Saturday, December 11, 2010

Swept Ashes and Windstorms

I am going to refer to posts like the following in one of two ways. Humorously, I will call this a 'duct-tape' post, as it will have a light side and a dark side, yadda-yadda-yadda. You know the rest. Seriously, this is a 'human' post, for the very same reason. You see, as self indulgent as it may be, I have these thoughts and they need to come out. So please, bear with me as I post my disjointed thoughts. They are important, even if only to me.

I have been trying little things to cheer myself up lately. Last night I watched a children's movie that warms my heart greatly, Kiki's Delivery Service. I know it seems a bit silly, but it put a smile on my face. I do so love a good coming of age story.

I've also begun reading Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. I haven't made it very far in the book as I keep laughing so hard I have to set it down.

Pandora is playing a song from Ingrid Michaelson's album Be Ok. Take that for what it's worth.

Today I was feeling a bit of residual ennui, so I went for a walk down to the local Starbucks. The staff at the Houghton Starbucks is wonderful; the young lady behind the counter was ready to prepare my usual, until I threw her for a little loop:

Barista: Double-tall gingerbread latte?
Me: Nah. I need something different, but I don't know what. Why don't you surprise me?
Barista: Oh! Ummm… Any flavors you don't like?
Me: Just do what you gotta do.
Barista: (smiling) So long as it's a double-tall…?

She set me up a salted-caramel mocha that was quite tasty. As silly and inane as this story is, it helped put a smile on my face. Even if it was only for a short while, it was certainly better than nothing.


 


 

I have decided that, starting tomorrow, I am going to carry notebooks with me to fill with notes about what I see around me. Mostly I want to record the small kindnesses I see that go on in the world. They happen every day and I think writing them down for myself, and subsequently here, will be beneficial to me and hopefully to others. After all, I don't know about you, but I am in love with the small kindnesses in the world. There's just something about holding doors open for people or smiling at someone that just does a lot to restore some of the lost hope I feel.

However, I must admit that I am incredibly guilty of not putting forth those kindnesses at time. Today, in fact, I disappointed myself. I was in the self-check line at Safeway, ringing my last few items through, when an elderly woman came up to me and asked if I was a Christian. I told her I was and she then asked if I could help her. I responded with a rather awkward noise from my throat. She asked me for money and I told her no. Now, I could offer any number of reasons or excuse as to why I said no. I could say I'm leery of giving money to strangers, or that I just had no cash on me, but it really doesn't matter. I had the chance to help someone and I didn't. I've been kicking myself for that all night.


 


 

I've been feeling a bit roughshod lately. Call it stress; call it loneliness; call it ennui; call it SAD*. Whatever you call it, it's had a profound effect on my ability to cope with day to day life. I find myself becoming increasingly reclusive and exponentially more tired. I often come home feeling like I want to cry and I have no real idea why. I suppose it's a combination of things: I am feeling stressed about my future and about my present. I hate coming home to no one to talk to but myself. Yes, I talk to people on the phone or on various other mediums, but it's not the same. I haven't seen my family in almost three years now… There are a lot of other things, but they're all part of a jumbled up mish-mash in my head.

I want to wrap this up, but I have a few people I owe thanks to. Heather, Julia, and Sondra: you have been wonderful and I'd have surely slipped into the depths of insanity were it not for my conversations with you three. Thank you.

Hey, Scribbles. I've mentioned a few things in this post of a personal nature. Now I'd like to hear from you:

-What movies books, or songs warm you up or bring a smile to your face?

- Have you said or done anything lately that you've felt disappointed in yourself? If so, what?

- This is a pretty broad question, but how are you feeling this month? Up? Down? Stressed? At ease?

Feel free to leave your answers in the comments. I look forward to reading them.


 


 

*Actually, as SAD is a real disorder that I've never been diagnosed with, let's not call it that, ok?


 

 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Extreme Blog Makeover!

