Monday, March 31, 2003

So, today I have to start back to school. Depressing. Very depressing. All of the excitement for the whole quarter will undoubtedly go down today. And I'm too tired, probably, to notice much of it.

I wish to hell I'd get a paycheck for all the driving I've been doing lately. It's not so much that I need the money, as it is that I'm curious to how much I'll get. It doesn't particularly matter, as I volunteered to do it before I knew I'd get paid, and I'd do it even if I wasn't getting paid, but I'd still like to know for the sake of budgeting. I'm estimating around $100 a week, though I'm not certain. That's just over $1000, I think, by the time I leave for Europe, which means I can stop worrying so much about buying my books for this quarter. It's sort of a nice thing.

Outside of that, mom beat me at Scrabble last night. And April beat me at Pictionary the night before. Well, she beat me once, and I tied her twice. But I still never beat her.

I'm sitting here telling myself: Go fix your notebook, so you can go to school. Go change your clothes, so you'll be ready on time. Go locate your shoes, so you don't have to go barefoot in the snow. Go eat, so you're not hungry all day. And how much of that have I done? Not one bit, I assure you. And I'm not excited to start doing it either. Bah, it's going to be a long quarter.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Apparently, my mother read my blog today. She says: "I don't even know you! You're so depressed! I'm disturbed!" And I said, "what?" And she said: "You sound like you're in the bowels of hell!"

I find it extraordinarily funny that my mother finds my blog dark. Good God, I'm happier now than I've ever been in my entire life. If she finds this dark, she should've discussed the meaning of life with me when I was an existentialist. Crimony. I mean, I write words in here I used to laugh at, words like active love and optimism in spite of it all.

If this is dark, she totally missed my adolescence.

heh, well, good news, I'm getting a new laptop! It's not exactly top of the line or anything, but the processor is well over three times faster than the one I'm currently typing on. And it's a Dell, which is my laptop brand of choice. And it has a nice screen, unlike the piece of junk screen on my, otherwise pretty good, current Toshiba laptop. So I'm tremendously overjoyed. But there are unhappy issues lying in wait behind. But for now, I'm just going to be happy.

Anyway, mom and I are going to play Scrabble.

I hesitate to post this blog. It might be even a little too offbeat for me.

The other day someone was telling me that people still ask whether or not I shave my legs. I find this incredibly amusing. But it’s a bit of a story exactly why anyone is curious, and exactly why I find it so funny. I fear that the telling of this story will showcase some of my worst personality traits. But I guess I’m always looking for more to confess, so it’s all right.

As is rather typical of young girls, when I hit a certain age, say sixth grade or so, it became imperative that everyone start shaving their legs, whether they needed to or not. It was a matter of every day public discourse who’d started when and all that, and woe to the poor girl whose mother wouldn’t let her. Not doing it meant you were a freak, and a monkey girl, and nobody liked you.

As is typical for my miserable life, one otherwise ordinary day, somehow, the rumor got started that I didn’t shave my legs. And being as I always wear pants (a totally separate personality quirk which I’ll share another day), no one could tell for certain by the sight whether I did or not. So it became a regular thing to make fun of me for not doing it.

Now, I know you’re thinking, this should be an easy thing to clear up. Just show the little bastards your legs, and they’ll have to let you alone, right?

Well, wrong, because I don’t work that way. My righteous anger was somehow raised in the midst of all of it. I didn’t see how it was anybody’s business whether I shaved my legs or not. Since no one could even see my legs, it isn’t as if anyone even had so much as the right to complain that I was being somehow anti-aesthetic if I didn’t do it. And obviously, there should have been no problem if I did. So, rather than just end all of my problems, in one foul swoop of bearing my poor, white, Irish legs to the world, I flat out refused. And I suffered for it. Good Lord, I suffered for it. The middle school court of public opinion is a harsh arbitrator of justice, you know.

Now any eleven year old in her right mind wants to be accepted by her peers. And I won’t pretend I was an exception. But I simply wouldn’t have people dictating my actions as if they deserved control over a part of my body, or even control over the knowledge of a part of my body. My legs were mine, and by God, I decided I’d go to the grave with my totally accidental secret in tact.

So to this day, though nine long years have passed, my poor, white, Irish legs have been utterly cloistered. And it’s all mostly because I’m too damn stubborn to budge on the principle of the thing. I endured torture for the cause, as an early adolescent, and I’ll be damned if I’ll move on the issue now that I’m more comfortably a young adult.

So, what are the lessons we’ve learned from this story? I’m a godawful moralist, for starts. Compound it with my miraculous secretiveness, and my obvious stubborn streak, and I don’t come off sounding very nice. But you know, when the chips are down, it’s not always the worst thing to have a stubborn, moralist, who can really keep a secret, on your side. I don’t know if it redeems me from the utter insanity that is this story, and so many others from my odd and eccentric life, but it’s worth the old college try.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I drove just around 200 miles today. I'm kind of sore actually. I beat April at pool a bunch though, which was nice. And I got to eat Mexican food, which is always nice. And I got to have the following fun conversation:

::Phone Rings::

Me: Hello?
April: Hello.
Me: What's up?
April: Are you tired?
Me: A little. Why?
April: What are you wearing?
Me: Umm...why do you ask?
April: Have you switched into your night clothes yet?
Me: My whats? What? No. Why are you asking?
April: I'm just wondering what you're wearing.
Me: But...why?
April: I just want to know if you're in your night clothes, that's all. Tell me what you're wearing.
Me: What? No! Why? Why do you want to know if I'm in my night clothes?
April: Wanted to see if you want to do something tonight.
Me: Oh, well, you could've just asked! Sound like a phone stalker, Chrissakes, ::mock sex voice:: "what are you wearing?...Are you in your night clothes?

Since I'm feeling frisky, by the by. I guess I should tell you, I don't have night clothes. Quiet, you perverts. What I mean is, I always just sleep in my regular clothes because I'm too lazy to change them. And also because, if there was ever a fire or something, I'd just assume have my clothes around. I don't find it uncomfortable, as people seem to think I must, because I'm used to it. I wear comfortable clothes anyway, so it's never a problem. ::theme song plays:: The more you know.

Friday, March 28, 2003

The Friday Five.

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?

When Mike and I climbed in the tube of the slide on Kite Day, and then April climbed on top of both of us. It was horrible.

2. What one person touched your life this week?

My niece Brittany. We were talking about how she's going to go to college and such. And I'm extraordinarily happy for her because, being deaf, she naturally has all of the cards stacked against her. But the kid's making her own way. She has a 9th grade reading level, which is pretty spectacular for a deaf kid, and she still has two years to improve before she graduates high school. I guess she'll be doing post-secondary enrollment next year at Community College. I'm damnedable proud already.

3. How have you helped someone this week?

I gave my sister and niece a ride to and from Columbus.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?

Pay my credit card bill.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?

Start going to bed on time. Then I'll wake up and be less irritable, which in turn will make everyone who has to deal with me much less irritable. Then we can light candles and sing Kumbaya and some junk, and won't the world have so much less damn darkness? Damnit.

So, my eyes have gotten worse again. Actually, I'm pretty sure they'd gotten worse last year when the doctor told me my eyes hadn't changed, but were only strained. They've gotten about twice as worse as they usually do in a year, so it makes sense that they would have changed their regular amount both last year and this.

It's strange. I drive around every day not worrying at all about my eyes. But now that I know I'm having eye trouble, I'm worried I won't be able to see.

In the ongoing saga of trips to Columbus. Today, my sister and I are going to have a meeting with the deaf school. Apparently, they're quite on my sister's side in this whole mess, so that's a plus. Hopefully, we'll have it fixed so no one can pick Britt up, or drop her off, except me. That's the way it was supposed to be already, but now they'll require ID.

Jody wanted to go see Maynard Ferguson Sunday, but I don't think I'll get to go on account of the whole mess with the ongoing saga of trips to Columbus. The worst part is, after all of it, I probably could go, but because everything's such a damn mess, I don't want to make things any more difficult than they have to be, by being unavailable. Meh.

It's a rough thing making decisions and standing behind them. Making real sacrifices for your ideals. I think this is what growing up means. A gradual blunting of your idealism, due to having to make your idealism part of your realism.

I need to go quickly change the cd's in my car.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I'm tired. I had to get up for an eye appointment today. I hate waking up.

Had a good conversation with April last night about characteristics. For instance, how we all get mad: April gets the face, and then won't talk; Mike sort of tenses up his mouth; Rory seems to grow bigger; Angela gets a certain look, and leans back, and she touches her face a lot. I'm harder to figure out mayhaps; April says my voice changes. But actually, my voice only changes when I want her to know I'm mad. I do that purposely, so it isn't really a characteristic, so much as my particularly way of communicating anger to her. It isn't the way I communicate anger to other people, that is.

It's funny how personal characteristics go. I know mine are odder than the average set. April thinks it's funny, for instance, that I never notice whether she's wearing glasses or not. And Mike doesn't believe that I couldn't really care about how others judge my appearance. But my aversion to eye contact, for example, is so pronounced that, upon actually making eye contact with April one night, she stood up straight and yelled: "You look strange! Stop it!"

