Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I had a lovely day off today, though it doesn't feel as if I had a day off. It went blazingly quick.

Last night, I watched part of a show called Manor House. It's a British reality show, in which the participants are thrown back in time to turn of the 20th Century England. There's a lordly family, and all of the other folks on the show are their servants. Without modern amenities, the servants spend 16+ hours a day slaving away in the basement for "the family." In a Real Worldesque fashion, all of the participants have confessional moments with the camera.

While I'm not over fond of reality shows in general, I sort of like this one. It reminds me of the Stanford psychology experiment back in the 60's in which ordinary students were split up into groups of prisoners and guards. While they all started off as good friends, eventually they took on the roles of prisoners and keepers, and the guards began to mistreat desperate prisoners, who grew increasingly despondant. That experiment ended early because the situation became so bad. I can see this show turning that way.

The Butler is particularly touching. He seems like a terribly nice man. And he clearly tries hard. And no matter how close he gets to his master, though he may in fact be his very best friend in the world, the fact always remains that he is the servant and the master is the master. He said something to the effect last night, after the master was angry at him for something he couldn't control, and after they'd made up for it: "I have to remember that this could happen again. That I am the servant and he is the master. That I exist to serve the family; I am a servant."

The unmarried sister of the master's wife has gone mad already, and had to be shipped off the show for a while. The youngest son is having behavioral problems. The husband, being the patriarch, is having a jolly good time of himself, shooting animals and bossing folks around.

It's an interesting show. Though you can never recreate Edwardian England really, it's an interesting glimpse into hierarchical society. Or, at least, it's an interesting glimpse into obedience and conformity, and how well a generally egalitarian people can adjust to a rigidly structured societal order. I think the process works better in the UK than it would here in the US though. We're even more egalitarian than they, though of course, we have our pecking orders too. But I think it would be hard to find Americans willing to do so much to get on tv. Yes, hard to believe, I know, that there's something Americans won't do to get on tv. Hell, I'm sure you could find Americans willing to sign up, but I'm not sure how long they'd stay.

Anyway to return to less tv-tinged realities, mom's surgery went quite well today. I got to eat Greek food, and get some books on Europe. Jody called me to tell me that our rail passes are in already, which is damnedable joyous. I'm looking at tickets from Paris to London in July. I put a bid down on a backpack. I looked for new hiking boots in a real store. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I skipped the second half on my Anthropology class today. I went to get ice cream instead. Unfortunately, my conscience insisted that I return for my utterly useless (though sort of fun) Sociology class. And, you know me, having eaten ice cream, I'm now wearing ice cream. So I feel a bit of a dork. Thinking of skipping out early again tonight. We'll see. I'm skipping all day tomorrow, for mum's eye surgery, so I know I really should try to stay tonight. I have to stay in the library untril right before Sociology starts. I have Anthro. and Soc. in the same room, and my Anthro. Prof. always hangs around forever afterward. I dont really want to have to explain why I left (yes, she'll notice - my whole row skipped out early today).

Me: "I had to um..."
Her: ::points to strawberry stain on sleeve:: "Yes, I think I know what you had to um do; is that Paul's I detect?"
Me: ::blinks:: "...go to the doctor, yeah, the doctor."

So I've spent the entire day again thinking about Europe. I don't want to hear your complaints, dear readers, I'm obsessed admittedly and joyfully. It's this, or another detailed account of how well I slept last night. So, seriously, be thankful. Think I'm ordering a pack tonight. Think I'm looking for more plane tickets tonight. I'm so excited. Taking your life into your hands, and wasting money and such, I highly recommend it. It's quite fun.

But I'll be more happy when I get home. I'm tired of being at school. This quarter is actually moving incredibly quickly (week five already, and I've hardly memorized my class schedule). But I'll still be glad when it's over, and I'm in...heh, you know where. The gay librarian won't stop staring at me. You're not supposed to "word process" here, and he probably thinks I am. I don't feel like arguing with him; so I'll brave heading upstairs.

John Paul II
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
reckoned with.

Which Twentieth Century Pope Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Blogger hasn't felt like posting today, so I haven't blogged. I haven't felt like blogging today, so I haven't tried as often as I ought.

I was up til after 4 last night writing my paper. I woke up this morning and rewrote it again, in 45 minutes. I need to stop this behavioral pattern. It's really a grating one. Especially because I've been running on no sleep all day. But I did get some things done, in a roundabout way. I'm much better educated about backpacks now. I have a general idea of what I want I think. Sort of like This, but probably pricier cause I'm worried that particular bag might be made of cheap material since it's so inexpensive. I don't want anything to fall apart on me in the middle of some hot country somewhere.

My parents are irritating. They've been bickering nonstop for days. I hate Spring. The world is coming alive, and I wish it would go back to sleep.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

I got a lot of stuff done today. None of the stuff that really needed to be done. But a lot of stuff.

Jody and I set our schedule for Europe. We bought roundtrip tickets from London to Dublin (thanks to Ryanair, $30 a piece); We bought tickets from London to Rome ($18 each). We bought rail passes ($685 each). We bought our Hostellers International Card ($28). In short, we spent a lot of money. But I'm crazy excited now. This week I'll spend researching backpacks, and then I'm set.


I really, really, really should be doing my homework.

Oh yes, in other news, I almost died tonight. A semi didn't see me in the passing lane, and started to change lanes on top of me. I was paying attention because I hate semi's, and I jerked onto the shoulder and beeped. Then he saw me and changed back lanes. Funny, but it didn't upset me much. I saw another semi do almost exactly the same thing to some little black sports car about five minutes later; hey, semi's, try looking before you change lanes!

Oh, yeah, and my brother's dog almost broke the new laptop tonight. That was fun.

Come to think of it, today was sort of disastrous for the most part. Hope our planning won't end up that way. Or my homework.

Damn homework...really going, I am...

Today started off wonderfully. Was up for all of oh, two minutes, before I got into my first fight with my mother. That's promising.

I have a busy day ahead of me because I was unnaturally tired last night, and went to sleep at 3am, even though I only woke up at 3pm. As such, I have literally a ton of homework. And Jody's coming over for a while later and I have to take Brittany to Columbus right after that.

I had a good dream last night though. I dreamed of getting on an airplane of some sort and I was filled with joy. Now, that plane could've been heading for the fifth layer of hell, for all I know. It in no way relieves my worries regarding Europe or anything. But having joyous dreams - dreams so happy that they actually make my heart expand inside my chest and hurt - that sort is exceedingly rare for me.

My dad's about to enter the house, and have a huge fight with my mother. Perhaps you're noticing a trend by this point? If not, let me give the additional clue: Yesterday afternoon, my brother got in a fight with my mother. I won't be heavy-handed about this. Draw your own conclusions.

Today, a boy dressed all in black was walking down the road. I've seen him before, but he usually has his girlfriend with him. My dogs, as they always do, barked a little and ran down toward him, wagging their tails. They're not vicious, as he apparently realizes. They just like to escort him off our property, so they're sure that he gets off of it. But today he was either in a much better, or much worse, mood than usual. When the dogs started to bark, he turned around and barked back at them. The dogs, I'm happy to report, remained unphased.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Yesterday was good. I spent it with April, Brittany (April's friend from her old hometown, not my niece) and Mike. We stalked a guy where April works. In a disturbing trend we seem to have elevated from mere pictures (See: Seth Stalk Night) to entire moving videos. We played cards. April and Brittany played with Mike's homemade Ouija Board.

In less good news, I found out that a friend of mine from college was somehow in involved in Ashland's first driveby shooting. That is to say that he and his girlfriends were the ones shot at, and not the ones shooting. He's okay, and it's looking optimistic for her though she's in intensive care, so it's all very good at the moment. Of course, being my usual inappropriate and stupid self, I managed to say: "You're history!" to my friend when he told me he was part of Ashland's first driveby. Which I followed up with: "That sounded unnecessarily ominous. I mean, you're historical." Which was, obviously, worse than the original comment, which probably would have passed if anyone but my dark self would have been analyzing it. Honestly, I suck. I should never consider working in the health care field, or as an undertaker, or as anything else requiring gentleness and poise.

Today I finally got a check for driving my niece to school. I think they screwed it up somehow. Typical.

If I were wise, I'd start on my homework. But it's Saturday, for the sake of all that's Good and Holy, and who does homework on a Saturday?

