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06.30.02 12:17 a.m.

Let us watch well our beginnings, and results will manage themselves.

 -Alexander Clark  

Previously in Xenology: I agreed to be an RA at Bard Summer Scholars.

Summer Lovin'
Emily is helping me with these entries, because I was a mite bit too busy with my "work" to write at the time.

So Xen is at Summer Scholars. It feels that you should immediately understand all the issues that surround that statement, and that because I have been living in this event for several days, everyone else knows what is happening as well. Since this is sadly not the case (work on your telepathy, people!!!) I will fill you in as to what I see as happening.
Xen left on Friday around 4 I'm guessing,
See the responsibility?  
You'd so trust me with kids, wouldn't you?
It was something to this effect. I went to my bank to deposit a library check and to fill up my gas tank. I felt very adult and responsible, though I had no real reason to feel so. Aside from the slight independence, of course. I had spent several hours before this packing my car with more goods that could be feasibly useful within two weeks. Honestly, my various goods weighed quite a bit more than I did.
He met all his other RAs and so far I think he likes all but one, the illustrious Wayne. Really, with a name like that first impressions may be the only ones you need.
Wayne wasn't that bad. A bit off-putting at first, reminding me a bit too much of how Jenks had tried to force me to believe high school teachers behaved. He did, it should be noted, offer me a comic book to read while we waited for Jacki, Jim, and his RAs to show up.
The first night, we had pizza and cake, in honor of Jim's birthday. We had asked the pizza place to write "happy birthday" in pepperoni on one of the pies. However, the neglected to do so, deciding that charging us for the non-existent topping was celebratory enough. As such, we arranged spare grapes into the shape of "happy b-day" on one of the pies. We're creative.
In a similar vein, Jacki wrote the words "you rock" in Japanese candy rocks. They were a bit like misshapen M&Ms. Jacki kept referring to them as "pee rocks," so I clearly had to made sure I was not eating urine. She explained that one of her students had brought a popular Japanese hand cream back to Jacki as a present. The girl, as though she were telling Jacki that it had aloe vera, boasted that it was fortified with human urine. As such, Jacki logically had to walk around her office, forcing her co-workers to smell it and tell her if it smelled of pee. The candy rocks were given by the same girl and thus were suspect.
There was also a firm crew walking about, drinking heavily. We were informed that they would be leaving a few nights after the kids arrived and wouldn't begin filming until after the children had gone to sleep. They even asked us to be extras in their little movie, which was essentially a college T&A flick that they felt was highbrow. We opted to not because we are not stupid.
I think that it is likely that these are the people with whom he will associate. This is a good thing, in that he will have people around, a bad thing, when I think about how lonely he could get.
They aren't so bad. I adored Jacki from the moment I re-met her. She is this witty, small in stature woman that dresses like an elegant urban goth, in that she doesn't seem to much care how she is dressed and it just happens to be in black. Dexy (oooh, someone gets a pseudonym!) is a preppy sort of girl, taller than average with the sort of body that absorbs alcohol at frat parties and doesn't take in a calorie. Wayne is this dichotomous sort who seems to be both an older teenage boy that would be very into comics (he informs us that he has a whole room in his apartment specifically to store them) and that stern high school math teacher that admonishes you for chewing gum.
It is likely that I am worrying far too much about Xen during this whole experience. I am not worrying in a maternal "my baby is leaving me" kind of way, because I am not scary. I worry that he is unhappy. He has sounded so terribly tired when I talk to him,
Oh, gods, the constant weariness. I swear I was on my feet ten hours a day. Sans air conditioning in 95 degree heat and I was exhausted of my physical strength.
and for those of you who don't know, when he is tired, he sound depressed, perhaps like someone stole his pony, or maybe a firetruck...
Or circadian rhythms.
I want this to be wonderful, to be fun and exciting and eye opening, cathartic even. I want him to love it, and share all these adventures that he is having. I think I'd like him to be the participant, not the one in charge, since we all know that being the responsible one is certainly little fun.
Not necessarily fun, but it does have its perks. I could nap and shop at the dollar stores when the kiddies were in class.
So far it seems that all that they have done are ice breakers and as Xen put it last night "the ice is very thick still." Perhaps this is because when asked things that they had never done their responses were things like: I've never worn knee socks. This is indicative of serious emotional trauma, and lack of creativity.
Oooh! Pretty.  
This is where I lived for two weeks.
Seriously, they were not good at the whole "embarrassing one another" concept. In fact, I would be forced to say lame. I tried to stab the ice a bit when I jumped into the I Never game (it is a derivation of musical chairs, one more participant than there are chairs. The left out person has to say something they have never done. If you are sitting and have done this, you must stand up and quickly find a new seat across the room) by saying the ever scandalous "I've never stolen anything," which is a complete lie but I was doing it for the greater good. Not a one stood up. I called them liars and still they sat. When I was a participant many years ago, one of my friends got up and said, "I've never masturbated... Now y'all better get up because I know you're lying." No one quite so bold here.
We also played a game wherein we were to interview and report on the life of the other party. I paired off with Jacki. Her report about me consisted of the following facts:
  • Hunts aliens in Pine Bush (has only seen one UFO)
  • English major on his fourth major
  • Magically delicious
  • Watches Invader Zim, The Family Guy, and Buffy (reticently)
  • Feels Amber Benson is the pinnacle of female achievement and doesn't much care that no one know who Amber Benson is
  • Jon Stewart in a minor deity to him
  • Has worn women's clothing
  • Likes to talk about himself
Mine for her stated:
  • Teaches freshman comp at New Paltz
  • just finished grad school with a 4.0 last semester
  • father flies hang gliders
  • Once played a singing harp.
  • Loves the dollar store
  • Hates sneakers
  • Teased bats with rocks as a child
  • Can wiggle her left ear
  • has a punching nun puppet and a rubber chicken in her office
  • Kicks major butt. Fear her.
  • Has worn women's clothing
Perhaps I should mount a rescue mission... Still his dorm is haunted and thus perhaps I will keep my scaredy cat ass at home where it is safe, less the poltergeist.
Oh, yes. The dorm I was staying in? Haunted. Well, if you've read this site for long enough, you would know that it would just have to be. It wouldn't do to have an adventure that didn't involve something paranormal. I'd lose readers.
The first night I was there, as I was settling in and unpacking, I received a few knocks on my door about pizza and whatnot. Emily, via my cell phone, heard these. So, when I received yet another bout of knocking, I obligingly opened my door and, like out of a Poe poem, was greeted with... nothing. The hallway was completely vacant. I nonchalantly wrote this off as the ghost making herself known in a non-intrusive fashion. Emily, who had heard the disembodied knocking, was a little freaked for my sake, but I didn't think much of it.
Jacki informed me that the dorm that we were in was once used as a rest home for aging artists, many whom died there. Great, nothing I like better than an artistic ghost.
I miss Xen, though not in the debilitating way that I expected. I am comfortable knowing that he will come back here and still love me, and still be the same person he was when he left. Yes, it's lonely here in my parents house, but I am finding my own adventures, which in this case include making a kick ass care package to take to Bard with me when I visit Xen on Wednesday.
Aw, isn't she cute? I certainly missed her, but I was usually far too busy to indulge it for very long. Beside the fact that I spoke with M nightly and that greatly helped to ease the ache.

