Saturday, November 30, 2002

I originally wrote this in a detailed sort of way. But you don't need to read that.

All that's important to know is that I'm ahead of schedule on my graduation requirements, so I'll have a chance to take some pretty awesome electives without having to feel guilty about them. Photography and Art History here I come!

I should graduate, on schedule consequently, in June 2004.


I've been thinking more about Europe. There are mounting threats to the trip, as I wrote earlier today. But I'm going to plan it as if I can go, because if I can't, it can't be helped, and if I can, then I need to have the damn thing planned anyway. So it makes sense to proceed as normal.

I think I'm going to leave on my birthday, June 10th that is, from Baltimore for Brussels. From Belgium, we'll work our way East. I hope to see Tongeren, where my grandma's from, which is by the German border. We'll go as far East as Warsaw, Poland, then make our way South to Auschwitz, and back in West toward Austria. From Austria, we'll go South into Italy. From Italy, North into either Switzerland, or directly over into France. Depending on our time and money, we'll either go South into Spain, or directly North up to England, and back down into Belgium before coming back home, around July 10th.

I can get plane tickets for under $800 and a rail pass for around $400. I'm giving myself $300 for accomodations, which may seem low, but because I'll be staying with relatives some, and sleeping on trains quite a bit too, it's not terribly restrictive. That's about $1500, leaving me around $800 or so in joy/emergency funds. Actually a little more than that, but I'd rather not come home totally broke.

Damn, I'll bet I have to get a job when I come home. We'll cross that rotten bridge when we get to it.

Barring family emergency or other unforeseen circumstance, it's looking like I can really do this thing.

Kick ass.

My mom was giving my dad a haircut today, when she noticed a strange lump on his back. My grandpa had cancer on his back three times. Once, quite badly. It didn't kill him. But it certainly didn't make his life very easy. So now my dad has to go to the doctor because there's a good chance he has cancer. It's going to suck a lot if my dad has cancer. For obvious reasons, like, you know, he's suffering and could maybe die. And for less overt reasons like, if he did die, my terminally ill mother could lose her health insurance and we'd be pretty screwed. I could find myself orphaned quickly. But not so quickly that I wouldn't get to experience both of my parents suffering terribly from disease, which is ever pleasant. But maybe it's no big deal. Maybe he doesn't have cancer, and nothing will change, and life will go on in its usual mediocre, plodding way. I thought I found regular life damn near intolerable. Funny the things you miss when you're threatened with losing them.

Friday, November 29, 2002

So, Thanksgiving over.

I had all of the nephews and nieces here, except James.

The food was good and I ate too much.

I made a promise to myself to hang out with the family more. I wonder if I’ll follow through.

Jody came over and we watched the Sound of Music. She fell asleep at one point. I looked like I wanted to. I didn’t dislike the movie though; I just exhausted myself eating. It is a damn corny film.

Corny reminds me of somebody. Now I’ll be thinking about that somebody all night. That’s alright though, I don’t mind thinking about him.

I told people tonight that I didn’t ever want to get married. I’ll bet they think I’m gay or something. I’m not gay. I just don’t believe in love, and I’m not religious, so marriage seems superfluous.

I think, in many ways, my life is geared toward filling the gaps that other people leave. I think I’m okay with that.

I wish April was up, and would call me. I feel like talking to somebody.

Why does everyone have to go to bed by one in the morning? The night’s hardly just begun.

I need to learn that feeling comfortable talking about myself is not sufficient cause for doing so.

I think I'm going to go to bed, even though I'm not tired enough to sleep and will likely just lay in bed thinking about how I ought to be writings papers, or in any case stories or poems or something creative. I haven't felt creative lately though. I can't wait for Christmas break.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

I remember now why I hate holidays.

My mother and brother have this insane intolerance for holidays. It makes them nervous or something, and once they’re nervous they make everyone else nervous. My brother hasn’t been bad yet today, but my mom sure has.

She comes out into the living room, screams at my dad about something incomprehensible. She goes to check on the food. She comes back into the living room, screams at dad about something incomprehensible. She goes back to check on the food. Repeat x800. Then she starts cleaning. Has to dust everywhere, has to pick up infinitesimal specks out dirt out of the carpet, has to scream about shoes on the floor. She goes to check on the food. Comes back to the living room, screams at dad about something incomprehensible. Goes back to check on the food. Cleans. Repeat x800.

I’m all on edge. I have no reason to be really since I like holidays. I like seeing people. But damn, if she pops out here all whirlwind again, I think I’m going to shoot myself.

And if I hear “oh look, a turkey friar for only blah blah cost” one more time, I’m going to pop somebody in the nose. We don’t fry turkey, damnit! We do it the right way.

Mom & Dad Convo:

Dad: I feel sick.
Mom: Huh?
Dad: What?
Mom: Huh?
Dad: Oh, I thought you said something.
Mom: I said “huh?”
Dad: What?
Dad: I feel sick.
Dad: What?
Dad: You don’t have to yell! I heard you! I just don’t agree, so I was asking.
Mom: Oh for Christ’s sakes.
Dad: What? Jeanette, aww, come on. Don’t be mad, it’s a holiday.
Mom: Huh?
Dad: It’s a holiday.
Mom: You’re sick every damn holiday! Every damn day!
Dad: ::groans:: Oh, oh, oh, I’m so sick. No one feels sorry for me.
Mom: Maybe we would if you’d stop whining and give us a chance!
Dad: What?
Mom: What do you mean what?
Dad: That didn’t make any sense.
Mom: Huh?
Dad: What?
Mom: Huh?
Dad: What?
Mom: God, I hate you. I’m going to my room.
Dad: Huh?
Mom: ::slams the door::
Dad: Do you know what she was mad about?

Yeah, Happy Thanksgiving all, from the whole clan.

It seems appropriate, since it’s Thanksgiving, to blog about the things I’m thankful for. I’m not a particularly grateful person, I think, but I guess I can muster up a few things to publicly express my joy for.

So, things I’m thankful for this year:

Two parents with an honest-to-God affinity for me.

Siblings who don’t treat me like an annoying little sister. And especially, for the brother, who I recently heard, said very nice things about me to his friends, even in the midst of them making fun of their little brothers and sisters.

Extended family who, while I don’t see them nearly often enough, still claim me in public.

Friends who stick around even though I’m an absolute and utter crackhead sometimes.

Two dogs who act excited to see me every day, even though they’re not really and I don’t deserve the attention.

A country in which I have a guaranteed set of freedoms and a genuine equality of opportunity regardless of my gender, religious affiliation and/or class status.

The chance to attend University, and Professors who make the opportunity less rotten than it could be.

That I live in a time period that allows me to blog, and have vision correction devices, and cars, and indoor plumbing and heating, etc.

The fact that, after 20 years of life, I’ve yet to have suffered anything truly devastating.

My house, my room, my stuff.

A life that doesn’t totally suck, even if I do have too much homework this weekend.

A good selection of music and books laying around my house.

That my mother let me make a lot of the food for Thanksgiving this year; and yet, I know if it turns out rotten, she’ll still shoulder the blame for me.

That I get to see at least some of my nephews and nieces tomorrow.

That I have a chance to go to Europe this summer with one, two, or even possibly three people I actually like.

The common kidney between my father and mother, and how well it's held up after all.

That's all I can think of at the moment, though there are countless things of course. Happy Thanksgiving and whatnot.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

i am an indie snob!

How indie are you?
test by ridethefader

You're just too cool for school, aren't you? You're pretty narrow minded
and opinionated with regards to music (and probably most other things
as well). But you're allowed to be, because you really are better
than everyone else. You take pride in obscurity.
You probably prefer vinyl too, you elitist bitch.

Odd observation.

I have a thing for guys with blue hair with first names ending in the letter “n.”

Fulfilling either requirement independently does not seem to be sufficient.

In any case, I plan on reading the Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri soon for the honors book seminar next quarter. Anyone read it? I'm told I'll like it, so I wonder.

Also, woot! My four day vacation has officially started! And, also, the baggae that that carries with it has already started to press. I think I'm going to start outlining my essay for Early Christianity today. But first I have to find something to eat.

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

As soon as I finish writing this blog, I’m going to make myself go to bed. I don’t want to go to bed. I want to stay up. This is the most alert I’ve been all day. But I’ve been having a hell of a time getting myself up in the morning, so tonight I’m going to make sure I get enough sleep. Even if it means staring at the ceiling for two hours. It’s not fair that my body wants me to sleep all day and stay up all night. I have a nine o’clock class next quarter. My life is going to suck. I’m actually considering dropping my English minor because I don’t want to take the class; how sad is that?

I think I’m about to do something radical to change my happiness factor. I’ve been depressed lately. I can pinpoint one factor in particular that’s been poisoning my joy. It’s going to kill me to make the change, but it needs to be done. There’s a time and season for everything, and for a certain situation that’s been developing over the past few years for me, the time has passed. It’s time to do something new. And as much as I correlate the words “change” and “agony,” I can’t see how this shift will make me any more miserable than my neglect of a persistently miserable situation has made me.

So here’s to new days. And headaches. And sleepless nights. And my burgeoning trouble with nightmares, which is certain to be exacerbated. But also, to the hope that soon things will suck less, or at the very least, suck in a way that’s new and fresh that I'm not yet so very, very tired of.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

My father’s truck is busted, so he’s borrowing my car. That means my mom and I are sharing her car. Her brand new car. The one she doesn’t let anyone drive…ever. Yeah, that one. So I’m driving home from school today, being unusually alert and careful when this guy coming towards me, in a sports car, decides to pass the slow moving farm vehicle in front of him. The problem, of course, is that the guy didn’t look to see if the road was clear before he decided to pass. So, he pops out into my lane, causing me to slam on my brakes. He hears the squeal, and jerks back into his lane as quickly as possible. In the meantime, my tires are skidding on the gravel, pulling me towards the ditch. I've got two tires off the road before I can stop fully. Something quite similar apparently happened to him. As soon as I gained control of my vehicle, I looked back, the guy was pulling himself out of the ditch. As soon as he did, he drove off as fast as he could, apparently hoping I wouldn’t see him.