Already dated pop-culture references aside, if you've been reading my blog at all it may look a bit different. If you just stumbled upon it, well you won't notice a damn thing. The fact of the matter is I have been wanting to give this thing a face-lift for some time now; however, I have no mind for coding something, no real eye for design, and Blogger's templates all kind of suck. 

This is what I'm getting at: 
I need help on this one. I need help on this in a major way. I want this goofy little blog to be something I can be proud of, but I just cannot do it alone. What do you say? Help me make this blog less hideous to look at.

Help me help you.

Or at least help me to stop insulting and assaulting your general sense of aesthetics.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mundane Monday


My dearest Scribbles, I think we need a little pick me up on this fine Monday afternoon. My dear friend, Sondra, sent me a link to the most unintentionally funny thing I've read in a long time.


http://www.lttr.org/journal/1/the-scub-manifesto



Go ahead. Read it. I know the print is small, but do your best to read it. I'll wait.



You done? Ok.



It's hilarious because it is serious. Now, I titter every time someone claims to have a manifesto in the first place, simply because they all think they're the next Marx, but they're all wholly ridiculous. This one may just take the cake.



When I think about this, my mind conjures the best mental image in the history of mental images: a haute couture snob wearing a rainbow feathered hat, a three bracelets made of raw bacon, a gold corset, neon green hot pants with black fishnet leggings, a superhero mask, purple lipstick, one blue sparkly high heel, and a black and pink converse high heel boot* running around Stockholm with a razor knife and a pair of scissors, hunting down people wearing jeans and t-shirts to hack and slash at their clothing, all the while shouting about how her victims have no identity and must be destroyed. It is fantastically hilarious.

Are you smiling? If so, you're welcome. If not, then you're reading the wrong blog.


 

*Seriously, if any of my artistically inclined friends could draw this, I would love you forever, and even use the image here and on my facebook as my profile picture.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gentle Reminders

Thought for your Saturday, Scribblers:



The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

--Emma Lazaraus, American poet 1849-1887

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Litany Mimic

So, at the behest of my friend Randall, I am posting my Litany* mimic assignment, which was done for my Structure of English class. So, basically you all get to suffer for Randall's amusement.

Litany Mimic

You are the pen and the paper,

the wet ink and the words.

You are the snap of Highland snare

and the droning hum of the pipes.

You are the slate stone of the path,

and the desert fox silently at night.


 

However, you are not the string of the violin,

the wine in the cask,

or the stack of books.

And you are certainly not the brisk chill in the wind.

There is just no way you are the brisk chill in the wind.


 

It is possible that you are the cards on the table,

maybe even the fob on the gentleman's watch,

but you are not even close

to being the meadow of dandelions in mid-afternoon.


 


 

And a sharp reflection in the pond will show

that you are neither the wood in the pile

nor the fir tree stoic in its grove.


 

It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am scent of the leaves in the air.


 

I also happen to be the billowing smoke,

the casual conversations heard all across the room,

and keferloher of ale waiting on the bar.


 

I am also the bread in the hand

and the working man's soft sigh.

But don't worry, I'm not the pen and the paper.

You are still the pen and the paper.

You will always be the pen and the paper,

not to mention the wet ink and –somehow—the words.


 


 


 

*The original Litany was written by poet Billy Collins. Google it, or check it out here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Coal and Diamonds


So I know it hasn't even been a day and I'm already making another post. Not only am I making another post, but I'm afraid I must once again return to a somber subject.

Coal:

I came across this news article today. Another lost life. Another heart-wrenching tragedy. This problem has already hit home for me on an emotional level. Now this problem is hitting home geographically. It has to end somewhere. My good friend, Sondra Snyder, said it far more eloquently than I could:

"Another baby chose to die rather than endure bullying. This child shot himself, all alone, at home on Tuesday. How many has this been in the last month and a half? How many have we not heard about? Young one, I am so sorry you will not get to experience the future that should have been yours. I wish you had stayed."
I said in an earlier post as a former victim of bullying I have no stomach for bullies. I have no tolerance for people who torture others in the name of fun. My soul weeps at the loss of a life so young. My heart goes out to the family of this young person. I am sorry. I am so sorry because we, as a society, have failed your child. I know I will not let his death be in vain. From the dark, dirty coal of this tragedy there must come a diamond…


 

Diamond:

There is something beautiful I must add to this post. My good friends at Everyone is Gay* posted a link to this video on twitter this morning:




 

There is beauty here, people. Good on you, Joel Burns, for opening up your heart like this. Thank you for continuing to tell these young people that it does, indeed, get better.


