Truth Universally Acknowledged

May 3, 2011

Little Moments

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 11:13 pm

Scene: Sitting in a silent Dining Hall studying for my Chemistry Test. Surrounded by other stressed and irritated students preparing madly for finals in between periodic checks of facebook, pandora, cnn, the weather channel or the new york times.

Time: A little after 10 p.m, Monday Night.

Action: Dean Loge brings in 5 pizzas. 3 mushroom, 2 cheese. Sets them on the table. Slowly, students rise out of their glazed eyes and minds, then quickly walk to food proffered them. Thoughtfully walk back to their tables, pieces of warm pizza in hand.

Result: Silent contentment.




April 27, 2011

Wednesday Words: Round the Mulberry Bush

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 10:56 pm

It is remarkable how winter can get you down, but more remarkable how little you notice it until Spring bursts forth in its brightly arrayed trees and warm breezes. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees! Incredible. I feel like a new man.

The year is really winding down. After last weekend’s concert, the Spizzwink experience has mellowed into occasional concerts and preparation for winter tour, along with deliberations for next year’s leadership.

I had a tremendous time with AnnaChristie, my cousin, who was able to come out to visit for a few days. We drank a lot of coffee, rehashed a lot of memories and she looked at a lot of buildings. We took New York City by storm, which ended up meaning that we got very cold and wet. However, we saw a large portion of the city, ate a good piece of cheesecake and looked at some nice paintings. Overall, it was really encouraging to have her come out and to be able to share my life with her. Hint: AnnaChristie sets a good example.

Classes are over!

Work is not, though. I have a paper due tomorrow and a presentation and Philosophy assignment due Friday. After that, though, the only things on my to do list are three finals and “board plane for Europe.”

Easter, the most wonderful time of the year, has come and gone. I have so much candy from Oma and my mother that I think I will gain my freshman 15 in the next day or two as I rapidly work to finish it before leaving on tour.

Back to the grind…

April 7, 2011

Wednesday Words: Back on Track

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 12:41 am

Yes, an accomplishment. Wednesday words actually published on Wednesday (Pacific Standard Time, though (It’s better than nothing.))


Spring is almost here. It is trying to push the harsh winter aside. Yesterday morning felt positively balmy, the buds full of potential flowers are becoming more and more evident, people are breaking up and making up, and stress is increasing as the end of term looms, bringing with it finals and freedom. Even so, the harsh wind that bites through clothing and cuts through buildings is a reminder that Spring is not… quite… here… yet…. and that there is still a great deal to accomplish before that final final is finished and summer officially starts.

One of those things is a concert. This Friday the Glee Club will be joined by the Yale Symphony Orchestra in a huge performance at Carnegie Hall. One piece will be a debut of a newly commissioned work (read: weird piece of music someone is trying to pass of as being profound and meaningful) and Ralph Vaughn William’s stunning Dona Nobis Pacem (which actually is meaningful and profound.) It will be a very unique experience, one I doubt I will get again soon.

The Spizzwinks are preparing for our biggest concert of the year, a week from Friday. The music is becoming more solidified, and it should be a great show. I’m looking forward to that night as well.


I went up East Rock on Monday, where there is a beautiful overlook of New Haven. The barren trees made the city look so different than it does in the fall or late spring. The city felt colder, starker, more exposed somehow. I was in the midst of wishing for a less windy day, when a hawk swooped by me, buoyed along on the very same wind I was at that moment rueing. It was a startling image, especially as I looked down and saw dozens of these birds gliding along, their wings rigidly extended, their bodies taut, their eyes unflinching. And I thought, what an incredible faith. That they would just extend their wings and let the wind take them where they are going, not resisting the breeze or fighting against the gusts, but simply holding firm, plank-like. It must have been frightening, learning how to do this. “But mum,” the little one said to its mother (note: I have no information on how these birds communicate. This is not fact, merely my slightly demented, sleep-deprived imagination at work) “What if the wind drops out from under me? What if I fall? What if I’m not strong enough to stop myself from hitting the ground?” To which she would likely answer, much to his consternation, “We all fall. But hold fast. Be firm. Extend your wings, and you will be caught again.”

I guess what struck me about these creatures was their devotion to being the best they could be at that one task, positioning their body in such as way as to make the most of the drafts and currents; they did not try to control the wind, or rage when a draft went the wrong way. They simply held firm, remained true

and flew.


