Today was completely insane in the deli, I couldn't put stuff out fast enough, becausepeople were emptying the shelves faster than I could fill them.
In addition, because everyone was at work, and the counter was full and people were rushing around bumping into eachother, tempers were on edge, so it wasn't the funnest day of the year. And it still pays the same as every other day.
Oh well.



Today the deli was even busier than the past few days...probably the 4th busiest day of the year, after Christmass Eve, the 4th of July, and New Year's Eve.



Have you ever worked with someone who talks all day long? It can eventually get fairly annoying. Today I listened to one of my co-workers pratle on all day, and I even heard her tell the same story, using almost the exact same words and phrases to 7 different people.


Day off.

Today I had most of the day off, so spent it in the basement building computer for my dad, and testing them and talking to friends.


...And some things should.

Like the music at Sunset. After 3 years, they're still playing the same 60 or so pop/soft rock songs over and over again.
And to make it even worse, they're also playing pop versions of Christmass carols (although not any religious ones, noooo, it has to be one of a dozen different versions of "Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Jingle Bell Rock"), over and over and over again.

It is too much to ask for some of Bing Crosby's or Handel's Christmass music?!?

I guess so.

Kudos to David for letting me borrow his mp3 player, so I can have a brief respite during breaks. I've been listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, whose vibrant sound is a nice contrast to the droning of the speakers at work.
And if you haven't seen it yet, you should take the time to watch this awesome video of a house with Christmass lights set up to switch in time to "The Wizards of Winter," by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


Some things never change....

Like Sunset. Ok, there were a couple small changes, like a couple new cases, to put the same old stuff in. And we got a new computer. Thrillsville. Though why we we need a 3.06 Ghz machine with 512 mb of RAM ,and an 80GB HD to print labels is beyond me.
It's better than the Windows 1985 BC computer though.
Oh well, it's a decent job that pays above the minimum wage, and they like me there, because I try to do a good job.
Unfortunately, no one of interest was there to talk to today.



Much to the amusement of my mother, I arrived tonight in O-hare airport almost at midnight in shorts. Because it was in the 60s at LAX. And about 17 at ORD.
But at least they had snow to welcome me home.




On a side note, I know I haven't been posting much recently, but I'm going to try to post once a day, even if it's just really short, starting next semester.


Nick reb cleaning out his boots


Me at the Confederate camp at the Moor Park Civil war reenactment. Posted by Picasa


Crazy quotes from my insane roommate

"Plato is a dirty Pagan and, according to circumstantial evidence, probably burning in hell."
(after further debate)
"Or possibly freezing, or hanging from a rope."

"God is biased, God is arbitrary, God created everything, so guess what? DEAL WITH IT!
Oh, btw, all your base are belong to Him."

"Basically, everything I knew before was wrong. But now that I know I'm either predestined or not, I don't worry about it much."


