31 May 2003

I just took the white pill, so if I start to trail off in a few sentences, trust me, it's the work of the Vicodin. Most of my day was spent trying to get my mouth to stop bleeding, or else I THINK that's how I spent my day. With the white pill, it's tough to judge what really happened and what just seemed to have happened--it's as though the brain ray was accidentally set to slobber monkey.

Here's a cultural change for you. My dad married my mom when he was 22 years, 8 months, and 19 days old. I am presently 22 years, 8 months, and 18 days old. Ridiculous. Outrageous.

My typing is becoming labored. Happy sleepy time nears. I'll write more later, when my head is clear and in proper working order, but I'll leave you with this little tidbit: Whoever thought that the four cheeses in four cheese mashed potatoes should be cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta, and BLEU?

29 May 2003

This entire day has been spent in a doped-up mist. Painkillers are fun, but very frustrating, not so much because they're ineffective (on the contrary, they're highly effective), but moreso because my brain is moving just a quickly as ever, yet my mouth fails to form the words with any proficiency. I wonder if this is what Stephen Hawking feels like.

28 May 2003

The sleepiness has worn off for the time being, but, thanks to my pain-killing medication, I can allow it to return at will. My memories of the entire ordeal at the oral surgeon's office today are considerably fuzzier than my cat, but I will do my best to explicate all the excitement. First, I was given some nitrous because it would "make me feel at ease." And how! After a couple minutes of breathing in the stuff, I was ready to fly out the window and survey Pleasantville from a few thousand feet. If my right arm hadn't been restrained as a precautionary measure to prevent muscle spasms from the medication, I could still be flying. What a great feeling. Damn, I wish I were a dope fiend. The sedative medication, which the surgeon told me was like Killian's Irish Red straight to the bloodstream, did its trick in a few short moments and the next thing I knew, it was an hour later and I was being encouraged to "hold on to the wall."

I was given two different prescriptions--one to prevent infection and one to reduce pain, which comes with happy sleepy time. Hooray. The numbness in my mouth has been replaced by a dull pain, and I think I have finally cleaned off the blood I drooled on myself (what a sexy picture I was, too. Take your pick, I was either a heavily-sedated chud or I had just been hit in the mouth during an exciting fight scene in a movie--I prefer the latter and you should see the other guy).

While recovering in the big reclining chair, I was able to read a nerd publication (Phi Beta Kappa stuff) that I get periodically. I like intellectuals, and one of the letters to editor hit on something I've harped a lot about lately. "People need to learn how to think, not what to think. I couldn't agree more.

Not dead. Narcotics.

27 May 2003

Warm wishes from Pleasantville (day 10).

The wonders of the parental insurance plan continue. Following my dental appointment (wherein the dentist chuckled mightily at my valiant effort to carry on an intelligent conversation while feeling the effects of a shot of novacaine), the visit to the optometrist was a delight (and *I* chuckled to myself, noting that his bad jokes had finally accumulated around his midsection). Long story short: one quick filling and a chance for some relatively cheap contact lenses. Now for the fun part. Tomorrow morning, I will undergo surgery to remove my third molars (wisdom teeth extraction). Hooray for intravenious sedation, narcotic pain relievers, and lemon pudding. I can hardly wait, especially after signing the informed consent sheet, telling them that I understand I could be dead this time tomorrow. And so it goes.

Read Watership Down if weren't forced to read it in high school English. It's good. Watch Requiem for a Dream if you haven't. It's also good. Do not spend your "responsibility-free" time in Pleasantville. It's not good. The fields are covered with blood.

Pink lemonade is pink because it's mixed with grape juice.

Moving right along, someone, most likely a relative with whom I share 50% of my polytropic genes and is not my parents, may have spilled the vegetarian baked beans about my future plans following a Floridian internship. The person who shared this information with me (also a relative with whom I share 50% of my polytropic genes--100% from the Y chromosome) seemed to be supportive of such an idea. Time will tell.

23 May 2003

Farmer, farmer, put away your DDT. I don't care about spots on my apples, leave me the birds and the bees, please.

An open letter to the citizens of Pleasantville,
Please stop buying SUVs. They're everywhere. It's disgusting. I may have grown up in the ridiculousness of suburbia, but trust me, the books aren't blank. Haven't you read the Lorax? Think of the Swomee-swans, when you fill up your tanks to get 13 miles per gallon. They can't sing a note--no one can sing who has smog in his throat. I know that I drive a lot. I don't deny being part of the problem, but I do get at least 2 times better gas mileage than you do. Think of that.