“They will soar on wings like eagles;”

March 31, 2011

Wednesday Words: Should have done this sooner

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 8:30 am

I think I’ve discovered why it is that Wednesday Words have been much less consistent this semester: I have a Wednesday Chemistry Lab. While this does take up a large portion of the daytime, it also takes me out of a distinctly creative writing mood and into a sort of angry, unhappy mood. However, as the lab will soon come to an end, you can be expecting more regularity from here on out.

Yesterday was almost a beautiful day. In the morning, one could really taste a bit of Spring in the air before a cold wind came as a reminder that New England isn’t ready for the changing of the seasons yet. The forecast for tomorrow is rain, then snow the next day. Yet, we are hopeful that there may be a light at the end of the long, wintery tunnel. Mornings like yesterday’s encourage that hope.

So, speaking of Spring, I can know move into the real subject of this post, which is an exciting Spring Break on tour with the Spizzwinks(?). We started in San Diego, performing several concerts, going to the Zoo, the beach and many fine restaurants. We then moved to LA, where we performed many more gigs, including at an Anaheim Ducks hockey game, and ended up in New Zealand’s South Island before heading back to Auckland and home.

I have taken some of these pictures from Eli, David and Alec, and I am grateful for their contribution. If you want to see many, many more, check out the facebook albums.

February 24, 2011

Wednesday Words: New York

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 7:10 pm

Yes, I know it really isn’t Wednesday. I’ll try to get back on schedule soon. I hope to repay for my tardiness with a more interesting post, and pictures. Yesterday, Jonathan, Mikey and I took a little excursion down to New York. We blitzed through the sights and sounds of the city, the result of which we spend more time on public transit than in Times Square. It was tremendous to feel the heartbeat of the American Financial System at Wall Street and that of American Capitalism at Wall Street. Here are some pictures:

February 9, 2011

Wednesday Words: Finally

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 10:07 pm

“A day is as a thousand years unto the Lord.” This means I haven’t written for almost 20,000 years. Sorry, but also, I think that verse illustrates how really unimportant time really is. (Or maybe a dim hope that I can expurgate myself from a bit of blame).

For those of you with whom I am not in regular contact, Life is going well. I am greatly enjoying my classes and the snowy, blizzard-like conditions have given way to a nice mild sunshine that is a welcome relief. Forty-two inches of snow fell in CT in January, the most for any month on record. There may be a spring after all. Who knows?

I was in Vermont this weekend, which was stunning. The trees had slimmed down a great deal since the last time I saw them in October. Against the snowy landscape, the thin arms that embrace the heavens give one a remarkable feeling of fragility. I once thought winter = rain, but now I think I understand the phrase: “In the bleak midwinter.” Certainly the monochromatic white billows that hide landscape and building alike, is bleak. There is a strange sense of expectancy, though, in the air, branches. How wonderful that it is not Narnia, not “always winter and never Christmas.” There is a time of rest and joy that our winter looks expectantly towards.

One of the byproducts of such a precipitation loaded January is an increased interest in walking from place to place. Even while walking to English class, I must navigate through the Scylla and Charybdis of ice on the path and snow on the roofs. Many an innocent, young Yalie has unsuspectingly set foot on a treacherous spot of pavement and ended up with her boots suddenly above her increasingly reddening face. Treacherous. The second danger is that of falling ice. The Yale population has received several invigorating emails with quotes such as these: “There have been several reports this morning of ice sliding off rooftops… please exercise extreme caution as you move about the campus today” and “We have received many reports of ice sliding from rooftops.  Please be careful when walking next to buildings and avoid routes underneath heavy ice buildup.”

While I appreciate the incredible effort of Yale administration to help the problem by crafting beautifully written emails, unfortunately they were of little use beyond liability protection. However, there were some unintended consequences. In order to not end up supine upon the pavement, one had to walk much slower than normal. In order to not end up at the receiving end of an avalanche, one had to be constantly looking up. But, guess what, I actually looked at the campus. Though my fear of the 4 feet icicles from 4 stories up was my impetus for looking at the molding of a certain building, I often would see something I had never noticed on my normal quick path. Perhaps I discovered a unique inscription on this building, a beautiful elm tree on that street or a statue I had never looked at much before. Maybe it is those threats of danger in life that make us slow down and look around us. Perhaps we will find beauty in ourselves and others that we had never noticed in the course of our busy lives. Maybe it is something we had never imagined could be so beautiful.


January 22, 2011

Wednesday Words: This and That

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 12:56 am

Current Temp: 27° F

High tomorrow: 20° F.

This has been a very busy last few weeks, I will try to be complete and concise, but I fear an attempt to be both will very likely accomplish neither. There are really two main historical events I need to get through: a) tour and b) the start of the semester. Once you have a handle on these two experiences, you will have a better understanding of where I am now, and as a bonus, what has happened the last several weeks.


