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A Red Balloon

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26th November 2006

8:04pm: I am not dead.

I now have a cellular phone. Calling it might verify the above statement, but I can't predict the future. Things change.

#: 330-338-3470

I am informed that calling it can also be used for other fun or random purposes. Let the awesomeness begin.

*waits*

Oh, I guess I need to post this first..

*posts*

1st September 2006

12:56am: ANDRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

25th June 2006

7:39pm: Marathon Man
"Is it safe? Is it safe?"

Mwahahaha...

Yeah, I have not earned that, at all -- I haven't read Marathon Man, or seen the film, but having just read The Princess Bride by the same author, Bill Goldman, made me think of that.

But wait, there was something else, something more obvious somehow...

Oh duh, about a month ago I signed up to run in the Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon which takes place on October 22. :-D Why, you ask? Why? Well, why not? It sounds like it'll be an incredible experience that I just had to try. If you'd like to read a little about that, and/or sponsor me with your donations for running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, go here and check out my Team in Training website.

If you don't want to read it, then I'll just leave you with a word (an oldy but goody):

defenestration



... "Is it safe!?"

14th April 2006

4:15am: If a rat catches a cat...
So it doesn't really feel like "news" until it makes IMDb.com:

"Death Toll Rises in Indian Actor Riots


Five people are now confirmed to have been killed in riots which broke out in Bangalore, India in the wake of screen legend Rajkumar's death. Fans of the late actor - who starred in more than 200 films - were fired on by police after earlier scuffles saw 50 buses and two police vans set alight as mourners clambered to pay their last respects. Four people were killed by police gunfire, while the fifth victim, a policeman, was beaten to death by a vengeful mob in the disturbances yesterday. Rajkumar's son, also an actor, begged for calm but to little effect. He appealed "with folded hands to all of you to maintain peace" in a microphone address to the 20,000 fans who had turned out to see the body on display at a city stadium. The 77-year-old actor died on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest."

So Wednesday, I take a bus from the leprosy clinic where I'm staying with Paul (Sumanahalli) into Bangalore where I'm supposed to pick up a check for 8,000 rupees (~175$) from the father of the kid who so gracefully lost our portable DVD player. Anyway. Like father like son--no go on the check.

So, I decide I'm not going to make this trip into the city completely uneventful--I walk quite a ways down to a bookstore (Crossword), which is open, and then decide to go a little bit further to a mall. It looks closed.

"Sir is that going to open today?"
"Wha? Open. Open. *looks at darkened mall* Oh.. .oh. Important actor died."

"Right."

So I go back to Crossword, which of course is now closing. "Rajkumar died sir, so we're closing for the day." Of course. An actor who isn't from this state dies, and everything closes down. Makes sense. Crazy India. By the time I make it to the main bus terminus (by bus), the buses are no longer running. So, I get to get gouged about 5 times the normal cost by a rickshaw driver to take me back to Sumanahalli. Hey, at least there was the pretty scenery of burning tires and shattered glass and stone cast into the roads.

Over an actor?

Craziness.

4th October 2005

11:14pm: The Hamun Biran is Aoewsme
“Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t
mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt
tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The
rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit
porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter
by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

I tnihk taht no reearcsh was alcluaty dnoe and taht it's bsiuhllt, but, it smees fnuny to me.

If I eevr wrtie in tihs tnihg aaign, I soluhd wrtie lkie taht.

Taht is all floks.

Hheee... floks.

P.S. The sprehas had ponits and patles.

5th June 2005

7:26pm: Leave the cactus alone, son!

1st January 2005

12:04am: Another year begs the question...
So, it's been awhile. I write sporadically.

We have been 6 again, my family, over break, which is good; however, the forced nostalgia, feel-good, savor-the-moment-ness just isn't happening. I've enjoyed the time with my brothers and sisters and parents, which is good.

One of my favorite memories from break was driving Sylvester to Cleveland. Sylvester was a man who asked for change to get money to buy a Greyhound bus ticket. We ran into him outside of the Akron Public Library. After giving him ten dollars or so, we decided to ask him if he wanted a ride, and he accepted. And he loved listening to Mozart in the car.