Friday, April 25, 2003

Last night I went to sleep with the revelation that someone's been quietly resenting me for some time now. It isn't a fair resentment. All of the rage in me wants to rise up and tell the person off for being a hypocrite and for making decisions that generally make them unhappy, and then blaming it on me. I'm so angry over it, I could easily tell the person to piss off forever. But then I also know that emotions aren't ruled by logic. I know my general malaise of melancholy is unrelated to my actual existence; why should I expect someone else to resent me for only just and well-considered reasons? So I'll suffer it quietly. I won't continue in anger. I won't tell anyone off to teach them a lesson. I'm tired of trying to make myself the lesson-bringer. I'm tired of my endless quest to procure justice for myself. It was always one of my better, more annoying, qualities that I was concerned with mercy for my brother. I was hypocritical and insensitive about it sometimes, to be sure, but it still represented a better side of me; a side of me that I feel faltering as I've become older, and much more naturally and unnaturally judgmental. I want to focus more on the well-being of those around me, and less on the, often minuscule, wrongs done to me, which nevertheless have a much better trackrecord of having kept me up at night.

I've been having such a rough time of things mentally lately. I feel so unstable. As if it's my blinding, overpowering, unquenchable need to go out and conquer the four corners of the Earth, and yet, as if so much as a funny look from a stranger could totally and utterly decimate me. I'm in a fragile state. I'm nowhere near the edge; but that damnable seed of self-destruction in me won't stop dragging me toward it. I crave the abyss, to be truthful, even as I crave oxygen and my own life. I know I'm stupid; and the knowledge of my own stupidity is annihilation. I don't know if it really disturbs me that "I" have been destroyed, or if it's only that my American need to recategorize myself somewhere as something, and my own inability to do so, has simply rendered me irritable.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Random scene from an imagined life:

April, Mike and I walk into Buy the Cup. I order some tea. The clerk responds: "Aren't you an Indigo Girl?" I reply, "Why, yes, I am." He says: "Oo! And isn't that Jewel, with the nasty tooth?" Mike nods. And then he says: "Oh Lord, it's Carnie Wilson before she got her stomach stapled!" And April whimpers and hangs her head.

I'm having a very good day today.

First of all, I got enough sleep yesterday, for once. Of course, it took another long nap and a disjointed sleep schedule (that is, I slept from 7:30pm to 10:30pm and then 5am to 9am. I hope I get over this constant feeling of sleepiness before Summer. I'm going to start taking my iron pills (you know, like I was already supposed to be doing for the last oh, six years), just to stave off the possibility that I'm anemic again. I used to have to get weekly shots for it, and I have no desire to go down that road another time. I know, from reading this blog, that it seems I'm sort of obsessed with how much sleep I get. Sleep seems to affect me much more than the average person for reasons unknown. Probably, I'm thinking, because when I sleep, I have a tendency to not sleep well. Since I've been in college, I've had terrible nightmares all of the time. So even if it looks like I get a good eight hours of sleep, in reality I probably only get six and a half, because of all the time I spend trying to go back to sleep after having the holy living bejesus scared out of me. My prattling on about this is symptomatic, I know, of my obsession with sleep. Meh.

Second, I think I did well on my German exam. This is the most confident I've felt about a German exam since my first quarter of German, so hopefully it's a good sign. I know I mucked a few things up. Stupidly, I wrote "legt" instead of "legen," which is the singular of "lay" rather than the plural. I know I did that a couple of times. Nevertheless, on a lot of it, I feel I did quite well, which excites me a bit. Doing well always feels good. But I've been sort of down about my own laziness lately, so it'll be nice if, after having kicked my own ass until I finally studied, I managed to do well in a subject that's difficult for me. It's nice to see progress stemming from effort. I rarely see that. Generally, I'm either just naturally really quite good at something and never have to try, or I'm incredibly bad at something and no manner of trying will save me from my own incompetence. I think that Spanish will come to me much easier. For one thing, it's always easier to aquire another language after you've properly mastered something besides your natural tongue. And for another, German is just a lot harder than Spanish in general.

Third, my Anthropology class was mysteriously cancelled today. Hating Anthropology as I do, this is obviously a good thing, outside of the fact that it's always nice to have a class cancelled even if it's your favorite subject. Plus, she's letting us email her for our exam grades, which means I don't have to wait until Tuesday to figure out where I stand.

I've had a really busy week, and somehow I feel like I've risen to the occasion. I really applied my lazy self for once, and I think I got a lot done because of it. I don't pretend that the momentum will keep up. But it makes me happy to know that I can still work well when I have to. I'm thinking that this may be a 4.0 kind of quarter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

See which Greek Goddess you are.

I'm really quite tired. I got more than enough sleep last night. Another seven hours, after my four hour nap. But I read a lot yesterday, and studied an awful lot, so I guess it's just mental exhaustion. Tonight I have to study German for the oral part of my exam tomorrow. Then I have to finish I and II Samuel, since I'm falling behind in English. But I think I did well on my Anthropology exam, so I'm generally happy. I feel like I've actually accomplished some things this week, which is good. But I'm tired. And hungry.

Oh, also, my passenger-side turn signal burnt out today, and I had to have it fixed. Outside of manic school, that's all I've really done today.

Also, I have to figure out my schedule for the Fall. I'm thinking it'll be: More German, Intro to Spanish, History of Ohio and History of the Roman Republic. Not that any of you care, but I find it fun to think about what I'll be taking.

Monday, April 21, 2003

I took a nap. It was a good nap. But I had an odd dream, that I was one of 70 children in a single family, in ancient Canaan, and my father made me marry an old, fat, man, who already had 300+ wives, because he would get an entire flock of some sort of special pitch black sheep. I was guaranteed a "night" a year with my husband, but I always sold it to one of the other wives for a handful of figs. The other wives thought I was stupid, because I would never have a son to take care of me in my old age. But when the Israelites came, and wiped all of the men out, I appeared triumphant, with my handful of figs, and no lost sons.

The dream is revealing on several points. First, I've been reading way too much Tanakh lately. I was thinking about Gideon when I went to sleep, and that's why I was thinking of the massive families; Gideon had 70+ sons, not to mention daughters (not that the text does mention them). Second, I must subconsciously be much more upset about the blatant misogyny of Genesis than I realized consciously. Despising the modern feminist movement as I do, I generally don't fret over things like misogyny in the Bible. But I guess it's troubling me; and that makes sense, because I want the Bible to be extra-human, and I find misogyny to be all too human a trait. Third, it really is just like me to sell my sexuality for food. Not only is it just like me to do that, it's actually what I do.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, especially if you’re reading this from the perspective of having a Y-chromosome, I think it unlikely the children of Israel will come a-raiding my village, killing off all of the menfolk, leaving me morally victorious and alone. But even if they did come, I don’t think I’d feel superior for it. And if I did, I guess I’d be a lousy human being. Nevertheless, the crux of the dream has interesting implications for my psyche. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, you say? Well, not in my world, buddy.

While I know that this is hardly a new topic for me, lately I've been thinking a lot about alienation. It seems to be one of the main conflicts of my young life, and that's why it presses me so. It seems to me that the natural state of intelligent people is to feel profoundly, catastrophically, disconnected from humanity. I have mixed feelings about my own alienation. On the one hand, I have a natural distaste for the mob. On the other, I see nothing so glorious about Nietzsche’s lone wolf, coming down to prey on the helpless, and mindless, sheep. I’ve written before about my personal, and I think also the generally human, craving for balance: To find answers which are simultaneously of my own discovery and yet also true and universally binding for all people in all times.

As I find myself beginning to really age, though I must blushingly report that I am still a mere twenty at the time of this writing, I feel suddenly much harder pressed to find the binding truths of the universe, quickly, before time runs out. I’m not sure whether my increasing need to focus on the base realities of human existence, like keeping myself clothed and fed, and the knowledge that these realities will become much more difficult and pressing in the relatively near future, is causing my sense of impending intellectual doom. It seems that people who have to seriously worry about old dogs and children don’t really have much time to worry about complex questions of human existence. Or if, perhaps, it’s that I simply distrust anyone over the age of thirty, as the old adage goes, and I do not consider myself an exception to the rule. Or if, perhaps, most damningly, I’ve come to see a lot of philosophy as so much sophistry and I’m disenchanted. Maybe my heart has warmed toward dishes, laundry and electric bills, and has hardened toward that inexact science which attempts to find out how many angels can dance all together on the head of pin, to use an unfair and untrue and therefore, I think, appropriate analogy.

I’m not fond of talking in terms of that modern golden idol, good health. But I do realize that my particular brand of alienation manifests in the most unhealthy of ways. And that fact alone is enough to make me suspect it. Asceticism intrigues me, but I’ve never really been drawn to it. And while I enjoy my own lusty sense of intellectual martyrdom, the pain of the ulcers and migraines it has caused me already, and the knowledge of my own very likely future, stress-related, and therefore self-inflicted, death, neither pleases me nor is readily dressed up into something beautiful or meaningful. And in the meantime, I neither know love, nor even a decent human lust after anyone other than myself. I find it distressing. I know that I’m utterly, and totally imbalanced. What I don’t know is whether or not I’d like to sacrifice my alienation, my individualism, on the altar of being somewhat transcendently better than I am.

