Friday, October 28, 2005

post the fifteenth

I notice this about not only my own blog, but just blogs in general. When one writes on a blog, one feels a certain need to be philosophical. Well, perhaps not philosophical, but certainly different than you might otherwise expect. Some people, I notice, go out of their way to be philosophical and show you how much they know and how smart they are. I suspect I'm one of those types. I feel like if you're going to read my blog, you may as well get your time's worth out of it. There's no point in my writing something goofy and funny, because you could just as easily get that out of talking to me for fifteen seconds or so. I guess I just want what I write to be worthwhile.

Others write to let out feelings they don't normally express. Some of the happiest, cheeriest people I know have some of the most depressing blogs I've read. It's like a totally different person writes them. It always surprises me.

I don't mean this as a criticism in any way. I'm just as guilty of it as anyone else is. I think my blog comes off as sounding different than I do in other fora, and still different from how I sound if you were to talk to me in person. It's probably just the nature of how I write, really. I just wonder why we, as people, do this. I don't have any thoughts or ideas on it, but rather it's just been something that's been on my mind. Take that for what you will.

- Optimistic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

post the fourteenth

It is a time of moral crisis...what do I do?

My freshman year I was big into the instant messaging scene. I had close to a hundred (it may have been 150, I really don't recall) people on my buddy list, and thus I spent countless hours on the Internet talking to various people. When I came back from the mission, AIM had deactivated my account by virtue of the fact that I hadn't used it in so long. Despite some intial disappointment at losing some contacts, I decided that this was a good thing, since now I would be far less tempted to spend hours on my computer late at night. Oh sweet deliverance! I now had hours and hours to accomplish worthwhile tasks.

Flash forward a year and change.

So now here I am spending countless hours on the Internet, though I still don't use any sort of instant messaging service. I've been roped into various forums that require my attention. I find myself putting off homework so I can check "just one more thing" on one of my forums. I'm back in the tangled web (hey, that's a pun! I'm so clever) that is the Internet. And now people are telling me that it would just be so much more convenient if I were to get back into the instant messaging scene so they could talk to me more regularly. So do I get back in, or do I stay out?

I've thought about this, and I have made cases for both sides.

I justify my current Internet usage by my status as a 100 Hour Board writer. Being a writer requires me to log on essentially every day and answer questions. This is a committment that I have, and it would be irresponsible of me to just ignore it. This Internet usage isn't merely for entertainment, but is sort of like having a job, except I don't get paid, and there really isn't any sort of acknowledgement of my work. (That's another issue entirely, and I may or may not address it later.) That said, I want to avoid getting tangled up in purely entertainment-based Internet usage. I don't want to end up staying up all night talking on IM when I could be doing other, useful things, such as eating, sleeping, broadening my social horizons, and reading books.

However, the fact that I could use IM to extend my social sphere has also occured to me. I met a lot of people here when I used IM freshman year. I've been meeting a lot of people via the Internet so far this year. This is a good thing. I'm very much interested in maintaining the friendships that I've developed thus far through the Internet and strengthening them, if at all possible. Being in further contact with these new people seems like the way to go, if that's my goal.

But then again, there's the principle of the whole thing. I stopped using instant messengers, and I'm really proud of myself for having done so. Getting back into it would make me feel like I'd lost the moral war I'd waged on IM. But in the end, is it really a war worth waging? Should I even bother?

Maybe I'll just curl up at home with my Hello Kitty doll and slowly increasing collection of Lemony Snicket books and rock myself to sleep. I don't know.

- Optimistic.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

post the thirteenth

I don't own a cell phone.

I don't own an iPod.

I don't wear clothes with designer logos displayed prominently on them.

I don't own my own car; the car I share with my sister is a '93 Honda Accord.

I'm not majoring in a "cool" field, but rather becoming a teacher.

I don't use any sort of instant messaging service.

I'm lucky if I get one or two emails a week.

I'm lucky if I go on one or two dates a semester.

I have little to no sense of color coordination with my clothing.

And yet, despite all of this, I'm still cool; or, at least, other people don't mind being around me. I rather enjoy being the anti-cool.

- Optimistic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

post the twelfth

Recently I've noticed people having a propensity to hide behind various so-called syndromes and such. If you have a socially unacceptable personality trait, it's really easy to just say that you're the victim of some sort of syndrome or condition and have that be the end of it. If you don't pay attention in class or in conversations, you just say that you have ADD and no one bothers you about it.

