Dramatic Monotony

Friday, December 27, 2002

I'm back in California.

I've also spent all day cleaning the apartment. One of my roommates left some sort of vegetable in the refrigerator that turned into a moldy mass. I threw it away, so hopefully... the moldy mass wasn't important. I also added a couple more decorations to the bedroom. Slowly, but surely, it's turning into a place that I enjoy. It's turning into home. Too bad I have to leave at the end of the semester. I also did quite a bit of laundry, so all of my clothes are clean for the bowl game. I'm exhausted beyond belief, but this work needed to be done.

I spent the evening with Samantha. We dropped off her laundry, went to Target in Pasadena, then went through the drive-thru at McDonalds for two milks. Sam had a huge bag of cookies... but no milk! Then we came back to my apartment and watched Charlie Brown cartoons. Overall, a rather enjoyable time. And I bought some beautiful Christmas ornaments for half off! I might just hang them up in the living room - they really are beautiful, and they don't look too seasonal.

Big day of practice tomorrow. I also need to buy my books for my classes. What a day, what a day. I should get up early and accomplish something. Knowing me, I will probably just fall asleep.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

I haven't updated in a long time.

Yes, I'm stating the obvious.

I HAVE been writing in that time. I wanted to share what I wrote to my 101 professor for my "final." I think it's rather relevant to my life situation right now. And it sums up my feelings about my previous entries.


I was just sitting down and thinking about this past semester, and I I have to say, I think I've learned the most from your class. It sounds trite - and I promise, I'm not kissing your ass for a better grade. But something rather eventful happened on Monday, and I think I reacted differently because I've been in your class. It just goes to show you that college really does change you.

One of my friends from high school was an avid mountain climber. We were in French class together for three years, and we also were in all the school musicals together. He was an amazing singer, a really quirky guy, and probably one of the most considerate people I've known. On Monday, he started scaling the Williams Tower, a skyscraper in Houston. He did this with a pick-axe and some resin. No suction cups. No safety equipment. Nothing. He climbed for almost two hours, but he had to stop. His hands were bleeding, he was tired - and he couldn't see any way to halt the pain. Excep
t to throw himself down.

He was on the 39th floor. He left a hole about a foot deep.

I watched the television footage of him climbing the building as it was happening. I didn't know who it was, and I just assumed, "Oh, that crazy freak. I wouldn't be that stupid." I blindly embraced the "other" mentality, a superior attitude. I bought into the "us vs. them" binary without thinking about my actions.

At about six, a friend of mine called and said, "Did you hear about Ryan? He climbed the Transco Tow..." and my heart just dropped. I had no clue how to react. And I felt extremely guilty - my dad and I had just gossiped about "the crazy guy on the tower"... and then it turns out that he was one of my favorite people from high school.

I went to the funeral yesterday, held at the church attached to my Southern Baptist high school. I expected hellfire and condemnation for the act of suicide. I mean, they were Baptists, crazy religious fanatics who didn't understand the idea of
compassion. I spent years listening to sermons on the evils of homosexuality, evolution, and liberalism while I thought, "I don't believe a word you're saying." Again, "us vs. them."

And again, I was wrong. Three people spoke - each of them showed that they loved Ryan. They said that God loved him. And they concentrated on his amazing abilities and his kind heart. And one read parts of Ryan's writing before he climbed the tower. Ryan wanted to stop the war on the children of Iraq. He wanted to climb the tower to achieve peace, both inside himself and as an amazing act for the world. He forgot one of his tools, something that would've made the climb so much easier - but he still wanted to do this at this time. It also proved that he didn't intend to kill himself - it was just a choice that seemed most appealing at his moment of pain.

I don't know what to think about all of this, even now. I don't think I'll ever be able to understand humanity. But, from the lessons learned in your class, I'm able to identify my own shortcomings in my thoughts. I remember the amazing books you assigned that also pertain to this subject... Girl Interrupted, the Virgin Suicides... and I'm glad I've read them.

I know I never turned anything into you. I was in the midst of writing my long paper when this happened... and I just couldn't go on. It seemed pointless at this moment of despair. Doing all of the reading and attending class were my only visible contributions to the class. It's hard to prove what you've learned... and it's hard to convey the depth of the impact of these thoughts. Until you come to a time like this and realize that I'm no different from Ryan.

We're all crazy. We're all haunted by demons. We all long to climb the tower.

