Too many topics....

I always have little spurts of inspiration for blog post ideas. I can never find a way to flesh them out to a whole story, and have no way to string them together coherently, so I've decided to cheat. Here are a few mini-blogs.

Sin and The Scarlet Letter

I'm reading The Scarlet Letter for my themes class. It's really getting to me. Hawthorne does this whole examination of sin exercise, and I find myself feeling for Reverend Dimmesdale. He committed adultery, but that's the just the first step of his descent. His guilt gets greater and greater until he despises himself, and that's what finally throws him overboard. Is everything I do just another floor down the elevator of Hell? Am I fooling myself? I think that, and then I end up despising religion for making me feel that way. And then I think that maybe me despising religion is the whole point of sin in the first place. And on it goes.

I go to CYM at my church for a variety of reasons. I don't see myself as a Christian, or anything else, but I like to go there because the people want to do good. Also, I like listening to speakers and discussions as a skeptic. With a "Okay, let's see what you can do to change my mind" mentality. It's interesting. My mind is still unchanged. I'll probably always be gravitating to one side or the other. I can't think of anything that anyone could say to have me sold either way. Whether that's open mindedness or eternal damnation, I won't know until I die.

The Generation Gap

Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll attest to how much I love Roger Ebert's writing. He's an inspiration to me. I read his blog, movie reviews, and books regularly. So imagine my surprise last week, when I went to his blog, and saw that he mentioned me. Roger-fucking-Ebert. I was ecstatic. I'll post the link, in case you want to look. Anyways, I needed to show someone. Maybe I'd let my mom in on a tiny piece of my life, because sometimes I feel bad for pretty much shutting her out from everything. I showed her, not knowing what she would say.

This is almost verbatim.

"Wow!" Silence-reading the paragraph, and excerpt- "Well.... what you wrote is pretty scary. Do you need to talk to me about something? That's cool, though."

Really? I come to show her, obviously excited, and the first thing she does is ostracize me for writing a paragraph about me having a thought process? I'm not sure what to say about that. I don't have a point. I was just downtrodden about it. Do people lose their curiosity after they hit 40? If so, then my worst fears have been confirmed.

 Link to Ebert's blog (it's got my picture and everything!)

Writing on a happy day

I'm not nearly as good at writing when I'm in a good mood, like today. I don't have the same fervor or vividness that I have when I'm pissed off or sad. So what does that mean? I don't think I want to know.

I have to start writing this newspaper story soon. I'm working on a communist newspaper. The only way they'll put something I write in is if it makes my school look like some world-class institution. They always have to be the number one something in the state. Now I'm rambling. Then again, this entire thing is me rambling. Here's a quote from a song that I'm addicted to:

"And when we break, we'll wait for our miracle
God is a place where some holy spectacle lies 
And when we break, we'll wait for our miracle
God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life"  -Neutral Milk Hotel


My first robbery, my first guilt, and my first life goal.

I'm in a reminiscent mood. It rarely happens. Yesterday when I wrote a few memories I had from years ago, it felt good. I think I've kept those years locked up in some spider web-by part of my brain because I don't like to remember it. I always say "I never was really alive until I was 13, because that's when I learned to think for myself." That's not entirely true, but it helps give me a reason to not revisit the earliest remembrances I have. I think I'll rifle off a few other ones therapeutically. You can be my counselor.

When I was probably 5, I had a dentist's appointment. I couldn't stand the dentist. He was always drilling and giving me gross tooth paste. This time was different, though. After the routine cavity-checking and teeth-cleaning, I was introduced to the treasure chest. It was glorious. It was a new addition at musty Dr. Cloud's office, which, looking back, seems huge. The lobby must have had a capacity of at least 400. And there were clouds on the walls. I think. The place later burned down. It probably wasn't all that big, anyways.

Back to the treasure chest. It really looked like a treasure chest. In my head, it was about four feet long, three feet tall, and locked tight. The dentist unlocked it, just for me, because I was so good obviously. The contents were as breathtaking as their container. Stuffed animals, action figures, candy bars, and every other reward I could imagine was in there. After much deciphering, I narrowed it down to either one of those shitty Styrofoam airplanes that you have to put together (the ones that are ridiculously flimsy, then when you finally wedge the pieces together and throw it, it hits the ground with such a huge impact that it breaks in two) and a little sticky blue figurine (the kind that you're supposed to throw at the window, and it 'climbs' down. It usually gets dirt particles on it by the third throw, though). How was I supposed to pick between two gifts of such great quality? I simply couldn't. I put the blue-guy in my back pocket and told the dentist I had chosen the one-throw airplane.

We got in the car, I buckled myself in my booster seat, and we left. I think we were still in the parking lot when I pulled the blue-guy out of my pocket, and my mom realized I took both.

"Do you know what you just did?" She asked.
"Uhhhh. Lied?"
"No. You stole. You took something that wasn't yours."