Anyway, I'd write more. A conclusion, for instance, but I haven't the time. Have to get ready to go the eye doctor. If my mom says we'll leave at 12:30, she usually means we'll leave at 12:15.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

"There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun..." - Thomas Merton.

I have to take my dog to the vet tonight. She has some sort of lump on her leg. I'm hoping it's just a cyst.

I had disturbing dreams last night. Dreams about someone I haven't thought about in a long time. It's a strange thing to stay away from someone for their own good. I miss him; I think.

I'm having difficulty shaking the sleep from my head. Everything seems to have a strange, ethereal quality. I can't believe I slept so long. I couldn't have gone to bed after 2:30am, and I don't think I woke up until 2:30pm. It hurts to breathe; it always hurts to breathe when you've slept for twelve hours, and your body has accustomed itself to being asleep.

I’m in a very odd mood tonight. And though I may regret it later, I feel like working some things out here, just now. And so I will. Though, as I said, I suspect I may very well and easily come to regret it later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, and life in general lately. I’ve been thinking about my place in the world, and the place of human beings in general. I’ve been thinking about faith and metaphysics and science. I’ve been wondering why it is that I obsess over these things when there’s no objective reason that I should concern myself with any of it at all.

Lately I’ve been feeling sorry over who I am. God knows it’s not about having low self-esteem, or being immune to arrogance. But I’m angry with the things in myself that I don’t seem to be able to control. I’m undisciplined and I know that. And I know I have to work harder. But knowing is different than doing, and so I sit, drunk on the excess of my own sickness. It’s as if I lust after every bit of my own failure as a human being. I know I can do so much more and be so much better. But instead, I wallow in despair over my own stupidity and cowardice, and in my pride over being stupid and a coward. It seems that I’m so entirely disordered. As if I was born wrong, and I matured wrongly, and now all I have left is error and uncertainty.

I have developed these odd metaphysical beliefs about human beings. They crept into my consciousness entirely without my knowledge. And though I know they’re as unscientific as my preference for strawberry ice cream, I can’t shake them off and pretend that they’re unimportant. It’s odd, though, that so many of these ideas are the ideas I’ve spit at for years. It’s as if I’ve spent all my time kicking at the waves in the ocean and now I’ve tired and given in and they’ve overtaken me.

I know I’m being cryptic. It’s a defense mechanism.

What I mean is that, all my life I’ve walked around loving people in a vague way. I had this passing notion that people were worth something and that life meant something. As I grew, I discounted notions of God as fantasy. I descended into relativism and existentialism. But I was unhappy because I knew that those philosophies were incompatible with what I really held as true. If people were worth something, really worth something, then worth could not be relative. The worth of life could not only be restricted to the meaning I gave it if I felt that, objectively, life mattered whether I cared about life or not. Murderers did not have the right to murder because they felt their victim’s lives meant nothing. No one has the right to decide that anyone is worthless. But why? Because I have believed, instinctively, always, that the worth of life was governed by something separate and objective from individual people, or societal whims. And that means that there is something of a higher order than human beings in the universe.

But that notion goes against my training. Human beings are animals. They exist to reproduce. Just as a chicken is just an egg’s method of reproducing another egg, people exist to further their species and that’s all. All else is peripheral. Human beings are not special in any other sense than that they’re bipedal with a large brain with a capacity for nuanced speech and the like. They do not have inherent worth, or inherent dignity, because worth and dignity are ridiculous and meaningless terms. What is worth really, except the embodiment of a generalized affection? Placing worth and dignity on a thing is the equivalent of simply saying that you like that thing, whatever it is. To suggest that human beings have dignity and worth carries all of the moral thrust of the statment that you believe strawberry ice cream is intrinsically superior to all others.

It is difficult to throw out all of the things that all of the people, who were supposed to be absolutely just brilliant, have ever taught you. It’s hard to join the people who believe in things unseen, and who suspect the things that seem to appear so clearly under a microscope. I am not an effusive person; I find emotionality, all of these feelings, suspicious. And yet I keep myself up late at night, drumming up tears for poor Jerusalem, trying to feel something, anything at all. And I do not prostrate myself at the feet of a microscope.

It seems that nearly everything of any importance comes to everyone else much more simply than me. I know that it’s my fault because I’m cynical and because I indulge my cynicism. I try to justify all of it by bringing up the higher quality of my method. But what’s so damn great about my method? I’m not happy. I’m alone, beating my head, because I’m utterly conflicted in my own frustration.

And yet, I feel somehow as if my only hope is in the depth of my suffering. If my life was not worth living, I could feel no displeasure over having lived it wrongly. If there were no order to life, I would feel no displeasure at feeling disordered.

In the midst of all of my lectures to myself that I need to do better and try harder and stop being such an ass, I keep reminding myself of who I am and who human beings are. When I say that I believe that human beings were created in the image and likeness of God, I must not exclude myself from the reckoning. When I speak of God’s love for his people, I have to force myself to stop feeling embarrassed over the idea that the creator of the universe could care about anything at all, much less the infinitesimal speck of life that is me. When I recount the story of Adam, of Moses, of Gideon, of Jonah, and especially of David, I must add myself to the ranks of people who were not always so very good, but who could always be called a man after God’s own heart.

I am on a mission to feel something in this life. I may be deluding myself. I know that that is generally how it seems. And I know that a younger version of myself would have called me a sell out. But I’m willing to become a holy fool, for a while yet. Because I’ve seen the other side and the grass isn’t so green there either.

I choose order over disorder; meaning over meaninglessness; love over apathy; challenge over contentment; faith over doubt; hope over hopelessness; innocence over cynicism; humility over hubris; brotherhood over isolation; and life over death.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

I had a long, rather good, day today/yesterday. It's technically yesterday, by now, though I've not gone to sleep so it seems like today to me still.

It didn't start well, as I'd had a string of nightmares that kept me up most of the night. And, because of the situation with my sister, etc., I was kind of agitated.

But eventually, April and Mike came over. We went out for a bit, ending up at Aladdin's Castle at the mall. I played this sniper game, with an extremely realistic gun, with a scope. I found it disturbing and amusing that I ranked third place on the final score screen thing. To be fair, I probably beat out a whole host of ten year old boys, and I don't expect that the average ten year old should be able to handle a sniper rifle very well. But, still, I've always had a sort of shakey shot, and I can't imagine that I really played all that spectacularly. Then we all used this Uncle Fester electric shock sort of thing, that's still irritating my hands now. Though I wouldn't say that I didn't like it. We also played some car racing game. Oh, the best part I almost forgot. April and Mike were playing this Jurassic Park game, inside of this, erm, box kind of thing. Like, you'd sit in it, and close the curtain, and you'd shoot dinosaurs. Well, I waited until they were real involved in their game, then I snapped open the curtain and went "ha!" and they both screamed, which was lovely.

Let's see, after that we went to Meijer and bought stuff for coloring Easter eggs. We came home, got our eggs nice and boiled and such, and we played a game of Trivial Pursuit. We colored our eggs, and made Easter cards for Angela and Daysi. I composed a poem for Daysi: "In hopes that on Easter / you will become a feaster / on eggs and on candy / 'cos those things are dandy," and chopped off the Easter bunny's head and stuck it in a basket. Mike made the world's most blasphemous Easter card, complete with Jesus with rock hard abs, and a poem including a line that went something along the lines of: "His blood was shed for us / it looked like taco sauce." Course, I'm in no position to talk, because I made an egg which said: "Happy Easter, Jesus!" and had a picture of a crucified Easter Bunny. So, anyway, then we drove them over, and dropped them off. I saw some of the pictures from kite day the other day, and they're great.

Then we went to Ashland to take Mike home, and we had car chat for a bit at April's, and I came home and spent the last two damn hours catching up on my boards.

So, random funny points:

- My coinage of the phrase "hamming my slams" to described hitting the breaks in my car.

- April's desperate cry that her head was "starting to head."

- When I almost hit the non-existent sleeping deer in April's driveway.

- When April declared that "the deer are stapled to the trees, and they're hoofing it!"

- When I saw the non-existent monkey leaping from the top of April's flagpole. He was hot. Speaking of which, I like opera.

- April in the dark: My Precious's.

- Mom likes it when we bend over for her.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Lessons from the Oscars:

A) I don't like awards shows. I don't really like to watch people who don't really do anything all that spectacularly worthy, basking in the glow of self-adoration.

B) I still want to see Gangs of New York and the Pianist. I never, ever, ever want to be subjected to Chicago.

C) Vengeance is sweet, Michael Moore.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Mostly deleted blog. Sorry, don't want a record of that one. Will leave the important part of the last paragraph:

I believe in active love, and active love requires that become my brother's keeper. Not only even if, but actually especially if, my brother's being an utter jackass.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

Katherine Parr spent nearly her whole life married to crotchety old men: Henry was the THIRD old fart she was forced to marry. Is it any wonder she turned to books and religion to occupy her time?

