:: Pedantic Platitudes ::

Greetings! My name is Sam J and I am a student at Harvard University. Perhaps this blog will present a little look into the mundane yet unique events that make up my life.
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:: Sunday, June 11, 2006 ::

Today, I slept in and then had lunch. I watched some Will and Grace on TV, and then my sister and I went to SLO-town to go see Disney/Pixar’s latest release, Cars.

I really want to get a pet now that I’ll be home, since I’ve never had one growing up, but my parents keep saying no. My sister and I still went to the county’s animal services department, though, in the afternoon to pretend to pick out a dog. They all looked so sad!!! In sixth grade I volunteered at the animal shelter, but I had forgotten how lonely they all looked in their cages. I wanted to adopt them all so they’d smile again.

We also saw the cutest puppy that had just been brought in by the people right in front of us. It had worms and a distended belly. Poor puppy. Aww. I wanted to adopt him right there. My mother would kill me, though. We played with some other dogs, and then one super jumpy one (think Jessi’s dog Aphodite) started humping my leg, and I was so weirded out I had to leave.

We then went to see Cars downtown. It was a great movie. I didn’t think I’d like a movie about cars and racing, but Pixar’s done it again with great animation and a story that’s filled with heart. It was funny because the film’s themes sum up a lot of the things I learned this past semester in Positive Psychology… Life is about the journey, not the end result. It’s ok to lose your way sometimes because it will end up giving you more direction in your life.

My sister then met up with her friends from high school, and we went to a Japanese restaurant for sushi. It was a cool restaurant, but overpriced. I like how for birthdays, they turn off the lights, turn on these flashing colored lights, and play a techno remix of some woman singing in an accent “Happy Birrsss-day to yooo… Happy Birrsss-day to yooo…!” Hilarity! It was like a birthday rave and it totally made my entire life.

We then went to get ice cream at Bali’s frozen yogurt and Coldstone Creamery. At Coldstone I got a cake batter ice cream with black cherry mix in. Yum. My sister and I then drove back home, and I watched some TV, organized things, and watched some more television.

Tomorrow we’re getting up early to go to Disneyland for a couple of days!

Quote(s) of the Day: “The Diva Cup??? That just sounds like a recipe for TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME!!!”

“I don’t know… you seem like the kind of person who would use the Diva Cup…” [Audible gasps] “What’s that supposed to mean?!?!” “I think, um, clean? The latest technology? Sleek? Smells nice?”

“Stop pushing me into the old people!!!” “They’re not old; they’re Asian!!!”

:: SL 1:26 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 10, 2006 ::
Thursday was the longest day ever, filled with emotional highs and goodbyes…

Thursday was Commencement Day, and we all had to get up at 6 a.m. to meet in the dining hall for a champagne breakfast. It was definitely too early to be drinking alcohol, but the breakfast was really nice. I enjoyed the croissant egg and cheese sandwich and all the fresh fruit.

During the breakfast my friend was sitting next to me, and she had a croissant sandwich that was cut in half. I asked her if she was going to eat it, and she said she wasn’t going to eat the other half. She started to hand me one half of the sandwich but then withdrew her hand, saying, “Oh, I think I took a bite from that half; here, I didn’t eat from this half.” And I said, “Wow, it’s like Russian roulette with oral herpes!” And my friend snapped at me, saying, “I don’t have oral herpes!” Sensing that she was offended, I said, “Oh, is it too early to be making oral herpes jokes?” And my other friend at the table turned around and said, “It’s never too early to be making oral herpes jokes!!!” Ah, my last hurrah in the Leverett Dining Hall. Good times.

Close to 7, our house master began screaming at us to line up for the procession to Harvard Yard. His usage of the German word “Schnell! Schnell!” was, um, interesting. “I thought these iron-fisted verbal techniques fell out of popularity following the fall of the Third Reich in the 1940s, but I guess a revival of Nazi Germany is in order!!!” A Dixieland jazz band led our procession into the yard, and it was fun and festive while we made our way to the ceremony.

We were led into Memorial Church for a service with Reverend Gomes, but our house got there very early, and all the students from the other houses had not yet arrived, so we waited there in the church. At least we had really great seats. After they all came and settled into the church, Reverend Gomes delivered a speech called “The Multitude of the Wise,” based on the Bible quote “The multitude of the wise is the welfare of the world.” It was an inspirational speech about how with more educated people in society, the better off it is. He also talked about the doubt and regrets we graduates may feel about our four years at Harvard and reassured us that we were prepared to take on the challenges of the world. Then he said, “And anyways, they had to give these Harvard degrees to somebody… it might as well be all of you.”