 


*They read this blog one time and sent me a lovely e-mail. They are fantastic people.

The Best in the Biz.

Howdy, Scribblings.

So, things have been a bit dour around this here blog of late. Very serious business going on. I'm going to take a brief break from that to bring you something near and dear to me: grammar!

First of all this is a fantastic grammar blog. I enjoy reading this immensely because it gives helpful tips on word forms (how many adjectives can you string together?) as well as interesting words you'd never hear otherwise (Verdurous is an amazing word). Give it a look. It's run by the fantastic people over at OWL.

The OWL website is a fantastic resource for writing tips, current MLA and APA style guides, ESL teaching tips, and even provides links to open writing jobs. If you're a professional writer, a student, or just a hobbyist, these sites are fantastic.

And since I'm plugging things today, I'd also like to add this:

My friend Meghan is an avid reader. She's practically rabid about it. She would love to recommend books for you to read, and she does just that. All you have to do is pop over to her new site, Ask Parliament Books and read some stellar book reviews by this delightfully loquacious bibliophile.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thought for the day

A good friend of mine sent me this today. I thought I'd share it with all of you.

On January 27, 1998, Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, delivered a speech to the German Bundestag in which he said "I come from a people who gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Time has come to strengthen them by three additional ones, which we ought to adopt and commit ourselves to: thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

FCKH8

Dig this:



Yeah, yeah. Bleeped version for the family, but if you just really need your F-Bomb fix, here you go.

For more information, check out FCKH8's website, buy some swag, and help this cause.

Because love is love, no matter who it is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Broken Silence

I have an incredible amount of guilt in this moment. I've sat back and kept silent about something I am quite passionate about for a long time. I've kept silent out of fear. I have kept silent because I didn't want my coworkers to know how I felt about this. I've been afraid that they would reject me and that they would treat me as less than human.

I have reached my breaking point. I can no longer keep my silence in this. I no longer care what others may say or think. I can no longer remain complacent. I cannot be idle while the problem gets worse.

Facts: I'm a straight male. I'm an advocate for homosexuality. I was a victim of bullying in my youth.


 

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7nbQSIyhg#


 

Tyler Clementi

Seth Walsh

Asher Brown

Read those names slowly. Say them aloud. They are not statistics, but human beings. They had friends, family, loved ones, and they are all dead because of bullying. This very fact fills me with disgust and outrage. As someone who has been bullied, someone who has been beaten up and tossed over a chain link fence, thrown in a dumpster amongst many other horrid things, I cannot believe this shit still goes on. It's abhorrent and completely repulsive.

With that, I have several things I feel I have to say to several different groups.

To the friends and loved ones of gay teens:

Keep being the support system they need.

Love them. Mein Gott im Himmel love them.

Do allow them to suffer silently.

Do not be silent.


 

To the parents of these teens:

Tell your children you love them.

Let them know things get better.

Make sure they know that not everyone in the world will treat them like dirt because of who they are.


 

To bullies:

Change your ways and turn toward love. If not, then you can rot for what I care. I genuinely hope you'll turn toward love.


 

To the parents of bullies:

Pay attention to what your children are doing.

Make time for them.

Hold them accountable for what they are doing with and to their peers.

Make sure they know that you love them and why they're responsible for their actions.


 

To gay and/or bullied teens:

People will love you no matter what.

Stay strong. It
gets
better.
I promise.


 

The key component here, for everybody involved, is love. It's a thing everyone deserves. Can we try to do this for each other from now on? Can we show love?


