Oct 29, 2007

W&M Homecoming

Thanks to Sandy for taking all the pics!

Ah, Homecoming. That magical time of year when we renew past acquaintances, revisit old stomping grounds, and relive our misspent youth. Also known as "every third Friday" for yours truly, The Creepy Alum. But this time there were Events! And a Schedule! And an honest-to-God Plan!

Here's the trouble I got into this weekend ...

Just In Time - I arrived in W'burg for the Wind Symphony concert. I passed the conductor, about to make his entrance, on the way in. The concert was fun, even if Dr. Feldman felt the need to preface each piece with a explanation.

Dr. F: It doesn't actually sound very good, but you will appreciate it on a purely esoteric level, now that I have described the intricacy of the composition.
Me: I see your lips moving but all I hear is a muted trombone, like in Charlie Brown. "Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah." Less talk, more Bach!

Afterwards, Erin, the Low Reeds and I retired to the Daily Grind (W&M's student coffee shop), as is our wont. Candace introduced me to the newest bass clarinet player in the most flattering manner possible... "This is Sri. She's OLD." Pete and I played chess until they kicked us out, but since we both suck at it we only managed to make it through one game.

Ass Early O'Clock - Parade ... oops, rained out. Luckily Erin is still young enough to have friends she can call about these things or we would have showed up with our umbrellas, looking hopeful. As it was, it was all I could do not to cry ... over missing that extra hour of sleep.

During The Game - Outlet shopping with Sandy and Wistar. I was resolved to only buy dress slacks and pumps, for work. Two hoodies, a couple t-shirts and a set of penguin pajama's later, I remembered my lack of impulse control and common sense.

Oh, yeah. I'm cool.

The Afternoon Sometime - APO alumni reception / meeting up with other APO alums. Sandy and I didn't spend too much time with the reception, as it was filled with Pledges who were in middle school when we joined. But lurking on the outskirts of all that brotherhood were the other Old Alums, including people who had graduated when we were still freshmen (freshwomyn?). Some of them are married. Some of them have babies! Age is purely relative.

Dinner - Having eaten all day (kettle corn at the outlets, grazing through free samples at the Peanut Shoppe, brownie bites at the reception), Sandy and I forgo food in favor of alcohol from the 9606 tent. We then retire to our hotel room to watch TV (my friend Sarah joined us as we watched Goosebumps and made snarky comments) and have a long nap.

Dessert - Trellis! We demolish a slice of Death By Chocolate ... which, sadly, is not as deadly as I remember it to be. You can never go home.

Probably should have taken a "before"...

Afterwards - We tried to make it to the Meridian, an indie off-campus coffee shop, for a concert but arrive too late. So we wandered around campus molesting statues and taking scandalous pictures. Good times.

Sandy and her boyfriend, Thomas Jefferson.


While Others Were At Church - I snuck into Millington to leave random notes on my advisor's doors. Eh, it was a good way to kill 20 minutes until the Younge Guarde brunch, where I stuffed my face full of bacon and tried to pretend I was a Respectable Alumna.

Just Before I Left - After a brief nap in Ewell Lobby, I had lunch with the Low Reeds. Well, they had lunch. Still full of brunch, I opted to mainline Mountain Dew in an effort to stay awake on my drive home.

As always, lots of fun to be had at Homecoming. Plus, no one was arrested! Aren't you sad you stayed home?

Oct 22, 2007

On the Continent of Wild Endeavor

I've decided to tackle NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you who are woefully plebeian and don't know already, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to aspiring authors to complete their novels ... in 30 days or less. Anyone who pays attention to how frequently I update this blog is laughing her ass of right now.

But my whole writer's group is attempting it, and I figure that trying to keep up with those lovely ladies will help me stay on track. Also, because I have the attention span of a goldfish, I have decided to cut myself some slack and do a book of short stories rather than an actual novel. Maybe there will be a unifying theme like Hope, or Death, or Cheese. It will be completely by accident.

