Newsletter #19
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Hare-Raising Adventures
19th Publication, February 9 -March 25

I have been feeling for a while that it is time for another newsletter, and yet, when I look at the dates, I'm not really that far off from my usual timing. I suppose it is just the fact that I feel much time has passed, for some reason. Without further ado, I give you my letter.

The church was planning a social activity for the high school students, and so laser tagging was picked. The basic premise behind this game is one runs around and shoots others with lasers, and tries to avoid being shot himself. The designated ago group quickly widened to include those not actually in the high school Sunday school class (such as myself) and those not even in high school (such as Stephen), and those who have done with high school (such as the Lehigh students). As things turned out, the driving force behind the event was bed-ridden on the scheduled date, so the date was changed so she could participate (and drive others to and fro). The Lehigh students went ahead with their laser tagging plans, minus the church group. I decided to go with the Lehigh students, and we played three good games, and I did reasonably well, staying in the respectable middle of the pack (though, since team points count for something, being in the middle actually means less if your team wins and more if your team loses, since if you subtract the winning points, the winning players get bumped back a couple places).

The high school group event was preceded by refreshments (or maybe just freshments, since we had done nothing to lose our original freshness, but I suppose that is tangential) at Dr. James Femister's domicile. As usual he outdid himself, with a surprise birthday cake for the driving force behind the laser tagging (Mrs. Hansell), and many other delectable confections. In the same manner as my previous games, I stayed pretty much in the center of the ranks.

The four families (Hansells, Diems, Georges, and Greens) that went to the Outer Banks last September had arranged for a beach party. The beach gracefully bowed out, and the television stood in, and so we watched tapes of the previous two years over the cacophony of little children. It was quite pleasant, and punch and refreshments were featured as well, and it gave on opportunity to map out the next trip.

One Sunday a couple of weeks ago Tom Becker (a fellow campus minister) and his family came over for the afternoon. Mom and Dad had seen them here and there every once in a while, but I figured that it had been at least four or five years since I had last seen them (their children and we used to play during the several-week long spring camps for the college students). Consequently, the reunion was somewhat awkward, but we played a game of Balderdash (somewhat akin to Dictionary, in which one person finds a difficult word in the dictionary, writes the correct definition, while the rest write up fake definitions. Everyone votes, and you get some points for voting for the correct one, and other points if your fraud is voted for), and that was something of a ice-breaker.

On the MAFIA front, the ending program approaches! We have only a couple days, and the program that night. This time, not only will we be forced to play a piec on the harmonia, but also sing the first and second verses of "Abide with Me" and the first and third verses of "The Star Spangled Banner." It should be interesting. Mom has been talking for awhile about resigning, and she finally informed the rest of the staff (she had made the director aware some time ago) that she was not coming back. Much to her chagrin, no one seemed overly distraught by this turn of events, and Mom was further brought to reality by realizing that the director already had someone in line to replace her. MAFIA will not die immediately after the ending program, however; in a desperate bid to keep it going, the director instituted a "Spring Fling" (I don't suppose this has anything to do with food fights or catapults, unfortunately). This is a series of classes that runs every day the week after Easter, and entails a separate bill. I was originally against it, but Mom overrode my wish, and signed me up for her Macbeth class. Steve was assigned some other class. After that, Lord willing, I'll be able to have my Thursday free (which I'll need, since I'm basically going to lose the week of Macbeth, and my college class chews up a lot of time). One sad aspect of this is that our budding quasi-friendship with the Chinese restaurant and Subway employees will be cut short. Since we usually go to one or the other (occasionally both, if contention divides us), the employees saw every week or two. But I figure it's a small price to pay.

Speaking of which, the digital typography class proceeds apace. My professor revealed that the average grade is a B, and that getting a B+ or A- is great. A's are reserved for the absolutely stunning pieces of work, and so my B to B+ average is pretty good (contrary to my initial opinion). He's amusing, for my initial impression was that he would be a really nice guy, and an easy professor, and while he is a nice guy, when it comes to grading and tests, the facade vanishes, and reveals the cold heart within. Actually, I'm glad that he doesn't give half the class A's since it does degrade the grade. We are being given this week (the one before Easter) off, which is very nice, since it will give me eight or more hours to work on my regular schoolwork (which I will need, since I have two papers to write and Latin homework on which I need to catch up).

