Wednesday, December 8, 2010

War on the Internet

Earlier this year, I wrote an essay (more a press release, really) on the Wikileaks release of documents concerning the Afghanistan war. I was (and am) elated that the leak occurred, as it demonstrates to me the part and parcel purpose of the internet, the free dissemination of information to all those with access. As I'd hoped, Wikileaks has only grown in notoriety since. The timing of the arrest of Wikileak's founder Julian Assange coming shortly after his organization's release of embarrassing diplomatic cables is not a coincidence, especially when the circumstances surrounding his arrest are so suspect. How does it happen that a man who is called to be executed by a former U.S. presidential candidate is arrested mere days after such a release.

How does it come to be that he is charged with sexual assault that may or may not constitute rape by two women who admit that the sex was consensual and in fact bragged about it on Twitter and Facebook? Two women who had not actually accused him of anything, instead following a Swedish procedure of asking for "police advice," which does not constitute an accusation in case the accusation itself is wrongful. Why is he in prison when the actual case against him was charged, then dropped, then charged again be three separate prosecutors. Why is he in an Interpol warrant for this situation, where Swedish authorities only want to question him about the allegations? Why did Swedish authorities refuse to use any of the proposed alternate methods of communication to achieve such questioning? Most importantly, why was he imprisoned and denied bail in Britain despite turning himself in and not being formally charged with a crime? I'm really not claiming there's any sort of conspiracy here. This IS the authority, and this IS what they do. There's no cover-up of motive here, it's bald and plain for anyone to see.

The man is a political target, and he's made enemies with some surprising people. Sarah Palin wants him dead. Despite being a popular media figure and the host of an absurd pseudo-reality TV series about how to backpack with a lot of money and people with you, she's willing to call for this man's blood, in a move that would seem politically expedient for the entire "right" spectrum of politics. This is disregarding the fact that there really is no U.S. law this man is breaking, nor has anyone actually come to harm because of his organization. It is, of course, points in a political game. The right wants to convince people that Obama is incapable of defeating Julian Assange for one reason or another, and that by voting Republican, you can elect someone who can/will. Palin for president; She always gets her man. No one has yet pointed out that this is the same organization that exposed her own corruption through her e-mails.

The scope of this conflict, however, is much larger than the petty partisanship of politics in P'america (Couldn't break the combo). This is truly a war about democracy and what role the people have in shaping their own government. The concept of democracy does not include the concept of the government keeping secrets from its populace, as the populace is indeed the government, as per the intent of the founding fathers. By claiming security interests in keeping secrets, the government has managed to divorce itself from the people and become an entity unto its own. Here at last, the capability of the people to share information with one another instantly and for such little cost demonstrates the ultimate folly of attempting to keep state secrets. What was once a matter of determined investigative reporters is now a matter of simply finding a hole in the system, an inevitable hole because no system comprised of people can truly be completely secure. The government failed to keep these documents secret for the same reason that conspiracies are almost universally unlikely: Humans are the weakest link. Giving anyone the authority to view this information is a risk. What if they disagree with your findings? What if they have a moral change of heart? There will always be leaks, whether or not there's someone there to report them. And here, now, with Wikileaks, not only is there someone to report them, but someone with the capability of disseminating these leaks instantaneously to everyone with access to the web. The same system that has everyone worried about their privacy and well being through outlets like Facebook has also inevitably destroyed the privacy of the U. S. Government.

The problem here is that the government should never have had that privacy in the first place. The word "private" connotes "separate, confidential, personal," adjectives that should have nothing to do with a public institution. If the government is truly made of the people, why don't the people know what the government is doing?

This is the internet at its best. This is ultimately what it was made for, the dissolution of borders and nations and governments. This is an entity that is too large for the nations to simply shut it off. This is an entity without state borders, except its own. This is, at last, an entity who has no political agenda but its own agenda of sharing everything with everyone at all times. It heartens me to see the usually nebulous and poorly aimed Anonymous banding together to defend what is ultimately going to be the first war on the internet through attacks on the corporations that have decided that their allegiance to the systems in place are more important than the services they provide. It heartens me that in response to the shutdown of the main Wikileaks website, not one or two, but hundreds of mirror sites sprang up overnight in defiance. Go internet. I'm right behind them. And if you care at all for our freedom, not as citizens of the United States, but our freedoms as people, so are you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Analyzing Your Surroundings

I need to put together a list of things a person should never study if they want to ever view the world in anything like a normal fashion ever again. The color wheel, for one. Studying the way color relationships work gives you a pretty thorough ability to understand why certain things are certain colors (at least when it comes to human-created objects). You pretty go from thinking "oh, that looks nice," to thinking "Aha, what an interesting use of a vibrant triadic relationship in that purple and green bus logo with the yellow highlights," like the total pretentious douchebag you are.

Another thing not to study: how gender is performed and presented. Twisted pixel literally just announced a sequel to their "'Splosion Man" game, titled "Ms. 'Splosion Man" as a homage to Ms. Pac-Man. The picture announcing the release is this:

So, take a look at that. This is a female version of a male character (more or less) and despite being a freakish being of non-organic origin and thus without any meaningful physical markers of sex (as a creature whose sole purpose is to create violent explosions, it's probably wise to leave out a function for it to reproduce by), here we have a very clearly female character. Take a look (you probably already did) at dat ass. It literally bulges. You can also catch a glimpse of side cleavage. Clearly all of the scientists are madly in love with her/it (note little hearts) with the exception of the evil looking characters up top, who seem indifferent. Note the female evil character in the upper right (as marked by the pronounced lips and longer hair) appears to be angry. Jealous? Upset? Who knows.

Besides the very obvious assets of the character, notice a few other details marking her/its femininity. The bow on it/her head, the eyelashes long and curved, and her pink color. All additional and non-physiological symbols of femininity. More importantly, notice the fingers and the way her/its hands are splayed. That's a very feminine pose to put a figure in. When I was a kid in elementary school, I was subject to a somewhat absurd assertion that there was a "right" and "wrong" way for a guy to look at his fingernails. The correct way was to look at them with fingers folded over an upright palm, halfway to a fist. The wrong way was to view them extended from the back of the hand. Viewing your fingernails from this position meant you were gay, just as much as a limp wrist or a tongue in your cheek. I'm sure there are a bunch of interesting psychological reasons that having your fingers out and strangely arrayed is considered weaker. I think the simple fact hat it is not a fist probably suffices.

The teaser image isn't the only expression of femaleness, either. Check out the logo for the new game.

Notice how again, the character has her/it's fingers splayed in a strange and feminine manner. Also notice that her feet are, besides being more shapely than regular 'splosion man's, positioned like a ballerina doing a leap. Also note the cleavage and protruding butt. For proper comparison, here's the first game's logo:

Notice that unlike Ms. 'Splosion Man, regular 'Splosion Man's hands are balled into fists and his gait clearly denotes running in a fairly masculine manner. Even the angle at which he is viewed is different, as he's/it's demonstrated from a profile angle, while Ms. 'Splosion Man is viewed from a quarter angle, which according to this website with too many ads on it, is a more intimate and emotionally charged angle to view things by. Bonus thing to note, the shade of fuchsia or lavender or whatever that Ms. 'Splosion Man is is complementary to the shade of yellow that her bow is. Same with the logo.

Ultimately the result is otherwise perfectly enjoyable things becoming exercises in analysis where the struggle to understand a work supersedes the actual consumption and enjoyment of the work. I sometimes worry that if I learn too much about the world and its processes, I'll become completely unable to appreciate anything and only capable of recreating the exact creative steps that went in to building an expression. Eventually I will become so wrapped in referential icons and indices that I'll somehow morph into a postmodernist writer who can't write a damn word without referring to half a dozen other things within or without his own work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eye Smasher

I hate being busy almost as much as I hate not being so. I am still here in New Orleans, and one way or another I'm still alive. All this really guarantees is that I'm still here being opinionated and irascible. For one reason or another, my apartment I live in has been home to one person or another nearly nonstop for the last 3ish weeks or so. This coincides with a great deal of activity for me, searching out a job lead or meeting people or just in general doing things. It's been stressful, at the least. It's not been the fault of the guests themselves, but rather the situation as a whole. Compound that with an intense 50 hour work week for April and an intense series of events for myself (12 hour days at conventions, volunteering, babysitting) and you have something of a difficult period of time. I don't know how to properly express it. It's just been exasperating and exhausting.

Our first houseguest was a friend of a friend who is currently in flux at this point of her life. She's a single mom (well, she's in a relationship, but they're not married and he's not the father, so I'm not sure what that falls under) who got evicted with her boyfriend after he lost his job. She's a pretty nice person, and we agreed to have her for a while before she moved on to another friend of hers.

Next we had (for one night) a co-worker of April's who lives out in Metarie and was going to volunteer at the superdome but didn't want to take the eight buses (well, four) necessary to get there in the morning. She's pretty cool. We took her to a party. Then we totally served some nachos for like 8 hours.

Then we got Ina who is pretty bad-azz and not a problem guest at all. We've been doing this and that with her all while she's been here. She's super cool. Along with her, we got an artist who she is a big fan of and another artist who is tagging along? Driving? Zoe Boekbinder and Rita Burkholder, actually. They're both reasonable, though Zoe seems pretty distant. Rita is a darling who reminds me of my cousin and has been fantastic on their entire stay. Totally look up Helen Kellers Ukulele and buy like a zillion albums. It's ukulele music and very cool. Zoe goes by Zoe, so look up Zoe Boekbinder too; she's got a great voice.