Does this bother anyone else?

I've just been a little frustrated recently with people not being willing to step up and accept things like this. I mean no offense to those who genuinely suffer from ADD, and I certainly don't mean to limit this to medical diagnoses. In fact, I probably see this more commonly with people making excuses by citing personality flaws. For instance, I could point out that someone never does the dishes (I'm not talking about anyone in particular here), to which they might off-handedly reply, "Oh, that's because I'm lazy." For whatever reason, we assume that if we're honest about our character flaws, we're that much more virtuous.

Personally, I don't see it that way. A character flaw is a character flaw, no matter how open you are about it. I'd almost think that someone who admits a flaw like that and then resolves to do nothing about it is worse than someone who keeps it to themself. It just smacks of laziness to me. For crying out loud, get up and do something with yourself. There's no sense in justifying what you're doing. All you're doing is foisting your problem on someone else. That seems awfully rude to me. Take some responsibility and make yourself a better person.

I sure hope no one thinks that's aimed at them, because I didn't have anyone in mind when I wrote that.

- Optimistic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

post the eleventh

Were this post the twelfth, it would be even more fitting...alas.

I took my final for my fundamentals of teaching class this morning and rewarded myself with the purchase of Book the Twelfth in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events series. I've been as excited as you can imagine for this book. Well, to tell the truth, I wasn't quite as excited about this book as I was about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I've been pretty excited. They fed me little hints and clues about the book one day at a time since July. Now I finally have the book.

I read it in two hours, which makes me wonder what on earth I'm going to do with myself now. I've been waiting for months for this book, and I'm already done with it. Maybe I'll read it again...

- Optimistic.

Monday, October 17, 2005

post the tenth

I had a strange experience last night, the effects of which I'm still recovering from several hours later. Don't worry, it wasn't anything truly bizarre like an alien abduction. I'm still relatively with it.

I had some friends over last night, and we played a variety of trivia-based games. We all had a smashing time, but it ended up that I didn't get to bed until much later than I wanted to. Evenings with friends are like that. I started getting ready for bed around 12:30, after which I had a discussion with my roommate about the future of Harry Potter (which, of course, included a discussion about Luna Lovegood, but that's beside the point). I didn't end up actually going to sleep until around 1:30, despite the fact that I had to get up at 7:00. I was really tired, so I assumed that I'd just collapse into a dreamless state of unconsciousness and wake up, still tired, around 7:00.

When I woke up, it was still dark out. This didn't really surprise me - after all, it's starting to get toward winter, so it ought to still be dark in the morning, especially a cloudy one such as this was. However, as soon as I was awake, I sensed an immediate need to look at a particular question on the 100 Hour Board. For whatever reason, I just knew that there was a question that required me to look at it right then. Curiously enough, I was already on the computer, so I merely pulled up the page. There was some sort of discussion going on between myself and other writers, though I can't remember what about. After a while of this, I decided to check the time, to make sure that I had enough time to get ready for class.

It turned out to be 2:15 AM, merely an hour after I'd gone to bed. I was lying face down in my bed. My computer was off.

I realize now that this was a dream, but I couldn't feel any shift between the dream and reality. This wasn't the only time this happened, either. This happened four or five times last night. I haven't even been working on the Board all that often lately, but apparently it's embedded in my mind enough that I dream about it - even to the point of not being able to distinguish my dreams about it from reality. Kinda strange.

I ended up getting about five and a half hours of frequently interrupted sleep last night. If you run into me today and see that I seem a little...out of sorts, shall we say, please be understanding. It was a long, strange night.

- Optimistic.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

post the ninth

Every day is essentially the same to me. I wake up way too early, I stumble into the shower, get dressed (after exiting the shower), eat breakfast while seeing that I still don't have any new e-mails, and head off to class. I usually fall asleep in at least one class, generally German history (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) or linguistics (Tuesdays and Thursdays). I go to the library and answer a few questions, write something here, and so forth. Some days I go to work. Some days I don't. I come home, sometimes eat some food, sometimes do some homework, and go to sleep so I can do it all over again.

The days are so similar now that I can't tell them apart anymore. One night I was getting ready for bed and had to stop and think if I'd gone to work that day. If I had, then it would be a Monday or a Wednesday, so I would have to bring my Tuesday/Thursday stuff to class. I work at the same place as my roommate, so I asked him. He gave me a funny look and said that we'd only just gotten off of work a few hours before. I absolutely couldn't remember going. I'm sure I did, but I hadn't any memory of it. Everything feels like a big blur to me. It's a little weird, actually.

