This president has got to be the coolest ever. Riding a Trek 9.8 bike with a Giro helmet, and listening to "Brown Eyed Girl" on an iPod...can't get much cooler than that. Posted by Hello


Mary, Pete, Mose, JB, Kitty, I, and Joe before the Christmas Formal Dance. Posted by Hello


Yay I'm home again!
Only now I miss all my friends at TAC. Well, I guess I can survive for three week without them, although it would be very cool is Mary and Mose visitied me.
The flight wasn't that bad, although I arrived at the airport 8 hours early, and there was alot of turbulence, and it took them hours to offload the baggage, so we had them send it hereinstead, and it still hasn't arrived. (note: that is one of the reasons I never check my laptop or anything eles really important)
So the Ryans and Suchomskis should be coming over later today, so we'll watch pictures, and I might even see if we could get some girls and I could teach them how to dance.


Well, I took my lab final today. I think my 8 hours of studying paid off, it seemed fairly easy. I think I might even have gotten an A, but perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part. So all that's left is Philosophy tomorrow at 9. Then it's party all the way till Saturday morning.
In other news, I got an A- on my Theology Paper, which was written on the meaning of the last verse of Judges: "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:8


Well, I've survived two of my finals so far.
I had theology on Friday, which was a two hour exam.
We had to write two essays, one on a passage from Exodus, and the other on a passage from Hebrews.

"Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."" Exodus 19:5-6

"Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain."" Hebrews 8:1-5

I wrote 3 pages for the first one, and 2 pages for the second. If I had to give myself a grade I'd say I got a B.

Today I had my seminar final, which was a 15 minute oral "exam." Actually it was more of a discussion about Plato's "Ion" and about the divine inspiration of human creation of poetry. It went quite well, and based on my paper grade and final, I think it's possible I might get an A in Seminar. I'm also hoping for an A in Math and Language. I'm not so sure about Theology, Lab, and Philosphy, although I hear that Mr Paietta (Theo) and Dr. Neumayr (Lab), are easy graders.
Tomorrow I have my lab final, and Friday is philosophy.
Both of them are 2-3 hour essay finals, so pray for me and my right hand, that it doesn't get really badly cramped.
And the Christmas bread is very good brain food, which I also need because I gave blood today for Mrs. Scanlon, the mother of two students here, who's been having sever medical problems after having her baby a week ago, and has needed many blood transfusion. (the baby is fine)


Finals week!
Time to go crazy studying!!!!


Mary Rose wrote this letter to her family, and since it describes life at TAC, I asked her if I could post it on my blog.

“So, the campus has been hit with the flu.
At least, it will be once I get done with it, since the flu has kindly started with me. I am currently doing my part to benevolently spread germs to the dorm computers. Anyway, having been in bed the past two days I am horribly bored and have decided to give my dear family a summary of this semester's classes, now that finals are almost here(eek!) So, beginning with the Queen of the Sciences:

THEOLOGY: 3 hours a week of unlearning everything you ever thought you know. Take 17 people who think they know the Bible and their faith and make them think about the Old Testament for a while-- all of it. Ask at least once a class, "So, why did God do that?" Watch them flounder for an explanation as they try to reconcile the nice bearded man who sits on clouds with the God who calls an entire unwitting assembly of blasphemers together, with incense, so he can blast them all at once. Bam- you've got Freshman Theology, also known as a massive headache.
I'm told by upperclassmen that it doesn't stop, especially when we get to Augustine and predestination next year...oy.
Sadly, in my section, this class is also 3 hours a week of trying to simultaneously stay awake, participate in discussion, not hit your neighbor over the head with you bible when they hold their point too stubbornly, and survive Mr. Paietta's puns. Very frustrating class, out of which I feel that I have gotten little.
Actually, that's the way it's supposed to be. It's not a real class. It's purpose is just to get you to read the Bible cover to cover, take notes, and get your history straight. That class really takes place in your independent study time, unlike the next class I'm going to summarize:

PHILOSOPHY- comparable only to aerobic exercize. Outside of class you futiley attempt to understand what Aristotle is saying, which is the equivalent of stretching most of muscle groups you will use. I say most because you always discover in class that you missed some word or letter or comma that is massively important to understanding the work. Then, you get to class, and the tutor leads you through increasingly difficult mental gyrations that leave your poor little intellect sweating and your mental heart(if I dare invent such a thing) pounding. However, after half a semester of these bi-weekly workouts, you find that you have some very nice intellectual muscles with which to bend such things as sentences(or rather, statements) and words(oops, names) into fully understood patterns. It also leaves you feeling a bit conspicuous, entering the non-liberal arts focused world as one of the few who is developing these muscles, like someone with amazingly toned toes. It's just not normal. You discover this as you sit in the airport, hearing some over-worked person announce to the entire airport that "the flight" was now boarding, and immediately begin to wonder if that flight was a particular, first substance flight, or a species of all flights in this airport(wouldn't that be nice! no more waiting!), or a genus of all flight, universally....and then realize that if you shared this musing with the person sitting next to you, they would give the weirdest look ever. Still, it's awesome to be able to have philosophical discussions with the vocabulary Aristotle provides, and even talk about Plato, that we studied at the beginning of the year, and talk about it in an entirely new way.

