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Saturday, September 20th, 2008
12:32 am
From E. Edwards...

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

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Sunday, January 22nd, 2006
3:26 pm - Hi-technical ex cellent taste and flavor
i write this from the home of one of Liz's dearest college friends, who, by fortunate coincidence, now lives in Chicago. we decided to visit for the weekend, before the semester got too busy for me (and Liz isn't working yet, but things go well for her on the job-search front) enjoying a fine Japanese beer, (Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale) and a tasty onigiri, which is to say, a Japanese rice ball. i purchased this fine bits of Japanalia at the absolutely fantastic Mitsuwa gorcery store in the suburbs of Chicago. (going there was in fact, my primary goal in the quick weekend trip. it did not disappoint. in additiopn to being a fully stocked Japanese grocery store, it also has a great little food court, where i enjoyed a nice Japanese Tempura set meal (complete with Japanese-style pickles, miso soup, pumpkin and great sticky rice) i bought a ton of great Japanese green tea (my weakness) and some other fun little Japanese things. it made me profoundly nostalgic for Japan, and all the more eager to go back there in the Fall, should i be accepted into the Yokohama Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Study (to which i have applied)

other than that things go well. if you weren't already aware (most of you should be) Liz and i got engaged. no word yet on when a ceremony might be held, but rest assured that any such info will be disseminated appropriately. Liz moved up to Illinois with me, and I am very happy to be living with her again. i am enjoying school, and since i'll only be taking three classes, and auditing a fourth, there'll be less stress than last semester (and Liz's presence alleviates a great deal o stress as well) i miss my friends in Gainesville alot, and i really enjoyed my time visiting with all them over the winter break.

i have been instructed to update more frequently, and i may even try to do so. hope all of y'al are well in the ongoing winter.

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Saturday, November 12th, 2005
4:40 pm - だからというわけではないが
i have been feeling like i need to pull myself together; in an oddly literal way. like i have been experiencing a bizarrely bifurcated reality that leads me into difficulties that i needn't be suffering. i feel like there is this other ben; bizarro ben, or some kind of Jekyll/Hyde self, which gets me into trouble. trouble i don't need or want, and the "main" self sees it all happenening, and can't do a goddamned thing about it.

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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
3:02 pm - there is nothing inside of me you need to know
I got tagged by blizack, so here goes:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your Livejournal along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

1. The Smiths "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" - The genius of Morrissey is that (some of) his songs are simeltaneously ironic and deeply sincere. The central irony (for me) in this song is that getting what you want can be a terrifying fate. Please, please, please let me not want anything else ever again.

2. Rites of Spring "For Want Of" - You can almost feel Guy Piccioto breaking down on-stage in this proto-emo-core classic. And the catchy guitar hook that drives the song is reminiscent of some of the best post-punk guitar legends. I think I would start crying if I saw this live.

3. Rainer Maria "New York, 1955" - This song devastates me anew every time I hear it. When Rainer Maria stopped screaming, it was the begining of the end.

4. Gram Parsons "How Much I've Lied" - Another song that feels soul-crushingly personal (a natural reaction, as I am a narcicist)

5. Dan the Automater and Kool Keith "The King of New York" - Few match the unbalanced, cryptic genius of Kool Keith. May this porn addict never stop recording.

6. Joy Division "Novelty (live)" - Perhaps the best recorded live version of a song I have ever heard. Ian boils over with the rage which simmers beneath the album version's surface, and Bernard sets the very air on fire with his blistering guitar.

7. Eliott Smith "Pitseleh" - The ominous guitar sets up the even more heart-wrenching piano. The first time I heard this song, I had to listen to it again; it totally blew me away.

some of these songs ended up on a mix CD I made recently (stuck as they are in my head) entitled "Parallax".

I'm too tired to tag anyone else to do this; but I would be very interested in what the rest of you are listening to.

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Friday, October 21st, 2005
1:19 pm - what happens in your head tonight's not true
last night, after stoppping in to the Classics Grad student happy hour at Murphy's, i made the necesery appearance at my friend's rock show. he wasn't a half-bad guitarist, and the rhythm section was pretty tight too. the vocalist seemed like dead weight though.

after the show, i reconvened at my home with the cream of Illinois' Classics grad students for The Warriors, which is a film it seems everyone i know is watching these days. not mind-blowing but certainly enjoyable. word on the street is that a remake is in the offing...

i fell asleep to music, something i have been doing much more lately.

after Japanese today i stepped outside of the Fortress of Solitude to smoke a cigarette. i forgot how much doing that transports me back to Japan. the time i leved there was the only time in my life i ever smoked with any real regularity, and so i still feel the bittersweet nostalgia for one of the most difficult and significant parts of my life.

