The Garden State That Tried Too Hard Ú Lots Of Scots Ú Shakespeare Vs.
Einstien Drink Outside Ú 20 Ways To Make Your Parents Pay Ú NY Fashion Freak-Out
Volume 17 Number 2
I feel as though I’m running on a hamster wheel in an Arizona attic.
Peter Knox Karri Bragg Renée Farrah Liam Daley Cindy Brown
4 Sweating to the Music
7 An English Major Tours the Toll Science Center 8 This Halloween, Try Wearing a Costume 10 To Scotland, Land of Giants! 11 Looking for Henry Miller, America, or Myself 14 City vs. Country: Fashion Time Zones
The Collegian is published monthly by and for the students at Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland 21620 Local correspondence can be sent through campus mail. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://collegian.washcoll.edu. The Collegian is designed on Macintosh computers using Adobe InDesign and is printed at Chesapeake Publishing House in Elkton, Maryland. The Collegian does not discriminate on any basis. We reserve the right to edit submitted material as we deem necessary. What is this? A magazine for ants? This font needs to be at least three times that size!
...on the cover
November 2005 Volume 17, Number 2
Photo by Kaitlin Wedge
Rant: Is Bigger Really Better?
Becky Streaker Jackson Ferrell
3 5 6 9 12 19 20
Comics: Theology 101 Round Robin: Round 2
Johanna Schaeffer Lindsay Bergman
16 Stop and Smell the Roses
Music Review: My Music, Your Ears Poetry
17 20 Things You Don’t Know About Washington College
Chas LiBretto, Celeste Stanley
Movie Review: Elizabethtown
18 Orange Fence Objections
Peter Knox Editor-in-Chief Kate Amann Layout Editor Lindsay Bergman Assistant Layout Editor Alicia Henry Photography Editor
Will Groﬁc Features Editor Johanna Schaeffer Copy Editor Megan Walburn Assistant Copy Editor Molly E. Weeks Business Manager Reilly Joret Distribution Manager
Additional Contributors Renée Farrah Wes Schantz Karri Bragg Liam Daley Cindy Brown Kim Last Lauren Campbell Becky Streaker Jackson Ferrell Chas LiBretto Celeste Stanley
Issue Photo Credits: Peter Knox, Liam Daley, Cindy Brown, Lindsay Bergman, Kaitlin Wedge, www. bluecastle.com, www.halloweenstreet. com, www.buycostumes.com, www.sheltoweehikes.com, static.ﬂickr.com, www. gatewaynmra.org, www.varley.net, www. bigfoto.com, www.bo.iasf.cnr.it, www. synlube.com, static.ﬂickr.com, www. cduniverse.com, www.stereoboard.com, www.xxlmusic.sp.ru, www.womenssportslink.com, www.ultimategiftsonline. com, lennthompson.typepad.com, www. ocregister.com, www.mtholyoke.edu
t is no secret that America is fat. Our country is dominated by fast food monarchies and jumbosized junk food empires. Corporations like Nabisco, Mars, and Frito-Lay make a killing off of our unhealthy habits, and the American people allow their waistlines to expand along with the proﬁts of these marketing giants. There comes a point when we as a people must ask ourselves when we’ve gotten fat enough. How far can we possibly expand? Corporate Killers Hit WAC Not all expansion and upsizing in America is negative. For instance, bigger hospitals need to be built to care for the growing population of our country, and bigger, more up-to-date schools are required to educate our children so that they have the resources to battle issues like obesity and government corruption. On the Washington campus, “bigger” means several things. Bigger equals a new, state-of-theart science center (the Toll Science Building), a scheduled-to-be-expanded Gibson Performing Arts Center, and a dining service with more options. However, is bringing Starbucks into the Café necessarily a positive change? The issue has raised eyebrows and tempers on campus recently, so one must wonder whether or not the upgrade was for the better. And besides the renovations to the buildings and grounds, not many aspects of the college are both bigger and better. Take into consideration a more topic more relevant to this paper, the Cove. While the Cove offers delicious items such as this semester’s undisputed favorite, the Tipson, there are few selections in the Cove that are void of fried, buttery goodness. While the Cove does offer salads, wraps, and Slim Fast bars, the number of nutritious foods in comparison to the quantity that is cooked in oil and butter is unbalanced. So is the Cove actually pushing students toward the Freshman 15? One can only speculate, but must observe that the candy rack is large and always full. Some of the snacks offered in the Cove are Mega M&M’s, king-sized candy bars, 32 ounce fountain sodas, French fries, individual ice cream cones, a plethora of sodas, and worst of all, pints of Ben and Jerry’s.
Why size matters on the WC campus...
When a student enters the Cove to purchase a snack or dinner, they are bombarded with options. Assume that our student does not consider any of the items on the shelves and is focused only on the menu. The choices for this student range from deli sandwiches, which are not terribly unhealthy but are also slathered with whipped mayonnaise, to appetizer-esque samplings such as French fries and mozzarella sticks. There are undoubtedly hundreds of fans of the fried offerings of the Cove, myself included, but should the snack bar designed to serve young people be so full of unhealthy selections? The only item on the menu not cooked in grease or full of mayonnaise and oils is the Garden Salad, which can be purchased for $2.75. However, the question then becomes, what if a WAC student is low on cash, which is highly likely, and didn’t make it to the dining hall before closing time? There are food options cheaper than the $2.75 salad. For $2.50, one could purchase a cheeseburger, grilled in its own greases; $1.75 will get someone a grilled cheese sandwich that begins with two-slices of white bread PAINTED with melted butter and three slices of cheese; a heaping serving of French fries can be purchased for $1.50 with an option of cheese for dipping that will cost one
Is Bigger Really Better?
the Cove’s recent addition of specials which offer a calorie riddled sandwich, fries, and soda for the low bargain price of ﬁll-in-the-blank. Well, what can you do...? The intention of the Cove and WAC Dining Services to offer foods that are appealing to college students is commendable and, most likely, appreciated. It is certainly an expensive undertaking to re-vamp the Café and offer more items in the Cove. It is probably cheaper to offer foods that can be frozen and then deep-fried as opposed to freshly breaded and baked chicken or lean ground beef for every Tipson and burger made. Fresh food, low in preservatives and chemicals, spoils faster and is less likely to turn any real proﬁt for the snack bar if not enough are sold. (And c’mon, chemicals taste really good. They’re designed to!) But does cheaper necessarily mean better? And shouldn’t the interests of dining services lie in the health and well-being of the students it serves rather than turning a proﬁt? Well...yes. Greasy, fattening foods do not have to be a perpetuated trend at Washington College. The purpose of this article is not to start a revolution of any kind against the Cove and what it serves, but the fact of the matter is that we as a student body could be provided with healthier options. It may cost more to buy fresh foods and perhaps sales will suffer if all king-sized candies are taken off the shelves, but the student population will not go hungry and will be less likely to gain any weight at all. Options available now that are steps in the right direction include Baked Lays potato chips, half-pints of skim milk, Slim-Fast bars, and the fresh fruit cups and salads. The solution to the problem is to be determined by the powers that be, but a response from the student body could only accelerate the process. A National Epidemic Evident in Chestertown The obesity of Americans and the monopolization of many Americans’ diets by the fast food royal family is a second problem college students are faced with. In the small community of Chestertown, many aspects of life have managed to stay relatively simple and easy-going. The town is full of bookstores, antique shops, cafes, privately-owned restaurants, and knick-knack boutiques. However, the farther one travels from the river bank, the closer one comes to corporate America’s encroachment. Within two miles of the college, heading North, there are two shopping centers, both containing at least one fast food restaurant. The Kent Plaza strip mall contains not only a Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell restaurant, but also an Arby’s. And not a mile up the road from Kent Plaza is Washington Square, proudly accommodating the golden arches. While these restaurants can in no way be removed from the Chestertown landscape, they are still obstacles for the college student on a budget to overcome. When the Cove, Café, and dining hall are closed for the night, late-night munchies come calling. It is the 24-hour McDonald’s drive-thru that answers the rumblings of tummies in the wee hours of college life.
