Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bitter

I'm tired tonight and had a bad day.

Go away and come back another day.

The Coercion of Fear

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.

-Bertrand Russell,
philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"I Aim to Misbehave" - Mal from Firefly/Serenity

My mom lectured me and had her panties all curled up about the fiancee and me showing up 5 to 10 minutes late to Christmas dinner. I insulted her. This fact angers me.

There's a lot of issues below the surface. I don't even want to go there until I move to Chicago. Hopefully not until I settle in quite nice with a job that I like. I want my independence before I take on the angsty Crusade against the low on substance, high on image philosophy that my family follows.

If she reads this Blog, I'm probably in trouble. She has never mentioned it to me, and she usually would, if following her past behavior provides any indication.

But yeah, I don't plan on holding myself back once I move to Chicago and settle more than I ever did here in Boston.

Two New Members in the Household

The fiancee and I picked up two kittens over the weekend. We got Max Saturday night from a co-worker who had taken care of him since then summer, then we picked up his sister, Miriya, Christmas night. Too bad Max tried to hump Miriya when she brought her home. . .one night too early for that horny little guy.

Tomorrow, the fiancee takes them to get fixed. We can rest a little easier. They can intermingle and leave the rooms in which we've isolated them.

Otherwise, though, we love the two of them. They're both very sweet. He's kind of a buddha meditator, but I worry that he might have gotten more depressed than relaxed with all the commotion. Besides, the little guy had the chance for some action (albeit, from his sister) and got rejected pretty hard.

Miriya went into heat the next night, after she had gotten put into isolation. She ahs acted really really affectionate when she doesn't hide under the bed. Hopefully she doesn't lose her affection after the surgery tomorrow. She's just really fun and cute.

But anyway. . .after all this playing with the cats and venting about family, I should probably least put on the pretentions of a job search. . .. =(

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Teaching an Old Dog Old Tricks

I need to teach myself how to view my interesting and fun projects as rewards rather than as things to do whenever I want. . .AGAIN!

Argh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Romantic, Dead Adolescence

I just finished reading the introduction to Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead, the author's definitive edition.

He brought up the Romance genre. He said that the main characters of the "old school" romance are adolescents, seeking after identity and adventure but without the responsibility of adulthood. It makes sense, but I still have some more to learn about the genre. . ..

For instance, how do academics make the connection between utopia and romance?

Monday, December 19, 2005

BAD ME! BAD ME!

I'm up to my old tricks again.

Tonight, I spent a little too much time organizing Magic cards and play testing a couple decks. I made one of them a little more deadly than before, and it still has room to get even more powerful.

Another deck needs some more work. I also need to learn a little better how to play it.

But man. . .I bought a ton of cards yesterday. I will have to take a lot of time to organize these things. . ..

At least with my Christmas bonus and having finished this last big Magic purchase, I'll have money to get some more Christmas gifts and a little left over to get some binder pages for the cards.

Tomorrow, I cash the Christmas bonus then go get some last minute gifts for the family. If I still have some open hands, I'll try to get a thing or two for some friends. The friends presents aren't as urgent, though, as the car should be fixed on Wednesday, so the fiancee and I can go driving all over the place and shopping. Besides, I probably won't exchange gifts with friends until sometime after Christmas.

Did minimal work on the resume and minimal work on the thesis. The minimal resume work feels kind of good and somewhat not so good. I like to see that I can talk myself up, but I feel bad that I really don't have much demonstrable experience in the skills that I have.

I'm really not 100% cognizant at the moment.

I also finished Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Good book. I continue on with the series tomorrow. I'll probably have something to say about the book and series a little later.

For now, though, I should sleep.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tired and Sick Games

I've played a lot of games and felt tired a lot lately.

I think I've done some other things, but I can't remember them.

Hopefully I can collect some thoughts later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Quote Relevant to Last Entry

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President (1882-1945)

Yeah, Thorn, I know you've got something to say about this one. . .C'mon, say it! =D

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Procrastinating to Get Things Done

I have this tendency to think big at work. Plans of doing a lot of stuff when I get home pop into my head. Most of the time, I don't do as much as I plan. I usually end up procrastinating with playing a computer game, playing around with Magic, reading productively or unproductively or just generally dicking around.

When I didn't have this job search to do, I sometimes thought I might just be pushing myself a little too hard. I rarely rest or play to play.

Usually, when I do end up playing to play, I think about the projects to do and worry that I'm not getting the projects done.

I've feared that once I get these projects done and have time to play, I'll just think about not having projects to do and worry about it. I liken this pattern to the whole idea that once you retire, a person will generally get depressed because they have nothing to do.

Then there's those people who don't mind having nothing to do. They kind of live a Zen existence without the enlightenment or practicing to reach that point. At times, I've felt jealous of people who live that way.

At the same time, though, I can't respect those people when they don't have the enlightenment or having practiced to reach that point. A good way to phrase it: doing it but not understanding what you're doing. . .so, in a way, if things enter the gray zone from the black and white those people know, they don't know how to adapt.

They don't seem to enter the gray zone so much, though, which I look down upon, also, for no other reason than I feel that we should challenge ourselves because the gray zone will find us, either which way. But that's not necessarily always true.

And when I follow this line of reason, I reach a circular argument place that falls back upon emotion and intuition. I don't really have a reasoned out argument for the importance of enlightenment and practicing to reach that Zen state except that other people are getting screwed over and there's suffering in the world.

But on some philosophical level, that argument doesn't work if you come from an individualistic viewpoint of say. . .a Libertarian or a Republican.

I end up thinking this way a lot when I think about utopia and dystopia.

Tonight, though, I really haven't done much in the field of utopianism. I modified some Magic decks and play tested them for a couple hours then did a little work on my resume.

Proportionally, I focused more on Magic than on the job search. I guess after about nine or ten hours of working and commuting, I can't blame myself. I really want to work on the job search stuff, though!

I don't think there's much to be done about it, really. Until I get on some kind of ADHD medication (meetings with psychiatrist postponed because of study rules or something at MGH) or something, I figure I'll just have to deal with it, as long as I get the inertia going good. Until then, though, I'll just have to deal.

But yeah, I have this type of stuff going through my mind most of the time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The_Lex, the anti-Romantic, Writes Copy for the World

I'll admit it. I would make a bad protagonist for an adventure Romance. Danger and me don't really have a good chemistry. I don't like the idea of dying prematurely, and pain doesn't look very appetizing, either.

I'm not really a guy who takes big chances.

Unless you consider traveling halfway across the country in a couple months without a job or place to live secured yet as adventerous. The fiancee and I don't really have too many friends out there, either.

Despite the lack of security, we're doing it.

But I've taken something of a step tonight closer to security. I finished up a proposal letter for a volunteer copy writing project proposal and formatted up a couple writing samples. Tomorrow, I put them in the mail, wait a little while then, if I don't hear back from them, I give them a call to see if they got a chance to read my proposal.

Not incredibly exciting. I'm not going to fight a dragon. I won't find great wealth. I may help save the world, a little bit, though, as I try explain Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates and encourage consumers to buy them.

All the while, I work a day job, write in a Blog, have an exciting relationship with a great fiancee, go out and meet people at interesting concerts, have some interesting food at restaurants and the usual types of things that happen in Modern Boston.

Ah crap. . .what am I talking about, Boston's gotten pretty darn boring, or is it just me? Do I just not go out enough or do enough things for self betterment and such because I want to finish my adventuresome Romantic dystopian novel or want to land a copy writing career in Chicago? Am I wasting away my life with these ambitions that may never come true because I could die tomorrow, or do these not-so-social ventures have some kind of virtue, value and adventure to them?

Is Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City our contemporary adventure Romance? How about Law and Order? The OC? What makes the contemporary Romance other than just love and sex?

E-mail from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry re: an E-mail I sent about the Iraq War through a Political Organization Website

December 12,
2005

Mr. Lex
********
*****, Massachusetts *****


Dear Mr. Lex:


Thank you for contacting me to share
your views regarding Iraq. I appreciate
hearing your input on this extremely
important subject.


First and foremost, I would like to
commend our men and women in uniform.
American troops have done a remarkable job in
Iraq, and all of America should be proud of
their selfless service to our country.


It is important for us to succeed in
Iraq but it requires a leadership that the
Administration has not provided. The next
six months are a make or break period for the
Iraqis. Following upon successful elections
in December negotiations will begin for
amendments to the recently approved
constitution. It is imperative that the
process result in a sustainable political
solution that is supported by all the major
groups in Iraq including the Sunni minority.
As we enter this period we must now talk
honestly about the steps we must take to
promote that solution and bring our troops
home within a reasonable timeframe from an
Iraq that's not permanently torn by conflict.


We cannot pull out precipitously or
merely promise to stay "as long as it takes."
To undermine the insurgency in Iraq, we must
instead simultaneously pursue a political
settlement that gives Sunnis a real stake in
the future in Iraq and reduce the sense of
American occupation by beginning a phased
redeployment of combat forces, linked to
specific political and military benchmarks.
At the first benchmark, the completion of the
December elections, we can start the process
of reducing our forces by withdrawing 20,000
troops over the course of the holidays.