As my great-great grandmother, Mary Britt, used to always say, “It’s better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” And at least I do know my own devils. I find them comfortable, if not even somewhat comforting. And I have to continually ask myself why it is that I would risk, or even destroy, that which I hold dearest to me for an unexperienced and untestable notion of something better, that I simply feel must really be out there somewhere. I must answer the unanswerable question: What self is it that you serve, in destroying yourself, for the sake of yourself?

Tonight, I’ll study Anthropology and German, two subjects which are, in all practicality, utterly useless to me. And I will neither enjoy the studying, nor the end result of having mastered the material. I will sleep poorly, and work my stomach into knots over potentially forgotten decimal points, and in the stony silence of my sterile, archival mind, the lone voice of a wild man, smelling of honey and feverish human sweat, fresh from the wilderness, will cry out to me: "Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!"

Yeah, so I was up until after three writing my paper last night. The topic really was easy, but my lack of attention span was making it a truly painful experience. I ended up rewriting the damn thing in forty-five minutes this morning before school. The paper is pretty good, insofar as argument goes. But after I was at school, I noticed three typos on my hard copy, which is bad. But it can't be helped. And if you consider the difficulty of writing a seven page paper, in forty-five minutes, on five hours of sleep, if the worst thing you've done is make three typing errors, you really haven't done bad. I'm a little irritated with myself because I procrastinated so much; but I'm happy on the whole because it really is a fairly solid paper. Though this will come off as incredibly arrogant, I know, I've found that even my worst efforts in writing are still superior to the efforts of most of the poor kids in my writing classes. I feel like a bit of jerk knowing that I'll get an A on a paper that took me forty-five minutes to write, when other kids will barely eek out C's on stuff that they've been working on for weeks. But hey, get me in a Math class and the handicap is reversed. It works out in the end I guess.

So, if I were wise, I would work on my German, and then study for my Anthropology exam. But the moral of the day has been: I'm not wise. So I think, instead, I'll go and take a nap. I could really use one. But first maybe I'll fiind some food and watch some tv. No wonder I scored Lazy Smurf:

Find your inner Smurf!

Sunday, April 20, 2003

April loves Jesus, and she cries in Church. haha, and her grandma looks at her funny and shouts hallelujah. And she weeps. haha! Jesus lover! HALLELUJAH!

I've been slacking all day, not writing my paper. And now I'm slacking more 'cos the 10 Commandments are on, and I'd prefer watching it to writing my paper. Charlton Heston rules.

I'm doing my paper on misogyny in Genesis. It's easy. But I just don't feel like it.

I don't feel like anything really. I was sketching character profiles today. But doing anything important seems like too much effort.

Guess I should've done my homework yesterday when I had a little more attention span.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Today turned out okay. Shooting friends and family really does relieve stress. And you know gorging myself makes me happy, so.

I've started to outline my paper. One of these hours I may even begin to actually work on it. I think it'll be pretty simple once I delve in.

Alienation and general anxiety still with me. Has been since Thursday or so. Don't know what's up.

I've been looping the same five songs for the last hour or so: Bob Dylan's Delia; Johnny Cash's Hurt; John Williams' Suo Gan from the Empire of the Sun soundtrack; James Taylor's You've Got a Friend; and the Beatles' Julia.

I wonder if I could've been a great musician had I ever practiced when I was younger. I'm actually not bad so far as raw talent goes. And I'm sort of proud that the other day I had a melody stuck in my head, and I couldn't figure out where it came from, until I realized it was something I'd written on the piano. It always feels good to create something; I don't know why. But there are so many things I tell myself, constantly, that I'll work on someday. But I never do. All weekend too, I've been thinking about how I feel like writing some stuff. But then I never get up the gumption to do it. Maybe if I had a better incentive like a writer's group or something I'd be more inclined to actually work.

We got the air conditioning up and running today, which is happy.

Think I'm going to go work on my paper. Maybe will be back later when I remember how much I hate writing papers. That usually sparks my interest in blogging. Ahh, avoidance behavior.

Today, I'm not happy.

First, my mother decided that because she has to work Sunday night, having Easter on Sunday, you know, when Easter is, would be too hard. So therefore, we're "having" Easter today. Lord knows I'm flexible on these things when there's a good reason. I was the one who originally suggested, some years back, that we could have Thanksgiving a day before it was, since mom was going to be in the hospital on the actual holiday, which was the precedent which spiralled into this. But it seems there should be a line drawn somewhere. There ought to be something between hospitalization, and I don't feel like it, that that line falls. Also, it's Saturday, and it's NOT Easter. This isn't a silly holiday like Thanksgiving, or a birthday, it's pretty much the most important holiday of the year. Not that I'm overly pious or anything. But it's still stupid.

I've basically kept my mouth shut on this. I'm irritated, but I want to get along. But this morning, when I woke up, stumbled out of bed and immediately my mother started nagging me about the state of the living room last night. Now, last night I went to bed sick. So it's insulting to nag me about cleaning. But then she generalized this one experience of a "messy" livingroom (read: shoes in the wrong place, a dirty glass left in the living room and not mine mind you, a blanket fallen down onto a chair instead of hanging on it where it ought be), to an everyday experience. It's "always" that way. Except that it's not. I check the damn living room every night before I go to sleep, even though I couldn't give two damns whether or not it's messy. Double irritation, and I've been awake for two hours.

Trying to salvage some patience for the day. My brother brought Serious Sam over, so I'm going to go install it and play. Killing stuff generally cheers me up.

Friday, April 18, 2003

The Friday Five

1. Who is your favorite celebrity?

Kathy Bates. She's a better actress than the vast majority of folks in Hollywood; I mean, good Lord, she's certainly more versatile: obsessive fan of Misery; Squirrel Lady of Rat Race; Menopausal burgeoning Southern Feminist from Fried Green Tomatos, etc. And she does it with the insanely massive handicapped of being obese. Does it sound mean to point out that she's fat? Sure it does. And that underscores my point. Our society wants, demands, that women be tiny and pretty and wispy; she's not, and she's still magnetic and commanding and she makes a ton of money doing it. That's pretty damn awesome the way I see it.

2. Who is your least favorite?

I despise the entire Baldwin family.

3. Have you ever met or seen any celebrities in real life?

Lots of sports types; when I was little my brother always made me go with him to get autographs of NFL players. Then, of course, I've met Dick Goddard, Wilma Smith, Big Chuck and Little John, of infamous Cleveland television fame. I met Vitamin C, though I didn't really want to. And there are others, surely, but they don't stick out in my mind terribly clearly. I'm not really the star struck type.

4. Would you want to be famous? Why or why not?

I'd like to be rich, and that comes along with being famous sort of. And I'd like to be a famous speechwriter, or author, or something. But I wouldn't want to be a "celebrity" or a movie star. Mostly because famous people are vastly overrated. They don't do much, and they whine a lot, and people freak if they gain half a pound, or if they're not wearing their makeup or something. I'm just generally happier remaining anonymous, unless I gain something important by putting myself out there, like donations for charity or something.

5. If you had to trade places with a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why?

Ari Fleischer, if he counts. Because he's awesome. He has a rough job, and he's just as smoothe as his shiny, bald head.

"I have seen with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the boys asked her 'What do you want?' She answered,
'I want to die.'

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers."

- T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Yesterday, Mtv's "I Bet You Will" came to our campus. The basic premise behind the show is that people will do anything, no matter how stupid or painful, to get money. Of course, getting to be on Mtv is another motivating factor. But the basic idea is that you can give somebody $30 and they'll shave off their eyebrows for the whole world to see. I ignored it as I was walking in. I'm not about to sell what little dignity I have for a few bucks. A lot of bucks maybe; not $30. When I came into German class, Bronson, who I didn't really expect it from, said something the effect of: "They know college kids don't have any money, so they're exploiting us because they know we're desperate." It's true really. How much better than bum fighting is it really?

I'm a Libertarian at heart, so I guess I have a problem trying to draw a moral line in the sand. If people want to do stupid stuff for money, they have that right. But I don't have to like it, and I don't have to watch it. Mtv is crap anyway, so I really never tune in. But if I see the show, I'm changing the channel. It's wrong to exploit desperate people.

Ahh, well, have to run because it looks like a class is filing in here.

I'm at school. I'm bored. My English Response Paper was "excellent." Yay! I probably should've been an English major. But I have to write a much larger paper this weekend for English. I think I'm going to do it on the Early Jewish idea of Heroism, and how so many of the "heros" of the Torah are sort of anti-heros. I have a German test on Tuesday. I just finished writing my Anthropology paper, and I think it's all right. I think I'm hitting the meat of this quarter. Everything's due; exams in everything. My first Anthropology exam is on Tuesday too. Looks like I'm getting ready for a boring and busy weekend. Still, I'm thinking of skipping the last half of Sociology tonight. It's harder to sit through easy classes than difficult ones; I hate to waste my time.