Thank you, Kincaid. And thank you, Ryan.
~Jennifer Noble

It wasn't well-written. It wasn't particularly thought-provoking. But when I wrote that email, I was crying. At least it was heart-felt. Ryan deserves that much from me.

Monday, December 16, 2002

I'm back home. But what a welcome.

I went to school with this boy - he was in my French class for three years, and I also was in the school play with him for three years. He graduated two years before me, when I was a sophomore. I last saw him in June, at Sarah's wedding... Mary Louise called me to give me the news. Here's what happened. I'm cutting and pasting from KHOU, a local television station.

The man squatted down, then pushed off the side of Williams Tower before falling to his death.

The man went inside Williams Tower and began his climb from the ninth floor observation tower. Dave Mowery, a construction worker, grabbed a laserscope for a closer look. "He's going up pretty fast, but he wasn't using nothing but a little hook to pull hisself up with."

"He did not have any of the normal professional equipment you'd normally see on someone trying to climb a building," agreed Houston Fire Department spokesman Jay Evans. He said there was no immediate sign of any harnesses, belts or suction cups.

The man was on the 26th floor of the 901-foot, 64-story Williams Tower when he jumped about 7:45 a.m. He landed in a grassy area near the tower.

11 News video showed the man squatting down, then pushing off the building before falling to his death. It appeared that he intended to jump.

The man has been identified as 20-year-old Ryan Hartley from Houston.

Hartley was wearing a powder bag on his waist, using it to apply rosin to his hands, and also employed some sort of handheld pick, normally used for climbing mountains, on the window molding as he moved higher.

Police had responded to a bomb threat at Williams Tower around 5:30 Monday morning which turned out to be a false alarm. "As the officers were leaving the building, the building maintenance manager informed officers that there was someone outside climbing onto the building," said HPD spokesman Joe Laud.

Police tried to talk to Hartley from an open window a few floors below as he continued to ascend. During the climb, he often paused, apparently to rest. "He was tired, we were watching him for a long time," said witness Pat Osborn. "He was tired." Another witness said, "You could tell he was distraut. He was tired."

Witness Pat McGarey, a tower worker, said Hartley was yelling or singing and periodically waved his hands before taking an extended pause. "We were wondering would they try to rescue him through one of the floor, you know break a window out? Hook and ladder, anything like that?" he asked.

Rescue personnel and a crowd of onlookers gathered below, television helicopters hovered above and motorists from the West Loop freeway, the busiest in Texas, all had a view of Hartley as he climbed, then jumped.

"It clearly looked like he jumped as opposed to falling," McGarey said. Other witnesses agreed. "He kinda slipped down a floor and uh, he kinda looked to the left, looked to the right and then just pushed off," said Pat Osborn.

"We all just watched, just kinda wide-eyed, watching" said Al Woodle, a construction worker who saw the drama unfold from the ground below. "He just flew backwards."

Evans said building climbers in Houston typically have reached the top or were rescued or apprehended beforehand.

"We've been very fortunate here in Houston, with many tall buildings," Evans said.

The Art Deco-inspired skyscraper was formerly known as the Transco Tower was built in 1983 and is known for the floodlight beacon at it's top. It was designed by famed architect Philip Johnson. It is the world's tallest building that is not in a downtown business district.

"Worked with us, worked for us over at the Texas Rock Gym," said Monty Queener. "Well liked by everybody there. Queener was Hartley's boss and described him as a strong rock climber with ten years of experience and a man with strong political views. "Very committed to his ideas and his beliefs and what he thought was right."

Police recovered a driver's license and a note containing a message of a political nature. Sources close to the investigation told 11 News that the note mentioned opposition to the oppression of Muslims and to the U.S. possibly entering a war similar to that of Vietnam.

"Doesn't surprise me that he would be making a statement and trying to change the world," said Queener. "No that doesn't surprise me. It would surprise me from the manner of his choosing to do that."

Houston police are also investigating an incident on Saturday at the Pennzoil Building on Louisiana Street downtown. Police were called to the scene because of reports that a man was on top of the building. It's unclear if the two incidents are connected.


I'm in shock, really. It seems unreal. Just keep the Hartley family in your prayers. They need it more than anything right now.

Friday, December 13, 2002

What a night.

Poor Amy's not feeling well. I woke up around 30 minutes ago to find her throwing up on our floor. So, we've been cleaning it up, and I've been telling her funny puking stories about people in the marching band. I don't really know if that's been helping, but... It's been amusing me. I think she's really nervous about her finals or something - I doubt it's something she ate, especially since I've been eating the exact same things for the past two days. It's not good in any case.

