Saturday, January 31, 2004

My blogs haven’t been great lately. I apologize for that. But I want to qualify it, too. I’m going through a lot internally right now that I’m not terribly comfortable shoving onto the public sphere. Being the introvert that I am, I like to work everything out internally before I go all voyeuristic about it. But I am willing to hint a little at the things I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve been thinking mostly about who I am in the world. I’ve written previously about the concept of identity and how I believe it is that I fit into life on Earth. In abstract terms, loosely, I am the creation of God and a member of the body of Christ. What that means in the physical terms through which my life is lived, however, remains a bit elusive to me.

I retain a lot of my Eastern religious self-upbringing. The way I view my life is through a lens of responsibility. I believe, as Krishna taught, that I must attend to my duties. And if I do that, then I will have done what I am here to do in the universe. Because I have a slight perfectionist streak in my psyche, I’m really terribly harsh on myself I fail. The past few weeks in particular have underscored that last point. If I feel as if I’ve messed up, and I can’t go back and fix it, it’s really almost enough to keep me from functioning. Something in my brain, in my sense of self-worth, in my conviction that there’s meaning in the universe, just stops when I begin to think that I’ve really messed up.

I see responsibility everywhere. I have a responsibility to my parents, my friends, my teachers, my self, my God. And it seems like I never quite live up to my end of the deal. I thoroughly expect that every one of those groups I listed will fail me; and somehow I’m okay with that. But when I think about my own failures, I get almost sick over it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of the interconnectedness of man. I’ve been thinking about how I am personally responsible for the sins of every man, and that, every other person on Earth has a personal responsibility for my sins in return. It’s a strange thing, but I have an easier time accepting the first premise, though the promise of the latter one is more attractive.

What I know is that, in the end, I’ve been thinking entirely too much about my self. I’ve been selfish, and I’ve self-indulged. I need to stop it though I don’t know how just yet. I need to meditate more and be less a part of the world.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a good friend. There are a lot of obvious things to say about the subject. Good friends listen when you need them to. They make you smile when you need to smile. They’ll cry with you when you’re suffering. The bottom line of it is that good friends know you well enough to know when you need which response. That’s what being a good friend is all about.

I’ve very rarely been a good friend to anyone. Not because I didn’t want to be a good friend, but because circumstance and personality differences made it impossible for me to be one. Good friends have to have some basic understanding of each other’s deepest identity that, for the vast majority of people, it’s simply impossible to attain.

It is perfectly possible, in other words, to be a good neighbor to someone without being their good friend. It’s perfectly possible that I treat someone very well, that I love them even, without being a good friend to them. And most of my relationships in life have been that way.

I am a basically good person, with some really glaring faults. But very few people would accuse me of being mean, or purposely hurtful, even to people I don’t like. Last weekend I told someone off at a party, and I think, it was actually the first time that I’d ever done it in my entire life. It was evidence of how deeply jarred my personality is right now. But it was so exceptional that it prompted a friend to ask me if maybe I wasn’t getting mentally ill. Not in a bitchy way or anything. But in earnest, because that’s the sort of thing I’d never ever do.

So in short, I’m usually a very patient sort. And I really want people to be happy. And I usually try to govern my behavior with that goal in mind. If someone needs a friend, I try to be that friend; even when it’s hard for me to do. Even when it means going against the crowd, or taking a little personal humiliation. But nevertheless, the fact remains that I’ve been a good friend to very few people. I don’t have any sort of intimacy with very many people at all.

I’ve learned to accept over the years, and particularly recently, the fact that I will really become close to very few people over time. There are a lot of good times that I can share with a lot of people. I will love a lot of people, and I will care about so many more than I really love, but that won’t mean that we’re really good friends; that is to say, that we share an unshakable bond.

There are a few friendships that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how certain people have really added to my life; how they’ve made me a better person just by being who they are.

And I’ve been thinking about certain other friendships, which haven’t really added anything positive to my life at all. It’s my natural tendency to blame myself for that fact. And, in fact, some of these friendships are the friendships most dear to me. These are friendships that I can’t imagine losing; friendships that it hurts me to know that they will someday fade. They’re almost like friendships I never had, that I’m sorry for having missed.