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Thursday, October 20th, 2005
6:32 pm - bloody knuckles
i sit in the Fortress of Solitude, killing time that should rightfully be devoted to the study of Chinese in advance of my weekly Chinese quiz. my final class of the day had the unusual effect of putting me in a better mood than i had been before i went in. in the final 45 minutes though the professor's sonorous Australian voice lulled me into a somewhat zombified state. not altogether unpleasant, but i am somewhat at a loss about what his commentary on the relation between the advent of Christian thought in Japan and Korea and the attendant relationship with Nationalism in those countries. afterwards had dinner and a great German Pilsner with a friend i don't know especially well, but who provided me with some very valuable counsel on long-running issues which have been of concern to me. in another few hours i go to my friend's (punk rock) band's show, at a venue a block away from my office. (hence my decision to not bother going home at all) he has been hounding me about attending for a month, threatened to "eat one of my textbooks" if i did not show, and furthermore offered to buy me a beer if i did.

the parade of metaphors ends now.

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Friday, September 30th, 2005
6:41 pm - just in case you didn't know...
punk rock is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator

this reminds me of a very meaningful gift i once received. while living in japan, my best friends was a scottish guy (usually referred to as Paul UK, to differentiate him from blizack) right before i left japan he gave me a book called "Scar Culture" and inside the front cover he scrawled some very nice thoughts, concluding with "keep punk rock in your heart." (a love of the punk rock being one of our commonalities) i lost touch with him, but still have the book, and it is one of the most special artifacts from my time in japan.

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Sunday, September 25th, 2005
2:29 pm - slow hands
so i saw Interpol last night, and it was a pretty solid show; my main beef being that the drum/bass was so fucking loud that it made it hard to hear anything else. i had the same complaint about the Pixies show a year ago. the music isn't all about the goddamned drums. all the "fashionable" hipsters were out, and i have to say that they seem to be a step or so lower on the Hipster toem pole than native Gainesvillian hipsters (a bold statemtne to be sure, in light of the general degeneracy of the aformentioned tribe)

looks like this week may be easier on me than last week, which is a huge relief. i have to start thinking about some papers due towards the end of the semester and such, so i don't go totally insane when their time comes around.

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Saturday, September 24th, 2005
6:23 pm - trapped in the fortress of solitude
i just locked myself out of my office. i am awaiting my colleague's arrival to let me back in to retrieve my everything.

grad school has been stressful. i no longer hav proper weekends. i want to visit Chi-town, but don't know when i'd find the time. i am kinda making friends, but social-network building is a notoriously slow process, doubly so when your peers are of the age i am. Japanese class is crushing me, in the oral/listening department. Chinese is not as difficult, on the whole, as everyone seems to expect; that being said, i am hard pressed to properly reproduce some of the phonetics and the tones. i miss liz alot, and i have been generally avoiding thinking about that or the general stress level by steadfastly refusing to recognize the fundamental reality of my new life.

i'll try to update again another time. one more thing though: i miss my g-ville posse profoundly.

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Tuesday, July 26th, 2005
1:01 pm - the end of the end
this weekend i worked my final of three straight sundays. up at 7, in bed at 2am, as i was tapped to stay in the dorms (the very same dorm i stayed in 10 years ago as a high schooler on orientation) all in all, it was the most enjoyable of the working weekends so far.

the highlight may have come yesterday, when i had a moment to speak alone with the Director of Admissions, a very nice guy named Pat Herring. we both happened to be in the student union Grad Ballroom (where an event was about to take place, but no one had arrived yet) i hadn't had the chance to speak with him about my imminent departure, and had worried that he was disappointed that i was leaving after being an Admissions Officer for so brief a period. he asked me about where i was going, and what i was going to study and so forth, and we had a really pleasant conversation about my future and such. i'm glad i had the opportunity to speak to him prior to leaving; it seemed a nice way to feel good about the entire scenario.

i have only 18 days till i leave town, and only 9 work days left. i pretty excited about leaving, but i'm sure i'll be sad about having to leave so many good friends and such a great town behind. those of y'all who have suggested that you'd like to visit, rest assured i won't let you forget that.

