Posts Tagged ‘college’

The ambiguity in sentence (1), At what time should we say that we will leave? stems from the fact that the clause what time can refer to either the time that the subset of people known as “we” is going to leave, or the time that the subset of people known as “we” will say that “we” is going to leave.

And you know what the best part is? To a linguist, this all makes perfect sense.
~ Ian

I was trying to do some black-and-white night photography up at UCSC last week.

These were two of my less-successful attempts.

l’heure de l’or

Posted: May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Since I haven’t played around with my camera for a while, I decided that I’d run around Cowell, Stevenson, and the East Field today, taking pictures of things.

The light quality was kind of interesting: sort of a diffuse, white light. The fog’s rolling in off of the bay tonight, and you can tell by some of the mist in these pictures.

Here we go:

I’ve talked before about how the redwoods on campus are very small redwoods. Here is a demonstration of the size of some of these puny dwarves of the species Sequoia sempervirens.

Like I said.


If I were a Cowell student, then I assume that this would be the dorm where I would live.

I presume that this house is reserved for manly men with manly beards. Of which I am, and have.

Cowell College, with random students.

The deer were very obliging, and let me photograph them.




A Bases-Ball game.


This “pedestrian crossing” was so named not because it was a crossing for pedestrians, but because it’s really run-of-the-mill and dull.

A tree, aglow in heavenly light.

It tried to talk to me. But since it was not a burning bush, I paid it no heed.

The famed Goat Statue of Cowell College.

There are a lot of myths about this statue. The truth is actually rather boring. But ask any UCSC student to tell you the story behind this statue, and you’ll get a beautiful, poignant story that explains why one of the school policies came to be and is entirely made up.

I really like the composition of this picture. Something about the combination of the rigid geometry of the plaza, the off-kilter angle, and the organic chaos of the plants growing on the trellis makes this a cool image to me.


I also like the composition of this one. Very much a two-point perspective view, if I were a painter.


I could not find a badger or a mushroom. Which is a good thing– badgers are friggin’ scary, man.

I don’t know about the mushrooms, though.

Any film buffs, Goths, or vampire aficionados in the audience should recognize this house.

It played an important part in the movie Lost Boys.

A tree, with some peeps.

Some light, shining through the mist.

I’m going to be going to Maker Faire tomorrow, so there will be more picture blogs coming up. In any case, here’s some pictures that I done took. With mah camera.


~ Ian

INT: The Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall. It is crowded and bustling with hordes of young people and other Damn Kids. IAN is sitting at a table, eating a plate of macaroni and cheese. Two GIRLS sit down near him, at a different table.

GIRL 1: Fuck men! You know? Fuck ’em.

GIRL 2: Why this time?

GIRL 1: You know. How many times have you ever had an orgasm in your life? Be honest.

GIRL 2: Umm… probably three?

GIRL 1: That’s what I mean! I’ve never had an orgasm. Lots of women have never had orgasms! But men, they have orgasms all the time! It’s easy for them. They don’t have to work for it.

GIRL 2: Yeah, I see what you mean…

GIRL 1: I mean, look at that guy over there. (points to a RANDOM DUDE, who is not IAN) That guy probably had twelve orgasms this week.

GIRL 2: I wouldn’t be surprised if he had twelve orgasms today.

GIRL 1: See? You know what I mean!

GIRL 2: Is there a surreptitious way to go up and check how hairy his palms are?

(IAN misses the next part of this conversation, because his face is buried in his macaroni, and he is snorting with laughter. When he finally pulls his face out of his macaroni, the GIRLS have moved on from their previous topic of conversation.)

GIRL 2: The soup is good today.

GIRL 1: It is so good!

~ Ian

Walking between classes today, I saw a group of people seated in a circle on a grassy lawn. They looked like central casting Happy Young People: they were white, dressed in t-shirts and jeans, male and female. The men had shaggy hair and grad-student beards. The women either had long hair down to their waists or hair cropped short against their skulls. They were joyful and golden in the California sunlight, not going anywhere, just being, communing with the spring air and warm sunshine on a beautiful day.

One of the men had a guitar.

He was playing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

It sparked a chain of thoughts in my mind. The young people were probably born in the early 90s, in ’91 or ’92. The sixties are completely lost to our generation. It’s in the irrevocable past. And yet I feel like my generation has nostalgia for this time that we can never visit.

“I wish I were back in the sixties,” a friend of mine told me once, her eyes shining and her face glowing with wistful remembrance of a time gone by. “Things were simpler then.”

“You can’t be back in the sixties,” I replied. “You were never there.”

“Yeah,” she said. “But still.”

Among the college students of my generation, there are artifacts of the past scattered casually and anachronistically among us. Led Zeppelin t-shirts. Bare feet on the summer grass. Woodstock concert LPs. Beards.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to live through the sixties. It was a time of freedom and youth uprising, that’s true– but it was also a time of war and assassinations, of dogs being set on peaceful civil rights protesters, and the ever-present haunting specter of the Draft, and the knowledge that it could all be over in less than forty-five seconds if Russia and the US decided to let their missiles fly. For every Woodstock, there was an Altamont. For every John Lennon, a Charlie Manson.

The sixties that the youth of my generation have composed in their minds is as based in reality as any fantasy realm. Yet it’s a place for them to retreat to. They play Beatles music, shaggy-headed and bare-footed, in the sunshine. They smoke weed and eat mushrooms in the light of the full moon, in drum circles far out in the woods.