I asked for Nothing for Christmas, but my parents insisted I come up with something, so I had them buy me a few books from the thrift store and some clothes from the VDO and Plato's closet and whatnot. That rocked. I got stuff I enjoyed reading, and some totally functional clothing. Satisfaction level: high.

So, this year my uncle Steve and his son Benjamin (from England) were celebrating Christmas with our family along with our Grandma. My uncle is recently divorced. On Christmas Eve my Mom was pretty upset that the only thing we had gotten for either of them (gift-wise) was The Art of War for Ben. So, Paul and I stayed home from Mass and were cleaning. Something made me remember a board game my mom had purchased for me that I knew I'd never play. So we went to look for it to give to Ben. (The game was good, seriously, I was just like 18 when she got it for me--Ben is 13. Shut up. *Shakes Fist*) Anywho, we didn't find that hand-me-down, but we compiled MANY other gifts:

Uncle Steve:
Bonzai Tree Growing Kit (still in its packaging)
Brazillian Music CD (still in its wrapping--this is an item I picked up at the fair trade store in South Dakota...name escapes me)
Book about the Blessed Miguel Pro (some religious book Paul got me in Spain or something...pssh...heh, yeah, I didn't get around to that one, but I appreciate his thought-- brand new, no inscription)
English Translation of Don Quixote (brand new)

Benjamin:
Akira Comics-1,2,3 (practically new, plus they're comics...)
Akira Action Figure (in its box)
Marvel Comics: Secret Wars (practically new)
Death of Superman Comic (good condition)

[I know, I know, overkill on the comics, but John told us that he reads like a fiend and loves comics, and we kept finding stuff to give and well... dangit I hadn't really realized he had more stuff coming to him back in England... hehehehe... and it's so fun to give and think of stuff you enjoyed and... ]

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Abridged) (brand new--still fricking long...but if his fiendish reading gets him through that...)
Enders Game (very used condition...heh...noticing a pattern with this the above and the Art of War? Wait for it...)

Homeworld 2 (War strategy game! Woohoo! Oh and just about brand new...)

Ah, anyway, I felt a little bad about not ACTUALLY shopping, but I very much enjoyed that. So we found all that stuff on Christmas Eve and then wrapped it. I spent most of Christmas morning cleaning, and then enjoyed John's presentation of gifts: one at a time. Nice and slow, getting to see everyone's gifts and enjoy everyone's company. Good stuff right there.

The following day we went to a Cavs game with Benj and Uncle Steve--they won.
The following day we went to...

wait

Okay.

Yeah, I don't think I had met Benjamin before Christmas day, but he reminds me of myself quite a lot. And I mean that only in a good way because of course I find myself to be awesome. But to clarify, he's smart, friendly/sarcastic, quick-witted and funny. Yeah, definitely a cool kid--and he looks so, so cool in Paul's new black hat.

So, then. On Tuesday afternoon we all made it out to my Aunt Susan Vokoun's house--where I got to enjoy very much time spent with my cousin's, cousin's spouses, and their children. People I had not seen in a very long time--perhaps since the death of my grandfather. That was excellent.

Oh and Paul should be a father.

Paul: Yes, but which kind?
Me: I saw you with Owen, Paul.
Paul: But...
Me: Bleh. Bleblledah! Gahhahaha... no Buts!! Okay, it's your life. Have it your way.
Paul: Like Burger King?
Real Paul with British accent: "Like Burger King?" I wouldn't say that!
Me: Who's writing this anyway?

*shakes head*

Oh, hi there. Yeah, so Paul was playing with one of my cousin's children, Owen--he's I think like a year and a half old and decided he liked it best lying or sitting or standing on the table in the middle of the room surrounded by 14 or so other people. Quite the showman. And Paul was playing with him for quite some time and it was a beatiful thing.

Paul: *blushes*

It's creepy knowing he's going to read that. Meh. Only kinda... I can't say what I really feel about him. Just kidding. But really I can't. (Hehehe...)

Ah, win.

