June 9th, 2003

duke-flip

Hip Hop Show

I hip-hopped my little heart out on friday, and it went well I'd say. Word. We practiced the number backstage several times, so by the time we went out there I had the steps down, yo. (See how hip (hop) and urban I am now? Oooh, impressive.) Anyway, I got all the steps right, put lots of expression in, and had a very good time.

The only downside of the show was that, for some reason, they had decided to add stuff to the dance recital. Non-dance stuff. I don't know why the Off-key Singing Children From Hell were there, or who thought having them do a half hour's worth of painful selections from Sound of Music and other newly-ruined musicals was a good idea. The only good aspect of that atrocity was: (for the audience members who didn't flee in terror) our performance was so much amazingly better in comparison, we were a huge hit.

Having been warned ahead of time that the show was expected to be almost 3 hours in length, I actively discouraged attendance by anybody other than C, who I forced to come and take pictures (I wanted to have at least one fan there). C and I intentionally arrived late, though not late enough we discovered. It's a shame, because I would have loved to have my friends and family come watch me dance, I love to show off everything I've learned, but I simply couldn't subject them to a 3-hour show in order to see me dance for 2 minutes.

At home later that evening I played my downloaded version of the music and performed the dance for my sis and bro, complete with my midriff-revealing costume and a flashlight (for the light show). They thought it was cool, even the part where I forgot how small my livingroom was and slid right into the piano.
duke-hips

(Belated) Amherst Trip Report

Friday

After some debate, I'd decided not to rent a car. Instead I just took a shuttle from the airport into town. I never drove a car all 4 years at Amherst; I wouldn't really know how to get anywhere! Besides, everything I wanted to see is in walking distance once you're there. As I sat in the van, driving closer to the town, things started to look familiar, and I started to remember what landmarks we would pass even before we passed them.

I checked in, and found that they placed me in the same dorm I spent my last 2 years in. Kinda weird, that. A little disappointing; I'd hoped to be somewhere new. Dropped off my stuff, went for a walk.

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Saturday

After staying up until almost 2am talking the night before, I got up around 9 and went to breakfast, hooked up with my roomie and her boyfriend. We walked around campus a bit, then went into town to Starbucks. Then we went to a fascinating talk by Austin Sarat discussing his famous Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought course, "Murder".

Next was the talk I was supposed to speak at, "What Amherst did/did not teach me". There were around 15-20 students, all from my class, who were each supposed to share for about 2 minutes on that topic. Here is (approximately) what I said:

"Like N said, I'm a computer programmer. This means that I work with a lot of geeks. You might even say I'm a geek myself. However, I'm an articulate geek. This is unusual in technology, and I think that's what Amherst gave me. The ability to communicate, and on top of that, the ability to listen and understand people. I do user interface design, and unlike a lot of technical people I'm able to talk to the users, and come to understand not just what they want but what they need, and what kind of system would work best for them. And then, because i learned some coding here too, I write it for them.
Another thing Amherst taught me was that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.
I recently bought a house. What Amherst did not teach me is that the grass doesn't cut itself! It keeps growing and growing, every week!
Also, Amherst did not teach me that in the Real World you don't get to eat dinner with your best friends every night. You don't get to spend your days living with and surrounded by your best friends."

I probably did not deliver my talk as best as I could. Although some parts of it were intended to be funny, I guess I didn't have the proper amount of confidence: it startled me when people laughed (which they did, a lot!). I didn't pause enough when people laughed, and the proper rhythms weren't quite there. It's been awhile since I've spoken in public! However it was well-received even so. Several people came up to me afterwards and said they enjoyed it, which was a wonderful glowing feeling.

To my surprise, at the panel were both of my class advisors from my time at Amherst! My frosh advisor and my CS/thesis advisor. I talked to them for a bit afterward, then walked off with my thesis advisor to spend a good hour chatting with him in the math/CS building. It was cool to catch up with him, especially since I hadn't expected to.

Next I went to another fascinating classmate's talk: Ruby the trapese artist! She shared with us some videos of her work.

It rained most of saturday....luckily I had already done lots of exploring the day before. I spent a lot of time talking with SM, catching up on our lives in the past 10 years. We went to the class dinner, then the Zumby's acapella concert. Then we danced and socialized until 1 or 2am....I even returned on my own after SM had to leave! Clearly I was feeling much braver than when the reunion began.

Sunday

Not much happened on Sunday. I went to breakfast and leisurely sat around with the people with whom I'd begun to reaquaint myself. It was a little weird....there were so few people I knew there! However more and more people began to look familiar as the weekend progressed. It was an interesting time; I'm glad I went. Eventually I parted with my 1993 classmates, and spent some time wandering around campus and town again. My flight wasn't until late afternoon. I bought a few souvenirs - like a new Amherst sweatshirt, to replace my holey one. I bought a popover and an wonderful calzone, two treats I had loved while living there, and never found to be as good here....that was a good way to end my little memory trip.