Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Is mental illness a fad? I have to admit that I wonder about this. It seems we keep various diagnoses and psychiactric catch-phrases as readily on hand as we do our driver's licenses, car keys, and debit cards. They are a necessary part of life--a way to function, a way to be understood by both ourselves and others. We love these invisible, clincial crutches that comfortably bear our infirmities, making us the innocent bystanders in Darwin's lottery. God save the gene, you might say. If it's not a fad, it certainly seems our society is as adept at churning out defunct psychoses as it is quarter pounders with cheese (hold the onions, thank you very much).

With that being said, who among us is not, at the bare minimum, a partial OCD victim? Don't we all willingly (and gleefully?) embrace illogical habits? I know I have several. I wish to present a list, and I'm hoping others will feel free to share their own irrational customs. If I think of any more, I will add them to the comments. But for now, here goes...

  1. I have to alternate the direction that I eat my pizza crusts. That is to say, if the first crust that I eat is eaten from left to right, I will eat the next one from right to left. This keeps things balanced. As you may be able to guess, it is difficult for me to eat an odd amount of pizza slices and feel okay about it, because this naturally throws off the cosmic balance I am trying to ensure. Also, if I eat left-to-right and then right-to-left, I will likely eat the next crust right-to-left again. Why? Because now it is time to go right-to-left first and then go left-to-right. It's like a pattern. RL,LR,LR,RL. It's like a neat little bookended experience.
  2. Most of my idiosyncracies deal with balance, it seems. My mother would say this is the Libra in me. Who knows, but it's true. With that being said, if I am eating something like cashews or peanut M&M's (something small that I am eating one at a time), I will alternate which side of my mouth I chew it on. And, like pizza crusts, I am likely to do a revolving pattern, e.g. left-right-right-left, etc. I may vary it from time to time, but only if I can keep it balanced overall.
  3. Speaking of M&M's, I do not like to eat the same color M&M back-to-back. In fact, I even prefer not to eat similar colors back-to-back. For example, I will try to avoid yellow followed by orange, or orange followed by red. I'd much rather alternate between light and dark. Blue, yellow, brown, green, red, etc. That would be a good rotation. When I am nearing the end of my snacking (whatever is in my hand or left in the bag or what have you), I have to begin planning how I will eat the remaining candies. I actually plan it out when I get down to eight or so candies remaining. I try to choose a diverse and fluid progression to make my snacking the most enjoyable it can be. And I will probably not want to end on a less-appealing color, such as brown. So that comes into play as well.
  4. It would very much bug me to drink Coke from a glass (or wax cup or whatever) that said Pepsi on it. And vice versa, of course. It's worse that they are blatantly opposing brands of cola. It's not as bad if the drinks aren't quite the same, such as putting Mountain Dew in a Pepsi glass. I could probably handle this, though it's not prefered. It would be worse to put Mountain Dew in a Coke glass since Mountain Dew is made by Pepsi. But even that would not be as bad as Pepsi in a Coke glass. Funny enough, I could drink milk out of a Coke glass and not be that bugged at all. But sodas must preserve some sort of brand fidelity when it comes to the cups I use. But even this gets somewhat tricky. It would probably bug me more to put Pepsi in a Mountain Dew cup than vice versa. That's because Mountain Dew is made by Pepsi, but Pepsi is not made by Mountain Dew. Also, Mountain Dew is so fruity and bright that it would be really weird to have a dark soda in an MD glass. How complicated, wouldn't you say?

So there are a few habits that I feel a natural inclination toward. I can't help that I feel these things, or at least I don't believe that I can. Will they remain with me for the rest of my life? It wouldn't surprise me. But luckily I don't consider them all that burdensome. That, of course, would make it much worse. I know all of you must have things like this. Please share. I look forward to it.

Friday, December 24, 2004


In one of my classes this past semester, we discussed addiction. What is addiction? Obviously, there is no widely accepted answer. Just theories. A behavior you want to stop but engage in anyway? This is a common answer, but is it too broad a definition? Does it cover more than addicitons?

I don't know, personally. But I will admit that, having had this class, I've decided you can be addicted to almost anything. Actually, I think anybody would agree to this, but what I mean is that even things we don't normally view as addictions very well can be. Such as? Anxiety, laziness, self-consciousness, loneliness, hopelessness. I really think you can be addicted to these things as much as anything else. You can be addicted to certain attitudes. Could depression just be an addiction to a bleak perspective on life? I almost buy into that. I think I was addicted to this once. I didn't want to be that way, I despised feeling hopeless and I hated the thought of allowing myself to fall further and further into a rut. But I did it anyway. And why? Because it was easier to give into it. Because I could disappear into inaction and denial and become temporarily numbed. Doesn't this sound like a drug?