So, my cousins on my mother's side are good hearty folklore, most of which are making beautiful babies and saving our forests.

Thursday night I saw the Dolly Rebels perform. The guys from school rock--I mean the whole crew, the Rebels, Brad, Steve, and Dom, and then Scott, Wes, Brian, Matt (Shore), and even Chris Hyatt. But, I never found I had a whole lot to talk about or share or even have a common bond with any of them, except for a few things. One of them being enjoying the loud rock of the Rebels. So that was quite fun. All four of us Clark siblings actually went. Paul hung (what a stupid verb form) out with people from school, and I sat with John and B. It was nice (what a stupid adjective)--"comforting, a relief, a calming salve on what might have been a less enjoyable evening" (why? Oh, because when I don't have a familiar group to hang with, I find myself generally finding an equilibrious (not a word, don't give a shit...) spot where I'm quasi-completely by myself, and I prefer to be with people, especially those I'm most comfortable around). So yeah, nice. John (for a little while, maybe the whole while) was a little irked by the fact that he knew coming along would only lead to him sitting with B and myself and not having anything to do at times. I generally don't get negative about things like that. I loved having him there.

I think it grew on him too. We played pool (cutthroat), the three of us, and Paul joined us for one game of Solids and Stripes. Then John and B and I sat down and enjoyed laughing at the rather craptacular band that opened for the Rebels. I was the idiot howling at the rapper in the orange shirt after that band.

"Fat Chicks
are
really
Big."

I swear that was one of his lyrics. Most of the rap was about said "fat chicks." Oh man, did he ever...well... yeah...

Oh, and the opening band, so very crappily called "the Vanity Mirror" had a lyric which to my best assessment was "you make me feel like a hole in the ground." Win.

So, to pass the time while the Rebels were setting up, I randomly suggested playing a random word association game. You know I say:

Giraffe.

And you say:

Leprechaun.

So, eventually it got around to...

John: (some word--can't remember)
Bethany: SEX
Me: NEVER
John: EVER

John and I are really optimistic about our chances.

And my face felt like an ash tray.

And then tonight I got to see Mitch, a good friend who I've known since kindergarten and been friends with since after eighth grade. (Funny how that works out...we never really spoke with each other at least as friends until the summer after 8th... life is funny...)

Mitch is a Marine--stationed in Hawaii. He was able to fly home for Christmas break. I hadn't seen him since July before freshman year. It was very good, and we really didn't do anything, which probably would have been forced and would have sucked. We sat around, often with his family, and basked and chatted and whatnot. His family gets along very, very well--so it's fun to be around them.

He is probably more open about his drinking (of the ethanol) in front of his parents than they'd like--or at least they probably want to know about it but wish he consumed less perhaps? Anyway... quote of the evening: (keeping in mind this is New Year's Eve)

Mitch: I know when to say when... (beat) I'm just not going to tonight.

I didn't see the Ball drop, but I heard my dad counting it down...

...so 2005 is upon us. Let's make it great.

20th October 2004

9:26pm: Some people might call that rain...but I call it the first snow back at school!
Okay, probably not, but still, walking home from Lindy, there was a very lightly slow-falling precipitate (woohoo!). It got me pumped. Heh.

So after dinner yesterday, I walk out of Sargent going back to my dorm, and there are like twelve people digging through a pile of leaves.

Me: "So, what's going on?"
Girl: "Someone lost their keys."
Me: "OOh, I am so getting in on this."

So, I ran up stairs, went to the bathroom, ran back down and started digging through leaves! Yay! Heh, but then the guy who lost his keys and everyone else went to eat at Sargent, saying they'd come back later to look some more. Some other kid and I were still looking. His friend comes up and is like "What are you doing?" "Some kid lost his keys, and I don't really have anything else I need to do..." when, boom he found them.

"So Powerful!" He screams, sprinting past people waving the keys in the air. I sprint right after him. He sprints all the way there, past the person swiping cards for food, sprints into the middle of the dining hall and screams "WHOSE KEYS ARE THESE!?" Everyone stops, stares; the guy and his friends were in line for food. Oh man, that made my evening. It's the little things in life.

