Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Heading Back Home Tomorrow. . .

for the weekend. My brother has his wedding on Saturday.

Also going to see some friends and getting a haircut.

We'll also bring back to a Chicago a friend moving to LA from South Africa.

Today went to a temp agency for some testing and talking with a guy.

Then I came home and catalogued some pricey trading/playing cards.

My procrastinating with the job search has gotten to annoy me. I've decided that when we get back from the weekend trip, I'll need a slight change of scenery during the day. So I'll take the laptop to one of the local cafes with free Wifi. Hopefully that will get me out of my funk.

Maybe I'll even make some friends.

But I hope you folks read some poetry today. . .

I'll work on the Objective and Work essay later. . .

Later, Gator.

Read Some Poetry. . .

Over at Dan's Uberliss Page.

Dan and I met in Boston. We used to live in the same neighborhood and ran into each other once at this free yoga class that one of my old roommates brought me to one day but never spoke.

Afterward, I saw him many times on my commute to work. We didn't introduce ourselves for a long time, but I had the unsettling feeling that I knew him from somewhere.

Then one day, I overheard him talking to someone else about the same yoga center. He mentioned to him that I had seen him at that free intro class. We became friends somewhat slowly after that, meeting a couple times at the Chinese buffet restaurant for lunch right across the square from my office and then just before he moved to Chicago, he invited me over to his house for a goodbye party.

He gave me a book of poetry that he wrote and published. I read through it during my commutes to and from work after he had left for Chicago. It kinda struck me as material that I couldn't necessarily get, which I blamed my general poetry illiteracy for experiencing. Over some time of reading the book, though, I started picking up on the feeling of the poetry and going with it. It really comes as more feeling poetry than anything high minded, almost Zen-like, if you will.

Dan's a lot like that, in a way, quite Zen-like. I wouldn't say that he has reahed enlightenment or anything, but he does a good job at living in the moment and losing himself in it, even if he can lose track of the time and flake out on you. He makes it easy to forgive him, though. . .it probably has something to do with his great, big, cuddly bearish irrepressible personality.

The fiancee and I really have a good time getting to know him better over the years as we've visited Chicago and met up with him for a night at Second City, some drinks, some meals, a walk down Wells St for the artist fair and just the general hanging out and visiting the "Dan experience."

You, too, can get a glimpse into that experience at Dan's Uberbliss Page.

Ironically and somewhat perturbally [sp?], though, we haven't seen him since we moved to the city. Grrrrrr. . ..

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Objective and Work

The Objective and Work topic will have to come as a work in progress. I haven't really thought about it as thoroughly as I have about other topics.

Also, it will probably come more slowly than most other topics. I haven't really formulated many thoughts about it other than to realize that the issue exists. Exploring it will take more than one essay entry.

I, in addition, have an interview and testing with a temp agency tomorrow. The day after that, the fiancee and I head back to Massachusetts for my brother's wedding over the weekend and hopefully a hike on Sunday. It's actually late, at 11:30 PM, considering these factors starting tomorrow.

THE ISSUE REVEALS ITSELF

I first realized that I had an issue while searching through job ads. It revealed itself with a particular ad. Honestly, I can't remember which one, but I think it had something to do with a writing, editorial, customer service or office assistant job (no wonder. . .that's the general positions that I feel would work for me) at a financial company.

Reading the ad (yeah, the more I think about it, it has something to do with a financial company) and researching their company Website, I felt myself having the beginnings of understanding the subject and even wanting to learn more about it. The more I read about the financial stuff this company did and the educational material they had on their Website, the more I realized I didn't know that much about the financial sector, even though I own mutual funds, have a money market and did some minor investing in the stock market before finding myself in deep water then pulling my money out of it.

It hit me, then, that I need to narrow the target audience of my job search marketing campaign to more than just companies that have a writing, proofing, editing, customer service representative or administrative/office assistant position. I need to target companies that sell a product that I understand or at least have a good beginnings of an understanding and companies that have a compatible culture with me (I really just came up with that one today).

Directing my job search marketing campaign really only just starts touching upon the objective factor of looking for a job or for setting myself up for a career. . .

BUT FOR NOW, I NEED TO SLEEP

I may continue this essay tomorrow or the day after or the day after that. Or maybe I won't have the energy for it and try to do it later. But maybe that'll just keeping going on, and I'll lose the motivation to finish the essay.

Guess we'll just have to see what happens.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remember to Let in Life

STAYING AT BLOGGER

Woohoo! Blogger has an Adsense option, so I don't have to transfer the_lex-topia over to a Soulcast blog. Nice concept to try revolutionizing the Web, Google, but the author interface need some more work and features.

I really like the tag option they have there, though.

Still, it will save me a good amount of time and effort transferring things over there. It will also save you readers from any further confusion that the aborted transfer may have caused.

Whoo!

HARDLY LIVING

Yesterday, I spent way too much time and energy playing a Texas Hold'em game on my computer. There's just something about card, strategy and tactical games that suck me in. I guess a regular ol' action video game would do something similar. If I lose, I just keep on trying and keep on trying until I win.

Unfortunately, most particularly for a game like poker, figuring out a good strategy takes more than just repeated efforts. This tact especially doesn't work when (a) you get stuck on one way to do things or, after that, (b) you can't come up with new ways to try winning. It does help to realize that (a) doesn't work, though.

But yeah, I spent plenty of wasted hours playing that Texas Hold'em game to no avail.

LIVE LIFE OR DIE BEFORE YOU'RE DEAD

I eventually got tired of the game and grew tired, so I had some grub and went to bed. As I lay there, I thought about this propensity for getting obsessive about these types of games. Before the move back in Massachusetts, I had faced the same issue, so I knew it was something of a regular problem. Especially since the problem continues to persist after getting medicated for ADHD.

Last night, though, I came up with a new way to approach the issue. Falling into a cycle of obsession then feeling guilty for the obsession but continuing on the path of this obsession had become something of a normal course of events in Massachusetts. This cycle doesn't do anything constructive for me but falling into it last night keyed into a possible psychological explanation for it.