You know what I think my generation’s idealization of the sixties is like, honestly? It reminds me most of the hard-edged Republicans who believe in a long-lost past where men were honest and just, women knew their place, and children never disobeyed or even expressed an opinion of their own. A past that never existed, yet for many people, is just as real as the chaotic, seething world in front of them– more real, in fact, because their PerfectWorld™ is the Platonic ideal of civilization as constructed in their heads, and everything else is just noise and madness.

Believing in a past that never existed is just as dangerous as ignoring history completely. How much better would our world be if the gullible idiots who believe in that perfect storybook small-town America actually looked at the world as it was and realized that it was just the same– if not worse– than our own world? Will my generation make that same mistake, and put the idolized Summer of Love on a pedestal– so much on a pedestal, in fact, that we ignore the world around us?

How can you feel nostalgia for a place you’ve never been?

~ Ian

Okay, freshman. I understand that you’re away from home for the first time in your life, and you are excited and scared. I know that you think it’s really cool to stay up hours and hours into the darkness. You also think that playing the ukelele is cool, for whatever reason. (Here is a tip: ukeleles are dorky and hipsterish. Mandolins are cool.) So you see, I comprehend why you are doing such a thing. You and me, we grok each other, man.

Still, I have to tell you one thing:

When you play your ukelele in the quad outside my window at 11:30 PM, I automatically assume you are a douchebag.

Not that I have anything against douchebags personally. Wait, scratch that– I do have something against douchebags. Namely, that they play the ukelele outside my window at 11:30 PM, thus depriving me of the much-needed sleep that I need. Because as we all know, no Internet and no sleep make Ian go crazy. And when I don’t get any sleep, I will go crazy. Rest assured that the fiery rage that smolders deep within my heart is enough to summon a spectral swarm of nightcrows from the depths of the Shadowfell, converging on you as you stand at the crossroads, lantern in hand, on the night of the new moon. They swarm around you, and just before you are devoured by them, one of them will take a crap on your flannel hoodie. Because the nightcrows hate hipsters, and have resist 20 to pretentious douchebaggery. As your flesh is slowly devoured and the light fades from your eyes, you will see my smiling face, beautiful and terrible in its wrath. And I will go back to my dorm room, lay down in my bed, and sleep, a smile on my face. You know why? Because I can’t hear any ukeleles.

And that makes all the difference.

(Please note that this note is not directed to the person who plays the flute late at night. I think that the sound of your instrument is both beautiful and mournful, and I think we could hang out. Just be aware that if you switch to a ukelele, your days are numbered. And trust me: if the number of your days were written out into binary, it wouldn’t even be a nybble. Yes, that is a technical term.)

Okay. Now I need a lawn, so I can tell the damn kids to get off it.

Damn kids.

~ Ian

Wild in the Woods

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So I was walking in the forest today, between classes.

For those of you who don’t know, or have never been here, UCSC is a university campus that’s about half-covered in thick coast redwood forest. The trees around my dorm are nearly all redwoods, and in certain parts of campus (like, between Science Hill and Kresge College) the trees are so thick that you can’t see through them.

Walking in a redwood forest might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of you, but for me, it’s part of my daily routine.

In any case, I was heading from my Art History class to my Semantics 1 class, a walk of about ten to fifteen minutes that cuts right across the core of campus, when I suddenly noticed, about ten feet away from me, a buck.

This was no ordinary buck, though. A beast of this kind, in ages past, might have been worshiped as sacred to the Horned God, or possibly kept in a temple sanctuary as a favored pet of Artemis. He stood nearly five feet tall at the shoulder, his head was proud and erect, and his antlers stretched nearly a meter and a half wide. His fur gleamed: it was brown-gray, and shiny with rain– as it should be this time of year, since it has finally begun to rain in Santa Cruz. This was a full-blooded, majestic, Baratheonic, gleaming-antlered stag.

I’ll tell you one thing about the deer here on UCSC’s campus: they’re wild, but they’re not scared of humans. Most of these deer have never heard a hunter’s gun, since guns aren’t allowed on campus. They don’t like it when you run up at them and try to pet them, but they’re not going to bolt and run. They’re merely… there. They accept your presence, and they aren’t afraid of you.

Be that as it may, the campus deer don’t tolerate any shit.

And looking at this specimen, I was suddenly aware of the fact that his antlers were as long and sharp as spears.

I wasn’t going to cross his path. Honestly, I was a little nervous.

But he was polite, and I was polite. He looked at me completely calmly, with the serene gaze of a king. I made an indication that he was free to go. He didn’t move. I stayed still.

Finally the stag got the idea, and crossed my path, heading off to wherever it was that he was going. I heard his hooves clip-clop-clip on the asphalt as he crossed the road, and then he vanished into the trees, off to somewhere hidden, a place that only the deer know.

It made me think… humans and animals coexist peacefully here on campus. We don’t bother them, and they don’t bother us. Why is it that the minute you step off campus, you see timid, small brownish deer that run away whenever they catch sight of you? Why is it that you never see animals on a hiking trail? Everywhere else, they’re afraid of us. I can understand why, too– humans are noisy, and do strange things, and drive mashing metal machines down bare highways and shoot big loud sticks that sound like thunder and kill like lightning. And yeah, there are no guns on campus, but we have cars. We have noises and houses and bright lights.

What makes college students different in the eyes of animals?

Oh, and I didn’t get a picture of the buck. I should have– but I didn’t have my camera.

Not much else to report, today. Spanish class has been cancelled, since my instructor has the flu. I have nothing to do, stretching out into the weekend.

I finished rereading A Game of Thrones yesterday, because it is an excellent book, and one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy. Today I’m rereading Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, which is also incredible. Maybe I’ll go skiing one of these weekends. Since we’ve been having rain in Santa Cruz, I’m sure that it’s snowing up in Kirkwood.

That’s all for now,


~ Ian