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When October starts there's usually some idea of "crisp" in the air, some sense that autumn has come and we can finally throw off the shackles of all that oppressive and nasty heat. What have we got this Octobre? The summer we should have had in July, not that gargantua of humidity. It's pleasant out. I could go out in shorts if I felt like shaving my legs. It's been a very good day in some ways, although I do wish today hadn't taught me another lesson in hypocrisy. There is always a little grey cloud around your silver lining.
Well, damn. Jaw-dropping abounds. My English tutor looked at the project I did using the 100 Words format, and not only did he pronounce it worthy of a 98% grade, he also said he was going to suggest to the program director that all students taking this course use this format for the special project. I'm going to have to email Mr. Koyen and tell him what he's spawned with this. I'm still gobsmacked over it all, over the grade, the compliments on my writing, and the tutor thinking so well of my project that it might get passed on to others.
I never did get around to my birthday celebration of throwing away exactly as many things as the age I'd turned this past September. When I look around my apartment I realise that I could triple the amount of useless crap I could throw out, and that's not even counting the monstrous amounts of old papers, bills, and now useless magazines. I think I'll have to get on this very soon, because I am finding it difficult to navigate through the piles of crap all over the place. I am sometimes amazed at the discovery that I have a floor!
I must remember never to remove meat from the styrofoam containers it's packaged in at the store. Why? Because dumbelina here can't tell what kind of meat it is without the label. Chicken is somewhat easy to figure out, but not some kinds of pork and beef. I keep taking meat out of the freezer (I keep it at my grandmother's because my freezer is shit), showing it to her and asking her to tell me what it is. I feel like such a stooge. This is just one of the many things that proves how domestically challenged I am.
People seem to become so used to certain things being applicable only to certain times of day. They become almost trapped within the idea that some things belong in a particular spot, and nowhere else. Folks never seemed to understand why I'd eat hamburgers for breakfast and eggs for supper (when I bothered to actually eat eggs, that is). The idea being that eggs are "just breakfast food". My thinking on it is this: it is food, I am hungry, therefore I am going to cook and eat it. I never quite got the have-to's and appropriates in these things.
I was recently asked the following question:
Do you like to write? Why? When did you discover that you liked or disliked writing?
Yes I do, and sometimes I'm not sure why. I think part of it is being able to put words together and have the end result be something pleasing or profficient. I find it's good therapy too, no matter what the end result is. I've always been a writer, but it was something I sort of did without thinking. It's only been in the past couple of years that I've discovered how much I truly enjoy it.
Why is it that whenever I discover my body has hatched a new mole, it's always during some painful process of accident, because the mole has ensconced itself in what is always the most damnably inconvenient place? Is it a conspiracy, by moles? This one's on my inner thigh, in a spot that means it gets hooked every time I take my pants off, and right now I'm having mental graphics suited better to "Something Awful" than my mind, that have fat, furry rodents hanging from my hips. Perhaps I could hollow them out and use them as carrying devices.
I know I'm supposed to enter only my own words here, but these words are too significant, and were phrased too well, for me to even attempt to match them: Writers will write because they can't not write. Repeat that over and over to yourself until you get it. Do you know someone like that? Someone who does what they do, not for money or glory or love or God or country, but simply because it's who they are and you can't imagine them being any other way?
I know very few people like this, but those I know are wonderous.
Today's a strange anniversary of deaths and reminders of death. Today would've been the birthday of John Entwistle and John Lennon, and it's also the anniversary of Che Guevara's execution. My grandmother told me of an elderly man in her building who'd died a few days ago, but whose body wasn't found til today. When they came to remove him, his body burst in the elevator on the way down. People in containment suits had to be called in to clean it. The elevator doesn't smell antiseptic, but overly of soap and air-freshener. He died lonely and alone. I'm sad.
I keep doing stupid things like misplacing my deoderant and hairbrush. As a result, I now have about three sticks of deoderant in various spots around my apartment, because I can be guaranteed to not find one where I first look for it. For some reason I am never in the bathroom (the normal place for keeping such things) when I want to put it on (despite the fact that one puts it on right after one bathes). So, there's one in my bedroom, one in the livingroom, and one that floats, ending up whereever I happen to drop it.
I'm getting fat. Well, not fat per se, but I am definitely thicker around the middle than I should, or want, to be. Something Must Be Done. However, there's also the added bonus of being lazy. I'm supposed to do some water aerobics with a friend of mine, which will be good, but I'm somewhat antsy about exposing my chubby bits in public. I am guessing that I won't be the only non-stick-thin person there, but still. I have to do something or I'll be unable to shop at my favourite bargain stores, because nothing they sell will fit me!
