Googled: "jeannie chen"
result: I kept clicking for about 11 pages but didn't find Quitters - sorry, dood. Apparently you write for the BBC and do badass neuroscience, though.

Googled: "coral clarke"

result: my mother is not on the internet. Except for this...which appears to have the majority of the Clarke progeny on it...and I don't know what it is. Is this the Calus Anxious (no, I DON'T no how to spell it, but we're pretending that's IRONY) website?

Googled: "rita xavier"

result: first two results are comment posts on Creek Running North. Third result is Blogger User Profile: Rita Xavier. All other posts are comments on AlliSpain or in Portuguese.

Googled: "cameron macvean"

result: there were no results for "cameron macvean" Did you mean to search for: "gigantic loser"

Monday, February 14, 2005

numb ers are easier than writing

number of Valentines given: 60+
number of Valentines received: 1 (thank you, darlin)
therefore, number of people whom I like who like me back: 1/65ish or approx. 1.54%
number of hours spent out of the room today: 11 consecutive
hatred of graduate students and their pomposity, scale of 1-10: BAJILLIONS
plans for spring break: 0
probability of Dad coming here for spring break unless I get plans real soon: 90%
amount excited I am about this, considering the amount of stress-free R&R I am going to need: 0%
days till Myrtle: 80ish

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Valentine's Day Wish From Me to You

This is the worst holiday ever invented by capitalism.

ok this one is pretty good too:

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Just a Friendly Reminder

The transcendent/amazing/soulstirring music day at the Chapel is tomorrow. 11am EST, 8am for you crazy WestCoastians. This link, or somesuch, for the streaming video. Don't worry, you can just listen to the music and fall asleep during the sermon - that's what I do every week. They won't notice.

However, I am currently listening to this, because it's fun techno music, and am driving my neighbors crazy. BWAHAHAHA.

I have to go write internship essays. Woo hoo. Maybe I will post tonight. Probably not.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

An Ode to A Very Important Part of My Life

Oh, Target box of dental floss,
you are so square and boxy.
Some might say a streamlined you
would be a bit more foxy.

But I do love your hulking shape,
your presence ever looming -
the foody parts cannot escape
when your floss comes zooming.

I should not call you "dental floss"
but rather "dental tape".
All the little hidden nooks
you know just how to scrape.

You deserted me in Segundo B -
I searched for a replacement,
but nasty crappy Euro floss
from Earth deserves effacement.

Its narrow little shedding strands
left my teeth not squeaky,
but now that you are back again
everything is peachy.

Oh, silly Target dental floss,
please never leave me more.
I'll never find another love
but you, whom I adore.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Just remembered that I'd like to thank you all for the mail this semester. I think I've gotten more happy mail in the past three weeks than in my entire college career put together. From the SNICK keychain to James' blatantly, absolutely gay Jesus fish, there's a party in my mailbox every time I open it.

Keep it up!

(Oh, and the checks, too. You can keep sending the checks. ahahahaha.)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Quick! An Exercise!

Can you name 20 members of your family? Here're mine:

1. Mummers
2. Dad
3 and 4. Thing 1 and Thing 2
5. Grandpa
6. Grandma
7. Craig
8 and 9. ChrisnBecky
10 and 11. Carrie and Bob
12-16. The Girls
17. Aunt Marika (unfortunately, I can no longer think of Aunt Marika without remembering that her name is a very unpleasant word for a homosexual person in Spanish)
18 and 19. Uncle Nicky and Aunt Myrian
20. Nicholas

That's my whole family, except for Alexis.

A Duke student from Indonesia lost 20 members of his family in the tsunami.

My WHOLE family.

Friday, February 04, 2005

So I've finally carved out some free time for the first time in forever by a quick bout of cost-benefit analysis (psst: if you've spent 5 hours reading 80 pages and don't understand any of it, chances are wasting the next two hours on the remaining 20 pages isn't really worth your time). But now I don't know what I should blog about. bout...umm...yeah, ok, I got nothin. I work a closing shift tomorrow and am training n00bs at 10 on Saturday and have choir at 9 on Sunday and want to die already just thinking about it. Why am I the only person on earth who gets more sleep on (and consequently likes better) Mondays? Why? Why? I am left without a frame of reference re: my fellow man.

I am very tempted to turn on Star Trek and scream "NO TOMORROW" and sleep for 12 hours, then go spend my newfound RA stipend money on a pimp DDR setup (with surround sound, my friends). But tomorrow I have to go to class and the gym and turn in an essay for German and come up with something to write about the aforementioned 100 unintelligible pages on modern art theory. And then I have to work. And then I have to throw myself off a train bridge. Whee. Bain't no rest for the wicked.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Something I Found Out Today Which Makes Me Feel Much Better About the Status of My Life

The vice-director of Chapel Choir is Jewish. Or, as he likes to refer to himself, "Rodney's pet Jew".

I'm not going to hell alone!

(He's also cute. No wedding ring. heheheheheh.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I am the proudest ever of my East Campus buddy.