Huh, I just noticed that my AIMer icon, a detail of the more thoughtful looking Cherubim from Raphael's Sistine Maddona, is hung on the wall in the Computer Lab at school. Maybe I was primed for it. It seemed a curious choice for me, after all. Ahh, found it, it's the cherub on the left, I picked:

Why do the cherubs have Titian hair?

I had Spaghetti-O's for breakfast, but I'm still hungry. I could seriously use some food. At least it's Thursday! And work-laden though I may be, Britt's on Spring Break next week, so I don't have to drive her to Columbus Sunday night. That frees up a solid two hours on Sunday, when traditionally, I try to smash a weekend's worth of work into a two hour period of actually getting things done. I'll have four hours to work this weekend, but I'll be buggered if I still won't try to smash everything into that two hour period. ::shrugs::

Going to find something to eat before class starts.

So which LOTR Villain are you? Hmm??

made by Michelle at EmptySpace.

"Perhaps it is not after all so difficult for a man to part with his possessions, but it is certainly most difficult for him to part with himself. To renounce what one has is a minor thing; but to renounce what one is, that is asking a lot." - Pope St. Gregory the Great, Homilies on the Gospels.

I was just thinking about how strange it is that so much of my life has been, and will be, dictated by decimal points. Perhaps even my own salvation, in the end. Damned Euclid rules the world.

I started off the night depressed. I was feeling sad over my own failure and my own stupidity and my own damnable sadness. It seems stupid to be utterly knotted up in anxiousness and regret when your life is going as well as mine. But: "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness." - Proverbs 14:13.

And now I’m somehow angry. I’m feeling cheated. My failures, my idiotic need to justify my failures to myself and others, my own inability to be satisfied with those justifications, are certainly my responsibility. I can’t blame anyone else for them. But somehow this world seems damned unfair.

I’ve been thinking all day about two bits of literature. The first was something I read in Exodus for my Bible as Literature class. It’s the first part of Moses’ song after the people have escaped from Egypt. “The Lord is a man of war. The Lord is his name.” The second is something from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. It’s from the section which directly precedes the Great Inquisitor, where Alyosha and Ivan are hashing out their beliefs. Ivan asks Alyosha, “Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature - that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance - and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?”

Alyosha answers that he would not. And I can muster no other answer. Tonight I’m angry at the cosmos though I realize that it’s utterly ridiculous to scream at the sky. Who the hell am I to judge God? Who am I to demand answers and accountability? “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” after all. But I’m angry because the world is unfair. It doesn’t take a particularly apt scholar of human society to see that some people are simply stomped on. Some innocent children are beaten, and starved, and abused. Some innocent children have their arms blown off because they were unfortunate enough to be born into a country where having your arms blown off is superior to starving to death because your president is an evil dictator.

I can’t complain so much about my own life. I know that my life is good. I’m only vaguely aware, most likely, of just how wonderful my life has really been, comparatively, in a world where most people don’t even live in democratic societies. And yet I do complain about my own life. And tonight it seems justified. I won’t carry on about the children with no arms; what have I done, myself, to alleviate their suffering? But I know it’s my own depravity which keeps me from giving up everything I have to help others. I recognize that it’s a tremendous evil on my part that I don’t really love my neighbor. I realize that I’m in love with own suffering; that I have secret pleasure in my own martyrdom. I can see the nastiness of my sin. But that’s exactly what makes me so angry.

Why did God make human beings? To love us? What sort of love could produce a world such as this? What sort of love forced Adam and Eve out of the Garden? What sort of love led God to destroy all of Noah’s generation; to allow Noah to curse his grandson Canaan for his own sin? What sort of love loved Jacob and not Esau? What sort of love wiped out the firstborn of Egypt and drowned the Pharaoh’s army in the sea? What sort of love waxed hot against the children of Israel when they sinned by bowing down to the Golden Calf, ending in the death of 3000 men?

I don’t understand God. My heart is with Cain when God favors his brother Abel; with Ishmael when God favors his brother Isaac; with Esau when he is twice tricked by his brother Jacob, whom God simply loves better; with the ill-favored sons of Jacob, who are ignored because of their beautiful brother Joseph. Why should God favor sinners like David? Why should a murderer like Moses be the greatest Prophet of the Old Testament? Why should I worship a God who would force Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac - even if he stayed his hand at the very end?

When Alyosha answers that he would not consent to create such a world as this, his eyes flash and he answers Ivan: “You said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and its to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’”

Christ is the answer to my accusations of iniquity. How can I even whine that there is injustice in the world if there is no God? What is justice if there is no one Just? And how can I cringe at the death of that one, suffering, innocent and unavenged creature who was tortured so I could see happiness, if I do not love Christ? Christ, uniquely, assented to His own plan. I do not understand it. I cannot understand it. And from the most inner regions of my being, I need to know!

When God afflicted Job - or I should say, allowed the affliction of Job - and Job cried out to God and demanded an answer for his suffering, God replies: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” I find it such an infuriating answer, and yet, when Job is confronted with it, he “repent[s] in dust and ashes.”

I find myself calmed by this point in the writing. I’ve been moving quite rapidly. I know my ideas are base and hardly pulled together. But I’m intrigued suddenly. Is the principle sin of man wanting too much knowledge? It’s why we were kicked out of the garden after all. And it’s why I suffer. Because I’m insufferably curious and need to know. And God keeps us from such knowledge, just as he kept poor Moses from the Land of Milk and Honey, because of our sin. Poetic justice.

I don’t want to be a blasphemer. I just want it all to make sense, and it doesn’t. Perhaps if I spent more time repenting in dust and ashes, I’d have a clearer picture. But then, in what sense would I be human? It’s an odd world, indeed, where one has to suppress ones humanity to become fully human. And yet it’s only the mystery of the faith that draws me.

I have massive homework piling up on me, and I’m supposed to be sleeping in fourteen minutes. First major slack of the quarter coming on. My resolution to try harder lasted a while, eh?

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Yesterday was hot. Irritatingly hot. I, of course, didn't check the weather report before I left for school, so I wore a long sleeved shirt. This was a bad move. Not only did it get into the mid-80's yesterday, but I had four hours of class in the only room on the campus without air conditioning.

We also don't have the air conditioning up in the house yet. Oddly enough, mostly because of having a furnace and an old house, I think, we don't have central air like normal people. We have those white trash-looking window air conditioners in every room of the house. But we haven't put them up yet, since yesterday was the first day it was really all that hot. So I turned on my ceiling fan before I went to sleep. But the thing shook a bit, and it rattled. So I got up in the middle of the night and tried to mess with it. It appears that the, um, bulb thing which covers the light bulb was loose. So I tightened the screws and went back to bed. Five minutes later, it had shaken loose again, and it rattled. I couldn't sleep with the rattling, so I eventually turned the fan off. When I say eventually, it should be noted that I tried to fix it probably five more times before giving up and going to bed And as such, I didn't sleep on account of being 80 damn degrees in the house all night. 80 might not seem that hot to some of you. But my mom is from Kentucky, and she turns the heat down to the mid-60's every night. 80+ is about 15 degrees out of my normal range.

So I didn't sleep well. And I don't want to go to school today. But there's nothing new there.

Jody's coming over later. I think we're going to go look at backpacks or something like that. Figure out an itinary and things like that. Hum, I just realize I pronounce that word like "i-ten-er-ar-y;" will have to try to stop that. The mispronounciation that really, really gets on my nerves these days, is when people say "heatherns." There's no r in heathen, folks! My Sociology professor, who's generally a pretty bright guy, keeps saying heathern, and I may go batty over it soon. I have a hard time around people with speech impediments, because I (and most other human beings I think) tend to imitate the speech patterns of people around me. If someone around me has a mispronounciation problem, it generally becomes my mispronounciation problem in a short period of time. There are other common mispronounciation problems around here that drive me insane: "Warshington," "cain't," "li-bary," "schoo," etc. April tells me that I say "Christmas" wrong, but I can't hear it myself. Something about the interaction between the s and the t, I supposedly over-enunciate. In any case, that's getting pretty damn picky. It's not like I'm saying "Christrmas." I think she also hates how I say: "library." She's one of those types who seem to think the 'r' is silent; but it's not, it comes from the same era of Latin that gave us "Libra," and nobody says "Liba" do they? I thought not.

Anyway, I'ma find some breakfast. Sorry this post was boring. I mean, it was fun to write sort of. But I don't suppose anyone cares about the weather in Ohio, or how we mispronounce things here. ::shrugs:: If I only posted interesting things, I'd probably only get to post every couple of months.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Blogger's been acting up quite a bit lately. Wrote a long entry last night and another this morning, but neither took. So, you get nothing. On the other hand, Mike now has comments!