Do we ever go through life not wanting something to change? Is it even healthy not to have something we want to change about ourselves? If we don't have something we know needs to change, aren't we just kidding ourselves, pretending to be perfect when of course that is impossible? But isn't it depressing to think there's always something making us less-than-we-could-and-should-be? Something within ourselves that is grossly insufficient? Must we choose between despising ourselves and being ignorant? Are those the only options? How does one balance an honest self-assessment with hope and self-worth? Is it possible? How?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Throwing in the Towel

If you've never experienced microcotton, I urge you to make haste to your nearest Bed, Bath, and Beyond and indulge in the tactile euphoria that is a microcotton bath towel. Two days ago, Melanie and I discovered this revolutionary textile sensation whilst browsing BB&B's otherwise no-frills towel selection. It was unbelievable. It made Egyptian cotton feel like sandpaper. No exaggeration. It was difficult to leave the store without purchasing one of these babies. Perhaps it is for the best ... how could I ever leave my apartment again if, everytime I showered, my nude body was to be succored by this luxurious fabric? But the truth is, I have an unused gift certificate to Mervyn's that I plan to use on one of these, assuming they will have them available. My heart weeps at the inability to describe these towels adequately, but this will have to do for now. Until next time...

Thursday, December 16, 2004


It's approximately one hour since I got out of my final final of the Fall 2004 semester. Whew! It's over! I knew the time had to come, but it's nice to have it here. Whenever it gets to finals week, I generally spend time counting down the hours to freedom. Quite literally. My only solace comes in recognizing that, although I may question how I will actually do everything I need to, x hours from now it will be over.

So how did it all go? The two papers I had to write (this is in addition to the two I mentioned in my last blog) went pretty well. Combined, they totaled 16 pages, but I guess that isn't too horrible. In fact, it was probably the most efficient (I was going to say best, but I don't think that's necessarily the case) writing I've ever done. By that, I mean it went relatively quickly and smoothly, coming out nearly perfect so that a ton of editing wasn't necessary. That was nice. My Greek final didn't feel quite as good as the last Greek test I had, but I'm hoping for (and expecting) a B+ for the class overall (I'm pretty good at guessing my grades ahead of time). I took my Latin final today. I think it went quite well. I expect an A in that class. I'm hoping for an A in my Senior Seminar, and I already know I got an A- in my philosophy of religion class, which is what I had expected.

You'd probably think I'd feel pretty carefree at this point, right? I guess I do, relatively speaking. I don't think I feel as much a sense of relief and freedom as I have in times past. Perhaps this is because I am already expecting the worst from next semester. This isn't an unfounded paranoia, mind you. I have heard the teacher is quite demanding. The syallabus for the class is apparently hanging on his office door already, and someone told me it looks quite harsh. That means I should be spending my entire winter break studying and preparing for next semester. This was sort of my plan anyway, since there is so much I need to improve on. But it may be a plan I need to take more seriously than I thought, and that's intimidating. I can easily see the next few weeks passing by incredibly quickly.

So that's it. I originally thought I might post more frequently now that school is out, but who knows. I will probably be busy with other things. I hope to read a few books of my own choosing before I'm back in school. I got a handful from the library, but it's a matter of being diligent. I always enjoy reading, but for some reason I have a hard time choosing that above other things. There's always an excuse -- I want to do something more social, I want to be out of the house, I'm too tired and I'll fall asleep, etc. I think it will help not to be burdened with school. That makes reading seem less appealing, since I have to do so much of it for classes as is. Granted, it's not the same type of reading, but I think you can understand. Anyway, that's it for now, folks. Like my "real life" journal, I never know how to end these things. That's why I usually settle for abruptness or for trailing off. What should I do this time? Hmmm...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dead Air

It is time to steal a moment away from my busy schedule and engage in the superfluous activity of blogging. I have been under exorbitant amounts of stress as of lately, but finally the pressure is beginning to ease. Though finals week is still to come, I believe the worst is well behind me. In the last week, I have written two papers, and quite frankly, I am a slow writer. This means that the papers have taken pretty much all of my time. It does not help that a close friend, Brad Hansen, was killed in a car accident over Thanksgiving weekend. How petty of me to align his passing with the pressures of an ending semester, but who can deny the horrible timing? Not I, said the pig.

Alas, I have spent the last 5½ hours or so working on the final 3½ pages of a paper. That actually seems pretty quick for me. Granted, I more or less edit as I go along, so when I'm done with the paper, there is usually not too much else to do with it. I am not going to spend hours editing it as well. Perhaps you, my faithful reader, can inform me whether or not this is slow. I probably spend 2-3 hours per page when all is said and done. I don't think that's impressive. You'd think I'd be pretty stressed considering I have one more paper to write by Monday, and it has to be about 10 pages long. That's 20-30 hours of work, I imagine. Yeah, that is stressful, but considering that's the only thing left to worry about, I feel pretty good. I do have two finals next week, one for Greek and one for Latin. Luckily, I have pretty much a full day to study for each of them with basically no other obligations. So that shouldn't be too horrible. I'm a little worried about my overall Greek grade, of course, but you get to a point where you just have to let it go.

