26 August 2004

During the last four weeks of my Europe trip, I'm considering taking a day to visit a major university in some of the larger cities. I want to sneak into a lecture in Oslo or visit a student union in Stockholm. I think that sounds like fun. It's like going on a college visit without getting the "Why School X is right for U" speech. I would love to find out what the burning issues are at the University of Oslo--and do they have any sports teams? I wonder.

24 August 2004

For the past two weeks, I have been trying to fill the void that is my life at present with travel planning. That has become tedious at best and horrifically frustrating at worst. I'm not worried about getting to my destinations (after all, I have a place to stay in Dublin and Munich--and after emailing some eastern European friends, I have a place to stay in Budapest and the eastern part of the Czech Republic). I also have found some hostels that sound really interesting (living on a houseboat in Prague, for example) and they seem to be readily available and, for the most part, inexpensive. What has become troublesome is the overwhelming possibilities that I face. I bought a plane ticket to Oslo. But how many days do I spend in Norway before going to Sweden? Where do I go after Stockholm? How much time should I give to Berlin? Why are flights to Athens ridiculously cheap FROM Berlin, but flights back are outrageously expensive? What must I see? What kinds of things do I want to see? How many concentration camps can I visit before I want to commit suicide? And so on.

Trip planning has taken up a large preponderence of my time, but I have other tasks. Imagine this. When I left for college in August 1999, I left behind a pretty messy room. With my employment at Walt Disney World beginning immediately following that first year at college, the task of going through all of my old work from high school, old collections of junk, old clothes, and other miscellaneous personal effects was put on hold, or more precisely, put into storage. My parents put new carpet in my old room and essentially converted it into a computer room, which is fine with me, seeing as I never stayed here longer than two weeks within the past five years. Guess what? I've been living at home (with my college degree sitting on the dresser, mocking me) since August 12. With virtually no contacts remaining in my old home town, I'm am bored off my ass. Bored enough to tackle the momentous chore of sorting and tossing all of my old crap. And how. In throwing away (or rather, recycling) most of my old papers, I learned a few things about myself that I feel like sharing. Here they are in no particular order.

3. I was a funny son of a gun in high school. In response to my school's ridiculous lunch policy, requiring a lunch pass for an open campus, I wrote a parody of 1984, which I cleverly entitled "1999: a parody of 1984." In rereading that, especially the part in which we have to suffer through the Three Minutes Horrible Done Announcements, I nearly wet myself, which is difficult to do with two sphincters.
7a. I don't remember anything about chemistry except the mole concept and burning magnesium.
1. I earned a certificate for winning the pickleball tournament in P.E.
Zi^2. Somehow, I managed to keep a binder specifically for the "dot game."
Foxtrot. My survey of American Literature notebook was covered with a giant red maple leaf. Precedent set.

In other news, my ex-girlfriend is engaged. I ran into her at the store the other day. I was buying beer and she was, ironically, buying ice cream. She and I chatted for a few minutes, which was awkward only because my mom was standing there the whole time, butting into the conversation. While Sarah never told me that she was engaged, I am smarter than the average bear and noticed the ring on her left hand. This is an occasion all together new for me, and, after having given it some thought, I wonder if I know her fiance (only then will I allow myself to pass judgment). Anyway, congratulations to her. Now, I'll just watch some Olympic women's beach volleyball.

15 August 2004

And by the way, I still have the beard.

14 August 2004

And so beginneth the chirping of the crickets.

Camp has ended. Ennui has begun. Despite my best efforts to maintain my role of camp counselor at a camp not needing anymore camp counselors, my failure has become apparent. Life at camp is over, and so I must return from the safety of the Commons sans herpes to the real world, which, at the moment is a harsh reality: I am living in my old room at my old house with my rather old parents until I leave to travel to a rather old part of the world (although, scientifically speaking, all parts of the world are the same age). With this onslaught of unrestrained free time, trampelling me with its unbearably omnipresent occupation, my life needs abundant interesting activities to pacify my mind, to say nothing of my ass, which I can already feel taking root on the chair in front of this computer. The short solution to all of this is obvious: I ought to clean the house, organize all of my belonging, and prepare the unnecessary items for storage and the necessary items for complacency. I ought also to plan for my European excursion, a hobby which is now bordering on obsession since the Urbandale Public library decided to loan me a dozen books on European travel, all of which have proven helpful at least. Trip planning is a lot of fun until I realize that I would rather be tripping (not onto my face, which I did enough of in the darkness on my way up the hill to Tawama, my 7-week residence at Camp Hantesa) instead of steadily increasing my awareness that I cannot possibly do everything I want and must accept the reality of the limitations of the concepts of space and time.

In mentioning the Urbandale Public Library, I would be remiss to shirk my explication of my recent reading of a literary work that rivals even The Catcher in the Rye as my favorite book. Without any possibility of doubt, I laughed more at Joseph Heller's Catch-22 than any other book. I managed to read it during the last week of resident camp when I more or less managed to convince everyone that I was so busy with everyone else's unit that I couldn't possibly help theirs. Naturally, this left me a lot of free time (the good kind: much like cholesterol, free times has both good and bad varieties). In between naps, which I took daily from about 1:30 until 3:30, I was able to read and read and read. Parts of that book (Major Major Major Major and his orders that no one could see him while he was in his office, for instance) made me laugh so loud that I nearly woke up the 8-year-olds sleeping in the nearest cabin and parts of that book (the graphic description of Snowden's entrails spilling onto the floor, revealing his secret that man is garbage without the spirit) made me react with a physical shudder and a psychological solace. At any rate, I have been inspired by this book to enjoy other books, which isn't to say that I wouldn't have enjoyed other books without the inspiration of Yossarian's exploits and beautiful b.s. detector, and I have checked out a few Kurt Vonnegut books, all of which I have somehow avoided over the years.

My next topics come from my miscellaneous category. First, I will miss my camp friends tremendously. Never before have I been around a group of people for 24 hours per day, and all but 21 hours of the week without wanting to kill them. My camp family was such a great joy and I already look forward to the small reunion I hope to have in Prague, Krakow, and Budapest in October. Second, I promise to tell more stories of my week on the St. Croix River. It was an adventure (completely safe and hassle-free, but good stories ought to be shared). Third, as a result of a lot of things, none of which could be found in horny camp movies and none of which actually resulted in anything, I am no longer willing to categorize myself as asexual. Tit's nice to have some good 14-year-old libido again (did I just say Tit's? I meant It's. At any rate, hooray for boobies). Fourth, a drank a 46 ounce margarita on Tuesday. It was as big as my head. Fifth, I threw my contacts into the woods on Wednesday. Hopefully, a raccoon has better eyesight now. Or maybe a bat, although it would have to be a very big bat. Sixth, as much as I love my fellow counselors, they are all a bunch of nancies when a live snake is discovered in the drama center. I managed to capture it and relocate it the middle of the woods with minimal help, not that I needed any help. I felt a bit like Jeff Corwin, to be truthful, and that means I just that much closer to landing my television show with Animal Planet. Seventh, a Russian named her Hantesa monkey Brian. After extraordinarily little investigation (Me: She named the monkey Brian? That's my name. Other counselor: She knows, trust me), I discovered that I am not only apelike in appearance but also more charming that I could ever have imagined. Eighth, I have no eighth. Ninth, young girls and older girls love my reading of Bunnicula. Perhaps I should start quoting Bunnicula as a pick-up line--nah, I'll stick with saying "we were driving" in Portuguese. That is all. So it goes.