There's a song lyric that popped into my head as I was writing this: "I'm not living, I'm just killing time." Bonus points to you if you know who wrote it. I wonder if that's where I am right now. I think I'm enjoying myself, but I don't know how much living I'm really doing. No one wants to think of themselves as merely wasting time. I hope I've made some difference in someone's life recently/ever. I guess it's hard to get any sort of acknowledgement when you're anonymous, though. If I were to go by my real name, maybe I'd get more attention, or gratitude, or recognition, or whatever you want to call it. As it is, I hide behind my fake name and wonder if anything really matters.

This is the sort of thing I think about when it's quiet, I'm tired, and I'm the only one home who isn't asleep.

- Optimistic.

Friday, October 14, 2005

post the eighth

I am madly in love with Luna Lovegood.

Those of you who don't know much about the Harry Potter world, particularly Book the Sixth, may want to learn more about Luna first. Feel free to read this Wikipedia article for some sort of background on her.

So yeah, I think I've found the one for me. Luna has everything that I'm looking for in a woman. I'll back myself up with quotes from the book.

"You all right, Harry? You look funny," said Neville.
Harry started. "Sorry -- I --"
"Wrackspurt got you?" asked Luna sympathetically, peering at Harry through her enormous colored spectacles.
"I -- what?"
"A Wrackspurt...They're invisible. They float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy," she said. "I thought I felt one zooming around in here."
She flapped her hands at thin air, as though beating off large invisible moths.

As if that weren't enough, there's more...

"Nobody's ever asked me to a party before, as a friend! Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I dye mine, too?"

I can't find the bit in the book where she commentates on the Quidditch match, but that part just makes me love her even more.

I'm quite aware that it isn't a good idea to fall in love with fictional characters, but I really can't help myself. She's the one for me. I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to contain myself when she appears on-screen in Movie the Fifth. It's going to be awesome.

I just thought I'd share that with everyone. Enjoy.

- Optimistic.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

post the seventh

I've been working (well, observing) at a special education school in American Fork for the last week, so I've been carpooling up there and back every morning. While riding up there this morning, the song "Beverly Hills" came on the radio. I'm not the biggest fan of Weezer, but I like the song, so I sat back in my seat, content. About a minute into the song - just long enough for me to really start getting into the song - the driver decides that she's had enough and switches the song.

To a country station.

I wasn't driving, so I clearly didn't have control over the radio. I was bummed, but felt it would be improper to say anything about it. I let it go.

On the way home, it happened again, only with a better song this time: "Take Me Out," by Franz Ferdinand. This was one of the songs that I liked so much that I would actively search through radio stations to hear it this summer. We got twenty seconds or so into the song, at which point she switched the station.

To the Goo Goo Dolls.

After listening to that drivel for a few seconds, she started scanning through radio stations, complaining that there wasn't anything good on the radio. "You just skipped an awesome song! Of course there's something on the radio!", I thought to myself, but dared not speak. She even went back to the original station a couple times to see if it had changed, so I got to hear four more .75 second snippets of my song.

Repeat this process, but with Collective Soul's "The World I Know."

I understand and appreciate the fact that all of us have our own musical tastes. I mean nothing personal against my friend who was driving. It just made me sad to hear such wonderful music, only to have it taken away from me.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

post the sixth

I've been thinking...and this time it hasn't developed into a rant about some aspect of society I don't agree with. Rather, I've been thinking about some aspect of myself that I don't approve of and just want to fix. I've come to the conclusion that I spend entirely too much time on the Internet. Between the 100 Hour Board, Blue Beta, and this (although I spend far less time here than the other two), I'm almost always at a computer, checking for something new. It's just getting out of hand, and it's time someone did something about it...or, rather, time I did something about it, since it only really affects me.

I think I'm going to start reading more books. I always tell myself that I'm too busy to do so, but in reality, it's probably just due to poor time management skills. How can you have time to read a book if you're on the Internet for a total of five hours in a day and spend the rest of your time either in class or watching SportsCenter? I could probably squeeze everything I want to in there if I just did things in the right order.