8th October 2004

8:00pm: "We're sorry, the number you have dialed is imaginary. Please, rotate your phone by ninety degrees and try again."

------

Hello, Michael Clark speaking. Oh, sorry, I couldn't hear the phone over my CD player. Let me turn it down a little.

Oh, just to the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation soundtrack--yeah I know...it's actually got some good stuff on it...

Oh, I had a fantastic week--well if by fantastic I mean, umm, eyeopening, perhaps? I mean, let's see, I went to this info session about Teach for America, and it showed me not only something that I might want to do in the future, but it allowed a few things to simmer in my mind about choices I'm making and what I'm going to do with my life.

It's basically a program dedicated to trying to get some solid education to inner-city kids. After college you commit two years to the program to teach, and, I really took a lot out of the session.

Afterwards I walked back with the RA from Lindgren, and had a great talk with her about life and service and loving people--oh man, it was good. But, yeah, I'm really beginning to feel excited--but also feel that I'm not meant for the sciences.

You're right, I'm definitely glad that I'm only in my sophomore year--I've learned a lot from my experiences, I just have to learn how to use my time so that I'm happy with who I am.
Ooh, speaking of which, I started taking dance classes with BLAST--I'm taking Swing and Lindy on Tuesdays after Orgo Lab and Salsa on Sundays, yay! It should help me prepare for and enjoy DM a little more.

Oh, shit, that's right--I never told you that I signed up for DM! Hehehe...yeah--like last Thursday I was down at Munchies, and Scott, a kid in my dorm, is like "Hey are you doing Dance Marathon?" and I'm like "Uh, no..."--I saw a few people do it last year, and I knew it was one of those things that I just had to do. What you do is sign up with a partner, pay $75 and then raise $750 for the event, and then dance for 30 hours straight! So obviously, Scott's telling everyone about it, and G is like "Hey, that sounds like a lot of fun"--someone tells her that she'd have to find someone to sign up with by tomorrow--"Hey Michael, want to do it?" "Uh, sure..." Win.

So after Swing, I'm like, I'm pretty tired, I don't think I'll stay for Lindy. Lindy Instructor: "If you're a guy, we need you!" Me: "Nevermind..." So I stayed, and the Lindy Instructor is amazing. Bonus.

Ooh, and I'm going to walk down to the Evanston Y tomorrow and see if they can use a volunteer. Yay!

Yeah, I know--now only if I could figure out this whole, Existence thing. Then I'd be fine...

So, what's on your mind?

Wow. That just makes me smile.
------

"Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun" -- Mr. Burns

27th September 2004

10:08pm: Today, ~ became enlightened.
Who came up with the grand idea that enlightenment is something that is either a) something possible to be attained or b) worth attaining?

Gah. I say, love 'em all, enjoy the Search while it lasts.

Oh, yeah, entry...right...

Oh well, generally, as a rule of mine, I update when I feel, oh, let's say, disposed to spilling some particularly amusing or perhaps enlightening (for myself) or interesting thoughts on a page.

Yeah, I got none of that now, but I want to update something since I haven't in awhile, and my fanbase is getting antsy.

[Michael's Brain: You don't have a fanbase Michael.]
[Michael: Okay, well, I've been working hard all day, and want to put words down on a page.]
So, as I was saying, I usually try to have some experience to relay.

Since the last time I updated, the most interesting experience of my life to write about (though impossible to relay the personal significance or joy of said event) was sharing a dinner at Eat N' Park with Pat Parr, a good friend, just a few days before heading back over here to Northwestern.

Pat walks in, gives me a handshake, walks up to the girl seating us. "Party of seventeen." Girl: (lump in her throat) "Seventeen?" Pat: "...No, sorry, I'm just kidding, just us two.."

So we sit down at a booth. [Yay booth!]
"Okay, so here it is. I need your help brainstorming on this for a new novel I'm writing."
He has a diagram of some wheel split into quadrants sketched out on notebook paper. No good novel can do without such a sketch.