Of necessity, my blog entries for the month of November will be shorter. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I only have so many words in me and I will have to conserve them. It is possible that entries will be more frequent, as I will have something to report (i.e. my progress or lack thereof). I make no promises, though.

Wish me luck!

Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Some of you may be puzzled by my blog's title: The Biological Imperative. This started as a joke amongst the neuroscience nerds at W&M - every living creature has four basic needs, or "biological imperatives": feed, fight, flee and reproduce. *nudge nudge, wink wink, gigglesnort*

But as human beings, we have other, higher needs that drive us more strongly than the F4. To continue the scientific gibberish (Eh. Why not?), I need only turn to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Beyond the simple act of maintaining our bodies, we need Safety, Love, Esteem and Actualization. In my mind, this is what separates People from Other Animals. This blog is an expression of my creativity, an aspect of self-actualization ... and of my need to be loved/praised/petted. But mostly the creativity thing. *shifty eyes*

Anyway, another important aspect of self-actualization is morality. Anyone who thinks a tiger or a sea urchin is as moral as a human being should probably seek professional help. Don't worry, I'm not about to get on my soapbox (I'm saving that for the 2008 Presidential Campaign). This has all been an elaborate lead-in to my contribution to Blog Action Day:

I'm going to take out my recycling.

Now, you may be thinking, so what? But when you consider that I've only taken out my recycling once since I've lived in my new apartment (I signed the lease in August of 2006), you may begin to understand the importance of this event. I may need to rent a U-Haul.

I have the best intentions when it comes to recycling, and try to reduce my garbage output. Sure I'm no Sarah McGaughey or Kyle Glover, but I do try. Whenever I am forced to throw away a glass bottle or newspaper, my soul writhes in agony. Well ... perhaps it fidgets with discomfort. So I hold back half my trash, tucked into the corners of my house, for the day I find time to make a trip to the recycling center.

As Gandhiji would say, "To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest." I realized that by keeping my recycling in my laundry room/shed/guest bedroom, I am turning my own home into a landfill. Disgusting, and only marginally better for the environment than actually chucking it all in the dumpster. So today I will sally forth, the trunk of my car filled to the brim, and divest myself of my recyclables.

I expect it will be extremely cathartic. Gandhiji would be proud.

Oct 11, 2007

Wedding Season

This year I had a much lighter wedding schedule - just Jojo's a few weeks ago and Andi's this weekend. Even so, I find my mind turning to nuptials much more often. Maybe it's because all my friends are doing it. Perhaps this is the chiming of my biological clock, being too old-fashioned to allow me a child out of wedlock. And by "biological clock" I mean, "my mother."

Mom: *SIGH!*
17 Year-Old Sri: What's up, mom?
Mom: I used to have two beautiful brown babies. Now they are all grown up.
17YOS: ...
Mom: I need new babies. Who will give me new babies??
17YOS: Um. I have to ... go, now. Bye.

You know what, though? It would all be worth it, just for the wedding reception. Huge party with great music and all my friends gathered around to dance like fools? Sign me up.

By the way, if you ever need a ringer to get people out on the dance floor, I'm your girl. Usually this is the job of bridesmaids, but your best friends and/or sisters will be too pretty and coordinated. People want to see someone like me flailing about before they feel confident enough to bust a move.

Of course, any reception has its low points (two words: Cha-Cha Slide .... *shudder*). And it has to end with that most mortifying of wedding customs, the Bouquet Toss. I make sure to stand in the back, behind some girl whose been dating her boyfriend for a decade or so.

Rabid Bouquet-Catchers: I got it, I got it!
Me: You got it, you got it! *ducks* Did you get it?

Catching the bouquet wouldn't be so bad if we could all agree to get rid of that trashiest of traditions, the Garter Toss. I understand the guys felt left out, not being allowed to jostle each other for a useless memento of someone else's special day. But what is the fun in having the winner put the garter on the leg of the bouquet-catcher, letting everyone watch some random guy grope a girl he has just met? There's a time and a place for that, people (dance clubs at 2:17 AM). Jojo had the good sense to omit it from her wedding, and I hope Andi will follow her example.

