ironman1388's Journal
20 most recent posts

Date:2007-11-28 15:13
Subject:(Has it really only been so short a time frame?)
Security:Public

I’m not sure if there’s any way to full explain myself, since we’ve lost touch, for so long… so here goes.

If you want to wonder about where your place in life is, your true calling, work retail. Not saying it’s the one size fits all answer, but it is a good one if you ask me.

Retail is straight forward, to the point. You work with people, you’re amongst people, the job itself is pretty straight forward. It’s about as true an environment as you can get if you want to be “amongst your brethren”, or some such shit. Nobody’s paying thousands of dollars to be there, study their ass off, take some exam to feel validated. The money is hardly enough for egos to take flight. Maybe hop around, but never soar. I mean come on, you just sold some add on socks and sneaker balls. Whoop de do, now go fuck yourself.

In retail, its just you, vs. them vs. yourself. And if your smart, you take enough time to realize that its not as fast as you think, and that the people around you are just as real as you are.

Working retails helped me to get further than COD has, if you ask me. Funny. I’m going to college, and I learn more from the Sports Authority. *Shakes head*.

Anyways, sometimes there’s nothing better than pushing yourself to the brink of giving up. I don’t like to show it… okay yes, I do. But only incrementally. But, I think my foundation has been shaken as of late. For the longest time, I’ve felt stuck in the mud, frightened to dig my head out of the sand, to look up and realize that everyone is human. How quickly you can lose touch with yourself.

I don’t know how to write any more, so I’m just gonna come out and say it. Even when you think your life is a endless rut, one shut away in a windowless house, there’s always a way out. Life will go on, even for those caricatures in your perception. They will go home to their husbands, or wives, or slew of cats, or just themselves, and life will carry on for them.

And so it will for you. And so it will for me.

Now, if only waking up had a cup of determination to go along with it…

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Date:2007-02-06 18:26
Subject:All Good Things...
Security:Public
Mood: nostalgic
Music:101.9 FM

Tonight, I've gathered myself here in the tattered remnants of what used to be my refuge. I think the last entry was a fairly good note to go out on. But, while I hate to admit it, this blurty, this onrunning diary, this account of thought, growth, etc... it's bloom has been lost. There's only one entry in here that has prevented me from deleting this thing. Ironic, since it hardly had anything to do with writing. I also like the fact that it was associated with the day before the new year's arrival. I'll always remember writing that.

But, in the end, I've realized that my writing here has lost its way. I don't come here to write for myself, and then others; I come here to write, then realize that my unfiltered thoughts will be read and misread by others, and thus I'm not true to yours truly. Over time, what you've seen is censored, and that is simply not right to either writer or reader. It has become something it never was intended to be.

With that, I say goodnight, and goodbye to an old friend. You helped me tremendously, but its time to graze in a more anonymous pasture.

A toast, to future inscriptions, wherever they will come.

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Date:2007-01-17 08:47
Subject:Blue and Orange
Security:Public
Mood: stressed

Its amazing, how detrimental the abuse of thought can be on the literal.

All I can think about is how I want to be at U of I. I sit daydreaming of which housing to file for, whether or not I’ll bring my car downstate, what my course sequence will look like when I get there, how I just want to get out of the house and start working towards something credible, tangible. How that school is a representation of achieving what I’ve thought up, fulfilling that self concept that made you feel good about yourself before sleep. When I’m not in class or with people, I and my world are where I am not. I’ve fallen for a school. Ha! … Which shouldn’t surprise me considering my childhood affinity for Notre Dame, but it does. I never was that prideful about High School or COD, and here I am, wearing blue and orange, hoping that the dyes seep into my blood stream. This is much more than watching Gold plated athletes-turned-warriors run out of a tunnel on a pitch of grass. This is ME. My body is at the College of Dupage, but everything else that is me has lifted itself, and found rest from flight just beyond the periphery, past the fields of soybean and corn.

And yet, as it were, when it comes to taking that first step, simply writing 600 words about my academic aspirations and the blah blah blah that my Dupage property tax provided education has trained me to write countless times over, I can’t do it. This dream becomes frozen in that field beyond eyeshot, and all I can do is struggle. Try to chip away at it with my chisel, my woefully inadequate chisel. So my mind tries to devise the newest in power tools to muster my way through this quandary, this inexplicable freezing of what once felt so real that it flowed through me, to that ever dangerous point, where hope was born. My hope is frozen in that dream of blue and orange, as strange, hollow, sweet, or reprehensible as that may sound to your ears.

The skeptics would have you believe that it’s the girl that makes the dream. And yes, she is a reason; saying she wasn’t would be worse than saying she was. But that’s the part I hadn’t expected. I’ve choked up looking at the photos on the wall, of the rapidly assembled memories that makes the past seem longer than it was. I do long for her, which I certainly saw coming. From there, things caught me off guard. I was expecting the reflection in the mirror to wrap my reasons around her, that beautiful her. What I hadn’t done was choke up looking at a map. A simple, black and white map, with Green, IMPE, Lincoln, and Armory seemingly etched into my screen, not scribed, or superimposed, or projected. I long for those cramped living quarters, for the utter lack of privacy, for professors who’d rather do the research than teach but would never say it out loud, and for daily, shitty food. And I want U of I’s brand of it, not UC or NU or NIU or ISU or any other combination of letters that equate to a university or college.

Isn’t it ironic? Trip one downstate was fueled by love for her, with U of I being a simple footnote to the excursion. Yet moment by moment, I fell for another when I went down there; I fell for the institution, through her, that is. Just when you think there’s no way possible to view others differently, and to feel any more or less for them, the unexpected pays a visit, and makes mockery of what we all think to be as “knowledge”. And just when you think you know yourself, and know the here and the now, all ostensibly changes.

Now I know I’ll be able to put my 600 cents worth into those essays, and once I find those test scores I’ll be able to click send and be done with this latest episode of self stressing confusion. But the longer I do this dance with a dream that remains out of touch, that has so many qualities to it that tease, as though it were the playground bully, the more likely I am to be sensitive and irrational to its taunts, and the more likely I am to being hurt in the end. I worry about a lot of things, but few things scare me on that primal level. The concept of death, and losing her are the first two things I figured that I learned were such irrational fears. Rejection from U of I, today at least, looks like #3. I want that school so bad that… it’s silly.

*Thinks of happy ending via imagery* Now I suppose that the positive answer to all this anxiety and writing in this latest entry would be that the sun rises the next day, bearing down a light which fills the Earth below. Its rays bring back warmth to the frigid and oppressed by the elements, whatever they may be in this instance. Suddenly, the dream and Carl’s hope are once again free from their icy prison, and fly as high as they so chose.

My only question then would be: Where does the sun come from?

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Date:2006-11-29 11:41
Subject:The Ledge
Security:Public
Mood: guilty

I get up to relieve myself in another room, and as I’m about to open the door, my already balky groin gives way. Not the average “Oh, this stings…” type of deal. More of the, “Make way, or you’re gonna hit someone on the way down!” It stung, burned, and found spare time to decide enough was enough, so I was grateful for a ledge at that moment. Yet I find it ironic that my first concern wasn’t, “Are you going to have this keep happening to you for the rest of your life?”, or, “Maybe I should have a doctor check this out…” Instead of legitimate worries, I was more nervous about my Dad seeing me in that condition.

He was comfortably planted on his bed, watching whatever TV selection my Mom made not five minutes before. Yet I knew that if he saw me, I’d have to face one of two options. One involved revealing how bothersome it really has been the past three weeks, and perhaps facing the reality of needing to do something dreaded, something medical. The other involved lying to him, saying it was okay, and that all I did was slip on my ever present mess of a floor. I’ll usually lie to him when faced with a choice like that… usually. That doesn’t mean I like to do it though, so I really was grateful for a ledge.

I think we’re all looking for that ledge somehow. We’ve all got our weaknesses, and we all need some force in our lives to keep us standing while we decide whether to face the music within ourselves, or keep avoiding the decisions, the actions we ought to and even need to make. Some of us want a ledge so badly that we’ll commit ourselves to illusions of a ledge, even before you can claim ownership over one. The dream of a ledge is too much for some to let go of… and until they do take that initial step, that ledge will never be theirs. Only difference is, the ledges we’re looking for can keep you honest, rather than sit there in silence, while you keep up the same routine.

So you got me, I’m mortal. We hate to admit it, to stare into the gaze of a mirror and see that flipped image look back at you and reveal truth rather than grandeur. We all hide from that burning sensation when your ambition and self delusion become folly. But if you’ve got enough sense and nerve, then all you’ll need is that ledge for a bit of a wakeup call, and that you need to be honest and avoid the first seeds of learned helplessness.

……………………………………………….

In passing conversations, my mind drew on the subject of New Years Resolutions. I found it fitting to take thoughts from there, because resolutions are founded on the premises that people are not perfect. If they are not perfect in self actualization, then they are not perfect in thinking there is always something that is in need of repair. That last sentence could easily be confusing, and a bit of a head swirl if you stare at it for too long. Do so – or don’t – at your own disposal.

But I’ve usually been one to scoff at resolutions. Not because of the idea of self improvement, enrichment, and all sorts of worthy ideals. Because the way we actually treat them turns into something… dirty, something cheap and unworthy of an honest man or woman’s attention. If you’re going to join a Fitness Center this January, only to go twice in the first month and forget the address by the end of May, then you apparently don’t know what it means to be resolute. Yet I won’t be too harsh on those who give up too soon. I know I’ve done the same in my time, and while someone who spouts off as much as I do tries not to, the sheer volume of my uncoordinated thoughts almost guarantees some form of hypocrisy.

Still, all things considered, I figured if I thought about resolutions now, rather than when I feel obligated to towards the end of the season, then perhaps they’d stand a better chance of being realized than a snowball’s chance in hell. I get the feeling of deja-vu thinking about these matters…so here goes, eager readership, five resolutions that if I forget, I might need a ledge or two for:

1. Health – When I look at my Dad’s bad back and beer belly developed without alcohol – he likes to bake cookies and have bacon for breakfast – I see that genetics didn’t deal me the best of hands in some respects. My lower back has had spasms in the past, and my addiction to fatty foods appears to’ve been passed on as well. I love him dearly, but I don’t want that fate for me either. Not only do I want to feel good when getting out of bed in the morning, rather than groan and roll my way out the door. I know because being on the other side is worrisome. I don’t want those I hold close to me to worry the same way. I view my health as a ticking time bomb, and they – friends, family, co-workers, loved ones, etc – probably will too. I don’t need all the worriers in my life to find one more worry like that. I sincerely want to make lifestyle changes while I can, while I’ve got time, while there’s ambition.

Concrete Resolution(s): Run/ walk four times a week during spring semester and summer, 1 hour durations. And since it’s for the whole year, (here’s hoping) at U of I make use of their Rec. Center, hopefully with Katie (treadmilling/jogging alone can be boring). Aside from that, less meat in the diet is a goal tambien.

2. Studies – There are times when I’m highly motivated as a learner, go above and beyond because I’m simply that interested in the material. There are other times though when I fall into patterns eerily similar to Senioritis, and they’re trends that are hard to reverse once you’re there. If I want to make U of I feasibly happen, I’m going to need some extra effort, and more self discipline. I’m tired of “learning” for a grade in some of my courses, rather than learning.

Concrete Resolution(s): Even on off days, spend at least an hour doing some form of studying. When you get an assignment, spend at least one hour on it the day you get it. Jump on the schoolwork, before it jumps on you.