To share some more intellectual fodder, my philosophy of religion class spent the last month or so discussing a Jewish philosopher by the name of Franz Rosenzweig. I have quite enjoyed his philosophy, at least what I have been able to understand of it. I sometimes wish I belonged to a religion that was more liturgical. I have thought that for a while, but Rosenzweig brought it home. My religion doesn't have a strong religious calendar like the Jews and Catholics, for example. Heck, it doesn't really have a religious calendar at all, I wouldn't say. But Rosenzweig believes the cycle of the religious calendar gives one a sense of the eternal in life. By going through the constant cycle of holidays and "normal" days, one gets into a rhythm that makes life bearable due to a connection with the eternal (or so I understand him to say). As he puts it:

The holiday will serve as a training school for every day. Once a man's legs are accustomed to its rhythms, he will have no difficulty walking the streets of the work-a-day world. The gait is the same. If he has been well-trained here, he will not stumble later. Rather he will halt in amazement at how simple life actually is.

My friend's passing probably makes these philosophies all the more poignant for me. But I really like them. Rosenzweig also says that a person should "direct his life to no other goal but death." This may sound morbid at first, but how can you not believe this would alleviate the anxiety of loss felt in this world? Brad's dad surprised me when Melanie and I went to the viewing. Before we could say anything, he simply said, "Boy, what a shocker, huh?" and proceeded to say how recent circumstances made him feel assured it was Brad's time to go. I guess the situation forces you to be cordial, but I was amazed at how normal he came off. I used to think it was a form of self-delusion to take comfort in the platitudes of "it was his time" or "we'll see him again" and other such clichés. But if you really, really believed those things, how could you not feel better? If you could really believe that this moment means so little in the long run, and that this temporal world will in fact end, and that the only meaning this world really has is based on the fact that it will someday end, and that we should be preparing for its conclusion, how could you not take comfort?

So the question is, do I live for death? Do I live for the next world, or for this one? If I live for the next world, this world isn't nearly so intimidating. And I believe this is true. I think I have had moments when I feel more spiritual, and I do feel more of an eternal perspective that way, and then life seems less strenuous. In those moments, death almost seems like a neat opportunity, in that the important things can then be focused on in full force. This life bears constant obstacles to living for the next world. The next world, seeing as how it is the next world, allows you to live that way unhindered. Granted, I don’t know what it’s like, but death doesn’t sound scary when I’m feeling the right way. Rosenzweig speaks of “revelation as orientation,” meaning revelation helps us find ourselves connected to the eternal, and we thereby realize that we are not the center of the universe, and that this moment—the present—is not the center of time. Every moment is somewhere specific on a timeline that is going to end one day and become nothing. Time will turn into eternity. If that’s where we’re going to spend all of our time, why be so scared or sad to go there? Or to see somehow else go there? Death can be beautiful when viewed properly. This is not to say loss does not hurt, but you get my point. I hope. I just found a Latin quote for you: "Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem" (It is more cruel to fear death than to die) - Seneca.

Anyway, this has turned into a lengthy, stream-of-consciousness post. I hope you don’t mind. To end on a lighter note, I coincidentally watched a sitcom the other day wherein someone's aunt committed suicide. She did not leave a note, and some people were discussing how rude they felt that was. One of them says, "Would it have killed her to leave a note?" I always appreciate comic genius. Until next time…

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


  • Wallace (my car) has more-than-less been sold. Thank you, adoptive parents!
  • Melanie has strep throat. Yikes!
  • I actually got an A- on my last Greek exam! Hooray!
  • The new Domino's Pizza® product, the Doublemelt Pizza™, sucks. It tastes like a crappy version of those cheez-n-crackers snack packs. I actually like those, but it is not good for pizza. This really is that bad.
  • My latest mental fixation is the subject of free will. Hmmm.... Feel free (ha ha ha) to discuss it here, if you'd like.

Thank you, and please come again soon.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Listening to Pins Drop

I don't really have much to say, but it's been two weeks since my last post and I thought I should at least post something. Actually, I do have thoughts here and there that I think about sharing -- quotes from articles I'm reading and so on -- but I just don't take the time to post them. Blogging just isn't my priority right now, as I think most people are aware.

I know it's getting really old to hear me say this, but man am I glad I'm not working. I don't feel any less busy, so I can't imagine trying to fit a job into my schedule. School is still kicking my butt. I go back and forth between feeling decent and feeling like a complete failure just waiting to be discovered. Mostly it's the Greek crap. "Discouragement" is not an exaggerated word -- the courage to face Greek has seriously been wiped right out of me. I never take it too seriously, but I've wondered if I should even bother continuing with it. I feel so out of whack usually. But I'm sick of listening to myself say this, so I'll shutup now.