I started reading Fear of Intimacy by Robert W. Firestone and Joyce Catlett back in the hotel before moving into this great apartment. Fireston and Catlett argue that in our infancy and youth, to defend ourselves against the emotional pain of rejection, most of us programmed ourselves with habits, thinking patterns and behaviors that helped us then but have become maladaptive as we grow up and leave our childhood homes.

So maybe, just maybe, this obsessiveness and single-mindedness with card, tactical and strategy games has roots in my own defenses against the pain of rejection. I haven't really thought much beyond that point, simply because when I enter the zone, I get very irrational and have to expend a lot of energy to pull myself away from it.

If anything, I guess I use these games as some form of escapism, but I can't say that I know what I want to escape other than the whole rejection thing. I took up playing the game yesterday because I figured it would work as a good diversion from small spaces between times that the fiancee needed me for installing an air conditioner.

Fear of boredom, maybe? Last week, I had that realization about the need for stimulation, but not getting stimulated doesn't strike me as a form of rejection. Even though boredom does lead me to thought patterns that can annoy me as I become obsessed about things I can't get to at the moment or about times in the past when I did face rejection of sorts. . .and annoyingly, my mind has a way of trying to solve problems with reason that can't really get solved by reason, especially when I don't have all the pertinent information. . .so obsessing about some stupid game can provide less pain than an interaction with someone in the past who had rejected me. I can keep trying new things with a game, at least.

Don't know if that's the real reason, but I had resolved that I needed to get away from the computer, the job search and all that important stuff every once in awhile. That idea comes somewhat from Job Hunting for Dummies by Max Messmer. He said that "becoming an expert in something" helps manage stress during a job search. I don't think he means become an absolute expert on something to the point of writing articles, becoming a consultant, making it a job or anything to that extent, but pick up some books and magazines about a topic and become well versed in it.

Then I decided to make a point to read something I enjoy or something for my bachelor's project (which I do enjoy. . .) for at least an hour or two or hopefully every couple hours while doing important stuff, get away from my desk to read, take a walk, maybe watch some TV, spend time with the fiancee or the kittens or do whatever strikes my fancy.

I've only just gotten on this here computer late in the evening at around 7:30 or so. Most of the day I spent reading, a couple chapters in the Illinois Manual for Safe Driving (have to take a written test and maybe drive on the roads when I apply for the IL license), Volume III of the Neil Gaiman Sandman graphic novels, Dream Country and a chapter from Fear of Intimacy. I also had some conversation with the fiancee and played with the kittens.

Have to admit, it made for a very enjoyable day. The day passed much more leisurely and enjoyably as compared to speeding by like it does while working for someone else, while job searching, while obsessing over a stupid game or while just plain doing silly errands and such.

Maybe I entered some kind of meditative state while reading the way I did, even though I wouldn't say the Illinois driving manual is exactly lulling into a trance, more into sleep. . ..

But yeah, I really need to make a point of reading and spending more time with people important to me rather than getting stuck in maladaptive obsessive cycles or doing Productive things that need to get done (and yes, I meant to capitalize "productive.")

SUBJECTS FOR UPCOMING ENTRIES:

+ Objective and the Job Search

+ The degree of my powerlessness in the world, with needing an income, food and other things just to survive and getting all those things gets in the way of either taking up some kind of political activism or some kind of freelance writing career to inform the public

and

+ The importance of palliative expressions and actions in our lives, especially for people who decide to follow some degree of strict principles (even though, after watching The DaVinci Code and thoughts about evil people in the world, how valid are palliative expressions in different situations?)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Please Pardon the Content

I'm transferring the content from Blogger to Soulcast. They have different formats, so I have to adjust each entry manually at times, too.

This process will probably take some time, and I probably won't make too many entries until I've finished it. If I do before completion, I will make the entries here, on Blogger.

Please take this time to run down nostalgia lane for this blog at my Soulcast blog.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Changing Blogging Sites

So I've become something of a whore. Soulcast, a "subsidiary" of Google has set up a blogging platform that allows for contextual advertising similar to their Gmail service.

Sounds like a worthwhile and easy way to make some spare change, so check out my new "beta" blog at The_Lex.

Thank you for the fun over the last couple months and lets try to keep it going over at Soulcast.

The Difficulty of Living Vegan: Medications

I received a letter from my pharmacist listing the active and inactive ingredients of a medication I've been taking that has majorly increased my quality of life. I could even say it has helped me become more "powerful" and able to fix the problem I have with the ingredients some day.

Essentially, the medication has gelatin to keep it in encapsulated form. The company probably doesn't need to use gelatin for it, probably just the cheapest.

BTW, I'm vegan.

In an attempt to possibly find other routes around this issue, I found the following Websites, which even if they didn't provide alternatives, presented a different way of looking at the issue for a vegan:

Using the contents of gelatin capsules

Questions about medications

Remember the depressed vegetarian

Thyroid Disorders board: HealthBoards

Grassroots Veganism with Jo Stepaniak

The above comes from the first page of links on Google, using the search string of "vegan medication".

The above links bring up two interesting themes that I may address in the future:

+ The degree of my powerlessness in the world, with needing an income, food and other things just to survive and getting all those things gets in the way of either taking up some kind of political activism or some kind of freelance writing career to inform the public

and

+ The importance of palliative expressions and actions in our lives, especially for people who decide to follow some degree of strict principles (even though, after watching The DaVinci Code and thoughts about evil people in the world, how valid are palliative expressions in different situations?)

But I guess I should probably address the second part of the Objective topic first.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Objective and History

A couple days ago, I mentioned that I would address the importance of having an objective when on a quest.

Now is that time, especially since I have just that issue with my current quest. My job search is a quest of sorts.

I should back track a little, though, to provide a little background.

NEEDING AN OBJECTIVE AND MY BACHELOR'S PROJECT

For those not in the know, I've been working on my bachelor's project exploring Utopianism in literature and historical communities for the last 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 years, depending on when you count me starting the project.

My main problem and reason for not completing the project by now: other than having some kind of academic background understanding for a novel that I'm writing, I didn't really have an objective or necessarily anything that I looked to accomplish. I just wanted to get it done to earn my bachelors degree.

On some level, I still have that objective. I've also come up with another, more personal goal. Maybe I should say that I've more re-discovered what I've wanted to accomplish when I first writing my novel. . .even though the story of the novel has changed.