We must make it clear now that we do not
want permanent military bases in Iraq, or a
large combat force on Iraqi soil
indefinitely. The administration must
immediately give Congress and the American
people a detailed plan for the transfer of
military and police responsibilities on a
sector by sector basis to Iraqis so the
majority of our combat forces can be
withdrawn - ideally by the end of next year.


Immediately after the elections, the
President should call a conference of Iraq's
neighbors, Britain, Turkey and other key NATO
allies, and Russia. Together, we must
implement a collective strategy to achieve
the much needed political solution among
Iraqis including mutual security guarantees.
To enlist the support of Iraq's Sunni
neighbors, we should commit to a new regional
security structure that will include improved
security assistance programs and joint
exercises.

There also needs to be a renewed focus
on the lagging reconstruction of Iraq by
providing the necessary civilian personnel to
do the job, setting up civil-military
reconstruction teams throughout the country,
streamlining the disbursement of funds to the
providences, expanding job creation programs,
and strengthening the capacity of government
ministries.

If President Bush follows these steps we
can have a plan for success that will better
able Iraq to stand on its own and allow our
troops to come home. The Administration owes
it to our troops and the Iraqi people to
choose the responsible path.

You may be certain of my commitment to
support our troops and I will continue to
press for an effective strategy in Iraq.
Thank you for taking the time to share your
views with me on this important issue.

Sincerely,


John F. Kerry
United States Senator

Sunday, December 11, 2005

No Romance in E-mail Anymore

I spent the last two hours reading e-mails, junked e-mails, checking out links in e-mails and deleting e-mails.

Over the last half week or full week, I somehow accumulated something like 400 e-mails that I hadn't addressed at home. I dealt with them at work mostly. No wonder I don't really have much time to have good, quality e-mail conversations and don't really have much energy for productive things.

Ugh.

Our Society Needs Its Own Romance and Mythology

Last week when I went to see Aeon Flux, I saw a preview for Isolde and Tristan (or is Tristram?).

A bit ago, I read some reaction to the "Before there was Romeo & Juliet (and West Side Story and. . . and. . .)" line. I think the reaction pretty much said that Romeo and Juliet trumped Isolde and Tristan story because Romeo and Juliet was told much better.

Nevertheless, I want to see Isolde and Tristan. I don't really know why. I think it has something to do with this comic I read a long time ago in which Isolde and Tristan both got reincarnated as women then remembered that they were Isolde and Tristan. Tristan had a hard time accepting that she was a woman but, in end, accepted it and ended up a romance with the Isolde character.

I'm a man. . .can you blame me?

Nonetheless, I always wanted to know the story. Of course, the Hollywood version won't tell the original story, but it'll give me an introduction.

While watching the preview, a thought occurred to me: Our society has yet to make or has stopped making great movie romances. At least, the quantity of them have gone downhill recently in the last couple years. We've just been re-making old TV shows and movies, good literary books or, almost as worse, going all the way back to Roman history and even further back to make movies. . .and besides, most of those have turned out pretty trite.

This phenomenon feels particularly telling since it manifests itself on the movie genre, which I guess could be considered something of a dying medium, anyway. The great romances seem to occur on TV these days. . .Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Farscape and probably many others. Could Lost be considered some kind of Romance or should we consider more of a Modernist thriller that meditates on the point of everything and some people die along the way.

Ever since getting caught up with TV after getting out of college, I started seeing the potential for great Romances (and I mean the adventure Romance over the love Romance. . .but love is part of that Romance, anyway) on TV while the movie screen really doesn't necessarily hold as great of potential for it.

It saddens me, though, this lack of original Great Romance at the moment. I hope to one day write Great Romances along with pieces in other genres, too.

I would like to see more original Great Romances, though. . .I would like to see more.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Winter Haiku #1

The snow has fallen,
    White, clean, pure, smooth, without mar.
But cars will dirty.

The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe


I saw the movie last night. I really don't have much to say. Any real problems I have it with it come from CS Lewis's original telling. Hunting the stag at the end always annoyed me for some reason. Otherwise, I would really have to see it again to think about it more except to say that it made me choke up more than Return of the the King.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Couple Reactions

Last night, I realized that I should pay attention to Illinois and Chicago news because of the 2006 elections.

Until I move, though, I should still contact John Kerry, Edward Kennedy, Barney Frank et. al. for political activistism.

Not a huge deal. I just never thought of it before.

Aeon Flux

Saw Aeon Flux last night after a little holiday shopping, instead of wasting time with Magic or computer Texas Hold'em (and in fact, playing real Texas Hold'em at a friends) or doing some productive pro bono freelance copywriting work.

I'd call it just above a B movie, a B+ movie, if you will.

Off the wall action scenes, but at the same time, realistic within the world created.

No plot holes really existed. The only ones I saw came from the characters, their motivations, history and so forth not getting fleshed out.

Also, the characters didn't really show too much chemistry with each other, nor did they show much emotion and when characters did show much of it, many came off as over acting. A couple of actors pulled off some good restrained emotion, though. Overall, though, the minimalist emotions go with the mood of the cartoon that inspired the movie along with the genre of the movie.

I guess I would have also taken out a bit of the verbal and beginning textual narrative clips. After that, I would have cut and pasted some of the scenes to add little mystery and confusing mystery. The cutting and pasting would have also helped make the movie a little more arty and stronger.

For those who know the 10-minute clips that they showed on MTVs Liquid Television or the TV show they broadcasted briefly, I guess they keep the characters and the names of political institutions. Instead of action sequences without any necessary plot or even simply selfish anti-heroes and villains, the movie makers raised the bar to create a dystopian world reminiscent of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We interlaced with a more realistic Matrix and one similar theme from the old '80s animated and later novelized series, Robotech.

In general, though, I would say go without huge expectations. Go for the kicks. If you know the Robotech references, I think you'll figure out the major idea of the movie pretty quickly and predict a good amount of it. From what I've heard from reviewers, though, those not familiar with the Robotech series may not totally get into the overarching theme and may find the overall plot full of loose ends. If the latter people keep an open mind, though, they could still have fun watching Aeon Flux

Oh well, to each their own, I guess.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Getting Things Done

Well, I've found something of a groove. It doesn't necessarily lead me on the most direct route to getting me that job I need in Chicago.

From my research, though, I've begun to see that no one direct route will lead me to getting that job that I want. Unless I want settle for some silly customer service job or something in insurance, I will need to have a portfolio, or at the least, a writing sample or two.

Last night, as I've already said, I spiffed up a writing sample from years ago. It works all right, but I'd like to have some more variety. I'm not really so sure that a band bio will cut it.

I already mentioned that I have volunteered to write copy for a friend's carpentry business Website. He hasn't gotten back to me yet.

Tonight, though, I wrote up a rough draft proposal for this company called ClimateSAVE. It sounds OK for a first draft, but I think it will need some work. It probably came out a little long and could use some tightening up. That I will leave for Thursday, as I need to sleep now.

Too bad it took me something like two hours or so to get into this groove because it has gotten late.

I had trouble getting up this morning because I went to bed late last night. Avoiding that kind of thing would be good.

In other news for me today: my supervisor gave that silly little project given to me on Friday to someone else with less of a workload. Woohoo! I also snapped at my supervisor/mom for teasing me.

Otherwise, not much happening in my world.

Tomorrow, though, a little bit more gift shopping then going to see Aeon Flux.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I Need to Find My Groove

Not my groove THANG, but my work groove. Last night, I figured out my problem with productivity has its source there.

My thesis or novel, I can go easily back to it because I've got plenty of momentum and groove on it.

Playing Magic or poker on my computer does give me much of problem creating momentum or groove. They give some relatively instant interaction and gratification.

Christmas shopping and job searching, that's a WHOLE different story! I've got the problem of inertia there. You know, the objects in motion tend to stay in motion while objects without motion resist motion. Well, I'm resisting that motion, but I'm pushing. Oh, am I pushing.

Too bad I'm a big lug.

On the bright side, I put together a writing/press release sample. Thanks to a friend and former colleague who found some old text that we collaborated to make. I spoofed it up a little, as I have improved my writing skills over the years. I feel real good about it.

I've got the beginnings of a portfolio!

I also made a volunteer proposal to write the copy for a carpentar friend's Website just put up.

I also found this energy certificate Website that, to me, has some badly written copy. . .if not grammatically, syntactically and so forth, than in the simple presentation and appeal creation. I want to volunteer my services to them, too.

So does anyone know when a freelancer starts charging?

Now to stop playing poker on the computer (even though I have gotten much better) and start focusing on my job search!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

They Lied to Us in School and Party!!!!!

They taught us a whole bunch of stuff. They told us once we figure out the thing that we love doing, we can make our livelihood from that love. They also gave us tests to do to show us that we had an aptitude for something or that we would like doing it. If you go to a career counsellor, you'll go through all that testing again.