So again, really it's nothing to do with the actual people we have over, it's just that we have people over combined with the fact that I've been all over the place, running from interviews to conventions to covering voodoo to April covering voodoo to deciding to dress like a woman on Halloween to changing my mind, to changing it back again but finding out that I would be literally too busy to do so, to volunteering at Prime-Time to volunteering with Charles and United for Peace to running to a Ceasefire meeting and so on and so forth. I really haven]'t had any time to vegetate. It's a good thing and a bad thing, really. I am happy that I'm not vegetating that much because it used to be pretty much all I did, but on the other hand, I really need to vegetate every so often, or I pretty quickly go insane. It all still pretty much falls under the category of competitive flailing, and damn am I flailing to my best.

Point point point. Everybody's got to have a point. My point is that I can't find the time to write, much less keep in touch or whatever. I haven't stopped, so I can't appreciate anything. Nothing has sunk in just yet. Here I am attempting to squeeze out a bit of writing, mostly by stealing time from myself. It's 2 in the morning, later than I want or can afford for it to be, but here I am writing. I hope this really isn't keeping April up, but I feel like I have to do this to retain any legitimacy as a writer. What is my point? What can I talk about?

Why don't I talk about drugs? So far everything I've drank or smoked has had more or less the same effect on me. They all make me very tired and unable to focus. Which might be interesting from a writing point of view (let's see what I write drunk! Whoo!) but I am rarely near a writing receptacle when this happens. I don't really converse better with people or anything, I don't suddenly magically lose all of my insecurities; I just become too tired to care. In some ways that's similar to when I do write, simply because I am also too tired and too detached from my readers to care what they think. So maybe that's what the goal is?

Judging by TV ads and what I hear from people all the time, getting intoxicated should be some gateway into a magical experience of social lubrication and joy. Introverts suddenly open up, Awkwardness is replaced by hilarity, and all are equal under the watchful eyes of inebriety. It's quite an expectation, and rather disappointing that it's not even remotely as cool as I'd been lead to believe. It is in fact so underwhelming that I wonder if I'm doing it wrong and I feel like I'm just around the corner from the "right" amount/combination of alcohol or the "perfect" toke. I don't really care that much though, and I feel bad for not caring. How do you turn down a beer or a hit by saying "yeah, this shit doesn't really do anything for me?" I'd almost rather be a teetotaler than a big jerk who just doesn't like the feeling all that much. It's a strange experience, to be sure.

So what is my point? Drugs are stupid? Don't do 'em fool? Not really. I think drugs just fall under yet another one of those categories of things that simply work out better for some people more than others. It's like a hobby. Some people are interested in it and derive legitimate value from it, but others are not interested or do not derive value from it. That label is probably only strange in light of the way that society tends to treat all of these things as being universally effective (and often universally harmful). It's just another culturally driven mindset. A stereotype, probably.

I guess I'll stop here because I really am eye-smashingly tired. I hope I can get some more writing done soon. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


No one has any idea what they’re doing. We’re all blind to the consequences of our actions. We make predictions, we make assumptions, but until the consequence has arrived, we have no true idea of what it will look like. Some people tell other people that they indeed do know what the future holds. Some people will tell you that they indeed do know better, that they are “experts” or that their advanced age or experience somehow qualifies them as being that much more aware of their universe. Some will say “I know more because I’m more mature/intelligent/capable/observant.”

It is, of course, a lie. It’s one of those lies that are repeated often enough that it’s taken for granted as truth. It’s codified, in fact. Codified in religion, codified in law, codified in society. The concept of authority lies on the concept of responsibility. The concept of responsibility relies on the concept of being aware of the consequences of one’s actions. The idea is self-sustaining through a system whereby it’s accepted that the passage of time confers a sort of prescience. There’s always a “wise old man;” never a “wise young man.”

I read quite a few articles on a fairly artificial controversy over Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign, hoping to lift the spirits of gay youth. I read a number of other articles espousing and promoting a polyamorous lifestyle. I read an entire webcomic espousing feminism and atheism as ideal examples of society. All of these things had a unifying theme, a sense of self-righteousness that pervaded their individual campaigns. This is what is moral and correct and good. That is what is immoral and incorrect and bad. This is an act of attaining freedom. That is restrictive and reduces freedom. All of these are based on basic assumptions of what is right and what is wrong. All of them are based on morals, essentially. The understanding, the buy-in, is that these morals are more beneficial to human society than the morals that disagree. That as much freedom for as many people possible is better than limiting freedom to certain people. That people really do have a fundamental and expected right to do what they want, so long as it hurts no one.

These ideas don’t have any particular logical grounding. Assuming that your logical goal is to simply promote and extend the human race, the status quo has proven to be fantastically successful. Radically altering the concepts of love, marriage, genders, or religion are simply solving a problem that doesn’t really exist. Assuming that the logical goal is to make everyone happy, you’re basically in the same boat. Happiness is subjective. Perhaps the majority of people are happy with monogamous relationships. Perhaps the majority are happy not to have the pressure and responsibility that a man might have. Perhaps the majority is fine with homophobia, and it makes them happy to restrict gender into easily comprehended boundaries. Perhaps they’re fine with believing in a friendly magic ghost in the sky. Certainly it can’t be the other way around, otherwise the majority would make a change and support these things.

“But Jake,” you say, “what if they simply aren’t aware of any alternatives? Society is simply an inertial engine that tries its best to maintain society exactly as it is, even if they did decide to change things, society would probably quash the change as quickly as it could.” Excellent point, however society is still made of people. Scapegoating it as a root of all malfeasance dehumanizes and removes the importance of the people in a society, and misunderstands what is actually being referred to as “society.” The vast majority of what people describe as “societal pressure” is actually internally generated anxieties attempting to predict the consequences of diverging from what everyone else does. Again, as we can see, faulty reasoning based on poor predictive ability. Let me give you an example: I have painted toenails, very nicely done by my girlfriend. They’re painted in that dark red color typically associated with striking dresses or very luscious lips(tick). I wore sandals today because all I have are sandals and dress shoes, and I don’t like having to wear dress shoes very much. The predicted response is that people would look down on me and instantly notice my nails and possibly remark on them or shun me. The problem would be compounded by me riding a “girls” model purple cruiser bicycle. “Ew,” the public would say, “I bet that guy is a transvestite.” This is the prediction, the assumption, the very concept of how reality will be in the near future. How wrong it is. I walked and biked and made it from here to there without a single comment, without a single shun. Hardly anyone gave me more than a second glance. The only time I heard anything concerning the nails was when my girlfriend, in an act of sheer malice, pointed them out to her co-workers. What did they do? Make the same general prediction of occurrences, while denying that they themselves would ever be so judgmental. Society is made of people who are too concerned with how they themselves appear to worry significantly about others. A lot of people, at least subconsciously, realize that, and that is why there are so many people with strange quirks out there. Everyone has some eccentricities. It is totally impossible for a person to completely tie themselves to the way they assume others want them to appear. They all have outlets and they all have comfort zones. Just as you claim that people may change their mind about what makes them happy if they step out of these zones and try new things, so do people have a complete inability to understand what lies beyond their perception. To you, perhaps, these comfort zones, the limits of eccentricity perceived to be allowed by society

My point is, no one really knows what they’re doing. Life isn’t as simple as all that. Life is a series of decisions made based on faulty data and irrational assumptions. Assuming that any one viewpoint has more inherent credence than any other is another of those irrational assumptions. I am not trying to make an argument here; I don’t necessarily disagree with any of these viewpoints. What I disagree with is the assumption of morality, that these arguments are somehow correct by the very virtue of their content.

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post this. I have actually written a few things that I haven’t put up for one reason or another. I’ve been somewhat busy and I haven’t had the same sort of night of solitude that inspires me to write for a while.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Heroes in a Half-Shell

I was going to write something interesting and informative, but I just found out that there was a teenage mutant ninja turtles crossover movie featuring all three major iterations of the turtles (1984 comic originals, 1987 cartoon, 2003 cartoon) in the same movie. This has totally shoved everything else out of my mind. Torrrrreennnnntiiiiing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What’s up?

I am sitting here this evening writing yet again. I have read an acquaintance of mine write up ridiculous mockeries of what he feels represents the modern patriotic spirit; an arrogant and materialistic spirit of ignorance, and modern religious revivalist fundamentalist attitudes; an irrational and intolerant voice of spite. He posted them on his facebook and aimed them at his facebook "friends," ever a captive audience (*cough*). People reacted one way or another, either understanding the joke and winking their approval of the lambastment or misunderstanding the intentions of his writing and voicing their dislike of his supposed rhetoric.


It amounts to very little, except a bit of snide pleasure at poking fun of those who don't get the joke, and is ultimately divisive and counter-productive to its purpose. But what is its purpose? To make fun of the people who genuinely hold these opinions, certainly, but what goal is that? I could just as well say that racist pseudo-patriotic bigots who wave the American flag as a justification for being completely rude and arrogant are all pigfuckers and the goal has been accomplished. It was vastly easier. Maybe not as clever. The outcome, though, is the same. So why go through the production? It's not for a particularly intense hatred. He did not suffer one of these people shooting his family or anything particularly traumatic in regards to these people; he just disagrees with them pretty thoroughly.