I had the final from hell on Wednesday night: CTCS 469. Yikes, what a stinker. It was seven questions, but each of those questions had four or five parts and you had to answer all parts but one. We had two and half hours - I finished two complete blue books. My hand was cramping the entire time, plus it STILL feels awful. Hopefully, even though the TA said they weren't grading on a curve... they will. Or maybe I just did well. Whatever the case is, I want to make an A- in that class. I worked really hard to just make a B.

Well, hopefully I'll finish everything by tomorrow, especially because I'm LEAVING on Saturday. Sepi, I may have to ask you a favor on my English final, so be prepared. ;)

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


Onto Paper #2. Due tomorrow. 3-5 pages. ARGH.

I think Amy and I are going to see if we can move into Parkside Apartments, if they're going to be around next year. It'd be fun to live with Sepi - we had a blast while making her movie. Except for those frustrating parts when the computer wouldn't work. But other than that... WE'RE FUN!!!

I'm making plans for the Orange Bowl. I can't wait! I'm SOOO excited about going... and I'm coming back to LA a bit early, so I think we're going to do fun stuff beforehand. Evidently there isn't a halftime show, so we don't need to spend our time practicing that. Woohoo!

More pictures. Well, one more picture. This is Antonietta at that Hollywood Christmas Parade I talked about earlier. She's all dressed up in C.J.'s gear. I love it! It was also one of the few high points of that horrendous experience. Ick, ick, ick.

Monday, December 09, 2002

While taking a break from my 10 page paper (5 pages completed, btw!), I decided to take a quiz.

I'm actually mostly this:

I am the Coquette

The ability to delay satisfaction is the ultimate art of seduction - while waiting, the victim is held in thrall. Coquettes are the grand masters of the game, orchestrating a back-and-forth movement between hope and frustration. They bait with the promise of reward - the hope of physical pleasure, happiness, fame by association, power - all of which, however, proves elusive; yet this only makes their targets pursue them more. Imitate the alternating heat and coolness of the Coquette and you will keep the seduced at your heels.

Symbol: The Shadow. It cannot be grasped. Chase your shadow and it will flee; turn your back on it and it will follow you. It is also a person's dark side, the thing that makes them mysterious. After they have given us pleasure, the shadow of withdrawl makes us yearn for their return, much as clouds make us yearn for the sun.

What Type of Seducer are You?
created by polite_society

With a bit of this:

I am the Dandy

Most of us feel trapped within the limited roles that the world expects us to play. We are instantly attracted to those who are more fluid that we are - those who create their own persona. Dandies excite us because they cannot be categorized, and hint at a freedom we want for ourselves. They play with masculinity and femininity; they fashion their own physical image, which is always startling. Use the power of the Dandy to create an ambiguous, alluring presence that stirs repressed desires.

Symbol: The Orchid. Its shape and colour oddly suggest both sexes, its odour is sweet and decadent - it is a tropical flower of evil. Delicate and highly cultivated, it is prized for its rarity; it is unlike any other flower.

What Type of Seducer are You?
created by polite_society

But at times, I feel like I must be this:

I am the Anti-Seducer

Seducers draw you in by the focused, individualized attention they pay to you. Anti-seducers are the opposite: insecure, self-absorbed, and unable to grasp the psychology of another person, they literally repel. Anti-Seducers have no self-awareness, and never realise when they are pestering, imposing, talking too much. Root out anti-seductive qualities in yourself, and recognise them in others - there is no pleasure or profit in dealing with the Anti-Seducer.

Symbol: The Crab. In a harsh world, the crab survives by its hardened shell, by the threat of its pincers and by burrowing into the sand. No one dares get too close. But the Crab cannot surprise ists enemy and has little mobility. Its defensive strength is its supreme limitation.

What Type of Seducer are You?
created by polite_society

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Picture time!

Here's the Friday after Thanksgiving with Serena and friends. In this order, Serena, Brian, Jen, Jen's mom, Emily, Sam, Rahul, and Kevin.

After the horrendous Hollywood Christmas Parade, we all went to Hard Rock Cafe. I sat at a table with Netta and Julianne, who looked like this most of the time:

And here's a picture of me at the band banquet, in my dress.

And here's a picture of our section, with Dr. Bartner. It's a bit blurry, so I'm sorry about that.