3. Work – I’ll keep this one short.

Concrete Resolution(s): Go in to Richter/Jaros more diligently, at least two times a week, and (here’s hoping) get a job down at U of I.

I’ve really got to be going, so perchance I’ll edit this blurty by the end of the night, filling the five resolutions like I should.

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Date:2006-11-26 20:28
Subject:Sometimes... and momentum
Security:Public
Mood:Jumbled

Sometimes you need to stop thinking and just write. Sometimes, you need to stop thinking... and sometimes, you say sometimes so many times it makes you take a trip down memory lane.

Apparently, the first time I ever tried conversing in front of an adult audience was when I was still part of the high chair crew. Toddling was the name of the game, and I was at an age where garbling and watching Barney just wasn't good enough anymore. Therefore, I decided during dinner to note the significant discovery that, "Sometimes, dogs are dogs."

I followed up this brilliant observation with, "Sometimes, cats are cats." It was a logical connection between the cultural connotations between dogs and cats, and their much balleyhooed rivalry. Indeed, my intellect was making great strides.

From there, the spine tingling conclusion came. Seemingly from a field of thought that Freud was classify as unconscious, I decreed that, "Sometimes, pigs are pigs!" A great breakthrough for us all, and I hope you can draw as many life lessons from such early young pearls of wisdom as I have.

........................................................

I don't know if I've ever been able to truly find a nitch in writing that I was ever happy with. There are moments when I'm doing things that please me, when I write in such a way that "feels" as though things are going as they should. Yet at the same time, there are few things that I look back on that I can think to hang my hat on without a qualm. As my Dad would say, "Close, but no ci-gar!" From there he will always half smile and half chuckle, with eyes that look for companioniship in good company and laughter.

Perhaps its the inevitable search for truth mid sentence. Rather than let the moment speak for itself, let the evidence narrate it's own story, I try to ad my bias, my spin, my rationalization to a great plethora of things that are all too confusing. Perhaps...

But, as I've said, at some point you've got to stop thinking. Stop analyzing why it is that you're troubled, that you're off, that you're in some sort of rut, etc etc. Let the words that pop up speak for themselves, and sift through the wreakage once the aftermath has taken its course. In some ways you think that you can pour your soul into your words... but (this is definately going to sound like an English teacher) maybe words pour their soul into you. And thus, letting words stand on their own is perchance enough to accomplish pouring your soul out. I dunno... but I got distracted by a phone call from my father to his sister.

I'll save the roll for a rainier day. Damn loss of momentum.

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Date:2006-11-21 15:01
Subject:Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Security:Public
Mood: tired

I've reached a simple conclusion as of late, that my writing is adrift somewhere in my title. Writer's block comes from many different places, one of them being a complete inability to focus. I've gotten myself so stuck in thinking about a future rather than the present that I can't begin to write. I could speculate and write about a future full of predictions and projections, but for me that would be too daring, or too unethical, depending on which viewpoint you'd rather. All in all, the words have been so many that all too few have come forth. So perhaps the time has come to bring things forth into a new light (or some such thing).

- Sometimes there's a fascination with putting on big people's shoes. I think I'm guilty of such things when I don't save up, and instead adopt a champaigne taste (yes, I know, incorrect spelling...?) with a beer bottle budget. On one hand, you can't discredit moving on with my life. I'm not sitting at home playing video games for 4+ hours every day, and unless you have a severe passion which you can turn into a career out of that most productive people shouldn't do so. You've got to move on, and taking steps towards "maturing" is a good thing.

Unfortunately though, you can't skip steps. You cant have the job and the paycheck until you get the degree, which you can't have until you pass the test, which you can't do until you read the text and annotate your learnings. Maybe somewhere in there the chain link is missing, or is simply hiding too much for its own good. And perhaps this is all too self flogging for you to believe what I say. No matter. Its all relative in the end... well, many things are.

So who knows, maybe I'll try something besides a "fresh start". Maybe the wheels will start to turn, and I'll find more positive reward in trying to achieve an idealized self outside of abstract reasoning. Until then, I'll just have to keep reading, and put down the Champion Archer, or Eli Manning vs. the Tennessee Titans D.

Enough of getting your excitement from just a dream, and time to start experiencing reality... "reality".

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Date:2006-10-21 13:06
Subject:Be Good to your Daugthers...
Security:Public
Mood: good

I can’t say I expect all, or perhaps even many of you to understand what I’ll mean by this next entry, but who said I was writing strictly for an audience? On one hand I feel the need to keep you somewhat informed, but since few actually read this anymore, its my way of giving passages that deserved to be unsheathed some light. It’s yours if you want it, but if not, I’m fine with that as well:

Its funny sometimes, how much you keep discovering about yourself, and about your surroundings. There are things that you accept as common knowledge, things that sound great in your head, but in reality, you later in life end up feeling completely opposite of them. Again, this isn’t the case for everyone, but I think it is for many.

One of these debunked ideas is of self sufficiency. You’re taught that you should value yourself above all others, and in many ways that holds true for yours truly to this day. If you give too much of yourself away, especially to the wrong causes, and you will end up emptier for it. But in subscribing to this notion, there is an implicit indication that in order to look out for #1, you have to love #1 and all their characteristics above others. You have to intently know what makes #1 tick, what makes #1 strong, weak, and base everything off of these intuitions.

I tried that before, and it didn’t work for me. Maybe there is a pitfall laying in wait for my psyche to discover, I can’t be too sure. But when I look in the mirror, I see a lot of simplicities and complexities that are too baffling for me to worry about for the time being. From the way I view that, I see it from being a guy.

We’re joked about as “cavemen”, chest thumping sports craving egotistical windbags that are too instinctual to utilize that one of a kind pre-frontal cortex which nature’s selectivity has made our own. To a large extent, the jokes aren’t so funny because they hit home for many guys. As for me, I’d fall a little bit outside those lines; guys aren’t supposed to be writing on the weekend when you’re my age. Guys are supposed to be chasing girls, drinking with friends, competing in mere games, and other things that in the end of the day that I wouldn’t want to be a part of my legacy. But I will admit to anyone that at the end of the day, I’m rather basic, which has some high points, and some lows…

But eventually you come to realize that not all the good answers to such lows reside within yourself. If you honestly think that because of your intellectual capacities that you can really end up figuring everything there is to figure all by your lonesome, I’d think you’re sorely mistaken. You can find out a lot about a lot, but to be alone… I think at some point the mirror as you know it becomes too much to bear, so the rest of your world becomes a canvas for your attentions. We are creatures of sociality; we need others.

As for me, I realize that there is some mystery factor about a woman that you just can’t bottle, just can’t replace. When you scraped your knee after falling off your bike, who was the one who made it feel all better, faster, and in a kinder manner? It was Mom. When you were looking for the right perspective on things when there wasn’t a procedure manual for how to go about daily life, who was the one who’d always say it like it needed to be heard? It was your sister, your cousin, the girl with the outside lens and a willing ear. When you first dared to hope, only to watch it snatched away, it was the one woman in your life that soothed your very soul. It isn’t always this case, but it’s no secret that it often is the woman of that moment in existence that makes the world goes ‘round.

Women effortlessly breathe an intrinsic magic into the mundane, in such a way that baffles me and many. It’s as though their presence in a room is a story that you never tire of, that you want to hear one last time before you go to bed. The air they carry about them is like the smell of some fresh baked concoction of goodness; the longer you’re around them, the more you smell the minor hints of their chemistry (a little ginger here, some cinnamon there…). They’ve said for thousands of years that it’s a man’s world, but that world would crumble without women – and that’s obviously beyond the literal reproductive snafus. They facilitate the every day… they facilitate life as we know it, while few men bother to pay attention.

A woman’s touch makes all the self torture and daily duress a man undertakes wither away with a whimper. All it takes is a hand on your shoulder, an impromptu neck massage, or a quick rub through your hair to move past asking yourself, “Why are you doing this”, to forgive and forget the rigors men cling to so stubbornly. It’s a quality beyond maternal, beyond friendship, and beyond romance. It lies within a woman’s heart; it’s just a matter of how much of that they allow to shine through. And I’ve been lucky.

I can say as much that today is one when I notice the lack that woman of the moment in my life. The sunlight is there, but it has a glare, rather than warmth to it. Colors are hindrances to concentration, as opposed to enhancers of the every day. Things are a flip of a coin without them, rather than a sure fire yes or no. I can’t say I know how they do it, but they take the abstract and make it into something you can feel, even in your bones. Maybe it’s just me, but men are attracted to women by their mysteries, their complexities, ones that manage to boil everything down into what simply matters.

It’s now when I realize that I really did mean what I said before, that men would be tirelessly lost without women. So thank you.

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Date:2006-10-19 19:30
Subject:Thoughts bracketed in "Today"
Security:Public
Mood: cranky

Today has been just about exclusively devoted to school. Woke up at 5:10, then 6:10, then 7:10, and then 7:40 (hard to get up when you fall asleep @ 2), studied for an hour and drove off to school. Handed in my speech outline, gave a jumbo tron presentation in Education; would have been a total wash anywhere but here. Instead he loved it, said I picked a "great" topic.

Then I have yet another quiz in Psychology, and recieved a take home test - yes, I know - as well. After that I took a REAL test in Bio, and may have very well done shitty on that (either that or great, I'm not sure). From there, I took care of the basic outline for a research paper that isn't due for a while, and also took the liberty of researching the courses I'll need for a school that I do somewhat care about. Even set up an appointment for the 5 or so questions which that process raised. If I have my way, I'll kill myself with my courseload next semester (At most 22 Credit Hours, at least 18), but either that'll look good to U of I and they'll accept me for being jotted down for so many courses, or I can coast next year with school... only to work a low wage job like a slave, and have money for when I do get there.

So now that my feet are officially wet, I need to find a way to up my course load, start actively searching for scholarships on the web, tutor at a High School or Middle School if possible, keep Richter and Jaros happy, and stay sane. Its even more challenging when you consider that unlike most, I'm devoting my energies towards a long distance relationship.

It'd be one thing to take on the world while being happy. Its another to not have those you want around you, when you're @ a place you've come to both dislike, and actually abuse... I ain't doing my education justice, and that's not good.

*Tired*

So once Mr. Weng puts down the dry erase marker in about an hour, I'll pack up, go home, and realize that I've spent more than 12 hours in a row here again. 8:50 AM - 9:30 PM. I feel robotic, and that's not what "college" is supposed to be about, right? Jeesh, this sounds like some loss of innocence pity party. Practically living on a comuter school's campus pretty much sucks.

For once, my speech was plain. At least I can say I vented the literal Today.


.........................



*Thinks about it* At least I can say I made someone's day : )


.........................

Okay, HERE's the Kicker....just found out Pandora (my lizard) died to.

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Date:2006-10-16 19:32
Subject:Sunday Dilema
Security:Public
Mood:speculative
Music:variety

Eventually, you decide to listen to fatigue, that there may be a point to lethargy. Figured its time to re-examine my writing. Time to trek onto my oft-abandoned path, and figure out why I left it in the first place.

.....................................

Envision yourself, sitting in a green-grassy parkway, minding your own business. You're day is amidst a fair weathered picnic, puffy cumulus clouds and a bright blue coating to the sky. Fine May morning, a little before 11:15, surrounded by all that you know, are fond of, care for, and even love. The charcoal grill fills your nostrils with the notion of sustenance and good times. It’s a sunny, tranquil day.

