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Michael Evans

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Congratulations [01 Jun 2009|03:06am]
So it seems this is my 300th post.

Hmm. I could hardly believe that I've done that many, but then again I've written on this thing for several years, by now, and most of my posts have been short and rather pointless. Or totally pointless.

So as for a general update, I'm back in the US of A, but I'm not sure for how long. I'm just waiting for an email that will tell me it's time to pack my bags and head out for China - I've supposedly been given an internship, but they're really dragging their heels on the details. So for now I'm unpacking my suitcases and enjoying the beautiful colors of everyday life -- not metaphorically, but literally. Because while China's culture and society may be more vibrant than ours, their landscapes and cityscapes are a dull washed out pallor, and every day since I've been back just takes my breath away at how crisp and clear and rich the colors are everywhere.

What's up with all of you?
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[25 Jan 2009|09:38pm]
Whenever I listen to the Decembrists, I can’t help but think back to all the really horrible food I cooked for myself when I was a junior in college. About the same time I discovered their music, I frequently cooked a dish that I dubbed “Eggs Snow”, which involved scrambling eggs in milk and then eating them in a bowl with a slice of white bread at the bottom.

I know. Disgusting. I was a terrible cook. Still am, in fact, but I haven’t cooked anything in a long time. Though if I did, I’m sure my dishes would be better, if only because now I don’t have to solely rely on the meager selection of my dorm’s mini mart for all my shopping needs.
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The Rectification of Names [20 Jan 2009|02:56pm]
So I just received an email from the program that’s hosting my trip to China this coming spring (in just a few weeks, actually) when I’ll be studying Chinese in Beijing. And attached to the email were some last minute instructions, as well as a list of all the other American students who will be going over there with the program as well. I looked over the names, but of course, you can’t learn anything about a person by just reading those two words.

I thought back to the last time I was in China with a program like this, and all the other times I’ve found myself with a group of other students going off on some common adventure, for lack of a better word. I remember in particular a trip I took to Ecuador as a part of a biology class at Hopkins, and I walked into the room where we’d be holding our first pre-trip meeting, and as the other students walked into the room I’d size them up, so to speak, making my first impressions and trying to learn something about the two dozen or so people I’d be cooped up with for the next two weeks.

I wasn’t particularly impressed, as I recall, no one really stood out, and a lot of them didn’t seem like very nice people. I had a premonition that I wouldn’t get along with any of them particularly well, and I worried how the trip would go.

And then over the next two weeks I got to actually know these people. I learned which ones were funny and witty, and which were cold and reserved, or just plain annoying. I knew which were actually interested in what we were doing, and which were along just to get drunk out of their skulls. I made friends with some, and developed somewhat of a thing, shall we say, for this one girl in particular. And I thought back to my first impressions, rather dismal and cold, and thought how interesting it would be to compare them with the reality that unfolded in the following days. I had no idea what was in store for me, and no idea what would unfold.

And again I have this list of names. They mean nothing to me, but I know that in four months I will come back to that list, and the names will have a resonance that I could not possibly imagine. I can look at each of those names and guess, but how can I possibly imagine, for example, if “David Fisher” will be my annoying roommate, or if “Jessica Lu” will be the girl who gets drunk and throws up all over the shirt that I got a really great deal on at the Silk Market, or if “Garrett Luk” and I will be study partners, desperately trying to stifle our laughter as we are reminded of one of our countless inside jokes in the middle of class. Or maybe I will fall madly in love with “Melissa O’Brian”.

Or maybe none of these things will happen, and I may never so much as exchange one friendly word with Garrett, whoever he turns out to be, or I may turn out to hate Melissa while developing a hopeless crush on the girl whose name is listed right beneath hers. Maybe in the future I will look back at this entry and laugh at the irony -- or perhaps amazing accuracy -- of these wild guesses of mine.

Who knows? Who can say? It’s all a mystery, and it’s all an adventure.

And I can't wait.
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[08 Jan 2009|02:54pm]
I always enjoy spell checking an email after I write it on AOL, because if there are no mistakes, the computer informs me "You have perfect spelling."

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[05 Jan 2009|04:19pm]
Last Friday my parents and I went to dinner at an Irish pub downtown, and as the waitress welcomed us I realized that this was probably the first person I had seen or heard besides my parents all week. I had spent the entire week inside my house, and for at least a month or so before that, I had probably not had a real face-to-face and voice-to-voice conversation with a person to whom I was not related (since we visited family over the holiday).