Problems with band and my response:

I just spent half an hour writing a response to this website. I'll post it here. Just because it's time for my semi-annual reminder of why I'm in band, the cult. ;)

Hey there,

Someone gave me the link to your website, specifically your journal entry about quitting the marching band. I just wanted to let you know what I thought about it, especially since my reaction to it is probably a bit different from the average USC bandie – definitely a lot less belligerent, in any case.

My name’s Jen, and I’m a Silk. I actually remember meeting you – I was with Karina, who lives in Pardee Tower and we were exiting the building at night, in the middle of band camp. I saw you carrying your mellophone and I introduced myself. You seemed like a really nice guy, genuinely excited about being in the band. I noticed that you were gone a few weeks after that, and it seemed sad, especially since there are a lot of awesome people in your section, like Jessie and Marco and Lacey. But I figured you just didn’t like all of the drinking or whatnot. The TMB is hard to swallow, at first. I know this from experience.

I too was really disappointed at band camp my freshmen year. I hated it. I hated the people, I hated the fact that everyone lorded over the fact that they had to run freshmen laps at Oxnard, and I hated actually twirling my flag. I was a complete newbie – I had never touched a flag before PLUS I had to learn the marching style PLUS I was the only person in my building for much of the time PLUS I was really supposed to be a senior in high school, so I felt homesick like you can’t believe. (I skipped my senior year. Let me tell you, that was another experience altogether.) It was trying. It sucked. I stuck it out, but I have no clue why.

I did the first game. I completely blew ass. I almost dropped the flag, I barely twirled Tribute right. Our TAs yelled at me and the rest of the freshmen for being so pathetic. It wasn’t a great feeling knowing that you messed up in front of 70,000 people. It sucked. I stuck it out. I didn’t want to quit.

I went through another week of practice. I was still completely shitty. It took me SO much longer than anyone else to learn the routines. I went to all of the practices sore, and a bit fed up, really. We went to the game, and we lost. It sucked. I stuck it out because I’m a stubborn bitch.

The season continued like this up until the trip to Notre Dame. I really bonded with a bunch of people in other sections and felt like I belonged. The rest of the season was still hard. I STILL hate torture drills. I don’t always yell all the relays full out. But right now, I’m glad I finished that first year. These people have become the most amazing friends I have. The short gnome that yelled at you? Dan is one of my best friends at ‘SC – he’s witty, amazingly smart, and loves ska, just like me. Jessica Belch, the tuba bitch/band manager? She has a great sense of humor and is always willing to help you out when you need it. Ito, the drum major? He’s really just a big softy – he works hard, he loves ‘SC, and he loves the marching band and has spent the last years trying to improve it – his piano skills (or lacking!) are also hilarious, if you catch him practicing for his keyboarding class. The vast majority of the assholes on the field are great people off the field. You just can’t take anything personally, a skill that’s rather hard to refine. Even now, I have trouble with the yelling, and I have to remind myself of the nature of the ‘SC band.

What am I trying to say? I don’t know, really. But when I’m out there, on the field of the Coliseum or on the field of the Rose Bowl or wherever I happen to be with the band, I’m transported to another place. These fans are yelling and cheering for me. When I step onto that field for Fanfare, I’m no longer just Jennifer Noble. I’m part of the Trojan Marching Band, an amazing organization. All of the shit, all of the stupidity, all of the crazy traditions… they aren’t what I treasure the most. When the football team comes over to the band, when Traveler races by during Conquest, when I perform a show flawlessly – these are the moments I remember. They are why I stay at ‘SC.

I’m truly sorry that you didn’t find that with us. I hate to see talented people like you leave the band program. And from your writing, you seem like you put a lot of effort and thought into your decision. I respect that, and I respect you.

Fight on,

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

A blur.

That's what my life has been for the past week. Thanksgiving was fun - my mom came and visited and Judy invited me over to her place for a very yummy meal. On Friday, I saw Serena and Kevin! Yay! I'm SOOO responsible for that cute pair. It's my one good deed in life, prodding those two towards each other. And then, Saturday was just awesome. We played notre dame and DOMINATED. And now 'SC is #4 in the BCS Bowl rankings, which means I'm going to be spending my holiday in either Pasadena, New Orleans or Miami! Woohoo! It's a great proposition.

Oh, yeah, and tonight I bought another dress. Damn me. I hate myself. But at least this one was only $60. I like it quite a bit.

Now, I've got to write three papers before the week's out. Oh, yeah, and then there's the band banquet. I'll post pics eventually.