Well, there’s no damage to the car or anything. I didn’t exactly go into the ditch, though I was half off the road. It’s damn lucky I was only driving like 40mph to start. Had I gotten into a wreck in my mother’s car, I never would have heard the end of it, even if it wasn’t at all my fault. I’m debating whether or not I should tell her about the incident. Good sense tells me no, just don’t bring it up – nothing’s been harmed so why give her cause to worry? My shaken up, needing to share my battle scars side, tells me, go on, tell her, nothing’s broken so why would she worry?

I should be reading my German History textbook. But I just can’t bring myself to it. I’ve half convinced myself that everything I’ve learned in that class is probably just propaganda anyway, so I’m having a hard time reconciling myself to be serious and diligent in seeing that my work gets done in spite of the fact. And yet, as I was explaining today to someone who asked why I'd do an extra credit report in a class I'm ranked number two in, I want to go to law school. And I want to go to a good one. So having a B, even if it's the second highest grade in the class, is not good enough. I need an A. And as such, I'll do the extra credit, and any second now, I'll dislodge myself from this computer and start doing my Germany History readings too.

Life was easier when I didn't have to give a damn about my future. Selah.

My mom surprised me by being concerned about me today. Apparently I said something sort of depressing last night that ended up keeping her awake and she’s worried. I think I’m just tired of school.

School is a lot of crap, anyway. Putting aside my hatred for what passed as being my early education, I’m still disgusted with formal education in college. That’s not to say I hate it exactly. I’m excited about school starting every year. But it’s still all junk, and I think it’s important to realize that.

This quarter I’m in this ridiculous German History course. The class should have been called “Liberal Indoctrination 511.” The Professor is the his huge opponent of the war on Iraq. So every single example he can use from German History to discourage the war on Iraq, he ends up using. However, he ignores the obvious ties between the genocidal dictator Hitler and the genocidal dictator Hussein. He ignores that attempts at appeasement in both camps have failed.

The other night a dope in my class said something to the effect of: “I don’t think a totalitarian dictatorship could exist in today’s world.” I said: “What about Hussein’s government?” And my Professor quickly busted in: “Oh, I don’t think we know enough about Hussein to say whether or not he’s a totalitarian.” I didn’t say anything because I have no desire to fail. But actually we know quite a lot about Hussein’s government. We know Iraq has a command economy, massive propaganda, a cult around the leader, a secret police force, a comprehensive binding ideology, etc. It’s quite a bit safer to say that Hussein’s government is totalitarian than it is to say that the East German government was. But he didn’t want to portray Hussein negatively because that might give some credibility to the war on Iraq. How liberal of him. How many times do guys like that sit around screaming “human rights, human rights, we have to do something!” And then as soon as we start to do something, “human rights, human rights, we can’t do anything! You’re rotten for wanting to!”

That class is awful for so many reasons. Occasionally good subjects are introduced, but you can’t talk about them. So I’m going to introduce one here that I’ve been thinking about for a while. After the end of WWII the Allied governments knew how evil Joseph Stalin was getting. Many people were urging war on the Soviet Union. We didn’t end up engaging in that war, but suppose for a minute we had.

The plans we had drawn up at the time revolved around nuclear weapons, which we had, and Stalin didn’t have. The Soviet Army vastly outnumbered our military force, but the Soviets had fewer supplies and less support. While I won’t say that the Soviet fighters weren’t courageous or dedicated or disciplined or any of that, their armed forces were extremely poorly organized and every time they went to fight, they’d get tripped up by the fact that Stalin had recently purged the officer corp.

So say that we started a war with Stalin immediately following WWII. As a part of this war, we make extensive use of nuclear weapons. Let’s say that we won the war relatively quickly. What would historians make of it?

Knowing what we know now, we can see that Stalin was a blood thirsty, evil dictator who killed well over 20 million of his own people. But at the end of WWII, while it was plain that he was evil and that he’d killed a lot of folks, he had not yet killed in the massive numbers that would eventually mark him even among other mass murderers. So historians could probably see that he wasn’t a very nice guy. But they probably couldn’t imagine him killing well over 20 million of his own people.

So they’d look at what we did as primarily an act of capitalist aggression. They’d ask, as the ignorant boy in my class did when we talked about dropping nukes on Russia: “What about all those innocent civilians! Think how many would die!” It’s not ignorant to think about civilian life. But my point is, Stalin killed well over 20 million perfectly innocent people. It’s hard to believe that our nuclear attack would end up killing more people than Stalin did on his own, without nukes. Add into that figure the total number of estimated deaths for the Soviet Union, around 40 million, and it becomes ridiculous to think that more people would have died had we knocked the SU out immediately following WWII.

Oh hell, I need to get ready for school.

But before I go, I want to remind that we look on Lenin as a pretty good guy. We blame Stalin for the Soviet Union’s bloodletting. But Lenin’s 1921-1922 purges caused the death of well over four million people. He wasn't such a nice guy after all. But we remember him that way because he died before things really went to hell. Would we remember Stalin the same way had we knocked him out early?

Lousy liberal thought.

Monday, November 25, 2002

I woke up late today. Almost really late. Fortunately my mom came home at about 10:45 and bothered knocking on my door: “Aren’t you supposed to be awake?” Yes, I am. Damn.

I don’t want to go to class today. There’s nothing due. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go.

I have to go. I know I have at least one test sometime this week, and I need to find out whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. I don’t want to go. I need to know. I do. I need to. Ugh.

Boy, dogs really like ice cream. My dogs have been licking this empty ice cream box for half an hour, trying to get every leftover drop.

Back to school. This is week nine, I think, week nine of ten. For week ten I need to write an History of Early Christianity paper and an Islam paper. I have at least one German test this week, and probably one next week as well. I have to get started on my final essays in German History. I need to find an extra credit book, get it approved, and write a report on it. Then, of course, week 11 is Finals Week, which is a level of suckdom unto itself.

My procrastination is coming home to roost. My Thanksgiving weekend is going to be one of the most rotten ones ever, just because I’ll have so much to do. Thursday: Eat and Sleep. Thursday Night: School. Friday: School. Saturday: School. Sunday: School. Monday: Back to actually going to school.

It’s just no good.

I woke up at a relatively decent time today. In fact, I only got around six hours of sleep. But somehow, it's three am, and I know damn well I have to get up in six hours, and yet, I'm not tired at all and hence not sleeping.

I think I'm not sleeping much lately because the more I sleep the sooner I have to go back to school, and I'm so tired of school.

I want holidays. And weekends. And more time to myself. For me. Without other people around mucking everything up.

Once every now and again my mother will astound me by saying something that’s so dead on right, and so bluntly phrased, that it takes me aback. I’m not sure if it’s that she’s so extremely perceptive, or if she’s just the only one with enough guts to deflate my ego by pointing out things I’ve obviously overlooked. But sometimes she’s dead on. And tonight, she cleared up something for me that I’ve been worrying about for some time.

For a long time, I’ve thought myself a good listener. I thought that maybe I was easy to open up to for one reason or another. And I felt burdened by the fact. I didn’t always like to talk because it felt like somehow I was cheating someone else out of their only outlet. I felt like I was special and somehow needed.

But I was wrong. I’m not an exceptionally good listener or particularly easy to be open with. “People just like to talk about themselves, that’s all.” Damnit, she’s right. People just use me sometimes. I don’t have to feel responsible for it. It’s not my burden, it’s theirs.

I don’t know why I find this so liberating. Perhaps it’s only because now I feel more free to talk about myself. Lily Tomlin once wrote something to the effect of: “Man invented language to satisfy his deep-seated need to complain.” It’s true. And I’m going to take advantage of the fact.

In other news, I’m in the process of redoing my regular website, you should all check it out and sign my guest book.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Rory surprised us all by coming home from Michigan yesterday. He beat me at Monopoly, the bastard! I’m so going to Monopoly Camp so I can kick his ass!

My father’s getting on my nerves. This seems to be a Sunday theme. Sunday is apparently his most annoying day. I woke up and came out, first, to see him smoking in the chair. My mom is trying to quit smoking, because if she doesn’t, she’ll die, or so the doctors tell us. So we no longer allow smoking in the house. But he was smoking the other night when a friend of mine was here. He did it because he knew I wouldn’t chew him out in front of people. And today he did it because I was sleeping and he didn’t think he’d get caught.

I swear to God if I come out to see him smoking in the house again, I’m going to bust his head open. I’m not a violent person. But what he’s doing is actually killing my mother. The reason she hasn’t managed to quit smoking yet is that my dad always gives her cigarettes. We’ll throw out all of hers so she can’t get to them anymore, and suddenly she’ll have the urge to go on long car trips with dad. The second they’re out of the driveway, they’re smoking again.

I realize parents are only just people. But my parents’ smoking has always bothered me. It’s such a dirty, nasty habit. They spend exorbitant amounts of money on cigarettes; I’m talking triple figures monthly. In exchange for all that money, they gain a health risk for themselves and those around them. They’re probably the reason I get such bad bronchitis every winter, and possibly their smoking is the cause of my asthma as well. It certainly aggravates my mother’s transplanted kidney. It sure as hell doesn’t help her COPD.