We then headed outside again and watched the procession of faculty members, led by Harvard University President Larry Summers. We then were seated in Tercentenary Theater in Harvard Yard, where we waited for the Commencement Exercises to begin. It was still a very wet day, although thank goodness it didn’t rain as hard as it did the day before during Class Day. There was light rain throughout the ceremony, but we were all prepared with umbrellas and ponchos worn underneath our gowns. The mortarboards also deflected much of the rain from our faces.

All traditional protocol was followed, with Harvard hymns and rousing anthems performed by the Harvard University Band and Choir. There were also the traditional orations delivered in Latin and English by students. Then the university president and the deans of the various schools that make up Harvard University conferred degrees to the graduating classes of 2006. It was fun to see what the students of the various graduate schools held up in the air when their degrees were announced. For example, the graduating students of the Harvard School of Dentistry held up tubes of toothpaste when their degree was conferred, and the students of the Graduate School of Education held up children’s books at their announcement. My family had gotten up early to get good seats for the ceremony. Finally, the university conferred honorary Harvard degrees to various faculty members.

After the Morning Exercises, we headed to our residential houses for smaller ceremonies to actually receive our diplomas. The ceremony was held indoors because of the rain. It got really emotional because we were finally getting our diplomas and it was the last time the senior class of Leverett House would be all together. Our names were announced one by one to pick up our diplomas in front of friends and family members, and then we said goodbye to our house masters, senior tutor, and residential tutors. A box lunch in the dining hall with our families followed. The diploma is really nice. I’ll have to find a nice frame for it.

My family and I then headed to Sanders Theater for the Afternoon Exercises. Larry Summers gave a speech about the state of the university, talking about his accomplishments as president and his hopes of continued improvements even after he leaves the university. Our commencement speaker was broadcast journalist Jim Lehrer of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. His speech proposed mandatory public service for all US citizens in order to create a shared experience for everyone in the country. And with that, I was all done with Harvard.

My family and I wandered about the Harvard campus one last time to take pictures, and then we went to the Coop to return my cap and gown and for my mother to get some more souvenirs. We then had Thai food for dinner at 9 Tastes and then I used the $25 gift certificate I received at Finale, where we got 5 mini desserts to split among our family. We got cheesecake, tiramisu, crème brulee, Boston cream pie, and chocolate cake.

That evening, I was sad to be leaving the next day, so I was listening to sad goodbye songs like “I will remember you; will you remember me?” and “I hope you had the time of your life” and “Here’s to the night we felt alive… here’s to goodbye tomorrow’s gonna come too soon…” while looking at pictures of my friends on my computer from the past four years of college. SAD TEAR!!! I then decided I would start the rounds of saying goodbye, so I went to visit my friend Molly, who was also sad to have to be saying goodbye. We chatted for a bit and then proceeded to go to the 6th floor U, where we said goodbye to more people. A bunch of others visited, and we chatted one last time.

I then went with Marion and Angela and Molly and Mike to the Charles where we proceeded to burn lists of unsatisfactory people and things from our time at Harvard, a sort of cathartic release of the negative feelings so we won’t carry them away with us. I then went to the Kong for one last snack at that venerable restaurant where I spent so many Friday and Saturday nights. Ah, I’m going to miss the surly waiters… and the grease. I said goodbye to my friends Marion, Fran, and Kayt, and Caroline and Melissa. I then went and said goodbye to more people on the 6th floor U and proceeded to Mather to say goodbye to Kayt again along with her roommates. We chatted some more, but everyone was exhausted from getting up so early for commencement, so we all went to sleep early.

Friday, I got up early and Kayt came over. I had to finish packing and send things over to the donation bin, and Kayt ever so kindly helped me. We went to have lunch at Pinocchio’s Pizza one last time, in memory of all our late-night trips to get food from there freshman year when we lived across the hall from each other. Who knew then at the beginning of freshman year when Kayt and I first met to awkwardly watch fuzzy programming on MTV2 with the rest of our roommates that we’d end up being best friends at Harvard?

We then visited our friends Ben and Scott and said goodbye to them. Kayt then helped me get my stuff down to the sidewalk and waited with me for my taxi. We said goodbye one last time, and I rode off to the airport to fly back to California.

It was such a sad evening/morning… I said goodbye to so many good friends. I kept thinking to myself that I’d see them again sometime, but it wasn’t very consoling because I wouldn’t see them all the time anymore. I’m going to miss all the good company… the good times. Sad tear.

At the airport, I dropped off luggage with my family, since I was on a different flight. It was storming pretty heavily in Boston that last day, so my flight was delayed for a couple of hours. There were also delays in my stopovers in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. Las Vegas was nice, in the 15 minutes I spent there. The airport is right next to the Strip, and the city is lit up so nicely at night. The temperature was a nice 90 degrees in the middle of the night, too. I’m going to have to visit Las Vegas again sometime. I finally arrived back at home at about 2:30 a.m., tired and sad from all the last minute packing and saying goodbye to everyone. Alas. Time for sleep.