I believe that I had a certain blindness to my objective when I first started writing the novel. At the time, I really just wanted to emulate George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ray Bradury's Fahrenheit 451, which I hope most readers know that Michael Moore alluded to with the title to his movie Fahrenheit 9/11.

Some of my conscious thought acknowledged that my life situation at the time influenced my approach to writing this novel (which actually started as a short story). Little did I know to what extent the situation influenced me. Sure, other than Fahrenheit 451, a friend of mine into freedom of thought and action, liberty, anarchy, politics to some degree and all that stuff had gotten me into reading 1984 and Brave New World (the librarian at my 4th grade elementary school had gotten me to read Brave New World. He probably wanted me to read those books because of the principles and excitement that he wanted to spread about them, but I think he wanted me to read them, also, so I would take another look at my own situation since he often would motivate me to fight my own fight for liberty and freedom.

Now, I can't say that I had a horrible existence at that time compared to many other people and populations in worse situations than me. My friend's influence along with a lot of indirect exposure, including trips to Boston, stuff I saw on TV and heard on the radio, other books I read, 'zines and other publications found in Boston, movies, the Internet, people from all walks of life, to the injustices in the world propogated by either the purposeful hand of those in power or just through the existential brokeness of the human spirit and nature and the system created by that nature. Even some school teachers addressed the systematic vice in our mists. My parents had even encouraged me to read Brave New World and William Golding's Lord of the Flies (two books that implicitly support our overall "Puritan" value system but can do a number on opening a young man's eyes).

Going to an isolated liberal arts college on top of a mountain with people from all walks of life didn't hide me from the injustices in our midst. Despite the political thinking and mindedness of the students and teachers there, my approach to the topics became more academic as compared to my intuitive and feeling the topic that I did during my high school days. I also ran into some personal issues and challenges while there and over a summer vacation or two, which caused me to turn inward for awhile, question myself, challenge my very way of being and, as I addressed in the essay a couple days ago, become more comfortable with myself in certain ways while letting go of aspects of myself that alienated me from connecting with people on a good basis but still added some degree of excitement and adventure to my life.

Looking back to then, I guess I hid from myself the intuitive, feeling resources from my adolescence that I needed to understand my objective behind the novel. I started writing it from the gut to express a feeling and emulate a couple authors, yes, but I didn't have the clear thought to articulate the themes and purpose behind the novel. Sometimes the beauty of literature comes from that aspect, touching onto something through drama but not explaining everything. That way, a reader can connect to it, make their own meaning and even later, come back to it to find more new meaning between those two covers and inside their head. I've often had this experience of coming back to a book or a recording years after first hearing it, having a new perspective and understanding the piece on a deeper and clearer level.

So to start fulfilling the requirements of my bachelor's, I needed to focus on thinking clearly and logically. One night in my junior year, my roommate gave me a lecture of how I use my intuition too much. My senior year, another roommate had the most difficult time working with my spoken arguments, since I could pontificate like Senator John Kerry or even flip flop like him while working with short answers. Both of these guys influence my way of thinking nearly as much as the big identity crisis I had around that time wherein I needed to make my point of view more understandable and rational to simply continue staying sane.

I went to school for another year and a half after the trigger of that crisis without figuring out a good objective for the project. Even worse, the novel ran into tons of issues because my crisis and loss of confidence as a writer. If I couldn't even live life, relate to people and co-exist with them on some kind of human level, hwo could I possibly write good literature.

Nothing at that school could help whilst in that crisis. I couldn't write anything worth anything. Even one of my advisors got completely frustrated with the flip flopping I did with the papers I wrote for him. He said that he had never seen anything like it, and he couldn't think of anything anymore that could help me. I left there with the option to finish my project open to me but not totally sure whether I would.

For the next year, I would try getting a job and learning how to live in the world. It didn't kill me, but I couldn't really find success all that easy. That bachelor's degree became all the more important to me. I made friends. Finally, I had accepted the job offer my parents had kept giving me for 1 1/2 years. I found an idea that would work for one of the project papers, after a year of brainstorming, hard thinking, tons of reading, frustration and papers started but not completed. Another paper even got finished after that first one.

The novel even got started again, even though it had to go through plenty of starts and incompletes before one of my walking around town ideas stuck. Still working on the novel, even though I haven't done any real work on it for a year or so. The idea sticks, though, and people really like it. . .a better result compared to when during my freshman year, I let a girl in the dorm read it then who had broken out laughing at the vast amount of cheesiness it embodied at that point. People liked the middle incarnations of the novel, too, but the middle ones stopped working for me because it worked away from the utopianism and had moved onto some kind of strange mysticism that no longer worked for me.

Also during that year or so between leaving college and accepting my parents' job offer, I had re-discovered that the novel had come out of my experience during my adolescence. Not only did it get influenced by the books I read at the time but also by my everyday experience at the time. Unfortunately, my perception still had the taint of resentment and anger, so even though I had gotten a boost from that re-discovery, I didn't get any good ideas from it.

Fast forward fours years. I'm engaged. I'm about to leave the job that I had accepted from my parents. My anger and resentment at things have died down as I make way for the move to Chicago, starting a job search, making plans for a wedding in about a year and saying goodbye to people. I've written 4 out of 6 papers for the project but am having tons of issues with the 5th one similar to the 1st one, a good idea that will work from page 1 to the end just doesn't come to me, even after a ton of false starts.

The fiancee and I have started couples counselling during the move to deal with the stress of it all and to also help us maintain the relationship. We learned some useful things about ourselves and plan on hooking up with another counsellor once we get insurance again, but the topic of my bachelors came up a lot. Even if I finished this project, would Marlboro still give the bachelors to me? Would I be able to finish the project? Should I just go to school somewhere else? Can I re-negotiate things with my advisors?

The fiancee and I thought the easiest approach would be first to see if I could still get the bachelors from Marlboro. I contacted the head of advising there. After a somewhat mixed up dialogue, I learned that I could still get that bachelors, but that they thought it would be a good idea to speak with my advisor. It took me a few months to finally call him and leave him a message saying that everything's actually going OK, I just had a logistical question about the whole thing. . .wasn't necessarily looking for guidance or anything.

