Here is the secret-not-so-secret online Nunnian shrine made by the loving 05 UMich TASPers. Enter our homology. We are Triumphant in Turquoise--and all other colors. WORRRRD.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gonna keep posting here until someone shuts me up...

...or can someone else carry the baton? Please?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey everyone...

...Hope you all are well. Just wanted to say hello while doing my part to keep the blog operational.

I miss you guys and am sorry for having been so out of touch. My life has been strange. Anyway, happy Easter, Passover, and spring.

Much love,

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Hey, all!

The quick and dirty version is this: I'm in San Francisco working for Google Books. And I want to see you all. If you're ever visiting SF, let me know!

Friday, August 06, 2010

book recommendation

I've been reading a lot this summer (for fun, for the first time in a long time, and I've greatly missed it). I just read Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and enjoyed it so much that I just had to come here and tell you all about it. (ps I almost just wrote "tell yall all about it... I'm so Southern now.. crazy!!)

The book is a true account of a disastrous encounter between a Hmong family and the medical community. Lia, the youngest child of Foua and Nao Kao Lee, suffers from a really bad case of epileptic seizures, a condition that could leave her brain dead if she doesn't take medication. Yet her parents subscribe to traditional Hmong beliefs that seizures stem from spiritual causes, and rejoice that they will allow Lia to grow up to become a shaman, since she is patently intimate with the spirits.

Fadiman describes the history and origins of the Hmong people in Laos, then Thailand, and then of their diaspora around the world in great detail, and does such an excellent job of understanding their beliefs, culture and moral ethics. She does fall prey to romanticizing them a bit, as I couldn't find one instance of criticism in the entire narrative, but that didn't seem unpardonable to me. As an aspiring physician, some of their troubles with western medicine frustrated me beyond belief; yet I still finished the book with a much greater appreciation for the Hmong culture.

I leave for Boston next week and am thoroughly freaked! Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Requiem for Detroit, my ass.

Hey guys, I'm extremely upset by this portrayal of Detroit (I wrote about it here, and I'm particularly curious about how it fits with your experience Isaac), but I think our old pal John Sinclair makes a brief appearance. See 2:15-2:35--is it him?

[OK, I can't embed it, so here's the link:]

Also, are you back in the motor city, Isaac? The program ends in a week and I think I'll probably visit my brother next Sunday or Monday. Could we meet up one of those days?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Still representin'

We sent the TASSers on a photo scavenger hunt of the city, and they got bonus points in the graffiti alley if they found TASP '05 on the gum wall. Guess what? It's still there:

Also, please note that in the upper right corner there's a copy cat from a later year that has not held up nearly as well. TASP '05: still the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's next?

Hey everyone!

Its been far too long. I hope you all are doing wonderfully! Congratulations Henrik (+ Edward) on your DS admission, even if you don't go there, that's a big accomplishment.

Now that I'm less than a month away from graduating I'm getting curious as to where our TASP cohort is heading. What's everyone up to? For those of you graduating, what's next?

I haven't been very good about keeping in touch with you all. I saw Nestor in New York over winter break and I saw Dylan over the summer, but other than that I think its been a couple years since I saw anyone else. Hopefully we can change that soon.

As for me, in June I'm moving to Detroit. Oddly enough I'm finding myself drawn back to Michigan. I received a grant through UC Berkeley to do a year-long project engaging youth in Detroit around community development and issues of the city using poetry and spoken word. I'm really looking forward to this. Despite the difficult situation, there are a lot of exciting things going on in the city. This summer Detroit is going to host two important conferences, the Allied Media Conference: (June 18-20) and the US Social Forum: (June 22-26). The Allied Media Conference connects independent media makers from across the country using media to build community and do social justice work. The US Social Forum is a convening of grassroots social movements from across the country and the world. They're expecting 15-20,000 participants to participate in a week of dialogues around grassroots organizing and sustainable movements for long term social change. I'll hopefully have an apartment by the end of June, so if any of you are interested in attending either of these conferences, you're more than welcome to stay with me. In general, if any of you want to visit Detroit in the next year you've got a place to stay.

If you're interested in seeing more about some of the work going on in Detroit, check out its a great multi-media article highlighting some of the cool stuff going on.

