20 December 2008


I know I've been absent. The end of the semester left me world-weary and worn. I've been spending most of my free time working on Christmas presents for people that I care about. After the holiday, I will be back with as much vigor as ever. Wait for me until then! "I don't want what I cannot carry on me or inside." -Tree Union Small note: Tree Union is one of my favorite bands this month. Check them out here or here!

09 December 2008

Color Me... Orange?!

I am a firm believer in color therapy - the idea that you can heal (or influence) yourself with the colors you wear, the color candles you burn, the colors you have around your house... And colors, of course, are directly related to chakras, as each chakra belongs with a specific color family. In case you don't remember which chakra goes with which color, there's a very basic run-down here, which is a site I've linked to before. Knowing which chakra is out of balance - too much, too little - takes a lot of practice for most people. And knowing how to balance chakras takes even more work. But sometimes, you just know which chakra is dominating your body/spirit/mind... you can just feel it. Can't you? Ever woken up and knew exactly what color you wanted to wear? I know I have. Or, sometimes, I'll use color to influence my mood, like if I want to be energetic and creative, I'll purposely wear an orange or yellow shade. And actually, today I feel orange - hopeful, curious, creative... and a little bit antsy, which is why I'm trying to balance that extreme orange by wearing shades of blue for a more mellow, easy communication feeling. If anyone wants the low-down on colors and their complements, I'd be happy to do a separate post on it. Either way, there are plenty of good books out there on the relationships between colors, and about color healing, but this one is one of my favorites. So what color are you today? And what color would you like to be?

07 December 2008

Trust Me (And Not Those "Critics")

Before I continue, if you haven't watched Australia, at least watch the trailer: Or, watch the trailer in Hungarian: Now, take a step back, try to be objective, and read what the critics are saying: It just barely scraped into good territory on Rotten Tomatoes with 52 percent. It got a B+ by Yahoo users, and a C+ by Yahoo critics. It got a C- by Entertainment Weekly. It was called a "boring trip through the Outback" by RopeofSilicon.com Bogus, I say. Bogus! Trust me, these people must have been watching with their eyes blindfolded and their ears stuffed with cotton balls. Either that, or they were so concerned with living up to their title of "critic," that they were too afraid to praise this sweeping, dizzying adventure story. And out of all the reviews I read, the most frequent complaint was the movie's daunting 156 minutes. Which was one of the things - besides the sweeping landscape, dazzling cinematography, and hint of magic - I liked a lot about the film. It took it's time. There was no scrambling around at the end to tie everything together because the film's multiple subplots (the second largest critic complaint) all fell nicely into place. I don't really understand why critics like the LATimes are complaining about the fact that it seems like "two or three historical sagas squeezed into one big package." In my opinion, more movie-time means you're getting more for your money. And multiple story-lines kept the film interesting for everyone. Honestly, who really wants to sit through a long, sappy love story with nothing else going on? Not me. But Australia wasn't just a love story -- it was also a story about a different world (and it took the time to show you that world), a story about an imminent war, a story about discrimination and hatred, and a story about over-the-top characters. And maybe sometimes the movie itself went over-the-top, with massive explosions and unreal circumstances. But that was just part of the otherworldliness of it, of the film's in-your-face character, just like that of the Drover. And I don't think that's a negative thing. But Michael Jones of the Huffington Post puts it much better than I ever can in his persusasive review: "Let those without a heart beating in their breasts give Australia less than four stars. Those who boo kids at Easter Egg hunts, yell at referees at junior hockey games, sneer at sunrises, cut in line in front of little old ladies, give out healthy snacks at Halloween, talk during the Star Spangled Banner... they will laugh and slang at Australia. A pox on them. They prove that they are not really members of the human race." Beautiful. You should read the entire review if you want to get a real sense of Australia. Forget all of the bad grades and nonsensical complaints. I mean, can we really trust in the opinions of critics (like the New York Times) who say: "Mr. Jackman gives the movie oomph; Ms. Kidman gives it performance," thus implying that Hugh Jackman cannot act? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

04 December 2008

Hello? Hello! Hello?! Hello.

Some news: Roman Polanski and Viagra. I recently noticed that when I pick up the phone, I always say "hello?". And I guess that's a standard phone opener, very traditional. "Hello?" With that slight voice raise at the end, marking it as a question. Not a greeting, but rather a subtle query of "Who is this?". Although, in this cell phone age, I already know who is calling, because the name already showed up on my phone before I picked up. In fact, the name probably had something to do with whether or not I picked up at all! Then, why still the "hello?", why keep on with that age-old questioning tradition? Perhaps I'm masking other questions, like "What the hell do you want?" or "Are you going to cancel plans again?" or "Where have you been?". Or perhaps I just don't really put enough effort into answering the phone (considering everyone says I sound depressed every time I say "Hello?" "Hey, what's up?"). Or maybe I'm just stuck in a rut of tradition and routine. So next time I answer the phone, I will try to be sincere. If 1/3 of surveyed Brits can answer with casual phrases when they know who's calling, so can I! I will say "How are you?". I will say "How was your day?" I will say "Will you buy me a Dwarf Winter White Russian hamster???". I will say "Hello". Drop the lilt at the end. Drop the silent question. They never know what you're asking anyway, unless you say it directly. Just "Hello", as a greeting, as a salutation. Or, maybe even, "Hello X," where x represents the name of the caller. A personalized greeting, like the one you can put into your cell phone, in e-mails, on Christmas cards (Speaking of, I was reading about Christmas newsletters on the Always Home and Uncool blog - which is always a really great read - and I must admit, I've never thought about sending out holiday newsletters. I mean, usually I either go with cards or letters - with the usual phrases like "Happy Holidays" and "Hope you enjoy the gift" and lots of little stickers and drawings to take up space - but I never considered sending out an newsletter to tell people what's new in my life. Then again, I'd probably only reach about four words: "Hello! Nothing new! Goodbye!" Look, even my half-assed Christmas newsletter would get a real "Hello", with an exclamation point, no less!) That's it. I have no choice now. Next phone call, you'll hear it, "Hello!". Just wait for it. Maybe I'll expand to other languages : "Hola!" "Szia!" "Yo". But part of me mourns the loss of this satisfying phone-opener. That silent question, raising up at the end despite being dragged down by the weight of every little word you can't quite bring yourself to say. Like "Why won't you stop calling me?" or "Don't you know I don't want to talk to you?" or "Is it too obsessive if I ask what you're doing this weekend?" or "Do you have any idea how many times I picked up this phone and almost called you?" or "Can I live without you?". Think of all that hidden meaning, lost. All of that subtext. Maybe I'll solve this problem by doing like the Hungarians, and saving my "Hello" for the end of the conversation, when I really mean "Goodbye."