While fretting about talking with the advisors, though, the couples counsellor had a great idea: I should sit down, figure out my objective, come up with talking points, etc. etc. One night, I sat down to do just that. Can't say that I finished that project because while doing it, I couldn't get satisfied with my objective/points.

I got diverted, instead, into searching for an objective for the overall project and also figuring out an outline for this 5th paper. The beginnings of a good objective came to me: an exploration of what happens when a society, community, group helps an individual to fulfill their goals and gratifies their desires or what happens when they don't help or prevent an individual from fulfilling goals and gratifying desires. By working through my own personal resentment and anger about my adolescence and college time, I figured this touched upon the issue that bugged me a lot: I wasn't being helped to fulfill my goals or gratifying my desire in a helpful way. Either no one really knew what they were, knew how I could, in the long term, fulfill and gratify or because they weren't getting fulfilled and gratified, I would either act out or find ways to numb or stimulate myself because I didn't know what else to do.

From that point about a month ago, I've realized that that objective isn't enough. The outline I did for the 5th paper can't really accomplish anything with that objective. I've read at least one book that points me in a good direction and a little bit from another that steers me a little closer to the goal. At the moment, however, I can't really refine the objective because the job search bears more importance, and I can't spend money on the book that will help me to refine the objective. Still, still, still. . .having this somewhat more refined objective in mind points me in a direction and helps me to discriminate what information and what thoughts will be useful for me in this project. Right now, it has something to do with Charles Tilly's Identities, Boundaries and Social Ties, but I don't how yet.

I just know that I can't move forward until I check out this book. At least I know my objective, though, and that I have next step. . .. Without this objective, though, I probably would be going nuts with anxiety while doing my job search. Now i can just feel anticipation that once I get a job, I can move forward on accomplishing my objective.

THAT WAS LONG. THERE WILL HAVE TO BE MORE

I'm not done with this essay. Writing this part has taken a long time out of my day, though. I will have to continue it tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Vagaries of the Democratic Existence

YET AGAIN, DEAN PISSES OFF SOMEONE

From the Windy City Times, DNC’s Dean Angers Gays. The Democrats should be pissed with him, too, for going against the party line. No wonder the country can't take them seriously these days. . .their spokesperson can't even follow the party line.

MY DAY. . .OF COURSE YOU'RE INTERESTED!

Well I've fallen into that all too easy trap of going to sleep late and not waking up until late. This type of thing happens all the time when I don't have a job or anything urgent to attend to during the day.

Tonight, I'm hoping to get to bed at somewhat of a good time (after watching LOST on the TiVo). Hoepfully that will set things straight, especially since we plan on entertaining at some point tomorrow.

Didn't get incredibly much done today, though. I just posted my information up on a creative and marketing temp agency site.

Maybe I shouldn't spend so much time in the morning eating and watching old Daily Shows and Colbert Reports.

BTW, am I the only one who didn't know that Lewis Black will be getting his own show on Comedy Central called Red State Diaries?

With this horrible predicament of staying up late and waking up late needing rectifying, I'm going to have to forgo my essay for the day. Sorry, folks. Maybe we'll strike it lucky tomorrow. . ..

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Anthropologically Bonding Business Intelligence to Personal Descriptions and Dispositions

BUSINESS OPS

A couple interesting links about Business Intelligence:

+ Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

+ Business Intelligence

+ Defining Web Analytics: Market Intelligence

+ Marketers and analysts—bridging the communications divide

+ Marketing Analytics to the Rescue: The Next Big Thing?

+ Sales and Marketing Analytics

+ Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals

+ Open Source BI: The Great Leap Forward

+ Business Intelligence - Empower Business Decisions: a blog

Woowee. . .the things I'm learning during my job search.

ANTHROPOLOGICAL BONDAGE

+ Band Societies

+ Lineage-Bonded Society

+ Land-Bonded Society

+ Village-Bonded Society

DESCRIBING A CHANGING IDENTITY

Last week, someone I hadn't heard from in 9 or 10 years contacted me. We've exchanged a couple e-mails and both have expressed sentiments of wanting to continue keeping in touch. This situation has provided me with an interesting challenge: how to initiate identification with each other, describe where I am now and how I got from there to here.

Some part of the issue comes from a tendency I have shown in the past of getting intense with people that I like. I can get so excited that I scare people away. Another element of intensity comes in the form of me trying to describe every little detail of just about everything. These odd characteristics of mine come, I believe, from an innate desire for mental stimulation and my focus on many details that form something, which includes personal history, probably symptoms of ADHD on some level.

Albeit, any person can change a lot in a span of 9 to 10 years, especially when that decade spans the later high school years, all of college and most of my young adult life and 20's. That detail, in itself, provides me with some level of comfort. We both probably feel similarly uncomfortable in that we both don't know where to start or possibly even how detailed to get about it, especially if we're not sure how close we want to become again.

Most people probably also have the difference of self knowledge between now and then. Comparably, however, I can see myself having more of an issue with the self knowledge thing than most people. Many people in my past have commented that I have a good amount of self knowledge (or they can say I have a good explanation of a social situation, which I don't necessarily have -- it's just over confidence). I think the big difference that rewards me with such a compliment comes from people knowing themselves on an implicit, non-conscious, instant access type of way compared to my explicit, very conscious but more difficult access type of knowledge. So my attention to these kinds of details doesn't come intentionally, but more as a way coping with the way my self conception and mind works.

Back when this person and I hung out, I probably had that nonconscious relationship with my self conception. I, honestly, didn't much like myself then and also didn't feel as if I was getting the types of things that I wanted. Sadly, I had no idea how to get these things.

Ironically, I could get these things if I felt more comfortable with myself and the peole around me. Impulse control didn't really rate high on my nonconscious way of being, even though this personal issue didn't cause too serious of problems, except for the numerous car accidents and moving violations. I, otherwise, simply pulled a bunch of faux pases and caused a few people some semi-long term discomfort and others short term discomfort. Not only did I feel uncomfortable about myself, I also didn't know how to play the etiquette games and be necessarily considerate of other people.

My lack of consideration has been somewhat diminished over the years. More often than not, I'm probably over respectful. Back then, my way of showing consideration was by being silent and not acting when feeling uncomfortable while letting myself go, just about saying and doing anything for a bit of excitement. Nowadays I show plenty and sometimes too much grace for fear of affecting people with my lack of impulse control.