While amidst your star-eyed day dream of a reality, you notice an agitation. Soon it’s a disturbance, more than a ruffle in the crowd's feathers. You become alarmed, but do nothing. "Cooler heads will prevail." But they don't.

Suddenly, fists are flying, cries shriek through the air. The loud clang of battered bones and bruises, men and women tumble asunder or ensnared, bemoaning their agony. Chaos reigns; bloody lips are not uncommon. It only escalates in intensity. Your heart pounds, inner panic ensues. WHY? When will it stop?

The question we all must ask of ourselves some day is, what do you do next? Do you pick your side and join in? Pull apart the pile? Call in the authorities and let them settle the matter while you stand aside, watching? Do you even walk away? I'll tell you as soon as I know myself.

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Date:2006-10-15 22:47
Subject:Existential Funk
Security:Public
Mood: indifferent

Sorry for the pregnated pause, but... my mind has been a swirl as of late. Every time I start to write out something good, I get 50 - 75 % of the way though and let it fester. I'm suffering from writer's listlessness, and this isn't unfamiliar territory for me. But to let you know that I've still got a pulse, I'll give you some clippings to provide an albeit splotchy at best picture of a few places I've been to lately.

First one grapples with something I find more enticing every day I think about it; a future as an educator. By no means to I have all the answers, but I may be asking a few of the right questions. Either way, here's a taste of how I feel teaching should be for those who care:

The Lesson


Chaos ruled OK in the classroom
as bravely the teacher walked in
the nooligans ignored him
hid voice was lost in the din

"The theme for today is violence
and homework will be set
I'm going to teach you a lesson
one that you'll never forget"

He picked on a boy who was shouting
and throttled him then and there
then garrotted the girl behind him
(the one with grotty hair)

Then sword in hand he hacked his way
between the chattering rows
"First come, first severed" he declared
"fingers, feet or toes"

He threw the sword at a latecomer
it struck with deadly aim
then pulling out a shotgun
he continued with his game

The first blast cleared the backrow
(where those who skive hang out)
they collapsed like rubber dinghies
when the plug's pulled out

"Please may I leave the room sir?"
a trembling vandal enquired
"Of course you may" said teacher
put the gun to his temple and fired

The Head popped a head round the doorway
to see why a din was being made
nodded understandingly
then tossed in a grenade

And when the ammo was well spent
with blood on every chair
Silence shuffled forward
with its hands up in the air

The teacher surveyed the carnage
the dying and the dead
He waggled a finger severely
"Now let that be a lesson" he said

Roger McGough

.....................................................

Some people are oblvious. Others choose to fight their inevitabilities. I won't say that you aren't an individual; far from it. However, I will be the first to say that you more than likely share a path with your mother and/or father, far moreso than you'd believe if you subscribe to a generation gap mentality. Scientists will tell you that genetics make you share personality traits with your forefathers, whereas I, the miniature unsubstantiated social observer will tell you that your parents steer you moreso without you ever knowing. As for me? I'm... at peace with the fact that I am so much like my father, and eventually you can find a common ground with it too, perhaps:

Digging


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.

Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade,
Just like his old man.

My grandfather could cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, digging down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

Seamus Heaney

.....................................................

Here's a non-predestined commentary, for a change. This poem keys in on something that I must be missing. Something I didn't used to be guilty of, but people do change... I'll save that for darker, revealing thoughts on my own time, and perhaps eventually yours. Until then, we'll both just shut up and breathe:

The Moment


The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Margaret Atwood

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Date:2006-09-26 22:40
Subject:Sergeant Mike
Security:Public
Mood:confrontational
Music:Rise Against

This one is for “Sergeant Mike”, who deserves better from his country:

He had seen everything while over there.

When he entered the recruiter’s office as a young nineteen year old pup, he was told he’s “see the world”. Experience the most powerful technology in the world, go on humanitarian missions, get hands on training in multiple job fields, all while paying $50,000 for college. But it never really registered with him, just exactly what the world would entail; everything. The seashells and balloons were what occupied his vision then, only to be replaced by the ever gentle presence of reality. He learned quickly, and eventually everything became normalcy, both the good and the bad.

Yet despite having seen every nook and cranny on the surface of mother earth, there was plot of real estate worth more than any other in his tired eyes: home. That’s what got him through the living hell. Not the instructors, not Basic in the Georgia heat, not even the guy standing next to him on the firing lines. It was the image of a white picket fence, a rusted over swing set with a creak as familiar as the grooves on his palm. It was the smell of his wife’s cooking, emanating from an oven more than ten years past its prime; it was that smile that got him through war, and that told him that it’d be worth it for him in the end.

Only that could make him think past the horrors of seeing a Humvee blow up via roadside bomb, of children screaming for mothers that would never again “wake up”. Only love of home could give him some semblance of composure when thinking of seeing his friend’s limbs blended after taking a mortar round from five yards out. It was home that let him think past it all, and let life pick up where the tatters remained. He could never forget, but maybe through living he could forgive was his logic.

Now was the time that all he saw was an airport tunnel. His plane from Hamburg had finally reached it’s destination of O’Hare, and his mind suddenly became very still. Time to wake up, to pinch yourself from what was a soft, closely kept dream, and stop holding your breath. The discharge papers were valid, as was the gimp in his step. He used to think being “crippled” was a fate worse than death, but this million dollar wound was more than he could ask for. That RPG was his ticket home, and he was cashing it as soon as possible.

He grabbed his duffle bag, no longer wishing he could feel in his fingertips like he used to but remained overjoyed that he had them. Not worrying to himself if she’d still feel the same in his arms, if anything would feel as it was before, but knowing that she’d be there, and knowing that was the only feeling he needed. “That was then and this is now”, is what he told himself over and over again. Training was defunct, and all he had to worry about was being human again. He smiled.

What wasn’t to look forward to? He’s an intelligent 23 year old, plenty of life experience, married, has a home and a career to come home to. Life was good again is an understatement. Anything looks good when you aren’t worrying about locals carrying AK-47s, or career soldiers who think screaming ten decibels louder will give him the promotion to Colonel that much faster. But this was so much more than that. This was what he was fighting for coming to fruition. He could finally dare to unlock his heart and his dreams again, all at the end of a terminal.

He let the attendant check his papers, wish him well, and strode down the isle with urgency as though a bug were up his ass. Distance couldn’t disappear fast enough. “She’s going to be there; I’m going to go home to a hot meal, a shower, and my own bed tonight…” Soon thereafter thought was replaced by reaction, and for once again it wasn’t based on survival. Time finally became his, and the world stopped swirling for a moment. Life became his again, as he flew.

The echo in the terminal was something to behold. Eyes like saucers, the training wheels came off mid pedal as he said, “fuck it all!” No use in hiding behind a stoic mask of survival, no use in fearing anyone behind a shawl. Every step brought him close and closer to what felt right again, to comfort, to peace.

…And as he opened his eyes again, he looked out at the airport, and found no one…Surprise!…no one.

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Date:2006-09-14 17:17
Subject:Predator v. Prey
Security:Public
Mood: contemplative
Music:Varietized

There are some moments that strike you as genuinely human with such force that all you’re able to do amidst it is be. For all the intellectual wisdom and ideology that goes into the good and the bad of American education, there are some things that simply cannot be taught. Recognizing such a place, time, and event for what it is, that is one of them. Nature v. Nurture is not my purpose; I’ll save that for psychology majors who nave nothing better to do on the weekends. Rather, I’m just asking for a little respect, a little preservation of the sanctity of the moment. That’s what can’t be taught; recognizing something so real, so pure in your world that it becomes the stuff of legend, even if it is in your own book…sometimes, stop thinking and realize that special isn’t just an adjective; it’s a noun.

EX: “God, she’s beautiful.”

There’s your place and your time to overanalyze, search for words that mystify the mind, not to mention the numerous other ways to screw things up (blinders, shrug it off, etc). Then you have your moments when you realize that seeing her in her PJ’s is all you need to know that the future is as bright as you’d like it to be, and that the fashion Nazi’s of Paris have beauty all wrong.

Life’s beauty is in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt; in your everyday.

Not in cup sizes, not in being a “10”, not in eye glitter and makeup, and most certainly not in whether or not she’s showing her thong underwear. Apparently for most people my age, that’s all the rage or something like that. Hormones are king, dontcha know?!?!

Sorry societal standards, but I know a good thing when I see it, when I see it all in one moment. The past, the present, and the future, all there in one moment; when “someone” flashes you a smile, while finding peace in yourself and in others just by taking a quick glance at what really matters, and ultimately what beauty really is. It’s primacy, its humanity, its surrendering to the fact that you are who you are. At some point, maybe you’ll stop running at the same time and same place someone else will, perhaps only for a while, to which you’ll sit and chat for more hours that you could’ve foreseen.

But you have to recognize a moment for what it is, before you can recognize the moment’s thereafter, people. Life isn’t about Coors Light, rushing wheat, barley, and a prayer to the porcelain Gods down your gullet. It’s taking the time that if you want to build a life worth living, you’ve got to pick your Chardonnay, and drink a glass a day to keep the doctors away. It’s science.

It’s seeing magic in a rubber ducky, and somehow knowing that’s everything you’ve been looking for. Not something you have to think about, nor strive or pine for; it comes into you, real natural like…nice and easy…just like a home cooked meal.

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Date:2006-09-11 16:44
Subject:Comedians of Comedy
Security:Public
Mood: lethargic

Catharsis: A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit.

Whether or not we prefer to tell ourselves that humans are or are not more special in biological terms than your dolphin, elephant, virus or other members of respective animal kingdoms, the undeniable fact that goes with being human is that you are, indeed, human. What I mean by that is even though we often intellectualize ourselves in such a way that we become our own little worlds, the truth of it will always remain that so long as we are alive, we could not hypothesize about worlds if we did not submit to the rule that we do have shoulders. We are still human beings, still classified as animals, and thus need to fall in line with often very basic, “animalistic” instincts.

I like to think of it as once you realize that you are human, you start to realize that you are a person, a person living amongst a group of people. The world is a much calmer, sortable, perhaps friendlier place when you realize that every other face in the crowd has in some ways the same elements that you do. For while we are all very particular people with very, very different means and ends, we share commonalities that can in some ways keep us grounded, healthier, and even (dare I say) sane.

And because when we boil down all the ingredients put into us we are people, it comes as no great shock that people love examples of humanity. It’s not enough to write it down in some book of observations that indeed we are human beings; our ways of life have allotted such examples and mediums to express our dependency on seeing, and in fact knowing what humanity is all about. It’s from there that I instantly gravitate to the notion of the tragic hero.

The combinations of elements that go into the tragic hero are both simple and complex, and thus easily found to be ingenious. For the one who can write for an adult is a tool, but one who can communicate to both child and elder in the same breath is a wonder. I say this because a tragic hero is one which combines the intellectual with the emotional, the primal with the elevated, and can thus transcend many planes of existence which we all find ourselves standing on. The tragic hero gives the picture of both the individual and the madness behind them that goes on inside their head. The conflict within and the downfall which occurs ultimate paints a majestic tapestry of humanity; you cannot agree with the ways in which Oedipus reached his fate, yet at the same time the audience cannot fail to see that they too could reach a fate such as him, and that in the end he still is a mortal man, one deserving of sympathy and outreach.