Thus begins a new chapter in my life. The real world awaits with new adventures and possibilities. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

“Sam J: You just graduated from Harvard, what are you going to do next?!?”
“I’m going to Disneyland!!!”

Quote(s) of the Day: “I’m disconcerted!” “Oh, poo poo.” [in unison] “PLATTER!!!” [still in unison] “We are the same person!!!”

“I am in no way racist against Asians, as evidenced by my roommates. I’ve got a South Asian, a half-Asian, a regular Asian…”
“What are regular Asians?”
“Oh, you know… the ones that aren’t South Asian or half Asian…”

“Sit down unless you want a degree in dentistry!!!”

:: SL 1:22 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 ::
Wow, I can't believe I graduate from college tomorrow. So many thoughts are going through my head... I can't express them all. Maybe I'll try once I get back home on Saturday and have some time to settle down.

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity. On Tuesday, after staying up late packing, I joined my friend Alex for a lunch buffet at a local Indian restaurant. It was rushed, but I had to run off for the first official Commencement Week activity: The Baccalaureate Services, one of the oldest traditions at Harvard. We all dressed up in our caps and gowns and walked around Harvard Yard in a grand procession before ending up in Memorial Church, where the Reverend Peter Gomes welcomed us in.

Inside, we soon-to-be graduates listened to inspirational readings from a wide variety of religious texts from many different faiths, read by several students from our class. The church choir also sang. The president of Harvard, former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers (his signature is on US paper currency from his years serving under the Clinton administration) addressed us and gave us encouraging words of advice. It was a hot day, and our caps and gowns made us feel even hotter. Afterwards, we went outside to the steps of Widener Library for a Class of 2006 panoramic photo.

I then rushed off to the airport to pick up my parents and my sister, who are visiting this week for graduation. I helped them take luggage to their hotel and check in, and then we went downtown to have dinner at Legal Sea Foods. My parents had lobster, and I enjoyed an order of the coconut shrimp appetizer, along with a cup of New England clam chowder and half of my sister's order of the Alaskan butterfish, marinated in soy and served with a seaweed salad, light wasabi sauce, and white rice. Yum. We then went to the Cheesecake Factory and got a slice of peanut butter cup cheesecake to share. I then showed them more of downtown Boston.

When I got back to campus, I ran into some friends who were organizing a low-key get-together to play board games, so I joined them. We played "Bowl full of Names" and started a game of Trivial Pursuit. I then stayed up a little later to pack some more for my move out.

Today, I met my parents and they helped me pack some of my possessions into the empty suitcases they brought over from the hotel. At noon, we headed over to Harvard Yard to have our lunch. However, it was pouring rain like crazy, and so the outdoor Class Day picnic had to be had indoors. It was a nice sandwich lunch, and we enjoyed it inside a Science Center lecture hall.

My parents decided to stay inside and watch the afternoon Class Day speakers inside on a live video feed, but my sister and I decided to be adventurous and go out in ponchos and umbrellas into the rain to watch the speakers live. Because it was so wet outside, we were able to get second-row seats, since most people didn't want to sit out and get wet. We still got soaked despite our raingear, and it was obnoxious because the people in front of us kept dumping a lot of rainwater onto us by tipping their umbrellas back. At the event, we listened to a number of student speakers (two serious speeches (one from a male student, one from a female student) and two humorous speeches (again, one male one female). The humorous speeches were hilarious and really touched on some of the more absurd aspects of the Harvard experience, and the serious speeches were quite inspirational. My friend Molly won the competition for the female serious speech, so she delivered the one she wrote. All our friends were really proud of her.

Our featured Class Day speaker was Seth MacFarlane, the creator, producer, writer, and voice actor for the amazingly hilarious show Family Guy. His speech was amazing. He started his speech by delivering advice as himself and then said, "But, I know you all, like my mother, don't want to hear my voice... you want to hear the voices of the characters on the show..." He then started speaking in Peter Griffin's voice and gave advice as if Peter was giving a commencement speech. He then gave the floor to Stewie Griffin, who in his typical take-over-the-world attitude congratulated us with a ton of contempt, as usual. During this part he did what I consider one of Stewie's funniest routines: asking one rhetorical question after another, with his voice getting higher and higher pitched until he can't go any higher. Stewie is my favorite character. That British accent is great. And in the last part of the speech Seth did his Quagmire voice. Haha. It was amazing. It was so surreal to hear these voices outside the context of the cartoon, but his voice talents are so remarkable. I laughed a lot; I'm only sad that during his speech it rained so hard it was difficult to hear him even over the loud sound system where we were.

