Notes on Forming a Bandana in College

Excerpts from my diary, on the process of forming a bandana in college:

January 14, 2015
I was in a bandana for a while back in high school, but then I graduated and I guess we just sort of went our separate ways. I imagined getting into a bandana again once I started college, but I’ve had trouble finding one that really suits me. None of the bandanas around here are really my style, ya know? Oh well.

February 8, 2015
A friend of mine pointed out that I don’t have to wait around until I stumble upon my dream bandana– I could form my own from scratch! I think this is a great idea. I already put an ad up on Craigslist, and made posters to hang on bulletin boards around campus:

College student looking for some dedicated, yet laid back fellas to help me form a bandana! I already own most of the necessary equipment… just need a few bandana mates willing to meet a couple times a week and make this thing happen. Call me!

Exciting stuff!

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A Novel Encounter: My First Time Reading About Sex

Well, it finally happened. It took until my sophomore year of college, I’m a little embarrassed to say, but last night I finally had a chance to read about sex. Her name was “American Identities, Lone Stars, and the Politics of Radicalized Sexuality.” I have to admit I stumbled through the ordeal quite clumsily; at times I felt totally lost. She was just so… knowledgeable… moving me from “Chicano Marxist” thought, to “imperialist nostalgia”, to “the periphery of the American capitalist culture.” When we finished, I felt utterly dazed, but also exhilarated.

Sure, I suppose I sort of read about sex in high school. I read about characters with complex sexual lives and I read about meiosis and all that, but I’m not sure you can really call that reading about sex. This was the real deal: this time there was actual penetration into “the processes of subjection made possible… through stereotypical discourse”. Continue reading “A Novel Encounter: My First Time Reading About Sex”

Pooping with Java

I’m currently living in a 17-person, sustainability focused community on Carleton College’s campus, called “Farm House.” When it comes to toilets, we tend to adhere to the classic environmentalist manta “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

Here is a java implementation of this central dogma, which I recently taped up in several bathrooms.

An image of a java version of "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down."


The Poop Map I Made

I discovered CartoDB— a free and open source web mapping tool– through a class I’m currently taking titled “Hacking the Humanities.” Upon learning about ol’ Carto and other tools for visualizing/analyzing spatial data I developed a strong (and unfamiliar) desire to make digital maps.

My ambitions were momentarily thwarted when I realized I had no location data to map. But then came a surreal moment of total clarity, and I knew what had to be done.

Since October 16, I have painstakingly logged the GPS coordinates of my every poop using an app called GPS Logger for Android. I transmitted these time-stamped coordinates to Google Drive, and then uploaded them to CartoDB. Now, as fall term at Carleton comes to an end, it is my honor and privilege to present to you the results of my labor: a gorgeous and interactive poop map!

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After the Emperor!

Illustration of the fable The Emperor's New Clothes
As I begin typing these words unto an empty page, I am fully aware of the onslaught of impassioned criticism my writing is bound to unveil. Admittedly, I am finding it somewhat difficult to type, for my hands tremor slightly at the mere thought of the incessant scorn that may forever befall my name. In fact, I must admit the word ‘slight’ in no way describes the violent shaking in which my hands are currently engaged, and it has taken no less than two full hours simply to formulate the past three sentences in a legible manner.

Yet I must persist. I must continue to type. For the fear that consumes me is dwarfed by the passion that pulses through every fiber of my being. Yes, it is passion that drives me on—that forces me to continue. It is passion for my cause, and sheer conviction in my beliefs, that shatters the icy embrace of terror, and forces me onward.

For no matter the response I receive, these words must be written. No matter what awaits me upon the publication of this document, be it humiliation, malevolence, or even death, I must make known my convictions. I must share with the world the ideas that have befallen my tortured mind. Listen closely now, as I impart my great epiphany upon you all. For the health, happiness, and longevity of our society, I have found it absolutely vital, that we, the people of the world, in grand and triumphant unison, cast off our rags of oppression, discard our garbs of injustice, absolve ourselves of our tyrannical habiliments! Yes, you heard me correctly. It is absolutely vital we cease to wear clothes.

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The Origins of Words: Attendance




Most etymological scholars agree this word can be attributed to a 15th century Irish improvisational comedy troop known as Dublin Over. The ten member comedy troop, which would reherse in an active barn, always began their meetings with the execution of an original dance. This ten member dance, or “ten-dance” as they called it, was initially used as a means of loosening up. However, as each group member played an integral role in the dance, it also became a reliable means of checking whether or not all group members were present.

The complex antics would go terribly awry if a single member was missing, leaving the entire party sprawled out in a bewildered heap. They found this terribly amusing, as well as utilitarian, and continued the practice with glee. Written evidence asserts that neighbors often heard the comedy troop remarking: “let’s have a ten-dance, then! See if anyone’s missing!” The term soon became widespread, and synonymous with taking role.

The Problem with Bowling

I wish to speak to you briefly on the subject of bowling, for, by means of my casual pondering, it has come to my attention that this activity is inherently flawed. Perhaps irredeemably so. Perhaps, to the point where we will have no choice but to eradicate it from our society.

Whether you practice the activity casually or, more problematically, professionally, here is the intrinsic problem with bowling: There are no variables. There are no variables! If conditions are always exactly the same, where’s the skill?

Old Bowling LaneThis was not always the case. There once was a time where we could not produce perfectly level floors, or perfectly rounded bowling balls, and where there did not exist such universal standards for the length and width of a bowling lane, or arrangement of the pins. Back then, each time you bowled things would be different, thereby revealing the skill of the bowler, in their ability to adapt.

But those days are gone. We have perfected and conformed the sport of bowling to the point where there are no variables, and thereby, skill is determined predominantly by repetition. There is no opponent, and no variation in conditions, so someone who practices enough times should be able to get a strike every single time. And indeed, this has become fairly common. So the game is beat, done, antiquated, pointless, over.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot bowl a strike every time. Most people can’t. So I suppose to the repetition-arily deficient, this activity continues to pose enough of a challenge to be enjoyable, and therefore should be retained. But still, I cannot escape an underlying sense of anxiety, a feeling of hamster-wheel-esk frivolity, at the notion of partaking in such a defeatedly perfected sport. Sure, to the casual bowler, the activity may still be challenging and fun. But troubled as I am by the fundamental paradoxicality of a sport, which we, as a society have clearly outgrown, it is my opinion that bowling should simply be eradicated.

Alternatively, the game could be updated. Rather than get rid of it completely, we could simply reintroduce variables. Perhaps we could add small mounds to bowling lane, or arrange the pins more sporadically. Perhaps we could move the activity outside, introducing weather variation. Surely, something must be done to differentiate one game from the next, reintroducing skill and variance to the saturated sport. Otherwise, bowling can be no more. For as Darwin’s theory of natural selection clearly illustrates, that which can not evolve, must perish.

Carnival-Style Urination Games: What America Needs to Get Back on Track

Among the most pressing issues facing America today is our tremendous debt, currently looming around $14 trillion. Another issue? America seems to be quite depressed. A new study, sponsored by the World Health Organization interviewed nearly 90,000 people in 18 countries, and concluded that the US and France are the worlds most depressed nations.

So, we are deep in debt and thoroughly depressed… What can be done to address these issues? I think I may have a solution: Carnival-style urination games, (CSUG’s.) It is a bold and innovative idea, if I may say so myself, and it may be exactly what our nation needs to get back on track.

You know that carnival game you might find at an amusement park, the one where you race horses or cars by shooting water guns at a target? The more precisely you fire, the faster your racer moves…

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