So what's up with you? Can't wait to hear about where ya'll are headed.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Deep Springs part 2

My brother Edward (UMich TASP '09) also applied to Deep Springs. And he too was accepted! He too has his doubts, but either way UMich TASP seems to have made a strong showing in the Deep Springs admit pool this year.

- Sam

Deep Springs

Hello all who still take peeks at the cyberworld of our shared past - I seek your advice.

Here I am at University of Vermont, after a long yet fruitful battle with a parasitic infection. Chronic pain and indigestion were the main symptoms that caused me to withdraw from Oberlin, after which I took a year off for medical reasons and then transferred here in order to make the transition back to academia. The healing process is incredible, as I'm experiencing a vitality and clear-headedness that seems wholly new and distinct from an 'old' self, if such a thing can even exist. It's involved a lot of different practitioners and doctors from all ends of the medical spectrum, and I must say, my protocol has been quite in-ter-dis-ci-plin-ary in nature.

And so, I got all excited to apply to Oberlin again, in hopes of transferring back: the time spent at UVM and the help I needed from nearby doctors has been exhausted, and I'd say I've recovered to a certain degree. But during the application process, I became a bit intrigued by other institutions (as I am a sophomore now only), and applied to 5 other colleges, one of which was Deep Springs. And...I've just been accepted.

But after having visited the campus, gotten to know the half of the kids I may spend the next 2 years with, and completed the rigorous application, I have my doubts. Perhaps I've grown too old for such a thing (I'll be 23 by the time I'd finish)? Is the unique academic and intellectual attention and autonomy worth foregoing the Oberlin education and social atmosphere I worked so hard to retrieve? Is it worth prolonging my undergraduate education (I'd have to get my degree elsewhere after 'graduating' from DS, effectively stretching my Bachelor's degree between 4 separate institutions) simply to engage specific educational ideals that I hold? Do I need this specific institution to embrace those ideals?

Furthermore, and a bit more to the point, am I torn only because of the status and sense of elitism this mysterious place harbors? Is prestige, in the long run, even tangible? For any who read this, what is your experience with the supposed merits and benefits that accrue from attending an institution that is highly regarded? Does it really make a difference? Or is our education really, no matter where we go, entirely 'what we make of it'?

I can't tell whether I have doubts about Deep Springs because it really is the 'wrong' place for me to go next year, or if my fears surrounding it only reflect its potential in helping me truly grow not only as a student, but a friend and community participant. After all, the relationships I'd find myself in seem inevitably intimate and challenging.

I know that, all in all, this knot needs unraveling on my own accord and with my own effort, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask advice from a circle of peers that played a most formative part in the burgeon of my intellectual career. You all really inspired me in many ways that summer, and it's clear that my interest (and concerns) with Deep Springs is deeply embedded with my Nunnian roots. Any thoughts? I need to let them know by April 15th, just in case you're reading this after that date. Best,


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Isaac Miller in the News

So I picked up the freshly delivered New Yorker a few minutes ago and found an article about the Berkeley student protests - which includes a direct quote from our very own Isaac Miller! Couldn't find a freely available online version of the quote, but this is the abstract of the article. Check it out if you can find a way to.

- Sam

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just some pictures from, oh, like two summers ago? No, three summers ago. A reunion is always a good thing....


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remember when we talked about becoming factota?

Well I'm not going to be one, but I am going to be a TASS tutor this summer, in Ann Arbor even. Will any more Pimentel siblings be passing through Telluride's programs this year by any chance?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Return of a Native

I’m back.

Sorry this is as late as it is – I think it’s been the hardest post to write of any of mine on this blog.

Remember how you felt when you got home from TASP and people asked you about it and you just couldn’t put it into words? When I went home at the end of our six weeks of semi-monasticism I felt almost like I was leaving a whole world and entering another.

That’s a bit like what I’m feeling right now, but a lot more so. My level of “monastic” separation from previous life was a lot higher than at TASP (this is why I haven’t been posting on the blog) and two years is a lot longer than six weeks.

What we did at TASP was read, have discussions in seminar, hang out together, play Ultimate Frisbee, listen to music, and write papers, but that doesn’t begin to describe what TASP felt like. So when I tell you that I spent my two years inviting people to learn about the message of the restored gospel and change their lives accordingly by talking to them in the streets, on the bus, in their homes, etc., it’s true but it doesn’t really tell you the important stuff. I think part of what’s most important is that I have come to know, through personal spiritual experience, that the restored gospel is true. As that knowledge came to me, I also understood that serving as a missionary was the most important thing I could be doing with those two years of my life. I come home with no regrets.