After the Class Day festivities, we returned to my room and dried off a bit, having gotten extremely wet at the event and walking back from it. At 5, we went to the House Master's Reception in my residential house, where parents and students could mingle and converse and enjoy snacks. The food was great; all these gourmet sandwiches (my favorite was crab salad and avocado in a croissant), desserts (fruit tarts, gooey chocolate cake, cheesecake, fresh fruit kebabs), and other amazing foods (grilled shrimp with key lime reduction sauce, pigs in a blanket, mini spanikopitas, sushi, potato pancakes). I had them all. It was nice to meet all my friends' parents who were in town for graduation. My parents enjoyed meeting my friends, too.

After the reception, we went to the mall, where I needed to redeem a gift certificate for a large amount which was given to me. I didn't expect another chance to go to this particular mall before I left Boston, so I had to get it done. I ended up using it to get a present for my father for the upcoming Father's Day.

I then came back to my room after my parents returned to their hotel and continued to pack some more. Now, I have to go to bed "early" because tomorrow I have to get up at 6 a.m. because it's Commencement Day, and I'm going to get my Harvard degree. Sooo excited!!!

Quote(s) of the Day: "Sam J is part of my pussy... I mean, posse."

"I'm like Mary Malady - worse than Debbie Downer - Would you like to hear about my parasitic infestation? Or my septic shoulder infection???"

:: SL 10:37 PM [+] ::
Hmmm. My word of the day today was floccinaucinihilipilification, which means estimating something as worthless. Interesting... I'll have to start using this word.

:: SL 10:36 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 ::
Haha... I realize that in my posts, all it sounds like I've done in the last two weeks is eat, socialize with friends, eat, socialize with friends, eat, socialize with friends, and have fun. Oh, the hedonism. But it's the last time I'm going to see my friends here, so I want to make the most of it all.

:: SL 3:30 AM [+] ::
Sunday was such a great day... After having stayed up until 10 a.m. that morning playing Settlers of Catan online (yes, I have a problem), I finally went to sleep and woke up at 5 p.m. to visit Kayt and Co. for the Mather House BBQ, which was great because there was free food, and not only that, but it was good free food. There were the usual barbecue items like hamburgers and hot dogs, but they had salads and pasta and this amazing strawberry shortcake sheet cake. It was so good. I then went upstairs to play a game of Settlers of Catan and was so close to winning for the first time ever, but the couple with whom I was playing the game got upset at each other and left in the middle of the game. Alas. I had fun hanging out with friends, though.

I then went to a study break hosted by my entryway tutors. Although the sushi ran out quickly, I was pretty full from the earlier barbecue, so I just had some sweets for dessert (a cannoli and chocolate-covered strawberry). I then went back to my room to get ready for the Senior Soiree, the last formal of our college experience!

My roommates and I were hosting a pre-party, so a bunch of people visited and we chatted and had a good start to the evening. Everyone was dressed ever-so nicely, and we took lots of pictures before heading out to the formal, which was in this giant tent constructed in the lawn in front of the Science Center.

I had a lot of fun at the Senior Soiree. The music was dreadful, as expected, but for some reason I was not miserable at this formal as I was at some other formals... This one was with the whole school and not just our residential house, so it was fun to run into so many other people I knew. They also had great snacks, including an "industrial size" (haha) chocolate fountain that kept flowing through the night; the dipping snacks, however, which included fresh strawberries, pineapple chunks, graham crackers, pretzels, and marshmallows, ran out pretty quickly. They also had other snacks such as cheese, grapes, lemon bars, and brownies. Yum. I love chocolate.

We danced and chatted, and everyone looked amazing in their formal wear. I wish there were more events like this in "real life" because everyone looks so much better in a formal dress or tuxedo. It was fun to promenade and see all the cute couples. A highlight of the evening was when I (accidentially, I swear) poured water on this much-hated coke dealer girl in our senior class. Ha.

The party ended way too early at 1 a.m., so we headed back to my room for an after party. We then went to the Kong for some Chinese food, but they weren't seating people anymore, so my friends got some food to go. We then headed to the Weeks footbridge and chatted and laughed loudly and happily into the morning. It was one of the best nights evarrr. We watched as some crazy drunk people jumped off the bridge into the dirty Charles River, talked about inappropriate things, and ate Twinkies, goldfish crackers, and Chinese noodles. Oh, what a beautiful evening. I had such a great time.

Monday, I slept into the afternoon. I then went to run some errands and picked up my cap and gown for graduation on Thursday. Ah, I can't believe how little time there is left before I have to leave! At 6 p.m. I met up with my friends Alex and Alex to have dinner in Porter Exchange. We found this nice Japanese restaurant, and I had a teriyaki chicken dinner with California rolls, complete with green tea. Very delicious, but slightly overpriced. I then walked back to Leverett with guy Alex and I got some strawberry cheesecake ice cream from Baskin Robbins. So good. We chatted in his room and then girl Alex came back, and we talked some more and took pictures.