Okay, just to lighten the mood, I will point out that as of next Tuesday (Nov. 16th), the Amazing Race is back on TV! Yeah, yeah, nobody in my family gives much of a crap about reality TV, but this is a really fun one. And in case anyone cares, this season features a team of sisters from Pleasant Grove. Not that that makes it worth watching, but still. It's a fast-paced show with lots of action. It is not like Survivor, which seems more-or-less identical from season to season and episode to episode. (Or at least it was the last time I watched it, which has been a while). I urge you all to give it a try.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Genius in the Dunce Cap

Here it is -- the first weekday I normally would have worked but now do not. How does it feel? Pretty good. Really, the time is almost up that I would have been working anyway. But at least I got to sleep in this morning. And stay up late last night, for that matter. That's a huge perk, I think. I think I'll try it again tonight. In fact, now that I think about it, I know I will. Ha ha ha ha ha!

So, on my last posting, I had just taken my second Greek test of the semester. I felt way better about it and was excited to get the results. Well, I got 1% better on it than my last test. Yippee-freaking-skippy. This really bums me out. I don't know if its Thucydides or my Greek teacher, but one of them is having a fun time kicking my butt. I think it's a little of both, actually. I have to admit that, if I had another teacher, I would probably be doing better. But maybe, in a more-optimistic-than-I-feel-at-the-moment kind of way, this is better for me. No free passes on this merry-go-round. I guess I should be happy. What good does it do not to be pushed beyond my comfort zone, right? Still, it's been a disappointing journey this semester.

In good news, I also got back my first paper from my senior seminar in philosophy. I felt great about the paper before I handed it in, and the results fit accordingly. That's right, I got an A. So there is one perk. Makes me feel a bit better about the rest of it. And more hopeful for success in the future. I have to present in that class this coming Monday. That's kind of freaky. But it'll pass. I manage to keep fooling myself into believing the real stress of the semester is almost over -- just get through Monday and the worst is behind you, just get through Friday and the worst is behind you, just get through next Wednesday and the worst is behind you, and so on. But at least I've been able to cope by doing this. Right now, my goal is Monday at 5:00pm. At that point, the worst will be behind me. At least for another week.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

It's All About Timing

Perhaps I am jumping the gun to say this, but I think it was perfect timing quitting my job. This week has been very emotionally and mentally grueling. I have been getting the lowest grades of my college career, and it has made me feel sorry for myself. Not that I'm doing poorly. It's just been rough. And I have a few projects coming up that I simply can't imagine trying to do if my schedule wasn't changing. Again, nothing major, but time consuming nonetheless. Needless to say, it didn't take long to feel good about my decision to leave work. Aside from the fact that everybody is (or at least acts) very supportive about it, I have felt increasing stress that only makes me wish I had quit sooner. Of course, I don't really regret the delay now that the delay is almost over, but you get my point. It's good to be happy about this whole thing.

Speaking of which, as I write this, I have less than 10 working hours left at my job. It still seems a little scary, and I'm not sure if this anxiety will increase or decrease over the next week or so. I have been quite happy knowing the end is near, but now that it's right in front of me, it's a little more intimidating. I guess, as can be expected with anything, there are plusses and minuses. I have to remember how important these plusses are in the long run, otherwise the minuses might really get to me. (taking a deep breath...)

In good news, I took my second Greek test just yesterday and I feel like it went better than the first one. I'll keep you posted as to whether that's true or not. And I took a Latin midterm on Monday that I'm pretty sure I aced. I should know within a few hours on that one. So those things should excite me, I guess. Or at least act to counterbalance the depression I feel in regard to other classes and grades I've been receiving lately. Am I just a big, fat whiner? Sometimes I think so. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about life and college a month from now. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Good Will Hunting

In The Question of God, a PBS program that contrasts C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud's views on religion, a panel discusses the idea of "loving thy neighbor as thyself." There seems to be a consensus among the theists that "loving your neighbor as yourself" is an act of free will. This perspective intrigues me. Certainly, our free will would be necessary to perform the acts associated with loving our neighbors as ourselves, but is the love itself truly an act of volition? I think this an interesting consideration.

Growing up, I always thought that being a good person, in terms of "obeying," was not that weighty of a requirement. It might be difficult to be perfect, but it certainly wasn't difficult in theory. Now I only wish it were that easy. Now I believe it is how we feel that matters more than how we act, although it may be difficult to have actions without feelings (and, perhaps even more so, vice versa). That is why the above discussion intrigues me. Sincerely loving your neighbor may naturally stem from persistently acting as though you love them, but can the love itself be willed? Please discuss.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Thank You

To my family, I just want to give you all a great big thank you for being as wonderful as you all are. I hope you all know how much I really do appreciate you. As rarely as I get to hang out with any of you, I think about you all a lot. I sincerely consider family to be one of my greatest blessings. Thank you all for being part of that. It was good seeing everybody on Sunday. Thanks to everyone for coming.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Am I the only one to suffer from shower-induced amnesia? It seems that all too often, while I'm showering, I cannot remember if I've washed my hair. Today, for example, I unintentionally washed my hair twice. And it's not like I washed my hair, then washed my body, then couldn't remember if I still needed to wash my hair (although this particular scenario has happened several times). I actually washed my hair, rinsed it, and then immediately starting washing it again. Such is the life of a deep thinker, I suppose--composing songs, wrestling philosophical quandaries...it's all very distracting.

