Archive for the ‘Ego’ Category

Cary Quad

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Imagine my surprise when I learned that there were two Hersey ’09 alums in my building, one of them just down the hall from me. I encountered one, as he ascended the stairs, wearing a familiar green Awards shirt emblazoned with Hersey insignia.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t another Hersey alum?”
“Wait, aren’t you… Tommy Tran?”
“Indeed I am.”
“I thought you went to U of I.”

That seems to be the prevailing thought here. It’s only natural. Most of my crew went to Champaign. Oh, well, alas and all that. I console myself by reminding myself that that ellipsis is my reputation preceding me.

The second floor of Cary is a bit of a disappointment. I tried to reserve room 314, but I got bumped. This puts me a little closer to the drunks, and it’s not delightfully esoteric. The new dorm room comes with good and bad, of course. First off, it’s 3 ft narrower than last year’s, but a couple of feet taller. The hallways are wider but at the expense of shorter rooms.

There is only one closet for both of us to share and on top of that, it’s filled with piping that I’m guessing contains the electrical lines for the two rooms directly above as well as the recently installed sprinkler system.

The bedlofts are done by a different company for this building. These lofts are specifically designed for Cary South’s rooms (narrow and tall). Both beds are lofted on the same frame, which is made of 2x4s held together with wing nuts and carriage bolts. Unsanded, unpainted lumber. It’s a little bit… rustic?

Oh, well. I came with sandpaper packed so that I can try to smooth any bumps I encounter.

The lofts are also taller than last year. Final occupant elevation is about 2 feet higher, at 7 feet. This makes the ladder quite necessary. Furthermore, there is no side rail. Rolling off the side of the bed is not only hilarious, it’s also fatal.

There’s more. I’m actually tall enough to use the peephole this year. There are individual dressers as well as a separate desk but no on-the-wall cabinetry like Harrison had.

But this is a newly renovated low-range res hall. Meaning…

there is a goddamn bathtub!

Just a couple of doors down the hall, it has its own stall and a curtain and everything. But I’m a little afraid to use it, mostly because of all the other people that have used it. I’d like the opportunity to pour bleach all over it first ever since I remembered that it has contained the soakings of what could be hundreds of other people.

The rest of the showers are just like those at FAR at UIUC. Except since this is an all male dorm (part of which is solely for the football team), the shower is proportioned differently. It’s really big. The knob is about 6 inches above my eye level and the nozzle is two feet above my head. I have to stand on my tip toes to adjust the spray.

Still, though, this set-up has the same sinks used for hand-washing are used for other general use. As a closet hypochondriac, I shudder in my bed for fear of brushing my teeth in the morning. Something I’ll just have to get used to. Hopefully, this floor won’t have “that guy” who will ruin it for everyone.

My Irrational Tattoo

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Earlier in the semester, I woke up one morning and went to the dining hall to find Chris and Dylan already eating.

The three of us walked down to the incessantly-legitimate business establishment where my soon-to-be tattooer was chillin’ on a sofa watching TNT.

It took ten minutes to do, and thankfully, there was much cleaning and unwrapping of instruments beforehand. Assembling the multipart needle apparatus was like putting together a rifle or SLR. Then there was all the cleaning with what smelled like phenolics. The actual process hurt like an intramuscular injection given to me by a power sander. But it wasn’t unbearable. It became easier after a while.

A short while later, we were making our way back to Harrison, hopping fences and disrupting the established order in somewhat of a thuggish manner in accordance with my new status as “badass” although I continue to question the aptness of my new designation.

Everyone at the Grille wanted to see it. And the people on my floor when my RA noticed it in our particularly echoey hallway. And then the engineering majors (which is everybody) found out and I had to roll up the sleeve for them, too.

pi tattoo

The design is mostly original. I pulled a free copy off of the internet and photoshopped the hell out of it. The upper bar is actually originally a tilde that I grew to enormous size and tamed and whittled. The legs are flipped around and slimmed variants of the originals.

I’ll spare you the details of the aftercare which lasted a week at a half and involved much more lotion than I care to remember. Although I will have to say that I bled blue without even being a Cubs fan.

I am not so eager to tell my family about this. It’s not the programmer aunts and engineers uncles that are the problem so much as my immigrant grandmother whose math skills are rudimentary at best and whose world views are essentially reactionary and… “distrustful”.

She’ll think I joined a gang.

When I try to explain to her the concept of using pi as a universal constant for Euclidean calculation, she’ll inevitably fill in the words she doesn’t recognize with such panic-inducing terms as “firearms” and “rollin'” and an image of a young urban thug named “Euclid”.

But so it remains. An irrational and constant reminder of a constant and irrational decision.