I knew what stealing was, but it hadn't dawned on me that that was the crime I had just committed. I had lied before, sure, but stealing was something in an entirely different vein. People who stole wore ski masks and black and white striped shirts. They broke into good guy's houses and took their money. I didn't want to be one of them.

"Am I a bad guy now?" I questioned.
"Well, you're not a bad guy, but you did something that wasn't good."
"Oh. So I'm both? Like The Incredible Hulk?"
"No. Just apologize."

I like that when I was small, everything was so black and white. You were either good or bad. That's all everything was. You could describe something as "good" or as "bad" and that's all you needed.

We went back, I apologized and gave back the plane (which I had opened. I'm pretty sure one of the wings was ripped). I felt terrible. It was a silent car ride home, I think. I just sat in my room when we got back to the old house. I buried my head in the pillow, and repeated "I don't want to be the bad guy. I don't want to be the bad guy. I don't want to be the bad guy." That's all I did that day, just pounded those words into my head until they were the root of every thought I had. Ideally, I like to think they still are.


My aspirations, my first rebellion, and the sound track from a dull childhood.

Either my memory is terrible, or my childhood was fairly empty. I'm leaning towards the latter. In my brain, I have 15-20 vivid, random memories, and the rest are fragmented pictures or emptiness. I guess I would still technically be in my "childhood", but I don't really want to dwell on that. The strange thing is that each of these memories has a certain song that's super-glued to it. Maybe I heard it on the radio while the event happened, but whatever the reason, they go hand and hand. I didn't choose the songs, this is just how my brain works.

The first conversation I remember is one with my mom. She asked me playfully what I wanted to be when I grew up. Probably to her disappointment, I answered, "A clown!" She said "A clown? They don't make much money. How about a doctor?" A doctor? How boring, I thought. I pondered the idea for a bit, and when she asked me again, I replied "I want to be a clown doctor!" Was this a clown dressed up as a doctor, a doctor who worked as a clown part time, or literally a doctor with a specialty for treating clowns? I'm not sure why, but the memory coincides with "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf

A memory that keeps coming back to me is of a specific day in first grade. I barely had any friends at this time, and my best one didn't go to school with me. I remember having the worst day possible in Mrs. Blair's class (At the time she was Miss Love-no. I don't remember the spelling, just the pronunciation. I hated her so much at the time). It was recess, and there was no way I was going outside to face those damn kids, so I went to the library and just started reading. I was really into Shel Silverstein. I think I was reading "Falling Up". It felt like I stayed for hours. I got in one of those book trances, where time slows down and you don't even seem to be reading the words, instead they're jumping out into this place in your sub conscience specifically meant for reading. That place that realizes that the words beaming up into your head are more important than any ritualistic, bull shit mechanical task you're going to be forced to do during the day. I think this is the first time I felt a genuine disregard for authority. It was the first time in a long while that I was happy. That's right, I was a depressed first grader. How is that even possible? Anyways, the next thing I remember is Miss Love-no's screeching twenty-something year old voice in my ear. Apparently I needed permission to go to the library, and I had stayed for there 30 minutes after recess had ended. The song that goes with it? "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Joe Cocker. How ironic.

Later that day, my friend at home, Aaron, introduced me to the concept of 'bad words'. I knew they existed, but never dared say one. He, being a big fourth grader, suggested that we do something called the 'bad word of the day', where we were allowed to whisper a sentence with a bad word in it, as long as it was just once a day and we kept it a secret. Aaron started: "Shit!" he said with a little too much excitement. He let it linger for a second. It was like he had been thinking for days about how he would contort his lips to get the full effect of the word when he was finally able to whisper it.

I giggled for a few moments, then decided I'd give it a shot. "Fuck Miss Love-no!".  I've never seen Aaron's eyes open as wide as they did after I said it.


An introvert's lament

I am in the most introverted state I've been in since... probably ever.  The last few days I've been in this existential funk like I've never been in before. I like to think of myself as thoughtful, but never like this.  It's gotten to the point where I'm annoyed with myself.  I can't get out of my own head.  My head physically feels like it's compressed. Like it's about to explode.  The world around me is inconsequential.  This is a dangerous state to be in, obviously, but I'm embracing it because I think it's just a stage.

I'm trying to sort things out.  Every doubt I have comes with a thought, and every thought comes with doubt, and so on and so on in this never ending cycle of confusion, paradoxes, and contradictions.  I want to be one thing one day, and one thing the next. Is that wrong? Or maybe I am nothing. Maybe I want to be nothing.  Is that cowardly?  I don't think so.  It's not atheistic, anarchist, or any other 'ist'. That's the point. I ridicule the "Fuck Authority" crowd, and ridicule authority itself. Where do I fall? Religion has been on my mind a lot lately, but I think it needs to take a back seat.  There are so many other things that I have to find out about myself before religion comes into play.  I don't know who I want to be.