Why eat well when you could eat this? only $.50 more; and a hot dog, arguably the healthiest and cheapest grill item available, will cost a dollar. Despite the options cheaper than the salad, if a student is really desperate enough to use his/her ID to charge a meal to Mom and Dad, that Sho’man is not likely to buy only a garden salad, especially considering
Vol. 17, Issue 2
Sweating to the Music
’m an athlete but I don’t play a varsity sport. There’s no coach, team, or ball. I don’t play for points, statistics, or attention. There are no trophies, scholarships, or dinners. I’m one of hundreds on the playing ﬁeld, and without referees, a game clock, or code of conduct there’s plenty of blood, sweat, and tears along with a huge potential for injuries, discomfort, and disappointment. The payoff is a rush that gets you higher than drugs, skydiving, or scoring that game-winning touchdown. It’s being a part of something bigger than you – it’s going to a concert. The ﬁrst step is getting in the game – you need a ticket, and the cost to attend a show ensures a sporadic schedule at best. A headlining concert tour is as expensive as dinner at the Melting Pot, or good seats at a professional football game or Broadway musical. Some concerts are well over a hundred dollars, but most are between thirty and seventy dollars. When tickets go on sale, some sell out in minutes. An experienced concert-goer has their ﬁngers on the pulse of the touring circuit and never hesitates to put tickets on a credit card that they’ll have to pay months before the actual event. There are, however, plenty of cheap shows that are just as good – it’s ﬁnding them that matters. LIVE 8, this last July, was free, the annual Warped Tour is always around twenty dollars, and local smaller venues are usually only a few bucks. Paying this cover is easy, but the Ticketmaster charges, the
tank of gas, and the city parking increase your initial investment by more than ﬁfty dollars. It helps to bring a few friends. Once you ﬁnd the sometimesobscure location, the pre-game begins. Tailgating doesn’t just happen at football games. Concert-goers are there hours before a show, ﬁnding the good parking and good people. The bigger the show, the bigger the pre-party. There are always a few attendees who don’t even last long enough to see the band, but that’s like spraining your ankle during warm-ups. I’ve been in parking lots that resembled fraternity parties and knew right away the concert would be amazing. Tailgating is part of the experience. Stopping at Wawa on the way to the show, I buy a hoagie, water, energy drinks, and water, because the price for everything doubles the second you leave the parking lot. The parking lot is full of people wanting tickets, selling tickets, and soliciting you to buy their dumb stickers – oblivious to the fact that you spent your paycheck just getting there. You need to enter the show prepared for the endurance test inside, and that’s why my car is littered with hoagie wraps, receipts, and piles of empty Red Bulls. Personally, I’ve changed to RockStar, an energy price of equal value but double the size and caffeine quality of Red Bull (it can be purchased at the Student Center café or local Rofo). If you want to combine your energy drink with alcohol, I recommend Sparks – the same amount of caffeine as a RockStar, but with the same amount of alcohol as a beer. The uniform is very important in such a concert event. No matter how cold it is outside, wearing more than a t-shirt will only cause problems later on, and anything you can’t ﬁt in a pocket should be left in the car (I take only my ID, cash, and car key). I would never let someone in my car wearing sandals, a button down shirt, or a t-shirt of the band we’re going to
see. If the band roadies aren’t wearing the shirt of the band they’re working for, neither should you. It’s a red ﬂag singling out a concert rookie and warranting unwanted attention – simply never do it. The key is to wear a shirt of a band that isn’t playing that you also like as it shows off your musical taste and experience. Van’s skateboarding shoes and Converse All Stars are as common at shows as piercings, tattoos, and mohawks. Basically, everyone is trying to look as unique as everyone else. Forget the money you paid and the time you spent trying to look natural, the real game starts once the ﬁrst band takes the stage. Instantly, the crowd surges forward and it’s obvious who’s playing and who’s sitting on the bench. I’m sure you can stand on the sidelines calmly watching the band and the pit of idiots in front of them and still have fun – but you go to the concert to interact with the music and you can’t do that holding coats backed up against the wall. No matter how unknown and terrible the opening band is, it’s important to establish your position immediately, as no one appreciates the assholes pushing through the crowd for the headlining band at the last minute. Obviously, everyone wants to be up close in front of the stage, and with some perseverance you can be there too. And this is when
the action starts. I’ve heard of complaining about fouls and missed calls during a basketball game, but in the middle of hundreds of people there is no such luxury. Assuming the appropriate position is vital to survival in the pit. The mass of people in front of the stage is not called the pit for its polite and controlled celebration of musical talent. Packed in by people on all sides, usually there is just enough room to stand up straight and breathe – actually the breathing is pretty difﬁcult. One must extend their arms, bent at the elbow, directly in front of them to push off the backs of the people closer to the stage. Keeping alive at this point is usually the biggest priority and also the biggest problem. Not only are you given two square feet of space and forced to push off for breathing rights, but people of all sizes are dropping on your head and expecting you to keep them moving towards the stage. Just as you’re comfortable and enjoying the show, someone kicks you in the back of the head to let you know they’re coming – talk about personal space violations. Unless you’re stepping on someone as well, you’re completely blanketed by people. Crowd
surﬁng, while obviously dangerous, is inevitable at a concert. Hopefully you’re standing next to a taller, stronger person, because otherwise you’re on your own and many unannounced people plan on crashing down on your head. Ladies, I apologize – not only are you being molested in the pit, but you’re unable to see over the hulking ex-football player in front of you and powerless to pass fat sweaty men over your head. And I mean sweaty. As the crowd moves, there is pushing, falling, and jumping for hours on end, resulting in a collective pool of perspiration. I’ve wrung my shirt out on a hot summer parking lot several times and even though a lot of the sweat isn’t mine, I feel as though I’m running on a hamster wheel in an Arizona attic. You’re receiving a full body workout just keeping on your feet, pushing for space, and lifting people over your head – experience people pay for in a gym membership. And the greatest phenomenon would have to be the moshpit. Out of nowhere a circle is hammered out of the crowded mass only to be ﬁlled with punching, kicking guys that appear to be having a seizure instead of fun. Immediately, people on the outside ﬁght to remain so, pushing everyone away from themselves and into the mosh pit, where
those pushed are likely to be in the same situation. Personally, I come to see the band, but I have dabbled in short spurt mosh pitting and no longer feel that a rugby game is risky. For those few seconds in the pit, I was more concerned about being hit from behind than letting the music move me to violence. The fact that many of these people are operating under the inﬂuence of drugs and alcohol is beyond me – a handicap like that would be too much to handle for myself. Why would I spend nine hours standing in July heat, completely surrounded by all types of humankind, screaming, jumping, and dancing, surviving on a half a bottle of water? Simple: to be ten feet from Metallica playing to sixty thousand people. I’ve driven eight hours one way to see a band play six songs before they had to quit (the lead singer had laryngitis). I’d drive ﬁve hours a night for a chance to see Weezer play in Atlantic City. Each summer sends me to the Warped Tour only to get lost on Camden on the way home (every time). The Nintendo Fusion Tour meant I was seeing the same show on Thursday and Monday – and it never gets old. I constantly wonder what the shirtless guy with “White Trash” tattooed on his back does for a living and where these beautiful band groupies are during
the week (the answer is middle school). What really does it is the band itself. I would never waste the time, money, and energy to see a politician, celebrity, or football game (save the Super Bowl) that I commit myself to the second I see that Fall Out Boy and the Starting Line are on the same tour. Rock stars are easily the most powerful people alive. Many people have no idea what happens in Congress, but can tell you just how big Tommy Lee’s penis actually is. The band tells you to put your middle ﬁngers in the air and everyone does it without hesitation. The moment someone in the entertainment industry does something unique, it becomes a trend. Fans of bands can be the most passionate people I know and simply being at a concert where you have the opportunity to sing every word with the band (and everyone else at the show) is an undeniable experience. If my church was more like the 9:30 Club, I’d be there every Sunday – seeing your favorite band play that one song can be more amazing than any religious experience. The Muslims have their Mecca, but I’d follow a band around the world. The trick will be getting someone to pay me for it next year.
Vol. 17, Issue 2
I Round 2
n an instant, Travis and Jules had me surrounded in a three-man bear hug. It vaguely occurred to me, as my face pressed scratchy against Travis’ wool coat, that this had been my ﬁrst physical contact with other human beings in weeks. “Good to see you, man,” Travis exclaimed. I desperately tried to get out of my head. These were my friends. Once we had much in common; why not now? “Where will we be dining this evening, oh my brothers?” Jules had developed an obsession with A Clockwork Orange in high school, to the point of adopting the language in the book as his own. It was annoying, pretentious, but familiar. In spite of myself, I smiled to hear him. “Someplace where we can smoke cigarettes and carry on obnoxiously,” I said, knowing the rest of them knew exactly the place I was talking about: the Dirty Hen Diner. The thing I’d liked about the Dirty Hen was the way it was so, well, dirty. The linoleum was stained like the bottom of an old thermos. The chrome tables left your elbows greasy. The ﬂoor was liberally sprinkled with sawdust. The place was open 24 hours, mainly for worn-out truckers seeking coffee and pie. The three of us used to go there in the middle of the night, talk over cups of coffee in uncontainable tones. Sometimes, in high school, I’d go by myself, drive there in the early morning on my way to school, and wish I was as grizzled as some of the truckers who’d come in. The Greek cooks and limp-haired waitresses always seemed to welcome us. It was probably our generous middleclass tipping, but who cared. We could carry on obnoxiously and smoke cigarettes. Our waitress was typically limp-haired and lipsticked- and about thirteen months pregnant. She looked about our age; the badge on her smock said her name was Kimmi. The circles around her eyes were darker than my own. I rubbed my eyes self-consciously and looked down at the smoke spinning off my cigarette as I listened to my friends order. Travis had a chicken-fried steak with seasoned fries. I knew I was a stranger here, a middle class kid wishing he was James Dean, trying to slum but sticking out like a sore thumb. I felt sorry for Kimmi, realized sorry was the wrong way to feel but couldn’t be different. Jules, still a vegetarian, ordered what he always had when we came to the Hen, a Caesar salad. “You know there’s anchovies in that dressing?” Travis asked him. “It’s okay to eat ﬁsh, they don’t have any feelings,” quoted Jules. Travis laughed. It was a facile justiﬁcation. I couldn’t muster a laugh. Neither could Kimmi, who probably didn’t get the Cobain reference. “So I’m at the Millions More March, right?”