Oct 1, 2007

Wild Weekends, Part II

9/21: Davina's birthday in Richmond - Dallying with Desis.

My friend Davina hosted three birthday parties this year, all fund raisers for the American Heart Association. Since I was going to Williamsburg anyway for Jojo's wedding, I thought it would be fun to attend the function in Richmond, hang out with some of her old friends and spend the night there. Here's the best part: the friends in question are a bunch of Desi kids (Desi means "native" or "of the homeland" in several South Asian languages).

One thing you have to understand about me - I am absolutely terrified of other Desi girls (WARNING: blatant stereotyping ahead). They're slim, they're pretty, they watch Bollywood movies and speak Hindi. Basically they are everything that I will never be, and I know (I just know) they see me a tall, awkward freak.

Obviously, not all Desi girls are like this - my friend Davina being a notable example. But because of my certainty that I would be judged (ironic, no?), I've always stayed on the periphery of the Indian community. I pretend I'm just an observer, lambast them on my blog and show up for about half of the major holidays. This strategy that has worked well so far.

But I recently realized I may be missing out on some good times, as well as the opportunity to meet Nice Indian Boys. So I figured I'd take the plunge, and try to make up for a lifetime of non-involvement in the Indian community. I went out with Davina and her friends, determined to keep an open mind. I will embrace my Desi brothers and sisters without fear and without judgement. I will. I will!

I had no idea what I was getting in to.

The night was actually going well - while the others drink and gyrate, I order soda after soda and flail my way across the dance floor. That is, until someone decides around midnight that we don't need to go home (perish the thought), we need to move to a different bar! Tell me this - have you tried shepherding a gaggle of drunks from one venue to another? It's like trying to eat Jell-O with a fork. We make it to the next place at around 1 AM.

Me: A techno club? Seriously?
Everyone Else: Oooh, I love this song!
Me: Oooh, they have couches!

I promptly curl up and make myself a nest of cushions and purses. At around 2:30 AM, a surly bouncer wanders by to tell me, "You know, you cannot sleep there." It was so Bruce from Kids In The Hall*, I almost die of excitement. Soon after that, it's last call and the establishment has the bad manners to turn on all the lights. Like cockroaches, we little ravers scatter back into the night.

Me: Ugh, what time is it? I smell burning. My feet hurt.
Everyone Else: Let's get something to eat!
Me: *whimper*

The crazy thing is, we are not the only band of Desi kids on the loose - we run into a group of young men, known well by many in my party, who are clearly still in the midst of their revelry. Or possibly high. One boy (5'5" on a good day, smoky eyes and luscious lips like a made-up Bharatanatyam dancer) decides that he wants to pick fights. I decide that it is way past the time when we should be getting off the bloody streets. Yet, 3 AM finds us at the only Mexican restaurant that will still serve rowdy Indian kids at this time of night.

Me (adding extra tip to the check): I am so sorry about this.
Manager: We're used to it. I have the cops on speed-dial.
Me: We'll just ... go now.

We finally tumbled into bed (rather, into bedding strewn across the floor of an unfurnished apartment) at around 4 AM. There was no shower curtain. We might as well have been staying in a cave. I was seriously afraid that I would have to attend Jojo's wedding smelling of sweat and cigarette smoke, after having slept in my clothes. But that's a story for another blog.

You know, it sounds like I'm complaining (because that's kind of what I do). But really, it was an amazing experience. Spending time with Desi kids is halfway between meeting total strangers and visiting your family. We may know almost nothing about each other, but there's this body of common experience that we can all draw from and laugh about. So yes, it was crazy, exhausting, and possibly dangerous.

It was also tons of fun, and I can't wait to do it again.

*"I found no love in the hollowed-out belly of a dead elk. Just warmth, and quiet. But then the questions: 'Hey, why are you in the hollowed-out belly of a dead elk? Are you in there because of love?' And always, 'You know if you're homeless, man, you cannot sleep there.'"