Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hair Cut

2:08 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I always look forward to haircuts with something akin to dread. This feeling dates back to some overpriced and frightening experiences in my earlier days.

The one that sticks out is when I went to that salon that is over by the Aboite branch of the library. Aside from the fact that it cost 24 dollars--before tip--the trip also bears the dubious honor of leaving me with the worst haircut I have ever received; a most scarring event. I also happened to be cutting my hair at its longest point, so I was going from awesome but impractical soccer player hair, to "my hair, what have you done to my hair!" I payed quietly and went home to let my dear mother fix it, as I was not about to trust them with what was left of my hair.

So, if you ever wondered why it is that I always seem to go so long between haircuts, you now know that it is because I have some sort of irrational dread surrounding them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Place Tongue Firmly in Cheek.

1:19 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I always wonder if the fact that I am poking fun at myself comes through, or whether I seem like a little Napoleon. My favourite brand of sarcasm is that of which my target is blissfully unaware, and I hope that my self deprecations are not as stealthy as some of the sarcasm; that is to say, please tell me that people don't actually take my self-aggrandizing hyperbole seriously.

It was something that I began doing with my brothers and Winston some years ago. We would go about listing all of our virtues, getting more ridiculous with each utterance, and then we would finish by congratulating each other on how humble we are.

So, for future notice, when you ask whether I'm doing well in school, or am going to get an A, yada, yada, yada...I hope it is not taken seriously when I answer "Of course," or, "What would you expect?" I spend whole weekends with exam results nibbling at the back of my brain. These answers are actually me just poking fun at myself.

The same can be said of almost any of my other ego-maniacal sayings; I like poking fun at others, and I see no reason not to let myself in on the action. I often feel like I am working an inflated reputation and expectations, whether at work or school; this is just my own little method of laughing at them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bow Tie Guy.

8:40 PM Posted by Patrick 6 comments
Did I ever mention that I gave up my campaign to have our store carry Bow-Ties? While I have succeeded in talking a decent number of young men to wear bow-ties--my proof being their bow-tie clad figures coming to greet me while I worked--I find that I no longer wish to encourage too much in this direction.

I do not want the bow-tie to make a strong comeback; it is my own, personal, beloved, and distinctive swag. Not only is it my swag, but I am yet to come across anyone in my age range who really pulls it off as well as I do. Indeed, the only person I've seen who can do it better is the gentleman from whom I stole the look.

Now, let me make this very clear. I love my bow-ties, and it is perfectly understandable if you love my bow-ties too. You need, however, to realize that you cannot pull it off. Ok, I'm sure you looked cool enough in your plain clothes, but you do not have the bone structure to carry off that tie; it is eating your head; take it off. Your greasy hipster wannabe self just looks like a stereotypical creep in that tie. You are changing the default bow-tie wearer in people's head from me, to limp-wristed catamite. Knock it off!

Bow-ties, generally speaking, are a mistake. Carrying off a bow-tie is, on the one hand, about physique. You need to be a specimen that does not invite ridicule, neither a pip-squeak, nor an antediluvian neanderthal of local gym fame. You have to be the well carried average; a very tall or very short man in a bow-tie makes one reach for an umbrella to stop the inevitable jet of water that will issue from said tie. When you walk, did not shuffle, tromp, or sachet. You must walk like a man! Head up! Shoulders Straight! And, for the love of all that is good in this world, pick up your feet!

The other hand, physique is but one part of the Bow-Tie Ethos. Attitude and personality are the other half. A certain reserve is required or, once again, you may have people reaching for their umbrellas. If you are too reserved, you will have people looking over their shoulders for you as they unlock their doors at night; this is by no means a desirable effect. People want the guy in the bow-tie to be cheerful, but dignified. Deep down they really want to respect the bow-tie, but you must be moderately playful, lest you strike them dumb in grave awe.

To master the bow-tie is no little thing, grasshopper, but if you do, great rewards are yours for the taking. The man who wears his bow-tie well often enjoys, free coffee, excellent restaurant service, excellent service anywhere, a marked increase in thoroughly amusing flirtation, greater respect (often awe) from a large portion of mankind, assumed honesty, and a +5 bonus in all social interactions with ladies and black men between the ages of alive and dead.

On the marked downside, one does not receive the same kudos from large portions of the Onslow school of masculinity, but...sacrifices, sacrifices....

I can honestly say that life has been a lot more interesting since I donned my symbol of office (which office is "Bow-Tie Guy"). I am separate, memorable, and respected, which is quite a coveted set of attributes for a young man with a face that--unshaven--marks him younger than he actually is. I do not care for idea of a bow-tie trend because, at this moment, I am totally outside the lines of stereotypes. I am a physically fit, sociable, and moderately attractive young man, with my own distinct and bold, yet somehow classic, look. Not only that, but my manners and mannerisms match with the look, which, now that I've written all of this, might be the thing that actually separates me most, and frustrates me most about potential copy-cats. I feel a twist of anger and contempt when I hear the term--beg pardon, but I am not censoring tonight--motherfuckers, being used by the troglodytes who are wearing the bow-ties that I inspired them to buy.

Maybe in my head I was taking what I read in Paul Fussell too seriously. I believe in the power of uniform to civilize, and for me there is no article of menswear that bespeaks civility quite like the bow-tie, but I need to reflect; putting the physical incarnation of epicurean narcissism--the nineteen year-old American male--in a bow-tie will not turn him into a human being all at once. A bow-tie is not, after all, full military, dress style, uniform--complete with thirty six gleaming brass buttons

I am, however, selfish. I do not answer the above reflection with "give it time and more bow ties," but rather, "Oh noes, they are covering the symbol of office with their sub-simian first impressions. Hide the bow-ties!" I have a good thing going, and I don't think company is going to make it any better. So I now discourage many potential imitators, and have long since given over the fight to have bow-ties at work.



To try and summarize the above. Bow-ties, good. Young males, bad. Young mans get young mannishness on bow-tie; not good. Hide bow-ties. That's about it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More For Less.

11:40 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
I have learned recently--this coincides with the advent of my disposable income--that it is so easy to impulse-buy. It is the art of the deal--"bite now, because you may never get another chance this good when it comes to this item." Never mind that you had absolutely no desire for the product before you saw it, and that it will almost certainly be cheaper in the near future.

I never was an impulse buyer; I was the person who waited more than a year before buying a new product, in order to buy it at greatly reduced prices. I would read dozens of reviews and learn as much as I could before I even considered a purchase in the realms of technology, music, or shoes.

Working in a Men's clothing department has introduced a new challenge to my buying habits, and I admit that I did not handle it well at the outset. It is not easy to be constantly surrounded by various attractive clothing items, knowing that I have ways to procure them for a "bargain price." There something about constantly being surrounded by that "deal" language that is particularly toxic. It has taken me months to build the antibodies required for financial prudence, and the only real defense is contempt.

Unless you love an item you see in a department store, it is the height of imprudence to buy it at full cost, but carrying this thought too far leads to the thought that you would be a fool not to buy the item that is on an amazing sale. "I can dress myself for a pittance of what that gentleman spent last week, aren't I clever." I give myself a pat on the back for having made another brilliant purchase.

The amusing part of this is that there is no prudence in any such action. I often buy, not because I need or really want desperately, but because I am getting a deal. The other, more dangerous, side of the equation that drives--or, has recently driven--me to spend, is my vanity, which is not dampened by the constant praise heaped by my bosses and co-workers, to which praise I might just be moderately addicted.

It is the analysis of these two aspects that has me the strength to resist a couple of the more delicious temptations that grace the racks at work. My new awareness and discipline means that--aside from one corduroy sport-coat which was marked to almost nothing, just for me--I have made no clothing purchases since buying a shirt and tie to replace one on which my Starbucks had geysered...that was before Halloween.

The Geyser of coffee is another expense, but we have to take baby steps here; had I not been caffeinated this afternoon, readers of tomorrow's News Sentinel would have been reading about the Penney's supervisor who mysteriously drowned in the mall fountain...Coffee is the last thing I need to cut before finals.

Thankfully, clothing is the only place where I have made rash purchases, and I remain restrained as ever in most areas.

More later...post midnight, brain no work no more.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Groverous Chilvalry.

11:00 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
In the course of pretending to not read, there were a great many little gems I read, one of which I will share with you today.

When I was rather young--think five here--I had a book that revolved around Grover, you know, the blue fellow from Sesame Street. Part of the reason I think I was five, was because Grover was going to school for the first time, and I imagine that is the reason that I, who had just turned five and was entering kindergarten, received this book in the first place.

The great conflict of this work revolves around lunch in the cafeteria. The girl sitting with Grover wants to trade her Bologna sandwich for his PB&J. Grover does not really want to trade sandwiches, and he really hates Bologna, but he sees how much she really wants to trade. Ultimately, Grover decides that he will trade his own beloved PB&J for her Bologna, just to make her happy. And even though he went out later and shed some solitary tears of hunger and frustration, he did the right thing and built on a new friendship.

From a young age I was--remarkably enough--moved by this sacrifice.

It was with still powerful childhood memories of Grover in mind that I agreed to take a co-workers shift for this coming Friday. It will be her birthday, and they were not going to let her take the day off, no matter how early she asked, and no-one else would take the shift.

I really did not want to take that shift, and the fact that I took that shift means that I get to be a stress puppy for the next week, but I knew that it would make her happy, and I know that it is good.

