July 24, 2004

GeneralChange of plans...

This entire summer has been a season of constantly shifting plans.

My original plan, way back in May, put me back in Philly by June 1st. That fell through after some communications got crossed. No harm, no foul, however, as the summer progressed nicely on its way.

There was an intermediate plan that put me back in the city around July 1st. That fell through, just as time continued and things kept happening here.

The most recent plan put me in the house in Manayunk around this week, just after getting back from London. This is going to fall through now after an examination of my finances. At this point, I can afford to move up, but it'd be tight (there's no problem with paying rent/utilities, but just looking at whether or not it's worth paying for groceries and transport around the city) to the point that I kind of don't want to work to make it work. So I'm going to be staying in Maryland for a couple of weeks, probably until the first week of August.

Instead, I've been able to get a crack at going back to my old job for a few weeks, to make some money there. Home is familiar and quite boring sometimes, but it is also pretty cheap, and my parents haven't thrown me out yet.

Incidentally, my sister gets back from Paris in about 3 weeks, and I really want to see her when she gets in. This has been a major part of the decision, I think.

A lot of this has been due to my inability to make plans come together, which is probably one of my hugest faults. I refuse to directly plan for the events in life and often let things just take their course according to fate, the winds, or the decisions of others. A lot of this has also been due to the fact that I was just now able to get a schedule from Villanova for the fall - I'm concerned about taking a job based on not having my schedule planned out for the fall.

(sidenote: I'm registered for 3 classes: Dramaturgy, Script analysis and an Acting class, taken because the playwriting elective was probably not going to happen. I also found out that I owe the department 3 semesters (out of the 4 I'll be a student) of a no-credit, no-tuition practicum that involves working on the plays of the department. That works out to 80 hours a semester...trying to fit a job around that will be quite a contortionist act.)

At this point, I'm just really happy to have something concrete to live with. I want to leave home. It just seems to make as much sense to stay for a few more days in order to get a better leg up.

To my friends in the city, I will be up on weekends, and when I have free days. I even have a (nice) place to stay. I just can't (won't?) make it permanant for a few more weeks.

Like I said, I'm currently happy, and more optimistic than I've been in a long time.

[Listening to: "Float On", by Modest Mouse from the album "Good News For People Who Love Bad News"]
Posted by Matthew at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2004

GeneralLondon, in retrospect

Piccadilly Circus, by night [click for full-size]

London is the clearing-house of the world. -
Joseph Chamberlain, in a speech at Guildhall, London

It was a good trip, an amazing trip. We (my father and I) arrived on Sunday morning at around half past seven, London time (approximately 2:30AM to our minds still set on good old Eastern time.) After wading through the lines for British immigration at Heathrow (which, I firmly believe, is punishment for seceding so hastily from the British Empire over 200 years ago...) we were able to make the transfers to the hotel and to the city itself. The hotel was in Kensington/Chelsea, which was a very nice area and afforded a quick walk to the Tube.

Over the course of the week, I visited most of the typical touristy things around London - Tower Bridge, Whitehall, Trafalger Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey. We did a bunch of the smaller attractions too, as we both disliked the crowds and had tastes that were outside the realm of waiting in line to see the Crown Jewels. We saw the London Theatre Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the London Transport Museum, all of which were just as fascinating as every other part of the trip. The most fun I had was experiencing the Tube/London Underground for the first time. So like the Broad Street subway, yet infinitely better...except for the overcrowded trains, and the random electrical blackouts underground.

We managed to catch two shows while there as well: Les Miserables, and "The Reduced Shakespeare Company presents the Bible: The Complete Word of God: Abridged." Fantastic stuff - the first was a show that my father and I had already seen and fallen in love with. The Reduced Shakespeare Company has always been a favorite of mine because of their reduced version of the complete works of Shakespeare. We spent a good deal of time in the theatre district, the West End area about Leicester Square and Covent Garden. It's really just incredible to walk through there on a busy afternoon, like a Rittenhouse Square but with ten times the amount and diversity of people hanging around.

It was an incredible week of which the highlight was seeing my sister on Monday when we took a train into Paris. She's studying at the Sorbonne, and is doing very well, despite the fact that she finds herself talking with her hands just as much as muddles through the French language with her mouth. Paris was lovely as well, and even more crowded than London - a fact I disliked.