At least the the career counsellor will teach you better at something that pre-college school didn't teach you well. They neglected to teach us that we would have to market ourselves and our product and how to do this marketing. Without the marketing, our love and our dreams can simply go down the drain.

I would like to get deeper into this topic, but I haven't thought enough about it. I have an e-mail that I wrote to some people that starts to concieve of this topic. The people to whom I sent it didn't respond. I'd like to hear from someone about it.

Warning. . .I have edited it to fit into the context of this Blog, but I haven't editted it for brevity. Also, the e-mail originally reacts to the question I had been asking about people's susceptibility to commercials and advertising.

I've gotten into philosophical thinking with all this talk we've done.

I've somewhat resolved the ads/commercials side of things by realizing that they, much like any TV or the radio when people talk, catch my attention and distract me from doing other things. Even at a bar or something, if I'm facing a TV, I have a hard time staying in a conversation because I'm glancing at the TV a lot (maybe that's what my friend was referring to when he said that it affected him emotionally, even when he tried to ignore it).

Music doesn't do it so much, relaxing me instead, so it makes for great studying, writing, project work background and such.

All the discussions I've started on this topic have gotten broader than I intended. Not a bad thing because I've gotten more enlightened about something else.

The broader discussion has turned more toward the philosophical direction, though. Pretty much, by nature, humans must consume for basic survival. For sanity, a healthy mental life, interaction with other people and society, we need to consume, also. I think, to some degree, many of us agree that excessive consumption can create results we don't like.

On a semi-spiritual level, I can accept our place in the consumption/excretion cycle of life on this Earth and possibly the Universe. We transform things through food, respiration, metabolism, etc. etc., which creates a substance good for other life. Earthworms do the same thing.

But that doesn't seem to be enough for me, and I don't believe it is for other people than just me. I'm feeling somewhat uninspired lately because of a trapped feeling, as I feel like I'm creating wealth to just consume for survival or to create wealth to consume for better survival later. But I'm creating wealth by something that doesn't necessarily excite me. . .or at least, not on a day to day level.

I feel lucky that I have the chance to start over again, to a certain degree, by moving to Chicago in a few months. I feel even better armed than I did when I first moved to Boston five years ago. I believe that I'll get a job that will bring me fulfillment and happiness more than I'm feeling lately. I think the fiancee's feeling somewhat the same as me, since she's filling out grad school apps and such. . .she's also facing some bits of her past, as I'm facing the ignorance that I have.

And part of my questioning about ads and commericals is that I'll probably be headed into copy writing for marketing/ad campaigns or doing public relations. . .which seems somewhat shallow to me unless it's for the right cause. Doing something shallow for work isn't a bad thing, really. . .I guess I've just gotten disgruntled with working at a job that I don't enjoy the job, I don't connect with the people at the job (except for one or two co-workers or a few customers now and then) and it just doesn't really hold strong meaning or anything for me on the everyday level.

I want that community while I'm working. I want that meaning. I don't want to work just to continue my existence.

I remember something a friend said the other day about making music as something not necessarily all that great because it advocates unneeded consumption. I don't really agree with that so much. I guess I appreciate music, books, good TV, good movies and so on and so forth as important to culture, people, etc. etc. by perpetuating that culture and for inspiring people in the now and possibly in the future. I think a compromise can exist for cultural consumption and the consumption of material goods. . .the culture reproduced doesn't necessarily eat materials. The materials are just a vehicle for the culture.

There's a lot more I could say in this ramble fashion. I don't really have a conclusion. . .if anything, I want to find one, even though I know life's about finding those conclusions, losing them then finding another one and so forth. I just want to feel inspired while searching for those conclusions, not as if I'm just consuming to survive.

Party!!!!

The past couple nights, I went to parties, of sorts.

The first one was the insurance agency's holiday party at some restaurant. I got to stay a couple hours at work for logistical reasons and work a little more.

Unfortuneately, I didn't do any catch up or urgent work. My supervisor decided to give me some random work that she used to give me when I first started there. I didn't have to do it then. I know, though, she had decided that this random administrative clean up the database work was important enough to get on my case soon if I didn't do it.

In the meanwhile, I have either customers breathing down my neck or I have to put together presentations and policies for when I get to annouce that the poop has hit the fan and something needs to get addressed NOW! Otherwise, they could possibly not have coverage. And even worse. . .if something happens while they don't have coverage, they could always sue the agency for an Errors & Omission claim.

They probably would get something from filing that claim, too, because my supervisor wanted me to address some administrative matter to make their job easier. Ahhhh. . .I really must admire the the short sightedness of some people, even when they get the full picture explained to them. They still can't see the whole picture and how they need to find a more efficient way of addressing this matter than having the full time backbone member of a department address.

Honestly. . .I don't wonder why I feel excited about heading to Chicago. Even if I stayed in the insurance industry, just finding a much better organized company/agency would make my life so incredibly easier!

But yes, the party. . .can't forget the party! Not too much to say about it, really. I didn't have a good mood when I got there. Thankfully, the waiter had the intelligence and iniative to pick up on my vegetarian diet and offered a consolation dish in lieu of the all meat entree and greens menu. I expected the menu, but my compliments to the waiter and chef!

Otherwise, I just entered into random conversations and mainly hung out with the fiancee and the one person in the office that I can socialize with honestly. I possibly should have socialized with others from the office, but well. . .I didn't feel in the mood, really couldn't think up any topics that I could fake well that night and don't really think any detrimental effect will come from not socializing. After all, I'll be gone in a couple months. . ..

Last night, I went to a much better party. A couple friends who met at a housewarming party I threw a little more than three years ago had decided to move in with each other and decided to throw a party. The hour drive there and back went by without incident, and the drive to party ratio made the party quite worth it.

I had some pretty cool conversation with just about everyone there. A lot of them came from New Jersey, from where one of the home boarders originates. A minority originally came from New England, including myself. Socializing with all them really hit the target for a big reason why I want to move out of this area. The people here really are very reserved and, dare I say it, come off as a bit eltitist and snooty in attitude. I guess it can happen anywhere, but I just really haven't had the most positive experience in New England lately.

Either which way, I had a great time socializing with these people. I even felt like I could act myself and let down some of my barriers. On the way home, though, I did mull over the fact about my social anxiety of letting down my guards. Maybe I should say more mulling over the way that I can get really involved on one topic in a conversation, which can cut down on the light hearted attitude of a party.

Getting anxious about it and pulling back, however, kind of complicates things. I kind of feel like I possibly pull back too much and don't go far enough into a conversation. This whole thing doesn't worry me over much. I just like to think about these things and try to find a good middle point so that I can best enjoy a party. I haven't found a good way to approach this one, though.

Overall, though, the small house warming party last night gets 4.75 stars out of 5. Only the smallness worked against it, and size really shouldn't make a huge difference. I really just enjoyed and felt inspired to meeting these interesting people and feeling welcomed by them into the acquaintence party fold.

Good fun.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Missing: The Lex

Last night, technology got me to disappear again. The new router came in the mail yesterday (did I mention that I had problems with the previous one, and I started the warranty process over the weekend?). I took a couple hours to make it work, learn a couple new things about the cable modem and wireless networks then troubleshoot some problems. Now it works swimmingly, though.

The other night, I felt way too tired to blog. That day, I had taken another insurance class in Framingham. I stressed out about being late and felt generally miserable. Fortunately, I got to bed at a good time.

Right. I also played some Magic that night and watched Lost then went to bed because I felt like crap. I've got my priorities, after all.

After a conversation about commercials and advertising that night after playing Magic, I've started asking people if they feel susceptible to advertising? Does advertising persuade you to buy a particular product or does advertising persuade them to "buy into" our materisalistic and consumerist society?

I've gotten a lot of interesting answers so far. Nothing totally solid to put together, but interesting, nonetheless. I don't know how seriously I will take this research project, but it provides for some interesting conversation and knowledge, at the least.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Nothing Much to Report or Ramble On, Sir!

Except that I had an interesting meeting with a psychiatrist tonight for that ADHD study that I've applied for. It stressed me out a little, with all the questions thrown at me, one after the other.

In the end, though, I did get a diagnosis of ADHD but with a strange subtitle. It sounded something like "we're not really sure when we noticed it or how it works, but we know you've got it."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mortality

If you haven't done it yet, go to registry-cleaner.net and download the program. Took a long time cleaning up my registry with this program on trial version (seriously considering getting the full version), but now the computer runs like new. Of course, I've regularly run SpyBot and AdAware beforehand. Until I ran this program, though. . ..

Onto the main topic, though, mortality:

While driving home from work today, I recalled the one night during the first time I went to Montreal. I had been dealing with a real painful, swollen cyst in my belly button. The whole cyst thing came to me as a new thing then. It still comes as a strange, uknown territory to me.