LABORATORY: For my section, 3 hours a week of training oneself to fall asleep with one's eyes open. My tutor, an absolute genius and the nicest man ever, is gifted with a very soothing voice--which must have been wonderful for calming down his many charming children, years ago before his youngest became the inspirational Head Prefect who will someday be Governor of California--that has the trick of shutting your eyes even as your mind works at double speed to comprehend the amazing things he's just said. We could get so far in that class if only we could stay awake! I'm told that once, when his entire section had fallen asleep, he stuck two pencils up his nose and waited calmly for someone to wake up and start laughing. He's acheived enough (like founding TAC!) in his long life that he apparently doesn't mind if we fall asleep, as long as we do well on the final.
As far as subject material goes...I have no clue. We've talked at length about instinct versus intellect, about the interwoven nature of ecosystems, and a good deal about evolution, but I haven't been able to pick up the overall theme of the class. I sure hope it's revealed sometime before the final in two weeks.

SEMINAR: Way too much fun. We read the greatest Ancient Greek literature ever and get to have hugely heated discussions about what the heck they meant. Analyzing literature is my favorite academic pursuit, so Seminar is one of my favorite classes. It's also the most torturous outside of class, though, because the readings are really, really, really long sometimes. We were told that at TAC we would be spending as much time preparing for each class as we spend in it. That's not true. We spend less time on some subjects, like Philosophy and Lab, and make up for by our 6-hour seminar readings.

MATHEMATICS: Again, way too much fun. Instead of having dry, pre-worked out formulas fed us to be regurgitated on tests, we are forced to discover the theorems for ourselves. I've already told you about how the props work, I think. A really fun way to learn props, that my friend Nick and I employ if we're silly enough to study together, is to look at what Euclid is going to prove and completely ignore how he did it, finding your own way. Once you've studied Euclid(or Pukey Euky, as we fondly call him) long enough, you can usually figure out what he's going to do. If you don't come up with the same method he did, you can research it and discover why his way is immensely superior, and marvel at your on comparative stupidity.

LANGUAGE: a union of fantastic grammatical/philosophical inquiry into the English language, and an absolute hell of trying to remember which darn ending is 3rd person plural indicative active in the stinking fourth conjugation. Fortunately, Daddy's genetic generosity (and Mommy's careful tutoring a really long time ago in the exact text book we'reusing!) gave me the ability to ace Latin if I study enough, and to scrape by with a D if I don't. Even more fortunately, I love my Language tutor dearly and wouldn't dissapoint him for the world, so I work hard. After all, if I dissapoint him, whose adorable children can I steal away from their equally wonderful mother?

Oy, okay, that's enough, I should go back to bed and stop infecting casual passersby with my evil flu germs. I should also find some Lysol(what I would give for Basic G!) to spray down everything I've touched.

~Mary Rose”


We had the Christmas Dance last Saturday, and my muscles are still sore.
But it was alot of fun. Everyone was all dressed up, and the cafeteria was decorated very well by the seniors. However, the real reason I'm still exhausted was the dance-off.
It's been KK season here for the past week, with all sorts of pranks going on (I'll tell more about those later)and an hour before the dance began, I got a note from my KK in my box, stating:
"You must challenge other at the dance to a "dance-off" (think Starsky and Hutch) before midnight in order to get back your timecard and other rewards."