Katherine wasn't just smart, she was a tiny bit uppity, too: she almost got herself thrown in jail for arguing with His Royal Fatness about some theological issues.
After Henry croaked, Katherine dropped the prim and proper act and married Thomas Seymour, a dashing pirate-y kind of guy who was dumb as a post.
Which goes to show you that even bookworms know how to get it on.

this quiz was made by the proper Victorian ladies at Spookbot

I've had a long and eventful day. I'm forced to omit the details of most of it, to protect the identities of the not so innocent. But let's just say, my niece was temporarily kidnapped for a while today, when she was supposed to be in my custody. And, while there's no lasting damage, I'm displeased. Plus, I wasted like gas money and stuff. But I can't get into the details of it, so no worries, everyone's fine and everything. I'm just caught up in a controversy that has nothing to do with me, and I'm nice enough to be taken advantage of. Anyway, rambling about the unmentionable.

Outside of that, I played about eight hundred games of scrabble today. I ate masses of candy. I was amused by the name Molly, and words which have a sort of cream connection when you say them with an accent, like creaminal joostice, and creamatorium. And, in the guise of a randomly passing internet stranger, I asked my friends obscene questions, and was told to piss off. Quite fun. Ahh, may these Spring Break memories last forever.

Got my grades today. Still Deans List, but there was a minus on one of them A's. ::mock frown:: Still, now that that rotten quarter's over, I only need 38 hours to graduate. But entering the adult world will suck. I really should stay in school forever.

I'ma go brush my teeth about thirty seven times, to try to get all the sugar off. But I'm not sure it's possible. I ate a small nation's worth of candy today. I mean, really rather a lot of it. And I can feel the sugars eating away at my teeth now. It's only fair really: I eat sugar, sugar eats me. But I'm rather fond of being able to chew, so off to brush I go.

Friday, March 21, 2003

The Friday Five:

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?

Jesus, I guess. But I would less like to meet him, per se, than to invisibly follow him around and watch what he does. In that endeavor of course, some magically induced lingual abilities might be nice. I'd like to see how close the Gospels were to being correct. Actually, it would be pretty neat to follow Ss. Peter and Paul for a while too, and see how the early Christian community developed.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?

I guess in the first century, since it's consistent with my above answer.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?

Sligo, Ireland, I think. Though my dad tells me that I'd get along well in Japan.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?

Charles "Dill" Harris, on account of I'm somewhat sort of like him anyway.

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?

My mum's I guess. 'Cos she's got cat eyes.

I'm tired. Incredibly so. I all exercised and stuff. I even played a sport. Like a team one.

It all started last night, when I was in the midst of writing a rather sentimental blog over the start of the war on Iraq. It was reflective and meaningful, with an awed tone. Then Angela sent me an IM.

Angela: Come over and watch a movie!
Me: No.
Angela: Please?
Me: No!
Angela: Come on!
Me: No! Damnit! I'm tired!
Angela: Fine!

Angela to April:

Angela: Make Sarah get off her lazy ass and come to watch a movie.
April: Okay.

April to Me:

April: Get off your lazy ass and go watch a movie.
Me: No. I'm tired!
April: Come on!
Angela: COME ON!
Me: No! Tired! Lazy!
April and Angela: COME ON!
Me: Fine, damnit!

Actually, it didn't happen much like that. I don’t even know how it really happened, but I extrapolated that. And I’m probably rather fonder of it than the truth, and since it’s my blog, I can put it however I please.

So, anyway, we went to Angela's, where I blogged the incident below this. The corpse, consequently, was missing by the time we came home. Mysterious. And then we went to Denny's and tortured a poor waiter boy. I wouldn't sit by Angela because she has a habit of pissing herself at restaurants. I had chocolate milk, and I chewed on a straw, it was good. There was a rather disgusting incident regarding Angela's snot, which is better recalled in her blog. But anyway, after that, we went to Meijer. We bought kites and tennis balls, and prepared for today.

Today, we went to Brookside Park. Angela was only half an hour late. Well done on that, by the way, Angela. Though first, we got little airplanes at the world famous Olivesburg General Store. It was great. I lost a part on mine, so I told Angela that I'd put hers together for her, and I stole the part I was missing from her. Later I found my part, so I gave it back. But it was good anyway. We listened to the Greatest Hits of Ace of Bass.

Then we got Mike and went to the park. I put my kick ass Jolly Roger kite together in seconds flat. Blazing speed, indeed. And he was flying before any of the others had their kites even assembled. I helped Mike with his Raptor. Well, he was going to call it a Raptor, but it looked more like a Pigeon to me. I had to get April's Butterfly up in the air for her. It sucked, because I all had to run and stuff and they watched me. It was a charitable act of utterly good will it was, and it more than made up for the stealing of Angela's airplane parts. Also, I didn't make a single World Trade Center joke with my airplane, and that's like, bonus points on my soul for the day.

I felt a little sad that, for all my difficulties in keeping my kite in the air, when it escaped from me, a tree did a perfectly good job of keeping it in the air for me. But I saved it. My kite ruled. It was a rebel. It wasn’t content to just hang around, it had places to go. And it wasn’t waiting to be operated, damnit. He was meant to soar, and not to be pulled around by the strings. He wouldn’t dance just cause you told him to. Consequently, this attitude resulted in a massive rip down the narrower part of his triangle. Alas, poor Kitey, I knew him well.

So, after kiting, we went to the playgrounds. Technically, there was a rather disgusting and disturbing incident involving Angela and April and public urination, though I’ll once again refer you to Angela’s blog for the details on that. So, the playground was designated for two to five year olds, which is approximately our maturity level, so we went in. We took a lot of pictures, which I’ll post in a few days. But, long story short, I fell off some playground equipment; Mike, April and I pretended to be being birthed simultaneously out of one of those covered slide things; Mike bled after having a bit of an accident on the other slide thing. And there was another playground.

Then we played Tennis, which, I have no talent for whatsoever. It was fun, in that sort of, um, sport sort of way.

Anyway, then I came home. And it seems I’ve been writing this ever since, on account of, every time I start to write it, something happens. For instance, mom decides to try to sign on, and it kicks me off and I have to start all over. Or I get thirty seven IMs from kids from the message boards. Or it’s my turn in Scrabble.

In any case, I’m tired. So here are some observations for the day.

- Marching bands can be strangely evocative, given the proper context.
- Ashland really is someplace special.
- Puppy metaphors are nearly always appropriate. After all, everything really is all about puppies.
- Religious stuff is funny stuff. It’s funny when Amanda’s baby gets under a light, raises her arms and goes: “Ahh!” It’s also funny when, while playing the letter game on the way to a concert, Daysi finds “G” and yells: “Oo! I found God! I found God!”
- There’s never a time when it’s not funny to ask: “Was that a fat joke?”
- James Taylor’s October Road is more addictive than Chocolate Éclairs, though it doesn’t taste as good with milk.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

On the way to Angela's, April killed a precious baby bunny on the road. There was much screaming. It was tame. And then it's brother came, and stared at the corpse. There was more screaming.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Got up early to study for German. No, really, I really did get up early to study for German. Stop laughing, damnit. I got all the way out of bed and everything. Early.

Okay, fine, so here's the hitch. I got up early to study for German, but the second I woke up, my mom had me on the computer fixing something for her. And that killed it. All my good intentions obliterated in a mushroom cloud of needing to check blogs and boards. Subterfuge, I say. Et tu, Mother, et tu.

Still, I have a bit of studying to do. And you can bet I haven't made my Poetry recording yet. So I really have to get on that. And I really will. No, really. Stop laughing. I'm also going to finally make it to the bank today, as well as get some gas in my car, and take a good sized walk since the weather's already starting to turn bad again and I want to soak up the last bits of niceness, oh yes, and I've needed stamps for a good while now, and I still have to track down Air India's phone number, and...hey, what are you laughing about? Hey, you, I told you to shut up! I got up early today, so don't act like I'm procrastinating! Stop laughing damnit! I'll give you something to cry about! I really will! But first, I'm going to find some breakfast, and study German, and you know, take a shower and stuff, and...I TOLD YOU TO STOP LAUGHING. I'll get to all of it, I really will.

It strikes me suddenly that on my Art History final, I actually wrote things like: "DaVinci was a genius because his work is capable of the transcendence of even art illiterate society itself. Ghiberti was a genius, sure, but has your average art-ignorant man on the street ever heard of Ghiberti? Absolutely not. But even the most art illiterate Americans have a passing familiarity with the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper." And I used the phrase: "I mean, you know you're talking about a genius when you can reasonably suggest that perhaps the fellow had superhuman sight." I used "sure," a rhetorical question, and "I mean, you know you're talking about" in a formal essay? I've been blogging too damn much.

YOU STOP LAUGHING! I'm really going to study now. I really am.




Really, I am...

HEY! Last Final today!

I know, I know...

I'm going....


Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I just absolutely destroyed my Art History final. Killed the mofo. It was lovely. After Biology yesterday, it was particularly lovely. Just German tomorrow to muddle through. Have to record myself reading some German poetry. That will be...awkward. I hate recording myself. And in a foreign language it's particularly bad. Still, the joy of ending this quarter is enough to propel me through.