Travis was beginning a story. But I was distracted when a midget walked into the Hen. And I realized how much of a bad joke the night was turning into. “So three white boys and a midget walk into a diner…” I caught myself staring, more into space than at the midget, and told myself to snap out of it. Travis and Jules were laughing hysterically at something. I prayed they weren’t laughing at the poor midget, who was trying awkwardly to hoist his squat little body onto the barstool at the far corner of the counter. “The name of the company was what?” Jules creeched with laughter. I was aware of Travis lowering his voice to respond as the people in the diner began to glare in our direction. I couldn’t focus. I looked at Kimmi, waddling down to her last table with coffee. She was tired, so much more than I was. The midget was still trying to get comfortable. He had a club foot in a giant orthopedic shoe, and it was stuck on one of the lower rungs of the barstool. “Apparently it was a clothing company of some kind.” Travis replied. I wasn’t listening. It didn’t matter. Jules and Travis were engrossed in their own conversation. I had nothing to contribute, even if I wanted to. Our waitress was lumbering to our table, balancing her huge belly and a tray piled with food. I saw her round the corner of the bar. It was one of those slow-motion moments when you see everything as it happens, as the perfect observer. A bedraggled couple was across from us, having a tiff with their coffee. Three truckers in ﬂannel shirts slumped on the barstools next to the midget. The cook was sliding a plate of eggs across the counter. And Travis and Jules were unaware of the impending disaster. It was typical physical comedy: the waitress tripped over the midget’s giant orthopedic shoe, the tray clattered to the ﬂoor. Dishes broke. Steak, eggs, anchovy dressing went everywhere, including all over Kimmi and the midget. There was complete silence. For a moment we were all frozen in time. Then Jules and Travis began to laugh, hysterically. They hooted and slapped the table. Spittle ﬂew from their gaping, awful mouths. I hated them. And then Kimmi began to cry. Covered in anchovy dressing, she sobbed until she couldn’t breathe, choked on her breath, and sobbed some more. I would always be an interloper. I would always be on the outside of the window looking in. I would never be like these people in the Dirty Hen, would never be like my friends. But in that moment, I saw everything clearly. Some things transcend manmade boundaries like class, race, and even depression. I grabbed some napkins, got up, and helped Kimmi wipe off her smock. I was ﬁlled with compassion. I wanted to take her someplace where someone could serve her coffee, where she could rest her feet, lie down and sleep for a while. “Do you want to get out of here?” I asked her. “I can’t. That’s my husband.” She pointed at the midget.
s I walked down the Cater Walk the other day, I happened to overhear a student discussing a production on campus called “Picasso and Einstein.” The title of this play highlights the classic debate over science versus art. On our tiny liberal arts campus, the juxtaposition of these studies is apparent. When I visited this campus a few years ago as a high school student, WC offered a cozy and colonial atmosphere. We even had a few small colonial houses standing on the outskirts of campus as ofﬁces and locations for student activities (i.e. the Lit House). Now, the John Toll Science Center stands as the paradigm of science, towering over the Math House in all its glory. As an English major, I’ve heard many professors complaining about the hideous structure and gargantuan size of the building. At the same time, I’ve heard plenty of biology majors tell me how much they love its wonderful technology and modern structure. In order not to let down my liberal arts professors, I have decided to form my own opinions about the Toll Center. (A warning to all of you cynics: The following perspective may seem jaded, but let me assure you, I’m not completely uneducated when it comes to science. I took a few AP science courses in high school and I got an A in General Bio freshman year. Still not convinced? I’ve caught reruns of Bill Nye the Science Guy and I’ve seen Weird Science.) One ﬁne morning, I make my way past the construction of Dunning/Decker and stand before the Toll Science Center, a fellow English major in tow. I stand outside for a moment, staring up at the brick structure. It’s huge, I think, but not pretty. I enter the ground ﬂoor and take a look-see at the lobby. My friend immediately speaks up, “Don’t you feel like you’re in a doctor’s ofﬁce? Wow, I’m getting nervous like I’m about to have teeth pulled.” Come to think of it, the furniture in the sitting area is sterile. There aren’t even any trashy, celebrity gossip magazines to look at before the nurse comes out to retrieve you. As I make my way down the halls, I peer into a professor’s ofﬁce and notice scanty furnishings and few photos or decorations. I can think of at least 3 English profs who have great ofﬁces, complete with posters and a huge collection of novels and poetry. Lest I forget, these science professors probably have little time for reading, they are too busy probing the human mind and dissecting small animals. I shed a quick tear for them and continue on. I reach the masterpiece of the Toll Center’s design- the atrium. Holy cow. I must say, this room is beautiful, if you are into glass and minimalist furniture. Oh! I’ve hit a gold mine! There is one
An English Major Tours the Toll Science Center
piece of artwork- ﬁnally, something that doesn’t remind me of a hospital cafeteria. It’s a shame it’s only a painting of a college dignitary. They could use a little of Blake’s artwork in here- maybe a painting of the “tyger, tyger burning bright”? No? Okay, maybe that idea is better meant for Gillin’s ofﬁce. There is a sign directing students and visitors to the appropriate rooms and locations they may be searching for. Even T.S. Eliot throws foreign language into his poetry, but this sign is Greek to me. “Aquaculture Tank Room”? “Gel Documentation Room”? I can deﬁne each of those words individually interesting to me. I’m fairly certain Kiplin Hall students enjoy better food than this. I run underneath the glass sheets hanging as “decoration”, imagining that I’m narrowly escaping the guillotine, and hit the stairs. I begin to feel disoriented. Isn’t this ﬂoor identical to the ﬁrst? It’s quickly pointed out to me by my observant friend that alas, the couches in the second ﬂoor lobby are covered in blue-striped fabric, not red like those on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. Duh. I notice that the memo boards are plastered with charts and graphs. The lines and dots mean nothing to me, and for a minute I feel like spouting Wordsworth at the next student in a lab coat who passes me just to see their reaction. Ever the observer, my friend notices that the posters on the bulletin boards are held up by push pins. Four push pins, one in every corner. This might seem trivial, but who has time for that? Uh oh, I see someone’s a deviant. On one poster, two of the pins are clear, but two others are red. What do you scientists call this? Entropy? The walls start to close in. This place is too sterile! Do these people have any sort of fun? I run to the top ﬂoor of the building and revel at the view offered at the top of the stairs. I start to breathe at the sight of trees and skyline. I have a Blake-ian moment as I stare at nature, and I say a silent thank you to Coleridge for helping me not to collapse in the grips of mad science. I make a mad dash for the exit, vowing never to return. Okay, so maybe I’m being dramatic, but I think I speak for all English scholars and students when I say that bigger (and more sterile) isn’t necessarily better. Now off to the Lit House.
and I would have won with these words in the elementary school spelling bee, but honestly, what does all that mean? Before I head upstairs, I have to sneak a peek in the fridge which stands in the kitchen area of the atrium. Mmmm, condiments and trail mix. These science people just become more and more
Vol. 17, Issue 2
This Halloween, Try Wearing a Costume
alloween season has come and gone, and the online costume industry has racked in plenty of hard earned cash from diehard Halloween fans. Costumes are needed for little trick or treaters, enthusiastic door answerers, the pets of the enthusiastic door answerers, and of course, partygoers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), $1.09 billion was spent on costumes in 2004, making Halloween the “sixth largest spending holiday of the year.” One of the best parts of attending a Halloween party is seeing which costumes the guests have chosen. It’s similar to attending an awards show red carpet to see which costumes have made the cut. Some choose to make their own while others take the store-bought approach. Most people today like their costumes like their food: made by someone else, prepackaged, and ready to be enjoyed at a moment’s notice. The most difﬁcult part is choosing one from the menu. Cady said it right in the movie Mean Girls when she said, “Halloween is the one night a year a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” There are variety of “Sexy Costumes,” from the “Naughty Nun” and “Nurse” to the “Sexy Ladybug.” There’s also a twist on everyone’s favorite fairy tale characters thanks to minimal fabric, and thigh high stockings. This category is a favorite among college girls, and is probably a favorite of college guys as well. However, the desire to be dressed in a costume in this category may backﬁre in the horrifying phenomenon of The Same. As in, one girl has the same costume as another, thus making it impossible for her to look her best due to nearby competition.
