XC Conferences 2012

Tomorrow is XC conferences. Last year at this race I ran arguably the worst race of my life. I didn’t break 30 for the first time ever and got my pooter packed by a lot of kids who shouldn’t have beat me. This year will have a similar taste to it but in a slightly different way. Instead of being physically able to run fast but being restricted by the conditions, it will be the opposite. The weather and course will favorable to run fast but I am simply unable to run fast. I don’t know which of these is worse, but I would lean towards last year being worst. This year is better because I know what to expect and I won’t be disappointed if I ran slow because I know I shouldn’t necessarily run fast.

There is one mission tomorrow as well as one sub-mission. The main mission is beating McDaniel. We cannot get last in the conference. Last is for losers. We won’t win and we won’t even be close because we’re racing the #1 ranked D3 team in the nation in Haverford. Our conference 4 of the top 20 in the region and is one of the most competitive in the country. However, we cannot get last in this competitive conference. The sad thing is that had I been healthy and Jatin stayed here this wouldn’t even be close to a real possibility but given the circumstances we are at serious risk.

The sub-mission is to qualify for the regional team. While my spot was very secured my first three years here it is at risk this year. Due to sickness I’ve missed the last two meets and just might not have it. If I run like balls at conferences there’s a chance I don’t make it which would absolutely suck.

I personally think both goals will be achieved tomorrow which will make for a happy homecoming night. Yes, tomorrow night is homecoming (as well as Wacker’s 21st birthday). I’m very excited for this (much to my recent commenter Sauces dismay because I will be able to display my superior drinking abililties) because there’s a lot of alumni that I haven’t seen/drank with in a long time. All in all I have high expectations for tomorrow and have a hard time imagining that it will go poorly. Visualization is key. If I see it going well, it will probably go well.

How do you drink?

Last night I went to my teacher/adviser/coach’s house for dinner with a few other kids from my international finance class. Overall it was a very fun time and I’m glad I went. Wine was flowing (although I was unable to drink any because of conferences) and Eric (my teacher) was getting buzzed. The group asked a bunch of questions and we all talked and told stories which was fun. A while into the conversation someone asked Eric what his craziest drinking story was. He started the story like this, “Ok, I’ll tell you the story of the only time I puked from drinking.” I was shocked, “Only time?!” was my response. Anyway, he told the story and at the conclusion he said “Oh, I have another story, this was the only time I ever blacked out from drinking” and that’s when I lost it. I could not believe he had only blacked out once in his 10 years of college. I interrupted the story and explained that blacking out was more likely than not for me on any given weekend and the crew was unanimously against me. This was a wake-up call, a realization, a moment of clarity, an epiphany, whatever you want to call it.

Most people don’t drink the way me and my group of friends drink. I always kind of knew this but it took this scenario, me being surrounded by people I never drink with, for me to fully realize this. Every person in the group essentially sat there and said that they drink, get buzzed (sometimes ‘drunk’) and that’s that. I don’t know why but that idea is so foreign to me at this point. When I drink I’m never really concerned with getting too drunk. I’m not monitoring how much I drink. I just drink when I feel like drinking and when a party is rolling I feel like drinking a lot. Sometimes I black out and sometimes I don’t but I don’t often go into a night saying I’m not going to black-out. Having that whole group of people look at me like I was an alcoholic was strange, it even made me feel a little self-conscious. How was I so different from these people? When people say they have never blacked out from drinking I’m generally baffled and don’t understand how that happens. The average person does not participate in binge drinking the way that I, my family, and my friends do.

This is strange because this is the only type of drinking I have ever known. Drinking a beer during a football game on Sunday or at dinner on a Tuesday night is not the drinking I ever encountered. Like most other things that my father and brothers did, it was balls to the wall, drinking would be no different. The first time I drank I had 4 Coors Lights at PJ Clark’s house and was bombed calling the girl that I liked. The first time I puked from drinking was only weeks later with Alex and Jake in my basement going at a fifth of Smirnoff with Peach Snapple as our mixer/chaser. The first time I blacked out was roughly a year later at Josh Stolz’s house before a UDHS football game. I had my mom pick me up that night and she was furious. Right off the bat drinking was always a go-hard type of thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever transition to ‘normal’ drinking but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

I like being drunk and I like doing drunk-people things. I’ve always understood that some people don’t drink the same way that we do. I guess it just never clicked when people said “You cross country tards are crazy, you’re always wasted by like 8:00” and that they were actually serious and that most other people don’t do that. I am now realizing this but rest assured that this will not affect my drinking habits in any way.