I then went to visit Kayt and her roommates and friends. We played a game of Settlers of Catan, and I won for the first time ever! Yay. All those hours of playing the game online against computers have finally paid off. Haha.

I then walked to the Quad to visit some friends who were having a get-together on the last day before parents arrive. We watched a hilarious episode of Family Guy and then chatted and listened to music. I then went to Currier House across the way to meet up with the cast members of the 2003 Freshman Musical, which I was in. We had a screening of a video taken of one of the performances from three years ago and relived memories from participating in the show. Even though I only had, like, three lines in the entire show, I still enjoyed the experience and being part of such a hilarious show. The songs were excellent, too. I think the guys who wrote the songs for the show will go on to write amazing shows on Broadway.

I then stayed up through the night starting to clean my room. I haven't started packing yet, and it's going to be a pain getting everything in order to move out on Friday and go home. Ahhh, I don't know if I'll make it.

Today, commencement activities begin! We have an address from the Harvard reverend and the Class of 2006 photo this afternoon, and my family is arriving! My parents and my sister are going to be here through Friday for graduation. Oh, it should be good times.

Quote(s) of the Day: "I thought he was gay!" "No, he's just awkward."

"Sad vag... Happy vag!" "Period vag... Orgasm vag!"

"I have a feeling pussy tastes like ham." "No, ham is more savory..."

:: SL 2:51 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 04, 2006 ::
I forgot to mention that last night as Kayt and I were walking back from the restaurant we saw a possum run out in front of us. It was just like in the Teen Girl Squad... POSSUMS!!!

:: SL 5:12 PM [+] ::
Yesterday was sooo much fun. I got up early and went to breakfast at the Adams dining hall with friends. Then we boarded our charter bus and headed to Agawam, MA for Six Flags New England!!!

It was a ton of fun. We got there at 11 a.m. and stayed until 6 p.m., which was a few hours before the park's closing, but it wasn't dreadfully crowded, so we were able to go on a good number of rides. While there weren't very many tourists at the park, there were a lot of other student groups from varous high schools and middle schools in the region.

I went on the Superman roller coaster three times. It's no wonder that it was voted one of the world's best roller coasters... with its 22-story first drop, its top speed of 77 miles per hour, and its multiple hills and high-speed turns. Because it goes over so many little hills at such a high speed, you get this amazing feeling of weightlessness that I love. The first drop is amazing, too.

There were a bunch of other fun rides I went on with my friends. Batman was a cool "floorless" roller coaster with multiple inversions, and the Mind Eraser was a fast, albeit short, suspended coaster that was cool because the cars come so close to the supports that it feels like your legs are going to crash into them. We also went on a new raft water ride that kept us spinning like crazy with a watery finale.

Because the rides were so intense, I didn't want to eat a big lunch, so I shared an order of fried dough with my friend Marion. We asked for a ton of powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar on top, so it was tasty, sweet, and amazing. Soooo good. My friend also ordered fried Oreos, and I tried one because I'll try any food once. It was actually really tasty, but I couldn't really taste the Oreo inside because the fried batter on the outside had such a strong taste, particularly with all the powdered sugar on top. Digression: The food offerings in the park were really expensive. A slice of pizza went for $7.99 (compared to $5.89 at Disneyland - you know it's bad when it's more expensive than Disney...), and I think a hamburger was more than that.

The best part was running into everyone from my senior class everywhere in the park. You'd be in line for a ride and right behind you would be someone you knew. It was fun to hang out with friends all day. Good times. I heart theme parks.

We returned at about 8 to Harvard, and Marion and I went to Felipe's for dinner. I got a chicken quesadilla with sour cream, and that was filling. We then went to the Winthrop Junior Common Room to go get our prizes for being a Last Senior Standing. For the last month of senior year, my friend Marion and I went to each Last Senior Standing event Sunday through Thursday nights for 30 days held at local "establishments." They said they had $3,000 worth of prizes to give to the winners, and with 40 winners, each person should have received much more. However, we each got a Harvard stein that's on sale at the store for only $25. Boo. I was expecting a stupid prize from the start, but this one really sucks. Anyways...

I then went to my friend Krupa's birthday party, which was fun because we chatted, ate snacks, drank drinks, and danced to fun music! We stayed up talking until the sun came up, and then I went to sleep because I was so tired from waking up so early, walking around at Six Flags, and then partying all night.