So in quick news, I was unfortunately elected president of the history club last night. How dorky can I get, you ask? Even dorkier, I assure. In any case, the process was democratic. Neither Austin nor I wanted the job, so we flipped a coin and I lost. But Austin's a nice guy, so he's going to be co-president with me, in spite of my losing the coin toss.

I'm thinking seriously about grad school again. I need to get my gpa back into the 3.8 range. Don't see it happening with my slacking.

Stress causing eye to twitch. Lovely.

Must run: Anthropology starting.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Do you ever pick up a bag of cookies, and think to yourself: "I'll just have one or two." And then you drop them on the floor and you think, "Well, it wouldn't be nice to let anyone eat cookies that have been on the floor," so you start eating the rest of the bag. And then you come to your senses and think: "Damn, I've eaten too many cookies, I'll just set them back where no one's likely to pick them up." And then you see that there's only like two cookies left, so you're like: "Well, two cookies couldn't hurt." And so by the end you've eaten the whole bag. That ever happen to you? No? Just me? Huh, well.

So I wrote my paper on Exodus today. It was kind of stupid. But at least it was short. Not bad for a paper I wrote in the wee hours of the morning. English was boring; German was boring. Driving hither and thither was boring. But there has been one break from the monotony, Brooke started a blog, yay!

I have to go to a History Club meeting soon. They're a lot of fun. We talk a lot about stuff we're going to do someday, and then we never actually get anything done. They're conspiring to make me president again; I'm trying to avoid it again. It would look good a grad school application, I know, but the job sucks. It's thankless, and, as I said, literally nothing ever gets done. I could potentially change that, sure, but that would be all work and stuff. And who wants that?

Angela wants to take Daysi to Cedar Point soon, and she invited me. I'm thinking about bringing my niece Brittany with me. She likes that sort of thing, I know. And I don't really hang out with her much otherwise, though it seems like I should. Speaking of family, today's my sisters' birthday! You know, that's a difficult sentence to conjugate. It is, to say, the day of the birth of my sisters, who are twins. Being as they're girls, I'll be polite and not share their age. Nevertheless, happy birthday to them!

We have another family problem on the horizon, which is Easter. Seeing as there's general feuding throughout the ranks, and seeing as we're not about to invite some folks and leave others out, it looks like we won't have a family celebration at all. Which would be fine except, in my family, we age sort of strangely. All in clumps, sort of. Because I'm 20, and there are four kids born after me, who come before Brittany, who's 16, it's becoming rather imperative that we seize the day on family celebrations. I'm going to graduate from college next year, and may be leaving for grad school shortly after. The other kids are beginning to age rather quickly too. Only Britt's still in high school (though, to be fair, that isn't because there's been a rush of graduations recently). And I'll be kicking her ass if she doesn't leave for college right after school in two years.

Change of subject.

I was just talking to my mother about balance. It's odd for a child to lecture their mother on the Golden Mean, no? Mom's absolutely positive I'm going to bring back SARS from Europe. What are the chances of me contracting that illness and bringing it home? Practically nihl. Nevertheless, this is what she keeps herself up at night worrying over. Meanwhile, she has some sort of stomach condition. The doctor in the ER referred her to her family doctor. But while she knows that she has a weakened immune system, and that she has an actual existing illness, she won't go to the doctor. So, I tell her, let's talk risk here. What are your risk factors versus your expenditures? Serious illness and possible death versus an hour of your time and ten dollars. But this logic is lost on her. Similarly, the lottery. Obviously, if the lottery was a money loser, the government wouldn't keep it in business. She knows this. And yet she wastes piles of money on it every week; we're talking triple digits here. What are her chances of winning big versus how much money she spends? And yet, this logic, too, is lost on her. "What were the chances the people who win it would win?" she asks. And how can I combat that? Balance, mother of mine, balance. Take a chance if you will, but don't sacrifice your whole bank account for it.

Budgeting must come to me mysteriously naturally. I've overbudgeted for Europe around $1000. And still I'm cheap! But no worries, I'll blow it yet. And it would be sort of nice to be able to last the rest of the Summer without getting a ::turns up nose:: real job. Anyway, I'm off to play some Serious Sam before I have to go back to school. Hurrah for killing stuff!

Sunday, April 13, 2003

So, last night, I attended my first official frat party. It’s sad that I’m a senior in college and have just attended my first frat party. And sadder that I came to the party sober, remained sober throughout, and drove all the way home this morning totally sober. It’s even sadder still that I’m utterly white in every respect, and can neither dance, nor be enticed to dance. And while these things are certainly tragic, I actually had a pretty good time.

I say “actually” because I’m not sure anyone can quite imagine me at a frat party. I’m not really the partying sort. But anything’s fun under black light, so it was good times, man. Brooke’s eyes were freakish; while the white around everyone else’s eyes was glowing, Brooke’s interior circle around her pupil was glowing too. Daysi thought my green teeth and hair were hilarious; why do I turn green under black light? Angela’s face was red from the heat in the basement, and her hair turned sort of a neon green under the light; she looked like Christmas.

The band wasn’t bad. And it was funny to watch Daysi getting hit on. And I discovered that Hardee’s has really good milkshakes.

I wonder how much of drunkenness is just put on? I saw some really drunk people last night. And the ones that were really drunk, I think, didn’t think they were drunk, they just couldn’t walk in a straight line or have a normal human conversation. But then I saw a lot of people too, who were loud and goofy and reiterating constantly that they were drunk, and I think, they probably weren’t so drunk really.

And then on the way home, we killed an hour by mysteriously transferring from 30 to 23 and going all the way to Marion, which is about oh, say, forty-five minutes out of our way. So I didn’t get home until about 5:00 this morning.

Just about that time, I guess, my mom called my dad to ask him to pick her up at work and take her to the hospital. I guess they were in the emergency room all morning, and didn’t get home until about 1:30 when I woke up. They’re not sure what’s wrong with her yet. But they think either gastrointeritis or some sort of stomach infection, or worst case scenario, a pinched intestine or something like that. I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t say.

I’m surprised I don’t feel guilty about going to a frat party while my mom was sick. While I couldn’t predict her illness, facts aren’t usually cold enough to stop me from feeling guilty. And my lack of guilt over this is strange. Perhaps it’s progress. It’s certainly about time I started making some.

And today, I have a busy day ahead of me. First, I have to get some generalized homework done. Then I have to take Britt to Columbus. Then I have to come home and read the book of Exodus and write a paper on it. Hopefully, this time, I won’t wait to start until 11 at night, thinking it won’t take me very long, and end up still writing at 4am, and skipping class the next day because of exhaustion. That would be nice.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Okay, which one of you got this website by searching for this? Naughty websurfing, hmph!

But I've got to say, April's searches are much better. For instance, someone searched for "fat preetens & cat." Not just fat preteens, mind you, but also a cat. And get this, there are two searches on that which brought people to her blog. And don't click on this one unless you're over 18 and don't mind utter nastiness. Ditto on this one.

Man, ya'll are pervs.

I was relieved this morning when I read the paper. I said some potentially inflammatory things at the forum yesterday, and they all could've been easily sucked up and put out of context for everyone to read. But instead, I was greeted with a tiny article, that was heavily biased in favor of anti-war mumbo jumbo. Ever since Garnett bought our local paper out, it's been utter liberal crap (previously it was mostly just crap with a leftist tinge). Here's the link to the article in question: OSU's Roundtable Agrees There's No Quick Fix for War.

Some major problems of this article:

A) Everyone but Joel was mentioned, which sucks because Joel made good points. Probably why he was left out. Wait, no, on second thought, they left out Randy too, and Randy organized the thing. Though, it's a bit more understandable to leave him out, since he was the moderator and not actually a panel member.

B) Most of the panel didn't disagree with the idea we could stop terrorism. Darrick disagreed. And I questioned it.

B1) Darrick's comment didn't get applause because it was such a good point (though, mind you, I'm not disagreeing with the point he made or trashing it in any way), he got applause because it was a hilarious comment. At the start of the forum he'd said something about supersizing a Big Mac and everyone laughed. When he was making his point about it taking time to fix terrorism, he said: "Americans like quick fixes, that's why that McDonald's joke was funny earlier. We want everything done quick, right now. But it takes time to bring people together to fix problems."

C) They mispelled both Noah's name and mine.

D) They totally fluffed up what I felt was already a fluffy event. There is only one point of conflict mentioned in the article, and it was one of our least tense moments. I don't know how they could ignore my accusation that fundamentalist Christians blindly support the state of Israel, or my questioning of the validity of the UN, or Randy's basically calling the US a rogue nation, or Joel's worries over Haliburton and the fact that the administration seems to be benefiting personally from the oil gained in Iraq, etc.