My regular schoolwork has been squeezed into whichever time slot it can be, between MAFIA, DT (digital typography), babysitting, field trips, and anything and everything else. Despite this, it has still plodded along, like a pair of oxen with an onerous burden, slowly but surely reaching the destination. There is one snag, however. In my science book, I came upon the several chapters on chemistry, and the chapter with various reactions (and the mathematical problems therein) stumped me. I have since decided that chemistry shall be banished to that black abyss in my heart where other things (such as that other math masquerading as a science, physics) reside. Math, I can handle, but math disguised as science disgusts me. Latin, I've discovered, is quite confusing. The verbs, nouns, and adjectives all can change their forms depending on various and sundry reasons (some of which hold very little water). I suppose I should be grateful that the adverbs and prepositions remain the same…

Two Fridays ago we had three events (one of which would be worthy of calling a day exceptional) scheduled. Ethel Houck, an old friend of Mom's, whom we had visited in Florida several times, had died. It was decided to have a memorial service that Friday, and Dad would conduct it. I was commissioned to design the bulletin (and attend). Mom and Uncle Peter wrote eulogies, and my brother Peter spoke Uncle Peter's, for Uncle Peter is in England. After the service, Nana, Poppa, Peter, Stephen, Ben, Uncle David, and I all went Perkin's for lunch. Around supper time Daniel and three of his college friends arrived, famished. They had come to drop off a guinea pig and a hamster for us to care for while they went to Disney World over spring break. The guinea pig's name was Mercedes (ostensibly after the fiancée of the count in The Count of Monty Cristo, but I think it was more after the brand of car), and I didn't get the hamster's name. I decided to christen them again. I named the guinea pig Betsy (the spice tradition does not apply, since she isn't my guinea pig), since it seemed more appropriate to her somewhat plain and down-to-earth appearance. I dubbed the hamster Huey, after Hamster Huey and the Gooie Kablooie, Calvin and Hobbes' favorite book. So now we have four animals until Easter, and I already don't want to return them.

The final (and in some ways, most important) event of that day was the homeschoolers' speech night. Since our evaluator requires a speech each year that you are in high school, a bunch of church guinea pigs was requested to bear five students' (of which I was one) speeches. I suddenly made aware of the propinquity of my impending doom when I was asked for a title two weeks before. I had none, and for that matter, I didn't have the vaguest idea what I was going to do. It was suggested to me by Sharon Barshinger (though I completely forgot this later, and thus did not give her credit in my speech) that I speak on an argument that Paul and I had had. He had asked me whether I really believed that snowflakes were unique, as scientists claim, and so the debate began. I expanded on that in the speech, and ambulated into wider topics, such as science, and other subjects, and eventually concluded that everything is suspect, but you should learn it anyway, since there is at least some truth in it. If anyone wishes, I can send it to them. As I expected, I did reasonably well, and while I saw a couple of tomatoes at the ready, none was thrown. The other speakers all did well as well.

I also had to design the hand-out for the speech night, so I was quite tired, but was still operating on adrenaline for a while, and didn't get to bed until twelve or so. The next morning I got up at six forty-five or so in preparation for going to New York with the Lehigh students. We went to a soup kitchen and helped there for the morning as the social activity. To add insult to injury, after my long day the day before, I spent the morning lugging heavy shopping bags full of groceries around. Afterwards, we divided and I took the van heading home. It was a sign of my exhaustion that I actually slept on the way back.

Peter has been taking Engineering 1 at Lehigh, but he finds it so easy that he doesn't even go to class anymore, except for taking tests. Since he can get and return the projects via the web, in person interaction isn't needed, apparently. He has been accepted at Penn State and Lehigh, and has yet to hear from Bucknell and Hopkins, and is currently (as far as I know) unsure to which college he will actually go.

At Christmas my cousin Katelyn admonished me to read Les Miserables, when she heard that I hadn't done so already. I took her words to heart, and I have finally completed the 1,200 page novel. While I was reading it, I didn't find it particularly exciting or great (not a book I would read until three A.M.), but after three months of it always being there to return to, I found that I missed it more and thought more of it once I was done. I almost felt at a loss, without it providing a figurative backbone for my reading (but I've gradually replaced it with others which were piling up over the long period). I also completed The Odyssey, which my schooling required. As both are translations from other languages, I found them interesting for that, as well as interesting in themselves. The catch, however, is that I now must write a paper on each. So much for reading purely for pleasure.

This summer is full of grand plans. Actually, I am full of grand plans for this summer (little does it know, however!). I hope to go to French Creek one week, along with Paul, Sharon, and a bunch of others whom I know to varying degrees, but whom Sharon knows better. In addition, I think I will be going to some sort of Christian world views camp (or some such topic), which looks very interesting, and Gabe West (a fellow speech night speaker and friend) will be going as well. I've also been contemplating possibly volunteering at a nearby veterinary clinic (it's actually an animal clinic, but it's manned by veterinarians), since while I've wanted to be a veterinarian since the fourth grade, I don't really know much about it in practice, and I think it might be educational to actually see the inner workings, so to speak (what you don't see when you bring a pet in). And, if I like working there, I might eventually request monetary remuneration for my labor. A trip to the farm is also most likely, and as always, a gross of other things will inevitably pop up.

Well, I shall leave you with that. I bid you farewell, and hope you all are doing well and maybe will reciprocate with some news of your own.

-~Snowshoe Hare~-
-~Christopher Green~-

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*