Bright College Years

Getting into college for me wasn’t a big deal, and I don’t mean that in a cocky way. I mean, I really didn’t care about the process of entering college because I was having too much fun in highschool. I applied to several schools and got into all of them, but one…what was its name…some crimson colored technical college in Cambridge, MA…

Interesting Fact: I was wait-listed at Harvard

I entered Yale University without having ever seen the school. My first thought as I walked onto the Freshmen Quad, known as the “Old Campus,” was “Wow. This place is big.” By the time I graduated I thought, “Wow, this place isn’t so big.” It was only a few month ago that I realized how effective a few well-placed trick mirrors can be.

The mirrors thing was a joke.

It is daunting to meet new roommates. Four of us lived in a two bedroom suite with a common room. Roger came from the Taft School, 2nd or 3rd generation Yalie from a wealthy family. Chris was a trilingual student from Frankfurt whose grandparents were survivors of the Holocaust. Rhasaan was a 6’2, 200 lbs black student from Poly Prep. We were a very eclectic crowd, but in many ways it was very eye opening for me. Rhasaan was the first black person that I had become friends with because depspite the heterogeneity of Hawaii, there are very few blacks. Chris was staunchly intellectual and obviously had a European bias to his viewpoints. He went on to found the Yale Round Table, and open forum with such distinguished speakers as the secretary of state. Roger was a party guy, who went on to found one of the first Web-based transactional sites, which he subsequently sold for several million dollars at the age of 21.

Katie lived downstairs with CC, Noelle and Marissa. Katie was from TN, and a former cheerleader. I thought she was hot.

During my tenure at yale, one student was murdered, and countless others mugged, robbed and raped. Those who would put Yale up on an ivory tower are partially mistaken.

Jim Ross was the new conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. A young, excited man who had spent part of the summer hanging out with the concertmaster, Melvin, at music camp. I went to audition and nervously played the Schumann cello concerto in A minor. When i finished he said, “your playing reminds me a bit of Pablo Casals.” Was he talking about the good pablo casals that brought cello playing to the forefront of the early 20th century, or was he talking about the pablo casals that messed up his recording of the 6th Bach cello suite?

Hmmmmmm….

The first month of my existence was a miserable one. Culture shock combined with alcohol and my lustings for Kristin made life difficult. So I decided to join a singing group. (You know, “sing, sing a song, la la la?) The Alley Cats were as fine a group as they come, but primarily because they were going on a european tour that summer. I, of course, had never been to Europe, so what the hell, right?

“I hate Marmite!”

You can always spot the college lecturer who doesn’t *really* want to be teaching. My freshmen English teacher gave me a B- on my first paper. B-? B-fucking minus? Mierda! I’m like, uh, freakin’, uh, English genus! But the planets must have aligned properly and pushed fluid against her cortex because my grades started to rise on subsequent papers all the way to two A++s. Now, I don’t want to trivialize the work of the Bard, but hey, I must have been pretty good to have pulled that off, wouldn’t you say?

Liza was the first college crush. A smart and attractive oboe player. But having grown up as somewhat of a social retard, I didn’t quite comprehend what a relationship was, and she being a junior, didn’t want to wait for the ritalin to wear off. So after a few months it was over, and I didn’t really realize it. Now, she’s some high-powered Yale Law graduate, and I’m just a internet guy.

I had my first beer sitting in my room before going to nick’s birthday party. It was a Killian’s Red. It was Bach C Major Unaccompanied Cello Suite. Aw, yeah. Well, needless to say, the taste of beer is pretty pungent the first time around, and having grown up with no body fat can really make a guy drunk quickly (oh yeah, did I mention the asian blood doesn’t help either?).

Josh organized a winter tour in his hometown of Philly, and one of the planned activities was singing the National Anthem at the start of a Philadephia 76ers basketball game. I have very little recollection of this event, except for the part about meeting Manute Bol in the lounge after the game. For the uninitiated, Bol was one of the tallest men ever to play the game, standing at 7’6″ and weighing a mere 200 lbs. There is a photo somewhere of the Yale Alley Cats standing next to Mr. Bol, where we don’t even reach his shoulders. It’s like a bunch of pygmies standing next to a a really tall stick. Oh, good times.