P.S. I officially announced today that Friday, October 22 would be my last day working for the man. All donations are welcome.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

You Speak, Therefore I Am

For some reason I find it very difficult to believe I carry much existential weight in the minds of others. That is to say, even though I get phone calls from people from time to time, and thus I must conclude that people remember me, I cannot fathom that anyone would dwell on me for more than a fleeting moment. Perhaps family and loved ones would be an exception, but surely no casual acquaintances would really think about me. Right??

I feel safe assuming that most people can identify with this to some degree (sans celebrities, perhaps). But isn't it always a somewhat mystical experience to learn you've come up in someone else's conversation? Or when someone you don't know too well admits they were thinking about you? We can even experience this sensation (to a lesser degree) when someone does something as simple as use our name while speaking to us. But why? It's as though we don't truly believe we exist until someone else confirms it. And when they do, it's always so startlingly profound. But what makes it so?

Recently, I was talking to a fellow philosophy student with whom I have had several classes. We were talking on a more personal level and he asked if I was married. He said he was wondering because he and his wife had debated the fact after seeing me at a couple of different parties with the same girl. Certainly this is not a significant event, but it was somewhat surreal to think I had been discussed by two people I barely knew. And so I ask again, what causes this phenomenon? Or does it only happen to the insecure? Are we really so self-critical that we find solace in someone else being able to acknowledge us without repulsion? To know they would speak about us without our immediate presence there to require it? As a matter of polite social convention? Is this a negative thing? A beautiful thing?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Entertainment News

For those of you who frequent the theater or video store, I now present, as a public service to you, a selection of semi-recently viewed films along with my critique. I will use a standard four-star rating scale (zero stars = horrible; four stars = excellent) and include minimal commentary on each film. There seems to be a serious movie rut right now, and I feel it is my duty to help my fellow cinefanatics avoid some very dreadful duds.

Little Black Book - zero stars
Too crappy to comment on. I'm sorry I ever saw it. I debate even admitting I saw it, but at least I might spare someone else the pain.

Identity - *
Even John Cusack doesn't make this ultra-predictable, Psycho-wannabe worthwhile. The ending, which tries to be both poignant and dramatic, is particularly laughable.

The Forgotten - *½
Some enjoyable dialogue pokes up every once in a while, but overall, after a rushed beginning that fails to engross us, the film just drags. Also a rather silly premise when all said and done.

Wimbledon - *½
Perhaps if the character development hadn't been non-existent, we could have excused the clichés. Regardless, does anyone really think Kirsten Dunst can act?

Maria Full of Grace - **
Strong performances gives this film a disturbingly realistic quality. Unfortunately, "realistic" does not immediately translate as "interesting."

The Butterfly Effect - **½
The potential premise is more interesting than it plays out, but it's not an unenjoyable ride. Still, the film is inconsistent and ends all-too conveniently. Be warned, the plot has some rather disturbing elements.

A Home at the End of the World - ***
This film, which admittedly lacks a tangible plot, relies solely on the excellent performances of its lead actors. Fortunately, it's enough to satisfy.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not - ***½
A thoroughly enjoyable French film you can get for free from the library. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT read the back of the video (or DVD) case. The less you know, the more enjoyable a trip this will be. And trippy it is indeed.

And in Music News...
...something very exciting is brewing. Click here to find out what!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Message From Daddy

Every once in a while I have a day where I sincerely miss the kids I am yet to have. Today is one of those days. I used to think I'd have eleven. Sincerely. Now I don't know how many are even possible. I'm almost 26! That's over half way through my twenties. I know this is young in the grand scheme of things, and I've never been one to get all crazy over an age, but this feels significant. I should probably at least have my little Eddie by now. Where are you guys?!?!

I guess it's my responsibility to get you here. Sorry I'm such a swoah boke. I love you and miss you all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Busy as a B-

This semester is keeping me plenty busy. It's kicking my buttocks. I simply do not have the time to do everything I need to do. On a day-to-day (or week-to-week) basis, I feel like I have to choose which class (or classes) I am going to ignore for the week. It's obvious how failure friendly this formula is, but I feel it's my only real choice right now. And as for any non-school chores (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.), well those are simply luxuries that my schedule cannot afford. I think it has a lot to do with taking two languages. To really be successful in a language, you have to devote a lot of time to it. Now I have both Greek and Latin, and although I'm still at the relatively easy stage of Latin, the two are (or at least should be) using almost all of my available time. It's quite literally impossible to devote the necessary time to these things given my current schedule. And it shows. I just got back my first Greek test of the semester and it's the lowest score I've ever gotten on a Greek exam. Graduate school, here I come! Yeah, right. I so fantasize about quitting my job. It sucks to feel so overwhelmingly busy, and then to spend six hours of my day just sitting here taking stupid phone calls about stupid things--what a waste of time! I have all this anxiety about everything that needs to be done and I feel like I'm just sitting here waiting around. It's frustrating. Emotional fatigue has joined mental and physical fatigue as part of my regular student diet. It seems really early in the semester to be feeling this way. I don't think that's a good sign. Don't you just love the college life?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I'm Sorry, Do I Know You?