20 May 2003

A very dear friend of mine has often noted, half-jokingly, that she doesn't fit into anyone's boxes for categorizing people (for jobs, academia, etc.) for a variety of reasons too great to deal with here. The usual response is a stifled laugh, a reassuring line or two that something will work out. But why stress about all of this when it should be celebrated? Why blindly go through life trying to fit into everyone's boxes when you are meant to stand apart from everyone? Those of you who have talked to me/read this page lately know that I feel so free of the expectations of others. It's like I've been inside someone's box and finally managed to escape, and I don't ever want to go back. And neither should any of you. Don't just "go with the flow" or accept the status quo. Resist. Challenge your assumptions. Find out what's outside of Pleasantville. Make your own boxes.

Indecision has struck me almost as hard as boredom. What should I do? When should I leave? Where should I go?

Hopefully, everyone enjoyed the seamless transition between the end of the last world and the beginning of a new world (09:00:00 on 17 May 2003). Our only worry now should be whether we have actually begun a new primary universe or whether we're trapped in a self-destructing tangent universe that might collapse upon us.

Graduation was a good time on Saturday, if you consider sitting in a hard plastic chair at a hot and stuffy basketball arena for two-and-a-half hours listening to a barrage of horrendous speeches and 1000+ names being read, In the end, I was exactly where I had started (new/tangent world aside). I had my degrees (well, I don't have the physical degrees yet, but the USPS will deliver those in June), but I had been through the ceremonial stuff.

16 May 2003

Less than one day remains before the world comes to an end (or, more likely until the time when I pieced together all the bits of coincidental evidence suggesting such, which really didn't suggest much at all, other than some really weird, surreal stuff was happening). I have come up with a foolproof hypothesis for what will happen at 9:00am CDT tomorrow. It's foolproof because it's completely untestable, and I cannot be proven wrong. The clock will tick to 8:59:59 and as soon as it hits 9:00:00, you will feel absolutely no change. Make no mistake, however, the world will have ended and a new, different world/primary universe will have begun, starting at precisely the point at which the other one ended. I haven't done the math, but trust me, in the infinite realm of possibility, it could happen.

More than one person has asked me if I plan on continuing this weblog beyond the next few days, to which I have responded that I hope so, but I can give no more concrete of an answer. This has been fun for me, in that simply putting what I think into words has a fantastic effect on the psyche. If this page is to be continued, rest assured it will not be updated with great frequency and the content will reflect less deep personal philosophy, even though that philosophy is sometimes my best writing. As for now, I'm off to do something, anything, really, as I am 100% free of responsibility.

12 May 2003

To borrow a bit from Mr. Banks of Mary Poppins, I feel a surge of deep satisfaction. In preparing for my finals this week (yes, I know that [insert school name here] has been done for two weeks), the opportunity to take several brief pauses to wonder what it all means (of course, as I said before, I have developed a pretty good idea of what it all means) is an opportunity I have not squandered. At face value, the mere fact that I have completed my undergraduate collegiate work at the University of Iowa would seem to be the source of said deep satisfaction. Rest assured, it is not. I am extremely proud to have endured four years of higher education, and those of you who know me only so well will know that I am have been extremely successful at school. I am proud of that success.

What give me this satisfaction? Simply, as I have mentioned before, I HATE having expectations placed upon me by others, and, as far as I can tell, this is the last of the big expectations I have met for the pleasure of others. All the time I spent wondering why I continued at school when I was entirely unhappy with it is now irrelevant. I have finished it. The world will now open up to me like an oyster, no, more like a magnificent. . .

11 May 2003

The opportunity to use this web page to send thinly-veiled messages to people is very tempting, but at the same time wholly unacceptable. But, as forum to explain myself in non-specific form, this site is fantastic. I would like to start by saying that just because I haven't been the most "up" lately, and I've spent a lot of time deep in thought does not, I repeat, does not, mean anything is wrong with me. Nothing is "wrong." Not everything is completely right in my world at this moment, but that does not mean that anything is wrong. A few days ago, however, I reached point in which I developed a pretty supreme understanding of things that I still can't put into words.

08 May 2003

This afternoon, I have a test. More specifically, I have a test in an hour, but that's not the point. In between "preparing" for the exam and lunch and the actual test, I am taking this opportunity to record a few thoughts.