Right now I’m thinking about how lucky I am to know such really awesome people. I haven’t always been so lucky, and I know it’s a great mercy that I should be so fortunate now. I need to get better at telling people how fond I am of them, and how much I appreciate them. I need to get better at letting people see who I really am; better at trusting that, once they’ve seen, they’ll still love me anyway. Because that's what good friends do. And I know that, even though I'm not always a very good friend to everyone, I can still count to my side a few people who are truly good friends to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Hey, son of a bitch, I blogged today and it's gone!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

So I skipped school today. I really probably shouldn’t have. But the weather is bad, and it’s supposed to get worse. And mum was sick this morning and I didn’t want to have to speed from school to home if she got bad enough to have to go back the hospital again. Not with the roads so bad.

But I still have Astronomy tonight. I’ll probably go, even though sticking ice picks in my eyeballs sounds more appealing. Nevertheless, my father is home now and I’ve lost my good excuse for staying here. And I’d like to see my first failing grade in college; we’ll probably have our exams back today.

Anyway, I’m off to go and study. I have about three days worth of Russian reading to catch up on. Hey, and tomorrow I have a map test in African history. Meh.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Classes were cancelled this evening. I can't complain about that. Though it would have been nicer had classes been cancelled this morning. It's really sort of dangerous to have roads this bad and not close. I know it's college, and college classes traditionally cancel a lot less than high school ones, but there's also a point after which it's just stupid to endanger lives. I go to a branch campus; 99% of students commmute. That has to be considered. I don't know why I'm writing this. No one who reads this blog is likely to disagree with me about the goodness of closing school; hell, I don't even need a reasoned argument.

Anyway, I'm tired as hell. I'm just not thinking quite straight. I'm starving though. So I'm making food and then going to sleep. I have reading and stuff to do for tomorrow, but it can wait until morning. I wish I was more interesting. But I'm mostly just tired. I think I said that already.

Yeah. Putting this entry out of its misery.

It's 11:04AM. My paper is finished. It's having a hell of a time printing. But hallelujah, that sonsabitch is done!

It's 2:40AM. I'm still writing my paper. I'm on page six of a likely twelve. My peers will have to critique this piece of crap in the morning. Damn. But there's an extremely outside possibility of a snow day tomorrow. That would be heavenly. Absolutely heavenly.

Anyway, it's now 2:42AM. I need to go and write my paper. Damn.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The past week has been so awful, and I've been so emotional. And not just emotional, but despaired. Well, no more of that. Everyone has their occasional dark night of the soul, but despair is unforgivable, and I won't give in it to it.

I've always had a temptation toward darkness. I've never entirely given myself over to it, but Lord I've tried sometimes. Years of experience, of logic and thought, of all of my higher faculties, tells me that darkness is not what I want. It's a craving; a desire; a passing passion and nothing more.

I want Joy. That's my decision. I make it for all time. For the salvation of my own soul, and the souls of those around me.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve last blogged. I’ve been incredibly busy.

Thursday was the funeral. It was actually pretty nice. My grandfather made us promise that there wouldn’t be a preacher, so two of my cousins spoke. It was much nicer than having some damn preacher that didn’t even know grandpa rambling about what a nice guy he was sure that he was and all that. Instead, we got to hear about my grandfather’s ornery grin and his way of teasing his grandkids; how we’d see that grin and run, knowing we were about to catch it. That’s right; ornery, we’re from Kentucky, all right? And my cousin Amy worked some religion in, which was okay. She’s not bad for a born again. She told about how she’d talked to grandpa about Jesus, and he’d made a joke. She told us how she’d told him it wasn’t funny, even though it really was. I like a born again that can admit grandpa’s anti-religious humor is pretty funny. But apparently, grandpa promised her he’d pray or something. I don’t know if he was telling the truth. Brett taught me when I was younger that you should always just agree to do that stuff later, when nobody’s around to make sure you did it, to make people feel better. Maybe it’s different on your death bed.

After the calling hours Wednesday, and again on Thursday after the funeral, we all went to my grandma’s house for a while. It was actually really nice. I’m not terribly close to my family. But somehow it felt right and good that we should be together then. My cousin Daniel sang hillbilly hymns to us. And I was glad for it. In Kentucky, the Old Regular Baptists sing for like three days until the burial. Now, theologically I think I have less in common with Old Regular Baptists than I do Jainists. But I missed the singing for grandpa.

Thursday night I think I failed my Astronomy exam. Everyone told me to ask to have my test moved because of the funeral, but I’m not sure it would’ve helped much. Besides, I’m such a pain in the ass in Astronomy, what with talking all the time and not paying attention, that I really couldn’t justify asking for a favor. Astronomy bites. I’m glad there’s a curve. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough time to study for an exam that kids who studied for four hours swear they failed.