There is a way to avoid this embarrassment, and that is to have a costume that no one else will have, even if that means sacriﬁcing some dignity. People are getting less tasteful but more creative and hilarious every year. My personal favorites are costumes that are a play on words. “Talk to the Hand” is a giant hand with a face hole cut out; “Blow Me” is a tissue box; “Holy S#*t” is a brown, oval costume with a halo and wings, “No S#*t Sherlock” is a brown oval with a pipe, hat and cape and the “don’t” signal; and the “Deviled Egg” is an egg costume with devil horns and tail. There are equally classy couple costumes such as the “Plug and Socket,” “Nut and Bolt,” and “Lock and Key.” The corniness oozes out of these innuendoes and brings a smirk to everyone’s face. There’s no better way to declare your love for someone on Halloween than to be dressed as a giant heart with the words “I’ve Got A Heart On” (say it out loud to get the joke). Then there is the individually strange, such as “The Man-Eating Shark,” various food items, and an “Adult Baby in a Highchair.” You could also be a “Slot Machine,” or what’s sure to be a hit on a college campus, a “Working Beer Keg.” At times, just looking at the pictures online of a very excited person dressed as Jesus is entertaining enough to make that costume a good idea. The possibilities are endless, and for an average of $28 being spent on costumes in the US, any one of these gems could be yours to adorn yourself with for
next Halloween. If spending a lot of money on a Halloween costume is not an option, there’s always homemade. You can make a prety interesting costume by going to a thrift store to gather costume pieces, or by attaining cardboard beer boxes and other random items. There are no limitations in creativity with the traditional homemade costumes. These can prove to be more original and hilarious than the storebought frocks. There are plenty of helpful tips and amusing articles online to provide a starting-off point. I stumbled upon an article in which a mother did not approve of the costume her child wanted her to purchase for the trick-or-treating season and requested help in making a more acceptable one herself. I do believe, however, that plenty of offensive costumes can also be made in the home. The Pet Costume category amused me for longer than it probably should have. The idea of having fake limbs dangling from a costume in order to simulate an upright standing position is incredibly entertaining. Dogs and cats can now resemble your favorite superhero, Star Wars character, and fairy tale princess. Some may see this as animal cruelty, but you must remember what humans are putting on themselves; they are just as ridiculous. An owner could even match his or her pet and establish a theme with this new option for their four legged friend. Naturally there are more than just Halloween costumes out there. Your pet could be “Santa’s Little Helper” with fake limbs or “Pup Shalom” which includes its very own blue Tallith and matching Yarmulke. If you have a birthday or graduation coming up, you can get your pet the proper outﬁt to blend right in with the festivities as well. The deﬁning term of Halloween costumes seems to be “options”. You can ﬁnd practically anything to be for Halloween nowadays, and with the internet and online shopping, it has never been easier to purchase them. Costumes were once worn to trick drifting spirits into rejecting a body to possess. Now it’s a great excuse for everyone to look sexy, scary, cute, and hysterical on All Hallows Eve.
Danger Doom The Mouse and the Mask Do I really have to say more than “The Mouse and the Mask is a collaboration inspired by Adult Swim” to make a bunch of college kids interested? Let’s list some more positive aspects, then, shall we? Danger Doom is a collaboration between DJ Danger Mouse and MF Doom. DJ Danger Mouse worked with the Gorillaz on Demon Days, on which MF Doom made an appearance. DJ Danger Mouse is also behind The Grey Album. Bigger names, such as Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah and Cee-Lo appear on The Mouse and the Mask as well. So, as confusing as all this who-appears-where business can be, it seems to assure a good mix of styles. Even if you know nothing about hip hop (I’m from rural Pennsylvania, give me a break), this album is totally accessible. Also, the references to Adult Swim shows and appearances by Adult Swim characters make The Mouse and the Mask something totally fun. Master Shake’s answering machine messages and Meatwad rapping provide enough reasons to purchase this album. As mentioned, I’m not really qualiﬁed in the department of hip hop, but I seriously cannot get enough of this album.
My Music, Your Ears
Ashlee Simpson I Am Me I wasn’t expecting much from this album, so I wasn’t disappointed. Aside from applying too much eyeliner and going back to blonde (thus achieving the look of a crackedout version of her older sister), Ashlee followed the same formula for her sophomore effort I Am Me. Her previous album, Autobiography, included the “I’m me – deal with it!” and “My life is not so perfect, I swear!” tracks, and those are present on this album as well. There is a new addition, though, rearing its catchy yet annoying head, and that would be the “Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’ is an inspiration to us all!” track. This new trend is most notable in the song “L.O.V.E.,” a track about how important your female friends are when your boyfriend is a manwhore, which I’m sure is a meaningful anthem for all 8th grade girls. Furthermore, I started noticing that the songs followed pretty much the same kind of order as her previous album, but I had to ignore this conspiracy theory or risk being even bitchier than I am now. The sad part is that I encouraged the creation of this album by purchasing her ﬁrst one. Even worse, I’ll probably listen to this album, too. I’ll enjoy it like a six pack of Bacardi Razz and a bad chick ﬂick with MaH gUrLz (HoLlA!) on a Friday night. song “Pretty Vegas” is excellent. The band ﬂeshed it out and gave it the middle it needed but didn’t have time to have on Rock Star: INXS. By next month, the band will have a new album. Buck up people, I’ll try to contain myself. Maybe I can restrain myself from writing about INXS anymore until I see them in February. It’s possible, but doubtful. Depeche Mode Playing the Angel Playing the Angel is the return of Depeche Mode in more than one way. Four years ago, the release of Exciter had many die-hard fans scrunching their noses and scratching their heads. Playing the Angel goes back to the more traditional Depeche Mode sound, actually falls in the same ballpark as Violator. Let’s put a really big aside in here for everyone who looks at me funny when I talk about Depeche Mode and INXS: These are bands that have been around since the 1980’s; they have survived the tests of time, they deﬁnitely do not suck, and—if you think hard—you could probably name a few of their songs. In the case of Depeche Mode, the album Violator featured the songs “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus” (recently covered by Marilyn Manson and the late Johnny Cash). END LESSON. Playing the Angel is dark, but has echoes of the sound that made the melancholy so appealing back in the day. It’s a solid, beautiful album that says, “Hey, remember us? We’re deﬁnitely not dead.” Playing the Angel is worth checking out if you a) know who Depeche Mode is, b) don’t know who they are, but feel adventurous, c) think I’m a bitch with no taste and want to prove me wrong.
Franz Ferdinand You Could Have It So Much Better Franz Ferdinand’s sophomore album, You Could Have it So Much Better, really isn’t lying. It’s by no means a bad album, but it’s nothing that great, either. The band has ofﬁcially become that sophomore cliché. The ﬁrst track, “The Fallen” is upbeat and catchy as hell. It sounds very good at very loud volumes. After that, it just starts going downhill. Essentially, You Could Have It So Much Better is just a better-produced version of their debut. They think that similar hooks will work again and not bore you. They underestimate your taste. This album has no songs that could sell you a Sony PSP. Unless you are a dedicated Franz Ferdinand fan, skip it.
INXS Pretty Vegas INXS released its ﬁrst single on iTunes with J.D. Fortune as lead singer. This new version of J.D.’s
Vol. 17, Issue 2
As you can see from the photograph below, I have already seamlessly integrated myself into the native culture. I am the ﬁgure in the upper right-hand corner with the hat. A Japanese couple on their honeymoon took this photograph. When travelling abroad, always have your picture taken by Japanese tourists, if you can possibly manage it. They’re friendly, polite, and invariably know how to work your camera.
Land of Giants!
or the past month I have been living in a great and wondrous country known as Scotland. Radical journalist and fellow malcontent John Wilkes said in 1763 that “Scotland is a treeless, ﬂowerless land, formed out of the refuse of the universe, and inhabited by the very bastards of creation.” And of course, his words are just as true today.
As you can see, kilts are indeed a compulsory garment if one is to be accepted into society. They are worn by both men and women, and anyone without one is instantly identiﬁed as a tourist. And that big guy walking down the middle of the road with the kilt, the jack boots, the camouﬂage jacket, and the shaved head? Yeah, you don’t want to screw with that guy.