I'm on a buying binge. Don't know what's up. I mean, I'm hardly breaking the bank. But for me, I'm spending a lot. I'm like making lists of stuff that are totally unessential. I think it's the unexpected money I'll get from driving my niece around. I mean, I didn't expect that money, so it's like, spendable. Burning a hole in my pocket, even. But every time I spend money I think: "$20? That's like a whole day in Europe. $5? That's like a fourth of what I'll spend on a day in Europe."

I'm getting a headache.

I kind of screwed up my Biology final yesterday. I didn't study for it at all right. I'm sure I got all 50 points on the comprehensive part. But the other 100 points of regular exam, well, meh. Probably a B I guess. I wanted to do better, but my final grade will still come out fine. I have my Art History final today, and though I've studied for it only minimally, I'm not particularly worried. I like that class because I always know exactly what to expect on the exam. It's a matter of showing up to class, taking notes, learning the material, and spitting it back out on the exam. That's good stuff. Not like Biology where you can never tell if she's serious when she says: "This won't be on the exam." Or when she springs entirely new sections on you, that she's never so much as mentioned in class, or assigned in reading. Damn, it feels good that that class is finally over.

I've been sort of in favor of this war against Iraq. I mean, I still am. But it's something to go in. I worry about the people of Iraq. I really do believe that they'll be better off with Saddam gone. I think fewer people will die even in armed urban conflict than would ordinarily die under the reign of Hussein and sons. But still, when Saddam was commiting mass genocide, it wasn't my country that was responsible. And now, when we go in to liberate the people of Iraq, if civilians die, we will be responsible for it. That's a hard thing. And there's no playing around with the End Justifies the Means type of logic when you're dealing with human lives.

The troops in Iraq are already surrendering. I'm glad of course. But what does it mean to be patriotic? I think the traditional idea of patriotism would require those soldiers to fight and die in a losing battle. And yet, I can see how a true patriot would refuse to fight in this instance, though he might die for that too. Are the troops who surrender before the war even starts heros of sorts, or just cowards? Either way, they're doing the right thing, sure. And I'm glad to see it. Hopefully not even the Imperial Guard will stick around to fight, though that's probably asking too much.

It's a hell of a thing to judge folks, when you've got a full belly and a good education and a home and people who love you and a country that guarantees your right to life and speech and religion and all that.

Ari Fleischer's giving a White House Briefing. It's sort of funny to watch the reporters, supposedly objective of course, hardly able to control their anger over the fact we're going to war. You can see them physically repressing their urge to use naughty words in reference to President Bush. How can people even question whether or not we've got a liberal press over here?

Monday, March 17, 2003

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

I'm watching Bush's speech. 48 hours for Saddam and Sons to leave Iraq. Amazing.

I wonder what it feels like to have a superpower tell you that you have 48 hours. He's talking to the people of Iraq; our war is not against you. I feel pride as he promises food, medicine and prosperity. And yet I know, if there is resistence, if this war really comes about, civilians will die.

Are the people of Iraq rejoicing? Are they indignant? Are they gathering their families close, and saying what might be their final goodbyes? What do they say to their children, as they tuck them into bed?

Sunday, March 16, 2003

This'll very likely be a long blog. Sorry. Blogger hasn't been cooperating with me in the last few days, so news has been building up. To save time, I won't recount the Jars of Clay and Caedmon's Call concert Angela, her sister and niece, Daysi, Hollie, Kaysie and I went to. Yeah, doesn't sound like my kind of thing, but actually it was a lot of fun. Angela wrote a decent blog about it. That's right, heavens be praised, she blogged! Here's a picture of us at the concert, by the by.

So, then on Saturday, Angela, Daysi and I went for a walk at the bike trail. The sun's been out lately, and since the phenomenon is still sort of new, I'm enjoying it and sort of want to be outside. Of course, we were outside for all of an hour, and my damn Irish skin has already started to burn. But that's alright, maybe it was the poisonous Mansfield Park sort of snow that we were lobbing at each other as we walked. Good times.

After that, we went to feed the fish up at Angela's pond. In another case of being so lazy that you actually end up causing yourself work, we didn't bring anything with us to break the ice. So we decided to work with what was already at the dock. I had a broken fishing pole and Angela had some sort of umm, metal catcher or grill sort of thing, I don't know what it was. But anyway, we killed an hour lobbing ice chunks across the pond. First we were trying to slide them into holes in the ice. After that, we were tossing them at ducks. But animal lovers take heart; I can't hit the broad side of an Angela when I throw.

So, today I spent driving my niece and two of her friends to Columbus. It was odd because my niece and her friends are deaf. I know some sign language, but that's just functionality sort of stuff. It's different when you're stuck in a car with three kids who really communicate that way all of the time. I'm used to being in the majority when I do things. I'm the right race, I speak the right language, I fit into society pretty well. But today I was the minority. It's hard to be the kid left out. I hope I remember that. I always ask myself, whenever I'm feeling racist or resentful or something, what it would be like to say, get on an airplane full of black people. I mean, say I was the only white kid there. I've never been in that situation in my life. And I know, political correctness be damned, I'd feel damn awkward and out of place. And yet, I see black people do that sort of thing all of the time and they keep such a good temper about it. That thought is usually enough to make me a little more empathetic. From now on, I'll just remember today.

Now, that's not to say it was terrible, because it wasn't. It was just different. They giggled at my self-consciousness; I think it pleased them to see me squirm. They're used to being the ones squirming, so I kept a good humor about the thing. It hit me a few times as I drove, that as I messed with the radio, I was the only one hearing the music. I can't imagine my life without music in it. Silence terrifies most people; and those kids live always in silence. They're so good at sitting still, and I think I can see why. They're used to being left out; out of conversations, of friendships, of society. And yet they're far from miserable, pitiable things. They were laughing, and playing, and they were happy.

Apparently, they think the Three Stooges are hilarious. I have a new appreciation for that kind of humor after spending time with them today. And when we walked past a handicapped sign, the one girl signed to the other “look, it’s you!” And the other crossed her eyes, curled her arm up and did an impression of a retarded kid. Not politically correct, but I was glad they’re not oversensitive types. They don’t strike me as feeling sorry for themselves; there’s a difference between them and handicapped folks, and they’re certainly aware of it, even if you’re not.

I had fun, so I bought them ice cream. It was a good weekend on the whole. Lots of things to do, and new experiences and such. Sort of sucks that I have to start studying for finals. Still, I feel sort of ready for it. Being busy all of the time has an odd way of preparing you for being busy all of the time.

Blogger feel like working yet?

Friday, March 14, 2003

New Photo Booth Picture of Mike, April and me. It won't let me direct link to the picture, so, so you know, it's the bottom one that's new.

Which political sterotype are you?

Libertarian - You believe that the main use for government is for some people to lord it over others at their expense. You maintain that the government should be as small as possible, and that civil liberties, "victimless crimes", and gun ownership should be basic rights. You probably are OK with capitalism. Your historical role model is Thomas Jefferson.

brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I remember writing shortly after September 11th that the event hadn’t affected me. In most ways, I’ll still stick by that. I haven’t been terribly affected personally. It isn’t as if I lost anyone I knew, or as if I was so scarred by the imagery that I lost the ability to sleep at night. The effect is nothing like that at all for me. The effect is harder to understand and explain, I think. Particularly because, I’m at an age when my thoughts ought to be somewhat sporadic anyway.

Things seemed to speed up after September 11th. Politics suddenly got bigger. I mean, I was far from an isolationist before the event, and I wasn’t so ignorant as to not know that places like Afghanistan and Pakistan and India and Iraq existed. I was vaguely aware of the problems that faced those nations. But I didn’t worry myself over them. Sure, it was sad to see pictures of people suffering. But it only made me thankful I lived in a country like America, where these things were relegated to glossy magazine articles. I didn’t suffer anything personally, and so I was able to keep that sort of apathetic objectivity that Americans naturally keep about foreign affairs. If we’re really quite concerned by something, well, we’ll send our wallets, we will. And that’s as close as we care to get to the thing.

Now as we face a possible war with Iraq – a very likely war actually – I’m trying to figure out how exactly it was that everything has gotten to the point it’s gotten. I mean, it seems just yesterday my prime concerns were domestic issues like capital punishment, abortion, home schooling, ending the war on drugs. I had a vague paranoia about China, but that was all nonsense about spy planes; I didn’t expect real war, it was all very benign. And now, suddenly, I’m puzzling over budgets to rebuild countries we’ve yet to knock down.

I was too young to have a real understanding of the first Gulf War when it happened. I remember dressing up as an Arab for Halloween once, and I remember boring news reports from hot countries interrupting my cartoons. But I didn’t have a tremendous grasp on foreign policy when I was nine, so I haven’t a terrific memory for it now either. I know that we didn’t take out Saddam Hussein at the end of that war. I know that we didn’t because the UN asked us not to and we deferred.