It is in these factors that we find a kind of peace within ourselves that makes it easier to go home to ourselves, to our wives and husbands, to our children at night and mean it when we say that it will be okay, that the sun will rise, and that despite the surrounding chaos all will not be lost so long as we keep faith within ourselves and within each other. The bonds that tie grow stronger when the bonds remain within our conscious hands.

Yet thoughts like these don’t often come so freely to the average individual. Revelations and admitting to them often brings up such a stigma that we do find ourselves as in square one: believing that we are too excellent, too impermeable, and too grand to be subjected to the laws of our fellow creatures. “They do not talk, they do not build, they do not scribe and they did not master the elements, and thus we are more.” There are even more of “them” in your life than you’ll ever fully register, but their numbers do not mean that they are “beyond saving”. It is not fair to give up one one’s brethren altogether. It is why we have to reach the “lost cause” in causes that our culture of capitalism, ironically enough, deems lost.

The art of humor is such a simple thing that its’ complexity too fails to register. Trust me, its one thing to say and another thing to try, and being consistent in the business of laughter is a rarified talent in this world of ours. Of course, rarified talents have rarified applications and methodologies. As much a farce as it would be to say all physicians do the same things, the same can be applied to the folly of saying all humor is equal in every way.

The nature of humor, as I find it to be, is constituted in large part by highlighting the folly and farce between hypothetical and reality. In some small way, shape, or form, every time you start to burst out laughing, it is because the unexpected entered the everyday. It is not fair to say anticipation is the sole key to discovering how to make people laugh, but it is a large part of it. When you were five, you didn’t expect the kid on the playground to say “underpants”, and thus it was hilarious. Likewise, when you were twenty five you see Dick Cheney shooting up his donation base coming either, and thus you laughed just as earnestly then. Beyond the expectations basing humor, humor also possesses a quality of normalcy being defied. Whether it is a person who speaks so erratically that their jaw may come unclasped at a moments’ notice, or seeing Dave Chepelle ask for a picture of a midget holding balloons…and getting that picture, blasphemy enters the frame in such a way that you cannot help but smile, or laugh…or worse *devious smile*.

It is more in the latter idea, that of blasphemy, that we find irony entering the picture more clearly. It is irony that we are truly laughing at, in some way or another. It is irony that causes us to laugh even when reason tells us otherwise. Why do we find it funny when someone starts to slip on an icy patch? Irony, my friends. Irony is what dooms us all to the repercussions of being human. Irony is what I find when I think of Steve Irwin dying by way of the creatures he hoped his documentary would depict as harmless. I never said irony was ALWAYS funny, and I never said that irony couldn’t be cruel.

In some ways, you can from there see that humor can equate to pain. Not to sound like Star Wars, but humor leads to irony, irony leads to cruelty in conflict, cruelty in conflict leads to…pain. In the clash between human instinct and what reason dictates, the aftermath (as I’ve alluded to before) leads to pain, to the individual lambasting themselves for doing something the brain finds offensive. It isn’t funny to listen to Steven Lynch’s “Special Olympics”, but at the same time you find yourself chuckling. My hypothesis is that maybe it isn’t all that bad at the end of the day, that the process of laughing is also a process of growth.

Now what I’m about to highlight does not hold true for all comedians; some are simple slapstick crude humor junkies that really don’t have much rhyme, reason or methodology that serves a purpose outside their own egotistical self fulfillment in the categories of fame and fortune (sorry for the alliteration). I’m just highlighting what I find to be the highest order, and perhaps the best purpose of comedy:

I think about the likes of Patton Oswalt, of Dane Cook, of Jim Gaffigan, and countless other performance artists with comedy as their weapon, and I think that people often forget how basic the medium which they chose to operate on is. It is not strict performance, a dictation of one person’s vision to another; it is a conversation that just so happens to be rather one sided. Conversation has remedial powers, whether you realize that or not, but it never occurred to me that comedy can build even further off of that notion.

Some are better at it than others. Some find the common links that bind us to the codes of being “people”; some sink deeper into their own souls when finding examples of existence and coping, and some go so deep as to rip their darkest days and fears right from the steely traps of their souls, and expose them to the light, as if to demystify them in their own minds. It’s a rare comedian that can relate their true selves to the audience in such a way that it doesn’t sink in, that it doesn’t fall under the category of drama, but it does happen, and is a rare instance of true power. People think they’re going to see Dane Cook, or listen to his audio recordings, simply to find humorous, off the wall stories. What people fail to realize the premise from which many comedians draw their stories. “So I was with my ex-girlfriend…”, “My mother IS an old Jew…”, “I was walking down Central Avenue when…”, many of them find the extraordinary in the every day that we do; we just fail to make note, to observe, or more importantly to digest it as we should.

So what occurs then when the light shines on one man or woman in front of the audience? If their craft is honed to just the right degree, and if they find the right cord with the right audience, the resonance (in my mind, at least) can truly impress every conscious individual in that room. It’s a special gift to represent every one, and gifted comedians have that capability. Its an eloquently eerie image I carry with me, of a smoke filled bar, the lights shining directly down on the unnamed performer, and if it hits them at just the right angle, they become us.



Since the time that I started this blurty was about a week ago, my rhythm may have been broken, so I’ll try to cut to whatever chase it is that I’m on. Not to wax poetic, but I will; there are some things in life that we simply don’t appreciate enough, don’t see the art in, and I feel that comedy is one of them. It is not a simple laugh-fest that I used to think of it all as when I was twelve, being exposed to George Carlin for the first time in anything outside Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Think that there is more merit to “Dark Comedy” than you see, because something is at work that you might want to hide from, but I’d rather you didn’t. Comedy isn’t always funny, thus comedians shouldn’t always be expected to. And just remember that Patch Adams wasn’t a complete whack job, and I guess he’s more representative of what real comedians are than I ever imagined before…

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Date:2006-08-28 11:11
Subject:The Meaning of Life, a mini-series
Security:Public
Mood: restless

Again, I'd like to throw this out there that my titles aren't meant to be taken so seriously on occasion. Remember, humor is one of my strengths, so I'm not 100% emotional. Just tired and my fingers feel the need to do some typing:

I will often throw many differing theories as to what life's meaning is out for mental sustinence, and none of them are the sole reason why in life, but today I have the very strong urge to give you an incriment of what it all means to me... not all but for now...all...

What is the meaning of life?

Its the sloshing sound made by your sandals walking in the middle of a minor downpour.

Its sitting in your Accord, realizing that you'll never find a parking spot, that indeed the "improvements" as they were claimed to be are utter bullshit.

Its reclining in a parking lot off of Roosevelt looking at books that cost far more than they ever should, yet somehow being at peace.

Its a swirl of patterns, thoughts, images, and information that somehow manages to direct you where to go.

Its emmersing yourself in the long sigh when you realize that this has only been the beginning...

...

To me, life is rather simplistic. People love to get caught up in the details, the fine print, and the riff-raff of things that in the end don't really matter. It would be hypocritical for me to say you should never get caught up in what he said or she said, but have some discrepency as to who said, what was said, when where and why, but most importantly the who. Most of your daily troubles and stresses in many ways would be contained if you just knew the people around you a little bit better, including yourself. I like to think that people who become consumed by gossip, sucked in by the littlest thing said here or there, their fault extends to the realm of not knowing their consituents like they should, and showing a little bit of compassion in favor of fury.

But more importantly, the real reason why people can't manage to get their heads out of their asses when it comes to verbal spats and the like is because they don't know themselves very well, and/nor are they very comfortable with what they see in the reflection. Otherwise, why else would they be bothered when someone called them a bitch? Because somewhere deep down and internally, they listen to comments that should roll of their back like a duck in water...

Anyhow, thats not the point but its a little bit of wisdom I felt like repeating, now that I see myself growing older, others growing older, and sometimes growing isn't the way I'd put it. In some cases I see good people start to make questionable judgements. Yes, I'm all for self exploration, but sometimes kids go about it in an ass-backwards manor. They've never tasted freedom, never dared to dream, and once they start to fly the coup they try it all, and thats great... but you should know the game before you start to play it. Just because all your life you've never been burned based on natural talent, doesn't mean that now, when they take of the training wheels and release you to your own doing...the rules change, and my lord you should read the manuel.

By the way, in case college hasn't taught you that already: reading is key. (Says the man who wants to teach your children (someday) English literature, so don't mind me...)

The point I hopefully inend to take away from this moment, even though I know it will be incoherent babble, is that life is first figuring out what really matters to you in the end of the day. It's learning yourself , which is something that today's classroom seems to've fallen short on in my case. It's about maintaining the broad scope of the world, yet at the same time becoming an expert in the field of individuality. Its an interesting cunundrum, one which I don't think I can accurately display without devoting the whole blurty-ized rant to.

When I look at the mirror, I can't complain when I look at the bigger picture. I'm lucky enough to've seen a glimpse into my future, enough to let me know what I want to be at the end of my rainbow. Many of y'all are working your asses off in college for a job, for a paycheck that will behoove you someday but for now, it just doesn't seem like it fits. The ship is on course, but the rudder is confused and waivering, another complication effecting youth into poor choices.

But fate is cruel when you have that glimpse, and that glimpse gets put on hold, and all you can do is watch a piece of your hopes and your dreams drive off into the landscape, off to a place that is literally beyond your reach. So the answer to that is perserverance, to maintaining a calm demenor in the face of fire, friendly or combatant...

So what is life? Life is getting up early in the morning, ignoring your alarm, and lying to yourself that, "You deserve it", and somehow being rewarded for that lie by a breakfast to tasty for me to divulge. Life is the quiet conversations said in hushed breathe with your loved ones, words which bring new hope to things that you thought couldn't hold any more. Life is your dog leaning his head against your lap as though you're the only thing that matters to him in life, and finding that moment as treasurable and bitter when you think to yourself. Its getting in the car and driving somewhere without parental permission, its feeling your car slide on the slick road, and realizing that taking a turn in a downpour isn't the greatest plan of action. Its that debonare smile of mischeviousness and getting away with it, and at the same time saying to yourself in a heartfelt manor, with fear coursing through your veins, "NEVER AGAIN!" Its about the flips side to every coin.

Its about driving down Route 53 behind a truck full of dirt and trying to park in the (South?) lot. Its about realizing that it simply isn't worth it to drive in circles for 15 minutes, cut some other asshole off, and lay claim to your territory, just to save walking distance. Its about realizing that there comes a time to cut and run, and take the easy way out, even though it isn't easier for you at all. Its about taking that first step into "compromise", and resigning yourself to the fact that your feet will be soaked, and will be gritty, and that you'll eventually stop liking the feeling of being a martyr. It's not only coming to terms with the realization that "this sucks", its getting to know it, getting a feel for it, and letting it show in human emotions.

Its walking down that busy concrete road, walking the line between coming and going, glasses beaded with droplets and reminders that for all the power you possess, there is ultimately powerlessness from the rules and regulations of mother nature*. Its realizing that their SUV is going 40 miles per hour, and that the slip of their wheel, the slip of their conscience, a mere slip means all the difference. Its being utterly terrified and wanting to cry for "home" but pushing on, and walking the line. It's recognizing the fragile nature of everything, even yourself, and being too strong to let yourself fold under the pressure. If not for yourself, then for someone else. Its being so pissed, so utterly emotional, that you know you have to have a soul. Yet at the same time, you maintain your composure....keep your composure.