Why, then, why formulate such a vicious mockery? Why commit the effort? The answer is pretty simple. When there is nothing a person can do to change a situation, a popular resort is for people to complain. This form of mockery is a form of complaint, of exposing the absurdities of reality for what they are and hoping that his opinions are vindicated in the eyes of his peers and that his ideological enemies are flustered by the essentially false image he portrays of them. It's an outlet for a subtle feeling of anxiety of knowing that in the world there are people that disagree with you so thoroughly and from your perspective, so illogically and that there is nothing you can really do to change them. So you mock them. You laugh at them; you point out their foibles and minimize their successes. Welcome to the Daily Show. Welcome to the Colbert generation. In decades past, maybe the people would have demonstrated, maybe they would form communes and separated themselves from the rest of society. Perhaps they would have gone on strike; perhaps they'd start a revolution. This generation, though, cannot. It will not, really. It wasn't raised on the principle of action in the face of adversity, it was raised on the concept that the world is the way that it is and there's nothing you can do to change it.


Why? Why does this generation feel this way? The answer again is simple. They do live in a world that they can't change. They don't have anything they can do about it. We're in an age where securing employment has become both an intensely depersonalized (ever taken a personality test online? Ever been rejected from a job because you didn't score the right answers?) and completely necessary act. We live in an age of megacorporations that run stores with people who have never even seen the people they work for, who do jobs that essentially transform them into human automatons, reducing their activities and skills and their very worth in a social sense into their ability to transfer money from consumer to owner without stealing it. It's a day and age where it is compulsory to indebt yourself to a faceless bank in exchange for a largely arbitrary and useless term of education before you can find yourself working in one of these corporations. We grew up in an age of soccer moms and extracurriculars and clubs that were formed by people who were not your peers and that you might not actually want to be in but you're there anyway simply to prove that you're a social person with some sort of record of your sociability. Nothing is free and nothing is really optional. We're past the time of legitimate entrepreneurs, self-made people that made the right moves and started their own businesses with less than a high school diploma and maybe the equivalent of a few hundred dollars in their pocket. Those people made themselves, and made themselves well and founded the megacorps that exist today. Their legacies actively ensure that their legacies will be the only of their kind. What passes for today's daring entrepreneurs are smarmy rich kids like Mark Zuckerberg who grow up in suburbs and go to fancy expensive colleges and become even richer by essentially swindling people out of their money providing unnecessary internet services and convincing megacorps to give them unnecessary money for their unnecessary advertising and nothing of any real value is produced.


Never before has the disconnect between money and tangible value been so great. The dollar is already based on a floating point that is "determined by the market" and backed "By the full faith and credit of the U.S. government" which ultimately comes down to "it's worth what we say it's worth, and we'll shoot you if you say otherwise." It's a problem, and the depression we're in right now is emblematic of the problem. Money has become a head game. Wall street is a house of cards. Nothing has remotely reasonably tangible value anymore. A house that may cost forty or fifty thousand dollars to build turns around and sells for five hundred thousand dollars, a 900% markup. Then someone buys it, but not with real money, with an agreement that they'll pay a big faceless corporation for thirty to forty years. Plus interest. The home seller gets money, at least. It works out in some weird and complicated way that makes both the faceless corporation and the home seller a fat stack of cash, but screws over the buyer.


The reality is this: it has never been as expensive to own a house as now. And when I say never, I mean in all of human existence. A basic need, the need for shelter from the elements, a need shared by most every other living thing on the planet, has now become essentially a luxury for humans. All because of the idea, the concept that perhaps homes are very valuable and all of the games that people play with that assumed value. Leading straight to the problems we're having today. This largely leads to the problem this generation is facing as well. We live in a world where people we don't know and will never meet are actively causing problems in our lives and we can't do a thing about it. We are essentially taxed without representation, as corporate influence in politics continues to become more and more brazen and obvious. Those without are not counted, and those with will do everything in their power to prevent more from joining their ranks.


Life is regimented and routine and it really does seem like there's nowhere to go from the inside of the system. Fantasy movies and books are on the rise this generation. Escapism reigns supreme. Depression is also on the rise. Suicide is frighteningly common. The world has become unbearable to some people, and even worse, hopeless. This generation is collapsing in on itself with more and more kids living at home or on the benefit of their relatives for lack of employment or being underemployed, which literally means they're not earning enough to live on their own in their "entry level" jobs. Every position requires "experience" doing the same thing that the position requires, which means to say that there's no apparent way to get a position without having already gotten one. When it comes to people who take rules and limitations very seriously, this totally stymies a job search. The actual answer is to simply ignore this "requirement" and either lie your way into a job or make buddy buddy with someone at the workplace that can rep you. It's a terrible system, encouraging exclusion and dishonesty as a means of survival, but it's the system that we've got.


This is the world our generation has grown up in. A fucked up sort of machine that works through a system of obscure rules and mechanisms. It's a brilliant and comforting system for people who like and need routine and predictability in their lives in order to function, but completely terrifying and awful for the other bunch of us like my acquaintance who can't function in a place so small and predictable and stifling. It's very much like going to a movie and being able to predict the rest of the plot in the first ten minutes, so much of this method of life is boring and repetitious. Possibly the worst part is how being different, being interested in doing the wrong thing, is also wrapped up in the same system. Sure, you can express yourself, as long as it's in these predetermined methods and manners. Sure, you can even forgo these, we've got a separate system of underground artistry, just don't expect any legitimacy. There's no reasonable way to escape the system if you want to survive. So people like him and like me and like so many others I've met just complain and make the motions of supporting this culture. Our day will come, maybe. But probably not. Let me just be satisfied with my TV and celebrities and my video games and do whatever it takes to feed my habit.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It's rejection. That's what this feeling is. It doesn't seem like it, and it logically shouldn't be, but that's all it is. It's infuriating, really. I have no reason to feel this. Especially not all day without end. But here we are and here I am. I spend so much of my time trying to get rid of this ridiculous feeling, doing whatever I can to hammer in the unreality of it. I take exorbitant risks, hoping to shock myself out of the fear, I trust fully and completely with only the slightest provocation in hopes that I will learn that I can do that and that my emotion is groundless. I adopt a veneer of iron-clad confidence, in hopes that this somehow sinks into myself and teaches me how to be confident. I thoroughly justify everything I say and do and think just in case it ever comes to question, so that perhaps if I am rejected, even that won't be so bad, for my actions were rational and had some grounding and it is in fact the other party's fault. Blame the other party instead of wallowing in the emotions.

It's never worked, and possibly it never will. My only other option is to just suffer with it and rationalize and detach and find myself away from myself and away from the emotions that comprise me. I'm not crazy, not really, I just have a complex. And the thing is, it's not futile, it doesn't disrupt every personal relationship I have, but at some point it probably came into play. There's almost always some point in time which I was thoroughly convinced that a person whose respect and admiration or even just acquaintance has been entirely out of my grasp. I've taken small words and brief glances and even simple discourtesies to their illogical extremes, because here in my world I cannot comprehend that perhaps no offense was meant or even conveyed, because I am somewhere in my head constantly looking for reasons to justify my own fears and tell myself "see, I was right, they never really liked you all along because you are awful" because that is the only answer I want to hear sometimes, rather than "no, Jake, you just crazy sensitive. You need to get over stuff. This shit is all in your head" and sometimes I do believe it's all in my head and I understand that and it gives me strength.

Sometimes I even forget about all that and don't realize until later that I should probably be looking at life through my anxieties. Those times are pretty neat, but I forget what they're like once they're over, though. I do loathe myself. I loathe the things I write, I loathe the things I say. I am a loathe of bread. Or something. I don't know. Does anyone ever take me seriously? Sometimes I'm not serious, but that's a lot easier than being serious. I don't want to brook with my real opinion. I will not barter in it lightly. What if my real opinion loses me opportunity? What if it becomes a catalyst for the rejection I fear so much? It's safer to stand on the edges, on the outside.

I'll wake up tomorrow and everything will be okay again and I'll probably forget why I ever felt this way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puzzle Quest

I have a problem. I have downloaded Puzzle Quest 2. Puzzle Quest, if you don't know, is Bejewled, except with monsters and swords and things. Puzzle Quest 2 is an updated version of the first puzzle quest, which is a game I literally could not put down. I eventually lost my copy for the DS somewhere, which is possibly the only way I would have stopped playing. We're talking about a game that I played all the way through to beat the ending and conquer every town and capture every monster and find every rune and trained every mount, and then I started a new game and got halfway through that before losing it. So, as you might guess, Puzzle Quest 2 weighs pretty heavily on my mind and in my opinion.


It's one of the few games (the other being Tetris) that will literally continue playing in my head in front of my eyes every time I close them. It's like an acid flashback except that it doesn't end. It literally continues through anything I do. I was playing puzzle quest while frying up some crummy rib sandwich thing. I was playing puzzle quest while having intense sex. I am playing puzzle quest right now as I write this. Shitty orchestral music (seriously, this stuff is so ridiculously cheesy and dramatic) is playing in my head right now. I can hear the noises from the gems lining up. I can hear the voice-overs declaring that my combo was "a heroic effort." It's pretty thorough, this obsession. Doesn't miss much.


That said, not all my activities have involved Puzzle Quest (at least, not externally). I've been incredibly busy, something that is actually pretty noteworthy for me. It's a good thing that I am dating someone who does things and is pretty active much of the time. It really helps me decide to do stuff. She's a football fan (actually, a sports fan in general) so I get to go places just to watch sports. We went to the French quarter pizzeria (a misleading name, as pretty much every restaurant in the quarter serves pizza) and bar and watched the preseason niners game because she is a niners fan. I feel bad for her, but then I remember that I'm a redskins fan and I haven't watched football in some years because of this. It was fun. Some guy in a hat came along and sang some assorted stuff. Mostly blues, but he threw in a Hendrix song for no reason. I gave him a dollar because I can't actually afford to give him a dollar but I liked him anyway. Grocery shopping here is sort of fun. The nearest grocery store is (thank god) in walking distance, but it's right in the middle of the quarter, so I worry that I'm getting gypped on touristy prices. Being the cheap ass that I am, I mostly buy cooking things there anyway.