Social Experiments

Last night Vince and I performed an extremely weak social experiment. We both set our Facebook statuses to “I just want someone to facebook chat me” and waited to see when/if we would get any chats. After roughly 15 minutes I received facebook chats from five different people (all dudes) and over half were chatting me just because of the status. Three of the conversations died very quickly while one was catching up with a friend and the other was a very constructive criticism of this blog.

The point of this post however is not to talk about our stupid and poorly constructed social experiment, if you can even call it that. The point of this is that given my current setting I feel this is the perfect time to execute a number of social experiments. The reason for this is that college is a very unique social experience. I have social interactions with literally hundreds of people every single day in a variety of different social situations. I will likely never live this life style again and therefore never have this opportunity again. Every group is filled; attractive girls I know, attractive girls I don’t know, unattractive girls I know, unattractive girls I don’t know, switch girls for guys in all those, teachers, Wismer workers, coaches, the list goes on. I interact with these people everyday.

The first experiment that comes to mind (and I’ve been thinking about this one for a while) is to literally go a week straight where I have my fly down on every pair of shorts I wear. On first notice I would bet almost no one besides my close friends say anything. But as the week goes on and my group members in ESS see my fly down for the third day in a row or my adviser/teacher/best friend Eric sees it, will they say something eventually? Could I potentially use this as a conversation starter with girls or will this be a complete anti-poon move? Will people be offended or will they be trying to hold back their laughter? I won’t be able to get away with something like this in an office setting. Now is the time to figure these things out. Now I will have to sacrifice some cool points because I can’t explain to everyone afterward that I had my fly down on purpose and even if I could people probably wouldn’t believe me. But do I really give a qua? No.

I’m sure there are other even better things I could do but that is the one I’ve always thought about doing. If you have any other ideas comment away. I don’t know if I’ll actually try the fly one but who knows. If there are other good ones perhaps I’ll give them a whirl.

What Changed?

Of my graduating class from high school I can think of 5 or 6 kids who joined me in my voyage to Ursinus. Of these kids I wouldn’t have considered any of them close friends, I would say maybe 2 or 3 were acquaintances and the others were people I knew of and maybe have talked to but that’s it. If I was walking down the hallways of Upper Dublin High School on any given day I would likely not say hi to any of these people. This is not because I’m mean, they would not have said hi to me either so it was a mutual understanding that we weren’t all that close.

Four years later we’re all still here (except one kid actually who dropped out). The difference is that from the first day up until now we almost always say hi to each other when we see each other. I suppose as a freshman it was comforting to know an extra person or two and feel like you were a little more accepted. But as a senior I have had very few encounters with any of these people to the point where I would say I’m better friends with them now than I was in high school.

So what changed? How come we would never say hi to each other in high school but when we came here we started to? Is it only because I know that they know who I am and vice versa and if we didn’t say hi the other person might feel insulted? It was the same way in high school. I knew they knew me and vice versa but we never said hi to each other. I don’t think we’ve all matured so much and we’re all such adults now that we can have these casual hellos that somehow mean something more than they would in high school. That’s BS.

The only theory I can come up with is like a 10-20% theory or something like that. The idea behind this is that you say hi to the top 10-20% of people you know and are friends with. In high school I knew these people but they were not in my top 10-20% of people that I would associate with. When we came to Ursinus however all of that changed. Not only did we start with a clean slate, but you’re only here for four years and don’t associate with as many people. I was getting to know my grade school classmates since elementary school. I’m obviously going to know a lot of them decently well. Coming to college wipes all of that away and suddenly those people that I kind of knew in high school jump up in the rankings. They go from 50% to 15% just because of the new setting and now I feel obligated to say hi to them because I know them better than most people here.

The real kicker is a dilemma talked about in Seinfeld. Once you start saying hi to someone you have to keep saying hi. Elaine meets some goober at a party and initially they said hi to each other whenever they saw each other but one day the guy stopped saying hi and Elaine got pissed. She knew that he knew who she was but he still wasn’t saying hi. Once I start saying hi to my fellow Upper Dublians I have to continue this trend for fear of not offending them.

To summarize, when I come to school I say hi to them because they jump up from whatever % to the top 20ish%. As the years go by they may drop out of this 20% as I get more friendly with other people but I have to keep saying hi because they might get offended if I stop. It’s a stupid process really but it’s something that I’ve been noticing a lot lately.

Opposite Weekend

The reason this is titled opposite weekend is because we were able to drink on Friday night but not Saturday night. This was due to the dry week rule where we can’t drink a week before conferences.

