Tea and Me

I never really liked Turkish tea. I’m not sure why I always hated it in a particular way. It was probably because of its name. In my head, I could picture my Albanian ancestors fighting in bloody battles, in order to defend their land from the Ottoman Empire. I could see their shields covered in blood, and feel the pain of their red wounds. I could see the black clouds above the ancient castles’ burning in flames that stood erect until the last man alive. Whenever I drank the tea, I would have this strange feeling, that the red wounds were still pouring blood, somewhere far away, in a battlefield that, after five centuries, has a green grass that still smells of fresh blood, and that on some special occasions, maybe when I drink that tea, turns from green to brown, trying to remind me of something.

I always hated the idea that we in Kosovo still drink that tea. I saw it as an invaders’ imposition transmitted unintentionally from generation to generation for five centuries. The tea was not from Turkey anyway, we could have called it Russian or Indian… But somehow, in spite of different customs, different tea, different preparation methods, the name survived. And because of this, I hated drinking it.

I never actually thought about these things, until one of these days. While eating breakfast, I drank a cup of tea, for the first time since I came to college. I wish I didn’t, for it triggered a lot of my memories, in this way exacerbating my homesickness. Flashbacks and random images would blink in front of my eyes, while I was trying to enjoy the taste that I hardly liked. It made me fight with myself through the waterfalls of my sub-conscience, and struggles for adaptation to this strange place. A place where there are no narrow streets and pavements, but only wide straight highways. A place where football is not football, but a strange game played with hands instead of feet. A place where there are no high mountains, but only flat fields. A place where sun rises from the middle of horizon…A place that’s not like home. A place so alien to me!

Sometimes, late at night, when I can’t fall asleep, the silence is deafeningly loud, and the darkness is blindingly gloomy, I remember that last tea I drank back home. It was when my sister and I went to say our farewells to uncle Besim. He was not our uncle, neither a relative, but we still liked to call him that way, for he was an old friend of the family. Back home, the godfathers and best friends are considered the same as family members. I still remember that warm greeting, when an old man, in his late sixties, would stand up from the place he was sitting, and extend his right hand towards us, as a sign of hospitality, while saying: “Welcome! Welcome! Feel as if you’re in your own house!”

Sitting in this garden (that in my opinion was unchanged for at least 50 years), I enjoyed the shade of old trees and the scent of vivid flowers, surrounded by uncle Besim’s whole family. We were served tea in small crystal glasses with extreme care from his son’s wife, who got married not long ago. While drinking the hot tea, you could listen to uncle Besim’s stories. He would say: “Even if a person with whom you are in a blood feud enters your house; you must say ‘Welcome!’ to him and treat him the way you would treat your best friend!”
I now try to fight my homesickness by humor, and I think I’m quite successful, but I still miss my “Turkish” teas. The very ones that I once hated, that now are the only association of my memory with home. I miss the warm feeling when it passes through my chest, causing pleasant chills to my body. I miss hearing the sound of small spoons against crystal glasses which mix that little sugar, while you try to taste the lemon aroma evaporating from this simple, but yet meaningful solution.

On the Meaning of Sports

I have never been a sporty guy. When I was a kid, whenever we played soccer in the neighborhood, the most prestigious position was the offense. Everyone wanted to be the attacker, but only the kids claiming to be the best could play it. Sometimes, there would be a kid challenging the attacker position, were there would be a show-off of skills, and whoever won, was then new attacker, or the captain of the team. I was always stuck with the position of defense, or sometimes even worse, playing the goal-keeper.  For some reason, these positions didn’t really appeal to hyperactive kids and were seen not as exciting as the attacker, who was on constant run up and down the field. Actually, it was an empty parking lot that we played. Whenever there happened to be a car parked there, an occasional side window ended up being broken by hyperactive kids.

I always wanted to know what the meaning of sports was. I figured that it had to be something beyond being in good shape and having a nice body, otherwise people would just do gymnastics. Why play sports then? The answer has to be beyond teaching teamwork, organization, and better communication skills. Answer has to go beyond something that could be learned in a leadership or speech class. What is the meaning of sport that we cannot find anywhere else? The answer has to go beyond the fact that sport is a multimillion dollar business and playing sports is good for economic growth of the country. In order to understand this, maybe we should look back at human origins and the journey we took to arrive at this stage of our existence.