Anyway, it's in the middle of the whole tourist locale for New Orleans, so I see nothing but contemptible tourists most of the day. Smarmy white folk, flaunting their money and their inability to hold their liquor all over the place. There's some really cool places there, though. I dig the gay grill there (clover) mostly because it's inexpensive. I dig flanagans pub because it's all dark and pub-ish. I like the little cc's community coffee because it's all coffee place/internet repository-ish. I like the river. I like wandering down canal street and walking into hotels that are constantly having conventions (reminder: must write up writeup on deepwater technical symposium) and wandering into empty convention rooms and stealing candy and generally being a nuisance. It's strange, but either they disguise their camera's really well, or they simply have none. Which seems strange because these are pretty ritzy hotels.


I've been outside the quarter or midtown or treme a few times. The CBD (central business district) is pretty much what you'd find in a city, big ol' office buildings and related detritus. Uptown is like this place that seems so emblematic of living in the east or the south or anywhere that was built before the 1860s. Lots of grass and trees and old buildings that are short and close together and they all seem very astute, though most of them are pretty much rundown on second reflection. Still, walking down magazine street sometimes feels like walking in the sunset district in SF and sometimes feels like walking in Kalispell if it had a lot more plants and bugs everywhere and sometimes feels like walking in Gaithersburg if everyone there were actually poor. It's a strange feeling, being somewhere that just feels like a horrible amalgamation (I'm looking at you, super-skrull) of everywhere I've been before. The wal-mart here is just like the new one in Kalispell, which is weird because there is no real comparison to that kind of thing in California. Or even in Maryland. I like living here, I think, more because I'm living here than anything else, probably. I'm very content with living most anywhere, and I don't get too incredibly attached to the places I do live. I like them all, but they're not essential components of my life or who I am.


I guess what I'm saying is that I could be me from here to Tripoli. Never before have I appreciated so much purchasing a laptop until now, frankly. It's sad, probably, and a little embarrassing to say that my computer is a greater component in my life than where I live. April occasionally brings up the fact that we live in the south, usually directed towards some conservative statement or judgment or something that someone else does that reminds her that we do live in the south, but I don't quite understand what is so terrible about it. Certainly, it's a different mindset and a different way of life, but it is no more inherently bad than anything else is. It's just a worldview of a certain sect of people. New Orleans is hardly southern to boot, especially judging by all the gay bars and crazy deviant events I've been to just so far. It's in the south, yes, but it's not southern in any legitimate respect. It's urban, and further, it's an urban college town. While geographic propinquity may lead to some fairly southern attitudes, it's a town where people go to get drunk and get laid, full of tourists and college students. It's about as south as Sacramento.


I guess my point really is that I don't much understand hating a region for any reason, stereotype or not. It seems pointless to hate things that you disagree with, because all that does is burn bridges for understanding and cause conflict where there is none. I don't hate Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin even if I am a sarcastic jerk towards them and with respects to them. It's a product of the way they interact with my views, treating my views sarcastically and douche. I respond likewise because I know that they don't respect my views and thus aren't deserving of my respect for theirs. It certainly doesn't mean I hate them or resent them or will go out of my way to avoid/confront them. All of those would frankly be a waste of my time. I understand them as semi-political figures interested in the pursuit of power and influence over people and I do not begrudge them that. Heaven knows what I would do if I had the kind of fanbase that Beck does. They're celebrities, essentially, and investing oneself into the lives of celebrities is hollow and futile.


It's not that I don't hate anything, not really. Hate for me is an emotion, something I feel towards something that is particularly bothering me at a given moment. I walk past a group of cicadas being stupendously loud, I hate cicadas. Once the emotion (and the cicadas) has passed, I no longer hate cicadas. I honestly cannot hold a grudge. There are certainly some people and some situations that I cannot stand to be in, but when I am not in those situations or dealing with those people, I do not feel any particular resentment towards them. I simply can't obsess over another thing like that, I am too busy living my life. The only thing I can obsess over, apparently, is bright and colorful puzzle games.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Staying on Message

I'm poor and I'm in New Orleans and conservatives have framed a confidence/gulf coast boosting trip to Florida as a "vacation." Or perhaps Obama has framed his vacation as a confidence boosting/gulf coast revival trip. Depends on who you listen to. But regardless, I am poor and in New Orleans which has only changed inasmuch as I am now poor in New Orleans and no longer poor in California. It is fortunate, then, that I am poor here because here many people are poor and it is not so much an unexpected anomaly of living as it is a standard by which adherence is not shameful or disadvantageous. The truth of the matter is such that I did not expect to go to college this semester. I understand that there are costs associated and that I am incapable at this time of meeting those costs. I will state again, as I have many times before, that if nothing else, I was extremely fortunate for not having to pay for classes in California. It was simply the extracurricular detritus that I couldn't afford. Here, I have a rent that's just under $300, but when I signed up for classes, the bill came out to three thousand dollars. I spoke to financial aid and they ameliorated my concerns with the cheery news that I would be able to only have to pay a third of that money now; I could defer the rest to a later date. I'd find humor in the situation, but mostly I confronted a feeling of resignation, of ultimate inability to alter this particular course of my life. I walked off to the Burger King nearby, had a reasonably okay garden burger and an extremely thick Icee and then I went home.

Then I got dressed and went clubbing (well, to a bachelorette party). It was pretty neat. As much as I like to tell people "OH YEAH MAN I LOVE DRAG KINGS" and so on, I've never actually been to a show until now. It was cheesy and silly and great. I thoroughly recommend that everyone who happens to read this should go to one, being that they are great. Don't go expecting great Shakespearean drama or particularly coordinated dancing, go because it's a chance to see people do silly things on a stage and spend too much money on alcohol. And if you can't get off to stuff like that then don't go, I guess. Anyway that was nice. Then I spent the next day lying about and being sundayish and then I took off my pants and marched down the street with a troupe of similarly pantsless people who were making entirely too much noise for no reason at all. Then I did a really bad job of playing pool and I met some people and I ate some Mediterranean food which is astonishingly salty in a way that I, who loves salt, can barely tolerate. Still pretty good, though. For being poor and in New Orleans, I'm having a lot of fun.


Today I am ostensibly searching for a job, but in reality, I am once again naked and typing on a computer instead. I am surprised at the frequency in which this nude typing has occurred, but I see no reason to don clothing. Actually typing that sentence has caused me to go put clothes on. And find out about a buffet up at the French Quarter Pizzeria for $7 Mondays only. So now I'm going to go do that. Now that I am clothed, the words are no longer springing to my mind with the full force they once were. I am now merely typing in hopes of fleshing out what I have already written. Let me return to my original point and reiterate it. I am poor. Also I am in New Orleans. Fantastic. I love you all. You mean so much… so much to me. ;_;

Anyway, I'm back. There was no buffet, as the guy there said "there hasn't been a buffet for several months. It's summer you know, the food just goes to waste." So we ate a pizza with entirely too much cheese on it. Then we went to a mall "shops on canal" which is the sort of thing that collects money from people through the trading of shiny chintzy things for no reason. "Anthropologie: the store" had a chair that was made out of a radiator for 1300 bucks. As I said in the store, when you're rich, you buy stupid uncomfortable things just because you're rich.

There are 82 days until the November midterm elections. Studies show that people who pledge to vote are much more likely to follow through than those who don't. Studies also show that the majority of people are under the impression that the sky is a blue color, with a minority describing it as "blueish." Remember in November that George W. Bush supported the original Bailout and that most congressmen voted against it before they voted for it. Remember that the Republicans have officially entered a stage of complete insurgence toward the present government, gridlocking it into oblivion just because they can regardless of the actual logic or practicality of obstructing congress, leading to an apparently ineffective government supposedly in control of the opposition party, handing political ammunition to fire via their political advert-guns, stating that the democrats are weak and ineffective because they couldn't properly stop the right from steamrolling all over their ideas simply on the basis of the letter attached to the name of the bill's proposer, further, dragging the president through the mud for being the nice guy and attempting to work with a bloc of people who will vote against him no matter what he does, ignoring all concessions and then complaining of the lack of bipartisanship after the bill passes with many concessions for the republicans even though they didn't vote for the bill. It's as though congress has been infested by two camps, one made of reasonable people genuinely interested in getting things done on campus, and another interested solely in preventing things from being done in the most clinically insane manner possible.

I look forward to the rally by Glenn Beck and guest speaker Sarah Palin out in front of the Lincoln memorial (august 28th! Save the date!) to hear their plan for America. I look forward to listening to them completely misunderstand economics, make reductive statements about politics, and generally piss on Blacks and Martin Luther King Jr. and the whole damn civil rights movement. These are people who have suddenly decided to jump on the 14th amendment, the one that ends slavery for providing for a loophole of "anchor babies," completely ignoring the statistical irrelevance of said babies. Ignoring statistics is a popular pastime for a group of people who are honestly still convinced that if we don't shoot terrorists in Afghani deserts, we'll be shooting them in L.A. streets. They're people who are legitimately concerned that gay marriage is going to lead to bestial marriage and polygamy and make everyone nearby the married queers grow up to be gay and end the human race through promiscuous homosexual sex. They're people who honestly think that mexicans are just streaming over the border and walking into office buildings and auto repair shops and walmarts and shouting "ey homes. ¿Puede tengo un trabajo?" and walking out with fat stacks of American cash to take back to their eleventy-billion illegal anchor children. Reality for these people is fucking terrifying, and for good reason. Everyone they trust and respect (coughfoxnewscough) is telling them that everything is terrible forever, and the only way they can fix it is to vote Republican. Vote Republican!