Today, I slept in and then went to visit my friend Kayt. We chatted, ate kettle corn from Six Flags, and planned where we were going to go for dinner. After much indecision, we opted to go for 9 Tastes, which serves Thai food. I hadn't had Thai food in a long time, so it was exciting. I tried the spicy noodles with chicken. They were spicy, indeed, but so delicious. All the vegetables stir fried in with the dish were good, too. I then visited my friend Marion, who was hosting a board games and video games party. We played some Mario Kart on her Game Cube, made fun of interesting websites online, drank tea, and played a dreadful game of Bowl Full of Nouns (dreadful because we were only allowed to write down names of people, and that to me made the game less fun, it seemed, because not everyone knew all the people).

I then went to visit Kayt and her roommates and friends again to play the addictive board game Settlers of Catan. I still have never won the game, but I still enjoy playing it with the hope that I will eventually. We also chatted and laughed loudly and heartily. Like giants. (Kayt will accuse me of calling her fat with that comment, but I'm going to deny it...)

Tomorrow is the Senior Soiree... the last college formal ever. I'm going to have so much fun!!!

Quote(s) of the Day: "Telling people off is one of life's little pleasures..."

While playing Super Mario Brothers:
"I hate that fish... it always chases you like it's going to rape you."
"I always think it's going to perform oral sex because of its huge inviting lips."
"It looks like it's going to 'fellaterape' Mario!!!"

:: SL 12:39 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 01, 2006 ::
On Tuesday, I started the day by having lunch with a friend, who talked to me about Christianity. It was an interesting conversation, but it didn't really change my mind about religion. Afterwards, I spent some time with some other friends, watched videos from parties from previous years, and chatted. I then went to get a haircut to look nice for graduation next week. I then went to the MAC, where I ran for a mile and did some general exercise.

At night, I met up with some friends and had dinner. We then went to the Harvard Square theater to watch The Da Vinci Code. I hadn't read the book, so I enjoyed the movie simply as a summer blockbuster thriller. I liked the movie a lot because I am a fan of treasure hunt/mystery thriller films. It reminded me of National Treasure, but more serious. I liked all the scenes in Paris and the Louvre because I went there last summer when I was in Europe for the first time. It was cool because I kept noticing in the movie all the places I'd been... like the streets around the Louvre, the glass pyramids outside, the hall with all the Da Vinci paintings, the Mona Lisa, etc. I remember when I was at the Louvre that lots of tourists were carrying copies of The Da Vinci Code, trying to see all the artwork and locations that were mentioned in the book. Even the sketchy park where the drug dealers were in the movie... the friend with whom I stayed while I was in Paris actually lives a few blocks from that park, and even though the park is sketchy, the neighborhood where my friend lives is actually really nice and upscale.

I don't think I've shared these before, but here are some pictures I took last summer when I was at the Louvre of things that I think appeared in the movie:

Watching The Da Vinci Code was particularly interesting because of my conversation earlier in the day with my super-Christian friend, who tried to impart to me the importance of Jesus Christ as the "son of god." I told her that while I agree that he was a real historical figure and that he had some significant, meaningful, and world-changing teachings, I had trouble believing that he was anything more than just a man. The Da Vinci code touched on this theme of whether Jesus was divine or merely a man, and Tom Hanks' character says, "What matters is what you believe." How true. How strangely appropriate.

Yesterday, I had lunch, then went to pick up tickets for myself and my family for graduation events next week. I then rushed to the psychology department and participated in three hour-long psychology studies to make $30 in cash. Yay, money. I had nothing better to do in the afternoon, and it was nice to make some money, considering how much I've been spending this week on food (since we don't get dinner in the dining hall anymore). I then went downtown, hung out, and then went to the school-sponsored senior class "Last Chance Dance," where singles take the chance to hook up with each other sketchily on the dance floor. Because I am pure and innocent, there were no such dirrrty hookups for me on the dance floor. However, earlier in the day I had run into a former date, and that was extremely awkward.

The DJ at the Last Chance Dance was actually really good. S/he played a great mix of pop/techno/hip hop, and I enjoyed dancing to the music. The lighting in the huge club ("The Roxy") was great, too, and there were great snacks. I had a great time partying. Afterwards, instead of taking a cab back to school, my friends and I decided it was too nice of an evening to waste, so we walked back to campus. It actually only took us one hour to get back, and at our brisk pace, it was probably a 5-mile walk. But it was such a beautiful, clear, warm night that the return trip was well-worth the exertion. Plus it was a good wind-down from the intensity of the dance. When we crossed the bridge over the Charles River on our way back, the view of the Boston skyline was so beautiful in the nighttime, with the water in the foreground. I wish I had my camera with me so I could have taken pictures. For some reason, this view underscored just how little time I have left here in the city. I'm going to miss Boston a lot, having spent so many years here. I can't believe that graduation is so soon and that I'll have to leave all my friends.