Its walking to the library and seeing a sea of people with the same damn issues as you, and yet none of them are like yours at all.

Its telling yourself that its one more day, being that much closer to your self designated rainbow.

Its going down the cooridor and seeing the handicaped kid who was a student with you for four years BECOME YOUR CUSTODIAN.

Its letting that thought sink in.

Its figuring out that everything is real.

...

So the moral of the story is, if you want to keep your meaning of life in a local setting, tell yourself that life is about realization, and that there is all the more meaning in that.

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Date:2006-08-07 15:10
Subject:A smidgen of foresight...perhaps
Security:Public
Mood: numb

I am debating as to whether or not I’d rather do a “year in review” style effort, or if that should be saved in favor of the fresh meat descending into the conscious level in the presentable format of an idea. The former is more intriguing due to personal meaning, but the latter has more… daring, simply because it poses a few tantalizing extremes of thought…lets go with the latter, and save the former for a day when… well, eventually you’ll see.



What would you say if you saw the next two years before your very eyes?

Sorry folks, I know that sounded eerily similar to movie trailer teasers involving Nicolas Cage, but fantasy, flashing light bulbs and egotistical members of the Screen Actors Guild and otherwise aside, look at that sentence again and take it to heart. Would you not be startled? How would you use this sort of information? Meh, that’s not quite the tone I was searching for, so I will press on.

Honestly though, most people (that is, once they reach a certain age, lucky enough for yours truly one right about here) spend and inordinate amount of time striving to look into their crystal balls. The rewards for correctly forecasting the future, if you give your brain time to wrap itself around that notion, almost seem insurmountable. You could avoid fever, auto accidents, throwing thousands down the tubes with student loans ill spent…a career which will leave you dissatisfied and/or unemployed by the time you’re 32, marrying the wrong person, moving to rural Tennessee to get closer to “nature”, getting drafted into the military…or even dying.

Taken from that viewpoint, it makes all the sense in the world that people would at least try to play miniature Nostre Damus’s in their basements, at least for themselves. After all, the American psyche hinges on the single goal of self-promotion nowadays. Forget this idea of comradery, of an American dream, no. The way we’ve set things up, it most easily is seen as a rat race, as to who can get to the cheese the fastest. The only differences come in the form of what you define as cheese. Some call it money, some recognition, some romance, etc etc. The point is, the pace of our culture does not allow for people, for the most part, to simply bide their time in the world of today. Even the old ideal of the agrarian farmer, self sustaining for him and his flock, selling the leftovers to maintain the way he wished to live, that ideal is gone. Now we have the equivalent of Wal-Mart farms, mass produced cattle, machines and not man crawling over the soil deemed by many to be “God’s green Earth”, even though God (if he’s there, that I’m not so certain of) certainly never laid out a blue print for a steel plow, for mechanized existence. Now please, don’t take me too literally on that point. I’m not advocating a policy of disbelief of everything that is not literally handed down by some higher power; if so, you’d never come out alive. What I’m saying is I’m skeptical of things that become increasingly centered on the notion of self promotion, rather than the principle of preserving mother earth.

There are enough rat bastard SUV drivers out there to let you know where that idea comes from.

Reeling things back for a minute here, it would seem as though we’ve built a machine of existence. Maybe it is singular to America, or “Western Civilization”, I don’t know and I’d have to look into it to let you know if you’re in the same boat as me. The point is though that there may be something more sinister than watching simple robot exhibitions in Japan going on under the surface. Take a step back from that image for a second and you can see people hailing the efforts of modern engineering, but to what end? The destruction of humanity within our social efforts. Have we stooped so low that we look outside the natural world in order to find pleasure? Why on earth would I want a dog which is battery powered in favor of one that has personality. PERSONALITY CAN BE BOUGHT! It’s a frightening world to think of; one run by machines, but the greater machine which I speak of may be more transparent than a part manufactured by Toshiba.

It is as though the entrance to the working world will eventually equate to the end of individuality. I say that on certain levels of thought and definition, so please let me explain. For example, the career search is one which, as I’ve said before, is supposedly a deeply personal experience. Thousands of college bound students search their collective souls with the hopes of finding true happiness for themselves. Then “reality” slaps people in the face with the realization that true perfection is only an ideal. Thus, if you want a nice work schedule with real vacations, you have to take a pay cut without benefits, and oh yeah, you get to work with people’s snot nosed children, my profession to be. But really, they’re not snot nosed… 

If you want to have freedom in your personal life, you have to sell your soul to corporate America, rake in the dough, and do yourself and potentially thousands of others disservices on a daily basis.

If you want to fight for the sense of unity among people which I think is sorely lacking, oh goody! you could join the military…

The list could go on and on and on. If I really wanted to be absurdly happy and I had grande sized balls and confidence, I’d try to be a writer. I’m talking go off into the cabin for 4-5 years if need be, study the craft, mad scientist style emersion and become a linguistic and theological expert in mankind and simply write. When “reality”, or shall I say when the machine of existence rears its ugly head to check your work, well then, you realize that you can’t have a healthy diet on beans and franks for that time span, nor will you be able to support the things that make you “you” in that time span. Maybe that is why many writers end up living desolate existences with obscure beginnings, middles, and ends.

But the irony of it all to me is that there was no higher being which handed down this machine of existence. This was man made, and man (if you really want to go all out in subscribing to this idea, not a theory, but an idea), it could be argued, has chosen to deviate from the natural world with a conscious decision to bring mother nature and all her glorious wonders to her knees…that is without the foresight of knowing just how foolish their efforts to “civilize” really are.

And given the notion that this so-called machine of existence could be real in bits and pieces, it comes as no surprise that the focus on the future for the people of today is so ardent. The machine strips them of their personality, prevents the full exploration of the way life should naturally be lived, of people searching to the fullest extent within them as they see fit for survival. Imagining a scenario of pre-modernization, if you envision someone living out on the land as though they were “cavemen”, they did as they so chose. If they were right, they lived. If they were wrong, they died. The point was there appears to me to have been more freedom from within human society. Then it was the rigors of the environment which dictated the roles of human behavior and occupation. Now we’ve gone and made a mechanism a backdrop to this environment of ours. In trying to conquer nature, we have failed to conquer ourselves.

With respect to the future, because we’ve been deprived by the way we organize ourselves; we try in other manners to counterbalance such efforts. Thus, we try to find the “ideal” job, the ideal living situation, the ideal form of existence for the “particularized notion of the self”  shamelessly stolen from Connoughton banter, and thus we do whatever we can to focus on it.

Granted, the window to my future was rather narrow given the grand scheme of a lifespan (roughly two years), but imagine my chagrin and surprise when my future hit me right in the face.



Looking at the “nuts and bolts” of my situation, I am a …slightly begrudging student at C.O.D. Considering the advice I have received from those in the field, the route which I am taking may be a blessing in disguise, but for the most part, this does not fulfill the ideals which I foresaw in my education, in my career, and thus my future. I am not getting the campus experience away from home which I secretly craved for longer than I myself know. I am not taking the courses which I long for when it comes to interests of mine; face it, the electives I’m currently looking at aren’t exactly thrilling when compared to, say, U of I.

I’ll be living at home, working at least one (but more than likely two) jobs, taking seventeen credit hours and missing Katie terribly. As though I were molded from my father, the current road I’m on is one of the utmost pragmatism. “Save money general education courses, get the cheapest education you can because the jobs may not be there out of college, make an easier transition from the nest to a self sustaining lifestyle, yada yada yada.” On paper, it all makes sense. For me, it makes too much sense and not enough feel. I’m not a cold, calculated thinker. Never have been, never will be, so for me to make that decision by default…it stings. Nothing I won’t get over, but it stings.

Given the sting that I feel when I look to my future, I of course would be interested in seeing what there is to see, some way of verifying these impulses.

Then I met Mike Denk. Co-worker extraordinaire, a part timer who, as I came to learn, became enshrined at my Walgreen’s based on the fact that he worked, and was dedicated to a part time job. This is a kid who outlasted most management at this store. Granted, the pace of my Walgreen’s (on 75th and Lemont) is anywhere from manageable to mind rottingly slow, but the point was no matter what the circumstances were he did his job. He did it well. He handled the store like it was his own. I only worked with him five times but he taught me more about what was expected of me than any of the employees in there combined, and considering the caliber of people that consist of most notably my management, that says a lot. O’Malley has the people skills and knowledge essential to being the primary manager for a store like mine. Miss Flowers has the no nonsense attitude perfect for keeping the yuppified youngins in line when they’d rather chuck footballs around in the store. Pautler has a calm, laid back demeanor about him that reminds me all too much of my father at times, and they’re all wonderful in their treatment of the staff. So to speak of Denk above these figures…it means something.

Others would say “he has ‘it’”. The packaging of talent that will allow him to remain steadfast in his future craft of engineering (to be studied at Marquette), the people skills necessary to deal with both the public and his co-workers in a peaceful manner, the pragmatism essential of keeping a retail outlet afloat and running smoothly, so on and so forth. He’s practically a renaissance man of Walgreen’s, and I’m saddened to see him go.

Then I start to draw comparisons between him and myself, and the thoughts become daunting for a humble self doubter.

He too had his path lead to C.O.D, for him a two year stint intended solely to save money is what I’d imagine. He too works “too hard” at times while on the job. He too mans the photo shop at Walgreen’s. Granted, most of this situation is in the rear view mirror now that he’s left the store, but he had to figure out how to make a long distance relationship work (and he said it was damn hard on him, in fewer words than more). At times soft spoken, at times the life of the party. I’m not saying that I am Mike Denk, but when you see the face of a co-worker, the simple mannerisms when he thinks nobody is there to watch and the walls of being a citizen are shed in favor of being a human, my crystal ball is all too indescribable.

So after all this banter, a glimpse of the future isn’t everything its cracked up to be.

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Date:2006-07-21 20:21
Subject:English 101
Security:Public
Mood: contemplative

There are times when people say things to themselves that they truly believe in; conclusions which are reached (for the most part) on their own without any assistance. These peculiar, treasurable moments are often so minute in nature, so small and silent that within the recesses of a mind with pride that they often unnoticed by the significance judger inside each and every (well, most every) one of our collective brains. If you wish to think of a small, elf like figure holding a hammer while wearing a green fedora labeled "Significance Judger" then by all means, but the point of the matter is there are thoughts which can be utterly profound if you let them come to the surface. Even though most wouldn't dare every find the time nor the courage to state them out of the thin air which mysteriously creates a foundation of future personal perseverance and preservation, etc etc etc, the effects of such...epiphanies are far from surface less.

Years of institutionalized education often gives the impression that there are guidelines to follow when learning, growing, understanding, etc. It would often seem as though that you need a license to think, a permit to breathe, a passport to explore... and in some cases it is true, all too true. But in other cases, far from it... and that is what I forewarn you from, ladies and gentlemen, men, women, children, and everything in between of all ages and creeds *envisions Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus getup*. Yes, I know, it’s a hippy-fied statement to state, but just because it may sound corny, clichéd, abstract or flat out odd, doesn't mean you have to forget it. Maybe I'm not advocating "soul searching" or "opening your mind" in the typical sense that the utterly idealistic windbags of this world will have you believe (because we're not there just yet; ideals don't necessarily fly in their entirety as of yet, not in this human world which we've... created), but when your brain suddenly jabs your internal shoulder, eager and waiting with an unchecked and unprecedented comment, then perhaps it would behoove you to pay attention and open your ears to yourself; if nothing else, it'll be something to laugh at years from now.

