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Lindsey Kuper

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Gödel, Escher, *yawn* [Oct. 10th, 2006|06:12 am]
Lindsey Kuper

I've felt a little out of sorts ever since getting back from Iowa last month on the 19th. The weird feeling started at my parents' house, where they've undertaken a large and long-awaited construction project. For the most part, they're trying to get the house back to the way it was before it underwent a series of disastrous mid-20th-century remodels. No more logic-defying floor plan, no more pointless dropped ceilings, no more fake beams, bizarre sparkly white bricks and green shag carpeting -- woohoo!

Except that, well, the thing is that those sparkly bricks and shag carpeting, as ugly as they were, were home. They've been part of my life since I was born. And I know the house is going to be really, really great when it's done, but remodeling is one of those worse-before-it's-better deals, and right now it's all sheets of plastic and piles of scrap baseboard and nothing where I'm used to having it. My parents have taken over Maya leadsynth's old room until their new bedroom is done, and my old room is piled up with stuff from the soon-to-be office and dining room, so we slept on couches and the floor while we were visiting. It was wonderful to see my family, but I left feeling like we hadn't really been home.

After my parents dropped us off at the Minneapolis airport on the 18th to fly back to our respective cities, I was struck by a powerful urge to not go back to Portland, but to just go to Chicago with Maya instead. I wanted to be close to her, and I wanted early fall in Chicago, and I wanted to not be on a plane for four hours -- but I especially missed and wanted her house. Strange, right? I think that it was the not-being-home thing. I'd had a concept of what "home" would be, I'd been expecting it, I hadn't gotten it, and now some part of me was demanding it -- or the closest substitute available, anyway. When I finally stopped hugging Maya to let her get on her plane and walked across the airport to wait for mine, I actually considered it for a few moments. If my flight was overbooked, I thought, I'd volunteer to fly to Chicago instead. Why not do it, just for a few days? I could work from anywhere. Hell, I could get up at 10:30 in Chicago and still be on time for work on Portland hours.

Then it turned out that my flight was overbooked. Once it was actually in the realm of possibility, the Chicago thing didn't seem like that great of an idea after all. How and when would I get back to Portland? What if my boss wanted to meet in person? But, feeling spontaneous, I volunteered not to fly anyway. In return they were offering a $300 voucher from Northwest Airlines, a boarding pass for the same flight 24 hours later, and a free night at the nearest Ramada. Wi-fi, solid water pressure, Adult Swim -- these are things you can't get at my parents' house, and they were sounding good. And an actual bed after two nights on the couch: not such a terrible thing, either. It wasn't a very difficult decision.

I still had to work the next morning, though. My plan was to get to a place where I could work by eleven, which was nine in Portland. I packed up my stuff bright and early and walked out of the hotel around eight, thinking I could walk to a bus stop, bus it downtown and everything would be cool. Unfortunately, it had been dark when we had gotten to the hotel the previous night and I hadn't realized where I was, namely, between the airport and the Mall of America. Walking is practically against the law there. Still, I saw a big "MetroTransit" sign on the building across the howling freeway to my right. Ah, that must be where I was supposed to get on the bus! I walked over there. It took a long time. There were people and buses, but it wasn't a bus stop, it was the public transportation office building, and a MetroTransit guy in front of the building took one look at me and said "Hi, you need help." A statement, not a question. He ended up pointing me in the direction of another bus driver who actually let me on his bus before his route had started and took me to a different place, where I got on a different bus, which took me where I was trying to go. Midwesterners, man. They're really, really nice. In a really blunt sort of way. I'm allowed to generalize about them because I am one.

Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot done that day. I did manage to start work on time, but it was hard to concentrate, and I still didn't feel right. Having played the what-might-not-have-trans-fats game with the hotel vending machine the previous night probably didn't help a whole lot, either. Finally, I got back to the airport (on the light rail! it was swell) and made a Starbucks purchase for the first and only time in my life. (A bagel and a medium Earl Grey tea. I refuse to use their size names.) I had thought that I might try to work on the plane, but the table at my seat was kind of broken and there was no place to put my laptop, and it was a bumpy flight, and oh, hell, why am I making excuses? Who can ever get a damn thing done on a plane anyway? Flying sucks. I need to remember that. I always try to romanticize it, or think of it as a brief vacation from life, or even (as so many pop songs would have it) as a transformative experience -- and then it just ends up sucking so much harder because I had expectations.