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Thursday, July 21st, 2005
8:00 am - awful things carved from black marble
*edited for clarity*
Dear Gainesvillians,

i continue to draw inexorably nearer to my departure for the flatlands of my academic future. so, in the spirit of sending me off in style, i hereby invite you to a happy-fun-time going away party!

the party will take place on Saturday, August 6th, (starting around 10:00) at kingofgoons's home. directions can be found here: The House of Party

there will be booze, acrobats, dancing girls, feats of strength, fascinating curiosities and clebreties! this will surely be the most fantastical party in Gainesville this year. it'll be like living in a Magical Realist movie. if you go to only one going-away party for me this year, make it this one!!

your absence will mark you as a social pariah in Gainesville; everyone will be talking about this party for years to come. get in on the ground floor of a defining cultural event!

and, just for fun, here's a picture of me making the host-with-the-most, kingofgoons, laugh:

please try not to stare at Bo's crotch here. have some decorum, really.

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Friday, July 15th, 2005
1:51 pm - Industrial furnace
so, most of you know that i am an Admissions Officer working in the International Department of the University of Florida. this affords me the opportunity to be occassionally amused at fractured English in translation.

today a Chinese student brought me her transcript. now, most Chinese translations are pretty good, but this one was rather old (15 years) and she had some amusingly named courses. some highlights:

-"Word's economy and International relationship" - yes, the economy of the "Word"...
-"Computer practicing"
-"Electron engineering" - sweet jesus! they can engineer individual electrons now?!
-"Literature consulting"
-"Special English" - any suppositions on what one might learn in this "Special" course?

and my favorite:

-"Idelogical moral qualities" - now i really want to know what this course is about...

disclaimer: it is not my intention to ridicule non-native speakers of English. these are some amusing phrases though, you have to admit...

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Thursday, July 7th, 2005
2:01 pm - very amusing
did you ever want to dress as a zombie and terrorize SCA/LARP* nerds? apparently the Canadians have also felt that way!

clicky here for ZOMBIES!!!!

and more pictures of the madness can be found HERE.

*SCA-Society for Creative Anachronism: the folks who parade around in medieval gear at Ren. fairs, fight with padded swords, etc.
*LARP-Live Action Role Playing

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Tuesday, July 5th, 2005
9:15 am - Duckey
so to celebrate the birth of our nation, and also our friend Robin, we went down with her to her parents' home in the Keys this weekend. it's a pretty long drive down, and we stopped in South Beach for dinner at a Deli (had some pretty dope Nova and Matzo Ball Soup) and just to watch the crowds. got to the keys around midnight and crashed.

Saturday we drove into Key West, which was pretty neat, and not as kitschy as i had anticipated. we ate some crepes, and wandered around some tchotchkee shops, but the highlight for me was shopping at a clothing store aimed squarely at gay men. i went in looking for a pair of swim trunks but came out with two pairs of capri-style pants and two pairs of jeans. they all fit rather well, something that almost never happens to me. that night Robin's parents arrived and we all cooked dinner together which was lovely.

part two later, hopefully with pics...

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2005
9:55 am - Please Help Us Help Charity
I sent this message out to many of you already via email. Ignore this if you've already gotten it, and thanks to those who have already donated since yesterday!

Hello friends, I'm writing this to tell you that Liz will be participating in a triathlon soon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As some of you may know, her father survived Lymphoma some years ago, in large part due to the kindness and generosity of others. Liz wants to give back, and this is a big part of that.

For those of you who may not know my girlfriend, here she is at the castle in St. Augustine:

She's been training really hard for the triathlon, and working hard to raise money to help others like her father and her family through trying times. If you can, please consider donating to her fund raising effort. You can donate on her webpage, which can be found here:

Liz's Triathlon Homepage

You can also send a check through traditional mail. our most current address is:

Liz Kent and Ben Allen
4506 Sherwood Trace
Gainesville, FL 32605

Much thanks in advance to you all, and let me know if you have any questions.