It sounds funny, but this is one of the standards against which I hold myself. It is simplistic, innocent, over-simplified, and totally brilliant. This chivalry is not just pretty words and kind gestures; it is the will to sacrifice his own comfort and peace for the happiness of others.

Now, I have to work on the other part of chivalry shown to us by Grover; that is, not making my loved ones suffer with me...but that is going to take some practice.

Anyway. Yeah. No. My basic ideas of chivalry did not come from extensive study or the words of great men, just the story of a little monster trying to do the right thing.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learning to Chill

12:13 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Last night, while in an advanced state of tired, I failed to set my alarm properly. This morning I woke up at 8:15. I decided to forgo any chance of making it to my first class and just prepared for the second, which was, as I later found, impossible.

Have you ever seen me draw? It is perhaps the only thing in this world that is more painfully twisted than my handwriting. Today we were tasked with drawing a character we could play for a children's show. We are supposed to teach the chillun' something, through the doings of this character. As expected, the drawing of this character was a horrifying process, and not in the least successful. I have, however, made great strides in another area.

When it came time to show around my abysmal little pièce de résistance, I felt no real qualms. This is in contrast to a couple years ago, when it would have resulted in a massive coronary...or at least a bright red blush. I am not so embarrassed by little trifles like that anymore, and I haven't the fuzziest why.

H'anyway.

It was odd how every person in that class appeared to have gone through a pretty cruddy morning. Lot's of stressed people, two who were rear-ended, one who had his identity stolen, and my comrade who sits next to me, Abdul, who hat a flat tire and pulled out his spare to find that it was also flat, which explained the fact that he was half-an-hour late.

Our dear professor was working with a tough audience, but he did a fantastic job of adjusting the atmosphere, mostly through a reading of the Times art section...complete with commentary. The more I go through this class, the more I appreciate how much an actor he really is. He has an incredibly commanding presence, and many of the weird things he does are calculated to some effect or other. I think the class is going to get a lot more out of him than just an average lecture-style class. He does not have us just taking down terms by wrote; he has us messing around with them, and he manages to make all of it funny and lively. We will be going through the textbook and it all becomes a production.

Moving along.

I've been researching the Partition of India, and I've been surprised by a lot of what I've seen. The vast majority of Muslims around the time did not want independence, nor did they desire the end of British intervention. The Muslims knew they were the minority party, and all the majority of them really wanted was the end of legal discrimination against Muslims. The extreme sect was small. Religious violence became much worse as the idea of a Muslim state gained credence.

I cannot understand where this European idea of "It's having trouble? Chop it up!" came from. They see that the Sikhs and Hindus have issues with the Muslims, so they decide to segregate them. Imagine some well meaning third party, seeing racism in the US during the last gasp of the Klan, and--instead of trying to reconcile the issue--deciding to chop off Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi as the United States of Black Folk. Do you think that this would have stopped violence against black people??? No! There would have been a massive upwelling of violence. Take a part of the US of A and give it to a minority, just because there are some people abusing them? The streets would have run with blood.

This is what happened in India.

Instead of continuing to try and reconcile, they had the land segregated, and in doing so, took land that many in India begrudged. It became a matter of Muslims against everyone else. You took a population with a pittance of Muslim extremists and put them through massacres and displacement. Muslims belong on the other side of the mountains. You go there, everyone else can stay here. They created a whole state, humiliated, poor, laden with refugees, and thirsty for revenge, no longer welcome in the land they once called home.

Perhaps it would have gone this way whatever happened, but I have my doubts. It might have taken a hundred years; they might have had their Klans, Bloods, Aryans, and Black Panthers, but they would have gone through it and come out together. Instead we have the state of Pakistan, which never really got to its feet. The vast majority of the population is dirt poor, the government is corrupt, and the whole country has a chip on its shoulder. It was not a country forged by a willing revolution, but by a blood soaked expulsion.

The fact is that the Muslims, in general, looked to the Brits to hold down the violence and--at least among the rich Muslims--the plan was to bribe the British into putting pressure on the Indian Congress to obtain toleration for Muslims. A loud minority of Muslims won out and got their own state; a proper Muslim state with a marginally religious, marginally representative, military governance. The people who were expelled from Dehli, who left the bodies of loved ones behind, blamed the British for this abortion of a Partition. They called them independent and did not do a damn thing when the massacres started; it was no longer a British interest, and they gave them self determination; they should have thanked the British.

Disaster. A nuclear nation of 170 million wronged zealots; this is what the partition of India means. There is an attitude in a small part of the literature that I have read that views the partition of India was all for the best, but I am not buying it. The only way to fight prejudice is for those who hold the prejudice to understand those they despise; to truly know something is to love it. What confirmed racist would come out of a year spent in a black community as a racist? Even if he maintained his dislike of the culture; it would be tempered by understanding. He might still feel contempt, but I doubt that he would be capable of hating his neighbors after that time. No matter how twisted you are, the experience changes you, whether you want it to or not.

I'm in no mood for proof reading, so I'll hope some of that was moderately coherent. ;-p

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Peoples Opium.

12:14 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Theater class was interesting today. My professor was laying down the riot act; you either vote, or forfeit rights to whine about the results. You are making a tacit consent. He then posited that America was in a decline of power; not a small recent trend in his mind, but one that is ongoing. He said that this election is important because it is a choice between continuing with the remedy envisioned by the democrat party, or taking a chance on a republican remedy. In his opinion this is a key election in deciding the fate of America, which he postulated without making a single comment that would tell you what party he supported. Deftly done.

Marx said that religion was the opium of the people. While I disagree with this in many respects, I believe he is not entirely removed from the truth. Optimism is the opium of the people. Optimism is often needed to dull the pain of difficult situations, but optimism is just a drug to keep you from fainting while dealing with the problem. The problem is with those who cling to the opium and refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of their problem.

Polls were taken during the class, and all libertarians believed the USA was in long term decline.
The same was almost true of republicans, with one dissenting. None of the democrats agreed that we were in decline. Some of the democrats were thoroughly displeased that anyone would suggest we are in decline.

There is a reason they got strident; they know their cure is not working and in the end all they can do is cry for more optimism. A patient read about a course of treatment that was done abroad. The experts claimed that it would restore his system to order; that it would not only clear up his current illnesses, but prevent him from future sickness and pain. There would, of course, be some pain, but it would be negligible when compared to the results. The man worked for years to try and be put on this regimen.

In the mean time, the patients who had already begun treatment were not getting better, but worsening. The doctors then started realizing they had made a mistake; they were killing the patients. Immediate action was taken to try and scale back the treatment, but it was met with resistance. The patients did not feel worse, and the treatment sounded so promising; they just needed more time and, naturally, more opium.

Even as the doctors abroad were retracting some of their claims about the treatment, our first patient demanded it all the louder. The doctors began to cave and started into the early stages of the treatment. His family tried to warn him about the news from across the ocean, but he insisted it was because the foreign patients had been too old; their health was already failing, but he was vital and strong. A short time into the treatment the convulsions from pain started to set in, but that did not change his mind; all he needed was more opium.

Democrats want so badly for this plan to work; it is the fulfillment of their dreams. It would mean a civilized society where men take care of each other. Our body is imperfect, and if this theoretical treatment works we would be nearing perfection. It isn't working. Our body is wracked with pain and the treatment doesn't work; it hasn't worked on those who have been taking it for years and it never will take in us either. They can't stand to face the fact that the perfection they desire is impossible, so they tell us to shut up, take our optimism, and wait and let the treatment take its course.

It is a pity that their elected treatment is a daily bleeding, with optimism to take out the sting of the knife.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Utility Team.

10:13 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
I have every intention of putting in a transfer application to the utility team at Penney's soon. I am already a noted useful, helpful, hardworking, commodity within the store, so it will be no sweat with Winston's recommendation. My reasons for wanting to switch are many, but I'll give you a taste of the main ones.

1) My managers know that I will take on about any task and not complain about it, because of this they come right to me with work, and do not go to whinier co-workers.
2) I get to deal with all of the hassles of the customers, without being in a position to pad any of the numbers that lead to raises. I work like a dog, am sometimes treated like a dog, but it doesn't show in their numbers.
3) I like the members of the utility team more than a lot of the men's people.
4) Next week I am scheduled for 27 hours. When I was hired I was promised that I would not work more than 20 hours during a school week. I have had to have this fixed 5 times now, and despite the fact they keep promising it will never happen again, it keeps happening. Utility will mean that I am only needed 12-20 hours a week.

I am good at what I do, and my managers are under pressure to keep the department preforming during a recession, but a deal is a deal and I hate being lied to. And I have now been lied to several times. I owe them nothing.

New Vegas

10:02 PM Posted by Patrick 3 comments
Dear Reader,

You may have noticed in the course of your acquaintances with me, but I am a total, shameless, geek. It is only with the utmost self control that I do not, this instant, rush out the door, drive to best buy, park on the curb, rush through the store, and procure Fallout: New Vegas. I have this love/hate relationship with post apocalyptic literature. I find it fascinating, but tend to scratch furrows in my face over the dystopian quality. The Fallout series combines excellent post-apocalyptic environs and stories, with a refreshing spritz of hope, and the ability to influence the world.

I get the same brand of satisfaction from civilization. You bring order from chaos--or vice versa--with civilization having a global perspective, and Fallout having a very personal, human, perspective.

I will wait until the game of the year edition comes out, but it is going to hurt.