The second night in Montreal, though, I had come back to the hotel room, alone, as the third person out of five. The other two had stayed out on their own, following individual adventures. Coming back home alone didn't bother me. The many drinks that night had affected me, but I found myself coming down from being drunk.

I had reached that feeling sorry for myself stage. That time, I didn't feel sorry for myself on any kind of existential or relationship-based level. Instead, I focused on this thing that had decided to inhabit my belly button. Put simply it sucked.

After some thought, though, I had begun entertaining the idea that this bump in my belly button might come as the beginning of cancer. I've had lumps similar to it on other parts of my body before and since then. Nonetheless, none of those bumps had ever given me such pain before. Remember, though, that I had a fair amount of drink that night. My inhibitions had come down. I had become more willing entertain the idea that I might have cancer and possibly might die soon.

A sobering thought, this mortality, even when I'm drunk. I got so sober to realize that this thought tangent may simply have originated from the fact that I had a fair amount of drink in me and that leads my thinking to more easygoing thinking.

Wait. . .I'm not approaching this topic right. My getting drunk then might just have an effect on my writing now. See what they mean. You know, THEY. They talk about drinking affecting your future. This writing comes as a great sample of how drinking can screw with your future. . ..

So anyway. . .I'm coming down from inebriation, and I'm thinking that I might die soon. I took the whole idea pretty calmly. At that time, I had already done plenty of thinking about the topic. I had done thinking, at least, of trying to live as if today was my last day on Earth but also making sure I have something in place, just for that chance that I might show up on the planet tomorrow.

By the way, I would consider that time in my life as something of a very low point. I've never considered suicide as a viable choice, but life hadn't made me happy at that time.

That night, though, I took some time to seriously think about this idea that I might not live past tomorrow, the next week, the next month, the next year. I tried to think about the things that I would do. Would I withdraw all my money from the bank and follow my dream of travelling the country or the world as I had dreamed as a teenager? Would I withdraw all that money, start up some kind of charity organization or just donate it to some good charitable cause? Would I just live the day like any other, go back to school and follow the same course I followed the day before? Would I mouth off to all the people I resented? Would I engage in promiscuous sex, party all the time, hang out with people I hadn't and couldn't hang out with for a long time? Would I commit crimes?

At that time, I had decided that I would live life as I would the day before. . .plan on going back to school, trying to find meaning, trying to make meaning, trying to find companionship, etc. etc. I wouldn't change anything out of the ordinary.

Suffice to say, that swelled belly button was just a cyst, not a tumor. I've had many cysts since then. Over the past Thanksgiving weekend, I've actually had cysts where I hadn't had cysts before. Learning more about cysts this time, I realized that I've had many of them in the past. I just didn't know what they were all about.

In the car, this evening, on the way home from work, though, I decided that if I were posed with the same dilemma, I would change things. I would quit my job. I would cash out my retirement funds and take the penalty. I'd put that money into a nice interest bearing money market fund. I would draw on that cash. While drawing on that cash, I would work, from dawn to dusk, on my thesis and novel. I would work on it as if I had only that one day left to work on it.

Finishing it, I would go forward with the necessary processes to get my BA. If I finished it but died or wasn't healthy, I would submit it and ask for a posthumous BA.

Either which way after that, I would then try to sell both the thesis and novel to some publishing company. If I had any proceeds from that, I would work on finishing my short stories then try to publish those.

If I died and had any funds leftover, I would try to set up a scholarship with my leftover funds.

That's how much I want my BA, how much I want to publish my work and how much I want to leave a mark on this world. I would do all that if I knew I would die soon.

Knowing my luck, though, I would get a clean bill of health the moment I spent my last penny. Here's to the healing power of doing something that I love. . .. ;D

Another Complaint and More Dreams

I forgot to mention another issue that has gone wrong over the weekend. The water pressure in our unit has taken a nose dive. It hasn't completely disappeared but has become nearly useless. Taking a shower stinks. Washing the dishes would take forever. Shaving becomes even more of a hassle. I fear to wash the dishes or do the laundry.

I've gone over everything I know but can't figure out anything. Running the water over night, making sure the boiler water pressure remains good and that we keep the heat relatively high. Nothing really anything better.

We've e-mailed the landlord. If he doesn't get back to us by today, we'll give him a call.

Ugh.

Frantic Dreams Last Night

Two main plots run throughout the dreams last night. I owe someone about $241 or something, and I have to pay it through the Internet, but I can't figure out how and someone in Friendster or MySpace sends me a note about someone escaping or emerging with a power suit like the guy in Greatest American Hero, but I can't find anything more on the Internet about it. Then again, I have a hard time even remembering the code name given to the suit. . ..

In the meanwhile, I worry about waking up my parents since doing the research on this suit and trying to pay this supposed someone causes something of a racket, I stop a subway car by wrapping my arms around it, then a conductor on the platform yells at me to let it go and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't really come to mind all that easily at the moment.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another Couple Days

Some of you may think that I haven't written for the last couple days because of the Thanksgiving weekend. Well, you would be wrong if you thought that.

I had at least two or three opportunities to write an entry, but I chose not to do so. One night, I picked up someone from the easiest to reach subway station for both of us, had an adventure looking for an Indian restaurant, chatted it up until midnight then drove her to the airport that following morning.

After sleeping a bit, the fiancee and I went to my parent's place for Thanksgiving dinner then met up with a friend to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thanksgiving went surprisingly well. Somehow, the whole family got along, including the most negative member of the family. Amazing!

Not much to say about the Goblet of Fire. I hadn't seen the first three episodes of the series, even though I saw the Chamber of Secrets the next day. The Goblet of Fire felt a bit predictable, even though my predictions came from incorrect premises. The friend who saw the movie with us said it felt a little mechanical as compared to the first three episodes. Overall, though, I had fun watching the movie, even though it ran somewhat long. It felt much better than "not a waste of time."

I enjoyed the Chamber of Secrets more. The fiancee says that it stuck a little too close to the original novel. I haven't read the novel yet, but this one provided a little more humor, charm and surprises. Even though I saw Snape in Goblet of Fire, I got misdirected throughout the whole movie and was lead into believing that one thing was happening when something else happened.

We watched the Chamber of Secrets the next day after going out to Best Buy to buy the fiancee a new laptop, which I am using now. The thing works great! I wish I had one of my own, but I already have a nice desktop that works just fine. Just fine. I would like to have the option of carrying out a computer so that I can hook into a WiFi network at a cafe or pull out the laptop on the train to do my e-mail, browse the Internet, send out some e-mail and so on and so forth. I would enjoy having that ability very much. But oh well. . .I've got a good enough computer and don't really have the funds available for a nice laptop.

I also had the job of setting up the laptop for the fiancee. The laptop, itself, hasn't given me any problems. . .AT ALL. BTW, it's a nice low-end Compaq Presario with a widescreen. I don't really know any of the other details, but it works very nice.

But for anyone who knows me even relatively well, you know that something has to go wrong with any new piece of electric equipment I buy (maybe I should just stop buying new electronic equipment until I'm convinced that this "karma" has gone away).

The router has struck back. I think it first struck before I even started this blog. Pretty much, the router and the cable modem provided to me by Comcast wouldn't play together well. The router would pretty much shut down the modem, so I had to move the router across the room. Everything worked well after I moved it. Well, mostly well, at least.

Until mid this past week or last week. Using the Internet on my desktop started giving me tons of problems. I won't get into it other than to say that the desktop pretty much couldn't hook up with my router through WiFi and ended up hooking into someone else's router in the neighborhood without me noticing.

Long story short, after figuring out the fault lied with the router, not the laptop, then fooling around with settings, upgrades to the firmware, trying anything I could think up then trying everything the livechat people at LinkSys could think up (or should I say have training to have me do) then having one of them disconnect from me without saying goodbye or giving me guidance. . .I decided the problem lied with YET ANOTHER FAULTY PRODUCT.

Settling that issue, I called the customer service people at LinkSys to set up the warranty return then they send another router to me process. I don't think of myself as prejudiced or even negative to moving customer service over to India, BUT I had such a problem understanding the woman who spoke with me! Maybe she didn't have such a strong accent as someone I know, but combine the accent with bad phone reception. . .yeah, I think you get what I'm saying. Eventually, though, we accomplished the goal of that phone call.

So I followed the woman's guidance to go to the LinkSys warranty forms on their Webpage. I move on ahead, filling out the forms then end up with a screen that just says "Tech Error." WTF?!?!?! Right?

I called customer service at LinkSys again. Another woman lists off another bunch of questions that I've essentially addressed already.

A small aside, I must say thanks to one sales guy at Best Buy who acknowledged that I know how to address these things and have already answered all the questions. It can get so dang annoying when I have to answer the same bunch of questions a million times (even after copying and pasting a transcript of a chat that shows that I've answered those questions) just to get back to the last point that I reached with the previous tech person.

It just makes me so FRUSTRATED!