The election of George W. Bush surprised me. I didn’t vote for the guy. I voted for Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate. I was tempted to vote for Bush just to be voting against Gore, but I wanted my vote to reflect my conscience, so I voted third party. With all the fuss about Ralph Nader stealing the election from the democrats in 2000, I remember thinking it very funny that every election 3-4% of voters who, in my experience anyway, would ordinarily have voted for the Republican candidate, voted Libertarian, and Republicans only rarely complained of it. But in any case, I was surprised that Bush was elected. I didn’t like that he used the same irritating liberalisms that Gore used. I had a hard time trying to tolerate a guy who’d executed the mentally retarded trying to pass himself off as compassionate. But I was happy that he’d won, just because I hated Gore so much. I was glad to get away from the Clinton administration, and away from what I considered a new generation of radical environmentalists.

When September 11th came about, I was glad indeed that we’d elected George W. Bush. Though it’s the usual charge that Gore would have done nothing about the event, my fears lead in an opposite direction. Surely nothing substantive would have been done. But an immediate, knee-jerk reaction, with heavy bombing was assured with Gore in office. Bush impressed me with his cool tone. I’ve tired of the coddling of Islam in the media since, but it was comforting to hear a bit of coddling from an Evangelical President on the eve of what could have been the retaliation to end all retaliations.

Actually, that’s what’s surprised me most about George Bush in all of this. Though the media constantly portrays the guy as “cowboy,” “isolationist,” and “hawk,” he’s actually worked incredibly closely with the international community. The fact is that America is the world’s only superpower, and if we wanted to, we could do literally anything we wanted with little to no fear of reprisal. We could destroy world power numbers two and three, simultaneously, without allies, if we wanted to. People whine about “freedom fries” and boycotts of French wine, but in prior generations, a superpower’s displeasure with France might have ended in the immediate leveling of Paris. Imagine asking Rome at the height of Rome’s power to take the advice of its inferiors. Anyone who’s studied history knows that it’s laughable to suggest that powerful countries ought to be ruled over by powerless countries, and yet, America singularly, not only tolerates, but even props up international organizations, which seek to tell the world’s only superpower what to do. American charity on the matter is immense, and amazingly, I don’t suspect it’s wearing thin.

The European Union has really shown its stripes throughout this. Otherwise known as the German and French initiative to rule over Europe even where Napoleon and Hitler failed, the charade has been revealed, and is, I think, in the midst of its death throes. Or rather, I should say, it will not dissolve and die, but it will be proven quickly ineffective and dubious, and this Pan-European dream will fade as its predecessors faded. Germany and France, who’ve both been involved in shady deals over Iraqi oil fields, are gambling the EU on anti-Americanism. The problem is, the whole of Europe is not so anti-American as France and Germany. The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and the like prefer American tourism, funds, and protection to hollow German and French promises. And as well they should. America, with its oh-so-offensive-to-sensitive-sensibilities McDonaldization of society, has never tried to – and especially not repeatedly as is the case of Germany and France – military overrun these nations for territorial gains; rather instead America financially and military defended them against the real and present danger that was 20th Century Communism. My great-great-grandfather left Alsace-Lorraine for the United States because he couldn’t believe that France and Germany could ever get along for very long. He was a wise man, and he knew what wise men still know today.

Anyway, I’m getting off subject, and there are people in the computer lab distracting me. So I’ll bring the themes out more quickly. This is what I see as the big changes that have occurred since Clinton left office. We elected a man who, like his father, thankfully does not believe in appeasement. Because of the shock of September 11th, many Americans were awoken to the existence of a volatile world beyond their borders, and were mobilized into caring enough to do something about it other than just throwing money at it. September 11th also forced Americans to confront the encroachment of radical Islam, which has been growing cancerously since the late 19th century. Americans were introduced to virulent anti-Americanism in countries, which they thought, at least from the bills they’d racked up financially propping up those nations, were their close allies. The true political aims of France and Germany in the EU have been revealed, and each individual nation has decided their alignment on the issue. We now know just how thin the ice that the anti-Americans stand on really is. And finally, we’ve seen that America is an exceedingly tolerant superpower, despite constant insults which suggest the contrary. And we’re about to see, I think, that though America is exceedingly tolerant toward organizations like the UN and the EU, it also isn’t about to be bullied and it now refuses to be shamed into submission. Sometimes I think America’s a bit like this giant backwoods, grinning hillbilly that’s afraid to tell the more “cultured” folks around them that, to entirely mix metaphors, the Emperor ain’t wearin’ no clothes. Perhaps that’s changing; for better or worse.

There’s a tremendous amount of churning in the world today. And it’ll be something to see how all of this turns out. For someone who grew up largely even after that Evil Empire was brought down, seeing issues like Just War theory, isolationism, pan-Nationalism and more discussed in the news is amazing and exciting. It’s a joy to be excited about what’s happening in the world today, even if it’s only in that nervous sort of way that it manifests in uncertain times. That is to say, I don’t share the Utopian belief of my parent’s generation, that the Times Are A’Changing, I’m enthralled by getting to see them stay the same. War isn’t new, and neither is international backstabbing. But it’s still something to see when it comes about.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

So, I think I did okay on my German exam. I'm thinking B range. Would have liked to have done better, but it can't be helped now. We're watching a movie in Biology tomorrow, makes me want to skip pretty badly. But I'll go. It's the last damn day of class, I can make myself go. Right? Well, we'll see.

April, Mike and I had a good day out. We went to the park. April hit her head on some playground equipment. She was worrying, so I told her not to worry about it. If she has a concussion, she'll just die. Then we went to the Reservoir. We walked like, a mile and a quarter, dude, it was madness. Then we got ice cream, and went to the mall. There, we stopped by the PhotoFantasy booth thing, and got some pictures taken, which I'll scan in a bit. In the meantime, you can check the pictures from Balloon Fest.

After that, we went to see the Hours which is finally in town. It was okay I guess. I really didn't like it much, though April and Mike both did. It reminded me too much of English Lit. class with all of the half baked egg metaphors and the "awakening" and the abandonment of children and suicides. Still, there were things I liked. I liked that they had their hair messed up, and a lot of the main characters were kind of ugly. You don't see many real looking characters in movies, so at first it was sort of jarring. But by the end, I'd grown fond of it.

I'm hungry and there's nothing to eat. It's always the way. I think I may sleep early tonight. Walking around the damn reservoir tired me out I guess. Still, I think I may start going there on the warmer days after school. If I'm supposed to be able to walk across Europe this Summer, it would probably good for me to be able to walk a mile or two without tiring myself out for the rest of the day. I mean, this Summer, I'll have a huge backpack on top of it all. So, basic training starts on warmish days. Or, so I say. Doing is another thing altogether.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Yeah, I blogged this morning and it didn't show up. Irritating. On the bright side, it was just a dumb blog marking what I'm doing for the next two weeks. So, no loss there. Maybe blogger rejected it for its poor quality.

So today was long and boring. And it's not over yet. But I've discovered a disturbing trend in my sense of humor. My reliance on the pun has increased expotentially. It's terrifying.

We were watching this video on Sponges in Biology. And they were doing this thing where the camera was like a food particle, and you're zooming through the inside of the Sponge body. And I turned to my lab partner and said: "You know, for a creature without a brain, the Sponge really has a rich interior life." She did the ha...ha...pun laugh for me.

Yesterday, Jared was telling me about how one of his professors had marked down that it was a discussion day, but hadn't assigned anything for them to discuss. I said: "No discussion for discussing? That's disgusting." And he did the ha...ha...pun laugh.

It's gotten worse than that. I think it was spending all of the the last few weeks with my dad. I've noticed that he's started to unconsciously pick up my speech habits too. You know you've been hanging around me too long when you can begin to produce sentences containing the words "dude" and "eviscerate." So, unfair trade off, I say. He gets a better vocabulary, and I get a pun fixation. No fair.

I had my mother pop something in the oven for me today. She, of course, didn't follow directions. I told her to keep it frozen until it went in, so she put it in the refrigerator last night after I went to bed. Then she forgot what time she put it in the oven, so I don't know what time to take it out. If it's not cooked right, and I can't eat it, you know she's going to freak over the waste of food. So what if it was her fault? That's not the point! You eat it and get goddamn salmonella, and shut up about it! That food cost at least $1.50! We're not wasting it!

Monday, March 10, 2003

Since I read it on another blog, I think it would be fun to do a Quirks listing. Among my compulsions:

- I have an internet routine. Sign on Trewq, check mail; switch to Alt, check mail. Check boards. Check mail. Go to blogs. Elayne first, Srah second, Mark (even though he's not blogging for lent) third, Mike fourth, etc. Screw up the routine, and all day I have a nagging feeling I missed something. Subsequent rechecks will not make the feeling go away.

- I never use my left hand while eating. I don't like the idea of my left hand being anywhere near my mouth. I can't explain why. I don't use my left hand for anything I don't use my right hand for.

- When chewing, I have to divide up my food in halves, so that both sides of my mouth get an equal amount of food. If I don't, I feel unbalanced. Preferably, this means, for instance, when eating Skittles, I eat two at a time. If there's only one Skittle, sometimes I just won't eat it.