That’s pretty bad. But really, I don’t have any reason to get out of my house: the two most important things I need to do right now are finish up my grad school applications, and study my Chinese, and those things are most easily done in front of my desk at home. I could go to a coffee shop or something, but I’d feel guilty wasting the money and drinking something that’s no good for me anyway. Well, I suppose I could do that: having one grande chai a day is no great crime.

What I should have done is take a trip last week down to Chicago, to see people I know from high school who were back for the holiday, but by now they’re all back at school.
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[31 Dec 2008|11:48pm]
Poor Katy Perry. She has to sing the same song over and over again. After a while, I'd imagine you stop caring, and give up even pretending to give a halfway decent performance. And then you start making up a new song while you're on stage, ad-libbing new harmonies and stuff, like she's doing now.

It must be cold there in New York. I'm glad I'm not up on stage performing outdoors.
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[18 Dec 2008|06:42pm]
EASTON, Pa. – A supermarket is defending itself for refusing to a write out 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell's name on his birthday cake. Deborah Campbell, 25, of nearby Hunterdon County, N.J., said she phoned in her order last week to the Greenwich ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son's name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a ShopRite spokeswoman, said the store denied similar requests from the Campbells the last two years, including a request for a swastika.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said Tuesday.

A Wal-Mart spokesman told The Associated Press on Wednesday that in light of the incident, the company would review its guidelines regarding cake decorations and other requests.

"It's clear that in serving this customer, some people were offended," spokesman Greg Rossiter said. "As a result, we're going to review our policies."

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because "no one else in the world would have that name."

The Campbells' two other children are named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in a few months, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, who will be 1 in April.

Campbell said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

"Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That's fine, I don't really care," he said. "That's his choice."

He said about 12 people attended the birthday party Sunday, including several children of mixed race.
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a haiku...almost [17 Dec 2008|03:27pm]
O Japan
You are such a messed up country
what the hell is wrong with you?
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Wha...? [13 Dec 2008|05:11pm]
“...the incumbent minister of the propaganda department of the KMT, died after he was hit in his testicles while attempting to climb over a fence.”

- Wikipedia, "Xi'an Incident"
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Doom! Doom! [10 Dec 2008|06:25pm]
When I was in second grade, we were all given Bibles in preparation for our First Communion, and we always carried them with us to chapel and religion class, even though we never used them (if you haven’t guessed by now, I went to a Catholic school, lol). Frequently our class was in charge of “hosting” the liturgy in the chapel, so a handful of us would serve as the lectors, the acolytes, gift-bearers, and the choir, and the rest of us would sit in the pews and get really bored while the chosen ones practiced. As for me, I always would read my Bible, though I pretty much stuck to one book. Naturally, it was Revelation. I would flip through the pages trying to find the most bizarre and hideous monsters and plagues, and then I’d get my friend Josh and show them to him, and then he’d find that passage in his own Bible, and we’d read those passages again and again in awe and apocalyptic delight.

Good times.
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I haven't had a good meme in a while [08 Dec 2008|07:48pm]
I got this from aneededwhimsy (I dont know how to link that to her). Once I post this, you are supposed to write a note in reply with 15 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

1. I love washing the dishes. When I lived in a house with three other people in college, I would even wash other people's dishes if I didn't have any of my own to wash. And when I moved back home where we had a dishwasher, I kind of missed doing them by hand.

2. I'm kind of annoyed because I wanted to go to church today (it's the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so you're supposed to go anyway), but I got there at 7:30 and I saw everybody leaving, even though I'm 100% sure the website said Mass was at 7:30.

3. And I was extra-annoyed because I love going to church at night (as opposed to in the morning), and I especially love going to church in the snow. I suppose it's partly because the atmosphere is more condusive to reflection and contemplation, and you're less likely to be grumpy because you didn't want to wake up that early. And the warmth and light of the church is so inviting, and serves as a sort of symbol for the Church/Christ as the light in the darkness and a refuge from a cold world.

4. When I'm really stressed out about a meeting (like with a conference with a teacher way back in high school), as soon as the meeting is over I have absolutely no recollection of what was said or what happened. Which is never good.

I think I've already written a lot -- perhaps my answers are a wee bit too long. I think I'll stop here and pick up again tommorrow.
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Huh [07 Dec 2008|01:24am]
I'm sure this post won't interest anybody here, except maybe Vickie, but I feel like saying it anyway.