A Day in the Life of Sir Nicholai

Well, I got up today, and because it was 7:15 it was too late for Mass, so I decided to go to the 5 o'clock Mass. So I got my Latin book and went and studied on a little sofa in Albertus Magnus for an hour for the quiz I thought I was going to have today, and I saw Sasha and told her how the Latin test was going to rip out my insides and hang me out to dry with my innards blowing in the wind, and she said she'd save me from the Latin quiz, but she couldn't tell me how. And 5 minutes later Dunkel walked into the hall and asked me why i was studying so hard, and it turned out we just had a Latin story to translate, no quiz. So we translated the story, and I did pretty well, and then we played pictionary, and I got the word "Stealthily" and tried to draw a guy with a cloak and dagger, but they kept guessing gladiator, and imperator, so i tried to draw a guy sneaking around a building, and they couldn't get that, so eventually I just drew a ninja face (which all the girls though looked like and easter egg with the mask) but all the guy got ninja immediately, and then I had to get them to know it was an adverb, so I drew a sandwich (which usually stands to mean it a verb) with a plus sign in front of it, so they knew it was an adverb, and after all that they figured out fairly quickly that it was "stealthily" but they couldn't think of the word in Latin, so the other team got a point because they guessed it. And then Will pointed out that I should've just drawn a Stealth bomber, which would've been awesome.
The we had a crazy Theology class, with visitors staring in astonishment as we flirted with heresy of all kinds, including Calvinism and Pelagianism. It was a really hard class, because there was a seeming contradiction between Augustine and thee scripture, and we hadn't really sorted it out by the time class ended. Because of this contradiction (seemingly) people took sides, and there was alot of shouting and book-banging and table slamming. After all, there's very little that's more important to argue above than the love of God and why we go to Heaven or Hell, so the arguers for both sides were very vigorous.
Four of us stayed after class (me, my roommate will, our friend Dom, and the quiet class genius Gina) and talked with Doctor McArthur about the whole thing. it was great sitting there in a little group, asking him questions and listening to him expound on doctrinal questions. He's got such an amazing, penetrating intellect, yet he brings it down to earth in a way that few do, and explains deep thoughts in relatively simple terms with easily grasped analogies.
The main subject of today's class was really how we are saved. The Pelagians believe that we saved ourselves by performing good works. We've already seen that to be wrong, because it's clear that God promised to save us, and you can only promise things that you can do, so God is responsible for our salvation, not us. (this is actually very comforting, because personally I'd much rather have God in control of my salvation than myself, seeing as I'd mess it up very frequently). And so we looked at another position, where we choose God, and then He works through us in order to save us. We know that we are saved through faith in God, by which we are able to perform works (although it's really God who is responsible for the works, though we do use our free will to do them. Yes, this is complicated.) These people, once they saw that the Pelagians were wrong and that we couldn't earn our salvation, admitted that od working in our slavation, and gave us the grace of faith. however, what they didn't realize, is that we are unable to even choose the grace of faith on our own. What St. Agustine said happens, is that God conditions our will, so that we are able to see the good (because we always choose the apparent good) of faith, and then are able to accept it from God. This was a hot toipic of argument, because it is hard to understand that God conditions our will by working from the outside, inasmuch as He never forces us, which would be working from the inside, but He works from the outside through His providence, like what happens in our lives, whether we are properly chatechized and baptized in our youth, and things like that. So we still choose God, but without his providence we would eb copmpletely unable to do so. So God uses us to our own advantage.
Once we had this complicated puzzle of ow God saves us sorted out, then we delved into the even more hotly contested argument of how this could be, because according to this logic, whomever Go gives grace to is saved, and if someone is not saved, it's because God did not give grace to them. Which leads us to believe that God doesn't give grace to all people, because some people are not saved.
Some people said this would contradict the notion that God loves all men, inasmuch as Mr. Dunkel said so eloquently, "I don't know what kind of love would allow eternal damnation."
However, as we found out more after class, it became clear that once we left our democratic notions of love behind, and abandoned the idea that God loves everyone equally (an idea never found in the scriptures), it became clear that God loves different people in different ways, and that even though it does sound absurd at first, God does love the people in hell. We discussed how God loves things, becaue God does not love things because they're good, because that would make God subservient to goodness, when in fact He is goodness. So things are good inasmuch as God loves them. About the only goodness that the damned souls have is their existence per se, because existence is a good (and God as perfect good has perfect existence), but they only exist because God's love for them makes them exist, because God's love is a creative love.
The one thing we still didn't understand was why God gave the grace to be saved to some people, but not to others, but we didn't worry about this excessively, because St. Augustine says that that is according to the wisdom of God, and beyond the depths of our understanding.
After this invigorating talk with Dr. McArthur after class, I went and cleaned classrooms until 1.
Then I went to the computer lab from 1 to 2, and then studied Ptolemy till my Math class at 2:30.

My Math class was really cool. My Math tutor, Mr. Clark, is an amazing guy, with a fairly interesting past. *takes a break, then comes back later* Um...I just read about him on TAC's website, and I am now astounded. I highly reccomend going there and reading about him. It's just an amazing story...basketball player, hotshot lawyer, european opera singer, medieval historian...this guy's amazing. Mr. Clark's Profile
Anyways, he really likes teaching us math too.
We were talking about how the epicycle of Venus rotates around the mean sun as the mean sun rotates around the earth. It was really interesting learning about how Ptolemy's view of the universe explains (to the degree of accuracy he had) the motions of the stars and planets, even the apparent retrograde motion of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn across the sky. (and the retrograde of Venus which he predicted, even though he couldn't observe it, and what we now observe confirms his predictions)
The funniest part was one point in the class, where Mr/ Clark wanted to illustrate the points of least, greatest, and mean passage (Ptolemaic system) so he had me stand on the middle of the table, representing the earth, and he walked around the table, representing the mean sun, and he walked around the table being the mean sun, and he asked Mr. Dunkel to walk around him, representing Venus, which gave everyone a good laugh...especially when Dunkel started winking suggestively at people.
Math class was really cool though, as usual.