Because it was invented here, golf is quite popular in St. Andrews. The ancient and noble sport has attracted many celebrities from around the globe to this tiny hamlet. One girl remarked that she caddied for Michael Douglas, another claimed to have bumped into Hugh Grant on the way out of a bookshop. I myself saw Boy George, Monica Lewinsky, and Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings ﬁlms) at a pub one night. Both Miss Lewinsky and Mr. George seemed a bit uppity, but Sir Ian was very gracious, and sang his famous rendition of “Somewhere My Love Lies Sleeping” with a random old Scottish man on the piano, to the great delight of all those present. Other than golf, the main draw (for celebrities and commonfolk alike) is the ruins. The Cathedral of St. Andrews was ruined, I believe, by lightning sometime in the seventeenth century, and has enjoyed greater popularity in the three hundred years since than it ever did while it was intact. The Tower, however, remains fully erect to this day, and the picture you see (in the background) was taken from the top of it. It is of course, the famous Tower in which Richard III was reported to have murdered his two young
nephews, the “Princes in the Tower” as they have become popularly known, in order to become king. By far, the most notable event has not been the golf, nor encounters with celebrities, nor my visit to the ruins, but the Socs Fayre. The Socs Fayre is an annually event greatly anticipated by the students here. In the Scottish language, it literally means “Societies Fayre” or as we would say “Club Fair.” It is a gathering of all the various Clubs at the University of St. Andrews into a single place, where they recruit new members in a ritualistic two-day baccenalia of beer-and-whiskeysoaked pagan frenzy. Much like Christmas and Halloween, our own modern Club Fair held in Martha Washington Square has its roots in this sacred and ancient festival. The variety of clubs available to join is quite staggering. They have the usual ones: Music Society, Scouting and Guiding Society, College Newspaper and so on. But there is also a Juggling Society, Historical Re-Enactment Society, Knitting Society, LGBT (which, if you’ve never had an LGBT, I deﬁnitely recommend it; for me, it’s the grapefruit that really completes the sandwich), Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Christian Music and Drama Society, Gourmet Food Society, Real Ale Society (free pint with your membership fees), Whisky Society (free
dram with your membership fees), Tea Drinking Society, (no free tea, oddly enough), Skydiving, Dr. Who Fan Club, and Canadian, Islamic, and Scandinavian Societies, to name only a small fraction. But the truly amazing thing about the Socs Fayre is not the variety of available Socs, though of course the available selection at our own dear Alma Mater pales in comparison. Rather it is the intensity with which each and every one of the Socs wants you to join. Everywhere one turned, it was “You! Join the Fly Fishing Society!” (Or whatever) “But I’ve never ﬂy ﬁshed in my life.” “It’s alright, we’ll teach you. Come along, it’s a party!” The remarkable thing is that this attitude has much broader applications than simply this festival. Every time I have mentioned to one of the natives that I am studying here for the year they reply, “Well you ought to come here next year as well. Finish it out in St. Andrews.” In both cases, I have the same reply. “Well that’s very kind of you, but really isn’t that a little premature on your part? After all, for all you know I might be a total asshole. And then think how sorry you’d be that I came.” At this point, they usually laugh. Well, we’ll see who’s laughing in the end.
found heartache and disappointment around every turn. In Paris, the streets are signed with little blue squares nailed to the second ﬂoors of buildings where, at high speeds, it is easy to miss the Rue St. Michel and end up in a part of Paris that isn’t so welcoming. The unfamiliar, unsigned path - this was part of looking for Henry Miller and looking for America in myself. I tossed the map. The ﬁrst wrong turn took me into the wriggling mess of a highway in the Grande Arch (the business district) just outside the city limits. In an attempt to (modernize and) experience a bicycle ride from Miller’s “Saturday Afternoon,” I rented a motor scooter and ventured off into the heat of a mid-July afternoon. Every turn led me right back to where I had started; I eventually had a near-collision with a motorcycle that left me sprawled on the side of the road with a work truck squealing to a halt inches from my scooter. I found myself growing angry as I lay face down in the pavement that was once a single lane road with a bicycle path that Miller himself had once ridden down. People were screaming at me in French and my elementary understanding of it was enough for me to know they were concerned, not angry. The man in the truck lifted the scooter off my leg and I discovered my foot had been badly injured; I will bear the scar for the rest of my life. I waved them off with a “C’est Bien. Allez.” They roared away, their engines echoing under the overpass, and I found myself completely alone and close to tears. “I could have died,” I thought to myself. What would I have found then? I found my way and crossed the Pont Neuilly, over the Seine, and back into Paris. The Champs-Elysses quivered in the afternoon light and exhaust of cars. I bore right on the ﬁrst street after the bridge and ventured into the park. Here, everything seemed simple. I slowed the scooter and took notice of everything around me. For a moment, I almost felt as though I were pedaling through Paris in the 1950’s. How much of nature can change in ﬁfty years when it is left untouched by man? Gardens, everywhere – they were beautiful, in bloom. The smell of summer rose over the exhaust of my bike, blocking out the memory that I was an American in Paris. I was simply a person riding through the City of Love. I was lost, again but not from a wrong turn. I could see St. Cloud, the highway ahead of me…the highway? I had gone too far. Again. I guess I did make a wrong turn. I stopped the bike and in a kind voice asked everyone that passed, “Do you speak English?” All anyone gave me was a nod of the head. Directions. Directions. How do I ask for directions? I needed Pont de Bercy.
Looking for Henry Miller, America, or Myself
Vol. 17, Issue 2 The Collegian
I needed the Left Bank. I began to rack my brain in hopes of remembering enough of directional French to get me out of the park and onto the left bank. Police Ofﬁcers. Of course. They laughed at me as they spoke no English either and pointed left with an à droite de (right) and the forward with a derrière (behind). I got the joke. Thanks. Pissed, I took of on the scooter again and headed towards the highway. Death be damned. Though Miller didn’t believe in signs, I followed quite a few back over the Seine and through a rather boring industrial neighborhood that reminded me of my home in the outskirts of Baltimore. I stopped the bike and could have sworn I was standing outside of the graphic design ﬁrm I worked for years ago. There were no trees, no signs of life - hopelessness. I recognized it and it felt like home. I heard the sound of an elevated train and followed it with the reminiscence a neighborhood in Queens were I used to live. I felt safe and silently said, “Thank you, Henry.” Suddenly the Latin Quarter, where Miller spent his time and which he wrote about extensively, came out of nowhere. The streets were bustling and served me no purpose other than disappointment. One-way streets turning into one-way streets and circles were an endless Washington, D.C. cycle. Home? D.C. was never home. The public toilets Miller once favored and wrote enthusiastically about were now replaced with telephone booths. Oddly, one of those booths was right outside of a school for the deaf. I sat in front of it and sipped a Coke with one ice cube, sweating in the sun. Where were you Miller, when I was looking for you there? Every memory of you had been stripped and preserved in your books. I didn’t need signs or tour guides or companionship to ﬁnd my way back to America. There were times in Paris when my Americanism stuck out like an overused cliché. Bad driving, bad directions, bad taste in clothes. And there were times, riding that scooter, when I didn’t feel so out of place. Paris was home to Miller and he saw Brooklyn everywhere he went, much like I had a few feelings of home. I guess home is everywhere in the world as long as we know where to look.
Musings on Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space
An auteur with surplus of vision compromising to the last at the mercy of porn kings dope ﬁends, and Baptist Priests. a glutton for disappointment blind and optimistic like Reagan and enthusiastic like the Tin Man. You wore women’s clothing And died in obscurity.
At night my father is alone and anxious
I was seventeen mildly drunk on a Friday night and dad was awake when I stumbled in. Like a gambler I settled for a face that would not betray my state. My father wanted to talk; he had stayed awake just for me His eyes darted away. There were things that needed to be said that night. “The Mets started well” he said. “The strangest thing at the ofﬁce…,” he continued. “I have to go to DC this weekend…” “I’m pretty tired,” I told him. “I won’t sleep late tomorrow, promise.” I lie in bed later and wonder when the Mets will ﬁx their ﬁelding.
The Collegian 13
In the middle We reach for riches sweetly, Quarter-mouthed. Muster together treasures Discreetly. Copper things remain brief, Hold presidents until dawn, So the delicate ﬁbers lay within Our heavy grips. Strengthened. Warm. Here in the middle We wait until diamond dollars come true, Want dreams to grow But the human lottery is vast And, oh we know That our money never does what Our minds tell it to do. So in the middle We kiss poverty. Drink afﬂuence. We are strange. Revamped pirates – seek treasures we’ve planted And look for outcomes to change. Throw ourselves in the ocean, ignite the tide. Then stand there Open-palmed and wishful-eyed.
Orphans of thirsty hours, soiled paseos, and novel despair Mother and child blow away together in exile air.
As Paradise is Seen in the Morning
We can make walls, Take walls, And when we’re ready We can break walls, And the let the sun shine in. We can drop hate, Top hate, And when we’re ready We can stop hate, And break walls all over again.