First, we live in a mad world. A Tears for Fears song from the 1980s, so wonderfully coved by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews for the Donnie Darko soundtrack claims that "When people run in circles, it's a very mad world." And that's entirely correct. To some extent, whatever your ambitions, anything you do that does not bring you closer to what it is that you want to be or who it is that you want to be is running in circles. Playing the game. Being alive, but not really living. To those of you who are who you want to be, and are what you want to be, congratulations. To the rest of us, our objective should be to stop heeding the convention, and start listening to ourselves. Get out of the circle.

Second, I have been accused of being intellectual, perhaps to a greater degree than I even acknowledge, especially in my writing. And it is here that I attempt to avoid sounding superior, but I (as well as many of my closest friends) suffer from what I like to call the "curse of the brilliant." In a nutshell, being intellectually-abled and not being able to hide (not that one should) these abilities results in difficulties relating to a lot of people. As a result, people view you as either cold, aloof, or, in some rare cases, scary and abrasive. This is simply not the case. The brilliant people, or at least all brilliant people I know, simply have more to think about and exercise their thinking to a greater extent than most. In my case, at least, I think about things, critically (this naturally goes back to my admission that I really hate conventionalism). Do I think about things too much? Do I over-intellectualize things? Do I make the mundane more important than others? The answers to these questions, naturally, are highly subjective. Feel free to draw your own conclusions, but as for me, I think that thinking about things in a critical manner increases the likelihood that you'll make the right decisions in your own behavior, even if these decision come a little later than they might.

One of most oft-asked existential questions pertains to the nature of happiness, or at least contentment, with life. If cosmic forces were to be altered so dramatically that the world would cease to exist, could you honestly say you were happy/satisfied with the direction of your life? Without too much thought, I can say that I would not be able to say my life would come to end regret free.

In discussing the complex simplicity of life before, I mentioned my taking advantage of my less-cheerful moments to ponder my life. All this is natural, as I have implied, by suggesting that I'm at a natural (albeit socially-sanctioned) crossroads. What I have chosen to do with myself so far has been pitiful in comparison to what I believe my potential to be, and the direction of my life in the short-term following my college graduation certainly does not seem to be conducive to actualizing this potential. I detest the conventional way of thinking and living. Something must be done. I've spent so much time doing what I think others think I should do that I haven't listened to myself, and when I have, the response I've gotten has been less than positive.

All of this is changing. Perhaps it has already changed.

07 May 2003

It has come to my attention that at least one of you has grossly misinterpreted what I have written. Go back, read it again, and think about it.

Life is simultaneously ridiculously simple and overly complex. Throughout the past two and half weeks or so, I've struggled mightily to pull myself out of the vortex of hell I've created for myself, which resulted from bizarre timing, natural crossroads, and devilish neuroticism. Things that should cheer me up have paradoxically spun me deeper and deeper into darkness, spawning a habit of late night walks of necessity, traipsing through the neighborhood streets in search of something that can be found only within.

I fully expect that I will awaken some day soon to the relative happiness that used to accompany me on my days, but until then, I'm taking full advantage of thinking. I've made some fantastic decisions, and, with a little help from those who know me well (and that's not many), I will abide by these decisions. Courage to face my thoughts and act in a manner I know to be necessarily appropriate is next in importance. If all of this sounds a bit on the bleak side, fear not. I have not lost my mind, and I'm not trying desperately to get out of this room.

06 May 2003

Here's something that I REALLY, REALLY HATE (even more than drunk people calling me)

Life is full of expectancies, and how you behave is usually determined by your own expectations. This seems reasonable enough: after all, we don't eat rat poison thinking it will give us super-human powers. What I hate is having other people make assumptions about how I am feeling about things based on their typically horrendously underdeveloped notion of who I am. Just because I like something DOES NOT MEAN I will always want to do things that are completely congruent with it. This is not necessarily, and, in all likelihood, not at all the fault of the other person. After all, if you can't make some assumptions about things, you live in a chaotic world. I hate it when it's implied that any deviation on my part from their assumption is totally out of character. How well do these people think they know me?

I require nothing more and nothing less than 100% support.

05 May 2003

Let me begin with a general notice about the purpose of this page. First, as for the URL—to me, nothing is as comfortable as a hooded sweatshirt. I’ve worn hooded sweatshirts all my life, and, despite a likely move to a much more tropical climate, I’m not about to give them up. In fact, right now, I’m wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, as the extremely cool early-May temperatures demand it. I’m hoping that this page will be comfortable for me, and, by extension, you. I’m not very certain that this page will last, something that becomes less certain by the minute, with some pretty dramatic changes in my life: some having already occurred, some still being expected to occur.