Of course they way they say that is a lot more complicated and sounds a lot less directly frightening, but that's the message the party wants people to come away with. The party specifically wants them to feel as though they've developed and conceptualized this message on their own under their own brilliance, through targeted news items and a constant stream of Democrat-caused-or-affiliated crises. Remember in November just how fucking terrifying the world is, and how Democrats are the direct or indirect cause of it all.

The direct irony of this message is how inevitably similar it is to bush-era rhetoric, and how people voted away from bush back in 2006 when it became obvious that he was entirely incompetent. This is the reason we have a democrat majority in congress now. The simultaneous irony/hypocrisy is the assumption (particularly in political ads and triumphant statements) that the democrats are just as united and bloc-ish as the current republicans. The reality is that the democrats are a diverse group of people with a diverse set of values and a willingness to disagree with members of their own party for one reason or another. Republicans have established a "you're either with us or you're against us" mentality in their own party, something that is going to ultimately alienate members and damage their overall standing as exclusionary and unnecessarily homogenous. The Republicans have decided that it's easier to sell people a package deal and an easily understood platform than it is to cherish difference in viewpoint. They humorously and probably intentionally promote a viewpoint that the Democrats are doing the same. Republicans of the modern era are interested in reducing politics to a choice between Pepsi or Coke.

This obviously hurts the nation through a stifling of productive debate for fear of being ousted from the political party affiliations a politician holds, but more specifically it hurts the American people, who as of yet seem incapable of understanding that occasionally both parties are right, or even more often, neither party is right. Reducing anything is inevitably marginalizing some portion of the thing being reduced, leading to a lesser understanding of the subject. The first four lines of the Dao De Jing are

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

which means, frankly, that by shackling Tao, the universe, the source of all things, everything, with a singular name like "Tao" or "God" denies it the fullness of itself, the fact that it encompasses all of existence and is every name. Reducing Tao by labeling it Tao and stating, that this is Tao, as opposed to "not-Tao" marginalizes the fact that all things are Tao and nothing is not Tao. In order to understand Tao, one must understand that the true Tao lacks a name (I've been using names here for sake of readability) and that there is no way to reduce Tao and explain it in mere words. As I wrote to someone, this is often the first and only thing that supposedly enlightened non-religious people read of the Dao De Jing and "people just kinda give up then, because you have a religion that is telling you that 'No, we're not going to lay everything out, that shit is impossible. Bitch you crazy' in the start of its book."

By reducing politics into a choice of flavor of politician, by focusing on specific issues that are considered "mainstream" and immutable, politics becomes less of a frank discussion of ideals and more of a simple decision between two polar opposites. Do we save the forests or burn them all down to make room for jobs? Do we ban all abortion as a crime against God or do we pass out free abortion pills so no one has to use any of that nasty birth control stuff? Do we shoot Mexicans on sight or do we hand them jobs and neat little hats and let them change the official language of the country to Spanish?

This is what reduction of politics does, this is the world it creates. By eliminating or ignoring middle ground as wishy-washy and unfeasible it creates a concept of either/or, shading the world in black and white in an arena whose very existence is tied to a grey concept of the world. When things become all or nothing propositions, when life becomes an eternal struggle between two opposites, what is the purpose of debate? What is the purpose of democracy? The next Republican president, and the next Republican majority, if it truly reflects the message promoted by the modern Party, will be nothing more than a tyrant, silencing all opposing voices under threat of unlimited filibuster and political clout. This is more than simple fear-mongering, this is a rational examination of the extremist conservative movement in this nation. George W. Bush was an extremely damaging president, whose influence on the country has yet to fully play out. I live in New Orleans, and shit here is still fucked up, five years after the hurricane. The economy suffered a meltdown under Bush guidance of economic policy, that of short-term hyperconservative thinking that emphasizes profit margin over sustainability in business practices. It was his deregulation, and the deregulation of the Republicans in congress during the Clinton years that lead to the inevitable collapse of the absurd housing bubble. It was the collapse of that bubble that lead to the crazy fiscal troubles we're going through today.

Despite the clear and obvious link, ultra-conservative Republicans still continue to pander to their richest constituents and insist on deregulating business and lowering taxes. Reality is entirely irrelevant to this position. Businesses have helped create and are maintaining the problems we're in because it is fiscally advantageous for them to do so. Lowering taxes, despite popular belief, will not help the government pay off its ridiculous debt. Neither of these are solutions, just the status quo from a party mortified by change and deviance. There are no solutions being offered by this party, beyond "give us power and we'll fix it." There is no real plan of action they have in mind, and this is important to the message. By avoiding specifics, the Republicans can also avoid coming under fire for their specific plans. It's an extremely popular political, and in a larger sense, a simple debate tactic. Avoid making declarative plans to large groups, use words that everyone can define for themselves, like "hope," "change," "founding fathers intent," or "constitutional" so as to avoid alienating parts of your constituency because you believe the founding fathers' intent was to create a nation of freedom for each individual, but some of your voters believe that their intent was to keep the Mexicans from having our land.

That's partly why I'm excited for this Glenn Beck rally. He says it's when he's going to reveal his roadmap for America and what he thinks will put America back on track, which will lead to him revealing a legitimately attackable position, rather than simply putting up with his inane criticisms of everyone in politics today. It likely won't change the mind of many of his rabid fanbase, but even losing some portion of the people that support him is a step forward for rationalism in the political arena.

The other reason that I'm excited is because it's an extremely rude and extremely disrespectful to Martin Luther King Jr. and I'm hoping that God smites him or some black internationalist group shows up and starts a riot.

A man can dream, can't he?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Hello, my name is Jacob Germain. I live at 1505 Dumaine street in the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans. I have always lived here, or presumptively I just moved here. I can’t tell which. I live in a small but roomy apartment with a woman I love very very much. I am very happy to be here. I can’t recall having been anywhere else, and I cannot envision being anywhere else again.

My mind tells me, my memory tells me, the people I know tell me, and my bank tells me that I once lived somewhere else. I know this conceptually, and I can envision the place I lived and think of the smells, the sounds, the feeling of being there. I have every reason to believe I was there, but I am not, and I cannot say for certain I ever was there. I’m twenty years old. Today I talked to a woman who was eighty-six, who told me she doesn’t feel like she’s that old. I don’t feel like I’m twenty, I just feel like myself, whoever that is. My age is irrelevant to my person, excepting when it becomes a license to receive gifts. I have moved here, or perhaps I have moved here, except I feel like I’ve stayed perfectly still. Today I met a famous trombonist. I will probably see him again next Wednesday. I look forward to it, as only I can look forward to what will happen in the inevitable future.

I am naked, right now, sitting on the couch writing. It’s very humid here, so wherever my skin meets my skin sweat has formed, and I am only truly surviving through the virtue of generous air-conditioning. The air-conditioning in this apartment consists of two air conditioners, one for the bedroom, one for the living room. They are likely the newest things in this apartment, which is old, wood floored, poorly insulated, a bit uneven and bumpy, the bathroom is tilted, and it’s totally amazing. I can recall once not being here, but I cannot recall why I would have made that choice, or if I ever did. I live here has become a familiar refrain, spoken in tones of awe and surprise and occasional dismay. It’s not me who says it, or rather it’s some part of me and some part of a self I may have been once, or simply met and exchanged recipes and video game tips with. I am white, I understand, and essentially all of the faces I have seen as of yet far have been black, but I do not feel white and I do not worry about this sort of thing. I find myself worrying far more that other people will misunderstand my whiteness as an identity and not simply a result of the causality that brought me here. Most often, I don’t worry at all, excepting that I may receive a wicked sunburn and develop skin cancer and die painfully. So far so good. I am informed that there are bugs here, bugs that bite and cause problems, but I have not seen these bugs, and can only assume the most logical answer: they’re invisible bugs.

I live here now, 1800 miles from the place that was. I live here because I chose to and my choice was made. I live here because of a series of unlikely events that ultimately lead me to the choice I made. I live here because I’m in love and because I want to die. I live here because I can’t handle anything and I want to take on the world. I live here because of all the places in the world, only this one has a piece of myself in it. I live here because I have always lived here, and anywhere else is incomprehensible to me.

I moved, which is to say I packed up a certain part of my self (threw most of it away) and transformed it through a trial of noise and sleeplessness and uncomfortable seats and a demonstration of my immense Sudoku skill until the self that came through is virtually unrecognizable to the self that was before. I am still me, ostensibly, but I am not me who was before. I was never the me that was before, and I will never be that me again.

Today is the third day I have been here, but it is not a start or a beginning, only a continuation of the inexorable, the events beyond my control, beyond my comprehension, beyond my reality leading up the very moment between now and the next word I type. This is life, a series of inexplicable events, marching towards the only path they can march towards. Everything is pre-determined, except that the determination occurs every moment. Random is simply another word for incomprehensible. Chaos is another word for unfathomable. Free will is perplexities disguised as control.