Blasphemy

9:31 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Douglass Preston and Lincoln Child write some fantastic word crack. Every time one of their books comes out I consume it with eager ferocity.

Blasphemy was a disappointment.

Douglass Preston is a good writer, but in this last solo effort he sacrificed his story telling to his agenda. I felt sorry for him. A solid fifth of the book was a strident defense of the big bang. The big bang, as my distinguished readers already know, depends on the theory that things happen without a cause. The big bang just happened; it is without causality. There can be no proof in the absence of cause, so this must be a frustrating position to hold. He spends long segments expounding on theory, which would be better titled hypothesis, since it comes in the absence of observation and evidence.

He also spends time showing what barbarians the christian evangelicals are. In the course of his book various christian groups take steps and perform lunacies that would never happen outside the imagination of a man who wants to blame them for the fact that the richest, most powerful, nation in the world has not yet established anything near an egalitarian utopia where science is the unquestioned rule of thumb.

He has, without his knowledge, touched on something. The story involves hysteria over a super-collider. It makes one reflect on the uneasiness over the Hadron. What did people get so worked up about? Last time I checked, the vast majority of Evangelicals pay lip service to the ideas that 1)God created the world and 2) He has already determined its end. That said, what was all the worry over the Hadron? Yes, the people who made it said they expected to recreate big bang conditions. Why did so many Evangelicals find that so alarming?

We men are weak and we are liars. Men doubt even as they confess. Many Christians were worried about the Hadron, not because it implied that some wicked scientists disbelieved God, but because they disbelieved him; they were worried that the scientists would be right. Men are weak, but, thanks be to God, for he is merciful and forgives our shortcomings.

Stridency exposes the weaknesses and imperfection of our faith, just as Preston shows his own weakness and fear in his. There is no element of the natural world that will stand as an argument against God or a rebuke of true faith, because the universe is his and he made it.

Like a Man.

8:55 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I love the order of the divine service. I am yet to find any aspect of it that is arbitrary or accidental; it all has a purpose.

In his sermon on Sunday, His Excellency My Pastor made an important distinction. The Kingdom of God is not like a wedding feast; it is not to feasts that Christ compares His kingdom, but to men. The Kingdom of God is not like a feast, but like a man; The Man, Jesus Christ.

It is so easy to listen without comprehending, and it is only yesterday another--obvious--aspect of the brilliance of the liturgy became clear to me, with the help of Pastor's correction on perspective. The Divine Service is a feast--The Feast--in which the Kingdom of God comes to us in the form of a man; The Man. The Kingdom of God is perfect and to be perfect is to be like Our Lord. We cannot clothe ourselves for this occasion, so He clothes us in his own innocence. We are not, however, merely being prepped as guests, but as His own bride; that we might be joined to Him in His Flesh, complete, whole, and in union with The Kingdom of God. The Divine Service is the wedding feast in which we are joined to the Kingdom of God, through the Flesh and Blood of the Man, Jesus Christ.

It is not just that The Kingdom of God is opened to us by Our Lord, but that is comes to us in the person of Our Lord, who joined Himself to our humanity that we might be joined, in Him, to the Kingdom of God.

It is just a little thing, but I get great pleasure of these little things.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We Are No Different.

1:07 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
An item or service is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The same is true of wage slaves.

The country is outraged by corporate greed and the incredible amounts of money made by CEOs and other high corporate officers. I am astounded too, but I am more astounded by the fact that people cannot understand why it happens.

Take Lebron James, if you know nothing about basketball, then the tens of millions that he makes are ridiculous. If, however, you do know basketball, then you already know the reason; he is the best and everyone wants him. The pay is competitive.

As for those who would argue that CEOs from companies that fail should have their pay confiscated, would they make the same argument for Kevin Garnett's stint in Minnesota? He was a constant MVP candidate and even won it one round and he made top dollar, but his team was still consistently at the bottom. Does a team failure mean that the star should never have been paid?

None of us could do the things that a CEO does. They have to be brilliant and charismatic, masters of grand scale business stratagem and relationships; they have to be creative, calm, and in control in exceedingly high stress environs; they have to be exceptional in a passel of areas where we wouldn't know where to begin and they have to keep it up for between 70-80 hours a week. You could not do what a CEO does anymore than you could do what Lebron James does; the same goes for me.

The board of directors of a company are always people with a firm vested interest in the company's success; they choose CEOs who they believe will increase the worth of their stock. And please, tell me, when was the last time you heard of a star player telling a team owner "no, don't pay me tens of millions of dollars, I don't really need that much."

Would you say no if someone offered you 20 million a year? Don't lie to me, and don't lie to yourself. We'd all take it, and we are really just jealous that we aren't the ones who get the offers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tired, not Sleepy.

12:25 AM Posted by Patrick 11 comments
*Danger*

*Point of no return*

I am at war. There is no enemy except the one within, and my task is not to fight him, but to keep him disciplined. The most annoying thing about this battle is that, in my everyday surroundings, the longer and better that I hold my discipline the more it becomes a burden. It is abnormal in the eyes of society, and abnormality is a grievous sin. I will not comply and my non-compliance is often misconstrued as dysfunction.

I do not have a girlfriend.

There is a lot of weight in that phrase. Healthy American males of my age are expected to form romantic attachments. If they do not form any attachments of this kind, it is often thought that 1) We are not sufficiently attractive, or, 2) We are merely anti-social. What on earth could possibly be wrong with me? Why is that child unable/unwilling to attract a mate? Has he been gelded? Is he afraid???

My pride would just as soon answer them by doing as they expect. What better way to shut them up than to give up and form the expected romantic attachment.

That pride, however, is directly attached to the reason I have never yet developed such an attachment.

I am, whether you have seen this side or not, an extremely emotional, passionate, person. The only reason you see this is a need to vent because of my wounded pride. I form strong attachments easily, just as I can come to hate your guts on a whim. You are either family, or a nuisance. On top of all this, as some of you well know, my self control is not always the most satisfactory. You see at all where this is going? No?

If you are somehow blind, deaf, or mentally afflicted, you may have failed to notice that I am, or aspire to be, a little old fashioned. I am not only a religious zealot, I am also a total romantic. I want to fall in love once, share my bed with one woman, and do so until I die. I am a virgin and I intend to remain that way until I am married. Furthermore, I have no intention of getting married until I am in such a position that my as-yet-non-existent affianced be able to work or stay home as she wishes.

I have absolutely no desire to form a powerful attachment when I think I am years from being ready to form a family. I'm twenty, a virgin, and human; not to mention that it is generally assumed at my age that dating and sex go hand in hand. I have no desire to form a fleeting liaison to fulfill "needs." I will hold on, discipline myself, and wait until I can form something lasting. I do not deceive myself into thinking that I will find any idyllic 'happily ever after' situation, but (here are my greeks again) I aim for perfection, that when I fall short, it is good.

Now, since I have a good head of steam.

Those who read here already know this, but it feels good to write it in a moderately public place.

I am a twenty year old male, not yet at my peak. I have a strong body and a strong mind. I prize education and moderation. I am deeply religious. I am proud, stubborn, and self-confident. I am not a fool. I am not ignorant of the depth of my self denial; those who are not twenty year-old male virgins are those who do not understand. I am not silly, prudish, or quaint. I am principled, self-disciplined, and educated. I have reasons for the things that I do, and while I respect your right to judge me, I reserve the right to scorn the judgment of any who volunteer it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fellow Employees

9:24 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
I should note that not all areas of my work are disappointments. The fellow employees are more than decent and my time is normally spent in constant movement.

The suit guys are some of my favorites. Tom is the picture of quiet dignity; Mike is hilarious; Dave is a study in confidence and charisma; and Greg is probably the most positive and friendly person in the store.

In the Mature Men's area the regulars are: Cathy, who is on the quiet side, but polite; Kim H, who is the most competent and useful person in the area; and Kim K, who makes for excellent conversation.

Young Adult's regulars are: Tony, a geek, with whom I feel kinship; Josh...yeah, Josh; Kurtis, who is a wellspring of sexually explicit comebacks; and Kirk, who manages to maintain dignity and be on fire for the lord at the same time, which is to say, unique.

The Floaters including: Me, my favourite person in the store, bar none; Heather, who seems to have Jacqui's disease and begins shivering violently every time we cool the building enough for the metal racks to stop glowing; Amy=energy.

The supervisors: Tabbitha, whom everybody loves. She's nice, but she has a jello spine. Denise is forceful, no bull, and cuts straight to the point. Denise gets things done. Lynn, the head of our department, knows everything. She is remarkably patient with stupidity, but she is not someone to mess with.

LP: Jim is a retired cop. He is quiet, calm, and amazingly unobtrusive; he heads our security side. Gabe the MP. Possibly my favourite besides Winston. He is funny, with a little nerdy, and just a touch of biker dude. Kim, the queen of loss prevention.

Children's: All of them are crazy anorexics who apparently have religious issues with eating fat. I'll take things upstairs for them, but I don't stick around long enough to catch the crazy...Tisha is okay though.