02 December 2008

Song of the Day

Switchfoot : On Fire Does that mean you're cold when he isn't near you, and when he doesn't speak? Does that mean you start to freeze up inside, with little icicles growing underneath your skin? You sparkle, but beneath the glamor, you're as empty as a bird's nest, from which all the children have already flown. I don't mean to get depressing, here, but there's two weeks to the end of the semester, lots of work to do, and a noticeable lack in my life right now. Give it a few weeks, maybe. I need another trip to Hungary to chase away these blues (settling in my bones) with soft kisses from a sweet, mellow breeze as I stand thigh-deep in the water of the Balaton, wondering if I should submerge myself, wondering if I can absolve myself, wondering if I will finally let go of battered dreams. I did submerge myself. I have (can) absolve myself. But I cannot give up on these dreams, not for anything. As an addendum to that, I can be happy alone. I can do more than just survive and function alone. I can feel alive. Everyone can, when they realize everything they need is inside of themselves. When they are able to keep the pain at only a certain point, and not below (oh, Ayn Rand, and her cold characters). And, that said, I'd rather be alone than give up on my dreams. I'd rather be alone than force myself to feel something I don't. I'd rather be alone than be with someone who I do not love. And in that, I will be happy, because at least I know he's out there. Because at least I know he exists. Because at least I'm not settling for anything less than being overwhelmed. [[you were the best i ever had.]] "New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries. Hope it's right when you die, old and bony. Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall, Never should have called But my head's to the wall and i'm lonely. And if you'd 'a took to me like A gull takes to the wind. Well, i'd 'a jumped from my tree And i'd a danced like the king of the eyesores And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well."
- New Slang by The Shins

30 November 2008

A Missing Melody

"No you, you just want to believe the truth is we're fine, Just want to have a good time, have a good time tonight." -Headlights
Sometimes, people become shackled by what they believe. You want to have morals and live a Christian life, but then you're conservative and awkward and scared. You want to live a life of honesty and ultimate truth, but then you're overbearing and overwhelming. And when things don't work out, you're locked into a conundrum: do you continue to pursue what you believe to be the truth, or do you hide everything you feel deep inside, and let someone else's truth become the reality? I don't like to deny the most real feeling I have ever felt. Last night sounded empty. Felt quiet. Tasted like loneliness. Smelled like sleep. I'm trapped in these blue sheets, twisting and turning, sleeping (or not) on piercings, ripping little tears in the skin that hasn't yet completely healed. We're stuck in the molds of our body shapes. Our heads drown in the pillows as we struggle to break free. We twist, and turn, and roll, and grip, and grind, and groan (electric shocks on aching bones). We bend the bars of the bed a little bit. We stare into windows silently on a grumbling subway express; we stare at each other's reflection. Last night forgot the words. Last night lost two hours of conversation. Last night, listless without laughter, and tiny sighs. Last night, chained back to routine after a bout of rebellion. Last night, we were shackled to nothing. We were free of each other. I was trapped in remembering (you like a deer in the) Headlights.
"The soundtrack to our meeting fills the awkward spaces between our strained breathing. Here's what I intended. Here is the truth." -The Honorary Title

26 November 2008

Dusting Off My Keyboard - Finally a New Post

My absence leaves this mirrored hall empty with echoes of dust motes wafting silently, softly, their reflections multiplying in the glamor glaze of window panes and the checkered floor almost looks as if it's covered with snow. Not much has happened. Here is a good video of the Rock of Ages cast. I have weird lines on my wrist from sleeping on it the wrong way, little red creases, weaving in and out of my skin. I wonder if they resemble the age wrinkles that I will someday develop on my face, around the corners of my eyes, little tiny permanent laugh lines. In the face of fear, I'm just going to laugh. My horoscope today seemed particularly apt, as it said, "Why are you fearing emotional upheaval when all you're going to have is an awful lot of fun?" I will take your advice, staunch 'scope, and if you turn out to have misled me, you will taste my wrath. But let's hope things all go well, on this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. With that in mind, here are 10 things I am thankful for: 1. Family/friends/my house etc. 2. Constantine's voice 3. That HAIR is going on Broadway in 2009 4. Birds chirping outside of my window in the morning 5. Old school cd players 6. That I finally have a little bit of free time (that isn't technically free, but I'm going to pretend it is) 7. My mini-heater 8. Marshmallows 9. My Hungarian cousin (Andris) who always faithfully writes me e-mails even when I take weeks to write back to him. 10. Belief & Absolute Certainty And now, I must shower, and then bake apple pie, and then head to class, and then meet with Jo, and then give her a b-day present, and then get on the M60 bus to LaGuardia Airport. And then... mystery. I'm just a dust mote floating alongside the snow.

20 November 2008

Fast Lane

Two minutes to seven, which is the time I planne--- oh, one minute to seven, which is the time I planned to take a shower. I woke up around 2 am. And then again around 3:30 am. And then again around 5:45 am. And was extremely awake every single time. And stayed awake until the alarm at 6. I think I'm getting used to running on only a minimal amount of sleep again, and that makes me happy. Life ... Oh, my minute is up. I'm thinking of lucky clouds shaped like helmets. Some quick news tidbits: 1. Thanksgiving weekends bodes interesting. 2. Real-life Furbys (mentioned to me by Wes) 3. Hungarians are pessimistic and unhappy with their lives (according to this poll) 4. I find it somewhat disturbing and really quite sad that Obama and his wife probably won't sleep in the same bedroom, but uplifting that they might have sex (I can't believe this is news.) 5. I want a regenerated mammoth pet, please! 6. What's the link between McDonald's and cocaine? 7. Really interesting/cool film posters (My favorites are Eagle vs. Shark and Tideland) Have a good day, make someone smile, maybe I'll write again later. Peace. Love.

18 November 2008

Uncomfortable and Uncertain

Dream Part A: Chris and I went into a co-ed bathroom and he helped me find a stall and then I was taking a piss when some old lady looked over the door and was like "Can I ask you a question?" And I'm like "Can you do it without looking?" And she asked me something about Mary and Jesus, and I didn't know the answer. Dream Part B: I was on a lake with Nikki and we saw William swimming nearby. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Relatively uneventful dreams, I guess. There's a lot to do today homework-wise, as well as registration for classes, which I'm still uncertain about. I want to be a pen-pal with someone in prison, but I'm uncomfortable with giving out my address and don't have money to get a P.O. Box.

15 November 2008

And When It's Over

People can only stay in a mold for so long. Eventually, they're going to break free. They're going to remember how to live. "Feeling much older. Knowing that there was no regret. Touching your shoulder, Feeling the joy in what we've done. As we sailed into the sun, with our hearts and souls as one. Feeling free as the sea... And when it's over, Gazing into your gentle eyes, Pulling you closer, Knowing what's there inside our minds. Both of us older, Now that there's nothing left to hide. As we reach to touch the sky..."
-Bert Sommer

"I wanna rock..."

Go see Rock of Ages! Will Swenson + Constantine Maroulis = The songs are fun, the energy is incredible, and those two voices make your heart soar. I highly recommend this musical, and I guarantee that by the end of it, you'll be on your feet and clapping. And the theatre is pretty small, so wherever you sit is pretty close. I was in row H, but I'm going again this upcoming Friday with Wes with tickets for row A, so that's exciting! (If only it were like Hair, where you could go on stage at the end). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brief Update: Today is just homework day. Tomorrow is more homework + pies + Slumdog Millionaire.

14 November 2008


I try to convince myself to remain in a half asleep state, even as my computer boots up and Mozilla freezes momentarily while it loads. I close my eyes and my brain feels tight, like it's squishing itself, compacting itself together into a small aluminum foil ball, like I do to my sandwich wrappers after the food is all gone. The dream is already almost gone. It was about Journalism class, and I was talking about how I couldn't get a source to talk with me, and then Betty (my professor) was leaving the room and telling us we couldn't leave for another hour. And so everyone just sat there, but I went off into this downstairs room or something, and apparently there was this guy. And we got along superbly well. And so we talked, and talked, and it didn't even matter that I was missing my classes and missing my train and missing dinner, and whatever other parts of my life I was missing out on by sitting down there in that cold, dim room with him. His shape wavered, shimmered almost when a light was on, glowed softly in the dark when it was not. He wasn't real; I knew this much in the dream. I could touch him, but when I did, all we could each feel were slight pressures on our fingertips, on our bodies, on our lips and on our tongues. It was like a phantom limb; you convinced yourself you could feel it, but somewhere inside its crunchy, silvery folds, your brain knew you couldn't. But I remember being happy. And I remember telling him not to go. And I remember him telling me this was no way to spend my life. And I remember that it didn't matter if he was physical or not, because he was everything I needed. Then I woke up groggily, but with a slight sense of urgency that sent me scurrying for the cellphone among my blanket folds. I had overslept. I forced myself to swallow, and my tongue, burnt from salted caramel extra-hot hot chocolate, brushed against the roof of my mouth, a little bit painful, and a little bit numb.