Hua Guofeng is dead?! When did that happen? Why didn't I hear about it before?

Of course, the answers to my questions are, in order: yes, on August 20, and because he's not a particularly important world figure.
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La la la [05 Dec 2008|03:39pm]
I need some new songs that I can sing along to. Maybe some new musicals, ‘cause no matter how good Les Mis may be, there’s only so many times you can sing “Who Am I?” in a row before it starts to get a bit old.

So, any suggestions?
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Sleigh bells ring... [03 Dec 2008|01:06pm]
So it’s really begun to snow in earnest here in Grand Rapids. But they’ve got a pretty good system of clearing the roads, so it’s no trouble to get around. In fact, around two or three in the morning, there was a loud rumbling and banging sound outside my window, and I looked out to see a pickup truck with a snowplow on the back careening up our driveway all the way up to our garage door, bouncing up and down and swerving back and forth as it tossed the snow every which way. I felt an old-fashioned sort of indignation at the impoliteness of somebody plowing our snow on our private property without even asking us, but at least they’ve saved us some work.

The next morning, I turned on the TV and saw a long list of school closings scroll past the bottom of the screen. Not because of the snow, mind you, but because of a series of water main bursts. Huh.
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Blood and Ice [01 Dec 2008|10:21pm]
Yesterday I went to hockey game with my parents and grandparents, who were in town for Thanksgiving. It was the first hockey game I had been to for years, and so it was pretty much a new experience. The first two things that struck me were how bright the lights were, and how clearly you could hear everything: the loud thwack of somebody getting slammed against the boards sounded like you were standing just a few inches away, even though we were up a couple dozen rows. You could even hear the scratch of the skates against the ice.

And so we were watching the game, and nothing extraordinary was going on, when all of a sudden everybody in the stands jumped to their feet and started cheering like crazy. I had no idea what was going on, since none of the players were anywhere near the goals, so I stood up and tried to see what was going on. Of course, I should have guessed: a fight had broken out. Indeed, the word “fight!” flashed in bright lights on the score board, and there were two players out on the ice, circling one another and putting up their dukes like old-fashioned 1910’s boxers (you know, the guys with the funny moustaches). Then one guy swung, and they started grappling with each other and even trying to pull each other’s shirts off. The refs stood by for a while, just watching, and then finally separated the two guys as the crowd booed angrily.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, since hockey is synonymous with fighting. A couple more fights broke out over the course of the game, but nothing too big. As I thought about it, I wondered if the fights weren’t to some degree staged, or at least encouraged. After all, since fighting is such a big part of hockey, and since it draws in fans, I wouldn’t be surprised if they injected a bit of melodrama for the sake of entertainment.

Plus, the special guest and MC of the halftime show was a professional wrestler named “Sgt. Slaughter” and outside the exits was a large Army recruiting booth.
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Rat King [30 Nov 2008|10:43pm]
It's not quite the weirdest thing I've ever seen, or the most disgusting, but it's definitely up there...

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Yum [29 Nov 2008|11:33pm]
I think I'd like a cheeseburger right about now.
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I don't want a lot [28 Nov 2008|04:24pm]
As I’ve told you before, I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas songs on the radio. And so far I’ve heard all the classics at least once, except for “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and I’m disappointed, ‘cause I like that song.
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Puff [27 Nov 2008|11:19pm]
I love smoking. It invokes a kind of film noir elegance, and gives the impression of a common bond with the tortured philosophers and brilliant authors who measured out their lives in packs and cartons. There’s a certain dignity to the cigarette firmly but delicately pinched between fingers, with languid smoke slowly wafting into the cold night air. Cigars project a feeling of machismo, and everybody loves the casual exoticism of a puffing hookah.

The only drawbacks are that I absolutely hate the taste of cigarettes

and they’re expensive.

and they’re addictive.

and they kill you.

So that’s a tiny little problem.
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I want to be a part of it [26 Nov 2008|10:17am]
One thing I noticed the last time I was in New York City is that there are a lot more ads for TV shows than there are elsewhere, even in other big cities. In other places, you may see ads on the side of the occasional bus or something rather small like that, but in New York you frequently come across giant billboards promoting the latest primetime series on one of the big three networks. I wonder why that is. I can’t imagine that New Yorkers watch more TV than other Americans. Any thoughts?
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