If I end up in the hospital when I’m older, dying of some fatal lung disease, I’m so throwing out my parents’ photographs. And maybe I’ll burn them too. Buggers.

I’m a terrible escapist, I always have been. But sometimes I wish I could be more of one. I take pains to keep myself from developing certain addictions because I know I have an addictive personality. Sometimes I wish I’d give up the ghost on that because addiction can be so very lovely at times.

I wish I could be an alcoholic and drown my sorrows in liquor. But I’m not an alcoholic; I feed my troubles sober. I wish I could be a drug addict and tell the world to go hell and dedicate myself to pleasing myself. But I can’t. I’m not a drug addict because I can’t stand ceding that much control to anything. I wish I could love someone so I’d have something worthy to talk about all of the time. But I don’t love anyone because I’m detached and egotistical.

Two very different motivations guide my path in life. The first urge is solitude and the second is solidarity. I want to be with people. I want to love and be loved. But I also want to be individual. I want to be better than other people and have them envy me. Sometimes I want to dedicate my life to serving God and man and all of the noble causes. And other times, I want to hole myself up in a cave somewhere and never talk to anyone ever again.

I always feel torn apart. And contrary to my last post, I haven’t trained all my parts so well that they can operate on their own. I just can’t find the golden mean. So my behaviors are nearly always spastic. Sometimes I’m quiet, conservative and uncommunicative to an extreme. I won’t let anyone know anything about me at all. Not even very trite irrelevant things like my favorite color or food. And then, suddenly, I’m loud, outgoing and I can’t shut up. I tell embarrassing stories about my past, and the pasts of my loved ones, just to get a laugh. You’ll go from knowing nothing about me one minute, to knowing far more about me than you’ve ever wanted to know the next. And then back again, though you know some terrible dark secret from my childhood, I may still refuse to tell you something trite like my middle name.

I’m regretting my assertiveness training. I’ve been trying to be more outgoing and happy and open. It always backfires. Either I say something incredibly stupid, or I put myself in a position in which I’m easily trampled on, or I manage to allow someone who I don’t really want closer to me to become much closer to me. On the other hand, I always regret my passiveness as well. I know it isn’t fair that my will should always be trampled on just to appease the will of others.

I’m a little freaked out about something someone did to me the other day. A way someone was acting toward me to be more precise. It made me extremely uncomfortable and now I’m trying to figure out what was going on and whether or not I contributed to the problem. This friend of mine who acted the way I didn’t like, he/she is a messed up kid. That’s probably why it disturbs me. But I’ve known this person for a really long time and I never really noticed it before, so I don’t want to jump to conclusions. And I don’t really want to think about whether or not I’ve been just ignoring this thing forever because it was uncomfortable and I didn’t want to think about it. And additionally, of course, I might have misjudged the whole thing all along.

In a related story, I’m tired of being judged all the time myself. I don’t think I’ve uttered that phrase since I was fourteen years old. But I’m really just tired of expectations. There’s no excuse for sitting around in judgment on somebody. It’s not cool to inspect someone for flaws all of the time and it isn’t okay to watch them just to see the mistakes they make. I have no need to live up to anyone’s expectations, and very little will to live up to the expectations of anyone who’d behave that way towards me.

I’m bitter and tired again. But maybe less depressed than before. I’m less explicitly sad than simply dissatisfied and lonely. I don’t have anyone to talk to sometimes. It’s rare that I try to. But lately all of my attempts have been shot down in their embryonic stage. I hope I’m a better listener than I am a talker. My talking never works out so well.

This is the most tired I've been in a while. I think I fell asleep for a second at the keyboard. Yeah, I've missed that.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

When I was little, I was as scared of God as the Devil. I would worry when I was alone, that the Devil would make a grab for me. His fiery hand would come crashing through the floor and I’d jump and try to run away. But he was always faster, and he’d catch my leg.

In my terror, I’d cry out to God and He’d respond by grabbing my hand. The Devil would pull me down, and the Lord would pull me up and eventually they’d tear me apart.

If my parents had better minded their vow to raise me in the faith, only the smallest bit of theological training could’ve saved me from the terror. But I wasn’t brought up in the faith, so my little Manichaen mind feared God every bit as much as the Devil.

It’s been strangely prophetic in my life. I’ve always been torn. I’ve never thought the condition of man quite fair. But the older I grow, the less I concern myself over being torn apart. I’ve taught both halves to operate fully on their own. It’s just as well, I think, to have all my bases covered.

I had a pretty awesome day yesterday.

I woke up to no pressure. I cleaned my room, which sucked. But on the bright side, I found lots of funny old stuff too.

Then Jody came. We went to the Italian chain restaurant, whose name I can never spell. Then we went to the mall and back to my house. We planned Europe a bit. It was good times. She gets up at like five in the morning, so she was half-asleep at ten.

However, at ten, I wasn’t half-asleep. So April and I went over to Angela’s. Good times, man. Pictures, wrestling, me falling off exercise equipment. I had fun; I really did. I only have slight bruises from my fall. But I retain definite bite marks from the wrestling.

In other news, in the last day or two, I’ve had conversations with three people concerning Muslims. And I’ve been defending them in each one. So, I guess I want to sort of…pontificate from here. Violence is not at the heart of Islam, at least not any more than it’s at the heart of Judaism or Christianity. The Jews took the Promised Land by force, and you can’t forget that the Christians had their Crusades. It’s not fair to color Muslims as the violent ones, when all three religions have very similar violent pasts.

And you have to separate mainstream Islam from radical Islam, just as you have to separate mainstream Christianity from radical Christianity. Mainstream Christianity may not agree with abortion, so they pray for an end to it. Radical Christianity doesn’t agree with abortion, so they blow up an abortion clinic. Timothy McVeigh was a Catholic, but it’s ridiculous to blame Catholicism for his crimes.

Osama bin Laden may be a Muslim, and he may claim some Islamic justifications for his actions but he’s not motivated by Islam. If he was, he’d at least follow the rules of Islam. He has no right to issue decrees on behalf of the Islamic community; He had no right to call a jihad. There are rules about these things, and he ignored all of them. He ignored the ban against targeting civilians. Once you get to a certain point of disobeying the rules, you can no longer claim that you’re working on behalf of the rules.

Osama’s surely not happy with the West. A lot of Muslims aren’t. And I for one don’t blame them. Colonialism was a terribly, nasty institution; I say “was” though some American policies on oil in the Middle East hedge on colonialism now. And Industrialization is extremely difficult for any society to go through; it’s that much harder if the society doesn’t get to control the direction of it, but rather instead has it foisted upon them by a foreign culture. The struggle against Colonialism is necessarily revolutionary, it’s not surprising that some people are taking the revolution into other theatres. But in doing so, they undermine Islam itself.

I’m not an Islamic scholar. But I’ve read the Qu’ran and a lot of Muslim thought and I’ve had the odd class here and there. I’m far from expert, and actually that’s a lot of the reason that it so bothers me when Al-Qaeda gets to speak for Islam. I know very, very little, and even I know better than the things they say. Mainstream Muslims don’t want to topple the West and live in caves. Surely they’d be delighted if we all converted to Islam, but they wouldn’t try to force us to do so because it’s entirely anti-Islamic to do that. You can’t force a conversion on anyone, and it would be a sin to try.

That’s not to say that I think every so-called Muslim has the right to go around hating Westerners and hurting people. I don’t think that. And good Muslims don’t either. Anti-Westernism is one thing, and hating Westerners is another. There’s a whole lot the Islamic world has to answer for recently. Setting people on fire at the Miss World contest is not cool. Genocide in the Sudan is not acceptable. Bombings in the Philippines, Israel and elsewhere, none of that is okay. I’m comforted by the fact that mainstream Islam condemns it too.

But what worries me is that we’re not doing enough to condemn terrorist behaviors in the world. How many UN mandates has Israel ignored? For that matter, how many UN mandates have we in the US ignored? I’m not anti-Jew; far from it! But Israel is one of the nastiest terrorist nations in the world, and we’re protecting them. I don’t find that any more acceptable than when Middle Eastern countries protect one another from the West.

This is getting long and rambly. Guess I'll just cut out randomly.


Friday, November 22, 2002

The things people consider vices are funny.

My mom's a clean person, I'm a messy person.

Today, I finally broke down and cleaned my room. This is the first time I've done so in over a year. I knew she was asleep, so I was sneaking around and trying to get it done before she woke up. She stays out of my room mostly, so I hoped she wouldn't notice until I messied it up a bit again. I was in the hallway with a dustrag when I heard the door crack open.

I jumped into the nearest room and threw my dustrag behind the door. She was onto me. "What are you doing?" she asks. "Umm...about to go blog," I respond cooly. "Nothing else?" she further interrogated, "What were you just doing?" I got an angry look on my face to let her know she was crossing boundaries; in animal language I barred my teeth. "Checking the little room computer" I responded pleasantly. She backed down, knowing she'd been defeated. But I'm watching her. I know she'll try to weasel her way into my room somehow tonight.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

What an awful day.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night. Without getting too graphic, I'll just say that I was sick to my stomach. I was up for a long time. It was awful. I finally went back to sleep. I woke up late. I was sick to my stomach again.

Today's my long day. I face a long day sick at school. But I can't skip today. I could maybe skip German and Early Christian History, but I shouldn't. And I think I won't because I have exams coming up and I don't need to get behind again. German History is two hours long, so it wouldn't be any good to miss that. And I definitely can't miss Islam because I only have it every two weeks, and I'm pretty sure this is the last class besides. I wish I felt better!