13 November 2008

Bird Call

The cycle has resumed again, as the trees shed their molten leaves. The floor is littered with tiny paper hearts, tiny carcasses, tiny little lives. The branches become bare. The sun slips further off into the sky. The full moon makes people crazy. The winter chill slips down your spine, numbs your hands and lips and teeth. You start to forget the simple things, like boats on a Hungarian lake, or feeding squirrels in Washington DC. I am pretending. I am pretending to be a squirrel. The squirrel is pretending to be a bird. I am pretending to be a squirrel pretending to be a bird. He flattens his tail out against his back, hair spiking up into the air. His tiny, beady eyes look up at the sky and he bird-calls, then stops, waits, clicks twice (as though in impatience, or frustration), and tries again. He never gets a response, but he's always out on that tree branch, trying and trying and trying. And that's just what we do, time after time. When we want something badly enough, when we care about becoming something badly enough, we just fall into that pattern of human stubbornness. But sometimes what we want is an illusion. Sometimes, we have to be satisfied with the way things are. Obviously I, of all people, shouldn't talk. As Adam has said many times in the past, I am insatiable. And there's probably only about two future/life outcomes that would leave me fully, completely satisfied. Or, at least, mostly. And, unfortunately, until I reach those, I'm going to keep trying. Going to keep plowing ahead. Stand on my little branch and make strange sounds and let the whole world think I've gone insane. I'll jump into the chaos, because I am not afraid. Oh little squirrel, you are not a bird. The birds do not try half as hard as you.
(This is not the same squirrel, but this is what he looked like.) (© Jim Wilson) (got the image here)

08 November 2008

Depressing Note

I think the saddest thing in the world is this, the Wikipedia entry for Bobby Driscoll, who was the model and voice actor for Disney's Peter Pan. He died of drug addiction, in a NYC abandoned tenement, alone.

07 November 2008


"Reeds and brass, the marching drums Make a joyous sound Trees bend low with nuts and plums Then fall to find the ground. I hunger for your porpoise mouth And stand erect for love. The sun burns up the winter sky And all the earth is love." - Country Joe and the Fish ("Happiness is a Porpoise Mouth")
Sometimes I wonder what people think of when they see me on the subway, bobbing to music (which at this point is most likely either Country Joe and the Fish, Bert Sommer, or the Hair soundtrack), looking kind of crazy, singing along silently, not really giving a damn whether they're watching or not. Which, I don't. They can think whatever they want. I think I'm just curious to know people's reactions. To see whether or not it's something they judge me for. What kind of frame do they set up for me in their heads? Or is this just New York City, where they shrug it off and don't really form any opinions at all? I guess I won't know, but I speculate sometimes. If I saw someone bopping around to music on the subway, looking as crazy as I do, I'd surely talk to them, or at least send them over a smile. This girl on the subway smiled at me the other day. She looked like the type of person I would like to be. Plain, with nothing remarkable about her clothing. I don't even know if I remember what she was wearing, except for the glasses, which were big and bottle-like. Really old-fashioned, and nothing flashy. Long hair, brown, just straight down. Pretty average-looking face. And yet, I thought that she was probably the most beautiful female I've ever seen. Something about the way she carried herself, the way she seemed so natural. The easiness of her smile. The way it transmitted an unspoken, joyous sound. I would love to find someone brave enough to make a joyous sound, even if it meant everyone else would judge them for it. I would hunger for that porpoise mouth; I would burn the world with beautiful love. (I would not go to poetry readings alone.)

04 November 2008


Weird dream last night: I was a journalist on a train full of important people going to an important meeting, but suddenly the "bad guys" came out from hiding and overtook the train. They happened to look like all the important people, and so they assumed their identities and left most of the real people for dead. I wasn't killed because I had sort of been flirting with one of the bad guys, having suspected that something strange was going on. A few other important people weren't killed to later be used as hostages, Adam wasn't killed, and some other male journalist also wasn't killed, but he was being forced to write what they wanted him to write. Then somehow we were all being held hostage in this house, but we had an outside contact who helped us overtake them. And we did, and for one night we partied (there were maybe 10 of us versus like 100 of them), but then we weren't sure what to do with them, because we didn't want to kill them, and so by sheer number they took us over again. They locked the three leaders (me, Adam, journalist guy) in a room, and we looked outside the window and there was like a giant, giant dog monster thing. So like a year later they took us out of the room and some guy tied us up in a car and was going to drive us to our deaths (and i guess kill himself too), but we managed to kill him and escape, although there was some sort of explosion. We all separated, trying to avoid being caught. Two years later, or something like that, I just knew it was a really long time and that I had tried to erase all traces of my life (facebook, etc.) so they would think I was dead... I'm outside my building and I see this guy in a baseball cap walking toward me and it turned out to be journalist dude and he had these burn marks on his face. And I'm like "Is it really you?" And he's like "Yes. I've been searching for you." And I'm like "Does this mean you're not gay?" And he's like "Yes." And then we kiss. And then I wake up -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm not sure why it was so long. Maybe my brain added things when I woke up, strung things together more fluidly. I'm not sure. It was interesting, though. In other news, way too much work this week. Going to talk with the homeless place today. And most importantly, go vote Obama. If you're going to vote McCain, just do us all a favor and stay home. :) Peace & Love

02 November 2008

Song of the Day

Prank Calls and Commentary

Please, please check this out. Sarah Palin got prank-called. Here is the transcript, with a few typos, but I like it because it explains some stuff. It's so good, trust me. Don't they screen calls like that, or something? Is it really that easy to prank call Sarah Palin? I mean, I do feel pretty bad for her. Like, if she really believed it was the French president, she's not going to like disagree with him or correct him or anything. So, I mean, I do think it was kind of wrong, and I do feel bad for her, and I honestly don't think she handled it all that badly, but it is so funny, especially when he starts singing. In other news, Halloween didn't really feel like Halloween. You know what I mean? No Trick or Treating, no giant group parties with lots and lots of food, no kids ringing the bell like crazy at ten o'clock at night. It just turned out really low key in contrast with past Halloween nights : from going door to door as a kid, to going door to door with Jo, to playing Twister last year. It wasn't bad, though. I'm going through my Halloween candy way too fast. I'm going to be pretty sad when I've eaten it all. Whoppers Malted Milk Balls are my new favorite. Actually, a lot of things don't feel normal, lately. I've been showing more restraint about some things, some pacts I've made with myself. I expected them to be broken by now. But I'm kind of glad that they haven't really crumbled, because it means I'm getting stronger. At the same time, I know that my restraint will melt if the situation is powerful enough. This is getting into that vague territory where I know what I mean, and maybe one other person knows what I mean, but everyone else is just like "Yeah, why am I still reading this?" So, in effort to curb that confusion, let me stop my rambling at that. And start rambling about something else... like Twilight, which comes into theatres November 21. Sort of a long time from now. I'm debating about whether it will pass quickly or slowly. I think it depends on what you're comparing it to. For example, if I look back at the past months of school, it seems to have both flown by and dragged on it its heels. If I think about it in terms of the semester, I would think: Wow, it's already been two months. But if I think of it in terms of when I went to Hungary, I think: Wow, it's only been two months since then. I guess time is relative, but it's a weird dynamic. Not sure who I'll see Twilight with. It would be cooler if I knew someone else who had read the book. I feel like movie-going is one of those things where there are some people who are perfect to go with, and some people who aren't, and you have to try and go with the right people. And I think it depends on your movie watching style. Personally, I don't mind commentary during the movie, as long as it's not during the best parts, and as long as it's not complaining. I tend not to talk too much, though. Well, that's all for now my break is just about over and I should go eat something and then go back to doing Hungarian homework. "Your ride. Best trip."