If I was born some 150 thousand years ago, I am not sure if I would be able to survive quite as well, as me and my group (composed of the same kids we played soccer as kids) would be going though the dense forests with spears in our hands chasing our dinners. I would now be the guy carrying the killed pray, while the others, probably the attackers, the ones who run faster, would be the ones hunting the pray. When we would get back to our little cave, somebody would challenge the tribal leader saying that he is not running as fast as he used to. There would be a show of skills (probably a bloodier version) and we would have new tribal leader. Are sports there to satisfy our primeval instincts and urges? Is sport then an illustration of competition and other human instincts? Is sport an illustration of wild life, survival of the fittest?  Establishment of new hierarchies without really killing anyone, or is there something else to it?

Is it possible that sport is a metaphor for the meaning of life?  Sometimes you win, and sometimes you loose, just as in real life. But no matter what the outcome is, no matter how many times the player falls down and looses the ball, he/she may lay on the grass or floor for a while, then stands up brushes himself/herself off, and starts trying again, until the goal is scored or until the pray is caught. This falling and getting up defines the very human nature – Hope. Even when we are not winning, and the odds are logically against us, we just switch on the irrational part of our brains, and keep moving forward, until we exceed the impossible.

Because of these abilities (going beyond the impossible), athletes are like a temple for the fans. Fans adore them like Gods, wear their jerseys trying to identify with them; collecting pictures of their role models; singing songs and cheers to them to give them power. And then, when the goal is scored, all the fans become like one big family, hugging each other (even though they are strangers meeting for the first time). Then again, on special occasions, they euphorically rush to the field and in the spirit of those primeval instincts and urges, tear the goal post off the ground and throw it in the lake.
Finally, whenever I am cheering on the stands, whenever I am yelling at the referee, whenever I am jumping in excitement for the goal scored or missed, I get transported to that stage of my life when we were playing soccer in the parking lot in my neighborhood, as I get enlightened on the meaning of life. All of a sudden the meaning becomes clear as I run on the field feeling as a gladiator fighting against a goal-post. And when I finally conquer it, and it falls down, I feel the cheers of the fans running through my veins, and I am delighted, delighted with my laugh.

Sandwich Revelations, or How I Figured Out America

They say the first impression is the one that will stick the best in your memory. I remember my first impression of Graceland University. I had traveled for more than 48 hours total (with all the connection flights and all), had a terrible jet-lag, and could hardly breathe from Iowa humidity. As my eyes were struggling to remain open (maybe little bored for seeing nothing but darkness since we left Des Moines Airport), I had no choice but to listen to what driver was saying. She was my very first unofficial tourist guide to Iowa. I failed to see how six red lights from far away as seen from the highway were referred to as “Eiffel Tower of Iowa”. I failed to be impressed by vast nothingness as we drove towards Lamoni. I didn’t even seem to move a brow when I was told of a newly opened “dance club”. I don’t know whether it was jet-lag, or I was already homesick, but I slowly started to accept my destiny…

“We also have a Subway in Lamoni”, and at that moment I thanked the God, and blamed myself for being so stupid. Of course, the subway, the Underground Railroad connecting Lamoni with Des Moines, Kansas City, or any other place I wanted to go within the U.S. “There’s still hope after all”, I was thinking to myself “Whenever I get bored, all I have to do is get a subway train and go whenever I want to go…” There was a solution to all my problems.  “Oh, no, no, no… Sub-Way, like sub-way sandwiches is what I meant” replied the driver, as I got absorbed in the never-ending vastness of corn, Midwestern summer humidity and that dark night with couple of red lights which were supposed to be Eiffel Tower. I’m finished I thought. Only later would I understand the significance subway sandwiches would have on my life.
For months afterwards I was trying to escape the whole sub-way thing, probably because I might have been embarrassed about the whole underground-trains-to-Des-Moines embarrassment. I didn’t know what I was missing. There was an entire philosophy to be built on sandwiches, if I only tried them.