Right, so I got back home a day later than expected, which just sort of added to the weirdness. At first I thought that I felt out of sorts because I hadn't been to the gym for several days. Then I thought that I hadn't been to the gym for several days because I felt out of sorts. When I finally went, I discovered that my gym was closed for cleaning until the 30th. I was disappointed, but it was a relief to actually know why I wasn't going to the gym. Because it was closed, of course! I finally made it back this past Friday, after letting altogether too much time slide by, and my plan since then has been to make up for lost time by going every day for two weeks. That and I'm going to make myself study for the damn GRE every day. I already screwed up by doing neither yesterday, but that's because I got home at 7 a.m. yesterday morning from the party I went to Saturday night. (And then went back last night!) I feel like I lost a day in there somewhere. I don't know. But I got to play at a house party and a bunch of people liked my stuff, I think. Or two house parties. Or actually, the same party on two different nights. That was a first.

Wow. I'm tired. Reading Hofstadter counts as studying for the GRE...right?


[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-10-10 09:36 am (UTC)
And you only got to see about...one third of that party, too. But probably the most active third of it.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-10-10 04:19 pm (UTC)
Hee. It was enough to get an impression of how the rest had been.

As my roommate and I were leaving, he said, "Man, I really need to learn something about computers." I hadn't foreseen my friends having that effect on him.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-10-10 06:19 pm (UTC)
Are we making the life look glamorous?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-10-10 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yes! We are! It's glamorous to throw a five-day party. It's glamorous to have bands come play at your house, even if it's in a musty basement. It's glamorous for freyley to bake ten pies just because he feels like it. We're privileged as hell.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-10-11 07:05 am (UTC)
Although I do stop and pause that making and eating pie would be what the glamorous kids are doing these days. Not that I complain, because, hey, pie.

I did write a fairly involved critique of the popularity of knitting.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2006-10-10 01:46 pm (UTC)
That's really interesting, about planes not being good places to work for you -- I can usually get some pretty good coding done on a plane. Or read a lot.

How do you do in noisy coffee shops?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-10-10 04:17 pm (UTC)
Noise isn't the issue so much as not being able to find a comfortable way to sit. I can't do it on a plane. Same deal with coffee shops -- I'll pick a noisy one with comfy chairs over a quiet one with uncomfy chairs any day.
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-10-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
The GRE is easy. I am pretty much retarded and I got a good score. If you're good at high school math and just remember the word list, you're in good shape.

I find that I like to fly whenever I am closing a chapter in my life. For example, when I am ready to go back to Japan to work and live where I think it feels like home, I will see the plane trip as a good place to finish off this chapter in my life.

So short flights mean nothing but irritation...which is why I don't travel much.

Glad you're back safely.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-10-11 12:29 am (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not worried about the verbal section, but timed tests don't really agree with the way I do math. I like to poke at math problems from a few different directions, even directions that probably won't work, just to see what will happen. I tend to do this even with easy problems. I end up losing track of time and not having enough time to do the problems at the end. This has happened twice now on practice tests.

I'm getting better, though. On the first practice test, I got the last six problems wrong because they were all wild guesses. The second time, I paced myself better and only got the last three wrong. (I get some others wrong throughout the test, too, but that's bound to happen; if I can just get to the point where I have enough time to try every problem, I'll be happy.)
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From: hiamanda
2006-10-11 12:07 am (UTC)
As a frequent business traveler, let it be known that I, too, refuse to use Starbuck's sizes. I have to patronize them far too often, usually while waiting for a delayed morning flight.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-10-11 01:02 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you had a semi-decent time on your trip. I know what you mean about home not really feeling like home.

Jenn - milkring.com
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[User Picture]From: sonetka
2006-10-11 05:19 am (UTC)
I don't use Starbucks sizes either (I wonder how many non-employees do?) Part of it is good old reactionariness; if small, medium and large were good enough for my parents, they're good enough for me, dammit ;). The other part is that I can never quite remember which one is which without pausing, even though I've had spells of going there a LOT (last year, when the Daniel Eye Crisis was going on, we spent a lot of time recuperating in the Starbucks which is conveniently located about twenty feet away from the U of U's ER).
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-10-11 05:39 pm (UTC)
I hear people using Starbucks sizes even when they're not at Starbucks. Drives me nuts.
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