28 October 2008

A Szerelmem

It amazes me how deep connections between people can develop over such a short time span, like the period of a couple of meetings. It also amazes me how you can have one thought, a happy thought, a funny thought, and suddenly it pulls on those connections, and how empty you feel without them close to you, and then you're crying before you even know it, the tears rolling down your cheeks in big fat globs, your lashes sticking together, and your breath coming in short, hard gasps. But you're happy, because you know it existed. Because you know the connection means something to you, that the person will always be tied to you, no matter how far they are or what happens in either of your lives. And bonds like that just can't be broken, no matter what. That's what family is about - that unconditional love, that willingness to sacrifice, that honest truth. And sometimes, we tie up our heartstrings in perfect boyscout knots with the heartstrings strangers, and they become our closest friends, our truest unconditional loves. The more people you connect to, the more people you are able to love. Not necessarily romantically, but as people. As companions. As allies. And, just maybe, you'll love some of them unconditionally, forever, and that's the most anyone can ever ask or hope for from someone else.
"Tudtam, hogy vissza fogsz jönni. De ha nem jöttél volna vissza, akkor egyedül haltam volna meg."
I knew that you would come back. But if you hadn't come back, then I would have died alone.
--Szerelem, by Déry Tibor

26 October 2008

My Weekend

Fast updates. Friday: I suck at capitalism. Unexpected adventures, nice noses, sketchy diners, weird thoughts. Saturday: Studying, studying, studying... really slowly. Oh, and I colored like 12 pictures. Sunday: Very focused. Lots of studying. Hungarian homework. Quick e-mail to Andris about jealousy. Started talking to an old friend again. Watched this, which I stole from Ross. Which is amazing. ... I'm unsure what to think of the upcoming Halloween. I just need to get through the week first...

24 October 2008


This is the interesting/amusing news of the day: Sarah Palin's insane clothes spending. Seriously, look at those heels she wore at the debate (one of the articles has a slideshow). Those are some nice shoes!! Check out this and this. In other news, I happened to come across this tragedy, which I don't think is anything new, but left me with a really sad feeling. Today I get to trek to my City Hall area "beat" (anyone want to come?) and try to find local issues that probably don't exist. Sounds like fun, right?! Also, how do you decide whether or not to let a person back into your life? What's the criteria for that? Lastly, peace.

23 October 2008

The Latest Trend

Right now I'm in the student lounge. Today I started my winter routine of sitting here and doing homework on my laptop. I must admit, it is a relief to get back into the swing of things. To just be able to focus on what I'm doing (with, as you can see, short breaks to access the internet that my laptop can finally connect to). Hopefully things will settle into a good work-mood now, and I'll be able to get lots of work done in the upcoming weeks. Too bad the janitor that I always used to talk to isn't around anymore. I think he moved on to a job in construction. I hope everything is going well for him. Today there was a very slim possibility that Adam and I could have won $100,000 from McDonalds. Wouldn't that have been something? I've never won from the monopoly promotion before, although I'm going to keep trying, even if it is in vain. Too bad it's only going on until November 3, though. I wish I had realized they were doing it earlier in the month. Everyone, go to McDonalds! Go get game pieces! Let's combine and win! In yet other news, I think I'm going to head out in a little while (after getting some more East Asian Politics typing done) and go to the store on thirteenth street that sells crystals and chakra oils and stuff. The one I went to with Rob around the time I first began this blog. I looked for it this morning and couldn't find it, but I think I'm going to go back and search again. I'll let you know if I succeed in finding it (and then if I actually buy anything)! "I'm unconsoled. I'm lonely. I am so much better than I used to be.... In love with love and lousy poetry..." <3

22 October 2008

Don't Get Your Train Right On Time

I have to say, if you want to be in a good mood at ungodly hours of the morning, watch this. It's going to be a long day.

21 October 2008


I had a dream last night. It began at Six Flags, or something, and Jo and I went on two rollercoasters, and I flew off of both of them and landed on the ground beside them. I didn't really experience either the falling or the landing part, and I wasn't really injured, except that I bruised my elbw the second time. Then something about walking back through a bit of a forest to find my grandparents and some guy that I used to know and then, suddenly, I was in his house and he was reading a text or an e-mail from someone named Andrea (this obviously stems from the fact that Louis' ex gf is named Andrea and that's all he talks about lately. But the person definitely was not Louis). And then I was in my downstairs and Justin and some blonde guy in a pink shirt talked about if they were gay, and then some foreign guy mopping the floor had an armadillo. ... I have no idea.

20 October 2008

Hey Jealousy...

I've been thinking of these items lately: a cheese wheel lounging around, coffee rinds spilling onto a table, and sugar loaves swelling out. They close their (swiss) hol(e)y eyes. They rub up against the (polished) wood. They roll around without a second thought. They frolic in frivolous fractions. One half of those questioned believe that love exists. The other half call them jaded. The other half purse their cynical thin lips and raise one corner of their noses in disgust. Why is it that when you want images, such as these, to stay out of your life, they always have to come back and poke their noses into your ribcage, snuffle around a bit, and then go back to sleeping in their little beds, not without leaving you aching for something more than just this paltry reminder, this unsatisfactory nostalgia, this pain that only goes to a certain point. It's not so much of a stab, as a flickering flame. How come I always get stuck being the one trying to convince people not to commit suicide? I mean, don't you think, God, that that's a lot of burden to put on one person? To be the sole convincing factor keeping them alive? To not know if they're serious or not serious. To be afraid to just brush it off in case, this time, they really are? And what if I fuck it up? What if I say the wrong thing, or don't push the point strong enough, or what if I'm just busy with ten million other things, and I can't take the time to worry whether he lives or dies? I mean, every time we talk, it's the same fucking thing. And then I just get angrier and angrier. I mean, what am I supposed to say? There's only so many ways I can say "No, I care about you." Like, don't fucking message me for help and then blame me for it. But underneath the anger is my fear. What if I fuck it up? What if I fuck it up? What if he kills himself? Would it all be my fault? I can't handle this kind of stress, even though it seems like I continually wind up in this spot, between two walls with no way out but up. And unfortunately, I haven't yet learned to fly. Away from anything. Or anyone. These things are really managing to harsh the mellow that I've established for myself. The routine of school, school, school, study, study, study. See a friend or two. See someone I'd like to be with, or two. Not really open my mouth. Not really yell out how I feel (Like. Why don't you see?? Like. I care about you. Like. She's stupid if she doesn't see how amazing you are. Like. I want to be your bedbug. Like. Like. Like. Love.) I maange to not really crack this exterior shell I've glued together, made of broken macaroni bits and postcards and the corners of photographs, since those seem to be the only bits that remain constant. I'm not saying it's a good mellow, but it's a balance, and I'd appreciate it if dogs stayed asleep and yeast didn't rise. I'd appreciate it if circles would stay broken when you tried to crack their flow. I'd appreciate it if I could just live in peace and love without interruption. Just let me purse my thin lips and raise one half of my nose. "You were the best I ever had..."

17 October 2008

Say It Ain't So, Joe

News of the morning: Joe the plumber is not really a licensed plumber, owes on his taxes, and makes less than $250,000 and thus would save under Obama's plan. I think this becomes really important, becase it demonstrates how McCain obviously doesn't do enough background research before making on-the-fly decisions, and I don't think that's a good strategy to adopt for our country.