It was just one of those hungry nights when I went to the “subway station” with couple of friends, and that’s when the revelation occurred to me: “How can I help you?” and I replied “Yes, I would like a sandwich please”, and then I was overwhelmed by questions “what kind of bread? What kind of meat? What kind of cheese? What kind of sauce? What kind of vegetables? Etc.” It’s funny, back home, if I order a chicken sandwich you get a chicken sandwich (you trust the cook, you have no choice); on the other hand, in U.S. it took me at least half-an-hour to order a sandwich.

After my first sandwich experience I started seeing a pattern. There were so many brands of cereal, and I could not decide whether I needed extra vitamin A and D, or should I go with the other cereal that had extra vitamin C and 12 minerals. So many kinds of insurances, so many kinds of cars, so many kinds of computer brands, so many kinds of everything. I had difficulties calculating all these choices I was making. I didn’t really know whether I liked my sandwich with or without extra tomatoes, with or without pickles, toasted or not toasted…

Sandwiches taught me the basic value of American life – choice. This value seems to be rooted so deep in American culture that one has a choice even in situations of life and death (take medical ethics class if you need more explanations). It seemed that so many ethical decisions that are made everyday in this country are shaped so that they can respect this very value. It is not the place and time to discuss whether culture shapes ethics, or vice-versa, but there certainly seems to be a connection. On a brighter note, I still am not sure what kind of sandwich I like best. Can I proceed to more complicated issues without figuring out my favorite sandwich? At least I have a choice; it’s much better than to go with the taste of some weird guy back home that calls himself a chef. Here, I am my own chef, I am my own medical ethicist, I am my own stock broker, I am my on insurance agent… Here I am my real me, and not some cookie-cutter-mold of a person.

On Censorship

Couple of years ago, on the summer before my sophomore year, I was taking a creative writing class in Prague, Czech Republic. One night during that crazy month, I and a bunch of my new friends were returning home from a party. Since subway ride at that time of night was often boring, one had to find ways to entertain oneself, and what better entertainment for a guy than trying to impress a girl with pretends rhetoric. After all, there’s nothing wrong with it, just a show my creative spirit (for the lack of any athletic ability). I don’t remember how it all started, but this girl was trying to impress me with some story of how she and a friend of hers are afraid of police officers in subways, since they were always hiding from them through New York subways because they were underage.

In cases like this, it is best to fight fire with fire. “I totally know what you mean. I too am afraid of police officers” or something like that were my words at that time, “I actually have a sort of a phobia. I guess it came from the time I was in prison”. Her pupils dilated, “Oh my God!” her heart started beating faster, she sighed in amazement, as I crushed her story to nothingness. “I was a political prisoner… nay intellectual prisoner…” I pretended as if I had difficult time talking about it, “I wrote some things that apparently turned out to be disliked by the government, and I paid a price for it”. I don’t know whether the humidity or the darkness of the subway made my story more believable, but all ten people that were with me stood there hypnotized. “This is difficult for me to talk… I hope you understand”…

Days after that we would laugh and laugh, but something really stuck with me from that night, as if I was entranced by my own story. What if I really lived in a place, or for that matter a period of time, when one couldn’t write freely? What if I lived in Albania during the 1950’s? What if I lived in the middle ages? What if I lived in Communist China or Soviet Union during the period of socialist realism? How would I write? What would be the consequences for me if I wrote, let’s say, a word that wasn’t allowed? Would I have ended up in a prison colony for political prisoners, spending my days building tunnels or railroads with my force labor buddies? Or maybe I would have been executed by a firing squad?

One of the many reasons why I love US of A is because no matter what I write, I would never experience any of the above examples. Or would I? Does censorship exist in places guaranteeing freedom of speech? Maybe not in a traditional firing-squad-sort-of-way, but I certainly wonder what’s on HBO when it automatically unplugs itself. I wonder what’s that sound replaced by a beep. I wonder what is that word replaced by a euphemism.