I'm hungry, and if I don't eat now I won't get the chance to eat until 8 tonight. But I have a nasty taste leftover from getting sick and nothing sounds that appealing. Gah, what a terrific blog entry. The world knows I've been sick to my stomach, woo!

Anyway, on subjects of more general import. I've been really pretty depressed lately and thoughts of the future are all that are keeping me coherent. In Europe, I think we're going to shoot for Belgium, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. Possibly also England and Greece, and all of those strange South-East European countries you have to cross to get to Greece. If we're in Greece, I'd like to go to Turkey, but considering its border with Iraq, I think this might be a bad time.

In other future news, I have to remember to add my LSAT practice book to my Christmas list. I wonder if I'll really be a lawyer someday. It's crazy for me to think of myself as a professional anything. I come from an incredibly working class family. Being a success in the eyes of regular society would be unusual as hell. I wonder if I'll enjoy it.

I'm watching a makeover thing on the View (heh, yes I watch the View). Barbara Walters asked the makeoveree whether her inner or outer beauty was more important. The obvious answer everyone gives is "inner!" even though very few people believe it. This lady seemed too dense to know that. "Well, that's a hard question, Barbara..."

During the week I sometimes have trouble coming up with things to write. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps I’m so busy part of my ego just gets swallowed up. More likely, I’m such a nervous type I can’t think of anything except school, and I don’t suppose anyone wants to read about my daily struggles there. So instead of school, you get to hear about how I ate too much turkey today which was really dumb considering that I’m going to have to do it again on Thursday. Ahh well.

I don’t feel well. I’m procrastinating on homework. I don’t feel like going to sleep, but I have to wake up in the morning and if I don’t go to bed soon, I’ll have a hell of a time. Tomorrow’s my long day. So damn long. Next quarter’s classes are going to suck even more than this quarter’s, and they’ll be early in the morning which is awful. But at least I’ll only have to make one trip to school a day. And at least I’ll have two new professors, rather than the same old same old.

I just noticed that I scheduled my wisdom teeth to be taken out the weekend before my final exams. My, that was wise of me.

I’m miserable and I hate everyone. Yep. It’s Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I wrote earlier this week that I thought things couldn’t get any better. I don’t know whether or not things have gotten better, but they sure as hell have changed.

I got an email from my sister today. My niece Brianne is pregnant.

I don’t know how to feel. Brianne is only 18. She has no job, and she dropped out of high school. She doesn’t even really have a home – she stays with a friend. How is she supposed to raise a child? The other night I was thinking to myself: “How can she be expected to raiser herself?” and here she is raising someone else. I don’t want to criticize her terribly because I know she’s had a rough start to life. But with this pregnancy, she’s morphed from someone who’s no longer just a victim of a lousy, drug and poverty ridden, abusive system, but now she’s also a perpetrator of that system. That’s not good. It’s not okay. She’s about to bring a child into the world who faces every nearly every single disadvantage that a white, American child can face.

That being said, I’m not about to mourn the conception of my new little grandnephew or niece. The time for negativity has passed and there will be only support from me from here on out. The child will be born, as I said, into an unfair system with myriad disadvantages. But you know what? That kid’s also going to have a lifelong fan in me. I was too young to help my nephews and nieces out growing up, but this kid has my full attention and support. I don’t know what I can do right now. I’m getting information on the web that I’m going to send over. I’ll help her apply for the WIC program or whatever other kind of support is available. I have to find out all the different kinds of support available.

It’s corny to say that within each new baby there’s a ray of hope for man’s salvation. But it’s true. My little nephew or niece might grow up to save the world. And I’m going to see to it, that he or she is read to, and played with, and grows up to be happy and educated and healthy. I’m going to make it my personal goal, regardless of whatever else happens to either of us in life, that this child knows it’s loved by someone. I’m going to make sure that he or she doesn’t have to fight over every leftover scrap it needs in life. And this child, I’ll see to it, has the advantages that every child should have.

I wonder if one month in is too early to start thinking of baby names…

I don't feel like going to school today.

On the bright side, I should get my German Exam back, which is always exciting. And then, Christianity should be short because the professor's out of town and we've only got some discussion sheet. But German History tonight will be as long and boring as ever. It'll suck. Hey, maybe I'll get my paper and report score tonight though. That's a plus...sort of.

I don't feel like going. Why should I have to do things I don't want to do? Ahh, yes, because if I quit college that means getting a full-time job and jobs suck.

I have the oddest personal habits sometimes.

I like to fight in religious chatrooms. I enjoy debate with intelligent people and occasionally, you'll find one or two there. Usually not, but sometimes.

Somehow, I always end up getting Amened, and then thirty IMs. And I end up in the oddest possible place I can be: Giving advice to Christians about their religion.

At the moment, I'm explaining how if you pray, and go to church, and try to be good and believe in God, how God will help you get whatever it is you need. Do I believe that? Well, it doesn't seem to matter to anybody whether or not I believe it. It's comforting to hear, apparently. I may have been a priest in a former life. I'm almost sort of good at this. And it almost feels sort of good to do until I think about how ridiculous it is that I've had an hour long conversation with a girl about a heaven I don't believe in.

The thing is, when I find someone who I don't think is up to the debate, I can't...crush them. I can beat the hell out of competition, but an innocent type who accidentally stumbles into thinking I'm a nice Christian type, I just can't turn them down. Someday I'll stand before the grand tribunal and they'll say: "If you're so goddamn evil (sic), then why didn't you tell that sheep to go worship Satan and eat a baby, eh?" And I'll say: "Well, Lord, it's just that the flock is so damn cute when they're stupid..." And then God will cast me into the flames for the TOS violation of impersonating an officer of the Lord, and general insubordination.

Eahh, sometimes I'm this close to saying there's probably a God. And then I think: "Raising the dead? I think not." And that's all there is to it. Damn you education! ::shakes fist::

Monday, November 18, 2002

I'm selling my old books on My auction name is TrewqazX if you care to look any of them up. If everything sells, which seems rather unlikely but I still have hope, I should make around $450. I was really quite happy about the fact until I realized that I probably spent well over $1000 on the things to start. Still, Amazon will give me more money than the bookstore, if Amazon sells the books. The bookstore, while comfortingly near and convenient and certain, rips you off enormously. Buy a book for $80 at the beginning of the quarter, end up never using the thing and returning it in brand new condition, you're lucky to see a $15 return rate. I love capitalism as much as the next red blooded American, but that's just plain fleecing. As such I finally broke down and took my business elsewhere. An added benefit of using Amazon though, is that I don't have to deal with the evil bookstore lady that insults everyone for no apparent reason and then laughs and laughs and laughs until she forces a coughing fit on herself and spits germs all over everyone. No matter how hard I try to stay out of that woman's line, it seems every time I get near the front she pops up and I'm stuck with her. Conspiracy, I say!

I have a new amusement at school. Someone's been leaving cryptic messages on one of the blackboards. The first one was "Fairest among ten thousand, all together lovely." I recognize that as being one of the Freemason slogans, I think. Today's was: "The bell tolls for me." I think it's referencing John Donne's No Man is an Island; "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!" But the words aren't exact, so there's probably something else to it. After all, if you're going to bother leaving cryptic messages, it seems you'd likely bother to leave accurate cryptic messages. But maybe it's something to do with Hemingway's book; I wouldn't know because I despise Hemingway. So, in any case, I'm anticipating an attack in the near future by the freemasons. Damn freemasons. First they design Washington so that it'll look like a goat's head from an aerial view, and now this! ::shakes fist::

Damnit, my mother almost made me cry today. And, I don't cry - ever.

My mom is one of the world's cheapest people. She hates parting with money. HATES it. I don't say it to be mean, but rather instead because it's true. I grew up thinking we were poor because she's so cheap, and we were never poor at all.

Today, out of nowhere, she looks at me and says: "Do you have a piggy bank?" And I said: "Umm....probably in my closet somewhere. What for?" And she said: "Cause I want to start giving you $5 a week for Europe." And it choked me up, it really did.

I know $5 a week isn't a lot of money, especially considering her monetary intake. But it was the sort of gift that actually hurts to give, and that's the best sort of gift of all. Usually I consider money a sort of cold gift. From anybody else in the world it would be. But from mom it's...amazing.

See, my mother has two terminal illnesses. She's on gobs of medicine for it, and those bills add up. But more than they add up, there's always the threat that things will get worse. Over the last four years, my mom's undergone, I'd estimate at least 15 fairly serious surgeries, and two nearly fatal ones. At the moment, she's seeing the best test results she's ever seen. But there's always the possibility of relapse, and that's never far from any of our minds. It can't be when you know very well that because of her immuno-suppressive drugs, every slight cough or runny nose you bring into the house could end up her last.

That my mom would commit to giving me money on a regular basis equates to a kind of unselfishness the world seldom sees. She's denying her own security for my adventure, and I'll be damned if I'll forget it. With the money she's committed to giving me over time, I can either pay for most of my plane ticket or a rail pass. That's a huge help.


Could this week get any better?

The first real sticking sort of snow fell this weekend, and though in many respects it’s hardly begun a part of me has already said goodbye to the Autumn. My father always says that Spring in Ohio only lasts for about a day. It’s winter on Saturday, Spring on Sunday, and midsummer by Monday afternoon. I think the same goes for Fall. Though nothing screams Fall to me like Thanksgiving, and that’s still two weeks away, the first sticky snow is when I begin thinking in terms of Winter. No wonder Winter in Ohio seems to last so long.

As I’ve written here before, Fall used to be my favorite season. And because I have a sentimental attachment for the season, and because I feel I’ve been a little shortchanged this year, a poem I used to love popped into my mind today. It’s a bit to do with Autumn, and a bit to do with Ohio. But I’ve always loved it. I'm going to reproduce it here because I don't have any other medium in which I feel comfortable foisting poetry on you all.

