Tue, 27 Jul 2004

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go speed reader, go!

How Many Words-Per-Minute Do You Read?

I've always been known to be a quick reader. (In technical terms, a book snarfer) According to this test, I can read about 400-450 words per minute, which also happens to be the theoretical rate at which the average human being can comprehend speech. Of course, I'm definitely not as good a listener as I am a reader. Maybe my visual cortex has co-opted some of my auditory cortex.

07:22:59 27 Jul 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 5 comments

Mon, 26 Jul 2004

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"donnie darko" addendum

My favorite quote:

Every living creature on earth dies alone.

18:43:59 26 Jul 2004 > /movies > permalink > 1 comments

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donnie darko

I think I have a soft spot for this movie mostly because a lot of scene were filmed at my high school. Not to mention the whole time-travel, alternate-reality theme. And the psychotic bunny.

Everything you were afraid to ask about "Donnie Darko" on Salon.com

18:26:48 26 Jul 2004 > /movies > permalink > 0 comments

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loneliness

There is nothing that focuses my mind upon my solitary state than leaving home and driving down the empty Interstate just before midnight.

Call it a sickness, perhaps. An idee fixee.

But I kind of wonder if that's really the problem. Living in this society, I have been brainwashed into thinking that loneliness is a pathological state.

But it isn't.

By logic and reason, I know this is true. But I still can't help but squirm in frustration and impatience.

What will be will be.

A lot of people think that I am giving up with regards to the whole "asking someone out on a date" thing. I've been hitting this emotional brick wall for a long time now, and I think it's just time to hang back and regroup. Get my priorities in order.

I have yet to figure out exactly what it is I want from life, for one thing.

But, yeah. I just can't do this right now, and perhaps not ever, but there certainly isn't anything productive about me beating myself up for being a pathetic chickenshit. This is where I'm at, and I just need to accept it.

Sometimes you stare and stare into the pool from the high dive, knowing that all you have to do is fling yourself into the air, and you know that you'll probably be OK, but you just stand there, staring and staring, and now everybody below is yelling at you because you're holding up the line, and the pressure mounts.

It is easy to tell someone to just jump.

But sometimes, when you can't handle it, even though you look like a big loser in front of everyone, you just have to climb down, shake it off, and do something else.

This isn't the same thing as just saying "Fuck it" or "I don't care." This is accepting the fact that I cannot do this right now, and while I will obsess constantly about it, probably until my dying day, there is just nothing to be done at this moment.

There's really no point of even hoping, because as long as I can't get over this wall, nothing will ever happen, and I'm the kind of person who freaks out even more when I have people behind me yelling for me to get on with it.

So that's where it stands.

I will probably complain about loneliness again sometime soon, probably quite frequently. It's just an unpleasant feeling. And maybe I'll never get used to it. But I know that there's nothing to be done but for me to get over my ridiculousness, and just go for it. And until this happens, nothing else will.

Advice isn't what I need right now. Because, in all honestly, I know precisely what I need to do. I just don't have the will to do it. And that may be the case for the rest of my life.

I did eventually snap out of my depressing reverie. And right now, I can't see what's wrong. This is how it's been for a long time, and this how it's going to be until I change, and I haven't run into anything yet that has the power to force me to change.

I'm like one of those pandas who won't screw to save the species.

There's simply nothing realistic left to do but wait and see.

00:27:22 26 Jul 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Sat, 24 Jul 2004

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trapped in tetris

You know you've been playing way too much Tetris when you start having nightmares like this. (Found on #!/usr/bin/girl)

What is especially disturbing is that a Tetris sequel was released in which the gameplay is exactly like this Flash animation, except instead of stick figures running around, they were cute little anime characters. (Oh, and the goal wasn't to kill them, but to save them.)

09:01:26 24 Jul 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 5 comments

Wed, 21 Jul 2004

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self pity

I am feeling really out of sorts.

Maybe it's the simple fact that it is close to 90°F and I don't have air conditioning.

Maybe it's the chilli dog that I had yesterday, which continues to haunt my GI tract.

Maybe I caught something from a little kid. They're like walking Petri dishes. I'm surprised I haven't broken out in some kind of rash. I do have diffuse muscle pain, though.