Over compensating with too much consideration works well enough along with a tendency I have these days of thinking too much about ways to deal with a problem and trying to take into account everything. I get along and receive the benefits I generally want from life and society. Even the end of long term projects that have frustrated me to no end have an ending that has come into sight.

All of these things do help me feel good. Nonetheless, I miss that spontaneous side of me. Being so self conscious of myself and the direction my thoughts go has somewhat annoys me when I reflect on my everyday life, the types of ideas that I come up with to investigate or write about, the approaches that I take toward things, my general sense of being. . .it has become more grounded, which does have its benefits, but I feel a certain loss for that other part of me that I expunged somewhat back in the summer of 1999 while going through an incredibly rough night that I won't relate here.

A couple months ago, another friend of mine complained that his friends had lost their sense of adventure. I had gotten somewhat offended and challenged him on that claim, but maybe he's not so off from the mark. Nowadays I really don't take the kinds of chances that I would've taken years ago, the days when I had hung out with this guy.

For instance, this weekend while we had our friend visiting. The fiancee and I had visited him and his wife around their place about a year ago. I felt awkward a few times during that visit because I would say something, probably something that I thought was funny, and no one would laugh or say anything. The fiancee and a few other people would just ignore me (Oh, that's just The_Lex being The_Lex), but this guy and his wife had a noticeable pause. At the time, I felt offended on some level because I felt some negativity/hostility directed toward me.

This weekend with the friend help me get some perspective on that interaction, however. Throughout the weekend, I noticed him not saying something to fill the silence, make a joke when there was a chance or, as I read it, not take his turn in an interaction or conversation. I also remained conscious of the times that I stopped myself from saying something that didn't fit the situation. This time, I didn't feel that rejection/negativity/hostility coming from the friend. I, instead, noticed that I had the desire for social stimulation while he didn't have such a need.

Before leaving for Chicago, a friend and I touched upon this topic. Reminiscing about our pasts and comparing the now to the then, we both realized that we had shed some hang ups to become a better participant in social occasions and to gain the benefits of those occasions. We changed in ways other than taking on positive behaviors, though. Our tastes for the activities in which we wanted to participate and the things we wanted to accomplish had changed (for instance, then we wanted excitement and instant gratification -- now we have an interest in securing society's, our own and the world's future, getting gratification from knowledge and overall accomplishments and other adult things). Not that we ever wanted to avoid becoming adults, but the fact that we changed in the ways that we did surprised us.

I can't say that I've reached any kind of logical or even intuitive conclusion in the writing of this rambling essay. If anything, I should just try doing what seems the best path: relax, get comfortable, sit back, come up with something appropriate to say or do and enjoy getting to know this person again.

AS THE WORLD TURNS

The links at the top of this entry really about says what I did today.

I finished up the notifying business of my change of address then moved onto the job search.

To follow up on a resume submission a couple weeks ago, I researched Business Intelligence to learn more about it and give the company an interesting article about the topic. That took me a few hours.

I also filled out an online profile at a temp agency and submitted a resume.

Darn, there really isn't that much time in the day, even when I'm not officially working. Oh well. . .over the last year or so, I did keep hearing about how the job search is just about a full time job and more.

AND FOR THE NEXT ENTRY

Surprisingly, I have written about a topic that I thought would get addressed seperately and hadn't mention earlier. Go figure. Other than what I mentioned last night, then, I don't have much else to address. So I guess I've just got the following left for tomorrow (it's amazing how easily the ideas pop up when resting, playing and not really trying to accomplish anything):

+ The importance of having an objective when embarking on a quest.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Current Events Don't Provide the Excitement and Drama of Prophecy

Today has come somewhat as a disappointing day of not accomplishing much and feeling unaffected by entertainment that once gripped me.

Needing money for laundry, I ended up taking two trips to the bank because I didn't know how to withdraw money from my checking account. Doing so took up some time, but it shouldn't have caused too much of an inconvenience except that I spent a good amount the morning

+ Eating food and

+ Catching up on THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT

so that by the time I got back from the bank, the final place I need to call for an address change had closed for the day. I will need to call them tomorrow.

On top of all that, my Internet has acted unreliable again. I can fortunately power cycle the modem to correct the problem, but I really don't want to have to power cycle my modem multiple times during the day for Internet access. Having to do so prevented me from turning temp agency applications and applying for jobs listed online.

And if you have been keeping up with my blog, you have an idea of how much I appreciate the Internet in my life.

Then again, I was probably in for an annoying day after a fun weekend. A friend that I met through the fiancee visited. We all walked around a lot, ate a bit, had some good drinks (but nothing excessive enough to give me a flow blown hangover), laughed a lot from our own dialogue and by going to Second City (both myself and the friend got called on to provide spontaneous material). Unfortunately, the weekend had to end and everyday life had to continue.

THE ALIAS SERIES FINALE

At the end of my day, the Alias series finale underwhelmed me. It didn't have enough of a "affecting the whole world" feeling to it. The show implied all these races against time and everything, but it just didn't grab me. I guess I really didn't feel that anything was at stake. . .or I didn't feel that the conclusion was significant enough to wow me or anything. The characters fixed everything too easily, even the characters about to die or who became immortal.

Maybe I have a feeling that either which way that the Rimbaldi prophecy concluded, it should have a world-changing conclusion. After reading the Rimbaldi Wikipedia page and reminded about part of the prophecy, however, I can see that part of prophecy was prevented. This reminder leads me to believe that the final episode could have had much more impact if this aspect of the prophecy received emphasis along with the development of the Sydney Bristow character.

I can't totally blame the writers too much, however. From what I've heard, they didn't have all the time in the world to properly resolve the show. The network cancelled the show halfway through the season, which probably comes at a better time than when the Farscape writers, cast and crew learned of their cancellation, after the filming of the last episode of the season. Thankfully, they received the opportunity to put together The Peacekeeper War, whence they resolved the loose ends.