Don Rags 3.0

Well, I finished my Don Rags a couple hours ago, and they went much better than expected.
Mr. Clark started out by describing me in glowing terms, and extolling my grasp of Ptolemy, which set a very nice beginning tone. I don't think I deserved it, but Math is one of my favorite subjects.
After that Mr. Collins talked about how in seminar I ask good questions, sometimes about things other people take for granted, which he likes alot, and that I should do more of that.
Mr. Wodzinski observed that Mr. Clark's description of my love for Ptolemy sounded alot like his impression of my admiration for Euclid last year, and said he was glad to see that I didn't spend all my time on Math, but studied Philosophy diligently as well. He also said he appreciated the way that I was willing to ponder over the "simpler" and " more obvious" thins in Aristotle, while some of the other bright members of the class liked to skip them, though they were necessary to be understood fully.
Miss Zedlick said that I was doing alright in Latin, and she could tell that I was trying, even though I wasn't doing that great. Meh.
Mr. Decaen was quite humourous. He said it was clear that I had a good background in science, and that I knew the material well and enjoyed it, so that I was almost always on the right track. He did say, however, that sometimes I was a bit...violent when correcting people, like when I once said, "No. No No NO NO NO!" Although eh did admit he exaggerated a bit, and that the people did desrve it. The other tutors found this hilarious.
Dr. McArthur noted that while I did occasionally interrupt people in Theology, he said it was more like, "No. You're wrong. And this is what Agustine really means...", and that sometimes I seemed like a light in the cave to him. Which is one of the best compliments I've received in a long time, especially considering the cource of it. (to read more about Dr. McArthur, go to The Rostra, a blog that a few of my friends and I started. And which I should post more on.)

So Don Rags went quite well in general, much better than last years, and not a single tutor mentioned me sleeping in class (prbably because I haven't been).


Summary of the last month of college

I know I haven't posted for quite some time, but Sophomore year is much more demanding then freshman year, and I'm still trying to find a good way to post several pictures in one blog post with small thumbnails so once I figure out how to do that I have several pictureposts in the works.

All my classes are going quite well, with the exception of Latin, which is quite a trying class. I studied this morning for two hours before our test, and then Miss Zedlick didn't show up, so I'm going to have to study again tomorrow morning.

Mr. Decaen has commented that he likes my lab reports, they're well-illustrated and thought out. We've been studying heat recently, which has been a bit frustrating for me, because we're measuring something, and we don't even know what it is. Last class, he actually let us talk a bit about quantum theory, and what heat really it, which was quite fascinating to me, although I don't think everyone shared my interest in "probability waves" and the like. We did think it amusing though, that while most scientists beleive that quantum mechanics not only explains things better than atomic theory, but proves atomic theory wrong, in highschool most people are told that quantum mechanics is some sort of witchcraft, and end up studying the useful (but fictional) atomic theory. However, that tied in nicely with our discussion of absolute zero, which, though it isn't known to exist, is a very useful fiction.
He also related in the previous class some of his bug-eating adventures (he's eaten many more than my dad) including the time he ate a tarantuala, but didn't quite burn off all the venom-filled hairs, because the ones on the stomach were covered by the goo from the ruptured abdomen. His mouth was only numb for a couple weeks after that though. Speaking of which, Will and I are thinking of stocking chocolate-covered crickets in the dorm store. It's been doing fairly well recently, although this week sales have been a bit slow, theft has been fairly low this year, and I've made enough money off of it to pay for a visit to Houston the week after next.

Dr. McArthur and I have had several debates against the rest of the class, and I've found that it's quite encouraging to have the tutor backing you up when the rest of the class thinks you're wrong.

This has also been the case in Math, because we're dealing with lots of abstract, yet visual concepts relating to the movement of the stars in the heavens, which I find are very easy for me to visualize, but when I try to explain it to the class, sometimes it just seems that no one gets it (although Angela and Will usually understand me). I can tell from Mr. Clark's gestures that I'm saying the right thing, and explaining it in the right way (because when people aren't he usually doesn't wait very long until he subtely gets someone else up to the board, or goes up there himself), but sometimes it just seems so fruitless. However, I saw him after he was playing basketball tonight, and he encouraged me and said I was doing a great job in class and was a blessing to have. So I've got at least one tutor solidly on my side going into Don Rags.
It's also been quite interesting observing the heavens, because Ptolemy's observation of the heaven's and explanation of the Sun's, Planets', and Stars' motion around the earth are quite convincing, and it's hard to contradict them from our observations. So I've just given up on trying to prove him wrong until second semester, when we get to Copernicus, who doesn't subscribe to a geocentric view of the universe.