Gourlay came up for Friday night to celebrate his birthday (which was actually on Saturday). I got him a great customized cake that is pictured below. We started drinking around 7:30 or so and things began normally. There was a group of roughly 8 or so guys sitting in Wacker’s room playing Trials and drinking and whatnot. Eventually people started showing up and the party was more or less underway. I was having trouble putting down beers so I did a few shots with Gourlay to get the buzz going. We decided that we should eat the cake now before everyone was too blacked out because then it would just get out of hand. Surprisingly enough the cake was a hit and we almost got rid of the whole thing.

After that Satchel and Jay showed up and we had a great game of quarters going. This is what sent me from pretty drunk to more or less blacked out. I remember talking to some old friends in Wacker’s room and I remember the clock striking midnight and going bonkers with a few others because it was officially Gourlay’s birthday. There was some minor dancing going on in the common room but nothing really. At one point I was outside around 205 talking to a few of them out there. The one girl was going crazy with the word qua. There are some loosely defined rules on how to use the word and she was pretty much breaking every rule. The more important part though is that apparently they actually started saying qua so I supposed that’s a mission accomplished.

Saturday was the dry day so we tried to organize something fun. A decent group of us walked to the Chinese place in the shopping center for dinner which killed a lot of time. We got Rita’s afterward for 50% off which was also nice. The game plan was to get a game of ultimate Frisbee going in the field house but immediately after dinner no one was really feeling it. We waited a few hours and then made our way to the field house with a basketball and a Frisbee. Fortunately enough people showed up so that we could play some games. We started with a few games of knockout and then got a good game of 4 on 4 ultimate going. The whole ordeal took roughly 2 hours which was perfect. We soberly went to lower afterward and sat there for an hour or so.

I didn’t really want to go back to the suite but around 12:15 Wacker and I figured we didn’t really have a choice. We walked back hoping for the best. The suite was packed and music was blasting unfortunately. It’s crazy being sober in those situations and seeing what actually goes on. Wacker and I were wondering if this happens every weekend and we’re just too drunk to notice it or what. We figured that was the case. I put my headphones in and attempted to go to bed. It was a minor success.

I woke up and ran 5 miles today as well as yesterday which is a step in the right in the right direction. As of right now it’s up in the air for whether I’ll make the regional team or not. I figure if I run conferences and am top 7 I make it. It’s just a matter of being able to run or not. At the rate I’m going I assume I’ll be okay in a week but if you asked me that two or three weeks ago I would have said the same thing and we know how that worked out. But really, I think I’ll be okay for conferences.

Me and Gourlay with the cake.

Keep the Surprises

I’m beginning to realize a huge drawback of having a smart phone. Back in the day I would come back from class all excited to see new tweets, Facebook notifications, emails, etc. The only thing I received directly were text messages and that’s because people use them when they need to directly contact me. That other information was not urgent and I always had to wait until I came back to my room but I’m starting to think that was a good thing.

A smart phone takes the surprise out of everything. I can check tweets whenever and it actually alerts me when someone tweets @ me. Facebook notifications and emails are sent right to the phone with a little buzz just so I know. I can even check the status of my currency trading. There’s no going to class for two hours and coming back to see that I’m up (or more likely down) $5,000, I know it all beforehand (granted I choose to check that one) but you get the point.

This age of modern technology is based on instant gratification. We want our information and we want it right now. But it takes the surprise out of everything which is no fun. I wrote a blog about this before but I would never want to know the gender of my baby before it is born. That’s one of the few great surprises left in this world, why ruin it? I like the idea that something is potentially waiting for me when I arrive back at my room. It could be the little lift I need on a bad day to make me feel better. Having something funny tweeted at me in class where I have to contain my laughter is not satisfying or uplifting. Coming back from that bad class however and reading that funny tweet might be exactly what I need to change my outlook from a pessimistic one to an optimistic one.

Z-Type

This is a stupid fun little game that Mark showed me. It’s pretty much just how fast and accurately you can type. I’ve played a few times. I suggest starting on expert mode if you’re not completely retarded when it comes to typing. I made it to level 17 or 18 and got 3392 as my high on expert mode and something like 40 and 4100 on normal mode. It also seems to be a good way to kill time.

http://www.phoboslab.org/ztype/

A Senior Perspective

For a long time I’ve had the idea in my head that I never want to graduate college. As I am now entering the second half of my last first semester of the year I am beginning to have mixed feelings. There are obvious pros and cons to being in college but as a college student with friends who have gone through the graduation process, it seems as though the pros severely outweigh the cons. Let’s start with the pros.