About a month ago, I went over to
Melissa's house to hang out with Angela and her. When I arrived, they were acting decidedly paranoid and bizarre. Much more so than usual, I mean. They were fondly clutching a can of carpet freshener, blowing it about and pouring it on themselves.
Jack Shit Tracts  
Trivecca pamphlet page 1 / page 2
I tried to figure out the rules of the game. Clearly, I was suspect. This much was certain. They asked strange questions about horse racing, Evan, vacuum cleaners, and eighties music. Usually not in the same sentence.
I hoped to combat their strangeness by acting just as suspicious and bizarre. At one point, I jumped on Angela and attempted to comb the evil out of her hair. I was still no closer to figuring out quite how this game was to be played, I just hoped to end it before I got a face full of carpet freshener. So, logically, I tried to lock them into the laundry room by holding the tiny knob of the flimsy wooden door. Practically inescapable.
Finally, when they noticed my absolute lack of reaction to a Winger song, they deduced that I was not the enemy. They shared their story with me. They theorized that the real Evan had been stolen away that night in Pine Bush and that meant that there needed to be one inside me. Despite the fact that Emily, speaking for her alien overlords, told us that there was no way home, I was seen as far too suspect. They decided that aliens called the Triveccians (thus the horse racing questions about trifectas) had abducted Evan and were holding him in a jello-filled sphere on their ship (the vacuum cleaner would have the same serial code and they could order one to get him back). They replaced him with an evil version of Evan known only as Evil Evan. It is also suspected that they stole Fat Mike and replaced him with Thin Mike (the cloning technology still had a few bugs). As you can read on the pamphlet, they cannot stand eighties music and their end goal is to steal Melissa's dog Anders away.
It is fiendish in its simplicity.

Soon in Xenology: Emily's new job. Flying carnival. More on Summer Scholars.

last watched: Waking Life
reading: Psychic Warrior, Joseph Campbell: Myths to Live By, American Gods
listening: A Tribute To A Work In Progress: Black Crowes
wanting: More time with the other RAs.
interesting thought: I was definitely a lot cooler than these kids. Definitely.
moment of zen: Adjusting instantly.
someday I must: talk with a ghost.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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