So after she asks me a couple questions and getting me frustrated after I had praised myself for not getting frustrated while chatting it up with these people, I just lose it. I don't get abusive or swear or anything. I just get real firm, tell her that I've done everything she has asked me and that she will stay on the phone while I go through the process of filling out these online forms so if something goes wrong, she can tell me.

And the problem ends up just me answering a question they ask on the online form. It's the question about those three digits on the back of your credit card that disappear when the card gets photocopied. So I guess when you answer the question that authenticates that you are the person with the REAL credit card, not the photocopied one, they won't let you use the dang credit card. WTF?!?!?!

That pretty much fixed everything. So now, I get to wait a couple days until I get the new router they send me, test it out then send back the old faulty, screwed up router.

Anyway. . .after getting that all settled, I went to a good video game party. If anything, this kind of party works pretty good after getting frustrated with tech support and customer support because you don't really have to socialize, if you don't want. You can just plop down on the couch, get a controller then run all around a virtual maze shooting at people, pick weapons then blow up other worms, play silly party games, fly around as a monkey in a small plastic ball or wahtever escapist fake reality we chose. I could choose whatever level of socialization I wanted to engage in.

On top of that, I had a great conversation on the way home when I gave a couple of these other guys a ride home. We talked about creativity, our current life situations, what kind of careers we want to explore and I even got to give a small lecture about utopia and dystopia. Doesn't necessarily sound extremely exciting. . .except that one of the guys actually had a small epiphany and understood what I said.

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Today, I slept in a bit (getting sick of the sleeping in. . .by mistake). Hopefully, I don't have a problem waking up for work tomorrow. Otherwise, I slacked off a little too much with computer Texas Holdem, installed MS Office on the fiancee's computer and did a bunch of projects, including posting my resume up on Monster.com. Nothing exciting, really.

Which leads me to think that The Lextopia may have lost a bit of a hook for the audience. Not really anything that worries me, but I wouldn't mind hearing some comments about your level of interest on this Blog.

I will end this entry with a quote that addresses my recent frustrations:

"THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE

We have bigger houses but smaller familes;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods
but short on digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.

...His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama"

And oh yeah. . .another annoying thing that has become annoying. . .my bank seems to have turned off my debit card. I can't think of a reason why they did. Maybe it has to do with my increased spending for Christmas shopping or even the beginning of a new procedure: putting my rent money into a Money Market then paying the rent with that money. Still. . .it SUCKS!

Lovely. . ..

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dream: Fish

I have a big pool and put a bunch of fish into it. This one fish starts eating all the other fish. It starts growing and eventually gets so big that it takes up the whole pool and thensome. I have thoughts about getting rid of it but keep it for some reasons. I think I also keep feeding it, like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

It eventually reaches the size that for me not to get eaten, I have to creep along the walls. Even then. . .. The thing almost looks or feels like an octopus or squid. . .it seems to have tentacles or something. . .even though that thing that just flapped by my head could just be the tail.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Night Haiku #2

This was a weird night.
   I went on a bad bender --
ADD, but did work.

Not a very good haiku, but it says what I mean.

Pre-Cognition and Dream Logic

This morning, I had an interesting dream with a little bit of pre-cognition, or a somewhat likely coincidence with waking life.

In the dream, I kept hearing "To the Nth Degree" by Morning Wood. This morning, I flipped on the radio. Guess what was playing.

The rest of the dream was interesting, too. A hurricane struck my old hometown. The fiancee and I go to visit, for some reason, then find a mansion with a small party going on. Maybe not a mansion, but it has a nice pool. Mostly, fun stuff happens at the pool and getting along with people.

Then my alarm kept on going off in real life, and I kept hitting the snooze button. The morning turned into one of those alarm waking me up repeatedly then going back to the dream until I wake up mornings.

In the dream, the fiancee and I eventually have to leave. I also have a vivid memory of fooling around with the fiancee at the pool, but I won't get into it. . .nothing juicy. . .just nothing to share with the world. But anyway, I head on down to where the hosts had me put my jacket. . .somewhere in the finished basement. I remember going down earlier, but it's not an ad hoc dream memory. It really happened previously in the dream, and I remember it.

I think up an odd situation while retrieving my jacket. I dwell on why these people received my fiancee and me so easily when we showed up. They never knew us. We never knew them. We never knew someone else who knew the other group. They just accepted us.

Then, I come up with some scenario in which these people were vampires (maybe not very likely since I think the party happened in the day time) or they want to make us into beasts. They have kept feeding us. Now they want to seperate us so that they can finish the process.

And that's where the dream ends.

Sometimes I hate how incomplete dreams can be. . ..

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Back

So the fiancee got back from Plymouth today. Nothing to report, really. Took a class, we ate a bit and I took a test that felt good taking. Not much else really. . ..

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Taking a Break from Class/Studying

The fiancee found a cool little cafe that has a cool atmosphere, some nice drinks and sweets and free Internet access for customers. The baristas even have a real friendly aura and attitude about them.

If I lived here in Plymouth, I would probably come to this cafe most every night for a nice drink and to read and write. If I were older, Plymouth might actually be a nice place to live. Oh well, moving to the Midwest, I probably won't end up in Plymouth.

Pity that I have yet to find a cafe close by in Newton, Cambridge, Watertown, Belmont, Brighton or anything nearby similar to this place. The cafe in Waltham near the commuter rail station on the way to work has a good atmosphere and such. Unfortunately, that cafe closes pretty early in the non-summer seasons. I would say it closes around the time that I get off the commuter rail and wait for the bus on the way home.

Remembering the Waltham commuter rail and environs reminds me of a dream that I had last night. In it, I get on the bus that goes by the commuter rail station but stay on past it. For some reason, I believe it will take me all the way to Concord, even after a bit, I realize that taking the commuter rail would have been easier. That fact doesn't matter too much, though, because I think a couple friends and a past friend who had become a non-friend after some small group controversy a little more than a year ago motivated me to stay on the bus. More to the fact, I think I enjoyed staying on the bus because I could passionately and angrily yell at the past friend all I wanted, and he couldn't get in a word edge-wise.

I think, for a little bit. . .when I realized that I could have taken the commuter rail instead of the bus and that I had taken on this endless tirade against this past friend. . .I had become semi-conscious that I was in a dream and could have made it a lucid one. It didn't become lucid. Nor did I really push for it. I believe that things turned out this way because. . .dang! I really enjoyed laughing at this oaf of a past friend. It felt really, really gratifying!

So, yeah. . .I'm at this cool little cafe in Plymouth. Before I could get on the computer, I read some fifty haikus by Richard Wright in this book that I got last year from a friend hailing in Pennsylvania (actually, a pretty good book. . .thanks, friend!). Afterward, I read a couple pages in Steppenwolf (actually at a somewhat interesting part where the character actually interacts with others rather than going off in some essay format) before this computer became free.

While doing that reading, I felt myself fulfilling a certain idealistic, romantic image that I have that I would like to embody. I don't have a real easy way to describe. When I first think about it, I first think some ex-patriot in Europe, hanging out at a cafe, drinking some coffee, philosophizing and such. Then I think about existentialists like Camus, Nietschze, Heidigger and so on and so forth.

I don't consider myself an ex-pat or an existentialist, though. They really do kind of fit that mold best, though. I guess, in some way, I would like to consider myself instead of an armchair politican, rather a coffee shop or cafe politician. I may not necessarily get as much done as, say, a professional politician, a dissident or someone who gets involved so much in protests. I think, though. I feel, too. These things can possibly coelesce together at a cafe and become something more than just show.

Other people come to cafes. I can start conversations. We can trade ideas. I can challenge my own ideas, we can challenge each other. We can bring books, petitions, pamphlets, brochures, etc. etc. We can post them on the bulletin board. A whole bunch of things can happen that can create a community better than if I stay at home, watch TV, go to a bar, gather together with just friends in our living rooms, drink and so on and so forth.

To me, a cafe holds many possibilities. That's probably why I called an old Blog or Discussion Boards of mine the Ontok Cafe. Too bad it never took off. . .probably because I got very busy doing a ton of other things. Oh well. . .such is life.

The Class

I've gone to the insurance class for a day and a half. I have one more day left then a two hour test. Only really a small amount of the stuff comes off as new. At least I understand everything better than I did during my last class, which was only loosely connected to Personal Lines Insurance. I don't think I'll get a perfect score on the test, but neither am I too worried that I will fail, for sure. I'll study relatively leisurely then take the test. I don't really care which way the chips fall.

This guy, Ed, who sits next to me in the class has given me some encouragement about the test. I really haven't told him my full story. . .I don't want a career in insurance, I'm moving halfway across the country in about 6 months, I don't really know why I'm taking these classes and testing and that I'll be looking for another career when I move. His support feels generally heartening, especially since we hardly know each other.

The thought of trying to become Ed's friend has crossed my mind. We have at least a couple things in common. He likes gourmet tea and has some good knowledge about how to brew it, which I haven't encountered much these days. Also, he wants to get a projection TV and likes his home theater. I don't really know much else that we might have in common, but he seems like a relatively cool guy.

