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 clich├ęs. 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!