My reality has never felt real, except in sensation. Sensation has never felt true, as it is merely an extension of my belief. Ultimately everything is surreal, even the most basic portions of living. I am trapped in a place in my head, but that is the only place that exists, or at least perceptually exists for me. I guess my dense and overly mystical point is that I do not feel that my life is real, and very little changes that. I spend my time thinking, “Ahoy! This is what happens next to me!” rather than “argh, this keeps happening to me.” People often ask (actually, they never ask, but I wish they did) “Jake why are you so chill?” if people asked me that instead of not asking me that, I would respond “because nothing is real. There is no point in wasting time with regret, as everything that is ever done by anyone is the only thing they could have done in any of those situations. There is no reason in anxiety, because events will always play out exactly as they should. There is no purpose in sorrow, for life is what it is and is well beyond our control and understanding. All we do is who we are, and who we are is all we can do. I embrace that and it gives me the strength and ability not to allow myself those negative feelings as I understand their ultimate uselessness as emotions. You may in time learn to embrace this too, and you will find all manner of provocations sliding off of you as water slides off of a majestic statue.” And then I might be hung as a heretic.

My name is Jacob Germain, though I feel that I’ve never been Jacob Germain, though I am informed that I am the only one. I’ve always been me except when I was some other me and not that me. I’ve always lived here except when I didn’t live here and I lived somewhere else.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today is a great day, a day to be celebrated! Well, it was yesterday, but it did not become an essential part of my consciousness until today, therefore it did not exist until this day. Wikileaks, a fantastic website of amazingness, Released a bunch of afghan war documents that illustrate just how fucking terrible the afghan war is and has been. And instead of simply being ignored like most other anti-war efforts, it’s been picked up and aggressively attacked by the pentagon and the white house and conservatives in general. It’s on the news! All over the place! Damage control damage control! Spin that motherfucker until he doesn’t know up from Sunday! This is great. Wikileaks has been around for a while (a while) but this is the first time they’ve really gotten under the skin of any major organization that they’ve leaked documents from. So now people are blindsided by this website and the founder is suddenly super on the news everywhere and Richard cohen refers to the site as “dauntingly mysterious” and it’s a very big deal.

This is the kind of thing we should expect from the internet. This kind of renegade gonzo personal-private reporting with an agenda and a message. This sort of activism. Laws are forfeit in the territory of the web, rules are coded or nonexistent. It’s a place where pretty much every viewpoint has an equal chance of reaching an audience that exists as the whole of the people with access to the internet. This is fucking amazing. It’s great! Imagine trying to start a publicly accessible civil rights or pro-communist forum in the 1950s. It would have been shot to pieces, the organizers killed or interred, the dissension silenced. Here at last today on this day we see the dissension reigning supreme, using the tools of its oppressors, the media that so thoroughly detains diversity promoting ideas contrary and in every respect treasonous to the government in power. What a day.

The ultimate question, the ultimate test for this is whether it will change anything. If it changes, if the regime in power reacts accordingly, if the war in Afghanistan is ended for reason of stark criticism and intense mismanagement, then truly the rebels have won and there is hope for society forevermore. Though, I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn’t quite it. It’s not nearly big enough, not nearly shockingly outrageous enough. It’s a proof of concept, an applied attitude, but this is probably not the giant-killer. We’ve yet to reach the point where all lies are laid bare and all truth is set free.

But it’s a start. And that is why today is a day to celebrate!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I haven’t unwillingly seen an advertisement on the internet for about 3 or so years now. I don’t watch tv, so every commercial that you’ve seen a few dozen times and you think is hilarious is totally foreign to me. Possibly the most visual advertisement I’ve consumed these days is from the out of doors, or movie advertisements. I heard a few on the radio at mcdonalds, too. Sometimes I read coupon books, which are a form of advertising, I suppose. Sometimes magazine ads. Newspaper ads, definitely.

Though, I think avoiding the ubiquitous tv and internet ads is probably the most effective at cutting down the amount of detritus I end up seeing. I was in a marketing class in high school. I was actually ina marketing organization called DECA, which stands for something totally irrelevant and misleading and I’ve forgotten what. It’s an association of (ta-dah!) marketing students. It was an interesting class. About half of the time it was covering various aspects of advertisement and marketing, the other half it was being marketed or advertised to by some school or other. We learned all about the color associations, how to write interesting copy, how not to write too much copy, how to make an advertisement, how to pitch a product or a concept to someone, and how to speak publicly and write speeches. It was a nice experience but a constant reminder that Marketing as an institution is vapid as all hell , and the people who study it are some of the least creative people on the planet. Pretty much every concept in marketing is ripped off of someone or somewhere else (most notably psychology or aesthetics) and twisted around and used to sell a product.

Marketers are lucky, though. They have some of the coolest jobs in the corporate world. They get to organize all the badass events and plan all sorts of crazy fun things that are sponsored by their company under the assumption that marketing is a necessary expense. So many of them are overpaid and underworked and get to have a rollicking time, all on their corporation’s budget. Hiring a marketing team is a hilariously double-edged sword because you’re hiring experts at selling a thing to sell your thing, but they are busy selling themselves as being experts and capable and worthy of the money you’re giving them first and before they sell your product. This is why 90% of advertising is shitty and forgettable. Because marketers themselves are shitty and forgettable people with a great ability to seem more important and more valuable than they are.

I am constantly shocked and amazed at the sheer amount of money poured into these advertising budgets because they have little to no relation to the reality of consumer purchasing. Advertisers like to claim that much of a well known and well loved product is due to its sheer ubiquity in advertisement; People buy coke because they hear about it and see it all the time. This may have been true in the early years of coke when no one knew what it was, but coke is such a strong and thoroughly ingrained brand in american life that it could shamble on more or less just as well as it has if coke decided to cease all advertising activities. People grow up being given coke as a kid these days. It’s an essential part of their lifestyle. If a child was raised in a strange backwards country where they drank nothing but off brand beverages or supermarket brand beverages, then they may prefer that instead. But coke is available everywhere pretty much all the time. There is no way to avoid it as a child, unless your parents are determined to raise you without it. My point is, sheer branding is far more successful and long lasting than any silly CGI commercial depicting bugs flipping the fuck out when they get ahold of some coke. It’s silly and unnecessary and expensive and stupid.

But it pays the bills. Damn, it pays a lot of bills. Marketers are very highly paid. Much better than I am. Or ever will be, to be honest. Even if I manage to become a professor or something, I will not be paid as highly as the guys who invent little jingles and campaigns to get people to buy dodge trucks or car insurance or whatever the fuck. They are also paid better than you are, unless you’re on your way to an overpaid engineering position or a similar marketing job. All the scientists and researchers in the world can’t measure up to the private sector. The thing is, it’s just money. And money is a physical thing. And you are a person with the free agency to take that money. So why not? Start hunting down people who are grossly overpaid for their terrible products. Hunt them down and kill them and take their money.

Well, not really, I just wanted to end on an action note, it being one of the things I learned from that class. I need to advise action in my speech because otherwise it’s just a rant. Then I summarize the problem again. Marketers are uncreative and worthless people who are paid solely based on their ability to seem more valuable than they are. This is unjust. Unjustice needs to be balanced by justice. Frontier justice.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


It’s a very exciting time. The tea party movement is radically flipping out about nearly everything, the Republican Party is behaving like a spoiled child and refusing to support any legislation, Obama’s ratings are in the shitter despite managing to get two major planks of his platform done in the first half of his first term as president. It’s pretty crazy.

I think the part I like best about the rhetoric is the concept that “the American people don’t want this” or “the American people didn’t vote for this,” or “this is being rammed down the American people’s throats.” What I like best about it is that it completely disavows democracy’s legitimacy and pretends that our votes don’t actually count. It’s a subtle way of simply calling the people in power tyrants. It’s funny, because the president was elected on a fairly comfortable margin. The former republican president actually lost the popular election, probably the biggest perversion of democracy to date. The people’s voices were totally ignored in his presidency. Whereas now, the democrats have a clear, if slim majority and a president in the white house and somehow no one managed to vote for these guys. To hear the rhetoric tell it, they literally snuck into the white house and capitol and suddenly became senators and president.

It’s incredibly disingenuous speech, and in some small way it’s dangerous. When the actual votes of the American people are being denied in favor of what one singular party tells you the American people want, it inspires exactly the kind of hegemony of thought it’s warning against. “Despite the results of the election, the people want a conservative and traditionalist approach to government.” I think I can, with reasonable confidence, say that even during the Bush years when inflammatory anti-Bush rhetoric was practically a requirement of existing in a political sense no democrat stood up and denied the legitimacy of the republican majority in Congress. They may have denied the Bush presidency, but that was largely for the fact that Bush really did lose the first election any way you slice it. Denials of Obama’s presidency were largely based on the ridiculous idea that he was not actually an American citizen, one easily countered and disproven.

All the same, when rhetoric spins around and becomes a common talking point or a popular tirade lede, people tend to believe it based solely on the passion of those who say it. If you’re going to tell a lie, tell it loud and tell it often. So lots of people really do think that the president is an illegal alien or that the democrats weren’t actually lawfully elected or that Obama isn’t doing exactly what he was elected to do. Because that’s all they hear from the fox news to the conservative websites (no newspapers, though, those are all run by left-wing Jewish media elites) to the talk radio on their way to work to the buddies at the office who all consume the same media and talk about the same things. It’s a beautiful thing, public manipulation. Karl Rove was and is a genius, as is Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and all the lovely personalities Rupert Murdoch has promoted through his own media empire. It didn’t start with him, really. It was William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer who developed the concept of using a newspaper owned and run by themselves to support their political ideas. The only real difference between then and now is probably the sheer quantity of media owned by Murdoch. He runs literally every kind of media it is possible to consume, from radio stations to tv stations to newspapers to magazines to websites to a film studio. If one so chose, one could easily only consume media produced by Murdoch owned corporations. And he isn’t even American! He’s an Australian with nothing but a vested interest in making a lot of money by telling people what people with money want them to hear.