So Friday seemed like it would be calmer. But it wasn’t. The drive back from Columbus was ridiculous. I can’t count how many accidents I saw. The roads weren’t really that bad. But people kept driving like they were. So you’d get jackasses trying to do 40 in the fast lane on 71, and other jackasses trying to do 80 and trying to pass them. And, then, of course, you get accidents. I was lucky though. About an hour after I got home, the roads really did get bad.

I mention the fact because it played a part later in the evening. I ended up having to take my mom to the hospital last night. She’s got pneumonia. And even though she was so sick and out of it that she couldn’t remember my name at one point, she was still alert enough to bitch about my driving. In the snow, you really don’t need anyone screeching about your driving. She was actually pretty good about it. But it was nevertheless difficult.

I didn’t get home last night ‘til late, so I didn’t get up today until late. Mom’s feeling a bit better, and looking a lot better, so that’s cheering. I have to write a 12 page paper this weekend, and that’s not so cheering. But I think it’ll be okay.

Just taking life a day at a time at this point.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

If I took the worst feeling I've ever felt in my life, and multiplied it exponentially, I think I might get close to how I'm feeling right now. Not really. I guess that's melodrama. But it's genuine melodrama. It's honest-to-God how I feel right this second melodrama.

Nobody can crush your ego like a mom can. They bring you into this world, and by God they can make you feel fucking awful once you're in it. Having raised you up on their knees from infancy, they know all of the best ways to get to you. And when they're in a mood, damned if they don't use it.

The other day I wrote that I was happy. And right now I'm on the pinnacle of despair. The closer I get to heaven, the harder my fall back down always is. But despite my current suffering, I really am a happy person. I'm just going to have to seriously humble my idiotic self to remember it.

Today sucks. I didn't finish my paper, so I'm going to have to try for an extension. Damnit. I didn't do my reading, so I'm not really endearing myself to my professor. Damnit. Calling hours today. Damnit.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Kind of a funny moment from tonight, talking to my sister and dad about the peculiar state of being part of my family.

Donna: Hell, I think every Hopkins had to have kicked an ass or two in their time.
Me: ::laughs:: Yeah.
Donna: Well, maybe you never beat anybody up. You're about the nicest kid in the whole clan.
Dad: Oh, I think Sarah's had a few fights in her day.
Me: Yeah, and I always won too. I've never lost a fight. It takes me a long time to get temperamental, but once I've lost it, I'm the meanest damned Hopkins you ever saw.
Donna: I believe it!
Dad: You really should. She's like the female Jerry*. Actually, come to think of it, you're quiet like he was, too. I bet you scare the hell out of everybody in the whole clan.
Me: Yeah? I don't think so. But I sure hope I do. It would be pretty cool to have a rep as the meanest living Hopkins.

* Jerry was my great-grandfather. He's fondly-remembered for stories such as the one in which he smashed my grandpa's head with a hammer, because he was too slow bringing the nails; and his favorite dinner-time trick, in which the children weren't given a proper supper during the depression days, and Jerry would tempt them with the stuff on his plate and say things like: "Do you like this pie? Well, then, watch me eat it."

My life has become a bad country music song.

My grandfather died, my brother was in a prison riot, my deaf niece broke her leg. And, it looks like I'll probably spend most of the night tonight driving back down to Columbus, in a snow storm, which, consequently I just got back from. And I still have to write three papers tonight; albeit, they're short. But I only have to go back down to Columbus because my sister has a terminal illness and has gone too blind to be able to drive. Did I mention I'm broke?

If Hank Williams sang me, I'd be golden.

But of course, Hank Williams can't sing me, 'cos he died of a drug overdose. Which is the one thing in life I'm lacking to make it a good country song. As my dad said it tonight: "My life sure did seem easier back when I was drunk all the time." Preach it, father.

I was awoken a few minutes ago by the call which said that my grandfather is dead.

I don't really know how to feel about it. I'm compulsed to do something useful about it. But death is one of those events about which very little useful can be done. Wise people learn from death their limitations and the limitations of man.

I won't feign a lot of closeness to my grandpa. I've seen him all my life; I can't count the times we've nodded hello. And though I feel I should be sad because I really didn't know the man, somehow I'm not. I'm only sad because he had to suffer. I'm sad because the people around him had to suffer.

But it seems right that he should die. He was an old man and sick. And all people die. It's right that all people should die. Though I'll often wail to the sky about the injustice of everything, I know that in the end that it's right. I know that even painful things like this are right and, damn it all, ultimately good.