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
by James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

This has been a pretty awesome weekend.

Friday was Mohican day, and I already explained how I enjoyed that.

Saturday, Jody called. She still wants to go to Europe, which makes me extremely happy since I keep figuring it won’t really come about. I guess next Saturday we’re going to watch the Sound of Music (don’t ask) and plan the trip. She wants to go to Poland, yay! I didn’t think any sane person other than me (shut up Angela, I am too sane) would ever want to go to Poland for a visit. Plus, in the midst of worrying about money, it suddenly hit me that I am the owner of a credit card, and not too responsible to go into debt buying plane tickets for a wicked ass trip to Europe (don’t tell my mumsy, please – she’s freaked enough over the thing as it is). I love the benign negligence of my parental units, that allows me to publicly announce my crimes to the world, without any fear whatsoever that they’ll check this site, even though they know that it exists and I’ve told them to visit before.

Today, I woke up and my mom actually made breakfast. I haven’t had real breakfast in years. There’s nothing better than mom’s toast. I love it. And even though I’m sitting here thinking, “is there anything I need to do for tomorrow? For Tuesday? Wednesday? Even Thursday?” I’m coming up with absolutely nothing that I really need to do. And damn, that feels nice.

I think, for the first time this quarter, I’m going to make this into a reading day. During the summer, I read at least a book or two per week. And sometimes a book or two per day. But I haven’t had any time for independent reading lately, because my daily readings for class amount to usually around 100-150 extremely boring pages every day or so. It generally kills my will to read. I wish I’d gone to the library. I’d love some Chesterton or something. I’m debating between rereading some Salinger, or finally reading my “new” book on the experiences of a Catholic homemaker who managed to experience No Self. I got it for Christmas last year, and though it always seems to be on the top of my list of stuff I need to read, I never seem to get to it. Ahh, I guess I’ll bust it out today.

Yay! The nephews and nieces are coming to Thanksgiving! Ahh, wait, Robbie likes deviled eggs as much as I do. Not so great. I’ll hide them before he gets here! Muahaha, how’s that for familial feeling and thankfulness!

Saturday, November 16, 2002

I feel I’m in a time of transition. Certain old connections are fading away. Certain others are proving stronger than I had believed. I’m finding myself sorry for a lot of things I’ve done that I had not recognized as being wrong. And I’m finding myself eager to start on a path I’ve largely left untried.

Human beings have to take care of each other. I’ve never gone out of my way to take care of other people. I wanted attention for me. I didn’t stop to think that other people might need attention from me. I was never purposely a bad friend to anyone. I gave support when I thought of it. I did what I thought was right at the time. But looking back, I really never did say the right things. I thought it better to criticize and correct than simply empathize, which is probably what was always more needed.

I don’t take correction well myself. I don’t like to be told I’m wrong. No one does. But some people are less insistent on their justifications than me. I know it’s a fault that I can’t take any one else’s criticism. I come from a long line of people who can’t stand authority. I come from a long line of people who really don’t take responsibility for themselves. I can see that in them; I can’t see it in me except in retrospect. I can tell you what I did was selfish once I’m emotionally removed from the event. But I’m always of the belief that I’m a good person, trying to do good things, whenever I do anything at all.

Today I’m struggling with guilt and blame and human limitation. I’ve always used as a defense the principle that you shouldn’t cast any stones until you have a clear conscience yourself. As a prosecutor I embrace part of that principle. I do really feel sorry for people sometimes, and I do try to understand why they do what they do, and I try to forgive. But I think it’s sometimes necessary to unequivocally state that certain things are wrong. Maybe that’s the difference. I’ve heard it said that you should love the sinner and hate the sin. But behavior, especially persistent habitual behavior, is a large part of who a person is. How can you love someone who continually engages in behaviors and attitudes you despise?

Thomas Merton wrote some beautiful prose on love in No Man is an Island. He wrote about what it means to love other people and yourself. It was from him that I learned, or at least really understood, the necessity of not always letting people have their way. Sometimes loving someone means saying no. Because, though it’s easier to grant approval and gain immediate affection in return, a healthy love requires that we act not out of a desire to receive affection, but rather instead, an earnest desire to see the best interest of the beloved served. What I failed to internalize was the necessity of empathy in the equation. It is sometimes right to say no. It is never right to say no and refuse to feel the passion behind the request. Hell is the soul denied its most earnest desire for all eternity. A sliver of that ultimate suffering pierces the skin each time even the smallest desires are denied upon Earth.

Today, I resolve to feel more. I will suffer not only when I am denied my own prerogative, but also when the desires of those around me are denied. I will grieve when the negative consequences of actions come, and not only when those negative consequences are undeserved. Even when I feel the welter of a “serves you right” mentality creeping into my consciousness, I will suspend judgment at least long enough to share in the suffering of my brethren. I resolve to not only suffer along with others, but also with them. And also to rejoice with them when desires are fulfilled because not everything in life is denial and pain. And joy is by no means a lesser calling than suffering.

I remember when I was still a very little girl, my mother described me as a loner. And in many respects she was right. I have always felt alone, as if no one really cared about me. And in some respects, I was alone. Though there were always people in my life who loved me, I have always been profoundly difficult to relate to or understand. And I've always interpreted that lack of understanding as a lack of community feeling. But I have never really been alone because, despite our occasional indulgence in the dark night of the soul, mankind is never really alone. No man is an island. Not even I am an island. And I happily find for the first time, that much of my solitude has been somewhat unconsciously self-imposed. I am not so much pariah as I am hermit. And the answer to my loneliness is not to seek out people who will love me, but rather to seek out people to love.

I’ve been fighting a secret battle against my pride for a long time. It’s not one I’ll give up, or win, any time soon. Today I recommit myself to that battle. For the last two years, I’ve been indulging more and battling less. But I’m about to change my strategy and focus. I’m going to work on becoming a genuinely better person, and not just a more overtly successful person. This time I won’t be in it alone because I’m going to share my struggle with others, and help to bear the burden of their struggle as well. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Implicit in this command is the understanding that we can only love others once we have begun to love ourselves. Paradoxically, it’s also true that in order to really love ourselves, we must also have begun to truly love others. I recommit myself to the struggle of real love, of real humility. Today, I remind myself that I have a will to live; a philosophical will that is and not only just a biological will. I will to live because I love, and I love because I am alive.

I had a really pretty terrific day today. I went to Mohican State Park with my friends Angela, April and Mike (If you'll look to the right there, that'd be Bwopfatuation, Fat Girl Time and Things That Make Mike Think, respectively).

The day started sort of slow, but it picked up once we went shopping for picnic food. Angela and April both got some healthy stuff I think, but Mike and I pooled funds and bought some cookies as well. So, for my part in the picnic, I had like two apples, three bananas, two cookies, a pack of Rolos and a Sobe. It was pretty awesome. I finished my second banana, and I was still chomping on my second cookie, and I had my mouth all full of food and I turned to Mike and said: “I think I’ll have another banana!” He laughed for about an hour because I’m fat and nasty and require a third banana while I’m still eating my cookies. Then April yelled something obscene just as these strangers opened their car door, and they really must have heard it. But we laughed until our insides ached, and it was really quite lovely.

We played on this awesome overlook thing. It overlooked this wicked gorge, and I’m sure the scenery was really quite beautiful, except I hate scenery so I didn’t really notice. But I think it was rather pretty because Angela took some pictures for her photography class. April and I made a stupid Star Wars video there. I’m not sure it was funny in any objective sense, but it was good times. And seeing it later that night, it still made me laugh.

Then we played on these swings forever. And it was great because we did the thing where you lay on your stomach and pretend to be Superman and such. And we had races and the like. And then we made a weird Lord of the Rings video, where I had to be a ringwraith and Mike was Frodo. It wasn’t really very objectively funny either, except I trotted around like an idiot on a horse and it’s always sort of funny to see fat girls in motion. Then we did the Garden of Eden story. I played Adam to Mike’s Eve and Angela was the serpent. It was brilliant mostly because it sucked. But it had great moments like when God (April that is) came and asked me about the apple and I said: “I haven’t got any apples! I have an Adam’s apple though.” And Mike has an epiphany out of nowhere: “OH! I get it now!” Mike had quite a few of those moments today, and I loved each one.

Then we went “hiking.” That is to say that we walked a relatively short distance to these "hidden" caves. We had to climb a huge hill, which, wasn’t pretty. In fat girl terms, it was like friggin’ Mt. Everest man. We made it up, and explored the cave for a few minutes, before turning right back around and sliding down the hill. Then we made some fat faces at the camera, and Mike made us do another Lord of the Rings thing, and then we went home. Well, in any case, we went to Angela’s home and watched the video and played some 007. Then we went to KFC and had more good times. Oh wait, I forgot, we also climbed this really high tower that freaked me out since I don’t like heights all that much, and we wrote in light ink “Mike + Sarah FOREVER!” on the step. And I was freaking out, chanting Hail Marys, crossing this covered bridge thing that passed over the Mohican river, which freaked me out for the same reason the tower scared me. It was really great.

Good times all around really. I know it doesn’t exactly sound fun when I write about it. But it was great. So many great exchanges throughout the day. I miss being around rapid fire thinkers. So many of the people I know at school are slow, and don’t get my sense of humor. It was good to be around people who found it funny when I said, rather randomly, that I really wanted to ride in the giant bucket of chicken that was spinning over KFC. It was good when someone saw a sign that said something like “Petrified Forest” and read it wrong, and were all like: “Perverted forest? Eww!” From that point, throughout the day we managed to morph the park into this giant Perverted Forest run by our old Computer teacher from high school, whose name we changed to Morty Gross (well, originally it was Graw, but Gross was his real name and it suited him better). He also ran the neighboring establishment: The Gay Porn Maze. Yeah, this is sucking to write. Verbal funniness, apparently, does not to literary amusement equate. Or some such.