There’s not much that you can’t talk or write about in a free-speech society. You can tell a nauseating story of blood and violence, talk against politics, or even make fun of the president. This story of censorship is like that of Bluebeard, you can do anything, go to all of the rooms of the house, but one; the one with a big lock on its door, bearing the inscription: vulgarity.
There is something about “vulgar language” that seems appealing to student audiences. I’d say it is probably the fact that it is not considered appropriate and in this way perfect for rebelling spirit of college students. Nowadays, if you want to catch the interest of young audiences, you must mix your philosophical thoughts with little bit of vulgarity. The only thing I regret is that the punishment might not be as noble as a firing squad. In these instances, when you go down, there’s nothing noble about it, and the punishment is author’s worst nightmare: change of text to fit standards!

Meaning of (College) Life according to Titi

Note: The theories expressed in this article are not fully tested, and need further scientific research, and as such are not to be taken literally. If by any chance nothing makes sense you are reading this wrong. If everything makes sense, you are still reading this wrong.

A warm greeting to all my old “fans” (if there are any of you left after a year long pause), and an even warmer one to the new readers. Before Websites and Blogs there was “Titi’s College Journal”, bullshitting in “old school” style since 2001. If you remember, since day one, I was somehow obsessed with understanding college life. Finally, after four years in college, I think I understand it. If you look carefully, college is a short version of Life, and every year is accompanied by a specific set of characteristics. It is like an evolution of an organism through time; like a development of human mind; like the stages of an embryo developing into a full grown person.

Freshman year was my personal favorite. It essentially was like a form of childhood. It involved meeting many friends, having lots of fun, feeling like a part of the family (within a house), doing many “stupid” things, and surprisingly being a model student. At this stage of college life development the only important thing is “the you” (or Ego in Freudian terms). It’s all about “you”, making “you” feel comfortable, giving “you” lots of good Commons food and drinks, introducing “you” to the girls/guys. Now that I think of it, it really was about “me”; that’s probably why I even started writing “Titi’s College Journal” in the first place. In simple words, enjoy the freshman year as much as you can, it is like a return to the stage of your infantile bliss where everything is just so great.

Sophomore year… ah, it’s like adolescence. You are not young anymore, but still you are not that old either. This year could be quite dangerous, so be careful. It involves a lot of partying and drinking. Also you might find yourself in a conflict with the authority. You have a conspiracy theory that “The System” is against you and that it doesn’t want you to be free. Partially you are right, but again beware, it is not worth it. Your best bet is infiltrating the system and learning as much as you can from it. You can do this by maybe participating in House Council, or joining a campus organization. Sometimes, (if you are philosophical) you will realize that you don’t like your current belief system, and you will probably create your own system of beliefs. All in all, be careful, philosophy, partying, and rebellion can be dangerous when mixed and drunk together.

Junior year is like a mid-life. You realize that you have been sucked and incorporated by the system while you were still trying to figure it out, and surprisingly you are fine with that. This stage of college life is all about giving back to the community. You either have to play a role of a parent (in house council) and make sure the freshmen are not doing anything stupid, or that of a politician (in student government or other campus organizations). I personally found myself in the previous role (I was a speaker of the senate), and realized several things: you can never please everybody (the food in the Commons is never going to taste as good as home), upholding the law is the most difficult thing ever (every once in a while there was somebody yelling their lungs out in a voicemail because they got a parking ticket), and there is a great satisfaction once something is done.

Senior year is like old age. Often you think: is there life after college? Certainly, your summer internship didn’t make it look like a piece of cake. You think: What’s the point of all this? Knowledge? What’s the point of all this knowledge if I will be a number in the formula that calculates the unemployment rate? And then, you realize you have only 12 credit hours, and you should take a good use of the situation. You are technically having a paid vacation; it’s like being in a Tropical island: no real responsibilities, you can sleep till 2p.m. if you choose to, it’s the last time in your life that you can pay for meals with flex or meal-plan, you don’t have to pay for the gym or the swimming pool, and it is the cheapest place in the world to have fun.
Finally, while I claim understanding college life, one might ask: What is the meaning of college life? It’s nothing and everything. It’s having fun and learning. It’s satisfying “the you” and contributing to the community. It’s about hating and loving “the system”. It’s about the present and the future. It’s figuring the meaning, and realizing it has no meaning. It’s all these contradictory things put together. It took me four years to realize this, so there it is freshmen, take it, it’s yours!