Well, I talked to the prefects, and they didn't much like the idea of a "Starsky and Hutch" (apparently freestyling) dance-off, but they were all cool with a swing-dance-off, so I quickly organized it with some people. I got David Hong (the DJ) to let me have a mike and play “Jump, Jive, and Wail.” Then I asked Dominic Hayden and James Berquist to compete with me, to which they agreed, and went off to choose their partners (Mary Teichert and Colleen McAlister, respectively). Next I found Clay Brockman, John Heilmann, and Mike Grimm (all dance gods) to be judges, set a time, and went off to find my partner, Mary Rose. We practiced for a few dances, and at 10:30 we went up and announced the competition. Dr. Big Bad John Almeida turned the lights on the stage, Dom and James brought Colleen and Mary up, and we began. The song is a fairly fast song already, and Dom and I were double-timing it the whole way. I started off with a few basic moves, basic spin, he goes she goes, around the back spin, and then started doing some fun combos, like princess dip into double spin into pretzel into death drop into he goes she goes knee variation and finally into a double Sockey twist, or pretzel into piano rolls into complete flip. I had just done the flip and then a princess carry when John Heilmann came over and said that we still weren’t allowed to do arials till after midnight. ( I guess Dom had done one as well). After that it was a lot trickier, beause I couldn’t just do anything which came to mind (most of my favorite moves are arials, because they look really cool), so I couldn’t do the float, backflip, lamppost, hip, cherrybomb, or backroll. However, I could, and did, perform the crossover, inverse twist, Nicholai dip, Clay spin, washing machine, tabletop, spin kick, and several others. Then it was over and Mary Rose collapsed. It was quite fun though, and we all enjoyed it. The judges finally decided that it came down to Dom and me, because while I had more moves and more consistency, he was more on the beat, but they decided to give it to me because they wanted me to get my timecard back. :D
Which I did.
Afterwards my KK came up to me, and it turned out to be Ariel White. We talked about it for awhile, and I thanked her for all the fun she had provided (in addition to the candy and Santa Claus hat which she gave me afterwards).
The dance went till about 3, and Mary Rose, Kitty, and I stayed the whole time, dancing the night away.


I just got an "A-" on my seminar paper!

I had thanksgiving day dinner with my math tutor, Mr. Wodzinski. Posted by Hello

About 10 other students and I spent the evening at his house, playing scrabble... Posted by Hello

...talking about school subjects...and of course, watching veggietales! Posted by Hello

And as before, the tutor's kid succumbed to the lure of my veggietales tie. ;) Posted by Hello

So I had Thomas of my lap all through "The Ballad of Little Joe." Posted by Hello


For the start of the battle, both armies were supposed to be fighting in the woods on the opposites side of the field from the spectators, whence the Confederates would gradually make a fighting retreat in the direction of the spectators. However, the directions to our colonel were a bit confusing, so when we were in the forest we ended up sandwiched between union troops, and taking orders from a Union general. But eventually we got things sorted out and retreated through a line of Union troops.
In battle, there aren’t any specific rules on when you die, but traditionally it’s done when you run out of ammo. We were about halfway across the field toward the sidelines when I ran out of caps, so I was one of the first to die in our company. In order to make it look a little more realistic I jerked back and flew a few feet as if I had been hit by a bullet (more about the realism later).
It was actually rather peaceful being dead, I had fallen in such a way that I was pretty comfortable, the only thing was is was rather boring, because I was looking up at the sky, which wasn’t doing much. The roar of the cannons and the crackling of the rifles was a good lullaby though, and I took a short nap, until the Georgia Infantry almost stepped on me. They were retreating from their position and one of their guys would’ve stepped right on me while he was backing up if his buddy hadn’t told him to “Watch out for the dead, show some respect.” They were kindof a weird bunch, what with their red and white striped pants, and I had them firing over my body for a few minutes until they retreated further.
About 15-20 minutes after I died the battle was over, so I fell in with company B again and we headed back to camp. Upon our return JB was hugged by Mose and I was tackled by Kitty.
Apparently they had been somewhat traumatized by our deaths, but Kitty moreso by mine, because she had been looking for us on the battle field, and I had barely com into view, so she started to say to Mark, Mose, and Amy “Look there’s Ni-” when I suddenly was hit. She kinda freaked out, because I guess a fair amount of the reenactors deaths aren’t that realistic (they’re in their 50s and 60s, they can hardly be expected to fall down hard) and I’m told her jaw dropped and she didn’t speak for a minute.
So the soldier returning from the dead were warmly greeted at camp.

Between the second and the third battles, we only had time to get a quick bite to eat, and meet some of Kitty’s northern friends. Paul and Frankie were a couple teenage homeschooled boys in the Pennsylvania Artilley, so we spent some time with them, along with the rest of their family (which was a good homeschooling size ;) )

JB decided to sit out the third battle, so I fell in at about 4:40 with Mr. Jenson, Sven, and the rest of the outfit. This was a twilight/evening reenactment of Cold Harbor, where the Confederates were defending some sort out fortification against the advancing Northerners. We marched out to the opposite side of the field as the spectators, while the Union troops formed up in from of the spectators. We were on top of a small ridge, and were told to spread out to form a continuous line across the whole thing, which was about 200-300 yards long. The battle started at about 6:15, with the Union troops advancing on our position. Soon their artillery started firing, lighting up the night which fire blasting from their barrels. At about 100 yards, the Union troops started firing, but the we held our fire until they were within 60 yards. Then the confederate artillery let loose grapeshot straight into the midst of them, followed by a volley from the entire confederate line.
I was told by the observers that the effect of fire belching from the barrels of a couple hundred guns all at once was rather impressive.
After that we were told to “reload, and fire at will as fast as possible.”
Basically, the entire battlefield was a dark cloud of smoke, lit by the large flares of cannons, with the smaller crackling of the rifles keeping up a steady fire. Almost all the Union troops were dead within 15 minutes, and the rest were retreating in disorder, leaving the Confederates victorious on the field of battle.