I had said that I was going to go to this dinner tonight, but, partly because I didn't RSVP on time, and partly because I feel like ass and really don't want to go anywhere right now, I think I'm just going to hang out at home in my underwear.

I'm afraid that I'm redeveloping my social anxiety disorder.

(Hah. I'm afraid that I'm becoming afraid.)

There is something desperate and sad about all this. I just don't want to admit it to myself. I really should stop peeping voyeuristically at other people's blogs.

It's not so much that I'm actually bored—my world has far too many things for me to do. It's just that I seem to have lost the knack for doing anything that might be even remotely interesting to another person.

In others words: not much to report today. Still traipsing through this vast desert of my life. Water supply still adequate, but no way to replenish it in sight.

I am afraid of what will happen when life decides to squeeze.

17:59:50 21 Jul 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Tue, 20 Jul 2004

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derangement

Yep. It's 3:15am right now. My sleep cycle is completely out of whack.

I went home for a day this weekend. My sister says that I scream in my sleep. Her dog started whining because of me. I've been trying to figure out a way to record whatever I say while I sleep. Last time, I tried to use my computer to do it, but the program I was using crashed.

The AirPort Express is coming out, I think, today.

I feel a little crazy right now. I think I had too much caffeine yesterday.

03:20:33 20 Jul 2004 > /meta > permalink > 4 comments

Sat, 17 Jul 2004

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ethical philosophy selector

I thought this was a neat test. It tells you how similar your own ethics (limited by multiple choice questions) compares to a few well-known Western philosophers.

  1. Aquinas (100%)
  2. Kant (99%)
  3. Jeremy Bentham (94%)
  4. John Stuart Mill (91%)
  5. Jean-Paul Sartre (88%)
  6. Aristotle (76%)
  7. Prescriptivism (72%)
  8. Nel Noddings (69%)
  9. Spinoza (65%)
  10. Ayn Rand (61%)
  11. Plato (61%)
  12. St. Augustine (61%)
  13. Ockham (52%)
  14. Epicureans (47%)
  15. Stoics (45%)
  16. Nietzsche (26%)
  17. Thomas Hobbes (15%)
  18. Cynics (7%)
  19. David Hume (5%)

Obviously, despite my current estrangement from God, those twelve years of Catholic school are still deeply ingrained. 100% agreement with Saint Thomas Aquinas. Hah!

00:04:55 17 Jul 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 0 comments

Sun, 11 Jul 2004

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cynical bastard

The appropriate song for this occassion would probably be The Cure's "10:15 on a Saturday Night" [lyrics][iTMS].

So I have pissed away most of my Saturday perusing random blogs. Yes, I know I'm pathetic. No, I don't care.

Outside of work, the internet is basically the only way I get some form of human contact.

Get ready for a florid case of cabin fever, folks.

But I'm not insane yet. I think.

(Which reminds me of a great Bukowski quote I saw in RF's blog: "Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.")

So I'm reading this particular passage (no, I don't know this person):

I still love him. I'm still comforted by the memories of his arms around me. It's been so many years, yet my heart still aches for this loss[sic] love.

I remember feeling like this about eight years ago. I've been brainwashing myself ever since. I am now convinced that I'm better off without these kinds of memories. (The problem is the whole wheat with the chaff thing, though. Bits and pieces of my memories have totally gone through my mental shredder, not to mention those several hundred shots of hard-liquor.)

But what I find amazing is how a person can force himself to believe that what he so desperately needed at one point (and, from a purely physiological standpoint, this may very well be true) is in fact self-destructive and should be avoided at all costs. Sort of like how anorexics successful dieters find that food becomes increasingly disgusting. Not the sort of thing that usually leads to healthy outcomes, but, hey, whatever works, right?

It occurs to me that if I truly accept this label of "cynical bastard," that I am irreversibly doomed. It's so easy to be cynical. It's much easier to disbelieve than it is to believe, the way it's easier to tear something apart than it is to put it together.

The only thing that I am sure of at this moment is that one day, I will die. Everything else is conjecture and (to steal a phrase from Douglas Adams), probably a figment of my imagination.

Yes. I am so mentally fucked.