Next issue: The purpose of Bullshitting, or how to avoid the modern day nihilism.

When School and Life get Mixed-up

Once the spring break is over, and the third round of exams starts, it becomes like a hurricane after a sunny day. I notice, all my conversations are around exams. I guess that’s a way in which we, pre-med kids, communicate the best, by relating to our great worries, which sadly happen to be exams. Even during weekends when I am partying, I somehow find myself in conversations about exams. Still more embarrassing would be the way in which I recently approach girls: “Hey, that vertebrate physiology exam was pretty difficult, don’t you think? So, wanna’ get crazy? Let’s dance!” Original are the compliments. Nowadays, Shakespeare is out of fashion; instead one would use: “Your eyes are like a conjugated cyclo-alkane with Pi orbitals in a phase, getting stabilized in resonance!” I know, I know, but hopefully if you take organic chemistry it will make much more sense; in chemistry language it is the equivalent of Shakespearean verse, rather than a nerdy comment.

This pre-med major thing gets me worried whenever we start learning for different diseases. The first thing that I always think is whether I might have that particular disease. I don’t know if I am becoming a hypochondriac, or it’s just a better way to remember all that data, but it sure feels weird. So far in my mind I have experienced things from appendicitis, to schizophrenia, including cancers and other terrible diseases, but in reality all ever became familiar with is shoulder dislocation (and I like to make a big deal about it, by writing in newspaper articles, and being proud of it as if it is some kind of superpower, when introducing myself to girls: “Hey what’s up baby! Wanna’ dislocate my shoulder!?”).

Right now, on my desk I have a book from library (On the Road, by Jack Kerouac) that is four days late. I’m still on page 207, and there are around 100 more pages to go. I’ve been reading this book for almost two months or more now, but I never managed to finish it. I made it a habit to bring the book back, and re-check it again (I did it couple of times now). I don’t now whether it’s because I’m reading like 4 books at once, or maybe because I have lot’s of exams, but I can’t see finishing reading it soon. At this point, one comes in conflict with himself: “Should I return the book and pay the big fine while I still didn’t read it, or I should read the book first before I return it and pay an even bigger fine?” In either case I will end up loosing money.

Does this happen to other people too, or it’s just me? After studying for o-chem exam until 3am, as I walk by the Administration building, I see a piece of chalk on the ground, and the only thing I come up to write is not my name, not a heart, or a catchy phrase, but a chemical reaction for tomorrows exam. If that’s not my brain telling me that it is getting mushy, what is it then?

Did you ever notice that in every subject there is always one certain answer that can somehow be applied to all kinds of questions. In organic chemistry it is: “resonance”, in psychology it is: “bad childhood experience”, in biology its: “enzyme”, in literature it is: “symbolism”, etc. I wish in real life there would be something like that, an answer that can answer all questions. I personally would prefer a simple answer, maybe a number 13. I would make things much easier. Q: How many times did you lie to me? A: 13. Q: What is the meaning of life? A: The number 13. Q: How many movies does your room mate own? A: More than 13. Q: Where’s that party? A: 13th Street. Q: How many bottles of “pop” did you drink tonight? A: 13. Q: What’s your phone number? A: 1313. Q: How much is the fine for your late book? A: $13. Q: How many times did you fake an orgasm? A: 13.

Anthology of Cheating: 101 Ways to Ace your Final Exam and More

(Note: The following stories are fictional, and are meant for entertainment purposes only. Under no circumstance, neither when failing nor when passing a class, should there be any attempt to imitate them in real life.)