As I am involved in two singing groups (The Yale Glee Club and Spizzwinks), both of which had winter tour at the same time, I was obligated to split tours, doing half of both. I flew out with Rob (Winks business manager and fellow Oregonian) to Huntsville, Alabama the morning of Dec. 31. Spending several days in ‘Bama was a great time, lots of impressive food, and some of the kindest, warmest and most hospitable people you could ever meet. We sang several large concerts as well as some smaller gigs. Among other things, we balanced the budget, did some major blue-booking, ate venison and ribs and grits and beans and bread and more venison and chess pie and chili and on and on. You get the picture. In case you don’t, here are some images. The first two are of places where we performed, the third is simply us warming up. I had to add it because the screen wasn’t balanced with only two pictures on the right side.

Getting up early on Jan 4., I flew to Michigan to meet the Glee Club in Ann Arbor. We had a really neat concert at a beautiful Presbyterian Church, and at Zingerman’s, a renowned deli in the area, I purchased the most expensive sandwich I have ever eaten. It had wonderful chicken, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and incredible artisan bread. The $20 price tag was a bit disconcerting, though it was an impressive culinary accomplishment. I should mention my homestay here. I and another boy stayed with a wonderful couple, both graduates of Yale. They were both music teachers and had just a wonderful perspective on life. (He was also a Spizzwink). I remember the man saying, “You know, a lot of my friends are lawyers or businessmen and have much nicer houses than we do, much more impressive cars. But I talk to them now, and they envy me, because I have done something that I loved and has been very worthwhile. I have been able to teach music to young people.” (He sure has, the school at which he taught has received Grammy awards for having the best music program in the nation.)

This is the Church we Performed at in Ann Arbor.

The next stop was Cleveland, OH. While there is not much to see, we saw it, and had another lovely concert that night.

The next day was a travel day, as we wound our way to D.C. Much of that country was new to me, and I enjoyed gazing out the windows at the Pennsylvanian countryside. In D.C, we performed with several other Yale groups at Strathmore Hall, an incredible musical venue. The next day was our opportunity to tour D.C. Here are some images to verify the fact that I was actually there (and that it was extremely cold, hence the second picture where I can’t smile because my face was literally frozen). Thanks to Nate functioning as a tour guide, we were able to visit 4 museums and all the monuments on the mall, and be back in time for dinner. (Total time: 5 hours)

P.S: All pictures are courtesy of Dylan Morris Photography and are to be reproduced solely with his permission.

The rest of tour was the long, snowy drive back to New Haven in time for Freshman Registration Meetings.

Start of Class

Upon returning from tour, classes began almost immediately. I feel content with the classes I am currently taking: Chemistry + Lab, Epic (an English class which looks at the genre of the epic. Seriously, though, how could you not take a class with this title?), German, and the extraordinarily fascinating The Philosophy and Science of Human Nature (again, how could you not take a class with this title.) Some of the classes I shopped (aka was considering) but had to cut based on time constraints were: Defining Religion, Constitutional Law, and The Sociology of Crime and Deviance (for you, Gretchen). So many good classes, so little time…

Well, that’s what my life’s been like. Hope your new year has been a bit more… normal.

Yours Truly,

Markus Boesl

January 13, 2011

Wednesday Words: Leise rieselt der Schnee

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 4:42 am

As I write today, the Yale campus is blanketed with a heavy layer of snow. Last night laid several inches more on the already brilliantly white scene, providing a stunning contrast to the majestic buildings rising out of the landscape. It is stunning. Everything is new and different, from the way the multicolored plants complement the grey flagstones. The elm trees, devoid of leaves, now grasp towards heaven with a new burden of fresh-fallen snow weighing the ends of their delicate branches. Roads today were full of snow and devoid of vehicles, allowing a glorious stillness to extend throughout the city, broken only by the crunch of snow underfoot as students trekked to class.

This new appearance corresponds well with the new appearance the campus has from the beginning of the year. Instead of many unknown buildings full of unknown rooms and information, we freshman return to class with a basic idea of how to get around. Getting from place to place seems far less daunting than it was before. Also, whereas walking from place to place over the first weeks was a lonely experience, walks today are populated with people one recognizes. “Hi. How was break?” is usually a good substitute for any semblance of intelligent conversation. Approaching classes is even a bit less frightening than it was before. With the experience of a semester before under one’s belt, there is a certain amount of confidence that characterizes the new semester.

But just as the snow melts into normalcy after a time, so this new perspective will also become normal and melt into a new perspective as time goes on. That’s all part of the fun of growing up, right?