But anyway, like I said, I really was relieved when I read the paper this morning because it's just as well I don't have fundies writing letters to the editor about me and poisoning my dogs or something. Plus, it reinforced my hatred of reporters. I remember back in the day when I had to go to the Board of Education at my high school to argue in favor of homeschooler's being allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, and the paper utterly mangled my comments. I didn't exactly look like a dork then, I looked like a liberal or something. And I honestly never come off that way in reality. It was irritating to say the least.

Speaking of which, I've thought about becoming a reporter many times. Maybe, still.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Well, the long awaited forum has come and gone. Some reflections:

It's odd not to know who to root for in a debate. On the one hand, I was with the pro-war guy, cause I'm pro-war. On the other, I was with the OSU professor, because I'm pro-OSU and I despise Ashland University. Our professor gave a much better speech, coming from a rhetorical standpoint. But I thought he had some really lousy points. Lousy enough, in fact, to be so obviously socialistic that, as he stepped down, a guy in the audience shouted out "Workers of the World Unite!"

Today was more interesting to me. I got there in time for the interfaith religious discussion thing. The Unitarian representative was, well, as should be expected, erm, flakey. The Jewish representative got nailed on the state of Israel; I felt kind of bad for him. I felt annoyed that both of the Protestant ministers were actually sort of good while the Catholic was quasi-irritating. Though the Catholic wasn't as bad as he could have been; he basically just laid out just war principles without commenting on them very much, except to show which view was his. The Protestants, particularly the Calvinist (boo Calvinism!), actually got quite a bit closer to the heart of the issue, so far as I see it, than any of the others, noting that this is hardly a purely religious issue. The Muslim, an Iraqi Sunni, was actually quite good, though he sort of dodged a question from our resident Sudanese exile, regarding slavery and Islam.

Then came our turn for the student forum. It was sort of irritating that most of the crowd left by the time we got up there. But probably better for my nerves. I was extremely nervous when I got up there, and I'm not sure why, since there couldn't have been more than 25 people and two cameras in the room. I sort of choked on the first two focus questions, but I think I really did a lot better on the audience questions. In any case, I think I was the only kid who showed much spine, because while everyone else was trying to be inclusive, I actually engaged in a little debate. For instance, in regards to the question about what role religion has played in all this, I responded, in the midst of a longish rant (embarassing for me, since I'm usually much better in control of my own voice), that I thought one of the major problems with religion in this war and the modern world in general, is the fact that fundamentalist Christian groups tend to blindly support the state of Israel in all it's endeavors. For someone as pro-war as I am, I was actually pretty measured, and expressed an appreciation for dissent.

Nevertheless, I totally choked on the first two questions, and therefore, I feel like a dork.

Guess I'm supposed to be a speech-writer and not a speech-maker.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Goat. I like the name and I like the blog. Very nice.

Russian Deaf School Burns; Killing Students. Well that hits disturbingly close to home. The kids had to be wakened by hand because they couldn't hear the alarm; it couldn't be done fast enough.

MEP Vote to Ban Stem Cell Research on Embryos. Yay! Finally something Europe's doing that I like.

New American/British TV Network for Iraq. Let the propaganda begin!...again, and this time with our spin!

Scientists Identify Virus Causing SARS. Now that they've identified it, they can do a simple test to check for it, which will aid in containment.

Human Cannibalism Helped Spread Brain Disease. But that's a good thing!

Poor Dr. Atkins Critical. Someone in a position of power finally suggests that the guy isn't totalally quackers, and now this? He's cursed!

Hawks target Iran and Syria. As I said, this war isn't about oil, or just getting rid of Saddam, yadda, yadda, yadda. It's about reversing our policy in the Middle East and the world. No more appeasement, or containment, or any other outdated policies; long live conflict for peace!

Time for Anthropology, abouts. Will write again tonight.

I don't feel well today. It's a kidney infection, I'm pretty sure. Another one. I'm well on my way to dialysis, by age 30! Weee!

I had fun in English today. My paper was "excellent," apparently, which is lovely. Because lately, my writing's been, erm, so-so at best. I just haven't had the concentration or will power to put anything into words. Hence my neglect of my poor blog.

Still, I'm feeling a bit encouraged. So that may bode well for this space.

In fun news for me, I was looking at a poster for some Pray For the Troops poster put up by Campus Crusades for Christ when I noticed a handwritten note. Someone wrote this lengthy rant, on both sides of the poster, about how "no one could be so stupid except Christians" and if they're so concerned about wrong and right how they should condemn this war because Oil = Murder = WRONG. Very stupid rant really, but it amused me to no end. And I had to physically restrain myself from writing a response. It would've been pithy, perhaps: "Whachoo been smokin', cracker?" It makes me more excited for the forum tonight and tomorrow. Oh, bulletin boards are great, but there's nothing like exposing idiocy with that personal touch of actually being present with said idiot.

Not that I'm not a bit nervous about tomorrow. Iraq is hardly my speciality. But I think I'll be okay.

Anyway, off to read some headlines. Will return with links if anything strikes me.

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. I'm kind of swamped with school. Not that I have a ton of homework exactly, because it hasn't been horrible just yet. But starting school back up always means changing your schedule, and getting used to having it changed, and I seem to always adjust poorly to it all. Nevertheless, school is good so far. I decided not to buy books this quarter, so hopefully that won't backfire on me. I turned my first paper in for English, and it seems to be acceptable. I have my first quiz in German today, and I don't fear it too much, since we can still use our conjugation chart. Things are going well so far, and I think this may be a more peaceful quarter than many.

Tonight, there will be a debate on the war at school. My old History Professor will be debating some History Professor from Ashland. I'm skipping Sociology to watch. Technically, I think I could go to half of Sociology, and then go to the Union to watch. But I'm taking the entire class off and getting some food. Tuesdays and Thursdays are irritating on that account. I leave the house at 10:50am or so, and I don't get home, or have a significant break, until 8pm. That's sort of the whole of the day usually spent on eating. So I'm hungry all day, and by Sociology I'm generally doing my best to suppress stomach growls.

Tomorrow I'll be at the student forum on the War. I still think I'll be the only pro-war kid on the panel. In some ways I prefer it that way. I can better control the tone and focus of the debate when it's me against the world. But of course, it's hard to take a whole panel on by yourself without coming off as a lone ranger type, or as if you're trying to monopolize the discussion. I'm hoping the Muslim Student Organization from Main Campus will have some interesting characters, willing to speak. In any case, I'm sort of excited about it.

I finished a book on the history of Iraq last night. I'm not one of those people who reads a book about a place when we're fighting with it, and then pretends to be an expert about it. In fact, this book seems to have been written for the functionally illiterate in most respects. But it had some good, solid, factual stuff in it and I think I gained some perspective on certain things which have been troubling me. For instance, why didn't the people of Iraq immediately rise up in jubilation when we came rolling through? Some of them did, certainly, and after yesterday's statue incident, it's even clearer that they are a bit happy over the thing. But on the whole their reaction has been much more subdued than I expected. Well, perhaps part of the reason for that is because Iraq used to be a British mandate, and they weren't happy about it.

The Iraqi people have experienced "liberation" before. WWII "liberated" them from the Ottomons; the ascendence of Qassem "liberated" them from the Brits; the ascendence of the Ali's "liberated" them from Qassem; the ascendence of the Ba'ath party "liberated" them from the Ali's; the ascendence of Saddam, as we know, liberated no one. I'm not surprised that the Iraqi's aren't so happy about the US rolling into town. They've been down this road before, and it's going to be one hell of a challenge to get a real, multi-ethnic, functioning democracy going.

I feel a little embarassed that I never knew that Saddam's government was Socialist. I mean, obviously the Russia/Soviet Union connections make a lot more sense now. I figured Saddam more of a fascist than a socialist; but then, what's the real difference between Stalin and Hitler, besides exact rhetoric used?

Ah, well, I need to find some breakfast and study for my German quiz. Will blog later.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm watching the men of Iraq taking out a statue of Saddam Hussein in the middle of Baghdad. First a noose slowly making its way up. And now they're beating at it with a sledge hammer. heh, teenage boys are trying now, and they can hardly lift the sledge hammer, but they're giving it their best anyway. They're throwing rocks at the statue. It reminds me of the part of the Hajj when faithful Muslims throw stones at three pillars representing the devil.

I'm so happy for them. It reminds me of watching the Berlin wall come down. There isn't so much dancing, and the crowd is smaller maybe. But the feeling is the same. I remember the statues of Stalin coming down. The people want freedom. And here it is, as the Sky news reporter put it, "the moment that freedom came to the Iraqi people with the US Marine Corp."