Vol. 17, Issue 2
City vs. Country:
Fashion Time Zones
hange was the one thing that I craved when I decided to leave New York City and attend Washington College three years ago. Sure, I knew that I would be in for a culture shock. New York City had always been my home, and I had grown quite accustomed to a Starbucks on every other block, taxicabs that could take me anywhere at anytime, real New York pizza and bagels, the breathtaking skyline at night and most importantly, the ﬂagship Bloomingdales store only three blocks away from my high school. Yes, anyone who knows or at least sees me on campus on a regular basis can ﬁgure out that shopping is one of the many passions that I hold. To me, there is nothing like the rush of walking into a store, seeing that perfect outﬁt that’s all the rage and then trying it on to ﬁnd that it hugs you in all the right places and you look hotter than Scarlett Johansen. Ok, so maybe I take this whole shopping and fashion thing way too far, but what do you expect from a girl who spent her mornings thumbing through Vogue and Glamour while riding the subway and her afternoons perusing the contemporary fashion ﬂoor of one of the most renowned department stores in the world? In a city where image really is everything, I knew I had to bring part of my image-conscience along for the college ride. Dressing up is not only what I know; it has become a part of who I am, a medium for me to express myself. In my twenty years as a true-blue New Yorker, I have not once left the house in my pajamas (my mother would kill me) and have always taken my sweatpants and sports bra to the gym in a bag. I can tell you this was not because my school had a dress code, but because the idea of looking presentable really is a state of mind. Don’t understand where I’m coming from? Think about New York City fashion icons like Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City gang, Jackie O, Donna Karan, and even Madonna. They are women who have epitomized what it is to look fabulous and knew how to express themselves with what they wear, most of the time without overdoing it. There are also the chic and stylish men and women that you spot on the street, who know how to accessorize or wear the right amount of black. I cannot tell you the number of times I have stolen great fashion ideas from someone I have spotted on the street. On top of that, New York City is the city of possibilities; you never know who you are going to meet. I’ve had celebrity encounters with Diddy, Madonna, Robbie Williams and Carson Daly in high school alone, and can thankfully look back on them with no embarrassment because at the least, I looked appropriate. Although I would be 200 miles away and in a much, much smaller environment, I did not expect all of these ideals to be thrown out the window and forgotten in Chestertown. I was raised with the idea of taking pride in and spending time on your look. Compared to New York, the Washington College appears to me not only different, but sometimes a bit lazy. Flip-ﬂops are something that I will never understand. Sure, I love them and have some really cute pairs, but there is a time and place for them: warm weather and casual agenda. Most people on campus wear them yearround, which in New York is insane considering the amount of snow there is. Flip ﬂops are casual, which is perfectly acceptable for class or Sunday brunch but nothing more formal than that. I can tell you for a fact that this is how the student body at NYU and Hunter College rolls. For example, at a proper campus function this year, I could not believe what I was seeing when I spotted several young men in button-down shirts, ties and ﬂip-ﬂops! If you can take the effort to put on a tie, then at least you can lace up some dress shoes at the same time. Color is another thing that threw me
off about Washington College. I came down to Chestertown with a love and appreciation of black. It’s sleek, slimming, and has ﬂair. I still revel in this glory when my friends tell me that they knew I was from New York when I walked into class with dark sunglasses, a black t-shirt, dark jeans and black boots. Yes, the stereotype really is true; most New Yorkers (even guys) own and actually like to wear black. The only time I’ve seen black on this campus is during some type of formal occasion. Rarely do I see people on campus wear black pants on a regular basis, which is a staple of New York City fashion for both men and women. Instead, Nantucket red or khaki-colored pants and jeans are popular for guys with any color shirt, while I’ve seen girls in every single color other than black, some more ﬂattering than others. In my three years here, I’ve come to the conclusion that Marylanders think that black must be for funerals and formals only because I never see students or professors wear it at free will. Something to keep in mind for the season, according to last Thursday’s New York Times Style Section, is that “Black is the new black.” For me, that will always be the mantra to live by. Who cannot forget that famous “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie tells Berger that a New York City girl would never be caught dead in a scrunchie? Well, the same phrase holds true for a popular fashion trend at WC: hair ribbons. Sure, I will be the ﬁrst to say that I wear the occasional bow in my hair (I’ve deﬁnitely added a splash of color to my all-black duds a la the hair ribbon). However, the trend stops once I leave Chestertown perimeters. In all my time in New York, I’ve seen more scrunchies than hair ribbons, and even those are hard to ﬁnd amidst the sleek hair dos that mimic John Frieda advertisements. Just a word of advice: if you plan on visiting New York City and want to hit up a swank lounge, ditch the ribbon; otherwise, you are begging to be carded. I’ll admit it – when I came down to WC, I had no idea who John Deere was. To be completely sincere, I thought he was a country singer, not a fashion brand. I will never understand how John Deere (which, as I soon found out, was really a farming equipment company), could actually make a
proﬁt by selling clothes. Especially clothing in that green, which, I hate to say, does not look good on everybody. Better yet, the bigger question is, why do people want to wear clothes that have deer on them? The only deer that I have ever been acquainted with have been the dead kind that Tom Green would hump on his MTV Show or that have been mounted to a wall. Quite frankly, both scare me, a lot. The same idea applies to Vera Bradley. At ﬁrst, Vera bags were targeted to the post-menopausal age group; at least that was the case in New York City. I would occasionally see them on the street and it seemed that the criteria for ownership included grey hair, the complete Sag Harbor wardrobe and shoes with Velcro straps. Then I came to Washington College to ﬁnd that they come in bright colors besides the plain red, navy blue and brown and were the ultimate fashion staple for class. I soon learned that if you wanted to tie your outﬁt together in WC style, Vera was the missing link and my versatile black Bloomingdale’s tote bag simply would not cut it. Just like hair ribbons, I got suckered into the trend and own not one, but three Vera Bradley bags which I promise you will be hiding in the back of my closet upon my return to the Big Apple. The last thing I ever want to do is to look completely out of date in a city that’s two fashion seasons ahead. Washington College, when you think about it, is really a unique place. There’s a culture that surrounds this campus that roughly 1350 individuals have created. Let’s face it, deep down inside we all may slightly alter what we wear while on campus, absorbing the style of those around us, being what I like to call a true chameleon. However, when it comes down to just being at home and being you, it’s a different frame of mind. I may wear less black and more colored clothing nine months out of the year, but I can tell you that in the morning, when it comes down to decide what to wear, my gut tells me to reach for the black. So, when you see me on campus wearing black, most likely it’s the case that my colorful clothes need to be washed, but let’s just assume that I’m following my gut that day and being a loyal “New Yawker.”
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Vol. 17, Issue 2 The Collegian 15
Stop and Smell the Roses
ne of my favorite things about this school is being able to walk places. I liked walking when the weather was so warm for that long stretch, with days passing between clouds, and I like it now that the drizzle and wind have cooled things down. And it isn’t just the school’s smallness that makes walking easy (though it probably helps). What I mean by “being able to walk places” is that because we are so close to the neighborhoods around us, not apart or aloof, it is no great effort to pass between the school and the town. The advantages of going out on foot are many. If you are with someone, there is plenty of time for talking between when you set out and when you arrive wherever it is you are headed; if you are on your own, it is that much easier to admire the scenery and to greet passersby. You can do a good amount of thinking, or you can avoid thinking for a while. If you miss not having your pets with you, there is always a chance of seeing a dog being walked, or a cat out for a stroll. But there is something even beyond all that- the mentality of walking. It says something about you when you are making your way down the sidewalk while car after car goes by in the street. Perhaps it says you don’t have a car. Granted, for some people walking is basic transportation. Most likely, though, if you are attending school here, you could drive if you really wanted to. Instead, you’re walking. Partly, there is something leisurely about it. If you have the luxury of walking, you can’t be in any great hurry; it implies that whatever your business is, it isn’t very important. And by walking you seem to ﬂaunt that indolence. Driving, a person is obscured by the car, discreetly tucked away behind the windshield and doors, the paint and the license
plate; a walker seems arrogant in contrast, strutting along for all to see, making a spectacle of himself. Then again, some drivers take pains to have their cars draw attention to themselves, making an expensive vehicle a status symbol or accentuating a plain one with tasteful, pirated Calvin decals and clever bumper stickers. Beside that, a pedestrian is unadorned,
hardly noticeable when passed at 40 mph, quickly diminishing in the rear-view mirror. With practice, this mentality, an understated kind of relaxation and conﬁdence, may begin to stick with you even when you’re not actually walking. Personally, I am sometimes reminded of it when I might otherwise get stressed over writing a paper, and then the words begin to fall into place. It is not only an interior state, then, because it inﬂuences how you act. In fact, walk around enough and eventually you even start talking to people. As the college is right within the town, so its students and faculty and the locals are invited to
interact. Doing service projects and volunteering is very noble and no doubt appreciated, but it really rings hollow, doesn’t it, if you don’t get acquainted with some local people and keep in touch, or if you drive home every other weekend? Likewise, it isn’t very neighborly of those locals to cat-call from their pick-up trucks. (And when was the last time the drives of those trucks actually picked up anyone?) Do you see the pattern there? “Driving home,” “pick-up trucks”… Walking might do a little to save the natural environment (I would be remiss in not mentioning that) but it might also restore a little of that natural element, respect, to our relations with each other. In both cases there are forces outside our immediate control—industrial pollutants, the residue of old prejudices, racial and class divisions—but, acknowledging these, there are still those things we can do, at least on an individual scale. Like saying “hi” to the woman at the customer-service counter at Roses. Her name is Danielle, and she took the job in July and plans to drop it in January to return to college where she will work toward a degree in business administration. She grew up in Chestertown and is raising her four kids here; the oldest just started kindergarten, and the youngest are twins, seven months old. She knows her co-workers, knows the sorts of jobs they do, stocking or working at the cash-register, but her friends are people she knows in nearby Pondtown. Her parents now live in Florida, and she visits them on her breaks. Her shift is from 8:45 to 5:00, Monday to Friday. She spends her free time taking care of her kids, or reading, or writing poetry. Danielle’s favorite books are novels and mysteries, and she listens to R&B, rap, and gospel. She smiles when she talks about her poetry and her kids. There are about thirty people who work at Roses, and she is just one of them. Admittedly, I cheated in talking to Danielle because I was expressly interviewing her. I know quite a few facts about her, sure, but we couldn’t be called friends the way she is friends with the folks in Pondtown, nor are we really even acquainted as closely as she is acquainted with the people she works with every day at Roses. Still, doesn’t this portrait make her more real, more than some person standing behind a counter? The ﬁrst step in getting along with someone is realizing how little you know about her. I hope Danielle illustrates something for us, then; at the same time, presenting her as an example like this does a disservice to the reality of her person. She’s really there, remember—she is much more than something to invoke vaguely as a symbol and to write articles about. Do say “hi” to her if you stop by Roses or happen to pass her on the street.