Anyway...that was the tone of the evening. It came down to me almost inhaling a french fry while laughing and hopefully brainstorming some good stuff for him to ponder while scribbling some more of his writings onto paper, bearing his soul to the world. And after dinner, we had a pretty amazing conversation about our own world views and such...

But yeah, other than that one significant social interaction, nothing interesting for an LJ--I could probably come up with some random stuff, but this is not at the forefront of what I'm thinking about.

I arrived on campus two Saturdays ago (9 daysish), have gone running 6 out of 8 days (not counting the Saturday coming in on little sleep), around three miles each time. I go out from my dorm, Lindgren, up to the tip of North campus, then run down along the lake to some fountains below south campus and back up. Tonight was especially beautiful with the full moon (it looked like) on the lake--not only does it sprinkle its rays along the waves like along the ridges of crumpled paper, but right beneath the moon on the edge of the horizon is an enchanting bright glow. Pretty intense.

But yeah, I try to run about every day. When I'm not running, I'm either at class, working at the Engineering library, working in my room, or eating at Sargent. The only other places I've been was over to the Bible house and to Sheil. And I'm quite happy--I don't need more than that--I'm dictating how I spend my time and using it for the things I need to do. I am open to other things, but I feel like I am being myself more than I ever have before. That is not to say I don't have fits of loneliness or periods where I feel I just can't work any more, but I'm happy.

And amidst the academia (which I'm not sure where that is going) and the exercise, I'm constantly contemplating the meaning of existence, the possibility of the divine, and why I am. After losing my Christian faith, that became the most important thing in my life--and the Search I am on is driving me to keep working and seeking.

mmmm so rambly...yeah, I apologize...when I have something entertaining you can read that

[Michael's Brain: Entertaining? Who are you entertaining?]
Hmmmm....yeah, well shut up brain.

Take care everybody.

23rd August 2004

11:49pm: “Everything just feels like rain—the road we’re on, the things we crave…”
I listened to these lyrics a few times on my late trip home last night. Blasting the music, drinking the coffee with whitener, rolling down the windows, and contemplating existence. But I do that—think too much. Heh. I’ve come to the conclusion that simplicity is cool, people are beautiful, things are overrated.

Awhile back (two weeks ish?), Andy was planning a trip out to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in Cleveland. Initially, I told him I wasn’t going to go, because (sarcastically) “I don’t believe in doing things.” Later, after a run, I said, something like, “You know that this is one of those, you need to make me go, kind of things, right?” And of course he had already gotten me a ticket. Ah, gotta love Andy. And I was very glad to go, have a wonderful meal with some of Andy’s friends from school and D&D and see the play. It was great seeing all of those people together. But, eh, trying to plan fun like that...*shrugs* I could have done with more people and less play...

Now in contrast, I just got back from visiting him at Wittenberg (after returning from Maine and dropping Paul off in St. Louis…), and that was a truly good time. It was mildly random and unstructured. I managed to find the place, then immediately find Andy walking towards me with his frat buddies, and eventually we went to dinner. And that was probably the low point of the weekend. Dinner is overrated, and there was a lot kind of pointless conversation…

But hey, I was with a friend—after dinner, we walked about campus, Andy pointed at things and said a lot of stuff (the campus is very beautiful and I like how it is structured—but names and facts—pssh). Talking with people is good. Eventually we met up with Chris and began unpacking her stuff (a job that wouldn’t really get going until about twenty minutes before Julianna showed up the next day :-P). It’s excellent to get to know people, and to chill.

The next day, when food finally decided to open, Andy and I had the best meal ever. Little serving of slimy eggs, two bananas. Milk. Water. ‘Nother serving of slimy eggs, banana. Milk. Water. Cheerios with oatmeal residue in the bowl.

Yay! But it was free, and so entertaining. Oh, man, how good is life…

A good “rapport”—that’s how I described how I felt hanging out with Andy, Chris and their mutual friends when they came up to Chicago. And that is so how I felt on Sunday. Julianna and her girlfriend Kaila showed up, making an amazing group of people to get to hang out with. Highlights—amazingly how cool (and funny) Julianna’s mom was (“Kaila, can I talk to you while Julianna gets off to women’s weightlifting.”); getting Raul home, into the dorm, and introducing him to everyone—(He’s taller than me!)—Oh, and he’s a big potted plant; being mildly useful and really enjoying being able to be so; making it to Mass (thanks Andy/Chris…); and making it home safely. I left kind of in a rush—not quite sure why, but I guess I didn’t have anything else to say. Thank you all involved for the moments.