After the final battle, our little group got together again at the tents and played cards for awhile before the dance, which started at about 7. The dancing was a bit different from TAC, because each of the dances lasted about 20-30 minutes, and it was square-dancing instead of swing. There were several quadrilles, and the Virginia reel, which altogether lasted for about 3 hours, after which all our feet were very sore (Cavalry boots and slippers are not the most conducive to dancing.)
Afterwards we fell asleep drove home in Mark’s car, which (in case I haven’t mentioned it before) is a really awesome old ’87 station wagon with the rear facing seats.


Mary Rose at the reenactment. Posted by Hello


Kitty and Mary Rose in Civil War costume. (This is actually a picture taken by a news photographer who was there, he later emailed it to Kitty) Posted by Hello
Last weekend I went with Kitty, Mary Rose, JB, Mark, and Amy to a Civil War Re-enactment that Kitty's parents and brother participated in. We got there at about 10 in the monring, and Mary Rose and Kitty changed into hoop skirts, dressing themselves up as "Confederate chicks" as they were called by some of Kitty's reenactment friends. the whole place was pretty cool, because they actually made camp like the Civil War armies would have done. Only Mr. Jenson (kitty's dad) did not have the normal Civil War tent. His was a foot higher than the rest, which made sense, seeing as he's 6'6". Kitty's mom and dad were very nice. Mr. Jenson helped JB and I find some clothes to dress up as COnfederate soldiers. The Jenson's (Mr Jenson and Kitty's brother Sven) were in the North Carolina 1st Calvalry, but they didn't have horses eause they were in B company, which for the purposes of the reenactment was unmounted. However, F company had horses, which was pretty fun to see.
Amy and Mark declined invitation to dress up, but Kitty, Mary Rose, JB and I were all dressed up for the occasion. Kitty was wearing a navy w/ white flowers print dress with a hoop skirt, along with a hat (which is hard to describe, see picture), and Mary Rose put on a green hoop skirt with a matching bonnet. JB and I dressed up as tattered Confederate soldiers at the end of the war with cotton shirts, woolen pants and jackets, suspenders, cavalry boots, and hats. I just had a regular confederate hat, but since those didn’t fit JB’s large head Mr. Jenson lent him his, which was a really cool cap with a huge feather in it. ;) We also had nice belts with cartridge and powder pouches.
JB and I fell in with B company when I marched in review, but because we didn’t have gun training et we had to fall out before theattle. Then we split off into couples as they would have done back in those days, JB escorting Mary Rose, Mark escorting Amy, and Myself escorting Kitty. For the first battle (which was a reenactment of the first day of the Battle of the Wilderness) we stood on the side and watched. It was pretty neat to see, because even though they didn’t use real bullets, the charges they used were pretty loud. And the cannons did shake the ground. :D
Kitty was not too happy when her father and brother “died” though.

After the first battle, Mr. Jenson found an extra gun and borrowed another one from someone else, and took JB and I onto the field for weapons training. The charges for the gun were 60 grains of black powder poured into a small rolled up piece of paper. In order to fire the gun, we pulled on of those out of our cartridge pouches, ripped off the top with our teeth, poured it into the top of the barrel of the gun, then tamped the gun on the ground to pack it down. Then we lifted the hammer to half-cocked, removed the used cap, pulled a new one out of our powder pouch, and placed it on the cone. Finally we cocked to gun to fun, aimed, and fired. The report was not quite as loud as a real gun, though loud enough we understood why some of the people wore earplugs. The cloud of smoke looked really cool too.
After that we loaded up with charges and caps, and headed out for the second battle of the wilderness.


The Halloween Dance. Posted by Hello

TAC Grad. Will debate for food. Posted by Hello

The ultimate biker with the ultimate bling-bling. Posted by Hello

Ryan Shea as ye old-fashioned tennis player. Posted by Hello

Tennis players...tough on crime. Posted by Hello

The mobster takes out the tennis player. Posted by Hello

Evan Dunkel the Mobster. Posted by Hello

Damon Romano...Emperor of the Universe. Posted by Hello

Nat Hellerman as Will Wonka. (complete with purple blazer) Posted by Hello

A "Devil's Advocate" Posted by Hello

Tommy Duffy as Groucho Marx. Posted by Hello

Joe Ferrier the highwayman. Posted by Hello

Kitty as the Greek Goddess Demeter. Posted by Hello

Anrde Fox as Johnny Kaiser Posted by Hello

Johhny Kaiser as a security gaurd. Posted by Hello

Mary's bf Pete, "The Angry Leperchaun." Posted by Hello