I hope my grandfather had a happy life. I hope that he really knew who he was. I hope he made the right choices. I hope he was a good man and in the summation of things I hope that he can be called a good and faithful servant.

I'm glad thinking about how all this has happened. Prolonged illness is never nice. But my grandfather's particular case brought about a lot of positive ends.

It was because grandpa was sick that my brother in prison got to give him a final call the other day; had grandpa's illness been shorter, or had Tony been out on the streets, there wouldn't have been any way to contact Tony to let him know.

It was because grandpa was sick that my grandmother finally started to realize how good and worthy my mother is. How tough she is, and how good it can be to trust her.

And because he was sick, my grandfather had to let drop his pride and learn to rely on others for the first time in his life; Lord knows that the need to rely on others is the bane of the existence of everyone in my family. But my grandfather learned how to do it in the end. And I hope when I learn that lesson, I can do it as gracefully.

Before the end, we have to have all things revealed to us. And I hope what I saw in my grandfather's sharp blue eyes these last days was a growing recognition of truth. I hope that all that fierceness was a reflection of the brutality of grace.

I know that when we die we go to something bigger. Tonight, I'm going to try to be happy for my grandpa. And I'm going to go to sleep hoping that I can somehow make myself of use. Hoping that I can help to dull some of the pain that comes with getting used to the fact that he's not here any more.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Yahoo! News - Negotiators Seek to Free Ariz. Guards

Yahoo! News - Negotiators Seek to Free Ariz. Guards

That's my brother's prison. Hope he's okay.

The report reads: "Once these inmates get a taste of blood, so to speak, there's no telling what they can do."

While that's probably true of any prison, my brother claims that the one he's in now is particularly nasty. He says that it's much worse than Mansfield, which is saying a bit since we even have death row prisoners, and desperation makes folks pretty nasty.

So it looks like I'm heading to Ireland for Spring Break. I'm gloriously excited. This time, by hook or by crook, I'm going to see Sligo. Ach, I'm happy! I'm utterly broke with a smile on my face. Life is good.

My new attitude on life is so bad for my bourgeois standing. I don't give a damn about money. I just have to get enough of it to get by; and I will, somehow. Always I will. And I won't be a slave for it either. Life isn't all about job titles and rewards. I don't care if I only pull a B in Astronomy. What if I didn't make the Dean's List? The sky wouldn't fall in.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not settling for less than I could have. I'm not taking a little temporary pleasure over a lot of lasting satisfaction. I just realize that on the last day, I'm going to be judged for the content of my character: my kindness, my generosity, my joy, or lack thereof; and I won't be judged on my report card, or how many figures I rake in.

Virtue is more than asceticism. And it's more than flitting after every momentary pleasure I come across, too. I'm happy. I really am. Despite all of my whingings and momentary tinges of despair, and all my doubt filled dark nights of the soul; it's all going to be okay.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

First best friend: Jimmy, if family counts. Sarah Esterline if it doesn't.
First car: '90 Chevy Lumina. Hell yeah! Duct taped up windows and breaks that set on fire.
First date: Gah, with Doug when I was fourteen.
First real job: Eagle Crusher. It was only a typing job though; I didn't get to crush any eagles.
First self purchased album: Radiohead's OK Computer.
First piercing/tattoo: I was still a baby I think. It gave my ear infections. Piercing, I mean. My ears.
First enemy: I think it was Joey Kuhn.
First big trip: I went to Niagra Falls whilst still in the womb.
First play/musical/performance: I think I had one in preschool, but if not, Christmas 1987, Union Elementary School.
First band you remember hearing in your house: Fleetwood Mac. When I was little my mom was obsessed with "Little Lies" and she'd make us play the record over and over again for her. Whenever it went off, she'd yell "Play It Again, Sam!" and all the kids would go sprinting in to do it because we liked to play with the record player.

