Web Exclusives: Raising Kate
a PAW web exclusive column by Kate Swearengen '04 (kswearen@princeton.edu)

December 6 , 2000:
Rock, kick, rocks
A Princeton weekend of pleasure and prehistory

By Kate Swearengen '04

November 20 - Bob Dylan, or rather, Bob Dylan, a drummer, and two sexually ambiguous bass players, performed at Dillon Gym on Friday night. I bought a ticket, not because I'm a big fan of Bob Dylan, but because I figured I'd regret it if I didn't go.

At the last minute, I almost sold my ticket to a grad student, but I changed my mind when he wanted to write a check for it. I mean, how stupid do people think I am? It's not that I think the graduate students here are impoverished - on the contrary, it's obvious that they spend a lot of money on cable-knit sweaters. It's just that they're inherently...devious. All of them. Without exception.

I base this judgment on the fact that four of them are currently spoiling the curve in my Arabic class. Besides, every time I try to cash a check, the evil German bank teller painstakingly inspects it to make sure it's "legitimate." So I only deal in cash now. And if you think that I'd have any scruples about scalping tickets or passing up a performance by one of the most influential musicians of the last century, you're wrong. Music is great, but I need some way to pay off my Public Safety lockout bill.

Anyway, the concert was great, in spite of the inebriated student in front of me, who shouted "Hey, Bob! Play something we've heard!" between sets. It's not that I disagreed with what he was saying - half the people went to the concert hoping to hear "Hurricane," after all. It's just that his obnoxious behavior inspired his friend, who started yelling "Hey! It's Carlos Santana!" at one of the bassists. You can always pick out the legacies.

Speaking of legacies, and speaking of legacy, as in a tradition that has been passed down for 110 years, I saw the Triangle Club's show on Saturday. I'm one of those people who, upon touching down on a musty, velvety theater seat, immediately begins to suffer from an itchy scalp. Although I tried to discreetly scratch my head, the couple behind me muttered ominously, so I tried to hold out until intermission. Mercifully, my attentions were soon captivated by the performances on stage.

For all I know, "Puns of Steel" could have been unexceptional or even a low point in the Triangle Club's long history. But I thought the performance was incredible. Although F. Scott Fitzgerald '17's This Side of Paradise, as well as campus gossip, conditions you to look to the all-male kickline as the highlight of the performance, the preceding acts were the most memorable.

Since Friday and Saturday nights were so great, I would have been pressing my luck to assume that Sunday would be pleasant as well. I spent the day examining sedimentary deposits and glacial striations in northwestern New Jersey with my geology class.

For the uninitiated, striations are grooves cut into bedrock, ostensibly by the actions of glaciers during an ice age. Although I found them unremarkable, they sparked an exchange between two of the geology professors that was a good example of the typical conversation on the fieldtrip. Professor #1: (examining faint striations) "Well, if I were Charles Lyell and if you were Louis Agassiz, I would still be unconvinced that glaciers had formed these striations." Professor #2: "But if we were in the Swiss Alps, the striations would be deeper. And if the sun were out, we'd be able to see the striations more clearly."

As for me, I prefer to attribute geological formations that I can't explain to a vague "Monster Era," a time when large creatures roamed the earth, indiscriminately crushing things. After nine hours spent away from Princeton, looking at outcrops on the shoulders of busy highways and traveling in a van reeking of McDonald's french fries, I felt like crushing things myself.