16 October 2008

Penny For Your Thoughts

Today, I felt a connection I've been spiritually nourishing tug on the invisible fishing thread between us. An overwhelming compulsion. And it makes me believe that my spreading of my mental awareness, my attempt to forge mental links unknowingly, might just be working in the slightest bit. Eventually, I want to be able to detect this certain little energy life force from anywhere in the City, and feel inside my gut in which direction I want to walk in order to reel in this fishing wire to its end, which way to find those hands into which I can place pennies, and attempt to read his thoughts. And then, as he did today, he will give those pennies to the people outside of the Barnes and Noble. You know the ones. They set up their tables and their big jugs and they call out "Penny for the homeless! Just one penny". And he will dig in his pockets, his change jangling, and he'll drop it into that nearly empty jug. And I'm the only one there who knows how much it's costing him. And he'll look at me, and it'll break my heart every time, because he'll say, "I wish those pennies could feed me too." As I always am, I'll feel overwhelmed with the absolute absurdity of the situation, with how surreal it all feels. With how much he is a Pisces. With how much he is like me, and yet so very different. And if he offered me a penny for my thoughts, I'm sure I wouldn't know where to begin. Hook, line, and sinker.

Recurrent Themes

I'd like to begin with this joke, which apparently has been a running theme in elections since at least 1946. (I borrowed this from here, and on a side note, compare the version I'm about to type up with the 1964 version. I lament the downfall of our language.): "While he was making a campaign stop in Pennsylvania yesterday, John McCain kept getting interrupted by a heckler who shouted "I am a Democrat!" over and over. McCain was obviously getting pissed, but he kept his anger bottled up long enough to respond to the heckler with, "My friend, can I ask you *why* you're a Democrat?" The heckler said: "My grandfather was a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, and I am a Democrat!" "What if your father had been a jackass?" McCain asked sarcastically, "Then what would you be?" "A Republican!" the heckler yelled back." I'm sure most people have heard that before, but I never did, and I thought it was wildly funny. So funny that I was choking on the pepper in my cheese and pepper sandwich (I know, who eats that for breakfast? I blame my trip to Hungary). Not only did I find this age-old joke humorous, I also thought it cast significant light on McCain's behavior in last night's debate. Because undoubtedly McCain was, as he has been in past debates, quite the jackass. Don't get me wrong here: I think his strategy to be on the offensive for nearly the entirety of the debate was a smart one. In fact, I think it's just about all he could do, at that point. I think some of McCain's attacks resonated very strongly with (undecided) voters, especially when he called out Obama on not keeping certain promises he had made in former debates. What I do not approve, and what makes me seethe with rage during these debates, is McCain's arrogance, and the cocky way in which he looks down at Barack Obama. The way he rolls his eyes while Obama is speaking. The way he grimaces in mock-pain, or mockingly sneers. The way he makes all these little sarcastic comments that absolutely no one but him laughs at. And the way he continually interrupted both Obama and Schieffer. Example (taken from the NYTimes debate transcript):

"OBAMA: I'll just make a quick comment about vouchers in D.C. Senator McCain's absolutely right: The D.C. school system is in terrible shape, and it has been for a very long time. And we've got a wonderful new superintendent there who's working very hard with the young mayor there to try...

MCCAIN: Who supports vouchers.

OBAMA: ... who initiated -- actually, supports charters.

MCCAIN: She supports vouchers, also.

OBAMA: But the -- but here's the thing..." I mean, doesn't that annoy you? He's like a petulant little kid who can't even bear to sit still and wait for another person to have their turn. As Adam mentions, McCain is clearly living up to the label that people have given him. Of course, eveyone is talking about affect: McCain came across as flighty, fidgety, and rather more explosive. On the flip side, he was more persistent, and, for an older candidate, he really didn't look all that bad. Obama, as expected, has perfected the calm and cool technique. Personally I loved the way he smiled and shook his head sometimes when McCain made bogus claims, but at the same time, I'm sure Republican versions of me can just turn around and say that Obama was being as disrespectful toward McCain as I think McCain was toward Obama. As for content, we heard (again) a lot of the same that we've been hearing. I wish one of them would just deviate from those vague talking points, but I guess that really isn't a safe move this close to the election. Other bits and pieces of content that I want to mention (and I have to do this relatively quickly so that I can go get ready and then study for my Mass Media midterm): 1) Joe the plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, whatever you want to call him, really started to get my nerves bouncing around underneath my skin. While it was mildly amusing (McCain: "Hey, Joe, you're rich, congratulations"), it all seemed like petty fighting going around in the same circles. The same circles we've been hearing debate after debate. 2) I did appreciate the variety in Schieffer's questioning. I'm glad they spoke about education and abortion. And, just, on the abortion topic: Why is it that Republicans are alright with major governemnt intervention in a woman's personal life choices, but not in the economy? Why is it that Republicans fight for the right to own a gun (which, theoretically, has a pretty high potential to get someone killed, especially if you're living in a bad crime city and not just out hunting in the woods), but they immediately swear against abortion? I don't understand those right-wing Christians who are proudly gun-toting. Remind me again why Jesus would ever want you to own a gun, whether to kill people or animals? The Republican lack of logic never ceases to amaze me. 3) Supreme Court. We all know I was listening with ears open for this one. And, let's say I knew absolutely nothing about the candidates other than their answers to this one bit of questioning, my vote would still be for Obama. Not necessarily because I liked his answer, but because John McCain's answer was completely preposterous (and that's not a word I use often, or lightly). And yes, I realize this is all subjective and based on personal perspective, but this is my blog and thus my perspective, damn it, and I think John McCain would completely destroy both the Supreme Court and the precedents of that court, the foundations of the basic rights we know today! Look, you take away one right to privacy, and what are we going to overturn next? Lawrence v. Texas? Our Miranda rights? Let me just get straight to the McCain quote, or else this is going to turn into a rant about the conservative court, and the fact that under McCain, that court would probably just become incredibly right-wing extremist. (And, for a side note, under Obama, the court probably wouldn't become overwhelmingly liberal, so don't listen to any conservative arguments that say so. Because, the fact of the matter is, that any Justice who retires will probably be a liberal one. And so if Obama replaces them with more liberals, well, that just keeps the court the way it is now, in a very tight 5-4 split, most of the time, with conservatives usually getting the upper hand. So that's not really a valid argument). Sorry, I'm continuing: First of all: "McCain: I think that decisions should rest in the hands of the states." ... Then what would be the point of the court in the first place?? It is there for a reason. "McCain: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test." ... Which (hello!!!??) is basically saying that anyone who doesn't agree with him that Roe v. Wade is a bad decision, would not make it onto the bench. Which means (you guessed it) more conservatives! But, no litmus test! But, really, is McCain blatantly saying that anyone who disagrees with his ideology is "unequalified", a much better solution to offer? Personally, I don't think so. I think the major problem with McCain in this debate was the way he wavered back and forth between statements, and when you juxtapose them, they just don't make any sense. I think the major problem with Obama was the fact that he was too dispassionate. And even if his strategy is to remain cool and sidestep attacks, I bet there were a lot of voters who just wanted to see him stick it to McCain, just a little bit. I've seen a lot of people give the debate to McCain, and most of the liberal media obviously gives the debate to Obama. While I think there was good and bad to both, I'm going to give it to Obama by a very slim margin, mostly because McCain's Supreme Court argument made me want to nearly strangle him and because, continuing the theme of his past debates and his whole campaign, McCain acted like a complete jackass... excuse me, I mean, Republican. Now, to shower! Then, to study! Send me some good vibes, please!

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It. But if it is...

The sun is rising inside a tiny point between the boughs of trees. Trees that will soon shed their leaves. The sun is nothing, nothing but a far-off pale yellow dot that no longer even burns the retina when you stare at it. The sun is nothing, nothing but a burning star that, one day, is just going to burn out. The sun is broken. The world is broken. The connections between people are broken. People themselves are breaking, skin and muscles stretching out until cells explode into invisible particles and drift away. Bones snapping, the jagged ends tearing into the bare earth like flags of conquest, flags of imperial excuses. The claims are nothing; nothing but scared people trying to make up for the self confidence that they don't have. Scared people, waiting for the sun to burn out. Waiting for the world to collapse in upon itself and break down. Waiting, perhaps, to disintegrate in space before they admit the world is broken. The system is broken. Before they admit they should have reached out sooner and helped the earth, helped other people. But by then, it'll be too late. By then, there will be no hope of rising again. But as I write this, the sun climbs higher in the sky. It starts to peep through my window blinds. And I refuse to go down without a fight. And so I'll keep promoting hope, and action, and peace, and love. Oops. Sorry, got a little bit distracted there. This post was supposed to be about the debate. Let me start another.