The other Honchos: Joe, my favourite "other honcho" sort of like a taller, preppier, version of my uncle Todd. Deanna, Devil Wears Prada, Streep, kapische. Pat is the person who trained me, and she is pretty decent, but has the air of someone forever tired...might it be because she is in charge of keeping all of our buggy terminals working? Janie is in charge of aesthetics, which means that she is another anorexic, perpetually clad in black leather with boots longer than my legs. Javonte...he really does think he is God's gift to womankind. I actually like him though, at least he knows his captain smooth gig is funny. The Other I know is the manager in training, Jessica, sie ist ein Besserwisser. We're okay, which is a relief, considering that we met when I accidentally created a bunch of work for her.

Enough, there are more, but I am ready to go eat something.


...Which reminds me of my other mother, Winston, threatening to force feed me earlier.

Monday, September 13, 2010

People: 1 More Reason I Don't Like Them Anymore

4:32 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I realize that I should write much more often, but this work thing can be a little more intense than I first imagined, especially when coupled with school. Energy wanes and never waxes leaving me with this moderately irritable mood and a desire to see a large part of the American public beaten.

There is a pettiness that seems to reside in a great part of the customers I work with; a general attitude that says that you will meet their demands, or that they will make your life more difficult. That I am required to be polite to people who intentionally make my life harder galls me. There are many 40-year-old men who are in need of a good dressing down; they act like spoilt children, throw tantrums when they don't get their way, and treat us poorly when their screw-up goes beyond what we can fix.

A woman who came in on Sunday brought back well worn clothing without a receipt and demanded a return. She was, of course, turned down. She then held conference with her teens, which conference ended with them making a half dozen messes out of recently reordered clothes and leaving.

I was not the only person talking about strangling them, but that would be against policy, as well as any other kind of action.

It is little episodes like this that make me very tired and put me in a standoffish/near homicidal mood. These moments also teach me a little of the way in which I was sheltered. My friends, family, general community in which I grew up, were and are made of of largely considerate individuals who would find the aforementioned behavior appalling. There has been a paucity of really, petty, selfish, and uncouth people in my life. More importantly, I was never in a position where those kinds of people had power to do anything against me. I am further angered by knowing that I could have stopped the family in the example with a few direct sentences, but those aren't allowed at Penney's. We're just supposed to get rid of our spine and let the people walk over us, nevermind that it is not the managers, but the zone associates who had to work like maniacs to clear it up.

But look at me sitting here talking, there's science to be done!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And on the Second Day...

10:55 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
...Learned he many useless things, but he was on the clock, and it was good.

I learned--from a small cadre of utility team members--that my coming was long foretold. I am apparently expected to cast a couple of obnoxious co-workers into my shadow, even into the outer darkness thereof. Apparently my future division is home to a couple blockheads who don't like actual work, and who feel that utility should do some of their work. Utility, in the common tongue, translates to Winston. Funny.

I had more time and better opportunity to get the measure of some of my future co-workers today. I've been back behind the closed doors of the training area this whole time, so when my lunch break came around, I slunk out through a side exit and came back in and played customer. Some of my fellow employees were incredibly friendly, much better than the peops in the training videos (gag me with a serrated pitck-fork). There were others, however, that had guessed my secret; they knew that I would, in fact, be irresistibly compelled to go for their throats if they made eye contact with me. Very clever of them to avoid such a catastrophe.

I'm afraid that it was a complete mess later when I did the secret shop. I wandered around for ten minutes without getting an offer of help. I finally found a guy in the Men's department and made an attempt to get his attention. Finally, I began walking up behind him. As I got closer, he turned around and made eye contact....




*Harumph-Ahem*

Well.
Yes.
Anyway.

The cash registers are a different species entirely, especially when they are malfunctioning and your instructions don't actually work. I did fine none-the-less.

National Youth Gathering

10:48 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
So, tell me. If that warm feeling that you have while you sit there flapping your arms around is the Peace of God; then what do you think it means when the world seems so very cold and lonely?

Just a Thought....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Helpless Beauty

10:01 PM Posted by Patrick 14 comments
My sister is sitting here watching BYU-TV (Mormon) channel. She is watching a program that rivals NCIS in terms of the skill with which the dialogue is delivered. I am sitting here gagging on my own bile and she sits there enjoying it.

As often happens in such cases as these, my memory of certain incidents is suddenly coming back very strong. I think I'll share.

You know how literature set in the Regency and Victorian eras is replete with women who swoon all over creation, are dead sure that their minor medical issues are terminal, and fret over bad vapours. I always thought these were a myth and very clearly exaggerated. You might have noticed the same.

This particular kind of female still exists, though not nearly in the quantities that writers describe in the aforementioned eras. Today I am going to share my observations on a modern specimen of this variety, who, for convenience sake, we will call Bethany.

On one particular instance this young woman--having eaten enough Chinese food to feed Haiti--proceeded to go yowling around the family room asking after the location of her appendix, which was clearly about to rupture. Having ascertained its location, she quickly switched her hands over to the appropriate side and proceeded to moan piteously; this continued until her incredibly clever observing physician started needling her, which acted almost as a heavenly tonic upon her afflicted system. In that very moment she was miraculously healed and was able to set to the good work of attempting to murder the mischievous physician.

While she was in that day saved from her appendix, it continues to rear its ugly head every few weeks and has become a regular companion.

Another common ailment is the foot cramp. These can last several minutes and come sporadically over the course of a half hour, after which she immediately prescribes herself an evening of being waited on hand and foot, never mind that the butler gets them too....

Of late we have had a different problem entirely, one that is also mentioned in many settings. We have all heard of the fine lady who takes laudanum for her headaches. Now, put on your detective hats, because the circumstances of this case have been slightly different. Our subject has been feeling fatigued, anxious, and powerless, but these have shown marked improvement of late.

What do we know of that would diminish these, but cause bloody noses? Hmmm....

There are of course countless instances of swooning; days of languor, interspersed and shot through with moments of vitality; and an untold number of hours spent dancing around clutching her left side, worried that appendicitis has come for her at last...but I'm too lazy to write more right now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Mall: a Scary Place.

12:50 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
It is a sad fact that I have neglected this blog, in spite of having some excellent ammunition thrown my way. I start to blog and just feel no motivation to finish.

The simple circumstances of my life have undergone only one major change, and that is the fact that I will be employed at JCPenny's by the end of the week. The interviews went swimmingly and met with nothing but dazzling smiles, at least, until I met with the area manager. She was one of those people who exudes cold confidence--think Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada"--and shows no sign of what she is thinking; she, too, in the end gave me a dazzling smile. So, barring a felony or two on my record, I will be in the men's department in a few short days.

On another note, I have forgotten how to hula-hoop; this must be rectified.

Because of these interviews I spent an unusually long span of time in the mall, which experience was harrowing, to say the least. I could not help but notice all of the grotesquely young, unwed, and practically unclothed mothers who were walking around with an armful of illegitimacy. What really bugged me were the few of them whose illegitimates did not have any real clothing on; that is, only a diaper. There might be a certain maternal instinct that exists, but it is no comparison to experience and wisdom. I don't think anyone is ever completely ready for a child, but some people are more naturally suited and others more prepared. I cannot believe that those 15-16-17 year-old mothers with unclothed children were prepared, and I sort of doubt that they have sought good council from those who are...I wonder if they have anywhere they could go for such council.

I just found it all depressing. Maybe I am wrong; they might have been exceptionally well prepared, with only appearances against them. I doubt it. I wonder what kind of life those children will live. In what will they place value? Will they grow up to be good citizens? Will they grow up to be good parents? I hope and pray that they will.

I learned something else in that mall. Store clerks practically drool when you enter their stores in a suit. They follow you, are obnoxiously solicitous, and practically bow as they shuffle away. I was practically dragged into one of the jewelry stores to examine their fine display of gentlemen's watches.

The other shoppers also treat you differently. The old men greet you and ask you how you are; the young men stare at something fascinating, which apparently resides just over your left shoulder; the women smile; and I am always addressed as "Sir," which is really funny...I admit, I like sir; it is a lot better than the normal "you," or, "hey."

I think this is good for now. I can blog more later, as it seems that my desrie to blog only gets stronger as I blog more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

6:59 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
For Father's day I have a very simple blessing.

May all those born into this world be granted a father as good as mine.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cranky Overflow

10:31 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
My recent inability to get a job has been gnawing at me, like some small and exceedingly pugnacious animal. I think a large part of this stems from my knowledge that I wasted two years when I should have been looking for a job. Before the recession my inexperience would have meant little to the job seeking process; everyone was hiring. Now, instead of having the previous work experience that companies desire, I have never held an hourly job and have no way to separate myself from the teeming masses. If I could get to an interview I might stand a chance.

There is definite guilt present; this is all a result of my laziness and procrastination in prior years. I was remiss before, and now, when I really need it, I am unable to obtain gainful employment. Couple this with my current dissatisfaction with political realities and my general antipathy toward a sizable portion of people my age, and you get a stereotype a la Despair or the Onion; a disaffected and moody college student.

Oh, wait, add to the above the fact that I cannot win the weed battle in the garden. I have spent hours, enough time to sunburn my leathery, suntan lotion-coated, hide+ extra hours with shirt. There are still forests--FORESTS!--of weeds. Even my favourite tasks are turning futile. On top of that--oh yes, there's more!!--I have major writers block. I keep sitting down to write, but I never, usually (as any poor person reading this might have qualified), get more than a paragraph down.

And our water is salted and I can't seem to get hydrated while at home.

On the bright side, I have a tan, am not such a dangerous driver anymore, and have been doing plenty of German. I think I need to start going to ultimate frisbee; the exertion would be a good thing.