Now that I have a rather lengthy pre-amble to a) look at for historical reference and b) see just how many cobwebs I've got as far as writing at a computer goes, I'll still stay in "that" writer's voice for just one more moment and forwarn...nah, no forwarning. Perhaps those who'd want to be forewarned shouldn't this time, take a walk on the wild side. Now please, read the initiation slowly...:

I have come to the decision that I am against falling in love.

Now hold on folks, HOLD ON! Please, before you swallow your gum, cry your eyes out or shit your pants, why don't you just hold on and have a little (you guessed it) patience. By now you probably know that the way in which I write, and therefore right (or left, depending on whom you ask), requires a little bit of patience on the readership's part. Maybe you think of it as merely some shock-tactic designed to lure in the ever wavering attention spans of today's modern audience, one with tickers on the bottom of every high definition screen known to man, with cell phones capable of internet access, instant paging, walking the dog and microwaving your dinner at a moments notice from 30 miles away. If you think it is simply such a shallow literary device, then please take my word for it that if it were so simple, at least you could perhaps understand why I'd have to do so. However, it is not merely as such; it’s a legitimate example and piece of evidence that the ramblin' preamble isn't just a bunch of hoo-ha-bull-shit. I must digress if I am ever to save face (if I have to that is).

You must've, or still be, thinking, "you cold-hearted ASS! HOW COULD YOU!" I mean seriously, who could say such things, seriously?!?! I mean, come on now, come on, COME ON. The only time people go around throwing crazy-ass words and sentences together around like that is when there's some deeply emotional tragedy on a weekly soap opera. 'Jenny has died and Michael can never love again', blah blah blah, boo hoo hoo, but not in the real world. Not in the REAL WORLD <--- (tee-hee-hee...). And I KNOW you've been going out with that Katie girl for more that, what, 6 months? No fair, no FAIR! You ass-hole bastard, I can't believe you. That’s it, I'm not talking to you ever again you piece of **** <--- (eventually, even I have a thresh-hold-for-cursing, even if it isn't my voice necessarily in this case).

So seriously, do you believe it’s possible for people to sporadically come to such a wild conclusion, that they themselves are against falling in love? Do you? Because if you don't, then how on earth do you think novels about such things are written, how do you explain romantic cinema which has been going on and expanding (or regressing, depending on who you ask) for the past sixty years? How do you address the fact that I, of all people, created that very string of words to form a sentence on my own volition? If you want to get into a psychological debate, perhaps it was not originally my "self" which came up with the sentence, but the long and the short of things are that the closest thing that you'll ever find that is "Carl" came up with it on his, my, something's own free will. Not some abstract dude living in a shack out in Montana with just a computer designed to spit out random focal points for writers, musicians, thinkers, politicians, news anchors and any other orators around the globe. Me. I came up with it, and unless you have a fabulous counter point, I'll leave things at that.

I have come to the decision that I am against falling in love (and by now, some of you have the sneaking suspicion that I'm being a little dirty bastard about the way that I phrased said sentence...and that sneaking suspicion may be right).

See, if you know me, and especially if you KNOW me, you will have realized that I have, on more than one occasion, slipped on my English Nazi hat and pranced around the English department (figuratively speaking) with my essays, speeches, and everything "artsy-fartsy" in between. Maybe it took the second time for you to see that devilish little sentence for you to think it over more than once, get familiar with the thoughts, implications, and ideas of the word. In other words, get to know the reasoning of reading rather than the gut reaction...get to see the method - reason - behind the madness - emotion. Haha...I love that sentence more than I'll care to admit.

NEWS BULLITEN: Sometimes segways fall into my lap, and for that I am grateful. Granted, having my computer continually shit itself to the point where I am no longer allowed to "return" to its graces has more than one downside, but the bonus of it all is that when in the middle of the library, people - perhaps the greatest resource of any good observer/writer/thinker/doer/sayer/etc - say, do, etc the darndest things.

To my near right I see two girls, teens, women? Meh, that’s a definitional issue which I more than long to avoid, so I shall. Anyways, these two human beings possessing more estrogen than testosterone (I hope) are flailing away at their computers, finding out the meaning of life by surfing myspace. Not on the same computer, mind you, but it’s all too much easier to find "cute boys" on the internet in an all too controlled setting. Posturing, fluffing, puffing and typing takes place in such a manner than the game becomes all to real for some, considering the fact that they are spending their Friday night at a library trying to talk to boys and what not while using AIM as their feeding tube for emotional silly-play, and all too surreal in another. I mean honestly, trying to find an earnest emotional connection with someone merely with modern technology? Its a farce in my book, and You've Got Mail, although it was a more than good movie, was simply good writing and good acting; the odds of it working in "reality" are millions to one, and based on the fact that when one of these "boys" actually called on one of the estrogen laden creature's cell phones, "reality" slapped them both in the face to the tune of "this is all just a GAME". Funny, repulsive, and sad that neither of them see that the emotions of it all have reached madness, and there's no reason for that...

That came off harsher than it should have, but considering that the boys they were flirting with are currently standing behind them with hoola-hoops, yes, hoola-hops, in a library, and being roughly 16 years of age, then perhaps I should let my words stand where they are.

Moving on, back to my delectable but true sentence that got the metaphorical ball of yarn rolling. If you look at the somewhat infamous sentence - that is within the context of what will be an all too brief document thanks to time and technological shortcomings of yours truly - carefully, I would advise you to look at the verb "falling". See, though I don't know if I can accurately portray the array of thoughts, ideals, experiences and other considerable considerations which have brought me to this point, I believe that what will come forth next will hit the mark...here's to hoping, because I've already taken enough liberties and risks in this form of writing, especially since I'm, shall I say, rusty as of late.

I've often considered orating the worn out phrase, "falling in love" on more than one occasion. Not a lacking in courage, not a lacking in comfort, but a lacking in sincere understanding of that phrase is what has prevented me from stating it. Of course, if you know me, you'll also realize that I probably flogged myself without mercy for months because of it (damn it, the girls are doing it again, they need to be stopped, if only they could read my screen). Now don't get the wrong impression, for those of you lucky enough to read this (haha) but lacking understanding of the personal situation which has undoubtedly lead me to this field in thought; I've known, and said, that I've loved and still do for more than a... fair share of time. It is merely that the time has come for me to "let things out" in a way which I have been "dying" <--- don't worry, I remember the agreement - to do for many months... only it took me a while to figure out how.

I am against falling in love because I disagree with the process which it implies. When you think about it, the way things are said it has me irked.

Imagine love, sitting out there all on its own. A brilliant little noun, very alluring and, though it may be sincere, it can't help but play hard to get. Likes to run around and frolic within the hearts and minds of young and old. However, if you're lucky enough to catch it while it's tired, and if your aim is just right, you like many others before you can "fall in love".

Imagine yourself, sitting from a higher perch than love, looking down and the millions of emotions swirling around below you (go on now, imagine I say, IMAGINE!). Sure, the clouds are rather puffy above you, but you're trying to fall into the emotions down below. So, consciously, willingly, and accurately, you throw yourself off a ledge and use the powers of abstract physics to cascade into the desirable destination of love.

Bologna.

If you ask me, people who say they have fallen in love don't know what its like to love, be in love, or whatever phrase most makes you comfortable. Love is not something you fall into, it is not something that you yourself alter your body, your presence, your space in order to be a part of. The very nature of that phrase is rather dreary if you ask me. Falling isn't necessarily the best experience in the world, especially if from high enough heights that a lack of a parachute would be...preferable. There are times when it can be fun, but I also know that there are plenty of instances that getting into something can leave you confused and upset. Therefore, if you look at that phrase, and you don't understand A, and you don't understand B, then how on earth can you expect to sincerely understand C (love)? Bologna.

Now, I can't give you an absolute for all the world, because after all, we don't go about love in the very same way, or else everyone would love everyone - which is fuckin' creepy if you think about it for more than four seconds - but if you were to ask me how things go, love falls into you. You are you, and though people will experience life altering moments, for the most part (depending on where in the inner being that is "you" that you view). And if you try to tailor who you are in order to "fall in love", then by then it's too late; its insincere, entirely emotional, and thus short winded. If you're lucky enough to have the faith in yourself to simply be, and if you have enough Spidey-senses to scan the crowds and see someone who's got just the same sort of priorities topping their list, who has the right set of credentials for you to be compatible with, and has enough similarities and differences to work out the quandary between liking someone and living with someone, then maybe, just maybe, if all "the stars" - timing, location, energy, etc - align, then you have a chance of love settling in to you.

One sentence debunked, all too many to go.

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Date:2006-06-01 18:20
Subject:Tired and cravin' me some Couch!
Security:Public
Mood: shocked
Music:itunes

Ever found yourself in a situation of complete self diversion? I fully came into this day with the full intention of making pragmatic, rational and speedy decisions, but to no avail. Rather, I sat down at this computer and spat out this, not having a single clue as to what my mind would reveal was on the underlayers of inner psyche. If you know what the meaning of this all is, you get a cookie:

Brain is scrambled like pudding stuck to the bottom of my black sandals, baking in the grotesquely hot sun. A sun which never came home, or so they say…by no means prodigal.

It’s about that time at six o clock in the evening that I finally acknowledged the notion that I was indeed being followed. Even if it means your life is in danger, people really don’t like to admit their own fallibility and fragility. As far as I can see, we all like to sit in our respective corners of the ring, waiting for our personal trainers to bring in the squeeze bottle of water and wash out our mouths still stinging of the taste of our own blood. Papa told me that route never really brought much good to anybody ‘cept the man with the squeeze bottle – so long as he was gettin’ paid to do so. So maybe the time came to accept a life time’s worth of rejection for what it was, move on past my paternal resentment, and realize that maybe my old man did have something worth saying. Again, we’d rather fight that admit to the truth, but that’s another matter all together.

The slosh of my hush puppies in the newly formed puddles reaffirmed the fact that I was still vulnerable and very much in the middle of the street, with little to no resources which to use in order to protect my self from whoever this mysterious figure was lurking behind garbage cans, run down used cars, and whatever other miscellaneous urban camouflage was available. Whoever it was, it was obvious that this hidden man was by no means a mental midget. Weaker minions would have been lost in the shuffle or at the very least compromised the entire project once they had been ‘found out’. But not this one; this man had a single minded, even systematic approach to something which few get to see, and even fewer comprehend.

...

I'm currently listening to Avril Lavine guys...'tis interesting when you've never actually heard one of her specific songs, and you also reach a level of comfortability within your own skin that you don't give two shits to the wind what the next guy'll say. Maybe its an extenuation of Senioritis, but its alllllll too easy to say that at this point. Its something we're all fighting to do. Learning to live with your inner desires, inner fears, inner inner inner inner! Maybe not learning, because we all know at some point where the beginning of Carl Mayer or Katie Murphy or Rahul Mayer or Ashley Muller of Kevin Worrasangasilpa or Osama bin Laden or whoever the next guy is. We all know, its a matter of tolerance? Or is it in actuality a matter of learning to love the reflection in the mirror, for better or for worse, 'til death do you part. Thats for you to decide, to see if you signed up for Team Pessimistica, or The League of Unbearable Optimisits, or one of their better loved affiliates.