- If I make a strange movement with one half of my body, or if I pick up some heavy object with one arm, I have to repeat the motion on the other side. If I don't, I feel unbalanced all day.

- I never let the microwave hit zero. It's not that the beeps bother me. It's that I have this nagging fear that they'll wake someone up. This fear is present even when I'm the only one home.

- Before I can sleep every night, I have to make a check of the house. Both doors, even if I can see that they're locked, have to have their knobs turned to make sure. All lights must be off. All television sets off. Telephones on their rightful hooks. Dishes in the sink; blankets straightened. If I forget that I've done it for sure, I have to get
up and do it again, even if it's four in the morning and I'm exhausted. Regardless of the fact, even, that I know my mother makes the same round check every night before she sleeps.

- If, while driving down the road, I allow myself to notice the little address markers, I have to add them up obsessively. I mean, for instance, say you have the address "1156." I have to go 1 + 1 + 5 + 6 = 13. 1+ 5 = 6 - 1 = 5. 11 + 56 = 76. 76 - 13 = 63.

- If I imagine a loop of any sort, I mentally can't break the loop. Say, for instance, you're watching a cartoon, and a guy riding a horse runs into a tree branch, and his neck gets stuck on the branch and his body is going round and round the branch. I can't stop that in my head, even if it's stopped on the show. I have to make a jerking motion with my head, to try to pull the guy off the branch in my mind. Very disconcerting.

- If given a blank sheet to draw on, I always start drawing on the bottom lefthand side.

- The right sock must be put on the foot before the left; the left shoe must go on the foot before the right.

- I always try to leave the house on an odd minute marker. 5's are okay, but I prefer 7's. Hence, I leave the house at 10:57 every morning.

Speaking of which, it's getting on that time so I should run. What about you guys?

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Today was fun.

My mom cooked like eighty pounds of food, which I proceeded to eat. It was good times.

Then, Angela and I went to pick up Mike. We went to the Bailey Lakes Restaurant again, and then to Walmart, and back to Mike’s house to make balloon animals and watch The Ring.

There were random funny things which happened that weren’t really all that funny, but still cracked me up. Since I haven’t a lot else to write, I’ll write them here. First really funny thing I remember happening was that Daysi couldn’t figure out how to get into my car. She kept trying to get into the back from the front door of my four door car. This was hilarious funny to me, until a few minutes later, I tried to get into my trunk and realized, in a flash of horror and enlightenment, that I was inserting my key into Angela’s trunk and not mine.

Anyway, later we were listening to that T.A.T.U. song “All the Things She Said.” Daysi said: “I thought the lyrics to this song were ‘All the Fifty Cents.'” So we laughed rather a lot and sang it that way all night.

Then we were watching The Ring and this guardian-of-the-videos guy is warning the wanting-to-watch-the-video type guy that if he messes up his video collection he’ll “be all over [him] like white on rice.” So, the guy basically does mess up the video collection. And Angela says a few seconds later: “He wasn’t all over him like white on rice. Unless white lets rice use the phone twenty seconds later…” This was enormously amusing at the time, and we all wept with laughter. Lack of sleep does wonders.

We made balloon animals. Mine was incredibly phallic. Angela took a picture of them all. Will post tomorrow, if I get the chance.

Am quite tired. Only got a few hours of sleep today. That’s mostly okay on weekends when I’m only getting out of bed because I feel like it. I need to have more fun weekends like I had this weekend.

Well, damnit, I just accidentally closed my internet. Good thing I’m typing this is Word. I don’t feel like getting back on. So will post this tomorrow morning. Meh.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Random Fly-By IM from someone I don't know:

KillKlownKlepto [3:27 PM]: do u live in shelby?
AlternateAddress [3:27 PM]: Basically, yeah.
KillKlownKlepto [3:27 PM]: im sorry to hear that, i gotta go ttyl

Dude, I so have to go do that to some Ashland kid.

Friday, March 07, 2003

So, tonight Mike and I went to Goodwill because we were bored. There's only one thing I would ever really buy at Goodwill, and that's books. And I did buy books. I bought Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, another copy of The Communist Manifesto, and Jean Paul Sartre's seven pound classic Being and Nothingness. I felt like a snob when I went up to pay and the lady's all: "Do you have any coupons or discounts?" And I was thinking: "For my one dollar purchase? Umm, no, not really." But I felt like even more of a snob as Mike and I were sorting through the hat pile, and he was like "I don't want to touch them! My hands are tingling!" and I had to agree, mine were too. And then I found a hat I liked and I said: "We should buy this hat...and wash it!" I can't be too snobby though. Cause I think I remember, when I was little, going to Goodwill and getting toys and things. God, I remember the first twinges of snobbiness I ever had came from my mother making me go to Odd Lots when I was in like sixth grade. I was terrified someone would see me there and think I was poor. I don't know completely why it bothered me so damn much. I don't get self-conscious going to cheap stores now. I'm a college student, we're supposed to be poor. I guess I just didn't need another thing to get made fun of over. Sixth grade i hell. The only thing worse than sixth grade, is seventh grade. I don't even care to speak of the horror that was seventh grade.

Anyway, I wonder if the government will come after me for owning multiple copies of The Communist Manifesto. I own the Catcher in the Rye too. I'm probably on their possible terror suspects list. Which is just great, considering how awful my passport picture is. Indeed, it is the Face of Terror. I think it was funny to see The Communist Manifesto in Goodwill. I mean, perhaps it was just coincidence. But maybe somebody planted it. Those Commies are all about riling up the lower classes you know. Of course, having grown up rather lower class, I can honestly say that I don't know many people of the lower classes who bother reading. And those who do read, prefer, as my niece once explained to me, "stories with a story."

Anyway, good times tonight. It was nice to get out of the house, for the purpose having fun, for once. Seems I do an awful lot of staying home these days. Not that it's anybody's fault but my own. I'm just so damn lazy. People call and want to do things, and I nearly always just want to take a nap. It makes me laugh to think that, in high school, I don't think a single weekend ever passed that I wasn't out doing something with somebody.

Projects for The Weekend: Research Backpacks; Read 1st Book of Samuel; Study for Biology Exam Monday; Work on Webpage; Locate a copy of John Steinbeck's To An Unknown God; Sleep a Lot.

Mom: "Would you be offended if I became religious?"
Me: "Umm...Why would I be offended if you were religious?"
Mom: "Because you're so anti-religion!"

It always makes me laugh when people seem to assume that I'm anti-religious because I've made a comment against some particular religious group or practice in the past. I'm not anti-religious at all. I find religion insanely fascinating; primarily the concepts themselves, but also the ways in which religion motivates people. To assume I'm anti-religious is analagous to assuming that, because I don't like to eat chicken, I don't like to eat food at all. It's not food I've thrown out, it's chicken and that's all.

I told her I didn't care what she did as long as she didn't become some dumb Baptist or Pentecostal; which, considering the "religious" people she knows, she'll probably end up doing anyway. She could convert to Catholicism, or Orthodoxy, or Episcopalianism, and I'd even tolerate Lutheranism, or high church Methodism, but none of that low church mess. Becoming a low church Protestant in my mind is like having a scholarship to Harvard and squandering it all on clown college.

It's not that I hate everything about Protestantism. It's just the core doctrines that I hate. And primarily, the doctrine that I really hate is sola fida. Faith alone is not only obviously contradictory with scripture, it also completely undermines the sanctity of human life. The first Protestant preachers I ever dealt with would always walk around talking about how humans are worthless and unworthy and they're filthy and disgusting in their sin. I thought it was a peculiarity until I started reading Protestant theologians.

Oh, I'll agree to an extent, that modern human beings have some serious fundamental flaws. But human beings aren't "bad." When God created the world, He created everything in the world utterly good. Human beings are part of that world, and so in essence we're utterly good too. Protestantism, in its zealotry to emphasize the depravity of human sin, have conflated human sin with human beings. They've acted as if people are fundamentally not only flawed because of their actions, but as if they're fundamentally evil in their being. I won't accept any doctrine that dogmatizes low self-esteem. Humility is a different thing entirely. Low self-esteem is about finding ones self utterly worthless and bad; humility is about knowing how small your goodness is in a truly great and awesome world. Low self-esteem theology is dogmatized despair; it blasphemes because it refuses to accept that God in His ultimate goodness creates only goodness. Humility makes no idol of shame; it estimates rightly that the worth of the individual is infinite, but is still part of a greater world of infinite worth. To be made in the image and likeness of God is no small thing.

I believe that God loves people because they're good enough to love. Because, no matter how bad an individual gets, there's still that original divine spark of goodness in them. Almost as if reality as we know it, and even our human flesh, has been sewn together and holds together only by Love, which is God. No individual can be totally depraved so long as God continues to inhabit their being, which He must, for them to be. I believe that people were created to love God, and to be loved by God. It's a simple function of things; like hammers exist to hammer nails. People exist to love God. And I find it a sin to abuse God by abusing the self; I find it an assault on God's worth to assault the individual's worth.