14 October 2008


The weather is getting colder. I had to close my window this morning so that I wouldn't freeze when I got out of the shower at 6:30. Depressing news, but at least it gives me a good reason to stay inside and do all of my homework. I only have two other quick note-worthy items this morning: This is my song recommendation of the day. Check out his Myspace, too. (Thanks to Melvin for recommending it to me. I still have to listen to those other bands, which I plan on doing today!) And check this out, because it may be both the funniest and yet most accurate commentary of the presidential debates. Vote for Batman-- I mean, Barack!!! "Yes, a penguin taught me French back in Antarctica Oh, I could show you the way shadows colonize snow Ice breaking up on the bay off the Lassiter coast Light failing over the pole as every longitude leads up to your frost bitten feet oh, you're very sweet..."

13 October 2008

Signs (of Life)

So this morning I saw this, which says that the New York City national debt clock ran out of space this weekend. And they're going to build a new clock, which will be able to accommodate larger numbers. I'm horrified by the way our national debt keeps going up, up, up, up, up. This is a sign of danger and something has to be done. But economics aren't really my strong point, so don't look to me for the answers. Although, if you have other questions that you want answers to, I might be able to help you. I tend to take it upon myself to help people. I tend to go after the ones to whom I can teach something. I tend to love the people who help me to learn, both about the world and especially about myself. This is what I get for being a Pisces. Don't believe in the zodiac? I've found that, in my life experience, a lot of zodiac sun sign descriptions are pretty true. (I'm not exactly as convinced about horoscopes, although they're fun to read, and I read them from numerous sources). They aren't necessarily unchangeable truths, however. I find that it is best to look at them as certain planetary influences, and these influences affect the things we do and the way we behave, but we're quite capable of ignoring these influences. And I think that's why some people don't match up with their zodiac sign at all. But then, some people do. And, for most people, I feel like it's 50/50. They do and they don't, and I guess that's why a lot of people don't really put stock in it. So, I find, you never take things at face value, but instead you add and subtract, plus and minus, and mostly, you just feel things. You feel the way people think, the way they respond, the way they act, what they're saying (and sometimes, more importantly, what they're not saying). But you don't do any of this consciously. You just feel it resonating somewhere deep inside of you. And I often wonder if this is a Pisces trait or just a higher consciousness. Or, perhaps, as Paul says, it's because my past lifeline was that of an Egyptian. But, on a less serious note, it's mostly about being yourself, and not letting sun signs or aural predictions or anything like that change or really affect who you are, unless you're maybe trying to change something that you know is bad about yourself. But just be yourself, and love who you are, and then others will love who you are, too. And then the entire world can become one giant, radiating, energy sphere of love, wrapped safely inside a violet tetrahedron, inside a violet octahedron, kept from slipping by a solid gold band. Continuing with our serious/non-serious notes, I was looking at a website for the top 50 movie posters, and I thought this poster from the Dark Knight was just completely cool: And now we part, hoping that our national debt clock will not continue to expand. Hoping that people will spread out and connect. Hoping that the world will be a web of tiny little hearts, each pumping with life. Hoping that we will all laugh about something at least once today. Hoping that we create our own signs, and our own destinies. The world is what you make of it. If you love someone, tell them right then, at that moment, before it passes you by. (I paraphrased that from My Best Friend's Wedding).


Governor's Island is officially closed for the season. Yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day. Adam, Peter, and I walked around part of the island and then made camp on a little hill right next to the main barracks, where we ate sandwiches and cheese and crackers. Then, Adam and I worked on creating a movie script, with some help from Peter (when it's done, I'll be sure to share). I feel like Adam and I have been operating on much the same frequency lately, and it's quite a relief. Here are some pictures:

12 October 2008

So You Say

(Feeling of the Day: I want to be a resident of "the United States of Love")
On a different note, today I'm going to Governor's Island, known as "Nut Island" by the Native Americans, on its final open weekend of the season. Hopefully I finally remember to bring my camera this time, although sadly Jo won't be there :( Next summer, though! Unfortunately, I realized that my plan to buy the island and build my home on the island won't work out, because there are deed restrictions on the island that prohibit permanent housing, even though people used to live there. Then again, I wonder if I can get away with temporary housing... Either way, I'll post another update later with some pictures if I take any good ones (and if I remember my camera). My current song recommendation (because it's stuck in my head) is this. But if that's not really your cup of tea, and you want something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, check out this one.

11 October 2008

Flower Power

Last night was the Barnes and Noble monthly poetry reading. Unsurprisingly, some amazing people recited their stuff. While listening, my thoughts vibrated around common themes and, as yet, unfulfilled dreams. I love to stand there, about to spew a barrage of words into the open space before me (between us), and just feel the energy and the vibes of the room. To try and connect with individual people without speaking directly to them, but just with a look or a pulse or a feeling. The connection vibes to the friends with me radiated strongly yesterday. I remember thinking to myself: This is a set of really good guys, really good people. And I would stand by that, or them, no matter what. No matter what, I would fight for each one of them, for every aspect of each of them, if I ever had to. Sometimes you can feel us all snapping into place. Yesterday I imagined myself as the stem, and they grew into the petals, soft and tender and each one a bright, different color. And together we have the ability to create a flower, a chakra lotus all our own, a sense of life. And then everything just seems to make more sense. On different levels, we watch out for each other, and I think we help one another to become better people. "Tell me what's it that moves you. Tell me what's it that moves you. An old fashioned melody... " (Hair) Oh, for anyone interested, I went into a pretty awesome store with Rob yesterday, all about healing and spiritualism and stuff (it was somewhere on Fifth Ave. between 8th and 14th). We spent some time looking at healing crystals, and then at chakra anointing oils. Just for anyone who is curious about the oils, or just for a little bit of new chakra information, check this out. I think it's pretty interesting. I think the only problem is that sometimes it's difficult to know which chakra we need to work on, and we can only figure it out by becoming increasingly closer to and more aware of our innermost selves. "Ask me the questions You never want answers to We can re-write them However we like..." (The Weakerthans)

09 October 2008

Short of Breath

"Somewhere inside something there is a rush of greatness..." I want to connect to the world. I want to connect to all of its people. I want to save everyone. I want to keep them from killing, and from being killed. I wish people could just join together in peace. I wish people could save each other. I wish people really, honestly felt things the way I feel them. I get extremely attached to people. Even fictional people, which is why at least a half hour after watching Hair (the movie version), I'm still crying over the absolute fucking tragedy of the ending. Crying because at the end, Berger had to die in a war he didn't believe in, and he had to die alone. I'm tired of crying alone. I'm tired of wishing for things that will never come true. "The rest is silence..."