In somewhat more seriousness, I see the same faces I cherrish more than I'll ever care to admit on a day to day basis, the same faces that most anyone else would look to and describe as mundane, common place, average, basic...I look to them and I see why their non-knowing yet quick to judge brothers and sisters in the family of humanity reach their unintentionally (at least for me) inspirational comments. Its because you, I, we, he she they they all don't know how to sit back, relax, and breath in one's own skin. How so? Thats more psychological than I care to go towards at this moment, for my brain is currently running on low and it is right before dinner. But no matter, I'll venture on to the wilderness that is this magic-layden inquiry of unknown perameters and results.

Moral of the story: its okay to be human. If you don't see that, then you my friends need to take a second look into that warped mirror builty by sturdy yet degenerating hands and realize what got you here to this point today. Just think about that image, and take a good, long, hard looking into that mirror, and see that its alright to see the world flipped backwards. If you don't then you're finished before you've begun.

A toast, to graduating sooner rather than later. Therefore, later.

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Date:2006-05-21 15:23
Subject:Diagrams of Partial-Birth Abortion
Security:Public

Note: A name has been...altered...for the sake of politics...only less than a month. And another reminder: I’ve never liked my conclusions. Never:

...

Strange, considering the fact that there is "nothing left" to be learned at Downers Grove South. Strange, when you look at the fact that many a student left and right is sincerely giving up on the reasons which brought them to education. I know for fact that I have, in some cases, been lack-a-daze-a-cal since the realization came over me that none of their educational fear tactics hold any weight any more, but that doesn't mean I've gone *** ******** (or however you spell it), that doesn't mean that I don't give two shits about what we're doing any more. And yes, I swore, but it pisses me off when you realize that these very same kids, these very same people who are quitting on themselves, they are the ones who will be working for your dollars some day. Our generation is hitting the real world. We are inheriting the world.

...

As if in a dream sequence, I look over to her desk trey. Not the person occupying the desk and it's complimentary seat, not the teacher, not *student X* picking his lips while reading a book. No, as if by some will of nature, some act of God, some higher being pulls my eyes, thoughts, mind, and attention span from The Brotherhood to a desk trey, to a flipped over sheet of paper that isn't even mine...of course, silly, it isn't an outside act, but the surreal always feels like you're playing the role of Pinocchio. But such is not the case: you're just too powerful to see what’s inside. All of you, and it’s this very same blindness which can mute the soul, and in fact the ultimate reality which every one of us feels and sees. Its the very same reality which the ********s have condemned, because it isn't worth their time. "It's pointless, such a waste of time, I don't care any more"...

But lucky for me, my deeper consciousness - which we're all rather unaware of until the tangible slaps you with something fantastically perplexing, pleasant, surprising, unreal, upseting, *INSERT ADJECTIVE HERE* - did pull my eyes to your standard 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper, one which ultimately holds no bounds. All the meanwhile, the voices of reason keep spouting in Invisible Man, the teacher keeps on laying out an agenda "worth gagging at", and yet I keep pressing on. Hurray for taking action? Haha, we shall see.

A simple flip of the page, the very same page with the power to hypnotize, to momentarily create a trance of sorts, and I recieved a swift kick to my conscience and realm of clarity. "This is school, where we learn about schooly things, right?"...sure, we "learn" about schooly things, but there comes a point where you just want to shed yourself of the shackles which can be the American educational system. But you all know that, we all can agree on such matters of significance, so I won't bore you with the same old hum-drum point of scantrons, #2 pencils, and "the future".

Partial-birth abortion? Partial....birth........abortion? What's this got to do with anything? How did this get here...get HERE?

I didn't know what to make of it all. Oh yes certainly, I am not ignorant of the firestorm of controversy, of debate, of endless CNN punditry and banter on what "the people of this country are looking for" versus what will happen on Capitol Hill. But there is something all-together-different when you see a diagram that someone posted online, someone took the time to see, to see an artist's rendition of the process they undergo. This is something real, something tangible and completely unforeseen. This is the firestorm being brought to your doorstep.

"Now, open up your books to chapter 11, if you please"

How did this get here? A teacher couldn't have left their papers behind; this is just one person's piece of paper, a students. Someone brought this into class, someone who had to look it up on their own. They intentionally brought the firestorm into their lives. They made this as real as it is. We all know the all too obvious truth that everything in life is only as real as you make it...but its more than that. Some student out there made it real. They made IT real.

So what is it? "The real world", "Political issues", any label you want to slap on matters which we all have the sinking suspicion after seeing the cynical side of the world that we don't have any sort of power over. It was then when I realized the real world was knocking on my doorstep.

I'm only 17, and I'm FULLY aware of this factoid, but it is then when I realized that the ambiguous future isn't so ambiguous. Things aren't theoretical, hypothetical, non-specific and general. Perception, perspective, and all things which fall within that category are biased. The world won't be what it used to be back in frosh year, having "debates" in World Studies - that is my class experience (and please note the irony). Its not the case that you can separate: whether you, or I, like it or not, the divide is breaking down which insulated our Suburbia Extravaganza experience. "Get a job!" "What do you think of genetic testing?" or anything in between now...now it carries the weight of the world. Now I see the story behind each stance that people take. That’s why I want to know your stances.

So how am I to focus on you, Mr. Monahan, in favor of partial-birth abortion? There's a world worth notion, and I want to make it my own. I'm no ********, one who sticks my thumb up my ass with the left and flicks off the school with the right. With all due respect, you are a wonderful teacher when you want to be. Hell, you might be even better on auto-pilot. But how can you expect me to adopt your simulation in favor of genuine realization all in favor of the self? I want to know for myself...and though the notion terrifies me, and though I know I haven't thought it all out either, I want to inherit the world...

...

I can't help but take these thoughts and ask myself, "If I weren't at the library, if I weren't pressed for time, and if I were the academic stud-muffin that I could've been had I had more sense, wouldn't the sentiment - which may still remain unclear - of this speech make one hell of a graduation speech?

...

Its coming, kids. I hate to break it to you, but time is up. The training wheels are now sitting in your trash bin, the blinds have been lifted, and soon Mommy won't be there to make you breakfast when your alarm doesn't go off any more. Soon we'll all be able to vote: soon Partial-Birth abortion will be real. You won't be a number, a tax deduction, a transcript, but a person with a voice. With an impact. Economically Incorrect sessions won't have that kid that says, "well, I dunno, I mean :::fill in the blank:::". It won't be Economically Incorrect, because it'll be a diehard lobbyist telling you why God is talking to him, telling him that you can't abort your child when you had an unplanned pregnancy and you're working part time while you're trying to get through school. You've got to know where you stand, and soon... or at least you should know. Looking at things this way, its easy to see why America's voter turnout is so spectacularly lame, but the point stands. It's coming, and its time to see where your head is at.

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Date:2006-05-14 16:17
Subject:Guilt trip
Security:Public
Mood: weird

Hi. My name is Carl. I haven't updated in far too long.

My computer is shit. Shit friends....utter shit.

Not asking for sympathies here, just a little compassion. Though I strive to update as much as possible, that does not mean I am willing to handwrite my entries and send them to some typing goon in a far away land, who happens to be hunched over and envious of sweatshop workers in the Mekong Delta (yes, this hunched over individual is in just that sad of shape).

Let it be known that I am entirely grateful for about...80% of the people in my life at this moment. Entirely.

Therefore, I apologize for a) neglecting this blurty for as long as I have, and b) trying to absolve my personal guilt in the form of slapping together this sorry excuse for an entry. Can you tell how self aware this entry is in particular? I mean seriously, I could go off into some nether-world tangent about how reality is seriously over and underrated, or how people's perceptions and notions of how things should be are the biggest problem the human race has going nowadays, or that the stress level @ this VERY moment is rather...okay, not that high, but in a constant state of fluctuation. I could wage war on certain individuals who, after careful examination and peaceful interactions for the past 3+ years...but no, thats not my style, and that isn't an accurate reflection of what I think and feel; rather, it is the flawed perception of the times. And thus, I prove the point of perception which I would've made if I had the time or the energy. Perhaps some day in the not too distant future I will be able to sit back, make time, pump some creative juices into the veins which feed these ten digets pounding away at another's keyboard...but until I make that someday come, until I make things as real as I can in each aspect of existence...well then, you'll just have to wait now won't you?

If you do, you're a Saint; if you're indifferent, congratulations...and if you jump ship? Can't say as I blame you; its what makes the western world go 'round.

So what saves me from incesent (sp?) droning and self mutilation in the form of the written word? The little things: juice bar: thank you. So long for now, and may I raise my glass to "every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end" <- waxing poetic.

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Date:2006-04-09 10:08
Subject:An "Intelligence Failure" of Sorts
Security:Public
Mood: contemplative
Music:Three Days Grace/ Foreigner

I do not wish to entertain the high wire act of plagiarism. Therefore, even though I worked his name into the blurty, I will now accredit both inspiration and some of the miscellaneous clippings used in this piece to Peter Monahan and his beloved “Senior Speech.” Have at it:

Wise men and their sayings are like cookies from Nabisco. You know what they are, they taste so good to you, even though many of them shouldn’t be taken in all at once. While you’re vaguely aware that they’re from an assembly line, you never know precisely where they come from. Still, despite the mysterious nature surrounding both proverbs and processed food, you still greedily consume them. Some of them are bigger, more complex quotes any pearls of wisdom (Ho-hos), whereas some are minute, yet profound (bight sized Chips Ahoy). And even though you know they can clog your arteries if you take on too many of them, you keep cramming them into your mouth one by one. I too, despite being fully aware of the dangers of over-quote consumption, picked one up from the scrap heap of supposed transcendental knowledge in order to a) find a focal point for this update, and b) try to in part figure out what I am supposed to be doing with the rest of my life.

“An education is not where you get it from; it’s what you do with it.”

Statements similar to that are what have given me the ability to rationalize and waddle my way though a highly unorthodox college search. I knew it was such when amidst my decision, Tom Serb approached me one day in the cafeteria. For those of you who’ve lost touch to some extent with me or Tom, we’ve had two interactions which can be defined as conversations all year. As far as I know, that is not a reflection of our attitudes for each other as much as us lacking the glue that was Advanced U.S. History last year which bonded our fate both in historical comprehension and GPA. Since then, we haven’t had much contact and cohesion. If you want more perspective on how little we see each other, I can probably count the number of times I’ve seen him this year on my hands (and please don’t be a smart-ass and say “well, what if you repeat Carl, then you could’ve seen him 27 times, HAH-HAH-HAH!” It’s 10).

With that being said, you can imagine my surprise and chagrin when Tom knew something I didn’t about my decision process. “So I heard you’re not going to college…” THIS was news to me. Despite the fact that I never uttered such words outside of a sarcastic context, apparently the impression on the student body of DGS was just that: so I heard you’re not going to college. I’m consciously using generalizations that do not apply to all when I say this, but my guess is in the absence of hearing word, assumptions are the most common logical step for the honors student cluster: if there isn’t an answer there, make one up. Using that manner of thought, because I gave so few specifics of my college deliberation, there must in fact no deliberation going on. The more logical deduction is that those who have poor opinions of me (or those with special conversational character, for that matter) made either snide or fun loving sarcastic remarks on my behalf to the effect of, “he’s going nowhere.” But look on the bright side: at least people are still talking about me and know I exist!