You can charge anything you want at the Bookstore (on your Student ID) and it only appears on the monthly bill as “BOOKSTORE” as a lump sum. Every meal, on the mandatory 14 or 19 Washington College Meal Plan costs the same whether you eat the lobster or a salad. So eat as much as you can and work it off in the gym, you’re paying for that too. Yesterday’s burgers are today’s Salisbury Steaks. At least we don’t waste everything. You’re paying on average $1,360 to be a student at Washington College each week. A large portion of this goes to paying your professors. A full class schedule of four MWF class periods breaks down to over $80 dollars for a ﬁfty-minute class whether you go or not. Of course this original basic total pays for everything– speakers, Public Safety, publications, administration, buildings expenses, sports, staff, events, and clubs, (and everything this college does) but it’s certainly incentive to get out of bed and go to class (the snooze button doesn’t get you a refund). I’ve learned more from drinking with a professor than sitting through one of their lectures. Take advantage of these opportunities. The average case of Milwaukee’s Best Light is around $10.99 in Chestertown, making each can $0.37. Don’t pay more than what you think you should at a party. The rules change completely from drinking indoors and outdoors. No matter how old you are an open container is still an open container, and a peeing on a tree is still public urination If you don’t pay your Public Safety ticket, it gets billed eventually. But you can appeal every single Public Safety ticket (no matter what, just ask for a ticket appeal form), and if nothing else, delay the process for a while longer. Fall Break is not actually a break. It’s just one or two days off from class. We used to have advising days off, but we didn’t call them breaks. Just extended drinking binges. Anyone can register a party, even in their own dorm room. Finally you can play music and not worry about being shut down. Just talk to Student Affairs. Public Safety can ticket a car, but if it’s not registered at the college there’s nothing they can do about it. On the other hand, it’s only $30 dollars to register for an entire year (compared to $500 plus per semester at a big school)
and even freshmen can have cars. Public Safety will pick you up and drive you back to your dorm anytime – don’t feel unsafe. You have very few guaranteed rights as a student. There isn’t even a Student Rights Handbook if you did. The school can change your Housing Contract as many times as they deem necessary; so be nice to them and follow the rules. This is a small school. If you ﬁnd yourself in special circumstances, there is nothing to lose by going directly to administration and asking the right people. Unless you’re asking for a football team. Condoms and other forms of birth control methods are free. Take advantage while it lasts. And if you don’t want the useless ﬂavored condoms left in the bag your RA passes around, visit Health Services. Credits are easy to come by. Unless you’re being a waiter or a janitor for the summer, you might be able to get credit for what you consider work. You even get credit for being in a play and that’s fun. This school is a small experiment in politics – it’s who you know that might get you into that class, that trip, or that job. Write thank you notes. The Career Center is a resource students pay for. After graduating everyone is looking to go into Graduate School or the Working World. That’s a lot to do on your own. Get free career advice and help in the process before you’re trying to swing it on top of working a job you don’t want. Its still “who you know” and you should know the Career Center. You’re already paying for the services, staff, and facilities. Use them and demand satisfaction, but just remember that nothing is perfect. Speakers and campus programs cost a bundle of money and are usually free to go to. Leave your dorm and do things you wouldn’t get to do anywhere else. Take advantage and get involved. Play sports, do drama, and start a club. Get a scholarship or a research grant. Travel, eat, and sleep on the school’s dime while you still can. Remember that anyone can take out a sailboat or kayak at the waterfront. Pass the swim test (we can use the pool too), go down, and have an adventure. If you haven’t had a slice of Proc’s pizza (and garlic knots) or a Boston Milkshake from Downey’s, you’re missing out.
The Collegian’s 20 Things You Don’t Know About Washington College
Vol. 17, Issue 2
Orange Fence Objections
hat disease is plaguing social life at Washington College that we are reduced to congregating like herds of sheep within the conﬁnes of a fence? In what’s referred to as an “Orange Fence” party, hundreds of students pack themselves into a corral-like, fenced-in area, with Public Safety lurking nearby to wrangle rowdy students back inside. WAC collegians gather awkwardly to drink themselves into comas, stare at one another pointlessly, and be groped by people they would normally turn their noses up at. What’s next, will we be hog-tied and lassoed while in drunken stupors? It is a number of freshmen and sophomores, who, unable to buy alcohol on their own and apparently desperate to obtain it through any means, tend to frequent these Orange Fence “parties.” They accumulate around bottles of beer like ﬂies on garbage, clinging to anyone who will give them anything alcoholic. Freshmen have often asked how students are able to carry alcohol to and from the fence party without being given citations from Public Safety. Upperclassmen say that Public Safety won’t “bother” anyone unless alcohol is in plain view, or if there is some sort of irrational behavior. But what is rational about Public Safety ofﬁcers, who are supposed to uphold laws pertaining to underage drinking, standing by and doing nothing? I often wonder what Public Safety must be thinking; what they do in situations such as these. The ofﬁcers gawk at us from the other side of the fence, literally two feet away from where we stand, watching us make asses of ourselves and remaining completely powerless as long as students are inside the orange tape. Director of Student Activities Bob Hooey claims that orange fence parties are meant to provide students with a safe place to have fun, not to control students or to go against school policy; and really, as far as the alcoholic beverage policy, there is no control. Dean of Students Bryan Matthews says that
the goal of Orange Fence parties is to “give students a reason to stay on campus.” But has the administration gone too far, doing almost anything within their power to keep students on campus? What else will be tolerated within the boundaries of the fence, which seems to grant amnesty to anyone inside it? What are to be the limits within these orangey limits, which now seem limitless?
Campus authorities claim that all-campus parties are “just not feasible” indoors. They say it is unfair to bring loud parties involving alcohol indoors, for fear of disturbing someone who may want to sleep or study. Because, of course, obnoxiously loud music rattling the ground and hundreds of insanely drunk college students parading around outside certainly won’t prevent non-partiers from rest or relaxation. Perhaps it is not a matter of disturbance, a matter of keeping students on campus for the weekends, or even a matter of providing a healthy social life for students living on campus. Perhaps it is simply a matter of keeping animalistic behavior where it belongs. It’s quite peculiar that we can’t have all-campus parties indoors, yet raging parties with obvious alcohol consumption can be held in plain sight of the
community. The infamous Hill Dorms used to be the site for the college’s best-attended parties, but because of recent amendments to the college’s alcohol policies, all-campus parties may no longer be held indoors. But what happens when it’s too cold to party outside? Are we suddenly supposed to be sober for six months out of twelve? The question that rises, however, is whether or not Orange Fence parties could be improved upon, possibly even recognized as socially acceptable. Bryan Matthews urges that “in the absence of such an on-campus event, [we believe that] our students will continue to seek off-campus social opportunities where the risks are even higher.” In truth, then, OF parties are ultimately for the beneﬁt of students, but what can be done to prevent them from becoming socially retarded and make them something that’s regarded as a legitimate social event? Students have suggested moving the party indoors (which is apparently improbable), getting better bands, changing the location each time, losing the alcohol, having the school provide the alcohol, or just getting rid of the OF parties all together. The word fence offends me with its very nature. Perusing countless dictionaries, it’s been described as a “coop,” “cage,” “pen,” “jail,” “conﬁne,” “sty,” or even “a place where stolen goods can be bought” – all obviously negative connotations. Public Safety is fencesitting three hundred ridiculous children in an ugly orange playpen, impartial to the underage drinking and awaiting riotous behavior. And the fact that school administrators feel that we, as college students, are incapable of making mature decisions offends me even more. Citizens of the United States as a whole do not always make the best decisions when it comes to their personal lives, but the government does not grant amnesty to users of illegal narcotics for one night each month, or allow young alcoholics to reign free every few weeks under their careful supervision. That’s what we would call Big Brother. Personal decisions should be left as just that. No one is in perfect accord when it comes to opinions about the fence parties, but everyone does have an opportunity to voice their opinions. If anyone is insulted by the idea of being encouraged to “party” in a pen of drunken deviants, then perhaps you should avoid the next orange fence party, talk to the SGA, or submit your opinion formally to Bryan Matthews or Bob Hooey. If you would rather howl at the moon, a bottle in each hand, with Public Safety looking over your shoulder, then I wish you all the happiness in the world. As for me, I follow what Bing Crosby once sang, “don’t fence me in.”