Then again, maybe I should spend more time studying. I bet if I spent my Internet time on my homework, I'd have rockin' grades. I just had a test today on Germany between 1871 and 1914. My teacher gave us eight documents to analyze so we could come to class prepared to answer a question using them. I read them all, but probably could have done a lot better on the essay had I taken the time to study and synthesize them rather than just read them. You all know how it is, I'm sure.

Now I just have to find a good book to start reading...and Book the Twelfth doesn't come out until Tuesday...sigh. Maybe I'll get back to my giant Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives book that I never finished this summer.

- Optimistic.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

post the fifth

Homecoming is upon us. The football team returns to us and plays against Colorado State, and signs go up all over campus reminding us to find a date for the homecoming dance.

Barring something extremely unexpected, I will not be attending any sort of homecoming dance. I haven't been to a dance that I've enjoyed since high school. I just don't see the allure of the dance. I'm not an especially talented dancer. If I were, I suspect I would have a better time. I don't like standing around in a dark room with cheesy music playing and walking in a circle with a girl. I know I'm overgeneralizing here. I understand. It's just that I don't like dances. If I'm going to spend time getting to know a girl, I can think of a better forum to do so than by screaming in her ear while dancing. You know the drill:

Girl: WHAT?
Girl: NO, I HAVEN'T!

You get the idea. If I want to spend time with a girl, then I'm going to go somewhere where I can do so. I don't mean to imply that all dances are bad things; I just mean to imply that dances are not my thing. I'd prefer to spend a quiet evening talking. That's just me.

That, and I just don't have the guts to ask a girl out right now. I'm just a pansy, and that's that. Maybe someday I can find a girl who doesn't mind spending time with me who wouldn't mind going to a dance with me. Then again, if I found that girl, I'd probably just as soon ask her to chill at my apartment with me and play some sort of word game.

- Optimistic.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Post #4

As it's late at night, it seems like a perfect time to go off on a rant about something. I choose cell phones.

I just wrote about this, but I feel strongly enough about it that I want to write about it some more. Cell phones are leading to the utter depersonalization of our society. This concept took me some time to wrap my mind around it, since cell phones have led to society being more interconnected than ever before. We're constantly talking to one another, whether it be on a cell phone, through the Internet, or whatever. Yet despite all of this talking, we rarely communicate, I think. I see people clutching their precious cell phones in their hot little hands every second they can. As you walk to class, you have to check your cell phone for messages. You have to see if you missed a call in the last 45 minutes - not that you would have, mind you, because you left it on while you were studying in the library. As soon as you get into your car, you get on your phone and call someone; not because the call was especially urgent and you needed to call them right away, but because you feel like you're wasting your time if you aren't talking to someone as you're driving.

We talk to our phones more than we talk to people.

I think that's important, so I'm going to say it again.

We talk to our phones more than we talk to people. I've had the experience, as I'm sure many of you have, of walking and talking with someone (perhaps to and from class), only to have them pull out their phone and start talking. Even if their phone rings, there isn't any sort of apology for cutting me off in the middle of my sentence or their own sentence to talk to whomever is calling them. Rather, they just pull out the phone and start talking, assuming you'll understand that the call is much more important than you. We leave our phones on and answer them in what ought to be a completely socially unacceptable time. The phone becomes more important than the person on the other end. I would imagine many people with cell phones wouldn't be quite as interested in talking to whomever they're calling if they were to run into them in person. The joy lies in talking on the phone; or, perhaps more importantly, the joy lies in being seen talking on the phone.

People of the world, disconnect! Let go for a while! Spend some time building relationships with those around you rather than some sort of electronic substitute! The electronic age is destroying society as we have come to know it. Some of you reading this blog probably have no idea who I really am. Even if you know who I am, you may have never met me or spoken to me except through some sort of electronic means. I understand the irony of saying this through a blog, especially since I spend a lot of my time tied to the Internet, but I think we need to step outside of our precious electronic sphere and experience life. There's more to it than what we see on a computer monitor or hear through a cell phone.

When you're talking to the person next to you, you don't have to worry about how many bars of reception you're getting.

- Optimistic.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Post #3

As I was walking home from the Divine Comedy show tonight, I ran into a couple of guys walking a few yards in front of me. They were walking slightly slower than I was, so I was presented with the options of either a) slowing down, or b) speeding up to pass them. I tried to speed up so I could pass them before we reached a sidewalk with a bunch of cars parked on the side of it (a no-pass zone, if you will), but they were walking just fast enough that I would have been walking alongside them for maybe two seconds, which would have been really awkward. My pass attempt failed. I ended up walking behind them for a couple of minutes.