In Philosophy I've been studying the readings more, because we're getting into quite abstract concepts there with Aristotle explaining substantive change and the principles of being. However, some of the same people who are difficult in Math tend to like having concepts "thouroughly explained" to them in Philosophy as well. Know there's nothing wrong with fully exploring a concept, but Dominc and I agreed after yesterday's Philosophy class that we killed the horse in about ten minutes, beat the dead horse for anothe ten minutes, and then spent an hour mashing it into a bloody gooey pulp. Argh.
I love my section, and think it's great, but we do have a tendency to occasionally get hung-up on things.

Seminar, on the other hand, has been completely unadulterated enjoyment. We've been reading Livy's History of Ancient Rome and about Roman's in Plutarch's lives. The discussions have been extremely deep and focused on topics very applicable to today's society, which eerily resembles corrupted Rome far too closely for my comfort. I can't do these discussions justice in now, because I have to go dancing soon, and learn more waltz moves from Sean and Matt. However, I hope to cover them in the future.

All in all, college life is going very well for now.


Mr Decaen (lab tutor) to Miss Goodman about Mr. Ruedig during class: "He's just weird like that."


The party. (Thank you Kitty for having a Birthday!!!) Posted by Picasa

Mary looking cute with her red corn-rows. Posted by Picasa

Japanese Ice Cream!!! :D Posted by Picasa

Kitty shouldn't have saki...seeing as she manages to get drunk off fumes. :P Posted by Picasa

Saki. Posted by Picasa

Gabe and Pete had some saki, thus further enhancing Gabe's humourous streak. Posted by Picasa

The birthday princess reigning from the end of the table. Posted by Picasa

Sushi good. Posted by Picasa

Kitty's birthday party! We went out to a good sushi place the day after her birthday (since most people weren't here or were arriving on her birthday. A good cheap sushi place. :) Posted by Picasa



My seminar on Lucretius tonight was much better than I first expected. The reading was fairly boring, and didn’t seem like it would have a great amount of interesting discussion material. Lucretius’ work is titled “On the Nature of Things.” Not a promising beginning. My roommate wasn’t joking when he said that he fell asleep five times in a day reading it.
However, once we were actually in class, we had a long thought-provoking discussion on what Lucretius views of the world were and what sort of philosophy they led to. Hs work, while some consider it is written in a poetic style, is somewhat of a combination of science and philosophy. He begins by proving that nothing beyond matter is necessary for the day-to-day actions we observe, and so concludes from that that the gods therefore do not exist.
From this he infers the uselessness of all religions, and actually demonstrates, using examples like Agamemnon’s offering of his daughter, that religions are evil, because they cause pain, which is his last standard of that which is bad. For since there is no afterlife, he encourages everyone to seek pleasure and avoid pain to the utmost extent, and argues that this is our true nature, and the reason we establish civilizations and laws is in order to mutually agree to try to have the least pain possible.
The discussion was especially heated when we discussed the last few paragraphs of Book III, which summed up his depressing philosophy, because Mr. Shelmetzy had actually subscribed to this sort of viewpoint for most of his life, and argued very well to defend it’s rationality, even though he conceded it was wrong.
“Wilt thou then hesitate and think it a hardship to die? Thou for whom life is well nigh dead whilst yet thou livest and seest the light, who spendest the greater part of thy time in sleep and snorest wide awake and ceasest not to see visions and hast a mind troubled with groundless terror and canst not discover often what it is that ails thee, when besotted man thou art sore pressed on all sides with full many cares and goest astray tumbling about in the wayward wanderings of the mind…A sure term of life is fixed for mortals, and death cannot be shunned, but meet it we must. Moreover we are ever engaged, ever involved in the same pursuits, and no new pleasure is struck out by living on; but whilst what we crave is wanting, it seems to transcend all the rest; then, when it has been gotten, we crave something else, and ever does the same thirst of life possess us, as we gape for it open mouthed. Quite doubtful it is that the future will carry with it or what chance will bring us or what end is at hand. Nor by prolonging life do we take one tittle from the time past in death nor can we fret anything away, whereby we may be haply be a less long time in the condition of the dead. Therefore you may complete as many generations as you plese during your life; none the less however will that everlasting death await you; and for no less long a time will he be no more in being, who beginning with today has ended his life, than the man who died many months and years ago.”

