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Archive for November, 2007

Slow Metro Service

Metro is slow this morning; the trains are being told to go about 1/2 the speed of normal because the tracks are filled up with wet leaves, causing problems to the service.

That is understandable (although one wonders why metro does not hire people to remove the leaves at night); what is perplexing is how it was managed aboard the train I was on. Silver Spring was fine; I got on and the train moved on; Takoma was fine: train stopped, let people on, and then moved on. But when we got to Fort Totten, everything seemed to break down. The train stopped; the doors remained closed; a few minutes later, the trained edged forward, stopped, and the doors remained closed. People outside got restless: one guy pounded on the doors. Finally, after maybe five minutes (or more, I did not time it), they opened and let the people in.

I have no idea why it was done like this, but I found it more than a little irritating. Luckily I was inside with all the heat, but I would have been more than a little angry if I were one of the people outside waiting to get in, not knowing if the train will even open up.

At the library, I was able to talk to Jonathan this morning and ask him about his wedding; he said it went well, but there was a lot of stress involved with it: three days before, he had to turn in sixty pages of his dissertation, then afterwards, they had their honeymoon, but at the end, they had to go separate ways since he had to go to a conference for several days before returning to DC. He said he felt bad having to do it, but when he was at the conference, he heard all kinds of people from Oxford, whom he studied with, complaining about the job market in Early Christian Studies: too many people, too few positions.

Thankfully my specialization is in more than one field, and that will help me when the time comes for job hunting (all so soon).

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Research Work at CUA

It’s been two weeks since I have been on campus because it was closed down for Thanksgiving. I am amazed at how many of the trees are still showing their blight plumage despite it being nearly December. The leaves are starting to turn brown and droop on many of the trees, so it is clear that they are about to fall off.

Coffee this morning was a disappointment; I always need to put some cream in it, and if I don’t tell them that, it seems the cup becomes overflowing and the hot coffee jumps out at me when I walk from the student center to the library. So when I told them I needed some room for cream, today, instead of just a little less coffee, it seemed like 1/3 of the coffee was left out. 

Maybe I am supposed to cut back — at least just for today? 

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A Strong, Cold Wind

We continue to have winter- like chills today, but its effects are felt far greater by the strong gusts of air blowing past one’s skin. It would be nice to walk around if it were not for the wind; the sky is beautiful, and the moon continues to shine despite it being long past dawn.

Caribou was playing Christmas music today, and it somewhat annoyed me, because it was, of course, the commercialized music and not true classics which one could hear (fewer people, I am sure, take offense to it than music about the nativity). I couldn’t concentrate much in my reading because of it, and so I returned him rather quickly today, with half of my late with me to drink at home.

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Fall is almost over, and winter is trying to come in. To be sure, we have been rather lucky in the DC area: even now, at this late date, many trees are holding on to their bright, beautiful leaves; but it is very clear that as time progresses, more and more trees are giving way to the times and letting the wind take their treasure away from them.

caribou.jpgYesterday, I started reading through Langland’s Piers the Ploughman and I took it with me to read at Caribou. I have been waking up early the last couple days, giving me headaches which has made it difficult to concentrate on my studies. So I have taken it easy in my morning readings, although I will get back to my studies soon.

Upon getting back from the coffee shop, I decided to do my laundry. The laundry room felt hot today, as if the heating inside was set a bit too high to my liking, so when I was putting my clothes into the washing machines, I felt sweat rolling down my brow. I never like the way that feels.

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Scattered Showers

It’s been a dark, grey morning, and we have had scattered rain in the forecast. We were told they would not arrive until late this morning or early afternoon: of course, that is not what happened.

I went to Caribou for coffee, and finished reading through The History of the Hobbit while I was there. On my way back home, it started to rain; it was light, to be sure, but enough to cover the ground. I was prepared for it this time — I had my book-bag with me, wherein I had placed an umbrella. Still the sudden rain hit me for about half a minute before I was able to get the umbrella open; and it stopped as soon as I got to the door of my apartment building!

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Bad Drinks

As we were folding bulletins today, Marvin asked me if I had ever had rye whiskey and what I thought of it. I told him I had it once and did not like it at all: it was way too raw for it to be any good. He then said he used to drink it when he was younger but he didn’t remember why. I suggested that it was cheap, and probably easier to get, when he was younger, and especially when he was in the military during World War II. He agreed that was probably it.

Then I mentioned how years ago I had seen a large, plastic bottle of “Osco Brand” Scotch at a drug store; it was cheap (less than $10), and so I knew it had to be bad — very, very bad. But I had always wondered how bad.

This got Marvin thinking about bad alcohol in general. Then he mentioned his time in the army and how he once tried to get some aftershave. He was told it was sold out, and that it was always sold out. Perplexed, he asked why and he was told that some soldiers would take it and drink it as soon as it came in. He had never done it nor ever thought of doing so; however, he decided to ask George when he came in if he ever had. George said no, never, but he had once seen some people who had, and they died from it — the mix of chemicals (and probably the kind of alcohol in it) just did not mix well with the human body. 

Coming back from church today, I was almost hit twice by people coming into my lane right in front of me. Once it was at a double turning lane, and the car to my left did not stay in his lane (the reason was, he didn’t mean to get off the beltway, and so he had to go through several lanes to get back on); then a few blocks later, a van on my right saw his lane was going to have to turn right and so just ran right in front of me. Both times I was saved from an accident by fast maneuvering on my part.

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Saturday Morning Rest

Another Saturday morning, another cold morning. Two days of chills allows one to at least adjust to them. While I prefer a slightly warmer temperature, one where I do not need to wear a coat when I am outside, but cool enough so I do not need to run air conditioning in my apartment, I also prefer a constant temperature like this than the rapid flux we had earlier this week.

I did not have as much to clean up today as I do some Saturdays, so I have been able to relax and read more from my copy of The History of the Hobbit. While the book is interesting, and I am fascinated at some of the changes which exist in the text from the original hand-written copy and the final, published version, I am also finding the essays and notes at the end of each chapter to be quite good (better than I expected)  and I believe they will be useful in some of my own writings and research on Tolkien.

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