Doing nearly 14 years of school makes you a professional exam or test taker. I still remember my first attempt of sharing information, as it was yesterday. I was in first grade, and we were studying addition and subtraction during our math class. I and my bench friend (back home students sit two by two in benches) finished all of our “difficult” math problems; all except the last one. Oh, man, what could the result of eight minus five be? Aha, it’s three. We handed our papers, all excited. Waiting for our results, we were praising our superior intelligence. Next time it will take even less effort. The long awaited time for the results came. This would prove to us that we were way too advanced for the first grade, and that we need to be in university, studying rocket science or medicine. And then, our illusions were lost in the shock of the failing grade. How was this possible?  How could they have possibly known? Well, I guess first graders can’t really tell the difference between a number three and some kind of symbol that looked just like an inverted number three. What really happened is that one of us got the actual answer to the math question, but instead of writing it normally, the number was written as if viewed in a mirror. That was when I and my friend decided that we are not ready for university yet. There was still to be learned in the art of cheating exams.

As we would progress through classes, also our techniques would get more sophisticated. From using primitive tools and up to applying modern technology in practice, the cheating as an art evolved. A lot of methods were proven successful, and in this way they may work even nowadays. If one has to remember a lot of short pieces of information, like history dates. The way to do that was by writing them on a tissue, and act sick for that day. In this way, when you need to retrieve the information, you sneeze, pretend to clean your nose, read the cheat, and write it down. The bad thing here is that you can’t sneeze too much, and that the amount of information is limited.

Another method proven to be successful is to write short math formulas on your palm. If one decides to use this method, he/she should make sure that they don’t raise their “cheat hand” when asking the professor a question, in this way, giving away their secret, and failing the exam without even starting it.

If you are a girl, it’s nice if you wear a skirt that day. Writing cheats on your thighs and covering them with the skirt always works if you are brave enough. Scientific studies conducted so far show that there is no professor that will actually look for cheats inside your skirt.

On the other hand, studies have shown that certain techniques are not effective and wont work at all in cheating. One of the worst cheating ideas ever is the high-school sophomore one, where the entire class pretends that there is somebody’s birthday, and that there are free drinks for everyone, while teacher’s drink should contain valium. If you really try to do this, make sure that valium tablets are entirely dissolved in soda, and that there are no blue floating particles, otherwise, your teacher will politely decline, wish you a happy birthday, and continue with the exam. So long for the plan where you wait for five minutes for the teacher to fall asleep so you can copy your brain off.

There is a lot of theoretical work in the field called “steal the exam”, but there is no record of any success. Basically, you need a group of at least eight people composed of: a mastermind, a lock-picker, a computer hacker, a moral support person, a couple of guards, and of course a genius for that school subject you are trying to ace an exam. While the entire group is supposed to be able to brake in the professors office, hack his/her computer, and get out of there unnoticed, without leaving any trail, the genius has to spend at least two or three house figuring out the answers for all of the questions.

Having to go to school for more that 14 years has taught me the best techniques in the field of acing final exams. The technique is called “study hard” and was proved to be the most reliable and the safest in achieving best results with suffering the minimal consequences.  It was proven 100 percent fool proof, and results are guaranteed. Good luck with your exams!

The Meaning of Life and Other Weird Theories

Ah, I just like college life; you sleep, you eat, you drink, you procrastinate, you turn in papers, and sometimes, if you are awake enough, you may learn something. I just like the morning classes; I am always at least 5 minutes late. Not only am I late, but half asleep as well, because I don’t drink coffee in the mornings. I have this weird theory that if your drink coffee, since it is a kind of a drug, you will end up increasing the amount as days pass, until the point where you become one of the people who own one of those super sized mugs, and take it with you whenever you go. I don’t know, but I just might be a little bit too paranoid.