“I thought that is awesome.” – Mr. Shelmetzy
“Awesome, or insanely depressing?!” Miss Cross

“It’s depressing now, but once you’re dead you won’t be depressed anymore.” Miss Kuenstel

After discussing those and related paragraphs, we moved back to he beginnings, and examined his pseudo-scientific inquiry into the makings of stuff, trying to make sense of his talk about “atoms falling through a void” and his non-account of the first mover. This led into a very interesting discussion about fate and free will, and the different definitions of free will, the view of it as indeterminacy as opposed to the view of free will as the ability to choose.
I actually talked more with Mr. Shelmetzy and Mr. Collins after class about this, and we brought up some stuff about quantum theory and modern physics, and were surprised at how similar the views of Ancient Romans and many modern day physicists and philosophers are.
We always hear the discord and strife between those who say, “I commend enjoyment, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and enjoy himself,” (Ecc. 8:15) and those who proclaim, “Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13)

But in the end, “What has been, is what will be, and what has been done, is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9)



First week back at college

Getting back to college has been great. It's like coming to a second home, where you know everyone and are completely comfortable.
Of course, and few things have changed, the seniors have moved on, and there's a new bunch of freshmen who moved it. It does feel a bit odd at first not being the youngest class there, and actually having the teach the freshmen about some of the tradition of the college, but it's pretty fun. And one of the traditions is that the sophomores teach the freshmen how to dance, which I think is extremely fun. It was a good thing I taught dancing over the summer though, because though some of the freshmen take naturally to it (typically more of the girls) some of them do need to be taught. Although the Canadian guys all seem to know swing-dancing very well, so I've been trading moves with them.
As regarding the actual learning I'm doing here, this year seems like it will be a great one. The Sophomore readings are quite interesting. We study Chemistry for Lab, Sts. Augustine and Anselm for Theology, Ptolemy, Kepler, and Copernicus for Math (Astronomy really), more Latin, and Roman writers for Philosophy and Seminar.
But not only are the readings cool, but my section is completely awesome, with a bunch talkers, so our discussions tend to be extremely lively and animated. It can sometimes be hard to get a word in edgewise, but even with all the shouting we somehow manage to get something done. (although today my roommate Will had to bang on the table a few times)
And not only is my section great, but our tutor lineup is just perfect. We have Mr. Dacaen for Lab (which is his specialty), and Mr. Clark for Math (which is *his* specialty), Mr. Wodzinski for Philosophy (who was my favorite tutor last year for Math), and Dr. McArthur for Theology (who actually taught the president of the college along with the current Dean and Will's dad, who regards him as somewhat of a demi-god (I'll have to remember to relate the story of the Dante Statue later, along with pictures)).
I also have Miss Zedlick for Lab, who...seems like she'll be very interesting. Her accent, sentence construction, grading, and teaching style are all very very German.

So anyways, College life is good, and Ultimate Frisbee rules.


I've been fairly busy packing for college and helping my dad build computers recently, which is why I haven't posted. I'll attempt to put something together about Elizabeth's visit in the next couple days and post it before school starts. In the meantime anyone who wants a fairly inexpensive laptop or desktop, or a 15" LCD monitor for less than $150 (I think we have 4 of them, and also several 17"s) is free to contact me, and you should all know my email. If not, email my junk email account at turelio86 at hotmail dot com and I'll give you my real email. (yes, I am paranoid about spam, and I hate it with a passion). Posted by Picasa


Another title

Diamond Queen says: nick, dear, ive argued more with you than I ever have with anyone in my life
Sir Nicholai says: *is honored*
Diamond Queen says: no, wait
Diamond Queen says: i think ive argued more with my mother
Diamond Queen says: but you come in second.

The Marytown Adoration Banner. Posted by Picasa

Buckingham Fountain. Posted by Picasa

Close up of the fountain. Posted by Picasa

Peter was thirsty. ;) Posted by Picasa

Buckingham fountain with the main spray on. Posted by Picasa

Lazy people. Posted by Picasa

Helicopter dwarfed by buildings. Posted by Picasa

Cool cape. Posted by Picasa

Mommy and Peter walking along. Posted by Picasa

The bean was under construction, but I took pictures of the available corner. Posted by Picasa

The photoholic. Posted by Picasa

Evil trees are put under lock and key nad security cameras. Me thinks Treebeard would not approve. Posted by Picasa

The modern knight. Posted by Picasa

There were over 500 Knights of Columbus there, since they had just finished their international convention. Posted by Picasa

He just looks like a British admiral to me. Posted by Picasa

The beginning of the procession after the knights. Posted by Picasa