Last big car ride: Up to Michigan to see Rory, unless my trips to Columbus count. I don't think they do; too short.
Last good cry: There is no such thing as a good cry. Damn crywalkers.
Last library book checked out: I can't remember the name, but it was about how Christianity was shifting to the global south. At least, that's the last book I got for me that I can remember.
Last movie seen: "The Face on the Milk Carton." It was a Kelly Martin film on Lifetime. Kelly Martin is so better than Tracy Gold.
Last beverage drank: The water I spilled all over myself at Steak n' Shake last night.
Last food consumed: Strawberry Sundae. And if that doesn't count, I had a ham sandwich earlier that night.
Last phone call: My nephew Robbie.
Last tv show watched: I think I was watching the music channel at some point yesterday.
Last time showered: About 20 minutes ago.
Last shoes worn: Converse All Stars.
Last cd played: Robinella and the CCStringband.
Last item bought: Vanilla Milk Moover at a gas station.
Last soda drank: 7Up. No caffeine for me damnit.
Last ice cream eaten: Strawberry Sundae.
Last time wanting to die: How about now? I still want to die while somebody remembers me, damnit!
Last time scolded: I don't know for sure, but it was almost certainly Jasmin's doing.
Last shirt worn: Uhh, a black one.
Last website visited:, clearly.

A - Age: 21
B - Best Quality: Capacity for deep thought if pumped with alcohol and/or pizza.
C - Choice Of Meat: Beef. I like 'em beefy.
D - Dream Date: Yes, I dreamed about getting a date one time. Sweet fantasy.
E - Ex: I guess Doug is my most famous ex. He has kids now! Damn luck; could've been me.
F - Favorite Food: Pizza.
G - Greatest Accomplishment: My father tells me that it was appearing on Academic Challenge in high school. But I think that it actually might have been falling off the war memorial in Rome. Not every idiot can do it twice, you know. Especially, they can't do it twice and live. Hell, yeah!
H - Happiest Day of Your Life: Right now is nice. But I say that every day.
J - Job title: Research Assistant. Driver. Erm...
K - Kool-Aid: Blue.
L - Love: Dispassionate, friends, dispassionate!
M - Most Valued Thing I Own: My notebooks full of stories and poems and stuff that I've been writing since I was little.
O - Outfit You Love: I wear the same thing every day. All stars, blue jeans, dark shirt.
P - Pizza Topping: Don't care much as long as it doesn't fall under the category of vegetable.
Q - Question you want to ask: When am I going to make myself get up and go out into the cold?
R - Red is what: Randy Appleseed's favorite color. Damn commie.
S - Sport To Watch: Hockey.
T - Television Show: Aqua Teen Hungerforce.
U - Unique habit: Well, my no touch rule seems to impress people.
V - Very bad habit: A slight propensity toward nihlism, perhaps?
W - Winter: filling my lungs with cold air since 1982.
X - X-rays you've had: Name it, I done messed it up at some point and needed a good look over.
Y - Year Born: 1982.
Z - Zodiac Sign: Gemini.

Another week over. That's cheering. It's our long weekend, which I find rather sad because it's too damn early in the quarter. Later, I'm sure I'll need a four day weekend. But now I'm mostly awake enough to keep up. Also, I wish it was a Tuesday or Thursday that we missed because I really loathe Astronomy. The first exam is Thursday and I have no idea what the hell we're going to be tested over. It doesn't matter really. I've figured out that I don't very much care this quarter.

Last night I had a lot of fun. Angela and I went to play pool at the bowling alley. April eventually joined us. I called Angela's new love interest a cocksucker when he wouldn't talk to me on the phone. I haven't met him yet. And, in fact, I had no desire to talk to him. But when he had to be a jerk about it, I put my foot down.

April did great dances while we bowled. My thumb got stuck in my ball on my first toss and almost pulled me down the lane. Angela refused to dance; whore. But she did throw grenades when I was firing off my bazooka.

After that we went to Steak n' Shake. I ordered water and within 20 seconds of having received it, I spilled it all over everything and particularly myself. I didn't do anything about it. April cleaned it up for me. Thanks mom! She got me a bib too. It's a damn good thing that she put one on herself because not ten minutes passed before she started spilling her stuff all over her too.

We went back to Angela's. I don't really remember much of being there because I was struggling to stay awake. I think we watched a Saturday Night Live DVD about Will Ferrel or something. It seems like we did something else too though. But I'll be damned if I remember.

All I'm certain of is that my wet leg turned into ice on the way home from Angela's.

Anyway, I have to go up to the hospital now. I got a strange call about an hour ago, and the promised follow up call never came. So I'm going to go investigate first hand.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I'm kind of happy right now. My tension levels are still unreasonable, but I really am feeling better. I'm doing well with my resolution; I'm progressing.

I haven't been blogging much lately. I haven't really been thinking much lately. It's really been sort of a mess of emotions, which don't lend to any kind of proper mindset at all. Not for blogging, nor anything else I can think of.

