(August 2001, summer after first senior year)

Blammo! Life should be like the baggage claim revolvers with my feet squarely on the stainless steel middle. It's not, and sometimes that makes me sad. I am Jen. I am not goth nor geek nor gamer, though I try very hard to be some of those things (not the first one, though, I have enough sense to know I couldn't pull that one off) at various times.

I work in a campus computer lab and like to think I know something about computers, but have learned and come to accept that I will never rival the skillz of most of my friends and co-workers. This is largely due to the fact that I have neither the money nor the spare alone time to devote to being a hardcore dork. The latter I regard as a good thing, the former... well, I am a college student, so it just kind of goes with the territory. I run Red Hat Linux on my computer and spit on vim because I like Emacs better. I am not a unix guru, and that is a good thing because I couldn't grow the requisite bushy beard unless I did something drastic. I know that Perl exists about 60% of the time, but seeing as most of that time I don't care, I happily content myself with shell scripting my little not-quite-blond head off. I can take apart several HP printers and build them over again, and can sweet talk an HP technician over the phone or in person into taking over Bolivia for me. Or at least getting us our parts on time.

I am a chemistry major because I idolized my chemistry teacher in 11th grade. I worked out the idolizing thing a while back, but the major just kind of hung around. I enjoy quantum mecahnics but pouring explosive things into stinky things to create cancerous things has never struck me as a fun way to spend my day. A statistically significant part of my body is probably composed of residual acetone from having to use it to purify myself after chem lab for years, so I will be happy if they do not discover it to be mutanagenic, because I do not want children with webbed feet. Although it would be an interesting cocktail topic.

I am a Japanese major first because I watched too much anime in high school, second because Japanese history is cool, third because Japanese food is yummy, fourth because Japanese guys are cute and fifth because no other language in the world uses four alphabets simultaneously and that's just neat.

I still enjoy anime greatly, but will threaten to shoot anyone who uses it for more than 10% of their conversational material. I don't own a gun, but it's the thought that counts. Cons are the spawn of the devil, and if I ever go to one in the future it will be because I was kidnapped by aliens and had my brain sucked out with a straw. That goes for Star Trek, Red Dwarf, anime, comic, and gaming conventions of all kinds, so while I will gladly discuss any of the above, don't mention the "c" word to me and I will love you much better for it. I love to roleplay but don't often have the time to devote to a game that I would like. So instead I spend a lot of time complaining about wanting to game, which bores people but entertains me greatly.

I like run-on sentences because I think in terms of them. I am a very tangential person, which turns conversations with me into extended affairs resembling college lectures given by a senile professor who doesn't remember what course he's teaching.

I love rootbeer but refuse to let Pepsi or Coke past my lips. Mountain Dew is occasionally acceptable as a beverage, but I figure it is better to not drink it so as to leave more of it in the world for the great number of CS friends of mine who might spontaneously explode if their dosage was cut. I have held extensive arguments as to whether Indian or Mexican food is the best, but seeing as these debates are only with myself, I generally lose. If this makes me sad, I eat mashed potatoes. Actually, if I am sad, I eat anything. I also eat anything when I am not sad, because eating is one of my favorite activities in the world. I worry about my weight overmuch as any girl does, but I am at peace with that and do not let it keep me from eating a huge juicy cheeseburger whenever I feel like it. I will kill for mint chocolate, which makes it easy to get me a Christmas or birthday present. This is good for other people's ease of shopping and has occasionally led to mint chocolate stockpiles that rival gun dumps in the Middle East. I do not let this bother me. Mint chocolate coffee is a prerequisite for all my classes in both majors, coincidentally, and when deprived of it on a regular basis I find myself doing strange things like stirring Altoids into normal coffee. This gets me looked at funny.

I love to play video games and to watch TV, but I don't usually do either much because I am too busy whining about not being able to play video games or watch TV. I judge that 75% of my time spent verbalizing is devoted to complaining about something, which makes it a continuing surprise to me that anyone bothers to listen to me after knowing me for more than an hour.

I get lonely very easily, which is why if I ever live by myself, I would probably go stark raving insane. I pretend to be stark raving insane sometimes, but I'm not very good at it unless I've been up for more than 36 hours.

I love cats even though I'm very allergic to them, and dogs are good so long as they don't yap. A snake would make a good pet but people who keep spiders are secretly spies from the planet Wteln and should be exterminated along with their spiders for the good of humanity and the internal security of the Kimberly-Clark Kimwipe Company. As long as there's a purge, mosquitos should get the boot, too.

I accumulate guilt like lint and therefore spend a lot of my time, when not complaining, apologizing about something. I get very tiresome.

If Japan counts as part of the Asian continent, I have only South America and Antartica to check off my list, but seeing as I doubt that anywhere there would rival Seattle, I am not overly concerned. I know more about what a chicken farm smells like than I ever wanted to because I lived next to one this summer in Japan, but if I have to smell shit I'd much prefer the horse and cow that are on my grandparents' ranch in Colorado. I love Colorado and it'd make my family happy if I moved there, but if I left Seattle I'd be giving up the prettiest city in the world, not to mention the unchallenged right to wear a trenchcoat and all black whenever I feel like it, which is convenient for someone who hates thinking about what to wear.

I only own two pairs of shoes; black steel-toed boots and a pair of Birkenstock sandals. I like my sandals because they make me feel like a college student, but I like my boots better because they make me feel like I could kick someone's ass. This is an important deception to me, because I am in actuality quite small and can therefore be tormented by such simple things as placing things on top shelves. If I could find whoever standardized shelving to be about two inches out of my reach and kick them with my big black boots, I'd feel better about life.

I am only one generation removed from Texas. It may be a dusty hole I only visit kicking and screaming, but it's got great food and my mother is from there, so don't make fun of it. My father is from Colorado, a state which would be much better if it only encompassed the Rockies, because wide open spaces where I can see the curvature of the Earth bother me only slightly less than volcanoes. I am of the opinion that rock should not flow.

I like rain as long as I am not out in it. The half-damp feeling of getting out of the shower also annoys me, so I would be pleased if sonic cleaners would be invented sooner. I do not wear makeup because I am lazy and also because I don't know how to use it. I also don't care. My friends complain about my clothes, but I think that holes just make them that much more comfortable in the summer, and big is good because I still could grow some, right?

I am Jen Barrick, who collects dice because they are pretty and envies her younger brother's red hair. I am alternately more interesting and more interminably boring than I seem, can quote more Hitch-Hiker's Guide than I'd admit but have the sense not to in polite company, fell in love with Han Solo at the age of five, and nine out of ten Patricks agree that I make a mean bowl of curried lentils.