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.

02 October 2008

I Like to Knit on the Subway

I believe in the unspoken connections between people. The way you can somehow feel attachment to the person standing in front of you on the subway. That slight sense of kinship, maybe because you're both drumming your fingers against your legs in the same way to different music, or maybe because you're both bobbing your heads and getting weird looks from people, or maybe because you're both young, or because you're both on the same train, or just because you're both people. You're both human beings, breathing and dreaming and beautiful and fallible. Your hearts are both beating. I believe that all people are tied together in some way, which is why we are able to feel sympathy, empathy, pain, love, and happiness for other people. Exhibit A: 2 Train yesterday evening. I was sitting down, listening to Korpiklaani, and this guy in jean shorts and a white t-shirt stood right in front of me. Probably about my age, and also listening to music. We didn't speak, didn't even look at each other, and yet I felt an invisible line stretching between us. And when the person beside me stood up, I heard the guy in front of me give one of those relieved sighs, one of those "Thank God I finally get to sit down," kind of breaths. And then, before he could, some other guy cut him off and stole the seat. I wanted to stand up and give him my seat, but I had so much to hold yesterday. Although I did get off the subway before him, so he was finally able to sit down. But my point is that when the seat was stolen from under him, I felt that shimmering string between us tug, and I looked up at him for the first time and we both smiled identical smiles. And the connection strengthened, just a little bit. And I guess this blog post was inspired by Melvin's post about how we should all just be nicer to people, and I was thinking about how sometimes, all we have to do is smile, in order to bring life to the limp yarn threads that weave from one person to the next to the next to the next. Sometimes, all we have to do is prick a little life into them, and you never know what can happen. Maybe you'll make a new friend, maybe you'll just feel a little better inside, or maybe, most importantly, you'll help someone else to feel a little better inside, all without saying a word.

01 October 2008

Quick Definition

According to dictionary.com, for anyone who doesn't know: Gloam is an archaic word meaning "twilight" or "dusk". --Test Post Zero Zero Zero Two Complete. Have a good night.

Coming Full Circle

Test Post Number Zero Zero Zero One. Goal: To see what we can learn. The lesson in journalism class today: go full circle. End up where you began. Spin the wheel around a couple of times so that you gain some frequent flyer miles. Watch those cumulous clouds. Admire the evergreens. Tramp through the Alaskan snow (if you look hard enough, maybe you'll see Russia!). Just make sure your wheel - that bright and brimming energy center - remains the same. Energy wheels, or chakras, rotate around at seven different spots inside our bodies, too. And each contains a different type of energy/emotion. The point is to balance out each of these circling energies and weed out the negative emotions and replace them with positive ones. Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do, in light of the rant I just wrote in a flurry of furious passion: I can't stand close-minded people. The ones who expect you to listen to them babble about their beliefs, their politics, their religion... and then they don't take the time to hear out the things that you feel strongly about. They preach and they prattle and then they shut the tiny door to their tiny brains, swallow the key, and probably don't even realize they've trapped themselves in the dark. You know what's worse: the ones who talk and talk about their philosophies - and I actually sit there listening because I actually am interested in hearing their point of view - and then they act like they're going to listen to you, but you can tell they regard everything you're saying as the funniest new joke. I can't stand it. Another thing I can't seem to stand is still, lately. I feel a sort of wanderlust building up. I guess it's just a result of spending all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday inside my house. I want to scope out every inch of every Manhattan street and take pictures of this land we call home. I want to walk down to Florida, fly over to Hungary, and teleport back in time so I can help levitate the Pentagon. Because who says journeys have to be one dimensional? It'll be like falling into a rabbit hole, and making that dizzying descent into a creepy, crazy, colorful new world. And amidst all of that crazy cartwheeling, I'll make sure to balance my energy centers and chant out any harmful karma rays. Amidst all of that creepy, crazy, colorful self-discovery, I'll always make sure to come back full circle and retain the innermost core of self. And that was my rant/rave combo for the day. Test Post Number Zero Zero Zero One = complete. Mission = success?!