I have this rule of thumb for judging the loudness level of my neighbours downstairs, who've yet to comprehend that banging on the wall equates to: turn that shit down, you're disturbing people unduly. I figure it this way: if it wakes me out of a dead sleep, it's too loud. If it prevents me from getting to sleep, it's too loud. If it prevents me from hearing my own stereo (which I'm never more than five feet away from), it's too loud. If it makes my floors vibrate to the point where my chair is shaking, it's too loud.
I have been experiencing these little bouts of dissatisfaction lately, little twinges of sadness, tiny nibbles of despair. I have grown somewhat unused to them over the past several months, so they somehow surprise me a little. They don't last, nor are they as gut-wrenchingly crippling as they used to be, but they are reminders that there are things about my existence about which I am none too happy. Most of those things are of the sort that I can currently do nothing about, so I try not to let them chew away my innards. Still, they're unpleasant and saddening.
I fail to comprehend humanity sometimes. I fail, even having been there myself, to understand why people hold on to anger, bitterness, vitriol and misery, like a drowning man clinging to a life preserver. It's unnecessary, and completely counter-productive. It takes more energy to remain this way than it does to let it go and get past something. Life is not going to always be a smooth ride on the rosy-coloured ocean of utopian perfection, but you don't have to make it harder than it has to be. As a wise person once said: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
A friend has been asking her friends to tell her what it is that makes their life good. These were my answers: My life is good because... I have wonderfully patient friends, I have a good brain that I'm learning to use better, I have a new positive outlook on life, I'm more calm and patient, I have talents that I am rediscovering, I have gone back to school and am loving it, I have food on my table and my own private space, I am able to see, I can make it (my life) so (good), and know that.
I haven't had time for much of anything but study, of late. I get up, have my morning cup of hot caffeine, and hit the books. I break for some food, and get back to the books. Then I sleep again. I have so little time and so much to do that it seems I'll never have it all finished in time. I need to organise my time better, create a better schedule for getting things done. I think the next two months are going to be very stressing, but it'll end eventually, and it's all for a good cause.
There's things I write in my journal sometimes called "Instant Thought Soup". Just short phrases. I guess it's like my own version of a life's little instruction book. Like:
The only fool you make when you try to upstage someone, is yourself.
Some people think that the only promises are those housed inside the words "I promise". That is not the case. Integrity, everything one says and does, is a promise.
Bad things about people are like conspiracies; if that's all you look for, that's all you're going to find.
Never blame other people for your own motivations and choices.
I was recently asked what sort of programming I'd have on a television network if I could have one of my own. Here's the (short) list:
Star Trek (all series)
semi-intelligent yet fun game shows: Jeopardy and Win Ben Stein's Money
lots of nifty science and culture documentaries
news and views programmes
cartoons: Animaniacs and Bugs Bunny
really good films
a decent talk show or two
idiot-oriented cooking, how-to, and DIY programmes (for my benefit, I'm domestically challenged)
educational programming: televised university courses, etc.
National Film Board of Canada animations
I could go on.
Sometimes I just loathe this apartment. Loathe it with an intensity only closely rivalled by how much I dislike eating liver, spending too much time in bright sunlight, or watching reality TV. It's too small, too cluttered, and not at all the way I had imagined my apartment would be when I was young and dreamed of having my own space. There are things about it that, no matter what I do, never seem to be clean enough. There is no cross-draft in summer, so it's always grotesquely hot, and freezing in winter. Unfortunately, it's all I can currently afford.
It's that time of year again, or would be if the leaves would actually fall from the trees all golden, orange and red. It's time for leaf scuffing. Walk through the dried leaves, kicking your feet, scrunching the leaves, listening to them rustle and crunch. I have never experienced a more soothing activity than that. It ranks right up there with listening to the wind in the trees and car tires washing through rain-wet streets. It is peaceful, soothing, contenting, and just plain fun. I recommend it highly to everyone with enough leaves to scruff through. You're never too old.
If you look at various spots throughout my entries here, you'll see I've had a growing liking for Zen and the Tao. Every day I read http://www.dailyzen.com. Sometimes the posted phrases are not applicable or interesting to me, but sometimes they're poignant, beautiful, personal, and sum things up better than I could hope to. This is today's:
The universal is present
in the individual.