I have to go and write my brother now. I will struggle, as always, with what it means to be merciful to someone who's suffering by their own hand. The human tendency to self-destruct is amazing. It may be the quintessential human act. What did we do in the garden but undermine, and act directly in opposition, to our own best interest?

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The world is stupid.

Woman Offers Bush Crucifixion for Peace Deal.

Thousands Pay Respects to Stalin.

My Bladder Knows I'm Home! on the other hand is utterly hilarious. I nearly wept.

I'm starting to really hate school. I mean, really.

I thought I was going to kill my group in German today. Strike that; really only the girl in my group in German. Plus, I only got a B on my exam, and I wanted an A, by God. Biology sucks. Plants are boring. As of the last hour of class today, and presumably for next week, we'll be on animals. That's better anyway. Still I think I may go mad by the time Art History's over. At least it's Thursday. No school tomorrow is promising. Plus, I've not yet been requested to cart anyone anywhere, so that means relative freedom for sleeping in.

I'm really quite hungry but I've just spent the last hour looking at intestinal worms, so maybe I'm not that hungry.

We'll see. Going wondering for a bit.

According to my Biology professor, evolution is not a teleological system. But having read countless tracts by environmentalists, somehow I think it's still generally understood as one in the scientific community as a whole.

For instance, if evolution is true, why should we work to save the Asiatic Lions, or Leopards, or American Grizzly Bears? If an animal has lost its ability to compete, then it should be forced to adapt or die out. Countless extinctions have occured over time. We're not overly sentimental about them; and the world goes on in spite of it all. So why do we take such pains to save the dying whatevers, when speaking from an evolutionary perspective, the whatevers should feel such pressure, adapt or die.

Now, personally I like animals, and I'm not happy to see them go extinct. But I can see no overriding evolutionary purpose to artificially prop them up. I might make an argument from aesthetics, but a good scientist shouldn't.

I don't mind science really. I find it more interesting now that I'm in college. Maybe because I'm being taught better. Maybe because I've been trained to think more systematically. When I was younger, Science seemed so utterly anal. Now that I'm older, I can see a lot of its base assumptions more clearly, and it doesn't seem so air tight. It's funny to see that the old supposed rock of reason has a soft belly underneath it all.

But that doesn't mean I'm one of those throw out everything we know about the world types. I'm willing to accept an evolution of sorts (though I'm suspect of claims of creating new species. Taking two critters who eventually change so much over time that they can't mate somehow seems different than making the jump from dinosaur to bird. I won't discount it exactly, but I don't understand it). But I wonder how it fits into all of the theology.

I know that Catholics are allowed to believe in evolution. How is a person to balance scriptural claims about the origin of life with evolutionary claims which seem to contradict it? Is Genesis to be read as a giant metaphor? Somehow it seems dangerous to read the creation as a metaphor; but maybe that's the old sola scriptura coming out in me. Surely God can guide evolution, but then why inspire a scripture which implies a different rise? One of the most important concepts of all of Judeo-Christian thought to me, is that man was made in the image of God. But if we basically shelve Genesis as a metaphor of some sort, can this principle be maintained?

My mom can be hilariously funny at times. For background information, it should be noted that the rescue squad which took her to Columbus was manned by two rather hillbilly, but affable kind of guys, both named Randy. Mom was telling me about her thought process on the trip.

"Do you know how terrible it is to think you might die and all you have are Randys to take care of you? I mean, I've got a suspected embolism and Randys take time to flirt with the nurses!"

I think it was the straightforward, innocent expression she wore as she said it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Mom just called me from the hospital. She doesn't have a blood clot, and her kidney is still functional. This is all very good. They're keeping her on antibiotics because she probably has pneumonia. But she'll be coming home tonight, and that's really quite good.

I don't feel like going to school again. But at least it's in a normal sort of way; I mean, I never really want to go to school but usually I can force myself to do it with a minimal amount of pain. Things should start calming down soon. One more week of school, then finals, then break.

I'm feeling quite lucky today. This thing with my mom could have turned out really bad. We've been through some really amazing stuff medically over time, but this was scarier than even some of the bigger operations. Since she got her new kidney, doctors have been calling her high risk. A lot of them won't deal with her. Truth be told, she is high risk. But it's still sort of scary to hear it. It also hit me, in the middle of all this, that my mom's getting old. She's 53 and while that isn't ancient, it's getting up there. When I was little I thought of 53 as like, elderly.

I remembered in the midst of all this mess, how, when I was little, I slept in my mom's room almost every night until I was like seven. My dad worked nights, so my mother wasn't as insistent on kicking me out as most parents are. And being as I was a horribly phobic little child, it worked out that through much repeated regular screaming and crying, I was allowed to stay. But what my point in this story actually is, is to share that the first image that I really recall of my mother is of watching her sleep. I don't know how old I was at the time, probably only three or so, but it's always been my mental image of my mom ever since. She was laying in bed, and the window behind her was letting sunshine in. It was early in the morning, and you could hear the trees rustling in the wind outside. There were bird songs, too. It was all very soft in essence. And I was sitting at about her hip level, beside her on the bed, watching her breathe. It may have been the first time I really recognized my mother was a human being, and vulnerable.

It was strange to sit in the hospital, watching my mother breathe. It wasn't soft at all. There were the loudly beeping machines, and nurses walking in and out. Raspy breathing. The light blocked out by drawn curtains. But the principle was the same. I recognized that my mother was a human being, and vulnerable. And mortal, as we all are.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I skipped class today. I really shouldn't have. But I just didn't have the energy to get out of bed this morning. i only missed notes in Biology. But I was working (sort of - when I was allowed to help, I was working) on that group assignment in German. Hopefully my name will just stay on the paper. I really don't skip class very often. But I've skipped all of my classes three times this quarter. When you're talking about 40 classes on the whole, three days actually isn't all that much; hell, it's a 92% attendence rating, which is a fair site better than most kids I go to school with. But somehow I feel guilty over it. It's an odd feeling for a kid who missed at least 30 days of school every year from Kindergarten up.

I just talked to mom and she seems really depressed. The hospital messed up last night. They were supposed to give her some drug so they could do the big test this morning, but they didn't. So they gave it to her today, and she has to wait until this afternoon sometime before she gets the test. I don't know how long it'll take to get the results. I hope I'll still be there when they come in. I like to hear all of the things mom's supposed to do, that I know in the end, she'll probably never do. She never listens to doctors, which is probably why she finds herself in a lot of the fixes she finds herself in. Of course, then, doctors can be surprisingly incompetent, so they're rather responsible for some of the fixes mom finds herself in too.

I'm not sure if staying home last night calmed me much. The time seemed to pass incredibly quickly. But I managed to have some fun talking to April on the phone last night. It felt a little weird to be laughing freely again. We're going to make a movie called "The Sounds of Fat Music," or something like that. And you can imagine the songs. My Favorite Things: "Pizza rolls, pizza, Greek food and Mexican, Mt. Dew, reading and sleeping til Spring, these are a few of my favorite things. When there's no pizza, when there's no food to eat, when I'm feeling fat, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel soooooooo fat." And, my personal favorite: "Dough, pizza dough, pizza dough, ray of heat to warm my food, me wants to eat and eat and eat, fat I eat my weight in food; so I am so very fat, latte I drink it with my food, tea also with my food, which brings us back to dough, dough, dough, dough...dough, pizza dough, pizza dough..." Yeah, I know it's not terribly funny or anything, and it's sort of odd and loserish, but I swear it was hilarious at the time.

I rescheduled my classes for next quarter because I had a professor drop a class I was supposed to take. So, for next quarter I have: Physical Anthropology; The English Bible; Intermediate German; and Introduction to Photography. I don't think it'll be overtaxing. But they released the Fall master schedule and I was looking it over. It appears I'll have to take: German; Statistics; Ohio History; and hopefully also a non-Western History course or Astronomy, though it doesn't look promising that I'll be able to. Stats will definitely suck, and Ohio History is boring as hell. Astronomy is kind of boring, but not nearly so boring as Geography, which I'll probably have to take if Astronomy doesn't come through. At least that'll be my last German class.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Mom's supposed to get a test tomorrow that will conclusively determine whether or not she has a blood clot. The test carries a risk of killing her kidney. The transplant doctor apparently (I wasn't there, I heard this second hand and I'm always wary about these things) estimates the risk to be only 1% in mom's case. I'm an optimist at heart. I really am. So I've decided not to worry about it. Nevertheless, to cover bases, I'm going to skip Art again tomorrow so I can be there if anything goes wrong. It'll be really devastating if things get messed up. For multiple obvious reasons. I'm glad I'm old enough to donate a kidney now. I wasn't the first time around.

I hate the girl in my German group. She doesn't know what she's doing. But rather than shut up and get out of the way, she thinks it's important to tell everyone, including the Professor, repeatedly and loudly that she doesn't know what she's doing. She of course insists on taking the lead in the project in spite of her oft-professed ignorance and she isn't fond of suggestions from her groupmates. Ahh, well, at least she's begged so much help from the Professor that we ought to get a good grade in the end even if completing the 10-minute assignment takes us all week.