The Garden State That Tried Too Hard
himsical,” Drew Baylor says with a bitter smile as he gazes upon the waxy facial expression of his dead father laid out in an Elizabethtown, Kentucky funeral home. The camera angle cuts to a close-up of the corpse, whose lips wriggle into a garish sort of half-grin in response. It seems that “whimsical” is putting it kindly. In Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown, Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is a dark and brooding young man who trades in his family roots for a famous career, until a parent’s death brings him back to his abandoned family. Love unexpectedly ﬁnds him along the way, in the form of an unconventional girl (Kirsten Dunst) with a childlike positive outlook on life… “But wait!” you may protest. “You are confused! The plot and characters you just described are those of Garden State, Zach Braff’s 2004 love story nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.” And that statement would be correct. Elizabethtown is strikingly similar to last year’s ﬁlm in many regards. In fact, Elizabethtown may be more “Garden State” than Garden State itself. While Elizabethtown adopts many of Garden State’s most favorable aspects, like its eclectic soundtrack and artistic camera shots, the ﬁlm on the whole brings one word to my mind: contrived. Let us compare and contrast: the main characters of both ﬁlms have left home to pursue glamorous careers and must return without the success that they sought. Zach Braff’s character, “Large,” is a C-list actor in Hollywood, most famous for his role as a mentally disabled man. The cynicism in his unfulﬁlled life provides a perfect opportunity for transformation by Natalie Portman’s free-spirit character. While Elizabethtown operates under the same premise, Drew Baylor’s career crisis almost lacks effectiveness because it is so exaggerated. Baylor is employed by a multibillion-dollar global corporation that manufactures athletic shoes. He personally has designed a concept “shoe to end all shoes,” revolutionizing the entire industry. Our story opens with the recall of every shoe produced, making
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Drew Baylor the biggest failure in business since the Enron scandal. He is ﬁred and charged with “sending an entire generation back to bare feet.” Baylor is in the process of committing suicide with a steak knife and an exercise bike when he receives the call from home: his father is dead, and as the eldest child, he must make all of the family’s arrangements. Leaving behind his suicidal notions, Baylor must comfort his mother and sister and hop a plane from their home in Oregon to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where his father’s Southern roots and all of his military buddies stand vigil over the body. Most of Drew’s story takes place during this grieving period. He grapples with the astronomical failure of his shoe, the side of his father he never knew, and Claire, the persistent blonde stewardess who challenges his cynical attitude. Their “falling-in-love” period is intriguing, and their all-night phone conversation brings great romantic tension. But when the director brings the two characters face to face, the tension between Claire and Drew falls ﬂat. Crowe must have seen my point, because in the movie’s conclusion he makes a last-ditch effort to restore the excitement of Drew and Claire’s separation: Claire sends Drew on a beautiful road trip across the Southern United States, complete with a mix CD for each stop. The CD inspires not one but two soundtracks to Elizabethtown. Claire skillfully mixes big names like Tom Petty and Elton John with less obvious choices like The Hombres and Eastmountainsouth. After the ﬁlm’s promising setup and sinking middle, the road trip does save Elizabethtown in the end. This ﬁlm is a deﬁnite rental, though it may not be $9 theater ticket material. My advice: buy the soundtrack while you wait for the movie to be released to DVD. While Elizabethtown fails to convince me of the simple beauty of love that Garden State conveys with such subtlety, it does serve as the second installment to an emerging genre in love stories: the non-cliché, independent romantic comedy. Goodbye Hugh Grant cookie-cutter romance, hello whimsical.
Not Impressed? Then WRITE FOR US! The Collegian Monthly Interest Meeting Wednesday, November 2nd 7:00 PM Reid Basement
Vol. 17, Issue 2
for sure didn’t know how deep the wound went. It was a dark violet rip from his t-shirt below the ribcage in the middle of his chest, the length of a thumb. I knew somewhere not too much deeper were organs worth saving. The idiot didn’t even think about ruining a good tee. He had slits on his neck where the skin he’d cut through dangled slightly. It was a thin cut, there, at least. When he came out of the apartment, it almost brought me to tears to be so apprehensive. I had to ask if he had anything on him. I never want to feel that feeling again, to think someone I’ve known so well can be someone else (dangerous). The knife, or anything, of course for my safety, but also the upstairs neighbors had called the police. I don’t want to think if he hadn’t heard my voice outside and put it down. He looked at me with a detached sincerity. “I screwed up; we need to go to the hospital.” I couldn’t. The closest hospital was in Salisbury and we were in Ocean City. Suppose he hadn’t received proper medical attention, suppose he went to the place he was before, I couldn’t take that risk. So we waited for the police to show up. He said, “I’m short of breath. I think I punctured a lung.” He sat down in my car on the passenger’s side, and we and the neighbor who had called waited for the police. When he said he punctured a lung, his words were in actuality a chant in a whisper. I’d called on my way down not 2 hours ago; he was watching Wimbledon on the couch, chilling. Now I get here… and here comes the cop car. I don’t think this cop needed to shave a day in his life. I tell him to call an ambulance; he calls another squad car. The next cop is older; he’s seen this before. He saunters up to my friend and asks who did this, thinking it’s a robbery gone awry. Pure shock hits his face when my friend answers. And my bud keeps telling anyone, everyone, he’s punctured a lung after he tells the ofﬁcer, plainly, “Oh it wasn’t anyone else. I did it.” I’m calling his roommates frantically. One answers. I just say to get back. He wigged out, again. But worse. Get back. The ambulance arrives. People are on the street, a sideshow between beach visits. A lady stops and asks me if everyone’s okay, she knows a guy in that apartment complex. I tell her she’s got the wrong guy. They are getting him on a stretcher. The cops start asking me questions. I’m just trying to ﬁgure out where this hospital is, a cop ushers me to go inside the apartment with him. I refuse to. I can’t help him there, I point to the neighbor who called the cops, and the cop senses my uncooperative refrain: “Your friend is dying!” Fuck him. Fuck this. This fucking cop thinks he’s hooked me. It took every blood cell not to tell him to fuck off. What does he want me to say? We were doing PCP on the back porch and he thought the bay inlet was a lava lamp in Satan’s bedroom? What? I told him to talk to the person that was here before me, the one that called the cops. Thankfully he did. And as I walked away from that, the roommate who answered his phone pulled up as the ambulance drove away. I stepped in the car and we headed to Salisbury Hospital. The ambulance turned left, but Salisbury was to the right. We turned right. Farther in the drive, we would see a helicopter crossing our paths. A funny thing happened on the way to the hospital. My friend who was driving said, “Man you write, at least this will be something worth jotting down.” At that moment I felt like every cold blooded hospital chasing lawyer. Write? Who wants to fucking write when our friend runs into a wall with the biggest blade from Cutco pointing toward his chest. It was the size of a thumb and the blackness of an abyss. Plus organs and shortness of breath. The nurse seemed nervous, and we received the dark side of the Hippocratic oath. Not family? No news. We sat there for hours. His family wouldn’t talk to us. The hospital wouldn’t talk to us, and then a pre-med scrub slipped up: “I talked to him, he seems conscious.” The older woman to her left glared at her. I said thank you, and sat down. I picked up the ﬁrst magazine, a New Yorker, and read a debut ﬁction piece that I hadn’t ﬁnished from last week. It was about a sister who dies and the two brothers feel responsible because they left her at the beach. I can’t write about this. They travel around the island where she never washed up ashore. I can’t write about this. They explore at night for her ghost, using a map of the island she had drawn in crayon. When I look at him now he’s so medicated and a ghost of who he was. They never ﬁnd her, I don’t think. I think how precious and precarious life is. But I can’t see the end, and its not longer than a thumb but deeper than anything I have ever seen.