So there are all sorts of people who believe all sorts of crazy things about Obama or the democrats or evolution or atheists or homosexuals or abortions or the way the economy works. It’s what they’ve been told. They aren’t stupid. No one (well, except people with legitimate mental handicaps) is really stupid. It’s the scope of their world. When a person lives in an area, grows up in a family that believes a certain worldview, exclusively befriends people with that worldview, takes a job with co-workers with that worldview, you can be damn sure that person will also have that worldview. People are products of their environment. Their environment is a product of their culture. That’s all it comes down to, in the long run. Culture.

Many are convinced that the Tea Party movement simply represents a wing of the Republican Party, and with all the anti-tax rhetoric, you might also be lead to believe this. However, the movement itself actually sprang more or less from Sarah Palin’s abrupt popularity and her adherence to a culture people felt that they could relate to. That coupled with the angry response to the bailout procedures of both Bush and Obama administrations has lead to something of an angry conservative revivalist movement. While the Republican Party has invested themselves in it quite a bit and developed some serious legislative cojones because of them, banking on them helping the Party to take back the senate this November will likely backfire, because the Tea Partiers aren’t just mad at the Democrats. They’re just mad, and totally unfocused in their ire. Huge political missteps, such as the treatment of BP during this oil geyser crisis and the nomination of totally reactionary politicians rather than ones who listen to their electorate will only hold the Party back.

The thing is, the culture that was so long defined by traditional media is being introduced and beset by a new form of media. I’m sure it’s tired and familiar by now, but the internet really is pretty unprecedented and magical. There’s a site, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, called “Wikipedia” that endeavors to create a free and publicly accessible encyclopedia of all human knowledge. This is a totally crazy and new concept and absolutely world-changing if administered correctly. How does one distort facts when they are immediately verifiable through a simple search of the internet? How does a singular culture proliferate when the outputs, reasoning, and comprehension of many others is freely available to anyone? Some people complain about a lack of focused spiritualism and a detachment from ideology in religion, with people who adopt them freely and without much thought to the metaphysical consequences. This is merely a result of the expansion of worldview, the knowledge that not only can other concepts of spirituality exist, they do exist. In the face of this incontrovertible knowledge, how can one accept a singular dogma? This has and will continue to change the political landscape as both party’s hidebound ideologies seem laughable in the face of such diversity. The tea party, the conservatives, and as a whole the entire traditionalist movement is largely fostered and supported in an environment where the usage of internet is limited at best. In places where the technology is readily available and information is cheap and easy to find, there is a much stronger streak of social liberalism and tolerance.

Possibly the smartest and longest lasting planks of the Obama administration and their infrastructure rebuilding stimulus is the promotion of broadband internet access for the entire nation. This should go a long way towards educating those in cloistered communities of alternatives to their way of life. It should bring options to the people. It should foster a worldlier outlook on the outward world. It’s a very exciting time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


George W. Bush is my hero. He’s putting out a memoir a week after the election. He’s totally staying out of politics. The closest he’s come is boosting his Haiti relief fund long after everyone else has forgotten about Haiti like the douchebags they are. What a smart way to go. Sure, it’s pretty much what every president has done immediately after presidency. But it’s so nice in the face of ridiculous billboards stating “miss me yet” and all sorts of “please come back and be our president again” talk. Then again he did start 2 (two) major wars and helped contribute to the inevitable economic slide (one thing you’ll learn when you live as long as I have, the president actually doesn’t have much control over the economy, but the president does have responsibility for it all the same. It’s like a rebellious teenager or something) and he did more or less steal an election. Plus he reacted to the whole 9/11 dealio (9 years ago almost) in possibly the most backwards and warmongering way. He fostered an America that was warlike and hostile about anything that deviated from America, from freedom fries to buying made in America products. He fostered nationalism, in that sense. Pride in our country for being the best damn country in the world. That’s what everyone who lives here thinks. Every last one. Even the people who are adamantly against everything this country stands for still think this country is better than anywhere else. Some even profess their desire to destroy the country as being because they love it so much, moved to tears on national television by their passion.

Tim Rogers, still basically my favorite writer ever, wrote an article a few months ago complaining about how much he disliked living in Japan. He enumerated the precise things he disliked and explicated his reasons. I thought it was a great article, especially in the sense that it highlighted a lot of differences in culture between the two countries. Many of his complaints were from a very American perspective of Japanese culture. The comments on his article were overwhelmingly negative, as most comments on his column (whiny little fuckers who complain about being “forced” to read a 15,000 word article. Pussies), but they were negative in a weird sense. Lots of people leapt to Japan’s defense. Lots of people demanded to know why he lived there if he hated it so much. Lots of people told him to sit down and shut up. I feel like the audience largely missed the point of the article, and Tim did too, so he published in the following month things he liked about Japan, which really didn’t inspire much more understanding in the audience but again did an excellent job of describing American culture as it approaches Japanese culture.

Inevitably, I live here, and I like to think that America is pretty neat inasmuch as people are capable of doing weird and crazy things and often do. I’m a huge fan of people who do whatever takes up residence in their head for no reason than it feels like a right and good thing to do. Gay culture bores me insofar that it has run its course and is understood as reasonably acceptable. Internet culture enthralls me because it is considered so shameful and taboo to belong to, yet people live much of their lives there. You might tell your family that you are gay, but would you admit to them that you browse a website where the word nigger is as common as the word fag and neither of them have much meaning anymore? Would you tell them you visit a website where all manner of sexual perversion are not only discussed but proliferated? Would you tell them you visit a website that finds the most offensive things funny, almost solely based upon their offensiveness? It’s the ultimate form of irreverence, a denial of the standards of sociability. It’s standing up and saying “This shit doesn’t even matter, why does it offend you?” But of course it offends. So no one admits it. I do feel like that only in this country could such a complete divorce from traditionalism occur. Perhaps other societies are more publicly free, perhaps France has more lenient standards for sexual behavior onscreen or at home but the societies themselves are fairly conservative and restrictive. Perhaps Japan has a more successful and popular paraphilia market, with more divergent concepts of sexuality than other nations, but the society itself is extremely narrow and uncreative. I feel like, if anywhere in the world would be able to achieve sexual and social enlightenment; it would have to be the U.S. The people here are simply more willing and more capable of acting out social deviance in public.

We’re in a country where we have developed and instituted the concept of the people having a right to privacy, despite there never having been such a right in any other country. We’re entitled to do what we want by virtue of de facto belief. So we do. There are all sorts of nuts all over the place, and we leave them alone. It’s not our problem. Even the most conservative prudes of us simply avoid the people they find distasteful, and mostly wave signs at them. It’s very cool, especially when you consider that not 100 years ago they might have formed up a posse and killed people who didn’t fit in.

The thing is, when will the pure irreverence of the internet become public? It comes in drips and drabs and terrible phrases but has yet to crack the shell of the world at large. As America becomes increasingly internet dependent, will people begin saying what they do on the net in real life? Will the words “nigger” and “fag” ever be understood as meaningless in reality? Maybe. It might not happen in my lifetime, and it might never happen. I feel like, though, if it were to happen it would happen here in this country. I believe in the power of expression and I believe that all expression is necessary and important. I understand that many people feel that there is a standard, a sort of speech that ought to be silenced because it ostensibly does harm to those who hear it. Insults and hate speech and the like. I reject this simple censoring of what is truly still there under the surface. Denying them the ability to express their hatred does not remove their hatred and does not help anyone comprehend the reason and purpose of their hatred. We must understand. Only through understanding why a thing is can we hope to change it. Simply smothering an emotion with society is about as effective as putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.

America (or, for sticklers and pedants, the United States of) is at an interesting sort of point in time here. We’ve been the largest and richest nation for some time now, and we’re getting used to our job as global police. The economic crisis, though, really was the result of the weaknesses in the system. Our country has relied on other nations for its prosperity for an incredibly long time, despite our constant refutations of the fact. We’re only the biggest nation because most other nations decided that we ought to be. China is one of our biggest supporters, as our companies love to set up factories over there and reap the benefits of what is essentially slave labor. The higher ups of china are perfectly okay with this, as they make plenty of money and for years they’ve been garnering influence as a nation that’s totally down with corporate greed and willing to shit all over its own land for the sake of profit. We literally can’t compete. There will be a war with China, but that war will be far too late and far too little to change anything. It’s not evil, really. It’s just a fact of life. It’s a fact of capitalism. None of capitalism’s huge proponents here in the U.S. will even dare to mention it, but China has been kicking our butts for years, because they play dirty.

That’s the thing about slavery, it doesn’t end. It never really ended. Slavery is necessary for the kind of lives that we live. There has to be some caste of people who do all the work in order for there to be another caste of people who don’t. After industrialization, we foolishly believed that technological advances allowing just a few people to produce food for hundreds would lead to an end to slavery. We believed that through our technology we would be able to minimize the work done so that the people may all enjoy leisure and hedony. It was around this time (1921) that the play Rossum’s Universal Robots was produced, further emphasizing this concept of existence. So the future was bright! Device, machines, automatons would be introduced for our use and all would be made by them and no one would have to work again. Of course that turned out to be too expensive and unfeasible. No technology for that sort of thing. Factory workers were used instead. But they kept demanding higher wages and rebelling and forming unions and cutting into the profit margins. Can’t have that. So we found an alternative. Build that factories somewhere where no one will form a union, no one will rebel, and you can pay them as little as you like because no one has money anyway. So Nixon went to China and here we are today, enjoy the finest quality of goods all of which traveled by huge boats to get here and be consumed by you. We live on the backs of the Chinese proletariat.