Sorry about all the whining, but I'm just tightly wound and cranky tonight. ;-p

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mutiny on the Bounty

11:29 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
We were watching Mutiny on the Bounty tonight, and Fatherman was wondering at the verity of the account and whether we knew what happened on Pitcairn Island. Being me, I had to research the truth. The account is not quite accurate. Christian was a fair and just leader, well regarded by most. But, one day, a member of the British contingent made a still. It all goes downhill from there, with christian getting killed trying to stop the fighting Brits and islanders. The ship did get burned, though.

That is not where I found the true discrepancies in the story.

Lieutenant William Bligh, as he was during the narrative, would be best described as a hero. Bligh was not a technically a member of the Royal Navy when he made the expedition, but was a merchant captain who agreed to take the mission.

The reason for the mutiny was not actually Bligh's cruelty--Bligh was uncommonly lenient when it came to punishment, preferring his sharp tongue to the whip--but the British sailors unwillingness to leave the pleasurable life of the Tahitian islands. Christian, a young, non-commissioned, officer, who had fallen in love with an islander and was weary of Bligh's razor wit--which purportedly focused in on him--was just a weak young man who lead a mutiny, not a hero.

The mutiny was not spur of the moment, but staged in the middle of the night; it was not to save a thirsty crewman, as depicted in the movie.

Bligh's journey, in an open boat, without charts, and without supplies, is a true story. The men who returned with Bligh all vouched for his character and attention to duty, casting the mutineers as libertines and traitors. Bligh was acquitted of any wrongdoing, commended for his ability, and given a new ship to complete the mission he set out for in the first place.

Bligh returned to Tahiti and retrieved the breadfruit, which, upon reaching Jamaica, the slaves he was fetching it for refused to eat it, rendering his pains...fruitless.

Bligh returned to England and was immediately promoted to captain; he then served with great distinction in the Napoleonic wars, successfully commanding three ships of the line; the Monarch, the Irresistible, and the Warrior. In 1805 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales, in order to deal with the rampant pirates and rum runners, which he did.

Bligh was then recalled to England, where, in 1811, he was to receive the post of Rear Admiral of the Blue; a position he held until he was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue: the sixth highest man in the Royal Navy.

Bligh was known as an enlightened, educated, man, with strong moral sensibilities. Not quite the movie monster, but we Americans love our rebels, and it really helps if they are rebelling against a monster.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Am Most Seriously Displeased

10:25 AM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
Pagan conspiracy!!!

How does it come to be that the first Indy 500 I go to in ten years is on Trinity? No way. Of all the unholy anomalies! A veritable masterstroke of the Devil, the world, and my sinful nature.

I am stunned, shocked, and appalled!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Buzzkill

2:33 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I think that many of my gloomy ruminations of late come directly from my reading material, which has been, mostly, history. Right now I am working through The Guns of August, which is an absolute masterpiece, which is heavily involved with the people and personalities that drove the beginning of WWI. The imperfection of men is never more apparent than when it executes poor military plans, which were recognized by those executing them as a poor course of action, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions.

The reason the plans were exercised was pride and a fear of losing face. The Kaiser went from nervous, right before he declared war, to being absolutely debilitated by migraines after. He never intended to actually start a war; he only wanted to posture and make France and Britain recognize Germany as superior. He was bluffing and he never believed France and England would call his bluff. German strategists even published their strategies for taking France by going through Belgium in publications that officers from all over Europe were sure to read. The German people were on the cutting edge of socialism, psychology, physics, military power, architecture, and engineering; they were clamoring for recognition as the leading world power.

To the Kaiser's horror, when he sent the ultimatums to France and Russia, which were designed partially to keep them out of Serbia, and more importantly, to make them recognize German superiority, the French and Russians called him on it. It was the last thing he expected, and to his dying day he insisted that the war was the final victory of the "scheming" Edward VII over himself; the final "encircling of Germany." Nevermind that Edward was dead and had only been strengthening ties between England and the rest of Europe.

H'anyway...

The Kaiser did not want war, but he did it to keep face and because his officers told him it was impossible to avert it, despite the fact that England promised to keep France neutral if Germany held off. WWI was caused by a rising tide of bluster and pride, and it destroyed the three greatest countries in the world, economically, physically, spiritually. The three countries with the greatest universities, most refined culture, and prosperous citizenry, and they went about deciding who was best as one would expect from sophisticated societies: they beat each other to death.

Reading this kind of literature requires increased videogame time. Why? Because you can keep perfect order in a game. Everything can be bent to your will. Good triumphs, evil falls, and the hero and heroine are together, in perfect bliss, under the sun forevermore....Or, at the very least, your well oiled military machine pounds the adversary to dust with minimal civilian causalities; a brief decisive war....Or at least I get to paste a few ugly critters/aliens (ugly alien civilians work too). No, really. I need extra veg time or my brain cooks and I find the one zit that still exists on my head and work it until it looks like a gunshot wound.

I think this points to one wise old cliche. A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. What they fail to mention is that a lot of knowledge is even more dangerous.

My Issue with Beck.

11:49 AM Posted by Patrick No comments
Glenn Beck is the most astute and powerful political commentator of our time. His words have illuminated the darkness that surrounds the American political establishment, and he has a tremendous knack for finding and drawing the lines between corrupt figures. Whether you are a fan or not, only a fool--or someone who has not listened to him--would question his obvious intelligence and preternatural ability to sniff out lies. He is instrumental in the current political awakening.

That said, the man is driving me totally batty.

The current conservative movement has this asinine notion that God has chosen America for excellence. America, historically, is exceptional; it is the one time in human history when the form of government was devised by wise men in a time of peace. The American people are those who were willing to risk everything for the opportunity to live a better life and worship in accordance with their consciences.

The fact that much of our population came here because of religious persecution is part of what made us excellent; they had beliefs that they held firmly enough that they would sooner cross the ocean on a cholera infested boat, only to make a life in a harsh wilderness, so that they could worship in, what they thought was, truth and purity.

There is a moral excellence in such a people. Do you think, however, that God was impressed by such a show and decided to give them favours? Poppycock. Early America was a land of pietists and heretics...we still are, at that. Pietists might make good citizens, but if you look at precedent, God was not exactly impressed by the pharisees.

God has no special interest in America. Indeed, if increase in faith is your measurement, than I think God is showing a lot more interest in Africa right now. America is excellent because the people who founded it were excellent and the regime was excellent.

I'll tell you a secret; the story of humanity is not progress. Human history is as imperfect as each individual within it. Societies are born, grow, become strong, age, and ultimately die. This world and the things in it will not last; American will fall, as have all the great countries and empires before. We will go the way of Rome, England, and France; a slow, petty, decay. God will not save America from this fate because the American government is not where God has promised to be for us. God's covenant is with all his children, and He has promised to be in his Church, in the preaching of the Word, in his sacraments, in his Holy Body and Precious Blood.

I am wearied by Glenn's mantra that good men will prevail because God is on their side. I believe the English believed the same thing going into WWI. Men have freewill and often use it in terrible ways. Even with constant vigilance, the bad men will win eventually, and you will end up with a people whose spirits are crushed along with the things they put their faith in. Do not go looking for God in politics; you will not find him.

I will fight like hell to uphold our constitution and regime. America must be maintained, if for no other reason than to provide something for the downtrodden and oppressed of the world to dream of obtaining. I will do all in my power to maintain what I believe is the last, greatest, hope for freedom amongst men. I am not such a fool, however, to place my hope in this regime. I love it, but I understand that it is separate from those things that actually matter in the end.

When I fold my hands I place the right thumb over the left; the Kingdom of God over the kingdom of the body.

I will pray for good government, but I understand that God is not going to force our leaders to do what is right, nor will he select and elect our leaders, which is, I think, one of the places where Beck is fuzzy. Thomas Jefferson was not a man of faith; he was a deist, as were many of our founders. They believed that God created a world, natural rights, and then went on a permanent vacation. These men were not apostles, prophets, or saints; they were wise pagans.

What Glenn really needs to remember, is that God's Kingdom is not of this world. Do not look for it here, do not try to create it here; you will fail. Live in the life of the church, love God, love your fellow men, and serve your vocation as a good citizen. Seek God where he has told us to seek him, which is definitely not the sphere of American politics.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Life Changing Experience.

9:41 PM Posted by Patrick 3 comments
An experience for the ages--the one we have all been waiting for--I just watched Twilight: New Moon! I am still reeling from the joy of this experience. My lungs are still empty from the *oomph* that was the powerful delivery of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. My mouth is still filled with a biting tang, which resulted from my heaving with ecstasy at the touching and subtle romantic scenes.

The acting was unlike anything I have ever seen. Delivered with a wooden aspect and unrelenting melodrama, the dialog could have been written by teenage girls. Edward Cullen's whispered cliches are absolutely masterful, and only matched by the surly self-hate of Kristen Stewart, who is just so good that she manages to make everyone around her look better...much better. Taylor Lautner, sadly, does not match up to their measure. His performance has none of their memorability, but at least he has looks and personality.

The score. Ah, the score! It never meets you with anything unexpected and provides a perfect compliment to the acting. In the touching moments with Bella and Edward--or Jacob--it drops to a soft and bathetic tinkling of piano and harp: brilliant. The action score was, perhaps, even more brilliant; I do not even have the words to describe it. And, to accent the original work, the score is augmented with works from various popular artists; all inserted at such a time as to excite your curiosity over its placement.