In a similar vein, though, the unresolved season finale to Angel provided even more satisfaction. Having it end with the beginning of a big battle and not knowing how it will affect the world and character somehow feels much more satisfactory. We don't receive closure, but at least us members of the viewing public don't have to just accept something of an artificial, undeveloped ending that somewhat makes everything feel small and inconsequential, after having getting sucked into the milieu and drama to such a degree that I/you have invested a good amount of time into it.

At least the story can continue, either again on TV or in a movie or comic book. Some other show or story could even reference the characters or something. No matter how the people/topics/events could crop up again, I'll have to now switch my opinion about the last episode of Farscape before The Peacekeeper War if the The Peacekeeper War never got made. In that case, at least, an unsatisfying artificial ending didn't get made in attempt to resolve loose ends.

GETTING CAUGHT UP IN CURRENT EVENTS AGAIN

I feel attached to keeping abreast to current events. Similar to no access to the Internet gives me a feeling of disconnectedness, not keeping up with current events has a similar effect.

The friend who visited over the weekend finds keeping up with pop culture an important thing to do. For one, his job somewhat requires him doing so. He works with all types of clients with whom he needs to make connections and have conversation. I have the feeling that he probably likes to use pop culture to have conversations with other people, not as a way to make money or keep his job, but simply as a way to fulfill the basic human need to connect with other people.

Unfortunately, for many reasons (one the main ones possibly ADHD), I don't necessarily keep updated on pop culture all that well. Part of it may also come from my disinteredness in "empty" culture, something that doesn't do a good job at reflecting upon the human condition but rather acts as a way to distract from the human condition. Yeah, I need diversion from thoughts about the human condition now and then, too, but "empty" culture simply doesn't do the best job at keeping my attention all the time.

Current events is the human condition. Our discussion, commentary, criticism, dialogue, etc. etc. on this condition is our reflection on that condition. I love getting into this stuff and exploring it with people. In a way, probably, keeping attentive to these current events helps me tap into something bigger than myself, helps me in my search for meaning and value.

I probably just need to stay conscious that I don't get "addicted" to keeping up with these events, as a way to distract me from the human condition.

But this weekend, at The Second City show, I experienced a desire to up to date again with the current events. The show had a political edge.

Over the last couple months, year or so, the fiancee and I had been focusing a lot on our move to Chicago and the direction our lives would take afterward. It reached a point where I had to stop reading the news feeds that I got through e-mail. It took up a lot of time, especially since it all interested me, I tried reading most of it and sent what I read to e-mail lists I had set up (subscribe to the main news list by sending an e-mail to newstothe_lex-subscribe@topica.com. . .but I feel like it fulfilled some kind of innate urge of mine.

I haven't fallen behind in current events. The big national news is still the NSA wiretapping scandal, the low opinion of Bush in our country, whether the Democrats want to impeach, censure or investigate the Bush administration, the new head of the CIA being the old NSA guy, the Jack Abramoff scandal, the partisanship of the Democrats and the Republicans, bin Laden and Al Qaeda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran with their nuclear development, India wanting nukes, global warming and so on and so forth. Even in the past, I knew that the attention of the media and its audience really doesn't change all that fast, except for in the entertainment.

Not necessarily even for the entertainment world, either, though. Over the weekend, The Soup continued to crack jokes about the whole Britney Spears driving with her baby in her lap incident. I still laugh at the jokes made (after all, I haven't been paying attention to this stuff for at least a month), but I would have thought that the rest of the viewership would've gotten sick of it. I guess this also goes to show you, things really don't change all that quickly, in the entertainment world or in current events.

Nonetheless, if I don't keep abreast of all this stuff, I don't feel connected. And I don't even really get into conversations about this stuff with other people. I guess I somehow feel involved in the world, even though I really don't do too much to affect the overall world.

Just give me a little time, though. Once I finish this college project and start my writing career, I think things will be a little different.

IN UPCOMING ENTRIES

As something of a preview of future entries and also as a way to remind myself of topics, I think I may start listing off topics at the end of entries. For today's preview:

+ The difficulty of updating someone from the past on ourselves, or creating an identity in small bite sized, digestible pieces

+ The importance of having an objective when embarking on a quest.

FOR NOW, THOUGH, GOODNIGHT

Friday, May 19, 2006

Utopia Chewing on Grass While Studying Social Theory

Not much for excitement today. The fiancee and I spent it mostly shopping for stuff around the house and for the "kids" (Max and Miriya, the kittens). I, however:

+ Updated a couple more addresses,

+ Applied for short term health insurance,

+ Saw some quotes for dental insurance,

+ Re-connected with a property and casualty insurance agent that sounds decent, even if they're working under the assumption that I just won't lower premium and not necessarily a good company,

+ Just sent an e-mail to follow up on some contract work that applied for last week, received a reply but didn't receive another reply from the original follow up on their first reply,

+ Found some more good Internet radio stations over at Live365.com,

+ Discovered a book or two at Amazon.com that could provide me with some good meat for my college project once I can get back to it after getting a good job,

+ Found a couple good articles about grasses and the dietary/health uses for it, especially with cats:
o Arrhenatherum
o Wheat Grass for Cats

+ Learned about a couple social theorists that focused on social movements and IDENTITY, [social] BOUNDARIES and SOCIAL TIES:
o Charles Tilly's Change Theory
o Charle's Tilly at Wikipedia
o Major Works of Charles Tilly
o Sidney Tarrow at Wikipedia

UTOPIA OF DIVERSITY CHECKED

I had something of a wake up call when it comes to the utopian diversity I've felt in Chicago. While reading the job message boards at the Chicago Craigslist, I came across someone's posting about potential discrimination against them as a Jew from someone who might be an Arab at a job interview. Nothing substantiated and I don't know the particular Jewish person, but I guess there's some atmosphere of prejudice, at least in the form of behavior expectation.

Still, it's a step up from Boston somewhat. Different ethnicities have a better chance of running into each other, here in Chicago. Generally more effort has to be put into such diverse exposure in Boston.

TIME FOR BED

A part of me tells me that I've gotten a fair amount done in the last 12 or 13 hours. Another internal voice of mine tells me that I shouldn't put so much faith in one book or one theorist providing me with the answers that I need for my college project.