But if you want to stick to the facts, my grandfather's stable, and my mom seems to be doing okay, and I'm doing all right, too. Though maybe I'm starting to fall behind at school all ready this quarter. I don't care. Weekend's coming, and I'm ready for it. Damn, I'm ready for it. I even plan on doing good things.

Angela and I were talking about doing something good for Spring Break. We could get to Ireland and back for around $200. God, I want to go to Ireland.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I spent this past lousy weekend thinking a lot about my faults and how to fix them. I went about it, typically and predictably, in the most neurotic fashion possible. I was obsessive, emotionally strained, and physically drained past the point of insomnia, inflamed stress disorders and sanity.

And after much reflection, I have to come to this conclusion: I am entirely too neurotic.

It may be obvious to everyone who's ever met me. And I know that anybody very close to me must have muttered it under their breath a hundred times. But it's still hard for me to come to that conclusion. It's hard for me to admit that I need to calm my compulsions.

I love my compulsions. I'm a neurotic's neurotic, and there's nothing I love so much as my own neuroses. In large part, I'm still the little girl who used to watch herself cry in the mirror, torn apart inside by the image in the mirror's suffering. Only now I'm not looking in the mirror; reflection means something entirely different. But it's essentially the same process. I stare into my soul until I find a scar, and then I make myself fresh scars, weeping over those which came before.

I resolve to work on my neuroses. To surrender my fictitious self and stop swooning over my own distorted image in the mirror.

Monday, January 12, 2004

I had a rotten weekend. Between my own selfishness, and self-disgust, and my family's continual traumas (legitimate and not quite so legitimate, that is), it really, really sucked.

I was considering writing a long post with all my troubles. But what do you care about my troubles, dear reader? I was trying to be happier over the weekend, and I failed miserably. So perhaps you've suffered enough on my account.

I'll list, instead, what I consider to be the good news of the weekend. My grandfather is still in stable condition, as of the last update I received on the subject. My brother Tony managed to sweet talk the prison chaplain into letting him call home yesterday. It was fortuitous because he ended up being allowed to call grandpa in the hospital. It might be his last chance to talk to him, so it's nice that he was allowed to take it. Especially since he didn't know that anything was going on when he made the call.

No nightmares last night, which was good. Of course, I'm not sure I slept long enough to have one. My dad and I were up past two in the morning talking about how much we both miss Ireland. I may have only been there a week, but I'm hooked. I want to go back. Then I woke up at six this morning, so not much sleeping for me. Though I feel relatively all right anyway. Not that sleep deprived or anything.

It's 8:19; why am I awake?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

So today has been an all around terrible day.

My grandpa had a small heart attack. He's alive and relatively stable right now. But he's asked not to be resuscitated if it happens again, and the chances are good that it will happen again. His heart is weak. And he's an old man. And he's really very ill. So it doesn't look good.

I'm not terribly close to him, but my mom's freaking out. To me, grandpa will always be the really scary old hillbilly whose wrath my mother always promised if I did anything bad while visiting my grandparents. And he loved to intimidate all of us kids. But he's my grandfather, so I'm miserable that he's suffering.

It's been an obnoxious day.

Friday, January 09, 2004

So, a happier blog today? Maybe.

The first news of the day is poor. I’m really much, much sicker than I was yesterday. And while Fridays really ought to be relaxing for me, I’m a jack ass and signed up for a class with a jack ass of a professor, who’s going to be pissed as hell at me that I’m dropping. Most profs don’t notice, much less care when people drop, but this guy’s psycho. I have to drop instead of just skip because I think we only have the class four times, so missing one is kind of a big deal. I’ll have to have the professor next quarter, too, for the most important class in my major. So, damn it.

But the good part? Well, I’m in a thousand times better mood today, in spite of mounting reasons not to be. For one thing, it’s the weekend, and it came faster than I could have expected. For another, I had a relatively low key sort of day yesterday. No major homework assignments or anything; my 70 page per night reading assignments, as Jasmin has so frequently invoked them, have ceased until Tuesday at least. And I can relax a little this weekend. Not only can I relax a little. I think I’ll actually mostly have to, since I don’t really have any plans to do anything. And, perhaps more compellingly, I think I have pink eye, which rules out most normal human contact.

And, yesterday, I had a little time to think. And I thought about a lot of the things which are wrong in my life right now and are making me miserable. The crux of it, of course, is that my life isn’t really making me miserable; I just am miserable. Which isn’t to say that specific situations don’t have any influence on anything, but it’s to emphasize the point that I’m busy making my own destiny, and I’m ultimately responsible for what I get. I’ve been cynical recently, so, no surprise, things look negative. Not only do I need to stop that, but I need to replace it with something better. And I don’t mean blind optimism either.

