December 19, 2008

Good song. The Lion King video is kind of superfluous. But it’s the easiest way to put the song on the blog.

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November 30, 2008

Third, and most grave, we’ve lost our right to lose touch. “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature,” Emerson wrote, not bothering to add, “and like most things natural, friendship is biodegradable.” We scrawl “Friends Forever” in yearbooks, but we quietly realize, with relief, that some bonds are meant to be shed, like snakeskin or a Showtime subscription. It’s nature’s way of allowing you to change, adapt, evolve, or devolve as you wish – and freeing you from the exhaustion of multifront friend maintenance. Fine, you can “Remove Friend,” but what kind of asshole actually does that? Deletion is scary – and, we’re told, unnecessary in the Petabyte Age. That’s what made good old-fashioned losing touch so wonderful – friendship, like long-forgotten photos and mix-tapes, would distort and slowly whistle into oblivion, quite naturally, nothing personal. It was sweet and sad and, though you’d rarely admit it, necessary.

And maybe that’s the answer: A Facebook app we’ll call the Fade Utility. Untended Friends would gradually display a sepia cast on the picture, a blurring of the neglected profile – perhaps a coffee stain might appear on it or an unrelated phone number or grocery list. The individual’s status updates might fade and get smaller. The user may then choose to notice and reach out to the person in some meaningful way – no pokes! Or they might pretend not to notice. Without making a choice, they could simply let that person go. Would that really be so awful?

– from I’ll Be There 4U by Scott Brown, Wired 16.11

It Ain’t Necessarily So

November 27, 2008

Good song. Funny cartoons. All and all well done.

The funny thing is that we played this song in marching band my sophomore year of high school. And I don’t think any of us knew what ‘wasn’t necessarily so.’ I certainly didn’t until a year later.

Sign My Yearbook

November 26, 2008

One of my poems for creative writing. Yeah, rockin’ the villanelle. Mr. German would be so proud!

“We’ll be friends forever.”
That’s what the yearbooks say.
No matter whatever

May come to endeavor
To push us all away.
We’ll be friends forever.

I was a believer
In the words that we pray:
No matter, whatever.

But this has however
Become quite the cliché:
“We’ll be ‘friends’ forever.”

Forever is never
Our bonds now decay.
No matter, whatever.

The time now to sever,
I do not wish to play
we’ll be friends forever.
No matter. Whatever.

November 24, 2008

I just wish that life were easy. I wish that all of friction disappeared and I could get from point a to point b with absolutely zero effort. I wish it would all just end.

And at the same time I’m just waiting for it all to start.

– Me, 5 October 2006

The Election of 2004

September 11, 2008

Another creative writing assignment. We were told to write about a time that we wanted something we didn’t get. Since I (would like to think that I) don’t have a melodramatic bone in my body. I went with the 2004 election. With election season here again, I felt this would be appropriate.

I wasn’t even eighteen.

I wasn’t even eighteen, and yet the only thing on my mind was the election. During the fall of 2004, I became politically aware. Of course, I had voted before. I mean, I voted in my middle school’s mock election in 2000. When voting involved pushing a button on a computer and going about my day. When voting didn’t matter. When Gore won.

Politics and high school do not mix. Or perhaps they mix too well, like fire and gasoline, inevitably causing a spark. Because really, high school is ‘politics.’ I lost a friend or two because I forgot the trope that one should never discuss religion and politics in the cafeteria. With all the self-righteousness a seventeen year old could muster, I proselytized for Kerry. Even when friends reminded me, “You’re not even old enough to vote!” I still didn’t stop. And so the friends left the lunch table.

When the election finally came, and the next day I learned that Bush had won with a ‘mandate,’ for some reason, the jokes about ‘man dates’ didn’t quite cut it. I had put my faith in the American people. I couldn’t imagine how they could vote a man into office a second time, a man that had completely ruined our standing in the world and our conditions at home.

Which is why this year scares me. Because I care again. And this time, I am old enough to vote. This time, I believe that the American people couldn’t possibly vote in another term of ‘the guy (or gal) next door.’ I have not learned my lesson. But I suppose this never-ending string of Greek comedies and tragedies, this four year cycle of hope and loss, will teach me soon enough.

In my high school election, Kerry won.

The High School on a Swamp

September 11, 2008

Here we have another creative writing assignment. The assignment was to focus on setting, picking something from our home towns that represents a certain truth about the place.

My high school was built on a swamp. Not a ‘swampy’ swamp. Not the sort of swamp where you might find the creature from the Black Lagoon. No, just the sort of swamp that sinks a half inch every year when it has to bear the load of of a thousand teenagers.

A forest once surrounded my high school. Any direction you looked, there was a grove of trees between you and the ‘real’ world. In a way, that protected the high school from all the roads and highways surrounding it. Now all those trees are gone. Which doesn’t do a thing for the flooding around my high school. The flooding from being built on a swamp.

The forest of trees has been replaced by a forest of security cameras. They stare down with their unblinking eye, passing judgement on those who walk beneath them. The principal, in his office, has a giant, hi-tech monitor where he watches all the video feeds at once. I could have sworn when I walked by that office I heard cackling.