Anyway, I had a really, really good time. And, for at least a while today, I felt genuinely pretty happy. I can’t remember the last time that I laughed so hard so long and so often. I laughed so hard, on several occasions, that I literally doubled over and my insides ached and I couldn’t breathe at all. My throat still hurts actually from all the cold air I sucked down, gasping for air when I laughed.

This post is looking pretty stupid. But I’m going to post it because well…why the hell not? I have a “deep” sort of post brewing in my brain, but I don’t feel I can think in terms of enough literary merit to write it down right now. I’m having difficulty conjugating sentences I’m so tired. Sleep now. Love.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

So, I haven't checked my paper today. It probably sucks and I was just too tired to notice last night. But it's too late now. I'll have two hours to work on it later if it needs it. The phrase "it's too late now" started that 80's song "It Must Have Been Love" running through my head. It must have been love, but it's over now (over now)...

In the meantime, I'm slacking on studying my German. I'll give myself half an hour. That ought to be enough, provided my brain wakes up. I dislike mornings. Dr. Joyce is great though. He's giving us the gender on a bunch of words, so that we can focus on the principle of finding the right case and possessive pronoun and such. He really doesn't have to do that. But it aids my slacking, so I appreciate the gesture.

A few notes for the day.

Discovery A: The Reference librarian where I go to school is AWESOME. She seriously rocks. She even seems to like finding information. If this law thing doesn't work out. I may do what she does. I too, enjoy the hunt.

Discovery B: I still love G.K. Chesterton. The man's my hero. In one of my more reflective moments of the day, I was thinking about the thing he wrote about man only being able to blaspheme the things that he holds sacred. As Mark Shea wrote today in his blog, in Hollywood they no longer consider saying "Goddamnit" or something blasphemy. But they edit the word "japs" out of WWII era films. It's all about what you consider sacred. I have a few blasphemous jokes with my mates. I guess that means that something in me still holds something about "God" sacred. Who knows what? As Homer Simpson once said: "Mmm....blasphemous..."

Discovery C: I have NOT lost my ability to bs papers. German Reunification essay is officially finished. I'm not touching the damn thing again. However, I do have a German language exam tomorrow, so I'd best not stay up past two tonight. Also, I have the oral report to muddle through on Germany East and West. Considering I could find no logical thesis to the book, and that's what the report's supposed to be about, it could prove challenging. However, my faith in my ability to wing it has been restored, so I'm going in confident.

Anything else from today?


Ahh, yes, this was a good exchange.

Denise: So what are you majoring in?
Me: History...and maybe English.
Denise: Ah, so you're going to be a teacher?
Me: I'm thinking maybe a lawyer.
Denise: Oh! That's good! The way my kids are turning out, we could use one in the family!
Me: With the way mom's kids turned out we could use one!
Denise: Well, looks like you're going into the family business then!
Me: Yeah, except I'm on the wrong side of the law.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I'm seriously such a loser.

In order to fill my four blog daily quota, which Angela just insists on, I'm actually blogging at school.

I should be doing my homework.

Yeah, figures.

It just hit me. Since I skipped school yesterday, and we had Monday off, and I don't go on Friday, I only have a two day week!

Alas, two days is still too long.

I don't feel great today, but I feel better. Fever gone, general achiness receding. But I did have the unpleasant experience of waking up, taking my first deep breath, and consequently not being able to take a second because it forced me to cough up at least one of my lungs.

Mother, Father, why did you have to smoke? Hmm? Was it not enough to pass on your accursed genes? Is my third kidney not enough to appease your brutality? Must you also have afflicted me with allergies and lung damage via contact with your death sticks? Hmm?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I'm sick. That's the real reason I'm skipping today. I'll ill. And I'm not enjoying it. I just napped for two hours almost. I thought: Ahh, getting some sleep will do you good; you'll be fine for history class tonight. At the moment, I feel way worse than I did this morning. I'm afraid to miss class though, because it's one of those two hour long classes, which is the equivelent of missing two classes instead of one. My report is due Thursday and I can't even figure out what my book is talking about. Going to class might help me with notes and such. But Lord almighty, ill. Feels like swelling in my neck. Throat sore. Vomity taste in my mouth even though I haven't vomitted. Low grade fever. ::whimpers:: Dare I skip? I'm going to get so behind. And then playing catch up, when I'm already sick, is going to totally suck. Someone transfuse me their white blood cells! know, go to class for me and take notes. I want to sleep. I want to go back to sleep. And if I do, I know school for the day is out. Wish me luck, dear readers, I think I'm about to do something very irresponsible.

Ahh, man, I’m skipping class. I feel like such a rebel!

Yeah, sad bit though, I’m skipping class to do homework for another class. Not so cool.

Heh, I just checked my referrals. Apparently someone got here by googling “youth lazy and obese.” I hope they found what they’re looking for!

Ahh, Jiminy, I just googled “Lazy Sunday Afternoon,” and apparently, I have a weblog name for sexual deviants. What immediately pops up is homosexual exploration and then shortly after there’s someone named Porn Writer. There’s also a German Art Film called Lazy Sunday Afternoon, and a song by a band called the Small Faces. I guess I should’ve better planned the naming of this thing. I just thought: “Well, it’s Sunday…in the afternoon…and I’m being lazy and making a blog to get out of real work…”

Sometimes I forget people out there read this thing. Which may or may not be a good thing. If you’re reading, send me a comment or an email or something.

I've been awake for half an hour and so far, today sucks.

I had a weird nightmare. I went to a prison with my friend Sarah (how many Sarah's can one Sarah know? I know plenty, that's for sure). Anyway, Sarah and I got locked up with some prisoner dude. She wanted to, and I followed her in. Ended up, I hit it off pretty well with the prisoner dude. We talked about mutual interest stuff. But there was something wrong with him. He'd ask me a question, and all I could do was stare into his eyes and I couldn't process anything. I had to fight to pay attention to his actual words. Sarah got bored, and jumped up randomly and left the cell. I screamed "no! Help guard!" because I knew better than to be left alone with prisoner dude.

Ended up he had crazy X-File hypnotic powers. He killed a few guards in the time that it took to get me saved. He could lull people to sleep and then he'd pounce on them. When I yelled for the guard, he jumped at me and tried to put me to sleep, but I held out and ran. The guards came running, but he was getting rid of them easily. Then, he finally managed to put me to sleep, but I knew I'd be okay because I was in the big main police room with like a zillion guards. I woke up and I saw this gray stuff everywhere and I thought: "Must be his brains." And I heard this Irish style cop say, and this really was funny, "That'll learn ya, ya freak! Back to Middle School Corrections with ya!"

It had the same effect on me Freddy Krueger must have had on the earliest viewers of the Nightmare on Elm Street. See, you can't go back to sleep because the bad guy owns sleep. You're vulnerable to sleep. And even though you know it isn't real, it still has the power to freak you the hell out. And as such, you can't fall back asleep, even if you try to lull yourself by reading incredibly boring and nonsensical books about German reunification. Instead, you wake up before 8 in the morning, even though you've only had five and a half hours sleep. Even though you know that you have an exam tonight, that you'd be well-served to remain conscious through.

heh, think I'm depressed acting lately? My mom's in the kitchen singing: "I'm ready to leave this world!" She just told me: "You know, there's nothing good in the world except eating. And I'm not even hungry." I'd make that my new motto, except, I'm nearly always hungry. And then she says, "Why don't you drop out of school so I can quit my job?" Thanks for the encouragement, Ma. Considering my current agony over deciding whether or not I really want to apply to law school, your kind words warm my heart and reemphasize the importance of education to my worldview. On the bright side, at least my fancy college education won't ever go to my head, living with the anti-educational zealots I do.

I just invited a few friends to go to Mohican with me this weekend. Very out of character; Very likely to backfire. We'll see. I'm going to go clog my heart, as April says, with some strawberry jam and toast. Mm...heart clogging strawberry jam...

Patience being tried.

Not a patient night to start.

Feck off world, I’m not in the mood for your demands tonight.

I’m not about to change for you. Not again. I’ve changed for you one too many times. Don’t tell me I’m faltered. You’re the one that’s messed up; not me. I have my problems, but I’m not the one who’s demanding your time, your energy, your attention and your personality. I’m content to be who I am. If you can’t be content with me, then go away. Because I don’t need the constant criticism.

My head is aching. My muscles are sore. I can’t breathe in without coughing. I need a fucking break.

Wouldn’t it be great if I got into an accident and just died? I’m tired of being alive. I’m not about to kill myself. But I don’t want to discourage the powers that be. If you want me, take me. Because I’m just wasting my time. I’m wasting everyone’s time.

I can't figure out what the point of this life is.

God, my highs and lows come so close together.

Monday, November 11, 2002

I've just been adding comments and a counter to Angela and Daysi's blogs, so you should go check them out.

My parents made a grave mistake when they read the me The Velveteen Rabbit when I was a child. I've remembered all my life what the Skin Horse said. "Once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

When I was little, I quite liked to be called pretty. Truth be told, I was pretty. I had blonde curls and I looked a bit like Shirley Temple. I loved it when people would stop my mother in the store to tell her what a pretty little girl she had. But one day, when someone stoped my mother to tell her how pretty I was, I caught the expression on the face of someone I loved. He was sad. Nobody ever stopped to tell him how handsome he was. Nobody ever commented on his blonde hair. That was the day I stopped wanting to be called pretty. I didn't want to be called pretty ever again if being pretty made someone I loved sad.