I was supposed to go down to Columbus to see mom today, but she says she doesn't want me to. I don't know if it's because she's supersensitive to my boredom factor (which, while I am bored as hell there, I'm perfectly willing to overlook personally), or if she's afraid that with dad around she'll try to smoke (yay! She's quitting - or, says she is. Can't get too excited because she's resolved to do this before. But it's progress, and I believe in hope), or if the real reason is she feels guilty for falling asleep constantly. Worse yet, she could be afraid that if I knew what was going on, I'd make her do things she doesn't want to do, like get the tests she's afraid of getting because she's claustrophobic. I yelled at her on the phone today for that, and that's when all this don't come down business came up. Still, I want to believe the best of her, so I told her I wouldn't come down based solely on the fact that I want her to sleep if her body's telling her to sleep, and I don't want to disturb her if sleep is what she needs.

So today has been oddly normal after last weekend. I woke up, went to school, came home and will apparently stay home. I'm relishing the normalcy, even though I'm not overly calmed. Dad and I have to find something to eat tonight. Maybe we'll go somewhere good. I wouldn't mind Mexican, or Greek, or even a pizza or something. I know it seems funny to be obsessing over food at such a time. But I think I'm obsessing because food is: A) tangible; B) controllable; C) tasty. When dealing with unknown illnesses, in situations in which your actions are dictated by people in lab coats who don't really care about you or even know you, and when your only chance to eat for days has been in five minute increments on the run from a vending machine, the idea that you can choose a food, out of a list of foods that you like, and eat it slowly and leisurely if you like, is insanely comforting.

Really ought to email people and tell them I'm alive. But I feel like an ass telling people how horrible my weekend was. It sounds whiny or like I'm fishing for pity or something. But I've been caught before telling people that everything's fine, then when they hear that they really aren't, they get kind of upset. Like I don't trust them with my problems or something. I don't know how to draw lines in these situations. I obsess over the stupidest things sometimes.

So I got a couple hours sleep today, but it wasn't enough. Went down to see mom, but she was mostly just sleeping so we didn't stay very long. She's looking better and moving around a little better, I think, but she can't stay awake for more than five minutes at a time.

I'm tired. It feels like I never had a weekend at all. I had to get up early Friday; Saturday was spent all day and night at the hospital; Sunday was nonexistant practically because I was sleeping or driving all day. Now I have to go back to damn school. I have a test tomorrrow. I don't think I'll do well. I'm going to be pissed if I blow the entire quarter at the end. I have an A in Art History at the moment; my Biology grade finally edged up into the A range; German is in the B range, I believe. If I start sleeping through exams though, the whole quarter's going to be blown; as is my GPA, which I really can't have. I can, if I can get some free time to actually do my homework and study, still pull a 4.0 out of all this. I just don't know if I have the energy.

Roxy Music sucks to hell. I hate Avalon.

Anything else new in my world? Not really. Still don't know about mom. Didn't talk to any of my friends all weekend, through poor Jasmin called repeatedly, and Jody called at least once. I should email everyone to tell them I didn't drop off the face of the Earth, but I'm too tired, so I won't.

The final release version of DMB's Grace is Gone is a lot better than the pre-release version I downloaded a while ago. I need new music for all these trips to Columbus. Someone make me a mix cd!

I discovered this weekend that, I'm not kidding here, my dad really is capable of bitching for 24 straight hours without sleep.

Oh, wait, here's something funny. I fell in an elevator today. I'm not good in elevators anyway, cause they make me a bit dizzy somehow. But I was really tired, so I went to lean back on the wall. But I misjudged the distance, and nearly fell straight back. I caught myself, but not before terrifying this poor Mexican man who spoke no English, but who, I think thought I was a patient passing out. He was freaking out. I think he was upset anyway, on account of his wife having a baby. Or at least that's what I'm assuming, since he got off finally, on the maternity floor. It probably didn't help that I looked like death from lack of sleep.

Have I talked about my lack of sleep enough yet?

Lucinda Williams' Righteously is sort of annoying. I don't like how she says "Righ-teous-lay." That main guitar riff is also irritating.

I'm getting worried about how much I talk in my sleep. I was sleeping in the chair in the hospital, and it hit me when I woke, that God knows what I might have said. It's odd to sleep around one's parents. Not to mention doctors and nurses in training, who, to my infinite horror, I realized today, are like, my age. God I'm getting old.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

So, all hell pretty much broke loose around here yesterday.

Friday night, mom started to get sick. I nagged her to go to the hospital, but she wouldn’t go. Her temperature started going down around midnight, so I decided I’d let it slide. I made her promise she’d wake me up if she threw up, or if the fever returned.

Around 3am Saturday morning, she started throwing up, and the fever was back. But she didn’t wake me because she didn’t want to go to the hospital. I should have anticipated this, and I feel bad that I let her just sleep. It’s hard to bully my mom into going to doctors. She sees enough of them, and random extra visits drive her crazy. I empathize with it, and let it slide because the fever was dying off.

So I woke up at 10:30 Saturday morning. Made her check the temperature; found out she’d been throwing up. I threw a fit; told her she was going to the damn ER. She demands that I call my dad before I take her. I give way on that, but knowing it was really just a stall tactic, I had her packed and ready and practically in the vehicle before dad was in the driveway. She was screaming at me to turn the car around by the time I got to Ashland, but I wasn’t about to turn back, so she was stuck.

Dad took her in while I parked the car. She told the people at the ER that she was having some lung trouble. The nurses apparently didn’t take this seriously; which, was probably fairly appropriate, since she was still mobile and everything and there were lots of other sick people in line ahead of her. But that wouldn’t do for me. So I went up to registration, gave them the full story of the kidney transplant, the surgery earlier this week, the fever and the vomiting. They expedited her, moved her straight into a cubicle, and we started to wait.

We were in the room before noon. Blood was drawn; cultures were grown. Repeatedly. All day long. Around 5:30pm, the doctor finally tells us that he thinks she might have a blood clot in her lung, but that the special dye it requires to do the test on a renal patient couldn’t get to Ashland until 8:00. So we settled in a bit more. Around 8:30 she goes to get the test. By 10pm we’re informed that we know nothing from the test. But the new doctor on shift is extremely worried about risk factors. He wants to move her to the hospital she got her surgery in. But mom won’t go there because that hospital sucks, and the care was lousy, which was why she came home early in the first place. So the folks in the ER get stuck playing phone tag until midnight, trying to find her a room in another hospital.

Meanwhile, throughout numerous blood drawings, and oxygen tank switches, and people checking her incisions and everything else you can imagine, mom’s freaking out about how she doesn’t want to stay, and she doesn’t want to ride in an ambulance, and she doesn’t want this to be happening. It’s pretty bad on the whole; but to her credit, she eventually gave in and went.

At a little after 2am on Sunday, the ambulance picks mom up and takes her to the hospital. Dad and I drive to OSU Medical Center, by 3:45am we’ve managed to find her room. We give numerous doctors and nurses her history (which, due to drugs, and carelessness, and deliberate subterfuge she manages to mess up each time); there’s more blood drawing and culture growing. More x-rays; more tests; more ultrasounds. By four, we’re allowed to sleep, under the sign, consequently, which reads: “Patients may not have overnight visitors.” By 5:30am a resident doctor comes in, takes another history. By 6:30, we’re allowed to sleep again. 7:30, more tests. More tests until 10:00 when dad and I are finally sent home.

Brett’s down there now. He’s going to have a horrible day and I feel sorry for him. As for me, I have to be up and ready by 5:30pm to go back to the hospital, so I’d better get some sleep.

It’s been a long time since I had to deal with my mom being seriously quite ill; life-threateningly ill, possibly. I wish she wasn’t so difficult. I wish I didn’t have to bitch and nag and push her around to get her to do what she’s supposed to do. I want to be nice. I want to get along and just feel sorry when she’s suffering. But her behavior makes it impossible. It’s difficult.

I wish I could say I was on auto-pilot. That would be easier. But unfortunately, I’m the sort that still has to think about everything they’re doing even when they’re damned exhausted and stressed and better-suited for being on auto-pilot.

Tonight, at least, I’ll bring a bag of things to distract me. Yesterday, the opportunity simply wasn’t there. So I sat, for literally six hours straight at one point, without anything to do. No magazine to read, no one to talk to, no television to watch. Nothing to do but sit and listen to the people around me suffer. There were three babies in the ER yesterday; the woman beside us was in terrible pain and kept having to be sedated. There was a little girl, probably six or seven, who looked like death itself when they wheeled her by. I saw a little boy who reminded me all the world of Justin Timberlake when his hair was black, and he wasn't such a dork, whose father had part of his lung shut down. The kid was clearly used to the procedure; he brought a cdplayer along with him. It must be something to be six or seven years old sitting in the waiting room for the God knows how many-eth time this year, waiting to hear what's gone wrong now.

I don’t miss these things. I used to do this sort of insanity rather a lot, and I was desensitized to it and capable of dealing with. But I don’t miss it at all. And I’m having a miserable time of things now. Perhaps we'll learn something over the course of the day, and it'll get easier.