I know the key to my own happiness. Two weeks ago I was so close to it that I could’ve kissed its forehead. And now I’m stumbling around lost again. But I keep finding road signs in the strangest places, and the most unexpected people are leading me back down the straight and narrow path. All I have to do is walk the damn thing; I have all the help in the world. And if it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do, it's still infinitely less hard than the alternative.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I’m getting all frazzled. I don’t know what the hell is up with my eye. I woke up yesterday and it was all bloody red. I’d assumed that I’d busted a blood vessel, but now I’m not so sure. For one thing, it faded in a couple of hours and I only had traces of it left; though, the trace is still hanging on. I don’t think busted blood vessels clear up that fast; though, I do have super healing powers. Anyway, I’m not going to the doctor over it, so I’ll try to make this my last mention of it. As an expression of general anxiety, that is. In any case, I hope my eye pops out and I don’t have to go to school for a few days. Hell, it’s worth it to get out of Astronomy tonight.

I’m not looking forward to today. I don’t want to go to Russian class. It’s not that the class is bad; I like it on the whole. It’s just that my Prof. has decided that I don’t talk enough, and she’s going to try to force more speech out. Now, mind you, I’m not marked for my shyness in speaking in class, particularly. And that’s what makes me nervous. I spoke in class at least five times yesterday. I don’t understand how I might not be talking enough. Much more than I worry about not talking enough, I have a general fear of being one of those assholes who talk way too much, and step on other people. Yet, that’s the direction I’m being shoved. And I guess I’ll go.

I don’t feel well. That’s part of what’s making this week so bad. And it isn’t exactly so bad; I mean, I really can’t complain that much about it if I want to be objective. Hell, I’ve spent all sorts of time with people whose company I enjoy. But physically, I’m a bit under the weather. And mentally, I’m haphazard and frustrated. So I’m saying all sorts of things I’ll later regret having said. And I’ll be damned if I’m not in physical pain quite a lot. I’m even taking aspirin for it kind of regularly, which is approximately as common an occurrence for me as deciding I need to start wearing my hair in pigtails. In other words, I’ve never actually done it before; and the likelihood of it ever happening was previously incalculable.

In addition, my grandfather’s back in the hospital. My grandfather being back in the hospital means that my mother’s being pressed to do too much. So I worry about both of them. And my grandmother, too, of course, since she’s so dependent on grandpa. The only good part about this hospitalization is that they think it’s only pneumonia, and that’s a fairly in-and-out sort of ailment in my family. My mom must get it five times a year, usually in the winter and early spring. So hopefully my grandfather will have my mother’s ability to kick the damn thing. The other stuff he’s been in hospitals for lately have been much more serious.

Damnit, this blog sounds whiney. I apologize for it. But it can’t be helped. I feel obligated to blog, and since my thoughts aren’t exactly lofty, you’re not going to get particularly lofty blogs either. I’m working on cheering myself up, honestly. And I promise nicer blogs over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I was going to write a long, rambly blog about how tired I already am of school. But it's only the start of the third day, and I guess I'm not entitled to it yet.

There's not a terrible lot going on in my mind right now. Most of my faculties are dedicated to getting used to being on a new schedule.

I'm anxious as hell for some reason. I guess I'm waiting for the guillotine to drop. You can only build up so much tension before the string breaks. Speaking of which, I need new strings for my guitar. I should go and get those today during break.

Monday, January 05, 2004

So, today I had my first day of school. It was neither as good nor as bad as could have been anticipated.

I make Nikki sick. Fast typists of the world unite!

There really isn't a lot to report so far. Russian history was predictably fine. Hanging out ever since has been fine too.

April and I went to McDonald's for lunch. She got in the wrong lane and was blocking up traffic. People were pissed. Then she gets up to order, and she starts busting up. The lady's like: "can I take your order?" And her face is bright red, and she can't speak. God, we must be annoying. It had to have taken five minutes, anyway, to get just our order. I hope they spit in our food.

In the Union, we pissed off a Christian, which is always nice. I don't really recall the conversation offhand, but it involved the word "fuck." This girl was reading her Left Behind book, and heard it, and started like flinching every time we said it. So, of course, we said it more because we're bastards. Anyway, April was like: "She can hear us with her magical Jesus ears powers!" And we did this hand motion meant to simulate the magical growth of Jesus ears when they detect naughty language. And the girl got so pissed, apparently, that she slammed her book and stomped off.