08 October 2008

The Debate: Draw(backs)

Well, my friends, the count is exactly 19. Nineteen times, John McCain addressed us as his friends last night. And each time he did, I didn't know whether to giggle or to vomit over the side of my couch - the former, because it just started sounding so funny by the end of the debate, and the latter because, well, it just sounded so disgustingly funny by the end of the debate. Not just funny, I thought it was a little bit creepy. Either McCain is a really lonely man, or is very personable and friendly. (I think he was just trying to appear as such, with a little too much force, and a little too overdone). On one end of the spectrum though, if this was his goal, he probably did succeed. He managed to seem friendly with the audience. I'm pretty sure he thanked almost every person for their question, something that Obama did far less frequently. On top of that, he just really tried to put himself at their level: for instance, when he patted the military man on the shoulder, or when he stood off slightly to the side of the seats and got really up and close to the members of the audience. On the other end of the spectrum, he failed to seem personable and friendly to Obama. Not only did he refer to him as "that one" (What? Is he getting so old that he can't even remember the name of his opponent?), but he clearly made uncalled for jokes at Obama's expense. And yes, I understand this is a debate, but that doesn't mean he gets points for being a jerk. For example: McCain: And I'll stop, Tom, and you didn't even wave. Now, what McCain was referring to in this little statement is the fact that Obama had talked over his time and failed to see (or pretended not to see) Moderator Tom Brokaw waving at him. I just feel like it was a bit hypocritical of McCain to make this statement, when his following answer lasted for roughly 2 min (that's a minute over, my friend!). And, according to my calculations (which, I admit, might have a pretty large margin of error, but I think I calculated all of this correctly, although I didn't use a stopwatch or anything so it will be off by just a little bit)... anyway, according to my calculations, throughout the entire debate, Obama spoke for approximately 40 minutes. McCain? Approximately 44 minutes. So, again, a little bit hypocritical there in my opinion. So, on affect McCain won the "nicer to the audience half" (because, as Adam points out in his blog post, Obama does come across as pretty aloof at times), but he didn't really win the "good sport" half. Then again, Obama's affect was pretty much the same as usual: calm, cool, in control. Which is reliable, but at the same time he didn't really get in any good, hard jabs at McCain. Sometimes, I just wish Obama could sound a little bit more passionate. I mean, I'm not saying he has to do all the waving around that McCain seems to do, but just a little bit more excitement might have helped out his affect just a little bit. On content I'm not really sure what to feel. I think they both just blasted us with their usual rhetoric, and I don't think we really heard anything out of either of them that we hadn't heard before. I was getting pretty confused somewhere in the middle of the debate, after McCain repeatedly said that Obama was planning to raise taxes, and Obama repeatedly countered that he was going to lower taxes for 95% of working families. I think it finally got explained, though (maybe. I'm still not entirely sure what's going on with that). I thought, at many times, it became petty politician mudslinging, arguing over a "projector" and the sight details of which bill that who voted for on which day... it just got pretty tiring. I wanted to hear some real answers to some real questions, not the constant evasion we keep getting by both parties. The most blatant example of this, I think (and I thought this while I was watching the debate too) is right here: First, Obama tries to interject to talk about tax policy, but he isn't allowed to continue because they have to ask the next question. So, I thought to myself, well, obviously he's just going to skim the answer of the next question and relate it to tax policy, which is obviously the thing he wants to talk about. And what did he do? Obama: But I think it's important to understand, we're not going to solve Social Security and Medicare unless we understand the rest of our tax policies. And there you go; he spent pretty much the entire rest of the answer talking about his tax plan, and not about whatever question got asked. So, content-wise, I'd have to say that they both did about the same. So, in my opinion, it's pretty much a draw. Because Obama, although he came out steady, also came out relatively boring. And McCain, although I think he did play more on the offense, also came across as really weird and kind of creepy and pretty snobby toward Obama. My last criticism is for the set-up of the debate. I think it's pretty useless to just give the candidates all of this time to spew out answers that we've heard time and time again, and half the time they used the same phrases as before. I think the purpose of a town hall format is to have a succession of questions that really challenge the candidates to give honest, concise answers, without going into all of these rambling projector tirades and tax tangents. If I had been that moderator, I would have made sure they stopped at exactly a minute. Or else, I would have set up the debate so that I could ask a lot of specific follow-up questions that really got to the heart of things. This debate wasn't even that entertaining. Where's Sarah Palin when you need her? At least she's good for something (and let me tell you, nailing down things she's good at is like trying to nail jello to a wall).

Quick Tidbit

Check out this happy piece of news about the Dalai Lama. --More later maybe.

07 October 2008

Why So Serious?

"If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old." (Edward W. Howe) Yesterday, I saw a tiny subway rat struggling with a paper plate that was twice his size. He pushed at it with his entire body, trying to move it toward the deep, dark underworld beneath the dumpster, where two of his brothers waited anxiously, sometimes darting halfway out onto the platform and then hurrying back into the cover of darkness. The little subway rat pushed and pulled and prodded at that folded paper plate, but it just refused to budge. Eventually he got tangled up in the folds of the plate, and scurried around in circles, trying to free himself. Then the subway came, and I continued my journey home, and that was the last I saw of him. It made me laugh, though, because his stubborn persistence was so human (and, I mean, come on, imagine this cute little rat running around in circles halfway inside a folded paper plate.) How many times have we all tried to get past certain obstacles and yet got tangled up in the intricacies of a situation? Or, how many times have we all gotten stuck in a web of consequences neither planned nor wanted? And yet, despite this, how many times have we refused to give up? Refused to just lay down and say "That's it. I quit." Every day, every person struggles in some way, whether it is with school, with money, with drugs, with drinking, with indecision, with friendships, with relationships, or with a number of other things. And yet, people manage to push on, despite how bleak things may appear, and that's the key to it. Press on, press on, wayward son (or daughter), and learn to laugh at the things that have brought you down. "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." (Victor Borge) Is it any coincidence that our closest friends tend to be the ones with whom we laugh the most? (Not that I'm advocating we laugh all the time, because I think some matters are incredibly serious, but I think that we have to always hold on to that innate ability for laughter. And I think we have to remember to allow ourselves to relax with people, laugh with them. That not every situation is as dire as it may seem.) Sometimes, we just have to give others, and ourselves, a break. Sometimes, laughter can take the place of all the words you want to say. Like when he tells you that he's into this girl, what can you do but laugh ruefully about it even though you might want to cry? It's no use crying about it (I know. I've cried. It's more healthy to laugh about it, even if that's harder to do.) When you can't speak to someone because of a language barrier, what can you do but laugh about how bad your Hungarian can be and how terrible his English always is? What can he do but laugh with you? And this mutual laughter pulls on those invisible connections between people and brings them closer together. Oh, random side note sort of on that, here's some good news!! I'll close on that, and try to laugh at all of the worries and problems and fears that threaten to bring me down. I won't give up when I get stuck running in cute, crazy circles like my subway rat brother. I believe in laughter, and I believe in peace, and I believe in love.

