“He’s fond of you.”

That’s just the coolest of quaint sayings, particularly when it’s said to me.

This has been a fairly up and down (but mostly up) week. I’m tired and decently sleep-deprived, but some of that comes from inefficiency in working earlier this week. Took me a minute to bite the bullet and accept that vacation was over.

The newspaper this week was very mediocre, and borderline bad; I mean that in terms of the entire experience, not only the end product. And it was pretty much all my fault. I fucked up in so many ways because I let fatigue and impatience and the thought of a couple hours of homework rush me once it got late in the evening. I double-printed an ad, willfully left mistakes and goofiness on a couple of pages, forgot to attach one of the pages to the e-mails to the printers (and so received a call around 06:30 this morning, after I slept through two e-mails). I need to find some way to get things rolling in the office a hell of a lot sooner, but I have no content from my writers.

This is going to sound incredibly odd, but I think it all rides on the pizza. I noticed months ago that no one really works until we have pizza in the office and we’ve satiated our appetites. Then we start working, but currently that isn’t until 19:30 or so, and it’s slowly getting later and later. So next week, I’m getting pizzas much earlier, so the pizzas will be in the office around 18:00 and people will start working by 18:30. Hopefully, it’ll help a little, along with nagging a couple folks about arriving earlier.

I didn’t work out this morning, but I got in a nice full-body workout on Thursday morning when I walked for a couple of miles and then rowed for about three kilometers. Now I just need to stop doing homework earlier so I can get to the SRC by 07:00, right when they open.

The quarter is starting off fairly well, academically. My classes are interesting and I think I’m going to learn a hell of a lot this term, particularly in Computer Architecture II and Analytical Chemistry. I’ve got damn good profs for both (or so it seems so far) and even computer architecture is holding my interest enough to have me reading ahead in the textbook and enjoying the articles the prof gives us. Oh, and my chemistry prof makes incredibly awesome chemistry jokes in his laid-back drawl. I love it. Just like in high school chemistry, I’m probably the one laughing hardest.

I received three awesome packages this week. The first was the belated Christmas gift from Michael, the second was my Scheme textbook/reference guide, and the third was my “I survived Winter Quarter!” gift to myself. I like getting packages, even though I have to be late to class, lab, or work to get them.

The long day hours are hurting me, though. It’s making it very difficult for me to get things done with my lab partner and for the paper and to attend the meetings I need to attend in order to keep myself in certain camps and groups. So I’m annoyed at myself and I know the people trying to schedule meetings with me are annoyed.

But I did get an offer for a summer research position up at Notre Dame for more environmental chemistry + computer science fun. I only have six days to decide, though, which means I will have to do some heavy thinking this weekend since I have about four other potential summer gigs that haven’t gotten back to me yet. Dr. M is focused on the money (which is a good amount), but I’m at that point in my curriculum where I’m thinking about stress levels… Like, how high do I want them to be during the summer? (I kid, slightly; I know I should be thinking more about how much it’ll help me in the future and all that good stuff…)

However, it looks like Dr. M’s research team (the one that includes me) has been scooped. We’re hunting down the article so we can see more than the abstract, but holy hell if it doesn’t sound like they are covering the things we’ve been busting our asses to do. Grr. We’ll see.

But I did have a good conversation with a member of my first-term computer architecture team yesterday. He’s a funny guy, and I wish he were in CompArch again with me this term, because we worked well together.

Tonight, after a brief hour of recuperation and breathing space after nine hours of class/lab/work (oy-vey, I’m so spacey right now), I’m off to see what craziness Javid has written for our entertainment this evening. I should acquire food during this time…

Sometimes, it’s the little things.

Several groups on campus here are starting a SafeZone program, where the general idea is to “identify people and places where students can seek support free of bigotry and harassment”. Wonderful idea, and it’s been about a year in the making.

At any rate, at the NSBE meeting I attended last night, a draft of the main race-related SafeZone documents circulated for approval. I took the time to read them out of curiosity. Of particular interest to me was the question “What is white privilege?” (I broke their frames in order to directly link to the page in question.)

Their list is well worth reading and is highly enlightening, whether you’ve never had to think about white privilege before or if you’ve just never attempted to enumerate what it entails.

Hell, I’ll even quote:

White Privilege is…

  1. Being fairly sure that renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live is possible.
  2. Being pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  3. Shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed by store security.
  4. Turning on the television or looking at the front page of the paper and seeing people of my ethnic background widely and positively represented.
  5. Being shown in school that people of my color made our national heritage what it is.
  6. Being sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their ethnic background.
  7. Going into a music shop and count on finding the music of my ethnic background represented, into a supermarket and finding the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, or into a hairdresser’s shop and finding someone who can style my hair.
  8. Counting on my skin color not precluding the appearance of financial reliability.
  9. Being able to arrange to protect my children from racial epithets.
  10. Being able to swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
  11. Speaking in public to a powerful group without putting people of my ethnic background on trial.
  12. Doing well in a challenging situation without being called a “credit to my race”.
  13. Never being asked to speak for all the people of my ethnic group.
  14. Remaining oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  15. Criticizing our government and talking about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  16. Being pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
  17. Being sure that I haven’t been singled out for my race if a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return.
  18. Easily buying posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  19. Going home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
  20. Taking a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job accuse me of getting the job because of my ethnic background.
  21. Choosing public accommodation without fearing that people of my color cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  22. Being sure that if I need legal or medical help, my color will not work against me.
  23. Not needing to ask if each negative event in my life has racial overtones.
  24. Choosing blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin.

For some reason, my brain is currently stuck on #14: “Remaining oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.” Coincidentally, I’ve found it fascinating over the past few weeks the things I can talk about with Luke versus Dr. 7 versus Andrea versus T-dawg. My own bastardized culture leaves me in an odd place, perhaps, but the differences are there and dictate heavily what jokes are told and even what topics of conversation will be in some cases. It’s highly annoying to receive a blank look and a careless shrug—and worse yet, with no curiosity behind it—in response to some excited story or joke. It sounds trivial (because it’s just a story or joke, right?), and it may just be my perpetual annoyance with some folks’ lack of curiosity, but it can weigh surprisingly heavily in a friendship.

Okay, I’m done rambling.