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ben chandler
chandler at uchicago dot edu

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Thursday, December 19, 2002


i must say that this page gets way more boring when i'm at home in tosa. i've been filling my days of late sleeping in, reading and hanging out with matt and chris as they are now home. the excitement for the week came this morning when i ventured into city government to pay a speeding ticket. as many may know by now, i got a speeding ticket when i was driving home with marty to see a play. i just crossed into milwaukee country, the speed limit dropped and apparently they didn't appreciate me going 23 miles over the speed limit. damn. so, instead of paying the fine right away i finished out the school year and went into traffic court this morning. a few tips if you have to go to traffic court.
*get there early. my "session" began at 8:30, but when i arrived at 7:45, there were already a bunch of people there.
*go to court if you have the time, it's an interesting experience
when i arrived at the "saftey building" down town, and found the court room, there were already 20 people waiting out in the hall because the court was closed. when they opened the door at 8:00 and asked everyone to line up against the wall, i happened to be close and was 5th in line. this made all the difference in the world. just like high school gym class, we all filed into the court room in order, talked to the balif in order, sat down in order and then our cases were heard in order. luckily, out of the 50-plus people that were in the room, i was number five. easy in and easy out. i made it out of there by 8:45. the actual proceeding was the interesting part. in the court room, there were five or six lawyers on the side of room doing paper work, sitting in chairs literally marked "for attorney's only" and doing paperwork while chatting. i didn't actually see any of them do anything, but i guess they were there to represent someone. then the bailiff began explaining how everything would work. for those with speeding tickets (a large majority i assumed) me explained that 1-10 miles over would be reduced to 0 points, 10-20 miles over would be regarded as "speedometer error" and the points would be cut in half. as for me, i fell into the 21-25 mile over the speed limit mark (clocked at 78 in a 55). for us, the deal was we'd all plead guilty to a non-moving violation called "fail to read signs" and also have the points reduced. so, my morning was not wasted, although i did not get the $189.80 fine reduced. ouch. as andy has frequently mentioned, this brings my grand total for tickets in the last 12 months to $564.80. looks like karma has finally caught up to me. the most interesting part of the morning was listening to the spanish interpreter translate the judges questions for a couple of guys going through the same motions as me. at least all my fines are cleared up. almost. i still have a $15 fine at the library on some books from high school (i turned them back in, but they were so late there was a $5 fine on each one) but i have stopped using that card rather than pay. i had to use my dad's card today to check out travel guides to south africa. i must have checked out 20 books. i must say, i'm damn excited to go to africa. i leave in under two weeks. wow.


Sunday, December 15, 2002


it has been a strange experience saying good-bye to people for the break, with the little proviso tacked on to the end, "see you in april." most people forget that i'll be gone next quarter, so while they are trying to pack the most into the next three weeks without school, i feel as if i have been set free for the next four months. (true, while taking classes is s. africa is the technical definition of what i'll be doing, 4-5 hours a day, three days a week doesn't sound too bad. especially if you take into account that i may or may not be seeing monkeys on a daily basis).

today was just what i needed. after working all week getting finals done and such, today's sloth was fabulous. slept until 1, which could have been later if the phone had not rang approximately 27 times before noon. then mike and andy and i went to to sammy's for lunch. despite what rebecca says, i don't think that the grilled cheese sandwich is grilled in bacon grease. lamp grease maybe, but not bacon. then i came home to find a three hour documentary on the clash on mtv2.then matt and i went up to el famous burrito for dinner. then we came back and the night kind of devolved from there, but i don't mind at all. more of the same planned for tomorrow, and then i'm going to try and make it home on monday afternoon. also, to contribute to the good mood, i realized that lindsay will be home from spain in less than a week.


Friday, December 13, 2002


done done done. with this life until april. nuts.


Tuesday, December 10, 2002


this morning as i was leaving for work, mike handed me his mesh pirates hat (the very one i am wearing in the picture on this page, minus the mustache) and said in jest, "here, wear this at work today." and so i did, all day long. you would not believe some of the hilarious looks i have been getting. you'd think that i showed up here wearing a genital exposing mini-skirt like christina aguilera. no, just a silly looking hat. looking ridiculous all day has made everything much more funny, including the paper i am writing. one of the papers i am currently writing (i'm in the middle of four) contained the line, "urban sprawl and the automobile industry that it perpetuates go together like ham and eggs, poisonous ham in eggs." i hope my teacher appreciates the effort. the rest of the day has been without much excitement. last night when i got home, mike and i ordered pizza because we have no food. (first cream cheese week, then salsa week, then cheddar cheese week, then vodka week, now starving week). anyway, we ordered from domino's because it's the only thing open in hyde park after 11pm, and not only was it bad quality, and late, but it was real expensive, 18 bucks for two medium pizzas. i thought we had an arrangement with domino's: they provide quick, crappy pizza for not a lot of money and we accept the fact that they are the only place open to accommodate students, insomniacs and pot heads. someone dropped their end of the bargain. fuck 'em.