05 October 2008

I Feel For You

They keep telling me not to pick the scabs. Not to slowly pry those oozing, dried-blood bits from my shoulder, wincing at the final rip-off point. Not to welcome the scars. But I don't listen. Because I think, once in a while, everyone needs to be reminded of pain. I'm not a masochist; I'm really not. But I have a healthy appreciation for feeling. In this same way, I do stupid things to remind me to feel, that I can feel, how exactly I do feel. Because pretty often, the way we really and truly feel gets trampled on by self-preservation or egged on by dramatic circumstance. But if you look back on the things you've lost, and peel the metaphorical wounds just a little bit, you can tell which scabs are still raw, and which have transformed into practically faded scars. You can call someone on the telephone just to hear their voice, and that sound can send you nearly to tears. Or, conversely, you can remember all of the good times you had with someone, and suddenly realize just how meaningless and empty they all were. I think it's healthy to measure, sometimes, just how much certain things hurt, if they still do. Just to know the status of your weak spots. Just to know you're still alive. In other news, isn't this both hilarious and sad at the same time? What in the world is our nation coming to? I feel like people are progressively getting more and more complacent, and less and less likely to question what politicians hold out in front of them. In yet other news, I'd like to recommend the song "Babylon" by David Gray and the song "The One I Love" by David Gray, since those are the two songs I've been listening to pretty much nonstop since last night. I think that second video is really rather cute. Last piece of news for the early afternoon is some self-reflection: Have you ever seen anyone stare at food with a complete and total hunger in their eyes because they haven't eaten for at least a full day? Have you seen someone sit with their hands wrapped around their knees, a little bit wired up on caffeine, refuse to go ask for that food because of pride? And then have you seen that proud exterior crack, and shatter shard by shard? Have you seen the despair of someone who has come back from a failed attempt at begging for food? I think it would break your heart, because it broke mine. (And I hate the people who try to call this pity, because it's not pity. It's a form of empathy, where you immerse yourself with their feeling. You don't look at the person and go "Aw, poor dog, he has no food." You look at the person and go, "I am trying to imagine what this must feel like. I am trying to put myself in your place. I want to help you, because I can see how difficult this must be." There's a fine line of difference, and don't try to tell me which one I feel. I know which one you feel, and you should be ashamed if it's the first one. Because these are people we're talking about. And yeah, I have no respect for the bums who sit and scream out drunken soliloquies in front of McDonalds, and have no plans to try and become better. But I do have respect for the ones who have some sort of a plan, are making some sort of effort, or just have some sort of non-materialistic philosophy, because it's something I wish I could have.) So next time you see someone really, honestly working for that money (and who says musical talent, real talent, isn't a form of work? Would you want to sit out there all day, wearing out your fingers, getting rejected by person after person?) give them some change. Even if it's only a few pennies. Because you know that, deep down, you can afford it. You can give up that candy bar. You can fill up that unused water bottle. You can help people. You can help yourself. You can pick your scabs, and you can survive the resulting tumult of emotion. You can spare a minute to feel.

03 October 2008

Inside the Frames

Now, I'm not saying that either of the candidates in this race are ideal, or close to ideal. I'm not saying that either of their vice presidential picks are ideal, or close to ideal. But I am saying that, in the context of the here and now, and given what we have, one side is definitely closer than the other. Before I begin this long rant, which I'm sure you all know will be Palin-bashing, I just have to say that I really love this little nugget in the New York Time's debate transcript: Palin: "Now, what I've done as a governor and as a mayor is (inaudible)". Oh, I just had to laugh. So, first, affect framing. Sarah Palin came across as energetic, perky, pretty (enough), down with the common people, a sincere person and Washington outsider (well, at least I'm guessing that's what she was trying to be every time she winked at the camera. Either that or she had something in her eye). Although I think sometimes a slight tightening of her lips may have betrayed the fact that she had no idea how to answer a question. And I think the one major flaw of her affect, despite the fact that she was bouncy and friendly and likeable and really kind of cute, was that you could tell when she was reciting by rote. There was a clear difference between the non-scripted lines and the myriad times she stood staring into the camera, smiling that creepy smile, and simply sounded like she was in front of a class, reciting the key points she had learned from her textbook the night before. She wasn't as relaxed during those moments, and her voice, gosh darnit, just sounded like a straight up monotone. Even my dad said something to the effect of: "I bet she's wearing special glasses, and there's a little teleprompter inside her frames", joking about the way Palin kept staring forward and sounded like she was reading something hovering in the air in front of her. But you know what, despite all of this, I'm sure that every average American (all of those Joe six packs and hockey moms across the nation) will really be able to connect to her. All of those weird, crazy, outlandish Americans (let's say, college students or straight edge folks or non-sports fans, for a small example) might have a bit of a harder time. Joe Biden, on the other hand, started the debate a little bit slow. I'll admit, I was worried. Here's this chipper little bunny, and there's Biden, looking splotchy and sort of worn out and, really, kind of old. If Obama looked way better against McCain, Palin definitely beat Biden on the looks (I guess that comes with being a woman, too). He didn't directly look at the viewers at home so much, or so forcefully, as Palin (which, I think, was a relief, after we had to deal with all of those scary Palin stares). But if Palin tried to pull off sincere, Biden actually achieved it at that one moment where he got pretty choked up when talking about raising his kids alone. And I think that was one of his best moments, cutting into the winding explanations he tends to give sometimes. Speaking of explanations, we move into content framing. Now, if you ask me, there's no contest here. And, honestly, everything I've read thus far praising Palin in the debate argues (in circles) around one or two things: the fact that Palin looks better than Biden (which, I admit, is very important), and the fact that Palin did better than expectations (which wasn't very hard at all, considering just how low those expectations were. I could have done better than the expectations people had for her during this debate). Fox News claims that Palin: "lamented "East Coast politicians" and the "mainstream media" as she pitched herself as a true "main streeter." She called her running mate the "consummate maverick" and pledged to deliver economic reform to Washington." I'm so glad they noticed that she remembered all of those talking points she memorized, half of which she probably doesn't even understand. So, where are all those Republicans saying "Wow, Sarah Palin really knows how to deliver good arguments." Or, more importantly, "Wow, Sarah Palin really know how to directly answer those tough questions." Well, I betcha, golly gosh, that they just can't bring themselves to say that. Because Sarah Palin cannot make good arguments. Sarah Palin cannot answer questions. Is Sarah Palin a skilled politician? Darn right she is. Because, if you weren't paying so much attention (or if you've already got it in your head to support her), you wouldn't realize she pivoted off of almost every question and either picked a small point Biden had made and talked about that instead, said something that was very obviously scripted (and half the time kept looking down at her notes, as if to refresh her memory), or reverted the question back to energy. For example: "PALIN: And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear" (which translates to not answering at all, Sarah, just admit it) and "PALIN: I do take issue with some of the principle there with that redistribution of wealth principle that seems to be espoused by you. But when..." (Say what? I can see why you changed the subject.) and "PALIN: Well, the nice thing about running with John McCain is I can assure you he doesn't tell one thing to one group and then turns around and tells something else to another group, including his plans that will make this bailout plan, this rescue plan, even better. I want to go back to the energy plan, though..." (maybe because that's the only thing you know even a little bit about) ... when the actual question was "What promises -- given the events of the week, the bailout plan, all of this, what promises have you and your campaigns made to the American people that you're not going to be able to keep?" and "PALIN: That is not so, but because that's just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy versus your ticket's energy ticket, also. I think that this is important to come back to, with that energy policy plan again that was voted for in '05." Seriously, if I was whoever advised her with, "Sarah, when you don't know something, just bring it back to energy," I would be kicking myself in the ass right about then for not realizing just how much she obviously didn't know about anything else. And I'll admit it. Maybe Joe Biden is a little bit boring, and maybe he's a little bit more formal (is it really his fault he doesn't have an accent?), and maybe he can get lost in some senatorial speak sometimes. And maybe, when you consider content, they both did have a lot of facts to throw at us. The difference was that Biden sounded like he knew what he was talking about and the larger picture context, whereas Sarah Palin just sounded like she was trying to pass her high school US Government test. And although I would have liked to see Biden just attack her, and call her out on this, he mostly held in reserve (although he did mention once that he hadn't "heard a plan" and that made me smile, and the part where he said "George Bush's" at least five times made me smile, although that was more because he just sounded funny every time he said "George Bush's".) But I like O'Biden... oops, sorry I mean... Joe Biden. I liked him during the primary debates and I like him now. And more importantly he made sense. He made sense! I'd like to just end by demonstrating that, by mentioning here, that Sarah Palin delivered her sharp points very well: "Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for [the war], tell us why you voted for it" The only problem was that it was delivered a bit too late, and if she'd been paying any attention to the debate at hand instead of trying to recall what she was supposed to say, she would have realized that Joe Biden just finished answering that: "I gave the president the power. I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted." And that's my political rant of the day. Unless I think of anything I missed. Until then, I'll wait around to hear a good, pro-Palin argument, based on the content of what she said, and not just that charming smile, those homey winks, and that all-American accent she has (which goes right along with what she calls her "average American" family). I feel like I might be waiting for quite a while.