I won't try too hard, though. After all, I'll be moving, and the whole not telling my whole story could become a little uncomfortable when it finally comes out. Or something like that. I guess, in the long run, the benefits of making him as a friend doesn't really file like the benefits would be come worth it.

Random Thought or Two

I've done some thinking about not so fortunate people and immigrants and such. In the class, at least one of the instructors has let his opinion known about the whole controversy about people trying to get flood coverage under their homeowners policies, even though homeowners policies don't give flood coverage. Many people I've encountered in the insurance industry have expressed their pity for the people down in New Orleans, but they really get angry about these people trying to get something they haven't paid for in the past.

A friend of mine in NH volunteered for the Red Cross then got shipped down to Houston for a couple weeks. After getting back, she told me some interesting stories about how things had gotten very tense down there, on the ground. Essentially, people feel like they should be getting more support and help than they're getting.

In regards to the immigrant thing, as I've said previously, I've gotten annoyed with the platitude that people say about if people come to America, they should learn to speak English. Yesterday, an Asian guy gave me this platitude.

I haven't done any huge amount of deep thinking about these topics. Today, though, in response to all this stuff, I just felt this huge emotion of pity that these disenfranchised people who don't necessarily have money and skills can get entrenched in this disenfranchisement. A lot of times, these people don't have the responsibility for ending up disenfranchised except for some existential responsibility for trying their damndest to improve their situation. Even then, though, no matter how much some people try, they still get disenfranchised just because they simply don't have the economic, social or knowledge capital to learn how to make things better for themselves and their community. Even more distressing, as one case study I read for school, sometimes a person has to make an existential Faustian deal by abandoning their community or family to make things better just for themselves.

And this emotion and intellectual realization just throws me down into thinking that somehow, somewhere something is fundamentally wrong that causes a lot of suffering. Very Buddhist, I know, but I feel it.

Not much more thoughts on that. I just have done some thinking and feeling on this one, perhaps for years and years. After reflecting on it, though, I just tell myself that I really can't make more of a difference until I finish and publish my novel and possibly do the same thing with my thesis.

But anyway. . .I should probably get on with things. I have to study for this test, after all, which really doesn't have to do with my overall plan to try ease suffering. . .even if on some level, I do help to mitigate the suffering of the propertied.

Darn. . .I'm a jerk. =D

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Morning Blah

Last night, I went to an ADHD clinic. Kind of a strange experience. I hung out with this psychiatrist and talked about the cognitive things that annoy me. I even volunteered information.

I made an appointment to visit and have another evaluation with them in a couple weeks.

The doctor and research assistant talked a little bit while I waited in the waiting room. While listening carefully, I heard them say 'normal.' As much as being normal is nice, I'd like to have some way other than the sometimes insurmountable effort of working past massive procrastination pains and compulsive game play and calculating.

I guess we'll just have to see, though.

In other news, I got to bed late last night after doing the finances. They're turning out well, even though I wish they could accumulate faster and through work that I really enjoyed.

Speaking of work, in about a half hour, the fiancee and I will leave to head down to Plymouth. I've got an insurance class that goes from noon today to Friday with an optional test on Saturday. The test really won't help me much if I take it, unless I decide to stick with insurance. I really don't want to do so. . ..

Either which way, I don't know how reliable my Internet connection will be for the next couple days. Even so, with the studying and such, I don't know how reliably I'll write on this Blog and pay attention to my e-mail. Guess we'll just have to see.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Night Haiku #1

Emerging conscious,
   Trees, rocks, water, people, wow!
What do we do now?

The Same, Just Different Crap

The clock has pretty much just struck 10 PM EST, not a bad time to pack up the work.

I have no complaints about the last couple days. At least, not since I got inspired after The One Man Star Wars Trilogy.

OK, maybe I've got one thing to complain about. The next day, I woke up early, had a bit of coffee throughout the day then had a couple drinks that night. To celebrate someone's birthday, a bunch of us went out for dinner and drinks then to their place to hang out. I felt out of it, tired and not very scoial. Because I felt tired and beat, I think I didn't have such a great time.

Oh well, I was pretty productive that day, nonethetheless.

Sunday, I did some miscellany but nothing too important.

Tonight, I did real good. Figuring out how to fill out a stupid form that I feel like I didn't need to fill out so that I could correct a stupid mistake with a financial firm frustrated me.

After clearing all that up, though, I edited a couple job searching templates then figured out that I don't have much more editing to do until I actually start posting my resume and really look for jobs. Woohoo! This stage helps me feel a lot better after realizing, at the birthday party the other night, just how small amount of time that I have until April, when the fiancee and I move to Chicago.

Oh yeah. . .another great thing: Got a random call from a Chicago friend who just got a new cell phone with a Chicago number. Great to hear from him.

Services Rendered and Personal Responsibility

Just how responsible should the consumer be when the salesman practically gives them the product?

Practically every morning and evening, I commute from home to work using public transportation. In the morning, I walk a bit to catch the bus in hopes of making it to the commuter rail on time so that I can either grab an hot apple cider or tea at the local cafe before boarding the rail and/or get to work on time. It really isn't important for this topic, but these tasks can get difficult, depending on when I wake up.

In the evening, I pretty much follow this course in reverse except that time doesn't enter so much as a factor except that I'd like to get home ASAP. I want to get as productive as possible. The local cafe generally doesn't enter the picture, either, unless I want to stay away from home for a change of scenery.

The conductors, in the morning over the last half year or so, have gotten somewhat lazy and unobservant. They seemed to have ignored me and didn't collect my fare.

Now, a lot of people would just go with it and take the free ride. I did that for awhile, but then I started thinking about it. The money I would pay helps to keep the fares for the whole MBTA system down (but they also can increase them if more people use the public transport) and my fare goes to keep food on the table of families, clothes on the backs of families, helps families go on vacation and so on and so forth.

On top of that, this trading money for a ticket also creates the chance to interact with another human being and make a connection with someone. It can remind me and this other person about the interdependence that we have on each other and the rest of humanity and nature.

After awhile of one conductor, a pretty enthusiastic and upbeat guy, of not collecting my fare, I made a point to getting his attention and making him take my fare. After all, I would have my cash in view and ready to pay. I would be reading at the time, but that's no excuse for this guy not collecting my fare. I had to work a couple weeks to train the guy but eventually he would stop by me and collect my fare.

Almost every morning, this enthusiastic, upbeat guy helped to brighten my day and made me warm up to people that much more.

Then. . .

Then. . .

Then. . .

Then he disappeared!

One morning, maybe a half month ago or so, my friendly conductor didn't stop by my seat to ask for my fare.

In fact, no one stopped by my seat to ask for my fare. Some young punk just got back on the car, walked down the aisle, hardly paying attention to anyone then sat back down at the front of the car.

This young whipper snapper followed this routine for a couple days after that, so I figured I would have to train another conductor. Instead of just sitting there, waiting for him to ask for the fare and offer me a ticket, I tried getting his attention.

The young punk hardly even paused. I think he might have for a second. My request for him to collect my fare registered with him for just that one little second. . .

But then he just kept walking toward the back of the train!

I didn't even see him for the rest of the train ride until I got off at my stop.

I forget how long ago that ride was. The experience really annoyed me. The young kid didn't even acknowledge my existence.

Not yet have I gotten up from my seat, walked up to a conductor, handed them my fare then said, "Give me a ticket."

I'm thinking about doing it. I feel that it is my responsibility to do so, to keep the costs of the consumers at market value, to keep the families of the MBTA employees going strong, hell, to keep the fabric of society together so that it doesn't fall apart by the strings to become Thomas Hobbes's State of Nature.

The acceptance and legislation of same-sex marriage won't destroy society. The merchant's failure to collect on their service or product rendered will destroy society.

Quote About Books

In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

-Mortimer J. Adler
philosopher, educator and author (1902-2001)

Silly E-Mail Conversation

Oth: "Fight for me and I will release you from this living death!! What say you?"
- Aragorn, in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The_Lex: Uh. . .sure. I guess that sounds like an OK deal. Can you throw in eternal Paradise with that, too?

Oth: No, no paradise. Only freedom from living death.

The_Lex: There anything I can do for some paradise?

I can have my grunts make a lot of Sabson.

Oth: Is it Fair Trade Sabson?

The_Lex: Dude,

It's made by the living dead who have betrayed your ancestors. You're making us fight to free us from living death. Anything made by us is totally Fair Trade, especially if we're getting eternal paradise out of it.

Oth: Eternal paradise is overrated... not that I have any to give. Maybe the dwarf is right and I should just keep you around to do my bidding.

The_Lex: I guess we can just let the Dark Lord conquer you. Hardly makes a difference to us.

But how about virgins? We've heard they're pretty good to have in the afterlife.

Oth: First of all I AM THE DARK LORD!!! Therefore I can hardly conquer myself. As for the virgins you should have plenty of them because I sacrifice them (and goats) regularly.