A US tank, with dozens of Iraqi's loaded onto the top, looks as if it's about to push the statue over; there's a chain around his neck. Reuters reports say that as tanks rolled into Baghdad, Iraqi's yelled things such as: "We are Americans, we are USA." Another screamed: "Thank you Mr Bush." AP reported that crowds of young boys gathered around Marines screaming: "Bush Number 1! Bush Number 1!"

Shots were heard; the people scattered, but are regathering now. They think there might be snipers. But the people still won't disperse. My God, I can't imagine living in the lives that the poor people of Iraq have had to live. Americans complain when their loudmouthed ideas aren't immediately accepted and popular. Iraqi's were forcibly prevented from having ideas.

They've wrapped an American flag over Saddam's head. They took it off, and an Iraqi is waving it in the air. Now an Iraqi flag is waving. They've hooked the Iraqi flag onto his head. The people are screaming and jumping around.

I hope they hurry, for God's sake, I don't want to miss class again this week, but I'm going to watch this thing come down. It's moving. A huge cheer's gone up. People are praising Allah; there's chanting.

Patriotism is not a feeling that comes overly naturally for me. But I'm so proud of America right now. I have no doubt in me that this war is the right thing. Liberation hasn't meant so much to me since the first time I read the Declaration of Independence.

It's tipping. The legs are broken. People are throwing everything they can get their hands on at him. Damn, even Saddam's damn statue is hanging on to power. The statue just fell! The people are crowding in and dancing. I have to run to school now, but I'm so proud!

They're hoisting an Iraqi flag. And I'm so happy!

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

My head still hurts. I can't tell if it's an ear ache, a tooth ache, or a sore neck. I know it sounds stupid not to be able to say. But they're all connected, and the pain just comes in a tremendous wave that makes all three hurt all at the same time.

I'm half thinking of dropping this earliest class I have. That extra hour for sleeping in would be so incredibly welcome. I could sleep in til 10 every day if it weren't for the English Lit class. And I don't even really need the English Lit class, since I don't think I'll bother filing for the minor after all. Oh Lord, I miss sleep.

Today, I encompass all unhappiness and suffering. Cursed be insomnia!

Monday, April 07, 2003


First blog on new laptop! First blog on new laptop!

Got my new glasses today. Yay! They're actually not as bad a I remembered. Even the sunglasses don't look as stupid as I thought they might. Plus, I can see again, and that's utterly brilliant.

On the downside, I woke up sick today. My neck is sore. I'm all queasy. I didn't get any sleep because of that stupid paper on Genesis. I eventually wrote it on the problematic sections of the Noah story. Kind of weak. Meh.

Well, mom wants to use the laptop, and I can't hog it today. So will write later, I promise.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I'm in a distracted sort of mood. Not great for writing. Nevertheless, I have to write a two page response paper on the Book of Genesis for my Bible as English Literature class tonight. I think I'm going to do it on the problematic sections of text. Like the two creation stories, how there can be light before there's sunlight, how Cain finds a wife in the land of Nod though there shouldn't be other folks in the world, how Noah takes different numbers of critters with him on the ark in two different versions of the story, etc. But that's almost too easy. And almost too obvious. We'll see.

The only good thing about the Oliver Beene show is the theme song.

Aight, better get cracking.

I've heard strange, violent stories today.

When my mother was a little kid, her older brother tried to chop off her thumb with a hatchet for taking one of his biscuits. Another time, he shot her in the head with a bb gun. For fun, I assume, that time.

When my brother Brett was a kid, my other brother Tony used to beat him up with a whiffle bat, among other things. Once Tony even picked Brett up when he was only a toddler or so, and launched him across the kitchen. It ended in Brett's head getting sliced, in a scar you can still see today, on a sharp protruding piece of metal on the dish washer.

The fights between my sister Denise and brother Tony are legendary. In one story, my sister actually got my brother down on the floor, and took his head and repeatedly smashed it against an ajar sort of door. Blood was everywhere.

There's a story about the time my sister Denise didn't tell mom she got in trouble at school and needed her detention slip signed until right before the bus arrived the next morning. Denise had expected mom to let her off the hook because of the late hour. But instead my mom chased her out the door with a belt, and Denise caught it in front of a whole busload of kids.

My nephew and niece Robbie and Jessie talk in their sleep incessantly. Their dad is the epitome of asshole. So one night, when they were still quite small, he heard the kids talking in their sleep and assumed they were up messing around. So he took a belt in, jerked them out of their sleep, and whaled the hell out of them for not going to bed.

When my Grandpa Moses was a little boy, my great-grandfather Jerry smashed him the head with a hammer for not handing him a nail fast enough.

Only last Summer, my niece Brianne's father slammed her head through a wall, in a drunken rage.

I don't know why I'm fixating on these stories tonight. They're so desperately violent. And they're such a part of me. I remember when Robbie and I were little, we picked switches off the willow tree, and would chase each other around with them. I remember being afraid to hit him very hard, but he never shared my concern. The pain of being smacked with one of those nasty branches mattered less to him, than the joy of laying a good hit down on me. I didn't understand it at the time; but the memory has bothered me for years. Pain has always meant something different to me than to almost anyone else in my family.

I don't believe in spanking children. I've shot disapproving looks at friends who I've seen spank their kids/cousins/nephews and nieces in front of me. They laugh at me for it. But I can't help but fear violence, having seen everything in life that I've seen. A "tap" they say. But I've heard my nephew and niece's father justify his use of the belt that way. I can hear grandpa Jerry explaining that a boy needs discipline in response to any claim that he beat my grandfather. I know there's a difference between a literal tap, and a beating. But it seems that sometimes the lines get blurred; and there's no reason to try to tightrope walk a blurry line in my view.

Though I'm near pacifistic myself in practicality, it gives me some odd welling up of pride to be able to say that I've never lost a fight I've been in, and I've been in a few. I remember when my nephew Jimmy was maybe three, and I was four, I beat him at a game of PacMan and the kid lost it. He charged at me. And my mind went so oddly clear. It was if I had all the time in the world to make a plan of action. I saw him moving almost as if in slow motion, and I clearly and calmly reasoned to my four year old self, that I needed to use his momentum against him, though in simpler words. I could almost hear a voice in my head say: "Take his head, and slam it down against your knee." And as I saw him coming at me, I did just that. And he bled. And I was very pleased with myself, even as I stood in the corner as punishment for beating the child up. Which was unfair, considering that he attacked me.

And when I was in third grade, I got in a fight with a boy called Joey. He claimed credit for an idea that was mine, and I was mad over it. He made fun of me, and I got up in arms. As we stood by the monkey bars arguing, I heard the whole line of swings cheering. All of the boys were cheering for Joey; all of the girls, and my good friend Bill, cheered for me. A boy called Tim tried to intervene, and keep us apart, but I got a right hook in, that smacked Joey's head back into the monkey bars. He cried and ran away. I was insanely proud until the fear of getting in trouble for it set in.

As I write those words, I can't help but be proud of them. Even as a little girl, I managed to beat up boys. I could always hold my own, and that made me proud. But I fear violence, and I dislike it, and sincerely, I think it's a corrupting influence that can ruin lives. So I don't know how I manage to reconcile in myself that blood lust, and that joy over the spilling of blood, and my hatred of inflicting pain. Somehow I do.

I see it in the war now. I can't stand to hurt anyone; I don't even kill flies. And yet I can support a war that I know will end in military as well as civilian casualties. It seems we must fight; and yet, I can think of nothing so odious as fighting. It's desperation I think. Because nothing could be worse than the mass genocide which has already happened, and is happening.

I'm tired. Rambling. Fixated on violence.

Friday, April 04, 2003

The Friday Five:

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?


2. Which was your favorite and why?

Home Home, with my parents. Because, I guess, I know every nook and cranny, and how all of the stains on the carpet got there, and how I was responsible for the majority of them. My house is very lived in, and it's comfortable. It's also quiet enough that, when you want to sleep, the only distracting sounds are crickets. Never loud engines, or honking horns or anything nasty like that.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?

I really only remember having moved once and it was horrible. But that had a lot to do with my reasons for moving; my rents splitting up, and being forced to go whether I liked it or not. I don't remember moving back into this house, even though I was probably thirteen at the time. It wasn't memorable. Maybe that means that moving doesn't really bother me so much. Or maybe it was so incredibly awful that I've utterly repressed it. Dunno.

4. What's more important, location or price?

At the moment, price, cause I don't have any money. But later, I imagine location will become more important.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?

My dream house would be utterly huge. Huge enough, in fact, that my family could all live together, but in separate wings, so we wouldn't see each other enough to fight much. And I'd have a pool table. And broadband, and like seven thousand computers. And a library. And my Japanese bathroom from the Great Indoors; or likely one even better, on account of I'd be crazy rich if I could afford any of this, and could pay someone to design me one. And I'd have a garage. In fact, even if I have to live in a shack, I want a garage. It sucks not having one.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

The more I get involved in things on campus, the dumber I feel. That is to say, I go to a tiny campus, of a giant university. And I'm not overly proud of the fact that, though the standards and requirements and all that of going to school here are the same as if I went to Columbus, I still go to ::nasally Mansfield accent:: The Branch.