You may notice some subtle changes I have made to the BLOG, most notably the title, the layout, and the addition of some links on the right side of the page. Nothing too striking, of course (snicker, snicker). The previous format, which was predominantly black, made it difficult for the reader to tap into the zest for life that I hope, at least on occassion, to convey. I personally feel this change will revitalize the world of blogging as we know it. Or at least as I know it. Or at least as I do it. For now.

Speaking of my links section, I hope to add more links over time, and at least a few more will definitely be coming very soon. For now, this is more of a test. Eventually, I hope to add different SECTIONS of links, making it easy for the potential browser to quickly access funky fresh sites of a particular nature. For now, a generic links list will have to do. Please use at your leisure. (P.S., for those of you lacking computer savvy, you will often see links within my posts. I encourage you to utilize these as well.)

Lastly, feel free to pass on your feedback regarding the changes. Do you like what you see? Your opinion is very unlikely to make a difference, but I am egotistically curious nonetheless. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

The only thing I like about working Sundays is being downtown when the city is so quiet. Today the city is not only empty, but grey and drizzly as well. It's beautiful. Being here is like walking through an undisturbed postcard tucked snuggly into the rotating display rack of some souvenir shop. I don't know if you can get this experience anywhere else -- Salt Lake City might be the only "major" (I use the term lightly) city to more-or-less close on Sundays. Tourists are probably complaining about the lack of urbanimation, but I'm enjoying myself. The skyscape is picturesque and soothing. I'm feeling very content.

About a year ago, JoAnna, Melanie, and I went to Seattle. Ever since I first visited the Emerald City twelve years ago, I have dreamed of living there. I love the green, I love the rain, I love being near the water. But it was different this time. More real, I guess. Too real. Busy and dingy. Not what I'd call extremely appealing. And it made me question if I'm really cut out for such a large city. I used to think it would be a good experience to live somewhere this big, at least for a year or two. But I wonder just how "at home" I can really feel in such a large place. The trip made me realize how much I like Salt Lake City, less-than-desirable climate aside. I like being in a city where I can go from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. I like being able to go downtown without planning two extra hours for traffic and twenty extra dollars for parking. But my love affair with the pacific northwest remains, and I still find myself dreaming of living somewhere in that general area. I think as long as I'm on the outskirts of a big city -- where you have everything you need but aren't forced into urban submission -- I'll be happy. When it comes down to it, it's not going to be that up to me anyway. It will all depend on what graduate school I can get into and, eventually, where I can find a job. The most comforting thing is knowing I won't be doing it alone. Two years from now, my whole life will be vastly different. It's exciting and intriguing to guess where I'll end up. I'm sure it will be fine. It's always worse to be stuck in the waiting room...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

If you want to sing out...

Here I sit, listening to Cat Stevens, eating a bologna sandwich and drinking Mountain Dew. If only this moment could last forever...

Music (like Mountain Dew) can be so healing. Sadly, I know this moment can't last as I'm about to start working (and will likely be working by the time I can finish this and get it posted). Isn't it weird that there are people out there that don't care for music? Or at least don't get too excited about it? I just don't understand. Doesn't there have to be some piece of music that moves you, no matter who you are? Yet I've actually ran into people that seem rather indifferent. Do these people have emotions? I don't get it. I've been using music for medicinal purposes for years.

Speaking of good music, might I recommend Cat Stevens for a quick lift o' the spirit. I'd be tempted to consider him a favorite, but I don't think he qualifies, at least not yet. I haven't really listened to him much outside of a greatest hits compilation I once got from the library. Even still, I sense some strong potential. He's got catchy, simplistic, and life-loving melodies and lyrics. If you're not familiar with him, I urge you to check him out. If you need more sensory stimulation than that, you can check him out via the film Harold and Maude. He did the music for it, and the film and his musical style correlate perfectly. There's a couple of songs from the movie that I like to imagine playing and singing to my children one day. But his other stuff is also great. I almost think I'd like "Morning Has Broken" to be played at my funeral, but that's probably a whole different posting altogether...