Oh well, another day has passed and good things have happened. I'm happy enough about that fact.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another Day

Not much to say about today. I wanted to move ahead with my job search, but I didn't. Ended addressing contact information for service companies, closing out accounts, paying bills, trying to open up channels between financial companies and my new bank, everyday things that have just mounted or popped up because of the move.

Should I consider these types of tasks as constructive procrastination or things that really need to get done.

Unfortunately, I still have a bunch more of these types of things to address tomorrow. Part of me just wanted to keep marching ahead with it, finish it whenever it got finished. The wiser side of me convinced me otherwise. I'm happy that my medication and more self awareness has made listening to my wiser side easier.

Now I just need to listen to it more when it tells me to not take things so seriously.

THE LONELINESS OF NOT HAVING THE INTERNET

Before leaving for Chicago, a friend of mine commented that he was really happy that we all had the Internet. It helps us to keep in better touch with our friends much better, especially when I've moved to Chicago, another friend has moved to LA, another friend moved across Massachusetts and this friend has stayed in Cambridge.

I've got to agree with this friend, especially after moving out here to Chicago. Most obviously, the connecting and keeping connected with good old friends from 10 years or more so ago makes this transition much easier. Sure, I'll eventually make friends here in Chicago but until then, it's nice to know that I can probably turn on my computer and find an e-mail from my family or a friend who has been around in my life for years or maybe knew me back when I was trying to learn about myself and the world.

I really have to do a better job at writing back to these people, though. . ..

Not having a reliable Internet connection during the road trip (the hotel in the suburbs had a horrible connection in our room and the router at a friend's place in Pennsylvania pretty much died around the time we visited) really struck it home to the fiancee and me of how cut off we can feel without the Internet.

Sure, we can probably blame many things on the Internet and general technology. Things like people not going to in person social events so much, having great in person social skills, not looking to engage with other people face to face, abandoning practices that force us to interact with each other and plenty of other things.

I don't really want to address that part of the topic at the moment, though. It's not like the fiancee and I could have gone to some community hall, a church or anything like that to make permaneant friends while travelling across the country. I guess we had some chance of doing so if we tried socializing, but I feel that chance would be quite slight if not nearly nothing.

Then there's the matter of learning about things happening around the world. We had the TV for news. Stores made newspapers available. Either one of us probably could've gone out to purchase some kind of periodical. All those things might have given us our fix of news and information about the world.

We could have also phoned our friends.

But there's something to the blog, the chat, the message board, Wikipedia and all the other random information out there. Also, having the ability to buy movie tickets, instantly find the number to a car rental company, find the number to a restaurant, get directions on how to reach a destination and all the other things that you can look up to find out about your surroundings.

Not having the a reliable Internet connection contributed to a sense of not feeling connected with the world. Maybe if the Internet, TV, the telephone and other wonders of human invention disappeared, we would be forced to socialize face to face more or force us to work within and experience face to face communities more.

I think we would miss out on something, though. Not having these things would take away the diversity of perspective that comes from encountering people from all over the world, communicating with friends who have moved elsewhere or vacationed somewhere else, learning about the differences between the experience of humanity in the Midwest with the experience of humanity in the Middle East.

Yes, the Internet provides all of us with the opportunity to turn inward and become passive in face to face situations. It allows us to ignore the people immediately around us. At the same time, though, it also provides us with the opportunity to broaden our perspective, grow as a member of the human race, become the part of something larger than just our individual selves or even just the local community.

The operative words here: allow and opportunity. TV, the radio, the telephone, the Internet, all human technology only comes to us as a tool. We have the ability to control what we do and do not do with that technology. Maybe we can even think of communication and the community as human technology, just as socially based rather than physically resource based.

So the question becomes: do we choose to use the Internet, the TV and other things as an escape from the world that hurts us in some way or do we use to join with the communities in the world and become part of that world?

I vote for the latter, for I believe that if we truly try to understand and enlarge our perspectives with empathic understanding, we will see involvement in the world as an experience with rewards that far surpass anything that we could lose. Involving ourselves in the world is worth the risk.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

One Week in Chicago

This city has a lot of noise at night. Planes fly by overnight. I can hear the "L" going by at the closest stop, 3 or 4 blocks away. Sirens galore, police and fire. Probably some ambulances, too.

We live in a good part of town, too, near Boyz Town, at least, and that's got to mean something. I guess it doesn't have to mean anything. A gay friend of mine back in Boston once wrote a letter to the editor at the Metro about how he got harassing looks from black people in the South End and even heard disaparaging comments made by them. And the South End is just about gay central in Boston!

One thing I love in Chicago, though: the diversity. Back in the parts of Boston and northern New England that I normally visited, I would pretty much just see whites and Asians, and I wouldn't see them around each other that much.

Here in Chicago, even in the suburbs, I can walk down the street outside my apartment or go to some restaurant and see people of all different colors, nationalities and ethnicities. One of the guys who moved our stuff told us that Chicago has the biggest Bulgarian population in the US. My fiancee tells me that it also has the biggest Filipino population, too. We bought some furniture today from an Asian and black couple. Just down the street, there's building with Shalom (or is it Sholom) written on it. I'm sure I see plenty of Middle Easterners walking around these streets daily.

For a white bread boy brought up in Eastern Massachusetts who didn't even know what rascism was until I was in 3rd or 4th grade and never met a peer who was Jewish until he went to college, this experience has been pretty great so far. I wish I could say eye opening, but I have the feeling that this doesn't represent the reality of outside Chicago or even necessarily all of Chicago. In the past, I have probably heard about race riots in Chicago and that the city still has plenty of segregation going on. Nonetheless, this little neighborhood of mine has, so far, filled me up with lots of hope and has a bit of Utopia to it.

AS FOR THE UNPACKING AND FURNISHING PROCESS PROCESS

I've got the electronics set up. The cable Internet works fantastic after a tech came by this morning, but we still don't get all the channels we want and should get. I sent Comcast an e-mail about that one. Hopefully it doesn't require any extra work inside the apartment by a tech or something.

Yesterday, we bought a good media shelf for the electronics. Today, we got a big shelf that we plan on using for dividing up the living room and a great couch lounger. Spent most of the day putting that stuff together and waiting for the cable guy in the morning.