So, as I prepare to take part in the forum next Friday, and as I debate whether or not I ought to submit some writing to this campus literary award type thing, I'm trying to balance feeling embarassed over where I go to school, and making myself take chances when it seems I should. I always made fun of people overly proud of winning stuff on this silly campus. But on the other hand, I don't want that to become an excuse for me not to get involved in things that I'd benefit from.

Maybe I've been around too many Psych majors recently. But I think my isolation issues are obvious here. I remember writing once, and it disturbed a number of my friends, that I felt self-conscious so much as cheering at a football game. Being part of the crowd scares the hell out of me; that feeling of being involved is exactly what brings the crowd to righteously demand, with hate foaming on their lips, that we must lynch, lynch, lynch. A lone crusader; I can take that characterization. But a speck in the masses? Not me, buddy.

That's probably what makes me so fond of Thomas Merton's No Man is an Island. It preaches exactly what I don't feel. But what I want to feel so much. My mother used to say that if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. In this matter, I recognize myself as thoroughly the beggar. I just want a job grooming for Chrissakes. I want to be in contact with that sort of feeling. But I can only watch it from afar off, with a stupid grin on my face, trying to smother that arrogant bastard of a feeling welling up in me, that, my God, those people sure look silly.

Hey mom, does that mean I'm a schizoid type or something like that? Someone analyze my data, I'm looking for a fight.

::squeals:: Mom said she'd take Britt for me on Friday, so it looks like I can go to the forum. I'm half debating inviting folks. But only half. It would be harder if I had people to impress.

I need a haircut. Nothing new about that really. But I do.

I just read a really annoying article on the canon of scripture. I won't go over all of my picky little points. But the major problem had to do with the author's claim that the canon was determined, as it were, "by accident." I have a problem with this mainly because, while it is true that there are, of course, billions of undeliberate factors which influence any event, the formation of the canon was extremely deliberate. It isn't as if one day a meeting was held on a lazy sunday afternoon, and a Pope and two of his buds kicked back to pick some books they liked. There were multiple canonical councils to be considered, and over a century's history of bickering about the subject, particularly between mainstreamers and Gnostics, about what should be considered sacred text, before the first canonical council was even ever held.

Also, the article treated Tradition in such a way that, well, it practically didn't even deal with Tradition. It made a vague reference to pre-scriptual days when the people believed the oral testimony of the Apostles, and another vague reference to how this idea still exists in the "Roman Church." But it stated that this view lost out. Then he went on to talk about Luther and his minions. Well, the fact is, that this idea is by no means vague in the Roman Church, nor in the Eastern Church, it's absolutely central to both traditions. And Tradition didn't lose out. Catholicism and Orthodoxy are hardly denominations to be easily sneezed at in the Christian world.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I'm extremely frustrated today. I was invited to participate in a forum on the War on Iraq at school, and I don't think I can do it. I really, really, really want to go, but I don't think it's possible. The forum is next Friday at 3:30. Friday at 3:15 I'm supposed to be picking Brittany up in Columbus. Columbus is an hour and a half away from here. Now, I could ask to pick Brittany up early, but it would have to be very early. I mean, for me to be able to drive the hour and a half back and get to school at a reasonable time, I would have to pick her up at like 1:15. I know it's not fair to ask Donna to let Britt miss half a day of school for my forum on the War on Iraq, but damnit, I want to go! It's also irksome that it's early in my driving career. I mean, had I been doing this since last year sometime, I'd have some respectability. But this is only like the third week. I need her to know that I'm not going to be pulling stuff like this all the time. I need to find a way to work this out. This sort of opportunity is just too rare and rich for me to miss.

Bible class was better today. We went over various versions of the 23rd Psalm to show the difficulty of translation. It was kind of fun. Then German was short. I really need to study my German badly. I keep forgetting really basic things like whether aus ausser bei mit, etc. denotes accusative or dative case. It's stuff I knew, but have slipped because I haven't studied them recently. I think I'm beginning to understand how my grandma, who spoke only Flemish until she was eighteen years old, has managed to forget how to speak the language, after years of speaking only English. I wonder if I spoke German to grandma, if she'd understand much of it. I'm not suggesting, of course, that Flemish and German are identical. But they have similarities, and I think, she must have picked up a little something during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. Speaking of which, perhaps it's best to forgo trying to speak German to her. She hates the Germans. She still cringes when she hears an ambulance going by. The sirens remind her of air raids.

My allergies are acting up. I slept really well last night though, for the first time in a while. I'm still tired anyway.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

I really thought I'd hate my Sociology class, but it looks like I may enjoy it. The Professor is a strange man, who's been all over the world, and has odd stories to tell about it. This is a good thing. Tonight I learned, amidst great tangents: Hawaii has islands that white people aren't legally allowed to go to; the government officials in Hawaii have voted in favor of seceding from the US, though they did so full in the knowledge that they had no intention to do so; that there is slavery in Kuwait (I knew there was slavery in the Middle East, but I did not know that it occured with such frequency in our close ally Kuwait); that male Kuwaiti citizens have basic entitlements including a mansion, a mercedes and servants; that there is a nation called Tonga in Polynesia in which there is no concept of private property; that in Saudi Arabia, recently, a girl's dorm caught fire in the middle of the night and the fleeing students were pushed back into the fire by officials because they weren't wearing their burkhas.

Also, a particularly odd night student, a middle aged fellow, made a nasty comment about the Amish and Jews smack dab in the middle of class. The Sociology professor asked if anyone had a lot of experience with the Amish (which, living in Amish country as we do out here, it isn't so odd a question as you might expect), and if we did, then, do the Amish put any importance on the fact that they're US citizens? The guy starts rambling about how they only do when they're making money, and concludes with the comment: "The Amish are the Jews of Christianity!" I started to laugh immediately of course, though quietly. And the Sociology professor got a strange look on his face and said: "Wha?" The guy's explanation of his comment was massively incoherently, and mercifully cut short. But I have this half-arsed urge to wear my Israeli Army shirt to class Thursday. Honestly though, I'm sort of afraid of doing that, because I think there's a pretty good spirit of anti-zionism alive at my institution of somewhat higher learning, and I'd rather not get called any dirty names by my History Profs. Hell, I'm not all that fond of Israel myself, though I am quite fond of Judaism in general, to be clear.

I enjoyed school more today than I did yesterday. Perhaps my long days won't be so bad after all.

Anthropology was mind numbing today. It might not always be so bad. I muddled through Biology after all, and this ought to be much more interesting. But I found myself drawing stupid cartoons again, which is something I haven't done since I was in Philosophy 101. If I'm drawing cartoons it means I'm bored. Very bored. Mind numblingly bored. For instance, today I nearly laughed out loud over my own mind numbing pun: "Bipedophilia," from my teacher's claim that she loves the bipedalism (translation: she likes that humans walk on two feet).

In other news: ::blinks:: I haven't any. School's about it for the time.

But wait! First, funny links!

Courtesy of Elaynocentricity: God Speaks! In the Form of a Soon-to-be Bludgeoned Gefilte Fish.

Yeah, so not funny links, just the one funny link. Must run, will do more later.

It's already hard to make myself get out of bed. I hate Spring Quarter.

So, last night I picked out new glasses. Or rather, I assented to those chosen for me. To say that I picked them out would imply a greater affinity than I think appropriate. Nevertheless, I assented, so the responsibility is mine.

And I went to the dentist this morning. Just a routine cleaning, but the dentist is concerned with my constant teeth grinding. He says that the wear on my back teeth make it look like I'm an old woman, though I still have a nice set of teeth over all. It's just the clenching of my jaw and grinding that's wearing them down. I can't do a lot about it, since I do it unconsciously. He says that I probably even do it in my sleep. Ahh, well, I'll stop when I notice it, but that's the best that I can do.

School is okay. My Bible as Literature class is sort of irksome already. It'll get better I think. But for now, we're covering the most basic facts about the Bible. Things like what is the Vulgate? Who translated it? What was the Septuagint, and why was it created? And who was William Tyndale, and why did he translate as he did? These aren't bad questions. But hearing kids venture opinions, when you already know the answer and just don't feel like coming off like a know-it-all, is irritating.

German is as German is. I need to refresh on some things. Meh. I have Anthropology next. And I dropped my Photography class in favor of this boring looking Sociology class I need to take before graduation. I sort of wanted this to be a light quarter, since my finals will end the day before I leave for Europe. But at least I'm getting things done. If I ever stop being such a slacker, this shouldn't be the most difficult quarter for me.

Going to find food.