Honestly, thin skinned people, crawl back into your holes. If you can't handle the colloquial use of the 'f' word, you're not quite ready for college just yet.

Maybe part of the problem was that we'd already been talking smack about church. I can't remember if she was around then or not. My friend Niki was talking about how somebody had told her that she wasn't nice because "nice people go to church." We all laughed and were like: "Rrrright, church goers are known for being the nicest of people." I mean, hell, half of us, anyway, were church goers, so we weren't really complaining about church. It's just that, being familiar with Christianity means being familiar with the social cult of Christianity, and frankly, that ain't pretty.

Jasmin has resolved to have a more positive worldview. I have resolved to dampen her spirits. The test of wills is on!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I can't believe how tired I am. I couldn't have gone to sleep later than three thirty last night, but I didn't get up until one thirty today. And now it's not even two yet, just barely twelve hours since I last slept, and I'll be damned if I'm not ready for bed again. But you know, I made up for having slept enough for two days today, by eating enough for three days. I actually have a bit of a stomach ache. Vacation is so nice.

I'm not dreading school as much as I ought. It actually sounds a little fun. A lot of my friends will have the same four hour break as I'll have, so maybe there'll be good times. And even if there aren't, I'm looking forward to two and a half of my classes. As complicated as that sounds, what it really means is that my African and Russian history classes sound fun, and my separation of church and state seminar might be good. Astronomy and Statistics, well, I could do without them. But at least I'll have friends in Astronomy.

I started my African history reading last night because I was starved for something to read. I read Things Fall Apart, which is a fictional account of the coming of imperialist, missionary Britain into precolonial Nigeria. It was well written and emotionally compelling. I can't help but think that the modern world will be paying for the brutality of its imperialism for some time to come. We deserve it; there's no denying that. I don't want to imply that victims of terrorism deserve what they get; individuals are innocent and it's disgusting what happens to people who've never hurt anyone in their lives because somebody else has an ideological axe to grind. But societies? My goodness, we have penance to do as nation states.

I just saw something puzzling on television. I was watching Ellen when these exercising people came out on stage. And...they were kind of chubby. I mean, not really chubby. Just, sort of healthy looking. Like they're not strangers to potato chips or pizza. We're talking about chicks with hips, and guys with bodies normal enough that their heads still look like they might actually belong to their bodies. I'd call it refreshing, but it wasn't. I don't want fat to the be the next chic. I mean, damnit, I'm not going to lose weight to stay out of style.

Friday, January 02, 2004

I've had a technologically frustrating day. Every damn thing I've touched has malfunctioned or gone kaputt. I mean, damnit, at the gas station, even the automatic cut off function messed up and sprayed gasoline all over me. My optical mouse for my laptop died, and so I bought a new one, which, for no logical reason, won't work. With all my cell phone, car and computer troubles lately, I'm seriously considering becoming a Luddite. I'd go Amish, but they have to work too hard.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

A new year and a new set of circumstance.

My father is moving in today. My once broken family has sealed itself in again. And I'm miserable over it.

I live in what must be, circumstantially anyway, one of the world’s weirdest families. I won't go into the gruesome details of it. But suffice it to say that, since I was eleven-years old, my parents have been separated. But in practice, they've hardly been separated at all. Though we haven't all lived together since the separation, we've all seen each other, even eaten dinner together, every day without fail. Come hell, high water, taxes, sickness and death, we simply wouldn't be separated by separation. And now we’re being thrown back into the thick of it. Now we're all going to live together again.

The trouble with it all is that we don't get along with each other. You can't blame any one individual for it. We’re all a bunch of messed up bastards. I think we all realize it, but some sense of duty or honor has kept us together in spite of it. It isn't that we’re not fond of each other; we are. In general, very much more than most families I think. It's just that, one of the side effects of being socially retarded, with a good tendency toward loving anyone, is that you end up having idiotic relationships. And our relationships are chiefly idiotic, to the detriment of every last one of us.

So I've been sitting around since I found out the old man was moving back in, mentally squirming under the slowly swinging pendulum. I’m waiting for the first flare up of temper. I'm worried that, like some skittish archer in Lord of the Rings, I might be the first to lose his nerve, firing the arrow which starts the war too soon. I don't want it to be me.

It's a bitter-sweet start to a new year. It's the ultimate test of my resolve to love dispassionately. And conversely, it might just be the fates signaling me through my discomfort, that it's time to move on.