I have also gotten to really know and love Northwest England, the people there, and the other missionaries that I worked with. Those people will be my friends forever. It's kind of sad to realize that I'm done, and that things are rolling forward over there without me.

On the plus side, I'm home and I can blog again! I still love this blog and you all despite my absence. My deepest appreciation to the stalwarts who have kept it alive. I’m eager to hang out with as many of you as are willing, especially the Bay Area ones (I’m at “home” in Jacksonville, Florida right now but will be back at Stanford in mid-September). Speaking of which . . . I need to report a TASP reunion! My sister Ruth and I went on a road trip from Jacksonville to Atlanta the other week to visit my aunt and uncle, and while we were at my aunt’s office at Emory, Ruth remembered that Sanju goes to Emory (yes, I hadn’t remembered up until then – I’ll hide under the excuse of “still adjusting to being back in America”). So we rang her up and dropped by for a quick visit:

We were on a tight schedule and Sanju had class the next day so all we did was eat popcorn and talk. But yes, Sanju is just as random as she was at TASP. Good times.

My brother Edward had an amazing time at his UMich TASP. He videoconferences with his TASPers on a regular basis and his always using his TASP's obscure lingo. A little taste of his TASP for you. I would definitely call that musicking, by the way.



P.S. If you want to know more about my mission, please ask. I love to talk about it - I'm just never sure how much other people want to hear. : )

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a whole summer gone and no blogging

Friends, how have we let so many months pass sans communication? Can you believe it's been four years since we were all together on Hill Street? I spent the summer growing vegetables again, this time managing a community garden, and I've decided I really love soil and plants. Someday I'd like to have a farm of my own.

Right now, I'm learning the words for various vegetables in Hungarian while I study in Budapest for the semester. Has anyone spent time here before? Adam, you have, right? And Jason? I hope to get to Vienna sometime soon, too--what should I see?

Is most everyone starting senior year? Sam! Are you back?

Love to you all,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big News!

My little brother Edward is going to TASP this summer! He'll be at the UMich program, and I think living in the same sorority house (not certain about that, though). He's really excited!

-Ruth, writing and posting in Sam's stead, and with his permission

(PS Sam will be back in the US and back online in early to mid-August! Meanwhile, he is doing excellently and is very happy.)


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Experiments in data visualization

Hey pals!

I made two word clouds of our blog using Wordle for fun when I should have been working on my GIS lab today. The first is from September 2005, soon after we all parted our merry little teenager ways, and the second is from all the posts currently displayed on the blog home page. I probably could have altered them a bit to make them more accurate--and of course the data isn't adjusted for total number of words in each cloud. Man, I didn't do this very well. Anyhow, it's kind of a fun reflection on how our vocabulary and post content has changed over the years. Actually, I'd say our vocab has changed surprisingly little, other than that "married" didn't show up in our first few years of blogging.


Wordle: TASP1

Wordle: TASPII

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Wallflowers_Empire in my Mind (alternate take studio)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lupe Fiasco meets Cornel West

Hey guys,

last weekend my school had its biennial Festival of Faith and Music. It was three days of good tunes and great talks, but I especially wanted to share a link to an interview with Lupe Fiasco by Cornel West (who also gave an amazing lecture available for download). If you're interested, this link should take you there.

Hope you're all well,


Monday, February 02, 2009

reunion news

I realized Charles and Dylan and I never posted after we met up in Boston a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd mention on here how totally terrific it was to see you guys, and that I can't believe it's been four years since TASP, and I sincerely hope that I will get a chance to see all of you again, preferably soon.

Gosh, sometimes I really miss our togetherness. For some reason, the other day I remembered the time the coffee machine was on the fritz. Weird. Also, Lisa, so good to hear from you! Congratulations to you and Jeremy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm probably the biggest nerd alive

and thought these videos were absolutely hysterical -

1. If you're ever tired of pipetting in lab...
2. If you ever need a refresher of organic chem
3. And if you miss Pinky and the Brain as much as I do

also, I post a lot of videos here, don't I? hmm