----
JomaxZ (me): How are things?
hepkatPAC (Paul): Amazing.
hepkatPAC: Oh, did I say "amazing", I meant to say "amazing!"

26th July 2004

9:51am: And that art thou, Shvetaketu.
Hehehehe….

Ah, man.

Okay, so, things are going decently—or more like some things are going very well and other things not so hot. For example, I basically didn’t speak in Mass because I didn’t want to say anything I didn’t believe. That sucked. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’m having fun and learning a lot doing The Teaching Company’s lecture series with Paul—we are doing three: My Favorite Universe, Theory of Evolution a History of Controversy, and Buddhism. Also, I have continued my vegetarian Atkins diet, hehehe, and have lost twenty pounds since summer started. Yay go me.

Silence.

Damn, well I think I’m sweet. :-D

But I’m most happy because doing that and doing some anaerobic exercises on my legs has really helped me run faster the last two times I went out with B. Last night was definitely the fastest I ever ran three miles, and it felt so good. Yay.

Oh, and I’m bald again. I had Paul take off the hair down to 1/8 inch with an electric trimmer, and then my mom and dad shaved my head. That was an interesting experience. Yes, quite unique.

But, uh, yeah, so before B and I went running, I had to return the movie she got from Blockbuster some time ago—I thought I was going alone, but Paul, and Mom, and B, all decided to tag along as I was leaving. I wasn’t even aware anyone really wanted to see a movie.

I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to see.

Hehehe…

So, I’m lazily wandering around the store, when I stumble on a horror flick which might not be one of the hundreds of horror flicks that suck at Blockbuster and somehow I knew I wanted to get it. Oh man—so I ask Bethany if she wants to watch a horror movie with me after we go running and she enthusiastically was with me on this. That’s definitely something I was in the mood for. Well, at least, I knew it would be “interesting.”

So, she doesn’t know what it’s about at all, except that it’s called The Eye, and that I had read the back and I thought it would be pretty awesome.

Wow. I haven’t stopped watching a horror movie because I was too scared since Stephen King’s IT when I was like nine or something. I’m fricking nineteen! Go me!

So we start the movie, and we see it’s set in China. Bethany groans. “Huh, I wonder if this movie has subtitles,” I said kind of hoping it did. And it did. Another groan. But man, I insist that that added to the freakiness factor at times by like a factor of 6 or something.

And to make some minor excuses before continuing with my self-deprecation about my extreme silliness / wussiness—we were sitting in a pitch black family room, where the surround sound speaker is very loud and about five feet above our head, and for some brilliant reason I put the TV’s volume at least over half way up. Oops. Now, it wasn’t too loud, so that it would be painful, but man, some scenes….

Such a wuss.

Oh man, I was giggling.

Paul and Mom started Paycheck when we went to go running. We go three miles, come back, cool down, and put in The Eye. By the time B and I agree to stop watching [“I don’t think I can handle this,” pleading to B. “Yeah, me neither.” Michael rapidly hits PAUSE], Paycheck is still running. Heh. And I can’t stop giggling about how funny the whole situation is. I giggle at silly things—like myself. And personally, the fact that the movie did that to me, makes it so much better in my book—and made the situation that much funnier.

But yeah. I’m a wuss. I was too scared to continue last night watching a movie with subtitles! I need a woman to grab onto. Naturally, she would lose all respect for me, but at least I'd have a woman to grab onto. Yeah...

But crediting the makers of the film, I liked the imagery, the lighting, the cinematography, the story, the characters, the dialogue, and the polar shifts in mood. I mean, I set myself up for being totally freaked out—I was giddy going in, on a natural high, and I wanted to be scared. A lot. And I was. And I’ll try to get through the rest today, when it’s nice and bright out. Hehehe… Oh man, that’s so win.