The_Lex: Ahhhhhh. . .whatever. . .you're bluffing. I can see it in your face. We spit in your face.

But we'd like to get this whole living death thing out of the way. Show us who to fight and have an inspiring score going while we fight!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

In case you haven't noticed

I have copied and pasted a whole bunch of Blog entries that I made back in 2002 on my first ever Blog.

Go and enjoy.

Warning, though: Readers back then got annoyed with linguistic screwing around. Be prepared to struggle a little.

A Newly Inspired Man

Two nights ago, I lost $20 in two hours playing Texas Holdem. I really shouldn't have used that $10, but in my passion, I went against my better judgment. Oh well. . ..

I felt like crap afterward when I left the poker group then met up with the fiancee, a friend and some his friends on the other side of the River and a nice subway ride. The friend had invited a bunch of people out to celebrate his birthday. I didn't come as a breath of fresh air, but they helped me get my mind off the bad poker game.

Fiancee and I woke up yesterday morning with the intention to visit a mall. We wanted to do some window shopping to get ideas for Christmas shopping.

We never made it to the mall because we ended up lazing around in the morning a little, then my mind stuck on improving my Texas Holdem and Magic, which I felt really horrible about because of a discussion the finacee and I had a couple nights ago.

Like me a couple weeks ago, she feels kind of lonely with her friends all disappeared or just majorly busy. She doesn't want to disturb me, though, because she has had the perception that I've been doing important money making work, job search and thesis work stuff, which I should have been doing. For the last week or so, though, I had ended up just trying to better my Texas Holdem and Magic. Suffice to say, I've felt major guilt about this habit of mine. . ..

So we ended up nixing the mall plan until today, but we decided to go out for dinner and see Charles Ross's One Man Stars Wars Trilogy. The guy does the original Star Wars trilogy in one hour, includes the generally most vital scenes, takes the roles of all the major characters, riffs on some of the cheesiness and does acapella versions of the major themes. You'll have to wait a little longer for my reaction to it.

Until we had to leave, though, we decided that, even though it was stupid, that I could play Texas Holdem on the computer to my heart's content. I played, but I couldn't fulfill my heart of it in the time that I had.

We left for dinner and ate at this new Japanese place in Brookline. The fiancee told me that it had taken the place of Kaya. We had the scallion pancakes for the appetizer. She had some kind of fish. I had the veggie udon. We found the food pleasant enough but nothing outstanding. The wait staff treated us nice enough. They had an interesting hot plate built in the middle of the table, which looks kind of interesting. Also, they had barbeque tables, which sounds interesting. Alas, no veggie plates for the hot plate or the barbeque tables. I probably won't go back, but the fiancee wants to check out the novelty of the barbeque and hot plate.

I still hadn't gotten over my card game compulsion and I had a small headache, so we made our way over to the creperie where I got this huge shot of espresso with a squirt of ginger bread syrup. An interesting drink. I forgot how I phrased my reaction to it, but it was a good one. (Reminder: take notes in Palm of interesting reactions to things.) The espresso didn't necessarily help with the small headache, but it helped me get my mind off of the card playing compulsion and calmed me down a little, emotionally, even though it still made me a little physically jittery and overly reactive to sounds and such. . ..

We didn't get any food at the creperie, but we love it there, especially for breakfast. Very good variety of crepes that generally all taste good.

Then we rush on over to the Wilbur Theater to make sure we didn't have trouble getting our seats. Nice small intimate place that has something of a lounge downstairs with drinks sold in the lobby.

Only problem getting our seats came when the people next to mine had already claimed my assigned seat. Afterward, the fiancee told me that while I went to the bathroom, the people on the other side of us got to their seats and saw that we had taken one of their seats. The fiancee had to have a small academic and common sense altercation with the theater etiquette violators, but once that got settled easily enough, we had no problem with the rest of the audience.

Charles Ross puts on a good show in One Man Stars Wars Trilogy. The one hour show cost us $50 a head, but we felt that every cent we spent on it didn't go wasted. This guy, his crew and Wilbur Theater earned every cent.

It got a little frantic at parts. I got lost during two parts, just plain not knowing what was going on. Everyone else had a good laugh about those parts, though, so I figured just didn't know the trilogy well enough. After all, Mr. Ross means the play for the geeks who have a good idea about the play. For me, a minor Star Wars geek, I followed well enough, found the whole thing quite amusing and felt the non sequitur jabs very fun, very. . ..

Seriously, though, I also found myself with a tear almost creeping out of my eye here or there. Either I could remember the importance in the movie or Mr. Ross added some more emotional depth that the movies didn't have. And honestly, even though those movies had the beginnings of emotional depth, a lot of that really depended on us getting the archetypes and conventions with the minimum of chemistry between the actors, even though with all the stiltedness, Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford did have some good chemistry with each other, especially with the semi-incestuous humorous love triangle.

Mr. Ross also had a couple great personal touches. The fact that after three years of doing his one man show, he could still laugh at the material really felt refreshing and sincere. He created the impression that he didn't just do the show for money, even though you have to give him credit for pulling off doing something so out of the ordinary, off the wall and just plain kooky and making a living off of it. After all, the whole thing had just fallen together for him through the years. You'll have to visit his Website to learn about the history of the show.

Also, after finishing the show, Mr. Ross came out and gave a pretty inspiring speech about following your dreams and not letting other people tell you that you can't do it. In this world, you can. After all, the One Man Stars Wars Trilogy really proves that if something crazy can work and become a success. The great thing, though, is that the speech didn't come off as cheesy or fake. His laughing while doing the show just goes to prove his sincerity about the whole, along with his fascination that something he did just for fun and entertainment can become a great phenomenon.

I give the show four and a half stars out of five. I take away a half star because of the two small bits where I got lost in the action. Can't really blame Mr. Ross, though. After all, he has condensed practically 5 or 6 hours of film footage into one hour.

After the show, the fiancee and I walked over to Finale, the restaurant that pretty much just serves dessert. I like their fruit and sorbet plate and the chocolate decadence (just a big lump of dark chocolate). They also have some good drinks, including many coffee and alcohol mixes (which I keep forgetting to ask for with no cream). Overall, though, I can't say that I'm as much of a fan as my fiancee and the other people who want to sample from the rest of the menu.

While waiting twenty minutes for a table, I remembered that I should call a friend to see if he wanted to hang out after the fiancee and I left Finale. He called me earlier to see if I wanted to play some Magic. By that time, though, he just wanted to stay home and probably do some school. I couldn't blame him.

He gave me a great tip for addressing my compulsion for improving my card playing. Him, another friend and I have recently been talking about something that we call the preparation to playing ratio. I told him that I should probably take a break from playing. He told me that instead of taking a break, that I should just increase the playing with other people side of the ratio.

I guess that makes some sense. At least, it does in the sense of "if you're going to play, you might as well play with other people and get something else out of it other than frustration from giving so much attention to it over other things." I will have to give that idea some serious consideration.

After Finale, the fiancee and I came home, made some tea, made a fire in the fireplace, set out some blankets on the floor then proceeded to watch Lost in Translation. That movie really fit my mood. It didn't necessarily fit the fiancee's mood. She wanted more of a comedy, but I think she got into it, mostly because she recognized a lot of the Japanese phrases and enjoyed the montage of Tokyo and Japanese scenery. Also, the movie really sets a strange bittersweet mood.

The two of us did some relationshippy good things then camped out in the living room, next to the fire. I had to wake up early in the morning to close the flue and had to adjust myself a bunch to adjust myself to floor. Nonetheless, I finally woke up this morning, feeling good and really inspired to do stuff, albeit a little sore.

So, here I am, about to do stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Morning Haiku #2

Life in a hard age,
   Looking for inspiration.
Where do I find it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lewis Black ~ Weatherman

Instead of sending this bulletin to a few people in an e-mail, I really should have just put it here. Duh!

This morning, I heard on the radio that Lewis Black has accepted a job at the Weather Channel?

WTF?!

I guess he has always wanted to be a weatherman. . .go figure.

I'll tell you one thing, though, just so you won't get surprised later. No matter how worked up Lewis Black gets, he will never compare to Al Kaprelian, the most energetic weatherman, EVER!

UPDATE: Link to an article about this topic in Time Magazine -- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1126733,00.html.

The article makes the issue unclear. Is Black's appearance just a one time thing or permaneant position?

Morning Haiku

I woke up today
   and took a nice, hot shower.
I fear the future.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Complain Again

I'm not too proud of myself. I spent three hours playing Magic with myself.

That's right! Three hours.

I will punish myself by not letting myself do anything else before going to bed. . .because then I'll feel plenty guilty.

In the past, I've gone through a pattern of feeling uninspired to do projects then onto not having the motivation to work on the project to growing frustration that I'm not motivated to do the project then eventually that frustration leads to working on the project with all earnestness.

Now's something of a different time. Nonetheless, I think I've entered that cycle again.