Speaking of Cat Stevens not qualifying as one of my favorite musicians, I have a somewhat anal retentive pet peeve - the fact that almost everybody in existence lists music as one of their hobbies. If you're human (and not one of those non-music-appreciating exceptions mentioned above), you obviously enjoy music. That does not make it a hobby. If you put it as a hobby, you darn well better be a musician yourself, or collect it to some obsessive extreme, or be very knowledgeable about musical history, or something that puts you outside the range of "normal appreciator." Just because you rarely drive without the stereo on does not make music your "hobby." Also, you should not be qualifying bands as your favorite simply because they are the most recent thing on the radio to strike your fancy. If you classify an artist as a favorite, it is absolutely required that you have both heard and thoroughly enjoyed songs by this artist that are not played on the radio. You must have heard at least dozen songs or so by the artist, unless, and only in rare exceptions, the few that you have heard were so bleepin' good they redefined your very existence. It is also questionable that an artist could be appropriately deemed a favorite if you do not own one of their albums, unless it is simply because you have not had the chance to purchase one since you discovered the artist (or had their albums stolen from you, or whatever). The way some people list music as a hobby, they'd be just as justified to put "taking a leak" as a hobby. What do all my readers think (yes, both of you!)? Am I too restrictive in my definition of "hobby" and "favorite"?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Everything is food, food, food...

On another BLOG, I recently commented on a discussion regarding the classification of fruits and vegetables. My theory was that pumpkin is most likely to be a fruit, considering all the circumstantial evidence (which includes, but is not limited to, the fact that we will eat it [in pie form] with whipped cream, unlike any vegetable that I know of). This got me thinking about "weird" food combinations that I am in favor of, some of which I will share with my audience now. This will be a good posting for readers to comment on, as I hope to hear of other odd combinations that may be worth trying. So, read, ponder, consider, and try my suggestions, then post one (or two or even more) of your own. Bon appetit!

1) Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches with Cheetos
This probably doesn't sound overly weird, especially considering the fact that it is not uncommon to eat Cheetos alongside a PB&J. But, it is especially tasteful to go ahead and just pile them onto the sandwich as a delightfully crisp third topping. I don't think it would work too well with the puffy kind of Cheeto but I admit I have not tried it this way. And I think grape jelly is the most complimentary to the overall mix. It's a child's Wonder Bread fantasy come true.

2) Red Vines Dipped in Nacho Cheese
This is not something I would actually call enjoyable, but it is an interesting experience. The odd thing about it is that the flavors fail to combine. Rather, you seem to end up with two distinct impressions in your mind. You can taste the nacho cheese, and you can taste the Red Vines, but they remain separate. It's as though you had two tongues! It's just weird. Obviously, this is an expensive experiment, one most easily tried at a movie theater (as was the case with myself). But as such, it could cost upwards of $7 to try this out. I recommend you attend movies regularly with fat friends who are likely to buy all the necessary snacks and then mooch off of them.

3) Garlic Spumoni Bread
Now here is the creme de la creme! For the same price as the Red Vines and Nachos at the movie theater, you could have an entire meal from the Old Spaghetti Factory and top it off with this exquisite culinary concoction. Now what you have to do is to make sure you have some sourdough bread left over once you finish your meal (or simply request a new loaf, as they will be happy to oblige). At this point, your server should offer you a complimentary serving of spumoni ice cream. It is very important that you accept this offer! Both the spumoni ice cream and the bread are necessary! What you do once you have the ice cream is: take the complimentary loaf of bread, cut yourself a slice, and spread on the garlic butter just like you would normally do at the beginning of your dining experience. Next, get yourself a modest spoonful of spumoni ice cream, concentrating primarily on the green (pistachio) areas. Apply the ice cream to the front of the bread, just where you plan to take a bite. Now take the bite. No further explanation is necessary. You too will experience the euphoric blend that is Garlic Spumoni Bread. As many witnesses can attest, I can scarce partake of this luxurious delicacy without moaning to a nearly indecent extreme.

So there you have it. Just a few ideas to play around with. There are probably others I have forgotten to include, but watch the comments and perhaps more will arise. Plus, again, I strongly encourage all readers to post comments with their own combination ideas. Please, no funny business. Until next time...!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Who said life was fair?

Melanie and I went to the state fair last night. It's one of those things that tradition alone obligates you to do. Not going would equate to a self-inflicted ostracism from society, and who can bear such a burden? And so, despite the fact that it is nothing more than a glorified flea market, we went. We smelled the stench of the livestock that, at next year's fair, will again make an appearance, this time in the form of $4 corn dogs and slathered over hot scones to be sold as Navajo Tacos. We perused the overcrowded pavilions where companies that can't afford a half-hour infomercial on the WB hope to peddle their products to passing pedestrians. Some are actually pretty cool, such as the ultra-realistic bouquets of flowers made out of wood. Some are more unsettling, such as the casket display featuring a coffin with motorcycle stenciling on the inside of the lid. We avoided the rides - rickety structures just waiting to topple back into the thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of rusty metal that they were just 48-hours earlier. Nevertheless, it was fun for a short time.

Truth be told, the main reason we went was to see a band perform, a Christian rock group called Newsboys. Think what you will about Christian messages infused with crunchy guitars and strong drum beats, I think they are very talented musically. So it was enjoyable, but only while it lasted. The concert began at 7:30pm and was over before 9:00pm. This is particularly pathetic when you consider that the first few minutes was actually an introduction from a local pastor, and that at least 30 minutes of the concert was talking to the audience about God. That's fine, that's probably what this kind of crowd expects. But you'd think if there was going to be preaching, the show would go a lot longer than 85 minutes. The grand total of songs played was something like eight. And although they are talented and sounded good, the sound system was obviously not the best. Lots of speaker noise at times, and the vocals were often difficult to hear. But it was an experience and was a break from the usual weekend fare. Get it? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.