December 16, 2010

Wednesday Words: Finals Thoughts etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 3:01 am

One more step. One more final. 50% of a class grade. Friday, then the utter bliss and glory of my first semester of college complete.  What a thought. What a euphoric thought. The countdown to winter break on my whiteboard has transitioned from days to hours (39 to be exact). Looking back over the last few months is an odd mixture of nostalgia and consternation. Nostalgia, because a) there were many fun things to remember and b) because it seems so bloody long ago that classes started. The high school Markus of August with his busy packing and hazy expectancy seems to be nowhere to be found, except in small bits and pieces of things I brought, such as the number of scissors and two to three prong adapters (Two each), Manilla envolopes (14 or so) bottles of Advil (4), and High school GPA , etc, for which I have had absolutely no use. The consternation comes in when I think back and wonder where all the time went. I feel as though I am emerging from the trance or enchantment of the last few months back again into the real world. “Oh,” I say to myself. “There is actually hope of a relief. I had forgotten.” Perhaps this trance was caused by a lack of sleep, the plethora of new experiences or maybe just one too many pieces of the suspicious dining hall meatloaf; regardless, it is nice to be rid of it for the moment.

The phrase “learning the ropes” is of nautical origin. New sailors would need figure out which rope hoisted which sail, how to man the rigging and tie good knots. Learning the ropes is often challenging. One can imagine a novice recruit ending the day with blistered hands and tired arms. But see, then he knew them. He knew which rope to pull in the blistering gale in order to save the ship; he knew how to tie a sturdy knot that everyone else could rely on. And that’s good, because, you see, then he could “show the ropes” to someone else. The similarities to learning any new situation are obvious, hence the popularity of the term. I suppose “learning the ropes” is never finished. Our lives are big ships after all, with many different ropes and sails that will allow us to go with the wind, fight against it or just lay in the doldrums. And I suppose the “winds” that come change through periods of our lives, as well as our ability to comprehend them.

But lest we begin to think, like the late romantic poet Dylan Thomas: “I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul” (1875), perhaps we ought to remember the words of the disciples, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” We have a remarkable capacity to wreak our ships on things. We are hideous captains. Tennyson makes a key distinction in his poem “Crossing the Bar.”

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar. (1889)

If the wind and the waves obey Him, what possible reason could I have for not learning to do likewise?

Now those are some ropes we’d do well to learn.

This has been Extended Metaphors with Markus. Tune in next week for “How an orange is like the European Union.” Ta-ta…


December 9, 2010

Wednesday Words: Happy Birthday to me

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 4:52 am

Birthday Statistics:

19: years old

15: number of sovereign republics the USSR split into in 1991

2: number of Claire’s cakes present

3: Renditions of “Happy Birthday” sung

15: number of near misses in the movie “The Next Three Days,” starring Russel Crowe, which we watched on my Birthday

15: number of near misses we had on the way to watching the movie, “The Next Three Days,” starring Russel Crowe, which we watched on my Birthday

4: number of times the bus driver repeated the phrase, “No more room” before driving off into the sunset.

27: number of distinct times my German partner and I set up times to meet

1: number of times we actually met

4.37: pounds of uneaten candy overflowing from my desk (from Birthday)

25: % of my desk visible

7: hours between the release of World of Warcraft: CATACLYSM and Mikey’s first keystroke on the game. (This is a marvelous show of self restraint)

92: number of friends who commented on my wall for my birthday

The past few days have been quite frigid, as the Northeast moves more fully into Winter. The leafless trees stand in stark relief against the clear sky as a slight nip hangs in the air. People walk to and fro bundled up in scarves and jackets and hats, avoiding the biting chill of the wind as it cuts through the air. Many evidences of the Season have become more obvious, from the annual Messiah sing-along, to Christmas lights in the dining hall, to Jonathan trying to light the Candles (aka Man-dles) in his Menorah (aka Man-orah) in our room (aka man-cave) with a flint and steel. Yet one gigantic hurdle stands between us students and the bliss of a Christmas time: Finals. We are all worried and panicked, and stressed. In many ways, life seems rather barren, as we seek to subsist in a harsh, frigid climate. (Yes, this is far to lyrical, I understand, but let me scratch my literary itch for a few minutes, please?) We feel the loneliness of the trees as they appear lifeless and finished.

But, aha, there is hope. Soon these trials will be over, and we will have grown, our character improved. But until then, what more beautiful way to cope with stress than through the joy in the company of others that Christmas demands. This is a great boon at the moment, and a wonderful promise to look forward to. I’ll be home for Christmas.

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