3rd July 2004

2:44am: Nothing makes 2800 miles pass quite like Ethan Hawke reading to you Slaughterhouse Five; or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

South Dakota rocks my world for having 75 mph speed limits.
Nasty little bugs smashing against my windshield at 84 miles an hour, however, are that much more nasty. So it goes.

So, I wasn’t suckered into driving through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, to get to South Dakota for a wedding of my brother’s friend—no, I love Paul and I was very glad to do it. I was suckered into driving the long way back through Minnesota up into Ontario Canada, around Lake Superior and then back down through Michigan and back into Ohio. Heh. That’s not true either—at that point, any adventure was a good adventure and I was just glad to be having a great time with my brother—and heck it is quite pretty up in Canada this time of year—although the officers at the US border coming back through found our circuitous route home quite suspicious. Ah, that was fun.

I could have done without getting in a car accident seven blocks from home, however. Ah, so close, yet so far away from a nearly perfect incident free road trip.

So, this delightful little road trip kicked off Thursday morning—intelligently, I had decided to go to bed at 4 in the morning, so we probably wouldn’t be getting off to quite the early start we planned. But, I was driving by about 9—we switched driving every two to three hours or so; however, I generally gave control of the CD player to Paul. Generally, I can sit or drive in silence for hours on end—Paul however, likes to keep his mind a bit more active, always in the pursuit of knowledge. And I thank him for it—I enjoyed the learning and the stimulus as well.

The learning, per se, came from many books on tape he had, most notably the ten-hour behemoth of Will Durant’s Heroes of History. I slept through the ancient Chinese philosophers and leaders, awaking for much of the Greek and Roman leaders, philosophers, writers, artists and so on. It was really quite entertaining, because it was concise, interesting, and fluid—it makes 599 B.C. seem like only a few days ago. Heh. My favorite thing to listen to, though, was Ethan Hawke reading Vonnegut, Jr.’s beautifully written novel, Slaughterhouse Five. When Paul told me he got this out from Taylor Library Thursday morning, I was so psyched. I loved Ethan Hawke in Gattaca and in Training Day, as well as an in the older movie, Alive, and the extremely lesser known, Snow Falling on Cedars. And Vonnegut, Jr. is such a poet—man, good times.

Paul Clark, Ethan Hawke, the movie star (and novelist), Vonnegut Jr., Jan Jansen (the narrator in the book who wrote a book starring…), Billy Pilgrim, and whoever was reading to us from Will Durant filled most of Thursday until Paul stopped us and we slept at a rest stop outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Man—I love living cheaply—yes, we slept in a hotel once while on this trip. Thought it would probably be a good idea to have a place to shower before the wedding. Heh.

Seeing how far we had gotten, and knowing our final destination for Saturday at 4:30 p.m. was relatively close, we knew we had time to have a fun day before the wedding. And Paul wanted to see Nebraska—just so we could say it was one more state we visited. And to see Omaha. Heh—two vegetarians in that part of the country just don’t seem quite right.

As far as eating went (and pretty much goes)—we ate when we were hungry and saw a place that served food. For vegetarians, being so non-picky usually limits the options. So we sat down at a neat old-fashioned diner in Omaha, Nebraska, for breakfast. I know there is always something to eat, but it is just funny when almost everything on the menu comes with two different choice of meat:

Two eggs with pieces of kielbasa and either sausage or bacon. Delightful.

I got the Spanish omelet, without the sausage in it—Paul got the Trail Mix Pancakes, without the sausage (or bacon). Ah, vegetarians of the world unite! And as it turned out, our waitress as well happened to be a vegetarian. Good times.

By the way, Omaha means “above all others on the stream.” What that means, however…

After that, Paul and I wandered off to a quite impressive art fair going on in Omaha—one of those fairs where an artist rents a tent, sets up a good selection of their work for display and (possible) sale, and people walk around admiring everything, at times being inspired by people’s genius, but generally, keeping money tightly tucked away in pockets. Yeah, if I believed in buying things—there was at least one thing that I would have—there was an artist whose medium was sculptures in clay. The sculptures all had a unifying thread—faces and the removal of masks—in a style that reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe—dark, mysterious, frightening at times, yet beautiful as well. The way that he sculpted this image and this idea into the work was really quite impressive.