Floored. Absolutely floored. Why did I wait so long to watch this movie? I have no idea. I think I will remember this, and those who suggested it to me, for a very long time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mother Abigail

10:00 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I have been trying for a long time to figure out why they put so much into Ablaze$. I think the strongest insight I have received--thus far--has come from Stephen King.

His book, The Stand, is a masterpiece of post-apocalyptic fiction. There is one character in particular who opened my eyes to a grim possibility. I will not say much here because I believe that this is a book that should be on any 'to read' list.

Perhaps I have been naive the whole time, but something I read earlier made sudden sense. They (synodical bureaucrats) believe that they are bringing the people. As the King character said, it is the sin of pride; thinking that you must provide the people for God's purpose.

They are rational bureaucrats. They pay lip service to God's ability to provide, but instead of using synodical resources to send out priests to baptize and celebrate in poor regions of the world, they spend the resources trying to draw more people; people with money.

They do not trust that God will provide.

I Never Even Think About It...

8:00 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
The Shewoof--a generally brilliant and dazzling character--pointed out again--to someone who should have known--one of the greatest distinctions that separates a homeschooler from the average; something that I always forget that people need explained.

My dear, dear, friend always wonders why I work so doggedly; as he says, I could have the A with a third of the work. His questions have the wrong focus; it is not about the grade. I work well after I have my A because I want to learn; not just to be stamped with a letter that says I learned.

I don't know why, but I am always so shocked when people don't understand that concept. What else is education for?

PS: I have it on fairly good intelligence that all three individuals under this roof will be out at midnight, barking at the moon; It's the tacos.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thoughts of the Morning

11:45 AM Posted by Patrick 3 comments
This morning I realized that I have a desperate need for more bandannas; this being brought on by the fact that most of mine are pretty monotone.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that my morning ritual in the bathroom took three songs. Shewoof's took (like) a whole Five for Fighting CD, and yet, she will protest to her dying breath that she doesn't take that long. We know the truth.

Certain pictures are better left unshared.

I am sad that Lala will be gone.

I feel like an Irish hooligan has taken a brickbat to my head.

And I need to sign up for a new math placement test sometime this summer. The requirements for the class I want to get into were surpassed by my first test, but I was not a Liberal Arts major yet. *Le sigh*

This slate of classes was too easy; I need classes that make me work and think. Plus, I like it when more of my grade comes from my written work than from my exams.

Just my thoughts this morning.

...and why is it so hot in here???

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ablaze!

11:07 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
I do not believe I have ever publicly expressed my thoughts on this program. I think I'll say something brief tonight.

Ablaze is a parasite, leeching off the potential for missionary work by the LCMS. It is a budget black hole. It reads like an ill conceived corporate scheme, and I daresay that any corporate scheme this ambiguous, poorly structured, poorly managed, and unrealistic would end in bankruptcy...wait.

Worse than the fact that this sounds like some loony business craze, it is pillaging the coffers that should be used to spread the Word of God where it cannot be found in its truth and purity. Instead, we are spending it on the aforementioned hair-brained scheme. To find a Lutheran pastor in the United States is no great task. There are lots of us here and we have the ability to receive the sacraments just about anywhere. The church is here; God will provide the faithful.

How many places in the world are there no missions? In how many places are the peoples cut off from the church? Have we recalled missionaries to fund this Willow Creek style debacle?

Bureaucrats dazzled themselves with charts and numbers and slogans, but they neglected the charge which was laid on them. They are commanded to tend God's sheep, but since some of the sheep would not eat their own feed, they took the feed from the hungrier poorer sheep to see if they could tempt the finicky sheep with it. Some eager sheep are left to starve while they shove the hay at a bunch of uninterested goats.

Preach the Word and administer the sacraments, and do so for as many people as you are able. God will supply increase for his church; pastors are merely to position themselves as to readily receive the increase and care for them. We have a paucity of men abroad and a program here that--to all appearances--is no more than weak competition with evangelicals, and an asinine money-pit to boot.

Just my first thoughts. I could be talked into believing that Ablaze$ is a device that has done far more mischief than good.

(Late Edit)

Nah. It's evil.

Guerrilla Cat

10:08 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
The Cat--the mean one--and I are sort of like Palestinians and Israelis. Every so often the cat comes to try and slash my shapely leg to ribbons, and I respond by poking the cat with a cane or umbrella every time it tries to get to me. The cat never says exactly why she is going after me, but she makes a bunch of loud noises and tries to blame me for the incident; I have my sneaking suspicions that it is over territory.

The cat is by no means my equal in combat, but she is sneaky and uses rocket fast attacks from behind. Moreover, it is very difficult to hunt the cat down in the many hidden places of the house. The rest of the household sits around and waits for me to land the final blow on that cat; they all know the cat will work it out of me eventually, and I expect to be condemned in the strongest language possible, but sanctions are unrealistic. Oh well.

Video Games

1:50 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
Video games are a perennial issue, and a favourite citation for armchair philosophers who pontificate on just what is wrong with the world. Video games and violence is one of the more overstressed pairings of recent parental and academic concern. O'Reilly tells us that we have to protect the children. Never mind that his childhood memoirs contain more instances of combat than many of us will ever know; kids are just more violent these days.

Are they really more violent, or is it just the omnipresence of video recording devices? In the last year it is not the children who have been bringing the guns to school. I would contend that we react more violently to their violence. From my reading of older American lit, and in hearing older people talk about their childhood, I would be lead to believe that a brief fistfight between school children was more acceptable then than it is now; still frowned on, but not likely to lead to immediate expulsion.

Bullying, which is tied to most school violence, has nothing to do with video games. If your children are becoming increasingly cliquish and nasty, then I think the first place to look is in a mirror, then at their friends, and then at their idols. Video games do not teach children to scorn others because of their speech or dress. Discrimination based on looks is not a characteristic of video game subplots. The 5'5 emo highschool kid who opens fire on classmates does not think he is running a mission on Grand Theft Auto; he is just a hurt misfit whose psyche is more fully shattered than originally believed.

But when I think about it, most parents do not know how nasty their children really are to other children. When I was babysitting the Jahns it would always astonish me just how foul many of the children who lived around them were. They would swear like sailors (language I never heard in a video game) when they thought you couldn't hear, call each other names, and just say the nastiest things...and I know at least two of the sets of parents didn't let their kids play video games.

The games give the parents a scape goat. They do not want to take responsibility for the final product of their indolent indulgence. They do not want to think that it is mostly their fault that their children are, let's face it, total brats. The part of society they turn to for the casting of blame is the part they have no hand in. Never mind that prime time television is in the gutter, the parents like it; it is far too early to send the kids to bed, and they need to watch their shows. Never mind that parents, in their dealings toward others, set the first examples for their children to follow. Never mind that they are weak and let the kids take charge.

Video games are, in my humble opinion, a far more cultured median than anything on television right now. It might be partially from the kinds of games I play (which are still, generally, rather violent) and the studios I support, but I am continually finding more literary illusions and subtle tippings of the hat to artists and authors long gone. It is a genre put together by wildly intelligent designers for consumers who are above average in the same department. Not every game will have intelligence, but I think my odds are better with a video game than with prime time TV, or even Discovery, for that matter (we won't even mention Disney).

In fact, I am going to challenge the assumption that youths should be sheltered from the sight of violence. I think violence is one of the harsh realities of the world that should not be hidden from the eyes of those mature enough to handle it. Hiding violence--especially when the kids know it is there--shrouds it in a macabre mystery; it is suddenly charged with the same magical energy as alcohol. Violence is one of those things that children need to learn about in the presence of responsible parents and elders.

Also, such things as, courage, honor, and beauty mean less in the absence of violence. Courage and honor are the province of martyrs and soldiers; To look into the magistrates eyes and announce that he cannot kill you, or to walk into that next cave when one of your friends did not walk out of that last one; these are both examples of courage which most of us could never imagine. We know of them because we read about them, and now, we play them in video games. It is a kind of vicarious heroics. To which concoction we add beauty, which is always most striking when we realize how fragile it is. You never feel a deep peace--and when one does, it often bores us--but a tenuous peace you cannot ignore.

There are, however, also games where you play the villain. Are there not books where the villain is the protagonist, and where the clever author makes you root for him? The core of the video game is, and shall remain, the story. And just as a good story can have you reading well after he splits the old woman's head with an axe to satisfy his greed and ego, so also, I am sure clever artists can wrap you up in the story of a gangster. It is a matter of skill in story telling. You will notice that there are no cases of parents or watch groups blaming GTA for drug dealers in the schools. Nor is Dostoevsky blamed for people killed by means of an axe. The thought is ridiculous. They are good stories, even if the characters are evil. (GTA knowledge is heresay, based entirely on the opinion of a pastor)

I consume my video games with the same relish as I consume my books. There are considered to be four gamer types for video games. They are achievers, killers, explorers, and social gamers. I am an explorer; I like to thresh out the interesting facets of a good game, and I love a good story. I think my love of books probably shaped that. I like my games extra heavy on story and innovative gameplay. Jonathan is a classic killer; Uber-competitive with a side of "gotcha!" He tends to prefer FPS style games, but, in my opinion, he is easily the least violent out of the three of us, and has the least stomach for violence in any form...despite the fact he is the meanest little virtual sniper to ever take me down 5 times straight.

