Back home in Cheshire

I asked my mom to wake me up early today. I’ve been at home for the past week, and before today I don’t think I’d gotten up before noon once. That led to a lot of tossing and turning at night, as I struggled to fall asleep before like 3am. Anyway, my mom obliged and woke me up at 10 this morning… so now my mission is to stay awake all day.

Home has been nice. It’s good for the soul to see the family, eat great food, hang out with family friends, watch lots of Wimbledon. Of course, I promised my advisor that I’d do some work, but it’s been exceedingly hard to sit down and concentrate for more than a dozen minutes at a time. Oh well. And I’m way behind in prelim studying. But thems the breaks.

Things pick up this upcoming weekend: we’re going to a family friend’s wedding in New York, and then as soon as we come back to Connecticut, I’m heading off to Boston for a couple of days. Then on Tuesday Umesh and I fly back to Berkeley.


Oooh, it’s been so long since my last update. Went to a few concerts in the meanwhile: Yo La Tengo at the Fillmore (we were front row, mere feet away from Ira Kaplan! Haha and I had to reach on stage and upright his beer after he knocked it over onto his effects pedals after one particularly violent feedback session. And during the encore he looked at the girl next to me and was like, “What do you want to hear?” I couldn’t resist, so I shouted out “From Black to Blue!” and he looked reproachfully at me and said, “No, I was asking her.” Another wonderful brush with celebrity…. :); Vienna Teng at the Freight and Salvage (she was awesome); and Beck at the Greek Theater. I’d never been to the Greek before and man, those concrete seats really are uncomfortable. It’s so easy to slouch on them, especially when it’s hot — Jenny and I had to keep prodding each other to sit up straight. Luckily Umesh brought some cool water. Anyway the best parts of the show were when Beck played “Debra”, one of the most hilarious, brilliant songs ever, and a terrific cover of The Flaming Lips’s “Do You Realize??”.


Well it would be quite ridiculous to devote a full entry to Beth (especially after all I’ve written in her little book!), although she’s one of the few people who’d deserve one. She’s very funny, loyal, gives extremely good advice, compassionate, an excellent writer, smart, alternately lazy and diligent (how many A+ papers became B+s because they were turned in late?), exceedingly stubborn (especially when it comes to defending Britain!), and gets into more relationship trouble than anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s like a soap opera. Somehow she manages to keep her good cheer throughout. She’s also a great friend.


Since you’re reading this, you probably know James: my (ex-)roommate of five years and one of the smartest, goofiest guys around. Here are two stories about him from last year that you might find amusing.

1. We were playing basketball one day in the court behind 21r. It was a nice day and we were in Umbros and t-shirts. After we had been shooting around for a while, I noticed that I could see the tag on his shorts. From the front. It took me a moment to realize that he had put his shorts on inside-out and backwards and didn’t notice for half an hour! Try to envision a) James standing there with the seams of his shorts clearly visible and the tag sticking out the front and b) the expression on his face when I pointed this out to him. I’m still chuckling about it.

2. For a brief while, 21r had a mouse infestation. They would eat our food and leave droppings everywhere. We soon learned to put our food in bins, and the problem went away. During the infestation, though, one of our next-door neighbors came over to ask us about the mice — seems like they had been having problems too. Anyway, we hardly knew our neighbor so when James and I talked to him, we tried to be as polite as possible. He asked us whether we had seen any trace of the mice. Of course we had — their droppings were all over the place. We just called it “mouse shit” though. As in, “there’s more mouse shit today.” As the guy was explaining their mouse problems, I noticed James struggling really hard to find a synonym for “shit” that wasn’t so vulgar.

Now, James is an exceedingly vulgar guy. He swears all the time, and usually it’s really funny. So you could actually see him concentrating furiously as he tried to find a civilized way to describe the mouse shit. His face was scrunched up and his brow was furrowed. Finally the guy finished his explanation and James attempted to answer him:

(Concentrating hard) “Well, yeah, we do see some mouse poop” (visible sigh of relaxation at this point) “and shit around here.” (Look of absolute horror on face)

He was so relieved to say “poop” that he immediately lapsed back into his old manner of speaking! (I think he meant to say “poop and stuff”.) Of course, our neighbor didn’t even notice, but James was absolutely mortified with himself. Given three minutes’ preparation, he couldn’t say one sentence without swearing! I was dying. I was so close to bursting out laughing at that point that I actually had to leave the room.

Ah, I love that man.

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5 Responses to Back home in Cheshire

  1. Anonymous says:


    Hey AJ, it’s Alex. Thanks for the glasto link, and that amazing speech by the Indian guy. Had a great time at the aforementioned musical extravaganza, by the way. The ‘head were of course top class, and Thom was looking happier than I’ve ever seen him. However, my personal highlights would have to be Idlewild (such a great festival band, even better than last year, and approximately 270% better than in SF, not that they were at all bad then!) and Asian Dub Foundation, who were just incredible. Yes, I know they have ‘Asian’ in their name, but that’s not the motivation, ok? Plus it’s not the yellow kind. ;)

    So what’s the deal with this livejournal shiat? Do you have the ability to invite me? I wouldn’t mind checking it out, as xanga’s ok but a little annoying sometimes… Gimme an email.

    Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a ‘comment’. Well, those stories about James were amusing, especially the second one. I miss you guys :(

  2. ccho says:

    Good going James… speaking of which, James never answered my e-mail from last year. And William too, I haven’t heard from him in a long time.

    I also posted in my LJ this weekend since I didn’t have much else to do. Actually I have lots to do, but it’s work so it requires some procrastination.

  3. Anonymous says:

    so touched :)

    Ah, AJ – you are such a sweetheart :) Thank you for the overly kind and desperately exaggerated entire paragraph to me, such a nice surprise. Can’t believe I haven’t read your LJ for so long! I would sing your praises here, but as most people probably know already what a wonderful person you are, I will just reciprocate that you, too, are a great friend to me, and also I have no doubt that you’ll ace your pre-lims.
    Re. my soap opera lovelife, thanks ;).. I’m very concerned that this soap opera may be on hiatus soon which absolutely can’t happen, so find me someone! It’s all part of the show’s formula, there must be no ‘single’ period – or the ratings drop (even at the cost of, er, overlap :) Talk to you soon, it was so nice to catch up today. xx

  4. Anonymous says:

    On a related note, Jeff and I noticed how we were exceedingly vulgar whereas all of our married or engaged friends were exceedingly bori- I mean, not vulgar, even though some of them used to be.

    You REALLY need to hang out with me, Brandon, , and . Grant can verify our vulgarity. We’re awful.