And this is how it goes.  I ask myself questions, give myself answers, question those answers, answer those questions, and question the answers of the questions to the original answer of the original question.  Dear God.  I really need to chill out..... Or do I?

Shit. And the cycle continues.


What's the most universal characteristic-- fear or laziness?

I had a terrible day today.  I'm still half-sick, but I don't think that's the only reason.  I had a realization-or maybe a reminder- that every day is the same.  It's so easy to drone, or "be an ant" as one of the videos I'm going to post puts it.  I get up, get dressed, drink a cup of coffee, get to school, and zone out.  Chemistry, Algebra, History, Music Survey, American English history, it's all so left-brain, so dead.  I couldn't care less about any of it.  I always look forward to the last class of the day, though, my Themes of Literature class.  It's the only class that's alive, where kids are actually interested, and where the teacher doesn't just stare at a book and lecture.

It's the only class that I leave with a headache, in a good way.  Like my brain is throbbing with new information.  I never really learn anything, but I think.  Today, I thought.

There's a certain guy in my class- let's call him Heath- that thinks he has the answers.  The answers to everything (I'm sure he'd deny this if I asked him, though).  He's extremely and rigidly Catholic, to the point of annoyance.  Good for him, whatever, but it's so trite, so boring to answer every question with "faith in God, it's in the bible, it's in the Catechism, look at the Church teachings, ask a priest".  I don't want to know everything.  How depressing is the thought that we already have all of the answers? What's the point of living?  I'd much rather think that there are things to explore.  That I have something to learn.  That I can form how I want to believe, and go off of the beaten path without 'sinning' or having to go ask forgiveness for being fucking curious.  I'm tired of it.  I'm Catholic, sure, but not to the point that I think it's the tried and true religion.  There might be something else out there, and I'm open to it.  To not be is a complete waste of a mind.

So I go home annoyed and bored.  I feel terrible, so I turn on the TV and find a movie on that I haven't seen in a couple years called Waking Life. It's a movie that's a dream, full of conversations of different people (or, I guess, parts of one person) inside of it.  I love this movie.  It's pretentious, full of itself, and knows that it doesn't have any answers.  Just thoughts.  And that's what I want.  It's definitely awake, and in an hour and a half of watching it I undid all of the frustration that came out of listening to people like Heath.

Knowing nothing is thrilling.

I'll post a few of my favorite scenes, but I definitely don't know everything that goes on in this movie.  It's confusing, surrealistic, and obscure.  Isn't this a little more interesting than Transformers, though?


This is what I get for thinking

Warning: I'm about to go political.

I try not to pretend I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the state of America. I follow the news and form my own opinions. How trustworthy the opinions of a 16-year-old high school student is, I'm not sure. There just seems to be something wrong about the way we're handling things. It just seems nonsensical to me.

Friday was the eighth anniversary of 9/11. It's hard not to reflect when every flag in town is at half mast. I looked up the videos on Youtube of the news reports when the planes first hit. To say the footage was horrific would be an understatement. The reporters were stunned to silence. Words couldn't describe it. People soon turned from melancholy to anger. A tragedy unlike anything in American history had happened, and we wanted revenge.

We obviously handled it wrong, but that isn't what this post is about. It's about our perception of that day now, in 2009. I heard numerous times on Friday something along the lines of

"If only our country could be as united as it was the weeks after 9/11. That's when our country really knew what it was doing. Now we're divided."

I get the idea, but people were talking about it with nostalgia. Like those were the good old days. Partisanship is as bad now as it always has been, and it took a tragedy to make us realize that it just doesn't work. We're split in half. I wish I could have seen my face when I was watching Pres. Obama's speech to congress and hearing "You lie!" from Rep. Joe Wilson. Ridiculous. Disgraceful. And that isn't the worst part. The Republicans are embracing it. They're literally selling bumper stickers with "You lie" written on them. This isn't right. It's common sense.

I won't pretend like I have an answer. Obama needs to realize that he and the Democrats have majority in every major section of the White House and stop trying to play to bipartisanship. We can't have it. The Right simply won't let us. Dissenting opinions is one thing, but flat out anger isn't going to solve anything, especially as senseless as it has become.

They don't need reasons anymore. Glenn Beck will call the president a racist, a socialist, not an American citizen, a supporter of "Death Panels" and whatever else he wants. O'Reilly will yell at some senator about the decay of America and what a monstrosity this administration is. Rednecks will bring their high caliber rifles to Obama functions to show their belief in the second amendment. Crying extremists will scream about the end of the world at town hall meetings. These are obviously the kind of people who won't change their minds. Whatever he does, they'll make sure to dig in their vault of Obama fallacies and find something to charge him with. Fox News is, by far, the number 1 news station in America. These aren't the kind of people who want solutions. They want impeachment. And I think they know that all they're doing is ripping us apart. Hopefully it doesn't take another 9/11 to make them realize that we need to stick together now, more than ever.