The Velveteen Rabbit has always been how I understood what it means to be really beautiful. Maybe you've had your eyes loved out, and your hair's all gone, and you haven't any more working parts. But you're real. And that's what it means to be beautiful. I won't deny that I've been known to admire a well sculpted frame. But even though I acknowledge a certain material beauty, I've never considered it real beauty. Real beauty always comes from people who haven't any time to waste looking in the mirror.

I think all the ancient religions point to a few basic ideas. The first, that things aren't always as they seem. Who would believe that the Lord, the Most High God, would be born in a lowly manger? And second, that love is what really matters. As St. John was known for saying: "Little children love each other. If you could do just that one thing, it would be enough." And though those two ideas are at the heart of every religion, they're also the concepts most foreign to the human psyche.

It's easy to say that you're beautiful in the real sense. It's another to seek that beauty out in others. I wonder how many people I've misjudged in my life. I wonder how many friendships I've missed because I couldn't see past the material veneer. I like to think of myself as being less superficial than average. But if you asked to me to describe the people I know, for the most part, it would still be a material description. "He's tall. Dark hair. Glasses." Not, "He's kind. A good listener. A loyal heart."

There are a few people in my life that I couldn't describe materially. I couldn't tell you what color eyes my best friend has. I couldn't tell you how much she weighs, or what outfit she was wearing the last time I saw her. It's my honest wish to see every one the way that I see my best friend. I don't want to see what you look like. I want to see how you are. I want to see what's real in you. And that's what I want to remember about you as well.

The Velveteen Rabbit taught me that lesson when I was a little girl. But it's easy to forget even so simple a lesson. The Superlative Horse taught me that again when I was in early adolescence. But it's easy to forget so simple a lesson even when it's been taught to you twice. I believe that God is everywhere, and in every human being. And so I hope, this third time, I'll be able to remember my lesson. Because, just as the Color Purple taught us, that it "pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." I think it must piss God off even more, if you walk by His brilliance, in the fields of humanity, and don't even notice Him there.

It’s a sign of my self-imposed, sorry social life that I blog so frequently on weekends. I must have checked my usual blogs at least thirteen times today.

It’s funny, a kid on this dumb show I was watching got grounded for three weeks. “You go straight to school, you come straight home from school. That’s it.” Jesus, that describes the first sixteen years of my life. It’s different when you grow up in the country I guess. I had to walk a mile to the nearest kid’s house if I wanted to go. I didn’t have a social life at all until my friends started getting licenses. And even then, it was far from party every night. But then, it should be remembered that I’m a geek.

I should be doing homework. That should be my new motto. It’s nearly always true. I hope my classes next quarter are more conducive to my slacking. I really want an easy quarter; I had believed this would be one. In fact, it may be one. But I’ve been so tired lately. I can’t explain it really. I should be feeling pretty good. But I’m nearly always exhausted. Part of it, I know, is that I've been sick. I’ve not been sleeping well. It just seems that there aren’t enough free hours in the day. And, I have a new professor to add to my list of professors I’ll never take again. People have been commenting lately that I’m quiet. I’ve felt quiet lately.

I wonder if it’s a sign of endangered mental health when you ask yourself several times a day: “Wouldn’t it be nice if I got in an accident and died?” I’m not suicidal. I don’t want to kill myself. I just think it would be easier to die. I think, probably, the greatest sin a human being can commit is that of despair. If God is anything He’s hope. I haven’t lost hope exactly. I’m just tired; I want a break. I used to be able to talk to my mother about things like this but I can’t now. She’s so depressed that I have to act happy because I’m the closest thing she has to hope. It must be terrible to look to someone who’s so obviously mentally messed up as I am for hope that you can beat depression.

I feel a little bad about having enjoyed tonight’s storms so much. I guess a couple of people died to the northwest of me. Still, though, I had a good time. I love storms. I’ve heard it said that God must have a special hatred for people who live in trailer parks. It’s proven itself true again tonight.

In other news, I love this picture.

And this story is worth the read: Man Drinks Blood of 207 Goats And Wants More

The Goddess Kali, by the by, is my favorite goddess.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Yee-hee-hee! Storm!

It was hailing out just a second ago. Not terrible huge golfball sized hail or anything. Just nice little hail.

And now there's crazy wind out. I love storms. Rain pouring down. I stuck my arm out for just a second, and it's absolutely soaked.

There are tornado warnings. It's exciting.

Unfortunately, it's all sort of calming down now. The calm after the storm is supposed to be pleasant, but I've always found it sort of spooky.

Oo! Rising again! I usually hate Wagner, but I'm blasting it at the moment. So great!

Damnit, I feel bad.

Somebody just called me to go out to lunch, and I said I had to work on a paper.

I do really have to work on a paper. But why couldn't I go out?

Grr...I wish I could call back now and say I'd go. I spend too much time on school. I've been lonely lately and wanting some stuff to do. So why is it that when somebody actually wants to do something with me I balk?

Damnit, damnit, damnit.

Now I'm going to spend the rest of my day lonely, with my nose in a stupid book regretting the knee-jerk responsibility that caused me to stay home rather than go out.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

I'm watching another Willie Nelson special. Is this Willie week on CMT? I'm liking it though. Any time you can combine the rocking sounds of Willie with the uh, staccato sweetness, of Aaron Neville, you're going to be reeling in the fat girl audience. Plus, I enjoy seeing a 70 year old man in pigtails say: "I would have been dead if it hadn't been for pot." Dude, pot's a hero.

One of my favorite songs when I was quite little was "Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." It reminds me of roadtrips to Kentucky to see where my mom grew up in the hills.

Conversation I Had At School The Other Day With an Elderly Lady:

Me: Dogs are better than people.
Betty: You're awfully young to be so cynical!
Me: I'm not cynical. I just have very positive feelings regarding dogs.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Life With a Bipolar Mother:

Mom: You’re an adult now. You don’t need Christmas presents anymore.
Me: You’re an adult. Do you need Christmas presents?
Mom: You only need one present then. Keep it under $20.
Me: Your presents cost more than that. Why should I get less than you?
Mom: You’re so selfish!
Me: Weren’t you just telling me that you were getting a big bonus for Christmas this year?
Mom: I’m saving that money for my funeral. It’s not for you.
Me: So, when faced with a choice between your living daughter’s wellbeing and happiness, and the box that will hold your rotting corpse, you choose the corpse?
Mom: Yes! My money, my funeral! Don’t be so selfish.
Me: Who’s selfish? I’ll probably end up paying for your funeral anyway. Why don’t you have life insurance?
Mom: If I had life insurance one of you would kill me for the money.
Me: Dad has a life insurance policy. Has anybody killed him for the money?
Mom: I’ve thought about it.
Me: What terrifies me is that you probably have.
Dad: You have doubts?
All: ::laughs:: heh heh heh, murder money...

I'm thinking about seasonal changes. Literal, not metaphorical. It's funny how the weather affects your worldview. I associate certain feelings with certain times of the year. I probably wouldn't feel as I do about the world if I didn't have Ohio weather, and American, Christian holidays to celebrate.

When I was growing up, I loved fall. Fall was always a happy time because I wasn't quite sick of school yet for the most part. And there was always fun stuff to do like jumping in the leaves. Fall was the nicest time of the year to go hiking in the woods. Summer isn't any good for it because it's too hot and sticky in the daytime, and too mosquito-ridden at night. Winter isn't any good because it's too much work pushing through the snow even if you can stand the cold. In Spring, you have the rain to worry about. And it seems, as soon as it stops raining, it's too hot and close to Summer to enjoy a walk. Fall means Thanksgiving, which is the noblest holiday, and also Halloween, which is the most fun. Fall was my favorite time when I was little.

Fall isn't as much fun for me now. Mostly because going outside doesn't mean as much to me as it used to. I rarely walk anywhere. Forget jumping in leaves. The joy of jumping in leaf piles no longer trumps the misery of allergies that the action inevitably brings about. I don't even dress up for Halloween. I'm lucky to see the extended family on Thanksgiving, we're so disjointed these days. The only really happy thing about Fall is that it means it's cider season. I love cider.

Winter is coming. And that used to make me happier too. When you're little, winter means sledding and snowball fights. It means the joy of writing messages in the frost of your school bus window with your fingernails. We wrote things like "Hi!" and "Help!" and "Jack Frost Wuz Here!" Now it just means going out in the freezing cold to scrape ice off my stupid car windows. It means driving terribly slow, and worrying about black ice and finding the right lane when snow's covered everything and you can't see the markings on the road anymore.

Winter used to mean Christmas. And Christmas was better then. Then I only knew about getting presents and Santa. Now I know about having gifts rejected and dealing with difficult people. Now I know how empty materialism can be when there isn't any familial love behind it. Now I think about the people I know who'll be enduring Christmas alone because they don't really have any family left. I think about the kids I grew up with who weren't allowed to celebrate Christmas, for one reason or another, and I feel bad that they missed out on something I don't even really enjoy.

Winter also meant New Years and New Years meant parties with my nephews and nieces. We'd dance, and pretend to beat each other up. And at midnight, which seemed really late, we'd bang on pots and pans and dance around because a new year had come and we were finally older somehow. It was always funny to see my otherwise sober parents drinking a beer or two, since they really never did it at any other time of the year. Now New Years means struggling to either get invited to a party because I don't want to be a loser and spend it home alone, or getting out of a party I don't want to go to because it involves people I don't really even like that much. It means watching idiots drink themselves silly and puke on my shoes.