Your friend,

-Ben Allen

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Friday, June 24th, 2005
2:28 pm - geisterhaft
this is my final version of my new mix CD, entitled "Psychrophilia". commentary strongly solicited:

1. Rainer Maria - "New York, 1955"
2. Death Cab for Cutie - "Lowell, MA"
3. Elliot Smith - "Waltz #1"
4. Modest Mouse - "Cold Part"
5. Joy Division - "Ice Age"
6. Mogwai - "Summer (Priority Version)"
7. Orange Cake Mix - "We Went to Graceland"
8. Palace Brothers - "You Will Miss Me When I Burn"
9. Modest Mouse - "Alone Down There"
10. Pavement - "We Dance"
11. Pixies - "Hey"
12. Tracey Chapman - "If Not Now"
13. The Postal Service - "Nothing Better"
14. Jets to Brazil - "Starry Configurations"
15. Braid - "A Dozen Roses"
16. Death Cab for Cutie - "Company Calls Epilogue [Alternate take]"
17. Rainer Maria - "Spit and Fire"
18. Sunney Day Real Estate - "Rain Song"
19. Pixies - "Ana"
20. Christie Front Drive - "November"

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Wednesday, June 15th, 2005
1:30 pm
blizack hath tagged me to do this, and so i shall.

Here are five songs I've been enjoying a lot lately or that mean a lot to me, in no particular order:

1. Rainer Maria "New York, 1955"
2. The Arcade Fire "Neighborhood 2 (laika)"
3. Palace Brothers "You Will Miss Me When I Burn"
4. Death Cab for Cutie "Lowell, MA"
5. Pavement "We Dance"

in the interests of continuing the time-wasting-at-work, i shall tag the following:


reproduce this in your journal; i want to know what's been catching your ear/sticking in your head.

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Monday, June 13th, 2005
9:23 am - falling out of beautiful airplanes
i had a pretty jam-packed weekend. went to my first work party on Friday evening, which was a little boring at first, until the co-workers i'm closer to started arriving (not coincidentally the younger, hipper ones) it was pretty cool, but we had to cut it shorter than we otherwise might have to repair to Robin's new house for some drinks, picking up Bo on the way over. a good time, as always, was had by all.

i left Robin's briefly to go over to George's to purchase his car. this is my first ever car, paid for in money i saved up from my new job. i drove it back to Robin's, and here's a picture of me with it:

after that, drinks at the Top, a lame "fetish" party (trailer goths whipping each other with riding crops for the amusement of drunks too poor to make it into frats) and getting to bed way too late.

the next morning i proctored a test for Kaplan, which merely required my being present and conscious. i actually used the time well though, tired as i was, finishing "Women on the Verge" and studying some Japanese. after that, hardcore nap action.

the evening was spent with Liz back at Robin's, just kinda lounging around. stopped into a party with Bo and Father T. (who was, poor guy, rather medication-addled) and turned in early.

this is beginning to ramble a bit, so i'll cut it off. more later.

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Friday, June 10th, 2005
8:44 am
yesterday was a pretty nice day. work consisted of more slacking off than usual, largely thanks to the LJ picture meme that seemed to be amusing everyone to such a degree. (much thanks to Sarah for kicking that off - single-handedly bringing down the productivity of various workplaces around UF and beyond) i met with my "conversation partner" immediately after work at Starbucks, and also her friend (and only other Japanese student at the ELI) Hiro. it was pretty fun to talk about Japan and whatnot, though, being shy, i used my Japanese only minimally.

afterwards Bo picked me up and we went back to my place for dinner, stopping on the way for a bottle of wine. we had one of the Dorn's guys recommend something, and we were at first skeptical, but it was actually the best wine i've had in ages. i'll be getting it again. Anna decided to join us as well (Liz had gone by her place to pick up an old computer monitor) and it was a very enjoyable little dinner.

in other news, i got some new Japanese green tea (i'd run out) and it's really great. (and organic no less) if any of you are interested in high quality Japanese Green Tea, this is the only place to go:Ito En Online Tea Store

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Thursday, June 9th, 2005
12:58 pm - burn the world
1. What's the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?
2. Go to http://images.google.com and search for that word.
3. Reply to this post with one of the pictures on the first page of results (DON'T TELL ME THE WORD).
4. Put this in your own blog, so that I can do the same.

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