Just so, liberation comes
the subtle in the gross,
the unity in diversity,
the similarity in differences,
the truth in untruth,
the light in darkness,
the life in death.
This is real liberation.
You know those surveys people send around, full of lots of questions both stupid and sublime? I'm addicted to them. I don't think I've missed answering that many since I started filling them out about two years ago. I can't help myself. I'm a factoid queen. I have this large collection of the ones I've answered, on my website. Okay, it's not that large, but it's big enough to point to an obsession. *grin* I got bored of the stupid ones that just want to know your age and suchlike, but I've found some with actually stimulating questions on them.
When I was little I wanted to be a child prodigy, I wanted to stand out, I wanted to be "number one" in something amongst the group of people I knew. Now, I no longer want, rather, I no longer have the need to excel, at least not for those reasons. I realised that it really isn't all that important to have one's name in lights. I realised that there were other, better, ways in which I could be content with who I was and what I could do, and that there would always be someone better than I was.
I've got a fondness, despite the protestations of others, for humourous uses of the Japanese poetry style of haiku. I've written copious amounts of joke haiku, most of it absolute crap. The custom 404 page for my website, which doesn't work, is also mainly computer oriented haiku. Such as:
I ate your web page.
Forgive me. It was juicy
And tart on my tongue.
I recently found a website that does movie reviews all in haiku. I found it amusing. Here's what it has to say about "2001: A Space Odyssey":
anyone who says
they understood this movie
is pulling your leg
Okay, I'm finally getting to the point where I'm finding the lack of a working television annoying. There are days when I don't want to listen to the radio, days when I am too tired to do anything really active and just want to vegetate in front of the television. The TV provides a different sort of background noise than the radio does, something a bit more tangible, and it's definitely better company than the jackass DJ who won't shut up about the Zeppelin reunion that's *never* going to happen. He really should pay attention to his workmates and sources.
There's nothing quite like being threatened with bailiffs because you haven't managed to pay a debt from your very long ago first attempt at university. Mind you, they were probably the most pleasant bunch at a collections agency I've ever dealt with. Some agents are less than friendly, and some are downright rude and condescending. I get the feeling most of them automatically assume you haven't paid your debt because you don't feel like it, which very often isn't the case. Being nasty to people is no way to help them figure out a way to pay what they owe.
Donovan once went to see Bob Dylan play at the Savoy Hotel in London, England. After the show he was escorted backstage to meet Dylan. Donovan was ushered into a dark room, the door was shut, no one said a word, and all he could make out was Dylan sitting in a chair in front of a small black and white TV set. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he realised that there were four other people in the room all watching that little television. It was The Beatles. They were watching, of all things, ice-skating championships from Austria.
I just had a minor coronary.
I'm sitting here, and all of a sudden I hear something I don't recognise: a very low hissing sound that didn't sound natural, and which kept getting louder and a bit more erratic. It's one of those sounds that panics you for a few moments, until you realise something: that you'd put your whistling kettle on to boil so you could make tea. It's like the time I got fraked by this weird beeping noise, only to find out it was the smoke detector telling me the batteries needed replacing.
Bonehead mode now off.
My friend Sandy, who is sometimes a font hoarder like myself, found this website today that (rather than using the traditional methods of displaying the font styles, like the font name, or that "quick red fox" sentence) uses quirky sayings to display what the fonts will appear like. The dingbat fonts are almost impossible to figure out, but, here are some choice selections:
My parents made me what I am today. I'm thinking of suing.
If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
My God, Alex is full of stars.
I like people with a sense of play and sense of humour. It gives one the sort of warm fuzzies that nothing else can give, when something surprisingly humourous happens, when there is a sense of glee and fun. Like today. My friend Eric's astronomy professor at Berkeley came to class dressed as a low mass, decaying black hole. His radiation stream? Milky Way bars, Mars bars, and Starburst candy he kept throwing from a little pail he had tied to his belt.
Eric was, fortunately, very well located in the radiation stream.
It's not New Year's Eve by the western calendar, but to some earth-worshipping religious types, it is. So, I am going to make some resolutions now, that I hope to have resolved by the time our "normal" New Year's comes around:
successfully completed the university courses I've got going
finished sorting out my apartment
lost some weight or at least toned up
read at least one of my massive pile of Pratchett books
replaced my fridge
gotten rid of some of my massive amount of debt
finished the website I was hired to do
have won a very large lottery
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