This gave me some time to plan out my line of attack. There was an opening a little way ahead, so I had an opportunity to jump ahead of them. The critical moment came, and I geared up for my attack. I sped up my pace, almost to the point of race-walking, and prepared to pass these two guys. However, the opening was a lot shorter than I'd anticipated, so I found myself walking right behind these guys with nowhere to go. Now what do I do? I can't stay right behind these guys - that's just not going to work. How far back do I have to walk so that I won't be too close, yet still be able to walk at a decent pace? I decided one shadow's length ought to do it. The only problem with this was that it was dark out, so all the light was provided by street lamps. As I moved toward or away from them, my shadow length changed. I was constantly readjusting my distance from these two guys, closer, and then further away, and then closer again.

The best part was that these guys thought they were the funniest people on earth. They kept making what I'm sure they thought were witty observations on life, such as, "You know how girls always get louder when they aren't being funny because they think it makes them funnier? Just like you! Ha!" I got to endure revelations on life like these for a good three minutes while I waited for another opening to come up. Finally it did, and I beat a hasty retreat away from these two guys.

Such is my life.

- Optimistic.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Post #2

I've been thinking about this for the past few...units of time...and now that I finally have a forum in which to discuss this, I think I'm just going to let all of my thoughts out on it.

I'm sick of indirectness in dating, relationships, and the whole shot. I just think it's ridiculous. I've been involved in it for as long as I can remember, and to me, it just seems to make everything much harder. I hate having to analyze everything I've said to Girl after talking to her and scrutinizing every last detail of everything she said to me, all of her body language, voice inflections, etc., to see if she's really interested in me or not. I would much prefer a society in which we could be much more open about how we feel and not be so all-fired afraid of expressing ourselves.

To be clear, I'm not demanding a society in which a guy walks up to a girl and tells her something along the lines of:

Guy: Hey, you're hot.
Girl: Why yes, I am. I notice you are also attractive.
Guy: I am. We should really date one another.
Girl: I concur.
[they make out like crazed weasels]

This isn't realistic at all, I know. Rather, I'd prefer a life where I could tell a girl that I like spending time with her and would like to spend more time with her so as to get to know her better. I feel like girls (and probably guys) are scared by this, thinking that they have to commit to a relationship right now if s/he says that and they have to start planning out their wedding soon and who are we going to get to do the flowers and there's so many people I want to invite to the wedding but I don't have the money to send that many cards and what are we going to name our children and there's just not enough TIME!!!

So I generally keep my mouth shut. Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should try this with someone sometime and see how things work. Maybe if I post things like this on enough forums, people will start to read it, the idea will spread, and soon, I won't have to worry about sending the right signals. Ah, what a wonderful world that would be.

On a side note, I notice that I have a completely different writing style and voice when I write things of a more philosophical nature. I wonder why that is.

- Optimistic.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Post #1

I'm just not going to bother with subjects and titles and the like. If I think of something creative later, I'll go with that.

As promised, I'm going to tell the story of Kofi Annan and the ABCs.
Dr. Skousen was in New York for a conference. He told us Tuesday would be our "last class...for the week...unless I die, I suppose." He's a funny man. Anyhow, I came home and plopped down on my couch to see what was on TV. Sesame Street popped up, so I stuck around while I made lunch. One sketch (do you call them sketches on Sesame Street? I really don't know) started with a bunch of monsters, like Grover, Elmo, Telly, and the like, arguing amongst themselves about whose turn it was to sing. In the midst of all of this, an elderly African gentleman steps in and asks what's going on.

"Who are you?" the monsters ask.

"I'm Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations," he calmly replies. "What is the problem?"

So they were all arguing about whose turn it was to sing the alphabet song. Kofi Annan solves the problem by suggesting that everyone sing together. So the six monsters and Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the UN, sing the ABCs together.

It gets better, if you can believe it.

After they're all done, one of the monsters wants to hug him to show its appreciation. Other monsters also want to do the same, and so another fight breaks out. Finally, Telly says, "Hey! I know! Let's solve this the United Nations way - together!"

I was howling with laughter at this point. It may have been the funniest thing I had seen in my entire life. You can't beat Sesame Street for leftist propaganda.