As I was half asleep in one of my morning classes, I heard the professor explain something, and it made sense. People, I am proud to present you with the meaning of life; I’m not joking. Thanks to my superb thinking, I came up with the simplified version of my theory represented in a universal language – numbers. Before you read the following lines, please sit down, if you are standing, stop the car engine if you are driving, and turn the music down, because you may experience increased brain activity. The meaning of life is a simple ratio of 53%-47% (where 53% represents good things and 47% represents bad things). Ok, you may continue driving now; because the risk of brain collapse has ended (I have no idea who would be reading Tower while driving). As you can see my friends, your life is but a set of numbers. Everyday, you fight to keep the dynamic equilibrium as stabile as possible trying to get good things and avoid bad things. Let’s get an example to illustrate my theory. Let’s say you have a paper due for Friday; you don’t care, and decide to procrastinate until Thursday (you got something good); you realize that it is Thursday, and that you must write your paper, otherwise you will get a bad grade, so you frustrate little bit about it (get something bad), and start typing the paper (avoid good time of procrastination), in order not to get a bad grade (avoiding something bad). If this doesn’t make sense, and confuses the hell out of you, its okay, you will get it eventually; just keep in mind the magical numbers 53-47. (Sources for my discovery: morning Intro to Psych class, couple of weeks ago).

Now let me tell you something about this other theory of mine. I like to call it “Titi’s theory of campus time relativity”, according to which, there are ripples in space time continuum surrounding Graceland’s entire campus, resulting in different “time-zones” in different parts of campus. This can be proven by observing different clocks around campus, at the same time: they all show different times (some are 5 minutes ahead, while others are 5 minutes late). Furthermore, since clocks that we have are atomic clocks and are supposed to automatically set themselves, we can say that they all show the right time, and that it is the fault of the deformation in space-time that is causing all the trouble. This would be the reason why I always am 5 minutes late for my morning classes; they are all located in different “relative campus time frames”. There is only one solution to the problem: Instead of trying to set the clocks themselves, we have to remodel the entire space-time continuum, so that all of the clocks match each other. In this way, we not only solve the problem, but we contribute to future generations, who will never have to work about setting their “atomic” clocks again.

An Innocent Insight into Forbidden Fruit in Liquid Form

(This article is “pure” “fiction”, and doesn’t portray opinions of Tower or its staff members, as such it holds only entertainment values, and under no circumstances should it be used for illegal instructive purposes of any kind)

It’s nearly approaching my second thanksgiving in America, and I’m still getting surprised from day to day by interesting things one sees and experiences here. One thing I always found intriguing but never quite understood is that nearly everybody (figuratively speaking) seems to drink regardless of the drinking age being 21. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that a big number of people drink, there still is a group of people who won’t admit that this kind of phenomenon even exists. Let’s hope that until the end of my college career, I will come with a satisfactory answer to my questions, but for the moment, I will just stick to the good old Galilean techniques, i.e. just observe and collect facts.

Since I just can’t resist making hypothesis, here are some concerned with the reasons why students drink (according to their academic status). Freshmen drink out of pressure for trying to be cool and blend in with the new environment. They try and earn upper classmen’s respect by showing them their drinking and puking abilities. Sophomores drink because after one year of college they changed, “broadening” their horizons in the way of seeing the world from different perspective. Here you will find people who were against alcohol all their lives, drinking a glass or two occasionally just for the sake of culture and customs. Juniors drink because of the stress they experience with their classes. “What other ways are there in a little place like this for stress relief during boring weekends?” is their motto. Seniors drink only because they were drinking throughout their entire college carrier, and now they can’t stop no matter what.

Somebody reading this article would ask: where do all these people drink then? Well, different people drink at different places. If you are 21 and/or over you drink at the Bar (which is always kind of fun, because you can enjoy getting into fights in which you rarely remember the motive that started them). On the other hand, people under 21 frequent different “houses” (we will talk about them in a moment). Then, there are streets of Lamoni, for those dumb enough to get caught by “Lamoni Law Enforcement Agency”. Risktakers prefer parking lots; while those who are brave enough drink in their dorm rooms. As they say: “when there’s a will, there’s always a way!”

I find it funny how people find different ways for entertainment in a place like this. Parties are generally held in private houses, which according to my observations, I would characterize in the following way. Party house is a place where all the girls you like hang out. Keg House is the one where there’s free beer from the keg for everyone. BOB House is the one where you have to bring your own beer. This one sucks for people who are used to drink for free. There’s no chance that you are going to get a drink, no matter how innocent and altruistic that one girl looks; nothing’s free nowadays. “Insert-name-of-the-sport” House is the one where athletes of a certain sport gather to drink their worries. Wannabe House is a new party place, still not popular enough for people to visit it regularly. Small Social Gathering House is the place where people who are not supposed to drink hang out.