The thing about London that struck me was how international it seemed. My own visions of London pretty much revolved around the always-stereotyped proper British Gentleman archetype - bowler hat, thick accent, smoking a pipe and drinking tea. London is so much more than that, a city that bursts at the seams with this vibrant color of people from all around the world, both acting as tourists and as it's natives. I remember seeing or hearing bits and pieces of nearly every single British possession while there, whether it was a broken word in another language or accent, or the scrawled writing on a signpost somewhere advertising cheap Indian food. I've been to New York before, and have spent some time there, and it felt even more "international" than New York. The gentlemen of Monty Python were nowhere to be found, except for on the BBC.

In the beginning I made the joke about wanting to seek asylum whilst in London, and at the end of the trip, I'm glad that I didn't actually try anything to this end. London is incredibly beautiful and cosmopolitan, however, it's also incredibly expensive, and despite the fact that my father and I were among the better ones, westerners tend to stick out like sore thumbs. I want to go back, soon, but for now, it's just good to be home again, having not had to wait in any lines or hear overlapping conversations in languages different than my own for something like 36 hours now.

I have photos, and most will probably be uploaded within a day or two.

I arrived home to find paperwork from Villanova: the loans have gone through, which is good, and I also have notes from the theatre department regarding the upcoming semester. It was a fine way to burst my summer bubble, going through a manilla envelope packed with information about the upcoming classes I have to still register for, complete with syllabi and due dates for assignments that seem impossible at this point.

Oh well, no worries. There's still a month left of summer. I should be heading into Philadelphia tomorrow to see a reading at the Borders on Broad Street by Justin Cronin who just had his latest book published. I'm not sure how long I'm staying yet - probably Tuesday or Wednesday. If anyone is around, give the cell a call and I'll drop by.

I've also managed to come back with a cold, so I'm currently under the weather...but oh well. Life goes on.

[Listening to: "Happy Endings", by The All-American Rejects from the album "All American Rejects"]
Posted by Matthew at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2004


Just a quick not to let people know that I'll be travelling in London for the next week, so email/phone messages may go unanswered.

I'll be back Saturday, 17th July.

Until then...

Posted by Matthew at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2004

GeneralDesignated Protest Zones

In order to begin with a more orderly school year, the following protest zones have been established at La Salle. Those protesting are asked to keep within their designated zone so as to alleviate chaos, and reduce confusion.

20th Street Closure Protesters:
Please use the designated area highlighted in red at the corner of 20th and Olney. John (The hot dog guy) will still be on the corner, available to cater your specific protest needs. This remains unchanged from last year. Students will still walk by. They're still looking forward to the guy with the trumpet. Really. And bring back the car-mounted loudspeaker. You're making progress. Really.
Current Allegations Protesters:
In front of the Hayman Center (shown in blue). Near where the action is, and in front of the only people who can fix it, as athletics is kind of autonomous from the rest of the school... Students who want to protest the Basketball team in general should feel free to congregate there as well. This includes the newly formed student group, "SABH," Students Against Billy Hahn.
"The Tree Huggers:"
This is for all those who love the trees on south campus - COM majors, Neumannites, Cake editors - please protest in an orderly manner along the circular drive (highlighted in red) on south campus. This will minimize the impact to the rest of the community (Com Majors only watch movies, and Neumannites, who haven't had to deal with the 20th Street bullhorns.)
Unemployed Alumni Who Can't Read Their Diploma (as it is in Latin):
Please congregate in front of the Administration Building (shown in black). Stare with a confused look into the large glass windows. Ignore the fact that the translation was on the envelope, you clods.

I know, you all took a sharp breath when I wrote the "C" word there. It's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel with this one, folks...

Seriously though, in honor of your constant protests, and the constant "going in circles" attitude of the administration, please proceed directly to the track, where at least at the end of the day, you'll know how many miles you've walked and can see just how far you've come.
Any other groups wishing to protest any other aspect of La Salle are asked to please register with the school. Forms are available in the Dean of Students Office and also the Office of Safety and Security. Groups are asked to please register their causes quickly, as prime protest space will almost certainly be gone by the time classes begin in late August.

Yeah, top is meant as satire, meant humorously, insert standard disclaimer here.

I'm moving in the morning - at least getting a bunch of stuff up to Manayunk, and then most probably coming back here. I know - it's 2 steps forward, and one step back, but the round trip leaves me with a key, a place to sleep, and most of my stuff in Philadelphia.

Oh, my sister did manage to make it to Paris yesterday. My family couldn't be happier.

[Listening to: "Hallelujah", by Rufus Wainwright from the album "Shrek Soundtrack"]
Posted by Matthew at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)