Friday, September 10, 2004

To blog or not to blog...

That is the question! Two blogs in one day? Why not. Do I like writing this BLOG? Sure. But would I do it if I thought nobody would actually read it? I can't honestly say I would. It seems a rather boring idea if nobody will read it. But do I actually think anybody is going to read it, at least regularly? Well, probably not. Conclusion: I must be rather content spending time with myself. I guess that's a good thing...

Alas, if you ARE reading this and DO think you might, out of sheer boredom, bookmark this page and give it a visit once a week (or month, or year), I will do my best to put SOMETHING of interest on here once in a while. Restaurant recommendations, very informal movie reviews, good quotes, interesting philosophical quandaries, etc. Gripes and complaints, warnings about companies with poor service and who to avoid. Whatever. But something that may translate into useful information for the reader.

Perhaps I could make a birthday wishlist and put it on here. My birthday is coming up very soon, after all. Hmmmm.

Okay, I'm just wasting time. Here, just to make it worthwhile, I'll throw out my first tidbit of useful information: if you have never eaten at Ruth's, you are missing out terribly. It's a small diner on your way up Emigration Canyon a short distance from Hogle Zoo. I have only eaten there a few times but every single dish I've tried has been heavenly. The only possible exception was when I just had a plain old bacon cheeseburger, but what can you expect from that? It was still good. Anyway, they are supposed to be phenomenal for breakfast, but I can only vouch for their dinner entrees thus far. And their carrot cake. As Ohio Express once said, "Yummy, yummy, yummy!" As you can tell, I'm an extremely hungry boy as I write this. Luckily, I should be eating very soon. I am writing this while I work (shhh, don't tell!) and my shift ends in just a few minutes. Excitement. It's a Friday, which is always good news. To anyone who reads this, enjoy your weekend!

Ah, the humble beginnings of narcissism...

Well, here is my first BLOG. What is a BLOG? I can only assume it's an acronym, though I don't know what it stands for. In essence, a BLOG is like an online journal -- a place where one can post any and all whimsical thoughts that happen to pass through their brain on any given day. It's all built upon the premise that every friend, family member, and hapless web surfer in existence is eager to savor your every thought simply because, hey, it's you!

So what will my BLOG have to offer? Next to nothing, I imagine. It will probably be little more than a passing obsession, and not a long one at that. I have realized of myself that I do go through small stages of obsession with different hobbies or interests. Not diverse interests, mind you, but just little things that usually relate to something I'm already interested in -- music, movies, video games (old school ones, of course), college, etc. It's an endless cycle. I'll spend a week, maybe two, eagerly engaged in whatsoever happens to be my fancy at the time. Perhaps I'll spend several hours in one day researching all the songs to hit the charts in any given year and figuring out how I can get my hands on every one of them so I can make an all-inclusive, custom CD of 1989 or 1994 or 1997 or whatever. A week later, I'm making a list of every movie I can ever remember seeing and where I saw it at (if I can remember), whether on video or at a particular movie theater. Then I spend a week obsessing over what graduate school I most want to attend two years from now, looking up several university websites and reading all about them, making comprehensive lists about all the possibilities (Univerisity of Virginia for a philosophy Master's followed by Notre Dame for a philosophy Ph.D.? Claremont Graduate University for a Master's degree in philosophical religion followed by a joint Ph.D. in classics and philosophy from Berkeley? Classics all the way from University of Washington?). Then I'll research the weather in all the cities I could end up living in and make a comparative chart of the average temperatures for every month for each locale. Perhaps I'll send e-mails to graduate students at these schools and ask them their opinion on how rich of an experience they are having. Bla bla bla. Given this fact about me, I can only imagine this BLOG will reflect such tangents. Checking in here may be like checking WeatherBug for current temperatures and conditions -- expect frequent changes.

Anyway, enough rambling for one morning. Oh, and by the way, current conditions are: I think I want to go to Claremont Graduate University for a Master's degree in philosophical religion and then find a joint Ph.D. in classics and philosophy somewhere. Likely candidates would include Berkeley, University of Washington, and Yale. This is an area I've yet to research as thoroughly as I'm sure I will. Regardless, this current plan o' mine has changed several times over the last few days and won't necessarily hold throughout the weekend. The problem is, I can't decide if I want to teach classical languages or philosophy more, and I think I want to do both. This current plan seems the most receptive to such a goal. I really think I'd love teaching a language, but do I have what it takes? In the city of Self-Confidence, current conditions are cloudy with little hope of sunny skies anytime soon. I'll let you know if something miraculous happens. Until then, I'm outtie!