Monday, December 09, 2002


some hilarity from yesterday. part of my "studying all day" plan evolved into going out into the park to toss around a football with mike and dan. despite the 23 degree temp outside, mike and i looked damn sharp, but that's besides the point. all throughout our little toss around session, dan kept looking towards the street, seemingly distracted. mike and i had no idea what was going on. i attributed dan's lack of concentration as a side effect from the cold. after 45 minutes or so, we catch dan nervously staring over to the street, and realize that he has been keeping an eye on his backpack which he left a half a block away, tucked near the front tire of a parked truck. at this point, dan is intently watching another car come into the culdasac and make a three point turn (or a y-turn, or a k-turn if you are from new jersey). the car almost runs over dan's bag, but with that disaster averted, we go back to our game. now mind, you dan's backpack is still in the street. he has refused to go and bring it closer to us so he is still keeping one eye on your game and one on his bag. after 10 more minutes two high school kids walk by for the second time and we watch them slowly meander over to dan's bag. look around, and casually pick it up and begin to walk away. his bag was so far away that it would not occur to anyone, including these kids, that it may belong to one of us. so dan then has to jog over to these kids and politely ask for his bag back. they looked at him with disbelief, and then dropped the bag, laughed at dan, and walked away. oh dan, it's time to learn some street smarts. next thing you know he's going to be a victim of the pigeon drop. "here, dan. all i need you to do is give me some cash and you get to keep all this money i mysteriously found somewhere."

i plan to spend most of this week in the library, doing work. not because i have that much to do, but mike and andy are both done with finals early in the week and out apartment is going to be bad news. as mike said, it's going to be like mardi gras in our place; stippers everywhere, a wash of random people passed out in the bathtub and on the stairway, an abundance of cocaine and possibly goats roaming around, eating garbage. i just need to stay way lest i get sucked in to the post-quarter bedlam. i'm just going to have to wait until saturday, i guess.

on a different note, it appears that chris konieczka, my good friend from middle school/high school is going to be going to loyola next semester. he'll be moving down to chicago just in time for me to leave for africa for three months. timing. i seem to be doing well on that latley. lindsay and i are going to be in the same hemisphere for 12 days out of 7 months. i can't wait for those 12 days, though, let me tell you. and they are rapidly approaching.


Sunday, December 08, 2002


uhg. too much fuckin work to do and not enough time, but i'm not going to bitch about school, no one wants to read that. the highlight of the past few dfays was the fancy, facy italian restaurant we all went to the other night. no occasion, no real reason except it was friday. mike, andy, marty, matt, and matt and i all jammed inot dan's gas-hoggin suv and drove up to little italy. we went to this place called the rosebud. great italian food. we all just really splurged, and we were well rewarded. stuffed atrichokes, stuffed mushrooms, great wine, homemade pasta. the meal almost killed us they gave us so much food, but it was worth it. also, we sat there for two hours. the waitress kept trying to get us to leave, subtly suggesting that she could wrap things up for us, but we paced everything well. it was almost like being in europe, or so they tell me. the rest of this week it going to be terrible, finals and all, but at least i can remember that meal.


Wednesday, December 04, 2002


i was supposed to be writing a paper last night. well, nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a little middle of the night procrastination. this was the result. mike, andy and myself can all be blamed for this. for a more comprehensive story, check out andy's page. enjoy.


i sat down to try and start a paper due next week. this is the assignment. is it just me, or is this one of the most long winded paper assignments ever?

although the spread of prosperity, home ownership, and stable employment in the postwar period was supposed to have erased class stratification and to have produced a homogenous middle-class society, class differences continued to manifest in and be accentuated through differences in and debates over taste, housing, attitudes toward white-collar work, and the war in viet nam. taking two of these debates, discuss the ways in which people talked about class through talking about those issues and, in general, analyze how, why, and to what extent class was linked to cultural differences and political debates.


today is the last day of classes of the quarter. we have two days of "reading period" and then finals begin next week monday. i had expected the lab to be packed tonight, teeming with hords of overworked kids getting a jump on finals. in actuality, the lab is almost empty. either the kids at this school finaly learned how to have a good time (i doubt it) or this is simply the calm before the storm. it's kind of eerie in here right now, actually. not much noise except for the occasional tap tap taping sound of keyboards. it's sort of like hitchcock's movie "the birds," sort of.


no posts since before thanksgiving, but i've been busy busy busy. now, thanks to my job at the computer lab where i get paid very much to do very little, particularly on a wednesday night, i have all the time in the world. went home to tosa this weekend and had a good time. a small list of things (i'm way in to lists):

*i ate three thanksgiving dinners in a row on three consecutive nights. the first night i had dinner with my family. as is expected, i ate may too much food and then passed out on the couch for a while, before regaining consciousness again and eating desert. just what i wanted out of thanksgiving, nothing too fancy. then the next evening i went to lindsay's parents house to have thanksgiving dinner with her family (despite the fact that lindsay was/is in spain). once again, i had a fabulous meal and a good time. everyone kept asking me if it was going to be weird being at a simon family function without lindsay, but it was actually a lot of fun. plus, how can you pass up a second thanksgiving dinner, especially when your gym teacher from high school is there? (lindsay's uncle john was my gym teacher in 11th grade). then, on saturday night my mom reheated thanksgiving dinner leftovers and we had a big meal all over again. like mike said, thanksgiving food is like pasta, it's better reheated.

*after once again playing the "so, who has gotten married from our high school class?" game (to which the number seems to stand at two - both krista kempher and jon koberstein are apparently getting married) i had the bright idea to ask, "so, who has died?" a poor joke at best, i thought. but as it turns out, someone informed me that chris costello dies last summer out in nebraska. just terrible.

*my friend matt refuses to play car games with me anymore. he used to be so good at fake drag racing and late night, suburban-car-shenanigans. i guess you get real toned down in life once you become an emt (emergency medical technician). maybe not.

*the packers beat the bears. this capped off a good weekend.

*late thanksgiving night, about 10 of us went to the all night dinner that we used to always go to in high school, johnny v's classic cafe (unbelievable that they have a website. it's pretty terrible, though).



i have two favorite things about johnny v's. first, the decor on the inside is unbelievable tacky. they advertise it as a "nostalgic coca-cola atmosphere, but what really more resembles is "uncle moe's family feedbag." my second favorite thing is the big sign on the outside of the restaurant that proudly advertises that johnny v's is, ALWAY'S OPEN.