Today, I slept in because I was so tired, and then I went to a "luau" at the Quad. Since the dining hall doesn't serve dinner anymore, it was nice to have this free dinner. And what a great dinner it was. There was sweet and sour chicken, coconut rice, pineapple glazed pork, salad with sesame soy dressing, seared mahi mahi, fresh pineapple chunks, and macadamia nut chocolate chip cookies. There were also ice cream sandwiches and Klondike Bars. Yum yum. Best dinner evarrr. I socialized with friends and listened to the god-awful karaoke singers, who sang along to some pretty fun tunes. But then it started raining heavily, so we walked to the theater for the senior talent show.

The talent show featured several students from our class performing a variety of acts, from cultural dances to personally-written pop songs to piano instrumental performances and sing-alongs. It was interesting because some of the people who performed at this senior talent show also performed at the freshman talent show four years ago. It was so full circle. There was also a slide show of images from throughout our four years here. Oh, once again I am reminded of how imminent my departure from this amazing institution is.

After the show, my friends and I went to Uno's pizzeria to get some food. I split the pizza skins appetizer, which was basically like a pizza, as well as the "Chocolate WOW," which was a very rich warm chocolate brownie with lots of chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream. I ate so much today. Afterwards, I went to visit my friends, with whom I played Settlers of Catan, an addictive board game. We also chatted a lot.

Tomorrow will be fun fun fun!!! There is a big senior class trip to Six Flags New England, and a lot of my friends are going. We will enjoy amazing roller coasters and hang out with each other! It will also be a strange full circle experience with my friend Kayt because I went to Six Flags with her freshman year, and that was one of our first activities as friends after we first met. We also have this theme park thing going on, since we spent so much time at Walt Disney World during spring break this year. Oh, good times.

Quote(s) of the Day: "Asian is the new Jewish."

"I don't care about what's going on in Afghanistan ... I care about my ORGASM!"

"Do you like them small and perky?" "All you need is a mouthful! I need ice cream."

:: SL 12:40 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, May 29, 2006 ::
Today, my friend set up her annual "Advice Table" in bustling Harvard Square. It was a nice day, so it was a good time to do it. We put up a sign that said "Free Advice From Harvard Students" as an ironic statement about how everyone thinks that we know everything just because we go to Harvard, and we dispensed free advice.

When we first started out two years ago, we charged 25 cents, but that was against the rules of the square, so we started doing it for free. Questions today ranged from the mudane ("What restaurant should I eat at tonight?") to the mind-bogglingly complex ("I'm in an arranged marriage and have a baby daughter, but I'm totally in love with another woman, who is in an arranged marriage with another man; what should I do?"). I had to leave for a bit in the middle, but apparently during that time, political activists confronted the advice table and tried to get our vote, and a middle-aged man threatened to take off his pants. Oh, the crazies of Harvard Square...

That guy with the marital problem gave us $30 for listening to his story and giving advice (he seemed rich and enjoyed throwing money around, according to the things he said, such as financing other couples' weddings and paying to relocate people he liked to live closer to him...), so afterwards we walked to Inman Square again and got Indian food at Punjabi Dhaba. This time I had the chicken tikka masala, which was excellent. We also went to Christina's ice cream again, where I got a scoop of mango ice cream and another scoop of carrot cake ice cream. We all got ice cream with the $30. Yay, free ice cream! When I get home I'm so going to buy myself an ice cream machine to make my own cool creations. I'm sure there are recipes online...

Tonight, I spent some time online and then went to visit some friends. I chatted with my friend Kayt, and then headed back to my room to sort through all the clothes in my room and do laundry.

Quote(s) of the Day: "I have to go do my laundry, and that's not a racial joke." "Well, I have to go pick cotton, and that's not a racial joke, either."

"Oh, I love fish so much. When I go to an aquarium, I get so hungry!"

"This is what [name redacted] gets when he's drunk." "An erection?"

"Yes, friends and sex... That's what makes the world go 'round."

:: SL 11:03 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, May 28, 2006 ::
Major update!!!

So a lot has happened in the last few weeks... I hadn't been posting because after classes ended I had a 15-20 minute presentation, a 10 page paper, then a 5 page paper, then another 10 page paper. It was pretty intense, and even worse it's senior spring, so it's hard to get motivated to do anything academic. I still managed to have some fun, though... I ate some good food, went on some dates, and had a generally good time...

The Leverett Spring Formal a few weeks ago was dreadful, despite being held at the posh Faculty Club. The food ran out early, and while the music was decent, I was upset at the quality of the drinks, the lack of snacks, and its early ending time. I was able to salvage the evening, however, by crashing the Mather formal and hanging out with my friends there. Their formal went an hour later and they still had a ton of food (including strawberries and a chocolate fondue) until the end.