Not only was joyce attractive, she could complete crossword puzzles like no one I’ve ever met. What exact part of the brain is that anyway? The medulla oblongata? The cerebral cortex? The endoplasmic reticulum? or was it the Champs E’lysse? Whatever the case may be, I was stunned everytime she pulled out the sunday times, and finished that damn thing while I nuked waffles in the microwave.

I’m not exactly what they call a “language guy.” I have a hard time picking up languages. And consequently, I’m usually the butt of all jokes in a language class. I think I first realized this, when after taking 15 years of japanese, I was still unable to speak the language. But really, that’s not so bad, right? Ok, so I switched to spanish because everyone said, “it’s so easy,” “it’s just like english,” “blah, blah, blah.” But people always used to laugh at me, and my teachers always had this puzzled look on their face when I thought I was speaking spanish to them (But really, that’s not so bad, right?)

What in the world made me think that I could be a geologist? (Clearly the D’s that I received on several tests were not a deterrent). I enjoyed the subject because it seemed like such a real application of science. You could see the physics, chemistry, and biology in front of your eyes. And those geologists had all those sexual innuendo like “hardness scales” and “streak tests.” But the people that surrounded me were freakin’ geniuses. Take Becky, for example. We were huddled around our petrographic microscopes when she suddenly got up and announced that she was leaving to write a paper. Two hours later she returned to see us still huddled around our microscopes. I said, “Wow, that was quick. Did you finish? What was the paper about?” She very non-chalantly answered, “Yeah, six page paper on spider DNA.” She won all these awards and made me feel quite inadequate.

Ramon is the kind of music professor everyone needs. A young, brilliant and baby-faced professor that seemingly knew everything there was to know about music theory. One day before class I went up to him as he stood behind the upright. “Ramon, do you know anything about jazz?”

“Jazz?” he smiled coyly.

Then he started to play like the stud that he is. (We’re not worthy)

The public reason for musical directing “Hair” while I took seven courses, played in the symphony, sang in a singing group, and played in two other chamber ensembles was because I desired to musical direct the big show at the dramat at some point in the future. But the reality was that the notion of being involved with a show filled with nude people dancing around outside in the brisk spring air was too much to pass up. The cast was an eclectic bunch to say the least — including Jordana, who made her nude debut with us, but made a name for herself stripping in virtually every show she did thereafter. But hey, I don’t have a problem with that (I don’t have a problem with that which others might have a problem with…that…how do you end this sentence without a preposition? ok. stop now)

Gadunga

I have to admit, I was a little bitter to be a runner-up two years in a row for Yale’s “50 Most Beautiful People” according to the local gossip rag, Rumpus. Everybody wants to be on that list, even if they say they think it’s stupid. It’s just one of those things.

One day as I sped on my bike, I just flipped over. No rock. No pothole. No distraction. Just flipped right over and landed on my back. Why does that happen?

When the graduate students went on strike, I thought to myself how bizarre the world had become. I mean, I know that they work as a part of their tuition remission, but really. Strikes are usually reserved for 1) blue collar workers that protect their jobs and wages, and 2) any worker concerned about the growing disparity between management and non-management. I didn’t consider a Yale graduate student to quite fall into those categories.

FAQ: Where does the name “allen3” and “a3” come from?
allenallenallen as two distinct origins. arissa had a big crush on me and created some song and dance. She called me allenallenallen. We also had this stupid joke in the Alley Cats about little kids who tease each other by saying “That’s my name don’t wear it out.” One kid stretches the limits of physics by saying “allen” so many times that he wears it out.

Now you know. Don’t ask me anymore.

Of course, allenallenallen is too long for an e-mail address, so earle shortened it to a3. And in the style of 2-letter unix names, a3, has stuck, and people actually call me “a3.” Try not to confuse it with my other nickname, “Shaq-Diesel.”

Josh has been dying to get into this thing since I started writing it in 1995. Well, it took 4 years, but his name is finally here. In fact, I will print it in bold: Josh. I promise to include more of him when he finishes graduate school in 2001 (incidentally, the year of my retirement).