It has pained some people to be held at arms length as to how things were going in my quest, and in doing so it has pained me for that. For this fact, I offer my sincere and deep apologies. It was not because I did not want you to know, but a) I did not know myself. If I don’t know then how am I to properly fill you in? b) It is MY college choice, a private decision I wished to keep beyond the public domain of debate and deliberation. Thanks in part to overwhelmingly hands-off parents with regards to the selection process (something I am more-than-less thankful for), this matter is one that for me was rather personal. Therefore, if I wasn’t comfortable with what I was thinking, then c) the last thing I need to do is spit it out a confusion laden mass of intelligible emo-riddled ideas to those I care for I value and care for. I don’t want people to worry, and I know more than one that would have if they had seen me verbally floundering on the surface level in such a manner. By no means was my silence or evasion of the topic a reflection on the inquirers, but in truth a reflection of my personal chaos. T’was not insanity, but “jumbled”, “confused”, “quixotic” and “paranoid” are just a few adjectives that come to mind.

That being said, in case you weren’t sure where it is I’ve decided to go, I’ll skip the drum roll and just throw out the name for ya: C.O.D. That’s right folks, after all sorts of smoke screens and mirrors of allusions and postponements, I’ve opted to follow the path of the elder sibling and stay @ home for one year. It may be an anti-climactic selection for some, but at this point, I DON’T CARE! It’s my choice, and I’m sticking to it.

The moment of clarity came in the middle of a Hinduism rant from Mr. Connoughton in Humanities. I was thinking of the bigger schools with sexier names that I was still looking at, when I finally asked myself, “Why am I going there? I’d like to get away, but what am I running to? In effect, what is the PURPOSE of my going away?” As much as I wanted to, I didn’t have the answer. Given the fact that I have no specific idea as to what major I want to undertake, nor do I know what I’d like to do for the rest of my life regarding a career, this comes as no shock to me now. If you don’t know what you’re running towards, then why run? Save your breath; you’re going to need it.

This next set of paragraphs is more of a, “get it off my chest/ side note/ dig at those who still don’t quite understand the purpose and the process of selecting a college.” What few have been privy to finding out which college I’ll be going to for a year have given me priceless reactions, some which have helped me understand them better than any previous exchange before. Some have been more than understanding. Others have been extremely helpful. More have been active listeners and had questions for me, a reflection that they actually give a damn about the person behind the glasses and the flip-flops and the label on the college. I didn’t receive any surprises from the positive reactions to a school choice which a) they perhaps did not expect, and b) one that (as I’ve stated before) isn’t “big” or “prestigious” or “sexy”. The shocking/revealing reactions came from those who I thought were more understanding, caring, and to put it bluntly, smarter than they apparently really are, as revealed by their immediate judgmental and negative reaction.

One of them actually responded with, “NO!”, as though I were throwing away my life to a pit of rabid alligators holding chainsaws (hahaha, that’s a GREAT mental image given their tiny arms). Pulling myself out of a writer’s voice for a moment, SERIOUSLY, WHO SAYS THAT?!?! NO? You’ve got to be kidding me. I just spent how many months coming to a decision, and you’re going to tell me NO? Granted, this person didn’t get to see the deliberation step by step, nor did they see the set of circumstances I’ve been dealing with, but NO? How ignorant of a statement is that? I’ll be kind and give them a free pass since they are only a junior, and until you know you don’t know.

The other persona is less easily excused. Given the fact that they are a senior, they should know and understand that while it is only college, and transferring is always an option, it involves a high number of meaningful implications in your literal reality. The fact is that this decision is the first weighty one that we ourselves (hopefully, depending on your parents) make involving OUR lives. It was one thing to decide, “Do you still want to play baseball?” or “Which class do you want to take for a Fine Art credit?”, but this is, as my Dad would so eloquently put it, “Nut cuttin’ time.” This unnamed person has been there, and knows the gravity which this decision carries (unfortunately a gravity which weighed me down more than I’ll ever care to admit). Yet when person X asked me where I was going, and I responded with C.O.D., person X more or less immediately asked, “And then?” One on hand, you could view this as insightful, that this person knew that this school was not my end all be all. On the other hand, as I’ve pointed out before, assumptions can be mildly rude. But no matter, I kept on plugging through the list of schools I’ll look at transferring to once I’ve got my head on “straight” regarding careers after a year from now.

Here’s where it gets juicy for all of you who quietly enjoy a little gossip and drama. Even though I hadn’t finished listing off my future options and running through my reasoning, person X decided that I wasn’t worth listening to any more, and preferred to let their eyes wander off into the abyss of high school academia. I’m so happy that as I’m pouring out some of the finer details of a deeply personal process which will more or less affect the rest of my life that you find a BRICK WALL more entertaining: way to win bonus points. Somewhere in their heads, they did a simple math calculation and deducted the inequality: as a person, Carl < brick wall. Nice Going, ________!

Just a note for all you kids out there: If you’re going to ask a question, please stick around for the answer. Seriously, book smarts are one thing, but the more you grasp that people skills are highly valuable in this world, the better situation you’ll put yourself into, and the better human being you will be: both in your eyes and the eyes of your colleagues… I feel that for the most part I’ve exhausted that tangent, but the moral of the story is that people are always watching for the little ways in which you react to important personal matters, so please, if you’re going to start something, finish it, care (or @ least pretend), and don’t be an ass munchkin.

The greater point regarding this college deliberation is what I am willing to admit now: I’m not thrilled with this decision. I’m tired of lying to myself; this isn’t the choice that my heart is behind. I’d love to go off to the college campus many miles from home, meet new people, experience the collegiate atmosphere, immerse myself in the world of independence, learn on my own, for myself and all those romanticized ideas. C.O.D carries few of those things which I’ve built my self up for to love. I’ve picked a brown paper bag to carry your lunch in for a day rather than running out to the store to buy the top of the line Igloo brand food cooler. No matter how hard I tried to combine both, I could not do so. Therefore, I picked what I need, not what I want. Given the personal reasons and circumstances, coupled with the internal division highlighted in above said sentence, how have I gotten on board with my choice?

“An education is not where you get it from; it’s what you do with it.” *READER’S NOTE* This is the point in the piece where the writer’s voice shifts from anecdotal and confessional to that of a more but not entirely distanced observer giving “fatherly” advice.

Given the season and the set of circumstances that most high school students are currently in, you’d think more people would realize this. As Dr. Monahan so creatively pointed out, education is an internal process more than it is external. It is true that it takes two to tango, meaning the school which you metaphorically dance with must be up to the challenge, but the fact remains that you must be the one to shuffle your feet. You must be the one to actively learn, rather than let the label of Harvard, USC, Northwestern, Boston, or whatever your dream school is carry the entire weight of your educational experience. I still find that people are all too caught up in college and not preparing themselves for how “the real world” works; they lose sight that it is just a place and time. College is just a step, rather than an “ambiguous” future. Sure, having a degree from a prestigious school helps out in laying a ground work for a career path, but at the same time a degree/diploma is simply a sheet of paper with a few signatures on it. Eventually, people will notice the person more than the test score or the diploma. It’s what you do with your time while at your given school that really matters, and will then prepare you for your life. I know that last statement can come off as flowery and indistinct, but that’s really what college should be about. College is the final frontier of organized education. You’ve got to learn what you’re going to do, because after that your life is in your hands. So please, don’t make it just a sheet of paper; give it meaning.

I’ll admit; I too was caught up in the name and prestige more than I please. I have a Notre Dame flag waving outside my household right now, a reflection of how immersed I’ve been in the culture of loving the brand name. I’ve had all things Notre Dame pumped into my veins since the time when I had elf ears as an infant, growing up knowing no different. Notre Dame Football is the apex of the college football world when it comes to name recognition, and my Grandfather subscribed to it for thirty to years via season tickets. Hell, my screen name is GoldenDomer1388, a reference to the Golden Dome which graces the university’s most noticeable landmark. The dome is not the university; it’s the image which I gravitated to when contemplating what sn I wanted, and its much the same thing which I and many people have done with their college searches. When I discovered Notre Dame didn’t specialize in the majors which I am interested in, it still took me months to detach myself emotionally from the school, the image, and the perceived aura. Its one thing to have your heart set behind something if it passes tests of logic, but its another to live extensively on unbridled emotion (something I’ve learned all too well this year).

IT is perplexing that despite the high concentration of college and otherwise highly educated people which supposedly sprinkle the suburban landscape of Downers Grove, people still become oh so easily swindled by the brand name and packaging a person comes in. For all these "smart" people, the intelligence seems to be lacking. “Just look at our President, he went to Yale! YAY YALE, WOO HOO, WE’RE SAVED! This means our President is INTELLIGENT, right? Uh…oh wait…he invaded the wrong country? …Osama got away? I thought we had him cornered…You’re telling me he used flawed intelligence? …And yet when he had dead-on intelligence w/ September 11th and ignored it? Hmmm…that to me seems like the REAL intelligence failure.” <-- Further evidence that the label of an education can only get you so far. George (it is suspected) was too busy getting drunk and high during college to learn anything worth while, pissing away the “prime years” of his life. You’ve got to use the opportunities given, rather than let the opportunity use you, or else the consequences can be horrendous (see downtown Baghdad for further details).

“An education is not where you get it from; it’s what you do with it.”

Granted, I’m not so naive as to think there is no difference between a community college and an Ivy League education, but the point stands that the individual must actively participate in their education. Maybe it is that people don’t care about what they learn, maybe it is that they (they being Americans) just want the degree to get the cushy job and sit on their asses for the rest of their lives, maybe they are all about the money, maybe they are all about the image…at least I can say I haven’t surrounded myself with too many people who think, believe, and behave in said manner.

While I could write more scornful words as to how, “if our fearless leader has an intelligence failure, then it makes some sense that our nation has a massive intelligence failure”, (whether it be through the voting polls, their perception on what college is “all about, purchasing products, etc etc), I’ll stop taking up your time with my mildly triumphant blurty return and bring it to an effective, compassionate, and cohesive end. This is more than less addressed to those who are the “honors student”. It may be too hippyish/ Jenny Massa (sp? I’m AWFUL @ sp?) for some, but its been more than a month since I’ve seriously updated, so bare with me (besides, I’ve never liked more than 3 wrap ups/conclusions I’ve ever written).

I know that much of your life you’ve been geared for the frame of mind which I’ve just explored in reflection. Some of you have totalitarian parents who crack the whip over your head, having determined your life’s path before you were even born. Others have caught themselves up in the frenzy of numbers in academia, believing that a .05 difference in GPA will determine whether they are happy or not for the rest of your lives. All in all, there are more than a few determining factors which cause people to play the chess game of “getting ahead” in life. All I ask is that you don’t lose yourself in the game, or else you’ll be lost in it forever. If you ever need a way out of this, my advice is to subscribe to what I find as a favorite pastime drug found in perspective, and please remember that it is just a game you’ve been playing.

If some small part of you actually likes the idea of “making the world a better place”, and you do want to have a rewarding career path and life, then live with your brain on with vested interest in what you do rather than the dry, tangible world. There are things more important than the numbers and the labels which others will use to define you. The reason people use those as measuring sticks is because they don’t understand the person behind the test score. Therefore, please: don’t use their inferior means of measuring yourself, and use your intelligence in a versatile method, for a goal that may be less tangible than an SAT score, but one which will mean more for you than getting into the school with the shiny brand name. Others will remember you for the title of what you’ve done, but you must remember yourself for the hard work, the process you underwent to reach that end. And if you didn’t get in to the school of your dreams, life isn’t over.

An education is not where you get it from; it’s what you do with it.

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