I had papers due right up until my first exam, and then another exam was two days later. My last exam was this past Wednesday, and while I studied hard and watched lecture videos online at a barely intelligible 2.5x speed, I don't think I did too well on my very last exam at Harvard. Alas. I filled in what I didn't know with other things I did know, and perhaps extra points will be awarded.

But oh, how good it feels to be all done.

On Thursday, I visited my friends, and we watched a terrible b horror film from the 50s with scary subliminal images (they weren't actually subliminal because we could see them, but the images were pretty scary). We also chatted and ate snacks.

Friday, my friends and I went to see X3. It was a good movie, better than the reviews had made it out to be, but it's true there were too many characters to develop any of them very well. It also had a surprising number of sad moments. I still really liked the movie and its social commentary. That night, I went to three different parties (since it was the last day of exams), and general craziness ensued...

No comment.

On Saturday, I went to lunch, chatted with friends, and also said goodbye to some non-senior friends. We graduating seniors get to stay until graduation, but everyone else has to move out. In the afternoon, I chatted with a friend and we walked around the courtyard. I noticed that in the donation bin someone had left cabbage seeds, and down the path someone had thrown away a clay pot. I made the executive decision that no homeless person would need cabbage seeds, so I planted them in one of the pots. If they germinate, I'll have to have one of the tutors here take care of the plant, since I certainly cannot fly it back to California. My potted plant from the end of last year barely made it to Philadelphia on the train, let alone a 6-hour plane ride.

In the evening, we friends met up and walked to Inman Square to enjoy Indian food at Punjabi Dhaba, which is supposed to serve the best Indian food in the area. It was really great. I had the chicken saagwala, which is chicken in a spinach sauce. It was great with rice. We had to go out for food because the dining hall, now that school is over, only serves breakfast and lunch. Too bad no dinner, but it does prompt us to get out and try some of these local (but very overpriced) restaurants. After our Indian food, we went to Christina's Ice Cream, famous for its exotic flavors. They had all sorts of regular flavors, as well as the more... interesting, including corn, avocado, white asparagus, and celery. I test-tasted the avocado, and it wasn't bad. For my order, though, I got a scoop of carrot cake ice cream and a scoop of green tea ice cream. All in a waffle cone. Yummm. The carrot cake ice cream was amazing. And the total cost was still the same as a small cup of Coldstone Creamery ice cream. Yay, (cheap) ice cream.

These past few days have been exceptionally nice, weather-wise. Very humid in the morning and early afternoon, but just right in the later afternoon and evening. Today, after lunch, I went with my friends Kayt and Rachel to say goodbye to our mutual friend, who is a junior and is leaving. We played one last round of the board game Settlers of Catan (one of our favorite pasttimes). Then we watched the second half of Mulan, which we started a few days ago. So much drag... so much commentary on socialized gender roles. For dinner, my friends and I all got our own food and brought it to a picnic along the picturesque Charles River. It was so warm and pretty outside on the grass along the river, with ivy-covered brick buildings nearby. Ah, Harvard... I shall miss thee. Sort of. I'll definitely miss all my friends here, with whom I've been hanging out since we finally have free time and have nothing else to do besides socialize. We sat there by the river, chatting, enjoying the atmosphere, and reminiscing about good times.

Tonight, I went to a friend's birthday party, and then managed some business. Tomorrow should be fun, as senior week and parties galore continue!

Quote(s) of the Day: "He must have sent me a picture of when he was 150 pounds lighter... the guy was a fucking manatee!!!"

"I just don't think the physical limitations of the lower intestine should be challenged in such a way..."

"Why do we need goldfish? Why don't you get something with more meat on it? We have a carp in the freezer!"

"I want to be a Brahman!!! Are you one of those Untouchables??? Stay away!!!"

"Her wonderment over those simple concepts is like being amazed that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius." "No, it's more like, Wow, water boils!"

"My breasts are a war zone!!!"

"Are you calling me a sensitive slutty herpetic whale?!?"

:: SL 6:40 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, May 26, 2006 ::
Ahhh! "I Have To Deal With Something Racial Every Day"

I had my pants rolled up a bit because it had been raining nonstop outside for the past week, and I didn't want my pants to get wet.

This girl notices my legs and tells me, "You're the first Asian guy I've ever seen with hair on his legs..."

Ahhh! Apparently I'm some freak of nature...

Either that, or that girl's never seen an Asian guy.

:: SL 5:25 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 ::
Yay!!! I'm all done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just had my last final this afternoon.

Graduation is two weeks from tomorrow!!!

:: SL 5:14 PM [+] ::

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