My high school, Chichester, was almost named Sun Valley, after nearby Sunoco Oil. If the board of trustees has decided to sell out to the oil companies, the school would not have been built on a swamp. But the town decided to keep our name. I have to remind myself of this. Remind myself every time I pass through a field where trees once grew. Every time I note a new crack in the wall, where the ceiling is now a half-inch lower. Every time I look up, expecting a blank ceiling to rest my gaze, and instead meet the stare of an eye in the sky. I remind myself that the school and I have more in common than sinking half an inch every year. Once, a long time ago, we both had a purpose.

Imagery #1

August 27, 2008

A Note to My Readers: I’m taking intro to creative writing this semester. Which fortunately (or unfortunately) for you means that I’m going to have a lot more material for this blog that isn’t related to:(a) pointless introspection or (b) science and politics. Here’s my first piece of the semester. It’s supposed to use imagery. It turns out, not so much. And keep in mind, I used a large amount of creative license. Things may or may not have happened this way. That’s just the nature of memory.

My dog had died. My dog had died but I felt nothing.

Standing on the back steps of my house, I could see my dog, Dixie, lying motionless. For the first time in my young life, I met death. But I could not cry.

Just hours before, before I had left for CCD, before I had gone about my day like it was just another day, Dixie had been lying on her side in the bathroom. She smelled like sickness. Like decay. She hadn’t been washed in months, and her hair was matted to her side. Standing at the doorway, kept at a distance by my parents, I could hear her panting. I knew she wouldn’t be okay. But I also knew that there was nothing I could do.

So when I returned home that night to learn she was dead, I felt dead inside. But I could not cry. I watched as my father shoveled earth that he would replace with her (its?) body. I heard the soft thud as each shovel-full was moved away. I looked on, even as my brother and sister and mother all cried. This was our dog. This was a member of our family.

As I wondered at my inability to cry, tears began to well up. And then they began to pour. I could feel their warmth on my skin, taste their saltiness on my lips. I began to cry. But not for my dog. Dixie was dead. I knew that meant I was supposed to cry. But I could not. So instead, I shed tears because I couldn’t bring myself to cry. I shed tears because, in spite of it all, I felt nothing.

The Swell Well of Memories

August 17, 2008

A few days ago, unable to fall asleep, I decided to page through some of the journals I’ve kept. This is an activity I’ve done more or less constantly since the end freshman year of high school. Which means that I have a good five and a half years of content. Which is crazy to think about. Because 9th grade seemed like just yesterday in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, two things struck me while going through those journals (other than the fact that it was a bad idea if I hoped it would help my insomnia and that my handwriting has improved a whole bunch in the five years): how much ‘I’ve changed and how much ‘I’ve stayed the same.

Obviously, I haven’t really figured out life that much more than I had back then. I mean, I don’t know if anyone really ever figures out life. Sometimes I figure that it’s actually un-figure-out-able. That as people get older, they just assume every else has figured it out, so they act like they have too, just to fit in. But everyone is just faking it, enough so that it seems real. Which is kind of scary and kind of beautiful at the same time.

And the other thing I noticed is how much my ideas have changed. Obviously, I’ve said this a million times before. But the difference in my life philosophy from then to now is just about as different as night and day. And sure, it was nice to believe in some all powerful divine power that made everything right (some entries included reference to the fact that things are the way they are because God wanted them that way, etc. [which I guess isn’t too far from my present belief that things are the way they are because, well, they are that way… just subtract God from the previous statement and you have all the same things!]), but I’ll take my ‘meaningless’ existence any time. I don’t know how people go from rejecting religion to being ‘born again.’ I guess I’d have to have their experience. Because I’m way too intrenched in the way I am right now.

I guess I thought I would have more to say. You would think a person might have more to say about reviewing five years of their life. But I guess not.

I’m glad that I started to journal those five years ago. Not only do I have a collection of what was going on in my life, I also have some idea of what was going on in my life. And I have constant reminders that even when I thought life had fallen apart, things turn out okay. Everything turns out okay in the end. You just have to hone your skills of rationalization.

Maybe that’s what growing up is all about. Faking it until you finally believe it. And then hope that everything doesn’t fall apart.

And when I really become that cynical, I’ll know I’ve become a real adult. :P

Happy 7500 Day!

March 28, 2008

I don’t remember in what book I read this (it was one by either mathematician or a physicist… or maybe a neuroscientist), but the guy talked about celebrating his 10000 day (you know, like a birthday, but counting in round-days instead of round-years). That got me thinking, so I calculated out when my 7500 day would be, and it turned out to be today!

This is random, sure. And weird. But it does make you think. 7500 days doesn’t look like much, but apparently it’s 20 years, 6 months, and 13 days worth of time. That’s a lot of time. Damn.

And it just happens to turn out to be the day after my Mom’s B-day. What are the odds of that? No, don’t really calculate the odds!

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well on this, a special day for 0.006% of the worlds population.

Namaste!

PS – The next one (10,000) isn’t until January 31st, 2015. Man, I’ll be 27 then. Crazy stuff!

Not that I expect you to remember. :P