And it’s okay! You’ve never met one of them, have you? In fact I doubt you’ve even been to china. It doesn’t matter what happens in a country that far away. In fact, we’re angry! Angry that those faceless Chinese have taken all the good American jobs away from us. We’re angry that all of the technology jobs have been shipped to India. We’re angry that other people aren’t simply recognizing our inherent superiority. Keep those Mexicans out of here, They’re going to take what American jobs are left!

As is the case with most anger, not a whole lot of thought has gone into the problem causing the anger. We’re angry because of the results, the symptoms, but we do not recognize the disease itself. Rich people have money to buy things, poor people don’t: there is no mobility. We live in a country of consumers. We import everything because we can, and stunningly, we don’t even need to pay our people to do it, they’ll gladly go into debt to keep buying things. There’s no need to pay people reasonable amounts, just pay them shitty amounts and watch them shoulder a huge amount of debt. Hell, that’s what we do to the government, why shouldn’t we do it to the people? The people are the government, after all.

Tim Rogers said a thing a while back: “All around the world, people like myself and Bob are finding ourselves in a state where legitimately earning money is about as complicated as downloading pirated music.” Bob trades stocks online. He makes money doing this through some sort of voodoo magic and a willingness to stay on top of these things. Tim started a small business here in the U.S. that he’s very mum about. He moved to Japan to take various jobs there, but still collects the proceeds from that business, affording him a great deal of flexibility when it comes to the jobs he does there. The statement is true in a sense, but not true for the vast majority of people. Perhaps he has the knowledge and fortuitousness to succeed, but this isn’t a common trait in the populace. Being able to swindle people out of their money only works if there are people with money that are swindle-able.

That’s what America is made of. Swindle-able people with money. They believe in the system, but totally don’t realize that the system will never get them what they want. It’s the system that keeps them where they are, in fact. In a roundabout and horrible way, the people are the arbiters of their own poverty, forever trapped in a concept of living that encompasses their entire universe. Grow up, go to school, go to college, get a job, have kids, retire, all of it a series of expected events. Perhaps you’ll get a really nice job and come away with lots of money and be one of the many rich people in America. Far more likely, though, you’ll waste your time trying to follow an ideal you can’t afford and can’t handle until you find yourself trapped in the same pattern of behavior, unable to escape your own personal bonds, much less the bonds you owe others. C’est la vie, or at least c’est la American vie. So much sorrow, so much heartbreak, so many problems are caused by this, but the dream is there and the dream is real if nothing else is. America is a land of dreams hampered by reality. Or perhaps it’s a land of reality, supported by dreams. Either way, I’m glad I live here and not in china as a wage slave. Sucks to be them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Sometimes when I close my eyes I try really hard to imagine I’m somewhere else and hope that when I open them I’ll be there. Sometimes when I reach for things, I try to use my thoughts to move the object into my hand, rather than moving in reach. Sometimes I snap my fingers and hope stuff happens. Sometimes I imagine I’m shooting a fireball out of my hands, or using my fingers to guide liquid from my drinks into my mouth. Sometimes I jump into the air and imagine not coming back down. Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend to be flying a space ship. Sometimes I pretend to be a detective in a film noir and I shrug up my coat and Mutter witty lines at myself. Sometimes I pretend to be British or Australian, depending on how well I’m pulling an accent. Sometimes I think of using the Robot to punctuate things I say to people. Sometimes I walk past people who look “cool” and break into a wide grin for no reason. Sometimes I pick things up and open doors with my feet. Sometimes I stack things in restaurants for no reason. Sometimes I flip coins to make my decisions. Sometimes I imagine that one day I am going to fall asleep and wake up and find out that I am still 8 and everything since has been all a crazy dream.

Sometimes when I stand up too fast when it’s particularly warm or hot I get very near fainting. I’ve only fainted proper once, because usually I remember to do the only thing you can do in that situation, take some deep breaths and lean on something. It’s a scary feeling because your vision goes out entirely in a haze of orange and there’s this great constricting feeling and your balance doesn’t work and everything buzzes. I imagine it’s sort of how it would feel to die. I get this problem once in a while. Particularly in summer or when I’m excessively tired. It usually happens in little bursts, and can be kind of unpredictable. It usually happens right after getting up, but sometimes it waits a little bit before hitting you.

I’ve looked up stuff about it, and there are a couple of explanations. Low blood pressure (huh), low blood sugar from not eating (plausible), some sort of a heart condition (runs in the family), all sorts of stuff. Any of them could be likely. I don’t know if I care. The internet says to go to a doctor. I haven’t been to a doctor in about 4 years. Can’t afford that luxury. My dad offers, but I never accept because I don’t like doctors anyway. Long story.

I really hope dying is sort of like that, because it’s not altogether unpleasant. It’s like taking a nap, only you’re standing and your eyes are open. I’ll let you know if it is, okay.

I went to a gambling hall because in Montana, you can waste your money at 18. It was really small, mostly because it was essentially a novelty attachment to the red lion hotel it was in. I was carded, which I find hilarious because for fucks sake, I look young but not that young. I hope. I was wandering around and looking at the fancy machines and it occurred to me, Hey, I already waste my money on novelty clothing and musical instruments. Gambling is just a different way of doing that without the ability to look silly when you go outside. I went to the bank that same day and was solicited for a savings account by the bank lady, and I told her that when I had one I often had the problem of having money in my savings that I couldn’t get to and needed, and that when I stopped running out of money all the time I would take her up on it.

Humh. Different day, I talked to a homeless guy named Randy (well, he talked, mostly) because I couldn’t hear him asking me for a cigarette and I didn’t have anything else to do. He’s been living by the railroad here in Kalispell for some three years now, made it through two winters. He told me he came from Oregon and lost all his money after his wife divorced him and spends most of his time doing odd jobs and begging. There are a lot of churches around here, so he gets by okay, but he was quite correct when he said that you can’t buy a job around here. He’s got some stuff together and told me he has a plan to go down to Florida on a discounted bus ticket for $128. When he gets there he plans to work on cleaning up the oil spill, because he heard (or thinks) that they’re just hiring people up down there. He got on to talking about how many rich assholes there were up hear and would yell and point out pickups driving by with boats on the back and tell me how expensive the boats were and how much he hated the guys with them who just tool around on them in the lakes. He told me about some houses that he worked on up north a bit, closer to Glacier, where single guys were building houses with dozens of rooms just for themselves. We talked about what a shame it was that they’ve been putting these big box stores in Kalispell (they just opened a Wal-Mart Supercenter, and it is ridiculously huge) but they’ve been building them way out of town, so he can’t even panhandle properly. He is apparently 60, and apologized for forgetting my name already because apparently he has a touch of Alzheimer’s, just like his mom had and died from.

We were interrupted by a swarthy, sort of overweight guy who was maybe in his mid to late forties who walked up to ask him about churches around town, and I was treated to the sidelines of a conversation between the two. For one reason or another the guy didn’t really acknowledge my presence unless I laughed. He apparently jumped off the train headed to Seattle in the middle of Glacier Park because He had some problem with a stewardess and felt like some other stewards were watching him. The police (“the law”) picked him up and dropped him off in Kalispell, and while he was able to get a hotel room for a night (at $100 which seems pretty outrageous for this area) but he didn’t have the cash for another one, so he was hoping Randy could help him find a church to help him out. Apparently the Lutheran church had agreed to help him, but hadn’t gotten back to him with the money, something that he swore several times about. He offered to let Randy stay in the room with him in exchange for the help and after some more discussion where Randy said more or less the same things he had already said to me, the two walked off.

Humh. At the wedding, I talked to a photography major in her senior year about a project she was doing concerning people who have had suicides in their immediate family or of a close friend. It was a multimedia project where she would interview them and then photograph them holding something that reminds them of the person who had killed themselves. She had taken a semester off of doing it, because she found the whole process emotionally draining, but was ready to gear back up and finish it. She talked about the fact that almost everyone she mentions the project to has had a similar experience, especially given the state of the State.

April said something about being passively suicidal. I really hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s a good description? I tend to explain it like so: my passion for living for the sake of living was broken a while back, one way or another. I continue to exist, certainly, but I don’t really feel like I have any ties here. If my life were hard, I might simply enjoy the challenge of existing, if it were insurmountably so, I think I’d quit. As it is, I’m just a bit listless. I want something to happen in my life that would create or justify a massive change, I think. But that’s gotta be me, and there’s not much I can do when I can’t even see two months from now. Ultimately, it was probably a mistake to go to college. Not because I don’t love learning or I won’t succeed, but I hate making decisions that I can’t change and debt is pretty much one of those. I’m not worried, though. I have no time or reason for worrying. Everything that happens happens because it was bound to and nothing could have ever been any different. I just dislike the concept that I may be tied to something for any reason. It’s funny to say that I breathed a ridiculous sigh of relief when I was informed that in the case of my death, my student loan debts will not be transferred to anyone else. Haha. People don’t believe that I’m this morbid, because I’m actually a cheery and relaxed person most of the time. I’m just ignoring it, is all. No reason to let your mortality prevent you from enjoying what life you have, right?