01:22:42 11 Jul 2004 > /soul > permalink > 4 comments

Sat, 10 Jul 2004

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unwieldy

friends say that i spend too much time thinking. you can always catch me staring out the window, oblivious to my surroundings, lost in the arcane, labyrinthine inner working of mind. some might call it an absence seizure, except that it lasts way too long.

at this point in time, while I am still haunted by the concept of "normalcy," vaguely represented by the Horatio Alger myth, AKA the American Dream, I realized that the choices I've made have driven me far down the veritable Path Less Taken. Which is not to say that I can never run back to the fateful fork in the road, only that it would be a considerable effort to do so.

This is all well and good, except for the lamentable fact that I am a lazy bastard, and the bizarre mental and temporal contortions I regularly perform, as complicated as they appear, are really (often failed) attempts at cutting corners. (As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "Shortcuts make for long delays")

In other words, there is something absurdly perverse in me that believes the shortest distance between two points is completely non-linear, and crooked as hell.

Who'd've ever thunk it?

Of course, I'm really more transparent than I'd like to be.

So. Like I said. Normalcy does haunt me. There is a part of me that is irritated by the fact that more and more people in my life are entering the house-in-the-suburbs/2-car/2.5-children lifestyle. Now, I know that time is non-linear, but it is annoying to be constantly bombarded by stimuli supporting the opposite. And while I'd love to, like Hobbes (the tiger, not the philosopher), ask "Who are we racing?", unfortunately Calvin (the kid, not the cleric) keeps waking me up, reminding me that I'll never win the race by lying around all day.

Of course, what no one ever seems to mention is that the finish line is a little thing they call Death and, frankly, I don't see what the hurry is. (And the sick, sad irony is, because of the way our culture has been perverted by the American Dream, I think more and more people reach this finish line and realize that they are not ready to cross it. I think that Death has wrongly become something to fear. I'm not saying we should all embrace Death like a suicide cult drinking Kool-Aid and wearing Nike crosstrainers, but I think we should stop treating it like some kind of pathology. As the second law of thermodynamics unequivocally states, it is inevitable.)

This verbose realization could be more economically summarized by B's philosophy: "Fuck it."

So. I have this scarcely tested belief that, no matter who deeply connected you are to another person, no matter how many people you surround yourself with, you are ultimately alone. No one (sometimes not even you) can really decipher all your thoughts and feelings, and it is inordinantly difficult to articulate them to someone else. Ultimately, we live in our minds. Everything else is not necessarily reality. (Whatever reality might be, though.)

Of course this is biased by the fact that I haven't been in a long-term relationship for quite a while, and my subsequent attempts to establish one have all met with miserable and sometimes catastrophic failure.

I must say, though, that I haven't been going about this in a very intelligent manner. While I like to rail at Fate, I recognize that in many ways, I have been sabotaging myself.

But, really, what I'm looking for is more basic than that. I realize that my fatal flaw at this point in time is that I cannot trust anyone. I mean, I trust my friends and family to a reasonable degree, but I recognize that I always stop short of trusting anyone completely. Unjustly, I feel that disappointed is inevitable, so why freight friendships with my unnecessary baggage?

Still, yeah, there's something missing. I don't know how to change this in myself. I do think of Henry J. Stimson's quote: "The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him" (which I'm sure applies to the opposite gender as well.) But the risks of trusting someone like that absolutely frightens me.

So. My task is clear. Only time will tell.

09:39:01 10 Jul 2004 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

Wed, 07 Jul 2004

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forever

Zeno sings of the infinity in small spaces

and small steps recalling Sisyphus' task in an relativistic way

light is eternal embodied in an equation

you imagine forever is a long, long time

still Zeno notwithstanding and even Einstein did not get this right all things change (my soul instinctively recoils, both in horror and with a sick, desperate hope)

with the stirring of the coffee cup and the flutter of a butterfly wing the little packet of light striking the insides of my eye (a little gasp of air slips through my pursed lips I promised to stop chasing unicorns today--)

I drink and breathe light now my illusion of company and soft words spoken into my ear (Without it I thirst and gasp in solitude and silence)

I sing to myself dreaming pretending (watch the light shimmer in her bright hair as she twirls it around her fingers--

very much like the light of the sun I can feel her warmth and marvel at her brightness but can never clasp my arms around her)

Can you walk in loneliness for so long that you imagine that he is your only companion? From this emptiness, wreak infinite creation? From the meanderings of the labyrinth straight, broad paths?