Every house has different “rules” for entertainment while being drunk. Some keep track of drunken thoughts of their mates, compiling endless lists of their drunken quotes. Others play videogames when drunk; they say it’s a totally different experience. Others prefer to go and play drunken soccer or drunken golf, depending on the sport they fancy. Well, I must say that entertainment depends on which dunk stereotype category one falls into. There are philosophical drunks, who just like talking for hours about complex issues. Creative drunks are the ones who get inspired and write poems. Angry drunks are always ready for a fight. Funny drunks are just funny and they make fun of the “puke-all-over-the-place drunks”. Melancholy drunks are crying over their lost love, while miserable drunks are just depressing to be around. The last, but not the least, there is the designated driver, who just watches all these characters, and makes sure they arrive alive in their rooms. At least he/she is aware of is what really going on; what about you?

The Amazing Adventures of the Procrastinator

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… the Procrastinator!? Wherever there’s injustice, he isn’t there. Whenever there is suffering, he doesn’t care. Wherever liberty is threatened, you won’t find… the Procrastinator. Behold, for he is the king of procrastination.

Like every other superhero that experiences some kind of shock or trauma , Procrastinators abilities came not from a bite of a radioactive spider or accidental spill of radioactive substances, his powers came to existence by innocently tasting a sip of fermented grape juice (or maybe it was fermented wheat; nobody really remember the events of that night very well). The next morning he woke up with a terrible headache, and a “superpower” to discover later. Until today, modern science failed to explain the effects of this mysterious drink and the real effects it had on our prospective “superhero’s” body and mind. But he was sure that he gained some special abilities (after losing some, of course). All of his worries went away; now he could relax and watch TV for the entire day, and not worry about his crazy pre-med homework. This mysterious drink turned him from an extraordinary overachiever to a guy who just doesn’t care! It was awesome! No more stress; no more worries; just the day to be enjoyed.

Unlike other superheroes, he didn’t even have to think about a fancy uniform. He was already wearing it: college t-shirt, plaid pajamas and flip-flops. But what are his superpowers? Ah, the discovery so charming, he couldn’t believe his own eyes. As he was lying on the couch one Thursday afternoon, doing absolutely nothing, by chance remembered his assignments for the next day. A big test in Organic Chemistry followed by four weeks worth of homework and an eight page paper in Humanities Honors. Well, you know, thought the Procrastinator, since I was doing nothing the entire week, I can give it a try. He went to the basement of library, and wrote half of his paper. After that he, continued with the study of weird geometric figures of O-Chem and doing the homework simultaneously. He wasn’t finished by 2:00am in the morning (the time when library closes). Well, he thought, I might just as well get a good sleep, and wake up at 7:00am; and so he did, by continuing to read the complicated chapters. He skipped his psychology class. His skills in judging things improved drastically (next time he was going to skip chemistry for typing his psychology paper).

After taking the exam in organic chemistry, he went to his workplace, where he had two hours of hard working; but you can guess how he spent them! He used that time to continue writing his humanities paper. Everything went good, until the point where he accidentally deleted his entire paper that he just wrote (well, every super ability comes with its stupid counterpart). He had only four hours until the deadline, and no chance of recovering the deleted paper. He had to stat it all from the beginning. After four hours, and all bunch of technical problems (with printer mainly), he managed to hand in the paper only 2 minutes before the deadline.

He did it, he actually did it! He discovered the possession of his exceptional superpowers. He managed to do all of his homework in the last minute, just like a superhero. From that day on, he was a superhero, and his name was the Procrastinator, king of procrastination, with superpowers that allowed him doing and finishing his homework at the last minute. He was invincible. Well, all he needed was an enemy to fight; but the enemy was already there, it was called: “The System”. From that day on, he swore on concentrating all of his powers on fighting against “The System”. But, on the other thought, he just postponed it, at least until next weekend… At this very moment, he is fighting “the System” with what he calls “passive resistance” by lying on his couch, doing absolutely nothing.