I think religious people have a better time of most holidays. If I thought of Christmas as the birth of my savior rather than the holiday which requires me to spend vast amounts of money on ungrateful twits, I'm sure I'd find it more endearing. If I thought of Easter in terms of the triumph over death and sin, I'd probably have a certain joy about it that I currently lack. What's there to be happy about after you stop getting Easter baskets? Maybe I should give something up for lent, just to add a little meaning to an otherwise meaningless holiday. But then again, why bother that? I guess there's always the food to look forward to.

This blog is descending in accordance with my mood. If you want to know how I feel right now, go download the Red House Painter's song "Have You Forgotten." Don't download the version that was on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack. Get the old one, it's better.

I think maybe I've been too negative and critical in this blog recently. Therefore, I've decided to list five things that make me happy. In no particular order.

1. Rubbing alcohol. It cleans my glasses; it cleans my monitor; it cleans my very soul. And it smells nice, too. Sweet rubbing alcohol.

2. Ice cubes. They're good and crunchy and they feel nice when you smash a jaw down on them. They produce a satisfying sound when chewed upon. They also keep stuff cold and cold is nice in the summer.

3. Nachos. A near perfect dish. Nachos provide the perfect mix of crunchiness and the need to be dipped to be consumed. If it were possible to blend in the pleasant tearing of flesh sensation one has when eating a steak, nachos would indeed be all I, or anyone I suspect, ever ate.

4. Thanksgiving. The ideal holiday. The combination of gratefulness and stuffing yourself silly is a pleasant one, in my opinion.

5. Noggin. It has Degrassi, 24/7, Daria, Ghostwriter AND Electric Company reruns. I seriously love that station.

Good news! Brianne got her license this morning. No more getting up at 7am on Friday for me! Oh, yes, and congrats to Brie as well.

On the slightly irritating side. Mom asked me how much I spent on gas teaching Brie how to drive. I thought, perhaps, this was her way of bringing up the subject so she could chip in. But no, she was just curious. I didn't expect her to chip in. But the fact that she was sitting knee deep in a pile of lottery tickets at the time made it annoying. She spent $30 on lottery tickets today. If you've got enough extra cash to piss away $30 on lottery tickets, you can afford to throw in a few bucks gasoline for a special occasion. But whatever, she's cheap.

In other news, it's finally weekend. Glorious weekend. And a glorious weekend it is indeed! Not because I have anything to do, mind you. Just because we get Monday off. So, that means I've got a four, count 'em four, day week end. I'm seriously all overjoyed. It'll probably end up a depressing mess because I've got a book to read and a paper to write, and everybody seems to be too busy to have any fun. I'd like to go to Mohican or the zoo or something.

Hey, real life types. Call me. I want to do something fun.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Just got a letter from my brother. He's in the state prison. Apparently, they took four years off his sentence because of my letter. I don't know whether or not to be happy for him. If he were in for drugs or something that didn't harm other people, I'd be happy. I don't overly care if he chooses to harm himself (sounds cold, eh?) But he's in for aggravated assault. From the stories I've heard, his buddy was also up on kidnapping charges. Something about a woman and a little girl. Tony apparently either wasn't charged, or in any case, convicted of that. But since he's up for aggravated assault, and I know there's a chance he could get out and hurt somebody, I feel sort of guilty about having written the letter that let him loose on society four years earlier. He'll be in jail for at least three years. Hopefully, and I do mean only hopefully since the odds are against it, he'll straighten up in prison. Maybe I won't have to feel guilty for having helped him out. I would have felt guilty for having refused to help him out as well, you know. It's annoying that I have to care.

I had a bit of a regular blog here a moment ago. But I lost it. And I'm too tired to retype the whole thing. It had to do with...some stuff you'll probably get to hear tomorrow. Anyway, instead, you get an obscure story about a long deceased ancestor of mine, who's always inspired me. As it's election day, it has a bit of a political bent. But it also goes a bit toward explaining the deep seated anti-Baptist bias in me.

My great-grandfather, Marty Britt, was a socialist and a lapsed Catholic. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman. One Sunday, he decided to go fishing. So he packed up his gear, and started out. He was walking down the street when a Baptist minister called out to him: "Mr. Britt, it's the Lord's Day. You shouldn't be fishing. You should be in church. I'd be delighted if you'd join us." Marty Britt looked at the preacher a moment, and he said: "Father," and you know it's good if he's starting out calling the Baptist minister 'father.' "Father, you'll find me and mine in your pews the day you start preaching the doctrine of organized labor." The story's better told than read, as my great-grandfather had a rather distinctive Irish accent. But the man had a point. Needless to say, the preacher made way for Marty Britt.

My great-grandfather is also remembered in my family because he had the odd quirk of refusing to ride in an enclosed vehicle. He was afraid if the breaks went out, or if something else catastrophic happened, he wouldn't be able to jump out. So he always insisted, regardless of how cold or rainy or snowy the weather was, that the windows be rolled down. He's a hero of mine, he is.

And he shaped my theological leanings too. There's a famous story in my family about how Marty Britt fell ill and everyone thought he was about to die. They asked him if he wanted the priest brought to him for last rights. He said no, send for the Episcopalian priest instead (which is what my great-grandmother was). He said: "I didn't live up to the standards of the Catholic Church in life, I'll be damned if I'll call for her on my death." I have a very similar philosophy. I plan on making no deathbed confessions. We'll march straight down to hell if necessary, but we're not going to be hypocritical about the thing.

In any case, goodnight, dear readers. I'll try to be more interesting soon. I just feel sort of personality-less at the moment. I've been sucked down into the void that is educationism. All school and no play makes Sarah's a dull blog. Pray the saints for a few days off for me, eh kids? I could use them.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

My friend April is on crack tonight.

S: Little Women.
A: I love that movie!
S: ::laughs:: Movie?
A: Well, I never read the book! What’s so funny about that?
S: Dude, it’s like somebody talking about the Bible and somebody else being all “Oh yeah, I love that movie!"


A: I tried to read it, dude, trust me. It bored me.
S: All books bore you!
A: No they don’t!
S: Name one that doesn’t!
A: Umm…
S: ::laughs::
A: Shut up! You’re making me feel stupid!

And then, she finds the book on the internet.

A: I hate this book, the words are all big! What the hell is love…lovelarn…love…
S: Spell it.
A: L-o-v-e-l-o-r-n-i-t-y.
S: Lovelornity.
A: What the hell does lovelornity mean?
S: Break it down dude. “Love," you know. Then “Lorn.” What’s lorn?
A: I don’t know!
S: What’s it sound like?
A: Umm…born?
S: No! Think like Dedaus’ last name in EverQuest.
A: If I knew I’d fucking tell you!
S: Lorn! Like forlorn!
A: What the hell is forlorn?
S: Like, sad sort of. And all you have left is “ity” which you know.
A: What’s “ity” mean?
S: ::laughs:: It’s a suffix!

Monday, November 04, 2002

Thinking of other near death experiences I endured as a child my sister seems to have nearly always been a factor. Curious.

When I was twelve, I was staying the night at my sister's house. I was sleeping on the floor in my niece's room. It was summer, and they didn't have air conditioning, so I'd ended up with a large, cheap fan on the floor behind my head. I woke up quite early in the morning to the smell of something burning in the air. I sat up, looked behind me and the fan was on fire just a few inches behind where I'd been sleeping. I went to get my sister but I didn't want to cause a panic. She still laughs about how I came into her room, speaking softly: "Donna, please wake up. There's nothing to worry about, but the house is on fire."

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Tonight’s Malcolm in the Middle reminded me of the time my family and I got attacked by a tiger at the zoo. No kidding. This is, sadly, a true story.

We were at the Columbus Zoo. There’s this huge structure, with a ramp, so that you can overlook the tiger cage. We went up to watch. Being as four of us were small children, I imagine we were rather loud. This seemed to get on the tiger’s nerves. He walked sort of under the view of the ramp so that we couldn’t see him. We wanted to get closer, so we climbed over the bar that you’re not supposed to cross. Don’t ask why we were allowed to do this. We had three adults with us, and not one of them said a word; I was a minor, I take no responsibillity for the fact. We screamed for the tiger to come back. We waited a few minutes and were getting ready to leave when he didn’t return.

Just then, GROWL! The tiger had jumped well over 20 feet, grabbed the bars with one paw and was slashing at us with the other. It’s hard to explain how it feels to have a tiger inches from you trying to slash you to bits. But there’s a certain unbelievable horror about it that’s almost quite funny. I can only describe it as feeling pale, then excited, then doubling over with laughter. It may not sound like the tiger was that close to us, but I swear to God, in separate swipes, he managed to rip through my shirt and my nephew’s. He really could’ve gutted us.

He dropped back down; we climbed over the bar quickly. We were all laughing because, what else can you do when a tiger tries to snag your innards? Then someone asks: Where’s Jimmy? Panic. Where’s the boy? Could he have been pulled through the bars? Panic. Someone runs to the other end of the lookout. Jimmy’s already halfway across the park. You can see his little red head bobbing through the crowd.

My niece Brittany is deaf. She couldn’t have been any more than four at the time. But my sister tells me that, while the rest of us had been looking where the tiger jumped, Brittany had been trying to sign something to her mom, so she was turned away. She was signing away when she noticed the horror on her mom’s face and turned around. She started madly signing cat. For weeks after, I’d catch Brittany staring off into space. You’d tap her shoulder and she’d get excited and sign “cat! BIG cat!”

You know, you may think the zoo makes rules just for the sake of making rules. You may think they’re authoritarians and just exercising whatever authority over you that they can. But you’d be wrong. Take it from me, man, I’ve lived it.