In this ash and dust, somehow was breathed a soul Within meat and blood, enraptured, entrapped

Wisdom cannot be bought enmeshed in dead leaves and twine and still I pore over these textbooks as if life and love would explode forth in utter surprise catastrophically overwhelm me with joy

The pages do not speak except perhaps for the echoed whispers dwelling in my mind

Sometimes I fancy that the mad voices have taken up residence squatters and usurpers laying their arses upon the seat of my soul

I should just put up a sign saying "Abandoned" and give Dante and Virgil my keys

Hope is the currency of the living Like the prodigal son poor only because I have squandered my wealth now knowing where gold lies guarded by walls and steel is enough to turn me into a thief and an oathbreaker besides.

(Unicorn, oh, unicorn!)

19:57:17 7 Jul 2004 > /poetry > permalink > 0 comments

Tue, 06 Jul 2004

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meltdown

thermophilic, i am not dreaming still of sunlight more than heat not the noxious fumes of this gushing geyser this ramble-shamble of chaos and turbulence

obeying messianic instruction i don't know my left hand from my right neither up or down nor black nor white floating upon the quantum foam of ever-dancing pin-prick particles

vertiginous, four walls closing in toilet bowl swirl we are what we eat and used toilet paper is like a mirror a way to look inside out a perverse form of the ancient roman auguries predicting the future with entrails and the runnels and trickles of bright red blood

flung, flail, fists atavistic, balled-up, screaming like a newborn i am bloody, battered, and bruised blind, weak, and hungry

this thrill and harsh murmur, unfulfilled still dancing up the steps of spacetime where sound is frozen in four dimensions i imagine solidity in the evanescent vibrations of air touch and crumble fade, decay

lightning flashes across my eyes and this dull thrumming of the nerves in my fingertips is all I understand of reality at this point everything else, I have no choice but to take on faith.

21:55:01 6 Jul 2004 > /poetry > permalink > 0 comments

Sat, 03 Jul 2004

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beastie boys "hey fuck you"

Hey! This could be Dick Cheney's new theme song! I think it should play every time he appears on screen. Heh.

Anyway, I think the following line is clever. (I know. Me and bathroom humor.)

So put a quarter in your ass cuz you played yourself.

18:32:20 3 Jul 2004 > /playlist > permalink > 3 comments

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bad habits

I'm probably looking at this the wrong way, but I find that there's something emasculating about being considered "safe" by an attractive woman.

It's a sad thing, when being trusted can be considered a negative.

But I suppose I'm very comfortable with being exiled in the friend zone.

B analyzed it rightly a long time ago. Much like investment banking, it all has to do with risk.

It probably also has a lot to do with the fact that lately, I've been attracted to women who are (1) in a relationship (2) recently exiting a relationship (with all the psychological and often irrational baggage attached to such a process) or (3) crazier than I am, which is very crazy indeed. (Not that there's nothing wrong with crazy, it's just that there's a good crazy and a bad crazy, and I don't think there's a fool-proof way to tell until it's too late, and the discernment is further clouded by the fact that I'm not exactly the most sane person in this universe either.)

But, as B understands it, I end up in the friend zone precisely because it's safe. Especially with the doomed attraction to women in relationships, since obviously nothing is ever going to happen. (At least not then and there.) 0% probability is a very safe been indeed. (Even if I do find myself betting on it, meaning that I go for situations that I have a 100% chance of losing.)

Simply put, in capitalist terms, without risk, there can be no profit. Pay to play.

The deranged thing is that instead of changing my playing parameters, I think what I've opted to do is simply not to play at all.

God, I need help. Heh.

07:57:31 3 Jul 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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ass

What would you make of this if I text-messaged you this:

Help! Help! I can't feel my ass!

Yes, I am drunk.

00:56:05 3 Jul 2004 > /meta > permalink > 4 comments

Thu, 01 Jul 2004

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evil genius

I've just got to give up pretending and surrender to my true personality, I guess.

You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.
Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.
You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

from Jenny Turpish Slapped Me: Quizzes - Better Personality

19:24:48 1 Jul 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 4 comments