Behind the divider shelf in the living room and overflowing into the entertainment, we still have plenty of boxes to unpack. The main problem is that most of those boxes have books in them, and we can't empty them until we get shelves. And we can't really unpack anything else until we know where the shelves go and look.

The whole thing really just overloads my brain. I want to go off on some kind of rant about it, but I just don't know where to start. My brain just shuts down, so I don't even bother.

TOMORROW WILL BE DIFFERENT

I will dive into the serious job search. As things wind down somewhat with the unpacking and some of the small errands, reality sets in. My savings and possibly future income will only last me a short while. I need to get myself a job.

I'd like to get one quickly, too, because there's a couple things that I'd like to do with that future income that includes more than surviving.

And while working on the job search, I think I'd like to communicate with some friends and family that I left behind in New England and who I have moved closer to in the Midwest. I, sadly, don't think I'll be able to address all the communication after waking up tomorrow, but I want to start trying.

Please work with me as I try to improve my friendship service. =D

Thank you.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Broadcasting Wind

I've made it to Chicago and have set up the Internet in the apartment.

Now let's just hope things continue working well.

Crap! It's late. I should be getting to bed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Reliable Connection?

After doing some maintenance on the laptop and keeping the TV off, the Internet connection in this hotel seems to work more reliably.

I, unfortunately, don't have a reliable stream of consciousness at the moment. Have to :

+ Meet with people we haven't seen in a long time

+ Work on the job search and

+ Try to get clear on this early move in date for the new apartment.

Oh yeah, shopping for furniture, especially for the TV and living room, can be so dang frustrating and tiring! Ugh.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Wait

Staying at a hotel in the Chicago suburbs until the apartment becomes available 5/11/2006.

Comcast tech comes 5/13/2006 to install the Internet and digital cable.

Not sure when the movers drop off stuff.

Hotel hasn't had a working network server since we got here a couple nights ago.

Logging in from a Barnes & Noble without any power outlets for my use.

Probably won't be writing reliably until Comcast installs the Internet. Will write more then.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Second Leg Finished

We made it the hotel in Ohio from Pennsylvania after about eight hours.

The cats panicked a bit in the car at first then calmed down after the sedative hit them. Now they're chilling in the hotel room, looking out the window and playing with their toys.

Need to eat, rest then head to bed.

Tomorrow, the last leg to a Chicago suburb.

Monday, May 01, 2006

THE DAY HAS COME!!!!!!

No, not May Day. Silly. . ..

Rather, moving out of the Boston area. We haven't reached Chicago yet, though.

Back during the pre-major packing stage, we had planned to make the trip a three-leg journey. Boston to PA where we would stay with a couple know for the night, off to Cleveland where we would stay at a hotel then on the way to Chicago the next day.

We decided to stay another night in Pennsylvania, though, to rest from all the packing that we've done and the long drive down here. Last night didn't really give us a great opportunity to hang out with our friends even though they gave us some great food. Besides, the cats looked like they could use some time away from the car.

DO CATS DREAM OF SLEEPING IN THE BELLY OF ELECTRIC RATS?

Speaking of cats in cars, the two of them surprised me quite a bit. They acted as normal in their carriers, caterwauling and tearing at the doors. After about a half hour or an hour on the road, though, Max, broke out of his carrier then ran around the car, caterwauling, looking all around outside and for his sister who hadn't gotten out of the car yet. He even hit the shifter into neutral while we were going 65 down the I-90.

Kinda scary.

So we stopped at the next rest area, where we also let Miriya out of her carrier. Hooked the leashes onto their harnesses. We let them have a breather and walk around the car a little. Only difficulty came when Max just about crawled under the car, and I had to pull on his leash to come out.

Since Max could break out of his carrier, the fiancee and me figured that we'd build a nest of blankets in the back seat (reminds me of stories the fiancee tells me about when her family went on long drives) then continue on our journey.

Worked like a charm. No caterwauling, just the occasional meow to say hello and ask for some attention. For the beginning of this new stage in the trip, Max sat on my headrest, so I didn't get sit all that comfortably, but I didn't mind suffering that compared to the noise they made in the carriers. He eventually got down, though, then sat between the fiancee and me on the compartment that holds random stuff (maybe we should put maps or something in there).

Overall, though, they behaved so incredibly well. They didn't bother anyone that drove. Most of the time, they just slept on the blankets, poking up their heads occasionally to see what was going on, most especially at toll booths. A couple times, we worried that that the cats might jump out the window but nothing like that happened.

Miriya, when the third and last driving shift started and I was in the lotus position, crept up front and sat down in my lap for 10 minutes. She doesn't normally do anything like that, even outside of a moving car. I felt touched.

Letting them out of the carriers really did everyone a favor, though, cutting down on everyone's and every cat's stress.

SCENERY BETWEEN BOSTON AND MEDIA, PA

We spent most of the time on Interstates and shopping strips to get gas. Scenery pretty much came at a premium, but Rte 15 in Connecticut, roundabout the MA border to the NY border, really looks so incredibly beautiful. At least, it looks great at this time of year.

It looked like a colorful sylvan paradise. Tons of trees with all types of blossoms. Plenty of space under the trees, but they didn't look as if they were planted by man because they didn't look evenly spaced out or anything, at least, not artifically so.

Otherwise, I can't say the scenery on the Interstates excited me too much, except maybe for driving over the Hudson River somewhere north of New York City. I didn't realize that it was so WIDE. I mean incredibly WIDE. I'm sure plenty of other people have driven over the the thing, but still. . .I'm simply amazed at how WIDE this river was.

Then the fact that human beings made this incredible bridge that stretched over the whole width of the water. Amazing, I tell you. . .amazing! Amazing that nature once again created such a monument to its grandoisity and also amazing that humanity built such a feat of technology as a work around (not conquer -- I hate that attitude of human chauvinism. . .) to this barrier for us.

LAZING OUT IN PENN

Today, the fiancee and I took the opportunity to wake up early, have a good meal, walk around downtown Media and buy some beads. Taking our hosts out to dinner to thank them for letting us stay a couple nights, even they're good friends and enjoy having us around.

THEN WE JOURNEY ONWARD

Probably around tomorrow at 11, we get to learn if the cats continue to behave in the car. . .all the way to Cleveland.

It should be interesting.