 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In which the author is full of shortpacked rage...

My neighbors may have to die.
The woman in the apartment next door has a Twilight picture in her window. It has a curve cut out of the top where she can place her head to be in the picture. She hammers at disgusting hours of the night, when normal people sleep. She wears cheap perfume and way too much of it.

The man downstairs has no concept of time. He blasts his music at night when I need to be up at 5:30 in the morning. I have tried ignoring him. I have tried being an adult and asking him to stop. I have tried stomping on the floor. I'm not sure what else I can do without being a huge dick about it.


Dear internets... help?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Beat Goes On.

I have heard it said many times in my life that a person may "walk to the beat of their own drum." It's an interesting idea. Rhythm is a natural, integral, and internal part of being human. Our hearts beat, we walk, we move, and talk in rhythms. We live in a rhythm all our own. So if we have a natural rhythm, what does the beat sound like?

For me, lately, it's a war drum. It's a driving sound. I can't dance to it. I can't even sway with it. And yet it keeps me moving. It pushes me and it just keeps pushing. Get up, go to work, work, come home, sleep. Repeat ad nauseam. Keep on pushing. Drive and move and don't stop. Can't stop.

Currently my beat is me at work. I have let my job dominate my life and it fills me with bitterness. I am grateful for having a steady job, especially in a time where finding work is tricky, but I have come to a point where it has stolen my identity. The only sound is that driving thump that says to keep moving.

A good person recently said to me "I work to live, not the other way around." That struck a major chord with me. I realized that's exactly how I should be living, myself. But I have been living to work. And so I blame my job because I have no life of my own, but that's my own fault. I can always choose working to live. I can always choose the beat I hear. The beat I want to hear is something catchy. Something that makes me move and sway in time. I want that driving war drum there, but as a background that drives a beat of life. A rollicking thud with a danceable back beat. I want to work to live. I want to live. I want to dance to a whole new beat.

So what about you? What does your beat sound like? What do you think it should sound like?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Got to Get it Together

This past week I have felt more productive than I have in months. I've been fighting to stave off this general lethargy that tends to come over me and has me feel defeated. To help myself I have done a bunch of things in the name of Getting My Shit Together™:
  • Checked out a plethora of books
  • Set up a reading schedule
  • Have written down most of the important dates I need to look at for the coming months
  • Began taking care of some overdue optical business
I know this is basically a self-serving post, but it's serving a purpose. It's an excuse to write something, even if it only really matters to me. It's a place to look so I can remind myself that I can get organized and I do not need to feel defeated all the damn time. Also, props to you folks who have been incredibly supportive of me these past few months.

Upcoming agenda:
  • Massive top to bottom cleaning of my apartment
  • Register for a fall class (Structure of English)
  • Officially change major 
  • Lots and lots and lots of reading
I'm sure there's more on that list, but at the moment I cannot remember what. Hello Monday morning!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Great Cause...

I just wanted to draw your attention to something. Those of us at NU have been doing our part to fight human trafficking for a few years. Some of us read a lot of web-comics.

Well now those two things have combined.

The Comic Creator's Alliance is taking donations and splitting them for Love 146 and GraceHaven. Your donation gets you a wallpaper of various web-comic characters.

For more information on this issue, check the links section of Comic Creator's Alliance website.
Do your part to help end both modern day slavery and rape for profit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Calling All Readers

I have made two resolutions this year that have an impact each other.

1. Read more
2. Write more

I am having a bit of an issue getting started on these. I have been thinking for the past couple of weeks and have decided that I need to create deadlines for myself. I need your help, though. I need help creating a deadline for myself. What sort of schedule do I make? What will be the consequences should I fail to make the deadlines? I also need help being accountable for upholding my schedules. I would greatly appreciate if anyone who reads my blog would hold me to it.

So, are we in this together? I hope we are.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just something to be aware of...

http://mandasadventure.blogspot.com/2010/01/beginning-of-adventure.html

Thoughts and prayers for a friend, eh wot?