Ugh.

Slightly Inspiring

I want to start carrying around a poetry book and break it out every once in awhile to read. My listless lack of inspiration has plagued me through the days lately. I feel that the quick jab of poetry would kick start my brain.

While reading some haikus on the commute today, I thought it would be fun to just write haikus on this here Blog when I just have a non sequitur in mind.

And crap. . .just a second ago, I had something on my mind that I wanted to type. I've gone and forgot it.

I think that's a sign for me to get to bed.

Be Kind to Be Tough

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Short on Inspiration

Today didn't really do much for me, even though I liked the entry I wrote this morning.

Otherwise, the highlight of my day came when I had some hot chocolate early in the morning and some chocolate pudding around about lunch time.

I also enjoy the pecks my fiancee and I shared.

Well, maybe I enjoyed finally releasing that urge to play test that Magic deck that I kept thinking about last night. It kicked ass.

For some perverted reason, I enjoyed spending fifteen minutes to a half hour trying to figure out that Arial Narrow with .5 pt spacing works best on my resume. As I told my friend, I'm an Arial Narrow man. I think that font expresses me quite well.

Low point of the day came at the end of the work day when I just wanted to leave. I got to hear someone's opinion about how if immigrants come to America, they should learn the language. I wonder, does that person know that America doesn't have an official national language.

In the long run, I feel like I accomplished a fair amount of stuff tonight, just not really much worth writing about, is all.

Oh well.

Maybe I can get more than six hours of sleep tonight! Woohoo!

Elections

Please make sure to vote in your local elections tomorrow.

Little Annoyances

Ugh. . .I've got a headache and my throat hurts. Lozenges don't particularly help.

The "ADHD Attack" I had last night probably didn't help matters. Silly me, I spent a good deal of the day working on a Magic deck -- editing it, play testing it then thinking about it on the side as I did other things. Near time for bedtime, I play tested it, and it got killed pretty bad. I can rationally say that the other deck really had great luck in the draw, even though I kept thinking about one thing that I could've done. . .just one thing. . .and if somehow, I could recreate the situation. . ..

So I spent an hour, at least, lying in bed, telling myself that this obsessive thinking was just a symptom of my brain chemistry and not something to act upon. I kept repeating that phrase in my head as I also tried to repeat the Buddhist mantra, "Om Mani Padme Han" or something to that effect. For most of the time, my mind would keep going back to the card game. Even now, six or seven hours later, my mind keeps going back to wanting to play test the deck.

Unlike many times before, I didn't give up in frustration. I didn't get up then just tool around on the computer, read or something like that until I exhausted myself enough to fall asleep again. I kept on repeating the Buddhist mantra and my made up mantra this is just symptomatic thinking mantra. Suffice to say, it worked, and I eventually fell asleep.

Before falling asleep, though, I went through a stage in which my mind would come up with a completely random subject. For instance, the name, Kuran, came to mind. A kid who I attended basketball camp back when I was eleven or twelve had that name. I've never known anyone else who had that name nor did I ever see him again.

Remembering that name randomly just created a flood of reminders about basketball camp, my fellow campers and the events that going set off in my life. I stopped that train of thought before it go to far, though. I saw where it led: more obsessive trains of thought that could branch out to even more trains of thought and so on and so forth until I got stressed out that I hadn't fallen asleep. On top of that, I'd get all stressed out about some problem that I would make up just by some supposed lack of reconciliation from these events in my life.

All of that stress and anxiety, simply because of screwy brain chemistry and ignorance about this symptomatic thinking.

I had some other interesting stuff happen all the while. Mentally chanting my mantras and trying to not get stressed out by my symptomatic thinking, I showed and felt some signs of anxiety. My muscles would tighten. My face would go into strange expressions. I would also feel some interesting internal rushes of energy and some moments of relaxation.

Back in high school and probably the first half of college, I tried training myself to meditate but didn't pull it off that well. I experienced a lot of the stuff that I just mentioned. I just never thought of it as all symptomatic. If anything, I thought the signs of anxiety might be the feelings of relaxation or some new state of mind.

And now I know. . .it was just external and internal experiences of anxiety.

Luckily, during the latter part of college, the anxiety had calmed down, and I got the hang of meditating and relaxing. I have, unfortunately, lost the knack of it, even though baths and yoga and such help quite a bit.

A small part of me, though, fears relaxing too much and not caring about getting stuff done, as I thought I did one semester at school. Now, though, I see that I had some issues with situational depression and didn't have the understanding or knoweldge to do what I wanted at the time.

Being able to rationalize all this stuff and also comparing my experiences lately with things that people say about procrastination, I'm starting to wonder how much I really have symptoms of ADHD, or am I just anxious, stressed out, really busy, procrastinating a lot and just dwelling on the things that I enjoy doing because it helps get my mind off of the overall picture, my anxiety and stress.

I still have my suspicions, though, because I can get really hyperfocused on some of the most obscure things, like making things on my computer work, trying to make a nearly unstoppable Magic deck, the problems with the world and list can probably go on and on. I get so hyperfocused that things that really matter to me, like being affectionate with my fiancee, the news and just getting stuff done loses its importance. I just give it cursory acknowledgment then get back to my work.

Or I could just be a man. =D

The Weekend

As for the weekend, itself, I guess I did a bit of things. Saturday, I played Magic with a couple friends, attended to some projects then that night, went to T.T. the Bear's to see Ad Frank and something or the other. Reading the article in that link, I learned that I actually won a CD of an old band of his off of the UMASS Lowell college radio station back during my high school days.

I'm not sure what I think of Ad Frank, similar to the way I thought about his old band, Miles Dethmuffen. Ad Frank's new music, with the full band, has something of a psychedelic sound to it, but I've only heard it live. I liked bits of it, but the rest of it really didn't grab me that much. I have the feeling that it didn't catch my attention because I was hearing it in a club. I would need to hear a studio recording before I pass judgment on the band. I liked the guitar solos, some of the riffs, the energetic drumming, the grooves and the piano bits, but I'm not so sure what to think of it all together. . ..

Going to a live music performance always gives me an interesting experience. First off, I get stand around for awhile, allowing my legs just get real sore. I get to people watch, which has a lot more entertainment value now that I'm older and not all worried about meeting people and such. After all, I more than likely won't make a friend at a club, unless they're a friend with a friend of mine.

Then comes the actual performance. . .I rarely lose myself in it. Moby took me out of myself and gave me the most immediate experience up at a club in Burlington, VT. I thought a little here and there, but overall, the music and his performance really just overtook. I couldn't help but get all excited and dance and jump all around. I had to hug this girl that came with me and my group of fellow students at the end of the whole thing. . .she might've gotten some ideas, but I really wasn't bright enough back then to pick up on those ideas of hers.

Quick Fix (of who Eric Donahue backs Ad Frank these days, and I guess Jake Zavracky and Shane Phillips, all former members of Quick Fix used to back Ad Frank), by the time I saw them the forth or fifth time, could take me out of my mind, too, with their straightforward hard rocking. They really put on a great live show. Entertaining, too.

Unfortunately, they broke up. . ..

In general, though, live music really doesn't grab my attention these days. It rarely takes me out of myself and almost puts me more into my mind more, as I get all analytical about it and the performance. I get analytical a lot, as I mentioned first in this entry. Nonetheless, I really would like to keep going to clubs and seeing bands and such. I guess despite the analytical mindset (and sometimes I enjoy the analysis), I hold out hope for running into live music that can pull me out of my mind and get me to forget my worries and thoughts for some pure experience.

I'm crossing my fingers here. . ..

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Random Thoughts

* There's a lot of banks in a big city. It could be difficult to find one that fits my needs and tastes in Chicago. Possibly helpful that I've found only one so far that focuses on community investment and social responsibility, even though it disconcerts my overall morality.

* I find the whole liberals and liberal judges as "elitist" argument very annoying. The big hullabaloo focuses around these people being a part of the intelligentsia. The forces of the intelligentsia, which is supposedly decadent and without morals, centers around the Northeast and the liberal areas, most importantly places like Harvard, Yale and such.

To me, it sounds like a fight against business people and people with a humanist, liberal education. The business people, unfortunately, know marketing and can tap into some supposed moral rhetoric while the liberal humanists have something of a more complicated, if more in touch with reality argument.

This issue probably has a lot more to it, but I can't organize it yet nor do I have the understanding, knowledge or time do so as of yet.

* On a somewhat ironic twist, since I can't organize these more liberal humanist and possibly more scientific arguments that my intuition follows, the reasonable people on the Right make a lot more logical and consistent sense to me than those on the Left.

I find this situation disconcerting because intuitively, I don't like many of the conclusions the people on the Right make. Without more understanding, knowledge and time, though, I can't make any kind of commitment.

* Not having time makes it hard to get understanding and knowledge, which means I have a difficult time trying to find that meaning I want.

I need to open up more time for me to do so.

I don't know where to start to open up more of this time.

Ugh.