Video games do not run parallel to real life, and no one really thinks that they do. Teenagers are not going to confuse the infamous God of War games (complete with giant man in skin-tight leotard fighting gods and lesser mortals, and one that I have heard mentioned as a game to be censored) with real life; not happening. Again, the game is not to my taste, but it is not exactly the scourge of civilization either.

The family, religion, the neighborhood, and our other sources of brotherhood and civil virtue have been eroding since the late fifties. Our communities are hardly that, and our neighbors are never likely to forgive us for not being normal like them. Cliques are omnipresent, religion is inconvenient, "I" is the emphasis, and the family is an optional thing that you aren't really tied to. Parents are selfish, and their children do their very best to eclipse them in that respect.

And--on top of all that has been stated before--children cannot buy an M rated game, only parents...well, adults. If your kid's uncle buys it and you don't approve...you will have to play the bad guy and take it away.

Perhaps there is a way to truncate this post? There are enough problems with the world, so keep thy legislative nanny-paws off of my video games. Seriously, they don't do it with any other form of private media, and it could be argued that public media is a lot worse, so why this particular genre? Answer: because this is the one that the people making the demands do not partake of and have no knowledge of; therefore, it must be dangerous.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reaching for Summer.

2:59 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Early this afternoon I finished with my final regular class of this semester, and that fact does not come without a certain relief. There is a mingled sadness that goes with it. Some of my classes seemed like--and were!--pointless drudgery, but I have a couple classes I am really going to miss.

Bartky is incredible, and though I do not agree with everything that he says, at least he makes me think about my every political position. I leave his class feeling like a much more educated human being, and a better citizen for it. I have gained invaluable arguments and defenses for my political beliefs and a much greater understanding of the thought which shaped my beliefs. I will definitely be taking future classes with him.

The other class that I will miss is German. Again, this class always leaves me with the feeling that I know more than when I came in. I can feel and measure my progress. I can actually understand most of the lyrics when I listen to Revolverheld, and that is in itself gratifying.

History...it seemed rather basic; it was all things that I had heard before, only with a strong progressive spin. Dr. Erickson is excellent in her manner and style, but everything we did was so cursory that it didn't hold the mind as well.

Com...many idiots and pretty young women (though I might note that the two often coincided). I have no real attachment to this class. The professor was good, but the textbook was boring and the class--after I stopped answering questions in lecture--would often sit in total silence for 45 seconds or more while she waited for someone to answer. Who knows what I would have done were it not for the generally decorative aspect of the other members; probably slept.

I am afraid that I have come to loathe smalltalk, particularly the, "oh, I can't stand her," or, "oh, she is a bitch," brands which are so common amongst the younger population. I get along better with the upperclassmen and professors than I do with my fellow freshmen. I just need to keep reminding myself that those seething masses of dim and coarse bawds are holding down my tuition prices. Walking down a hallway in CM I passed this guy who managed to loose 4 f-bombs before I was out of earshot, and if you have ever seen how fast I walk when I am alone, you will realize what an accomplishment that is.

*harumph, ahem*

I am going to have to stay useful this summer; that or go nuts. I have been constantly barraged with busy work since January, and before that I had just finished the same a few weeks before. At the top of my list is getting a job. Next on my list is returning my strength and body weight to their pre-infection levels. Lastly, it is my intention to work on all of the German that I will have next semester. I want this next semester to be more a practice of my actual speaking skills than just harried memorization of exam terms, and that starts with having all of the vocab and grammar concepts down.

Now I am just looking forward to finals. Barring disaster they should all be A's...although I might be staring down an -A for com, which is stupid, but I bunged one exam pretty badly. That exam was the first C of my life, and all because I drew a total blank on the short essay. We will see in a couple of weeks.

Ugh. I'm cranky. I hope it isn't tinging this post too much. I lost about four hours of possible sleep to tossing and turning because of a stiff back, neck, and burning knees. Add to that an unnecessary yank on my neck--administered by my overenthusiastic little brother--which was executed in such a way as to catch only a muscle or tendon--who knows which--in the side of my neck, briefly producing stars of pain before I recovered.

I am tired.

And,

Oh yeah,

Let us not forget.

Happy Birthday, Boss!!!

Love,
~Eddie

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Girls and Acolyting.

1:01 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
Acolyting in the Divine Service is incredibly fulfilling. No matter how hard you try to hold it down, you are always in grave danger of a gentle warming of the heart. It is good. It is the closest we get to perfection on earth.

Young men who join the Corp are being introduced to the service of Our Lord. They have the opportunity, should they so desire, to continue on to preforming a greater service in the Office of the Holy Ministry. Every single one of my guys will have that choice.

Winston--my dear friend and predecessor as Captain of Acolytes--is going to be a pastor, which is no great surprise. I believe my middle brother is also intending to be a pastor. Once you become accustomed to the Service...it is not so easy to leave it. Even when I sit out for a month or so--allowing the younger guys to get more practice--when I next serve there is a sense of return, of things being in their right place. It is right.

At this time, I am afraid that I do not intend to become a pastor. I have interests in other directions and I have seen to many men--whom I love--scorned and abused by wicked congregants(who want their own way) and sniveling bureaucrats(who want their own way). I do not think I would respond to either of these well, as my current response to such petty annoyances that cross my path is bitter sarcasm and sharp words.

There will, however, be definite pain upon leaving the service. My brothers, Jonathan and Winston, have no intention of parting themselves from the service. The only reason I haven't joined the choir yet is because I realize that my last day in acolyting will probably be my last as a servant at the Feast of Our Lord. The very thought is painful, almost enough to bring tears. At least I have a choice, and my choice might change with time and maturity.

You might wonder where this is going: I am there.

I have a choice. If I am to be separated from the service I take that cross on myself. I have been trained in the service, I love the service, and I can stay if I want.

Girls cannot stay in the Divine Service. Why would you encourage a young person into a service they could never continue, no matter how much they desired it? We are being trained in the workings of the Divine Service, yes, but also in the love of said Service. In my eyes, it is nothing less than base cruelty to allow girls a place in the ordering of the Feast, only to yank it out from under them. I have a choice; they cannot have a choice. Is the desire to kindle a want for something that cannot be? We are little prospective pastors-in-training. Are you intending the young ladies to pastors? No? In that case, what on earth are you doing to them???

There you have a tiny bit of the Human dynamics side. I'll get back into the workings of acolyting later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

...By the Grace of God.

1:18 PM Posted by Patrick 3 comments
What is it to be an acolyte? Any acolyte worth his salt--any of my guys--could tell you that it is a servant, not an "altar boy" or a "candle lighter." Well what does that mean? We all look the same don't we?

The truth is that it means nothing outside of the context of the Divine Service.

Have you ever noticed the waiters at a really nice restaurant? They aren't chummy like most waiters, but they are immaculately dressed and have absolutely rhadamanthine discipline. The immaculate dress is always the same; they have a uniform. The waiter is not important; he serves to make sure that the service in the restaurant goes smoothly and lend to the dignity of the environment. The best waiter are almost unnoticeable as they preform their duties.

An acolyte has a uniform; it covers over his individuality, physique, and personality. It is the same as every other acolyte around him. We are all the same, and it is not we that matter, but that which we serve. We are there to lend greater dignity to the celebration.

We, however, are only the lowliest on the scale of servants, and we serve the master of ceremonies; the man who sees that the feast is kept according dictum of the MASTER of The House. Our job, first and foremost, is to make his job easier and to assist him in any way that is needed.

We are servants at a feast; The Feast. We are servants of the Greatest King, at his high feast, and we conduct ourselves accordingly. We serve our King as best we can, in order that his feast might be carried out in all its sweet splendor.

To be an acolyte is no trifling matter. An acolyte must be disciplined, solemn, intelligent, solicitous, and always directing the guests to that which is important. We are always watching where there is something important. Our every action should point to the significance of the service, even our eyes should be so employed.

There are two reasons that our Corp does not use female acolytes. Firstly, and most significantly, acolyting is in large part a preparation for the Lord's service in higher capacity. One must be a waiter before one is the master of ceremonies. I have no doubt that some of my guys will end up as pastors. This is an opportunity to accustom them to the service and improve their knowledge of rubric and the conduct of the service while they are yet young.

Second...have you ever seen the difference between mixed gender and single gender middle school sports teams? I have been a member of both in my youth. Boys do not keep focus when the girls are around and they tend to goof around and show off a lot more. Their head has a tendency to go into the clouds. And, worst of all, guys get contentious. Nothing causes chaos quite like a pretty girl in the middle of a bunch of developing males with wacky hormones. We call ourselves the Corp for a reason; our camaraderie is aimed at a military style of connection. We are bound by mutual discipline and experience; it is a brotherhood.

A solid corp of acolytes requires; to start, a strong leader who takes it seriously and can get others to follow (we were lucky to start with a Winston); discipline; clergy who are available for questions and knowledgeable in the rubrics and theology of the service; a sense of brotherhood and belonging, as a kind of positive peer pressure; and responsibility: trust your acolytes with tasks and duties aside from lighting candles; the trust means more than you could ever know.

I think I'll extrapolate on this later, but this is a good beginning.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Misunderstanding the Significance of Religion in the Cold War

3:35 PM Posted by Patrick 1 comment
Cold War era American politicians sound like baptists. They had to mention God 8-9 times a paragraph; they sound like holy warriors on a crusade. We ridicule them for this. We say to ourselves, "If only we had been there with our reason and modern sensibilities; the cold war could have lasted just a few months." We see how they blew things out of proportion. What should have been a conversation became a deathmatch. If only they could have benefited from our sophistication.