Being in college is great, your responsibility level in proportion to your age is about as low as it will ever be. I’m a 21 year old who is handed every meal, sheltered in a nice living space with bathrooms and heating, and spends the vast majority of my time on the internet, drinking, running, or playing video games. I’m in class for roughly 10 hours a week and then I spend probably less than 10 a week studying/doing homework, we’ll call it 20 hours a week for round numbers. I spend another 10 hours a week at practice/meets. I have 30 hours a week in things I “have to do” and the rest is complete and total free time. I can drink whenever I want and I live with 7 other males who are as laid back as I am. The team is also great. It’s a group of people that you spend all of your time with and become very close with. This is good to have. Perhaps the best part is that there’s always a cheap party to go to and it’s almost always at my place. I don’t need to call and invite people, they simply show up. Perhaps the best part of this is that girls actually show up too. There’s pretty much a pre-determined group of guys and girls (the team) that will always be at the party. This is a great convenience. When you look at it like this the college life is about as easy as it comes. Would I really want to trade this away for a 40 hour per week job where I sit in a cube and watch Netflix until 11 PM on weeknights for my entertainment?

Lately however I have been realizing some perks of graduating and entering the real world. While I do have a decent amount of money in the bank at the moment, I’m well aware that this money supply is shrinking instead of growing. I’m not definitely frugal when it comes to something I want or feel like buying, but it is always in the back of my mind. When I graduate and eventually get a job it will be nice to see this money supply grow. I like the idea of feeling productive and that what I’m doing actually means something. What I’m doing now is simply working towards getting a diploma and while that is important, it’s not as concrete as cash. If I’m getting paid for what I’m doing it gives me a sense of value for myself, like I’m a contributing member of society instead of an alcoholic student. At the moment I have zero bank operations set up of any kind. All I have is a checking account. I’m looking forward to setting up a retirement fund and getting all that shit figured out. Teachers are always saying how kids should start that stuff as soon as possible and it simply makes me anxious to hear them say that. I will also not be sad to say goodbye some of the drama that comes with being in college. It sound stupid but there’s a surprising amount of things that cause drama that I simply do not want to deal with and I have found myself saying on multiple occasions “I can’t wait until I don’t have to deal with this anymore.” A final thing that surely has a negative spin but has one positive is the running aspect. I won’t have a team anymore which absolutely sucks but I’m excited to try solo-running where I pick what I want to do and when I do it. A marathon has always been a goal of mine. One thing that comes along with that is a lack of racing which is actually kind of nice. I don’t necessarily want the pressure of racing every weekend. Shaking off a bad race versus a bad workout is a lot tougher and I like the idea of doing really hard workouts. Obviously racing is really fun and I would likely rather have this current race schedule than one race every two months or something but there is an upside to the latter.

I suppose the reason I’m looking at this in this particular way is because I  know it’s inevitable that I will graduate and it’s coming way quicker than I was expecting. I really like the freshman and sophomores we have here and the idea that their college experience isn’t even half over while mine is closing up is depressing. They’ll have two-three more years that I’m not a part of at all. The freshman now will look back in three years and struggle to remember their freshman year when Sam and Mark were on the team. Although we’re on the same team experiencing the same things at the moment, we’re at pretty different points in our life. They’re just taking in the college experience and I’m just getting ready to leave it. I guess this is emphasized because our senior class is so small. There’s pretty much just me and Mark spare a few others. By default we have to be really good friends with the younger kids on the team.

This post has been way to long and I doubt anyone will read this far but I’ve already written this much so I’m posting it.

What I Got

So the doctor tells me I have bronchitis and an ear infection. I don’t really understand how this happened. The first week of me being sick my ear was completely fine and I didn’t even have a cough. The second week I started dry coughing then getting a more deep mucus cough but why did it take so long? Also the ear infection came out of nowhere. I woke up on Saturday and just couldn’t really hear out of my right ear, well that’s because it’s infected and I don’t know how that happened. I’m on a Z-pack along with some Mucinex and he said hopefully everything clears up in 5-7 days. I suppose it’s good that I’m actually on the road to recovery now but this sickness pretty much cost me my senior year cross country season. I’ve lost 5+ pounds in the past two weeks and will have definitely lost some fitness. By the time I start running again conferences will be a week away and I’ll be lucky to be in sub 30:00 shape. I’ll be okay with this under one condition, I have to be 100% healthy and back to running fast for track.

Also, I think it should be mandatory that every office waiting room, whether it’s the doctor, dentist, whatever, should have at least one edition of Sports Illustrated. I was sitting in the waiting room today with five magazines that I didn’t even know existed and had absolutely zero desire to pick up any of them. This problem was compounded when a mildly attractive girl and her mother walked in and I was staring straight forward at absolutely nothing for the 5-10 minutes we were in the room together because there was absolutely nothing to read. Sports Illustrated is the go-to magazine for any guy in a waiting room. It doesn’t even have to be the most recent. The point is that any Sports Illustrated will kill enough time until you are called and make your waiting room experience much more quick and pleasant.