They also sound like a bunch of nationalistic lunatics. "Freedom this," and, "Freedom that." Lines and lines about the superiority of our idea of freedom, our brand of freedom, and our acting out of freedom. They sound like Tea-baggers and maniacs. If only they could have benefited from our sophistication.

What has our sophistication brought?

To understand later problems we must first examine the way our views of freedom changed.

The progressive era saw many changes, but the only one I am concerned with right now is the shift it began in the American view of freedom. Previously, freedom was inherent, something we had from birth and could never be added to, only taken from. Equality was that we were all born with those rights, and that those rights only left us when they were yielded up by us. Therefore, all men inherently have equal political rights by nature.

Freedom under early progressives--and later augmented by FDR--is not something you are born with; it is something that is given or taken. Freedom is largely material in this right. You have the right to a job, food, clothing, house, and from fear of wicked men. These are all wonderful things, but you have taken freedom out of the realms of the self and put it into material goods. Those who have more of the above are more free. Who is more free? Is it the man who has to buy a crap used car? Or is it the man with the means to buy whichever car he wants? According to a progressive definition of freedom, the second man is more free.

Bear with me, I am about to take you back through the Greeks and Cicero again. What is it, according to almost all of the ancient and medieval philosophers, that is the measure and greatest desire of the democratic man? It is freedom. He who has the most freedom is greatest and best.

See the building problem?

Instead of political participation being the highest good of American democracy, we measure our good in wealth. Is it any coincidence that poll turnouts fell drastically after we entered the progressive era? No. The vote was no longer the greatest honor and duty of a citizen; money was. Despite the fact that it was a movement that was supposed to lift the downtrodden and oppressed, it saw drastically reduced electoral participation.

Now. You might ask, "what in hellfire has this to do with religion in the Cold War?" I respond with much patience, "I am getting there, but first we must detour again."

Capitalism, the unrestrained procurement and trade of goods, was restrained in our founding fathers plans, which they drew from the works of still greater men. There were two strong bulwarks against the economic chaos we are experiencing now. On the one hand, we had the emphasis of liberty of political action being the highest good and goal of the citizen, with political action as the place in which all men were as self determined as kings. And on the other hand we have the infinitely stronger and more important influence of religion.

Friendship and the common good must be in the heart of the citizens in order for a republic to work. This is universally acknowledged in all of the political theory that I have had the pleasure of reading this semester. Capitalism would seem a bit mercenary for the promotion of such lofty ideals. Whose good is capitalism aimed at? Mine. How do you chain such a beast? How do you prevent the citizens from becoming a flock of wolves? Religion.

The purpose of religion in a capitalist system is to sustain the most important values of the republic, and to encourage such virtues as charity, loyalty, faith, friendship, love for fellow man, honesty, and respect. Religion was supposed to aid the stability and longevity of the family, which is the basic building block of all human societies. Religion was supposed to temper our capitalist spirit in order that we, though we had unlimited potential for accumulation, might glory in liberality and philanthropy; that our heroes would be kings of generosity and civic good will.

Can you see the problem? Religion is a joke to so many now, and even many of those who have it are ashamed of it or do not think that it bears any relation to the realities of the political world. Religion has been mocked and ridiculed; it has been attacked as old fashioned and stupid, and has so been cast from its place of honor. We reap the benefits of that today. We are rampant competitive consumers. We have to have the newest car, clothes, and apple gadget. The American middle class just doesn't give to charity anymore--the number is something like 2% of income--and our heroes are masters of conspicuous consumption.

Behold, our sophistication.

Those crazy Baptists and Tea-baggers knew what they were saying. We were separated from the oppressive--if one more persons talks about "wealth disparity" to show we were as bad as them and I am going to feed them a picture of the mass graves dug for the millions killed by the forced starvations in Ukraine, or maybe the recently gassed and lifeless bodies of Bosnian children --and viciously brutal regimes of the (Godless) Soviet Union by a wall; this wall was religion, held together and augmented by the mortar of freedom.

Thanks be to God, we still maintain much of what we once had, but it is--in many respects--so much weaker than it was. We have our constitution, and she will not break easily, not even to the force of our sophistication. Religion in America is weaker, I think, because religious people do not defend themselves with the eloquence that constitutionally aware Americans do. American Christians do not understand their religion; they do not spend time on their religion. If the average Christian spent as much time on God as they did on football; they might actually have a chance in debate. In this respect, Comrade Brian--head of campus atheists and agnostics--has been good for me because he has forced me to explain my beliefs...add to the deal that he is an admitted Marxist and we have a nice contrast going.

Americans need to shore-up their understanding of freedom and religion. Religion especially, for its ramifications for the state, as well as the obvious soul thingy. ;-p

Maybe those Cold War politicians had no idea what they were doing. Perhaps it was all gut reaction. Could it be that it was all just indoctrinated jingo, spat out by scared men in tough times. What I would give for such leaders right now. Even if they did not understand; they placed importance where it belonged.

Fools, cowards, and yet still guardians of freedom, would that we had such right now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Against The Rising Tide of Darkness.

12:46 PM Posted by Patrick 2 comments
*Journal of Patrick--Captain of Acolytes by the Grace of God--for April 16th in the Year of Our LORD 2010*

Woke up early. Clouds build on the horizon. Have been tasked to reinforce seminarian moving division. Coffee not strong enough. Heading for church to make rendezvous with the Holy Father.

Arrive at church; Holiness arrives shortly thereafter. Heading up to temporary encampment.

Arrive at temporary base, assist with pack-up. Glenn Beck and Gandalf present for work. Making way with Glen and subordinates to drop off supplies at Fort Redeemer. So far no resistance.

Finished massive supply unload, have received messenger from main unit: Horses have been unshod and lamed, send immediate reinforcement with replacements. I am closest to nearest stable, taking small task force to requisition the necessary goods.

Arrive at Petersen Stable. All is quiet. Bad feeling about this....

Sitting within the walls of my fortress, I will now take time to put to paper the earlier events that followed my arrival at Petersen stables.

I did not like the feel of things when I got there. The cat was spooked--might it have been the rain?--but nothing would have prepared me for what came next. I opened the main gates of the stable and was immediately overwhelmed by the stench of petroleum and mustiness. I reeled and recovered just in time to dive out of the path of the massive spider that had just charged me. I took my vorpal sword in hand and removed the manxome foe's legs with a snicker-snack!

Before I had time to glory in my victory, an exceeding great host of them was upon me. I laid to them where'er they rose up, but I was soon tired. My sword heavy in my hand, I fell. As they gathered gloatingly around me, I desperately offered a prayer: that I would not meet my end at the ravages of these horrid brown recluses, O Lord, have mercy.

At once my heart was brave again; my arm strong. I rose to give battle to my foes once more. My sword, however, was unnecessary, for even as my strength was restored to me, fire rained on all my foes, and from every dandelion burst a dazzling beam of sunshine that perished the unnamed darkness.

My work was not done. At once I turned back to the stable to face the last dread terror that had remained behind. For, as I had expected, the last and greatest of my vile foes was perched on top of the necessary supplies. From deepest corner to the highest shelf, I fought him; the Recluse of Garage. Until, at last I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the asphalt.

It was not until I had escaped the stable with all of the needed supplies that the second messenger came to tell me that they did not actually need them.

Still, some of the evil that resided at the old Fort Peterson has now been vanquished. The rest will require greater hands and braver hearts than mine.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Peaks and Valleys.

9:47 PM Posted by Patrick No comments
Today started in a valley that I like to call "waking up." It is a very tiresome place to be; for it is very hard to see anything and there always seems to be a cat under your feet.

We moved along until reaching a slow ascent to this neat little peak called "time with friends." This peak started with breakfast with Theo and Pippin, and moved on to coffee with Brian, Joe, and John. This time was very good for my delicate psyche and included plenty of laughter and butchered German words. The good times extended right through German and all the way up to walking back to Kettler with Winston.

Things get ugly after that.

I returned to the library to meet with my Com classmates. I stayed in the place where we were supposed to meet and stayed there for fifteen minutes. I then made arrangements for extraction. After those arrangements were made I spent the next half hour waiting for my Com mates/scouring the library to make sure they hadn't situated themselves elsewhere. Having established that my group members were not around, I used my remaining time to write an email to my Com professor, going for the slightly hurt, frustrated, and pathetically dependent tone that compassionate liberals respond to like knights to the screams of a damsel.

I then spent what tiny time I had left standing under the rain to try and reduce the building heat and blood-pressure that comes from being stood up yet again.

That was a deep little valley, out of which it took a solid thunder storm to lift me. Lightning does the trick every time. To complete my therapy I indulged in the remainder of my Ben & Jerry's.

After I stopped reacting a touchily to every small offense I was able to get back to my homework, which is actually not that bad...I just couldn't bring myself to work on the group project research.

I need to work with these people, but how am I to smile at those who blow me off without a word, especially when such a large portion of my grade depends on our final project.

If I could ditch the others and reduce the group down to Laurel and I; then we could get something done. The others are turning out to be some really heavy baggage.

Heavy baggage is not conductive to my trip out of that valley.

At least I have Bartky and Erickson tomorrow, so my brain will get some action. I will be very glad to have Bartky back from all of his passover stuff.