We perused some other shops around the town and went on a rather peripatetic walk around some delightful sculptures. I picked up a hacky-sack for three bucks for Bethany because I had lost her other one, and she wants to learn. I almost bought an adorable three legged pig sculpture for Mrs. Scarponi—but decided they have enough random stuff at their house—penis doll. Heh.

So, I took over driving up into South Dakota—

75 mile per hour speed limits. WooHOOoo! Oh man, setting cruise control at 84 is fun. Our car after this little adventure however is crying for a car wash. Hmm, I think I hear it now…

Thus, we arrived at our destination in South Dakota a bit sooner than we had anticipated—always a good thing.

No, we didn’t see Mount Rushmore—no, I didn’t want to see it; it is just faces on a rock—err, mountain. No, we were primarily only in the southeastern part of South Dakota. Yeah, Iowa was very hilly, South Dakota was flat. Flat—and 750,000 people live in South Dakota. Yeah, kinda small. Kinda.

My brother lived with Ryan Lefers in Cairo, Egypt for a year. They went to Bethlehem together to pray and worship on Christmas Eve, 2003. They went on a pilgrimage together in Jerusalem. I had never met the man. Melissa Ramos visited Ryan in Cairo—Paul had met her once. The two had been dating [“courting” as my brother so aptly put it] for the past few years since their freshman year in college. They are rising seniors in college.

Melissa is from Centerville, South Dakota. I am not sure exactly how to describe this town, or what it reminds me of. I’m sure I’m capable of describing it well enough, but some part of me needs to compare it to something I have experienced before. Omaha reminded me of Akron in many parts, but nicer. Many roads reminded me of places that I had seen before—kind of like déjà vu. Centerville was the most uniquely strange and interesting place I visited.

We drove in off the highway, twenty miles from Sioux Falls, where we would spend the night around two in the afternoon on Friday. To get to Centerville, we had to drive through four miles or so of nothing but farmland—there is really only one road out of town from the direction we came in—the road into town hooked left, past a playground, past the one Catholic church—hmm, more like little tiny possibly abandoned chapelish round thing in town (there was not a car in the parking lot in the two days we saw it—Paul and I joked that the town had a dark secret—that they had killed all of the Catholics in town and fed them to the town monster which they kept in a corn storage silo two miles east of town)—there were six Lutheran churches.
Soon I learned that Lutherans kick ass! Umm, and by that I mean, are amazing and inspiring in many ways. Heh.

The town was not that big, maybe five hundred people—I’m guessing that most people pretty much knew each other. I am not sure how many elementary schools they had. I’m guessing, one. They had one high school, whose mascot (if a mascot can be a natural disaster) was the Tornado—let’s call him Torny. Driving around, we saw in many lawns, the proud display of the yellow and purple twirling Torny the Tornado. Ah—so quality. However, that is just begging for your little peaceful town to be demolished. I mean, they painted Torny on their one water tower—stop teasing the fates already!

Two blocks past some residential area was Broad Street—upon which were one bakery, one grocery store, one restaurant, one sundries shop, and one gas station. As far as I could tell, the gas station marked the end of the town. There was no motel in Centerville for us to stay in. There were a few more blocks of residential area on the other side of main street, and then going north I saw two of the six Lutheran churches—the second of which was where the wedding was to take place. [The church had a mini-library…okay, just a couple of bookshelves with lots of awesome books—but sweet nonetheless.] The residential area extended further north—we did not investigate how large the town really was, but man, it just felt so small—I mean, did they even have police or firemen?

Anyway, we ate at the one restaurant—the soup of the day was hamburger soup—apparently it was supposed to be very delicious. Paul and I just about busted out laughing. I had another veggie omelet. Mmmm…

From here, Paul drove up to Sioux Falls to find a place to rest our weary bodies.
Yeah, right.

On our third try at hotel finding, we found the cheapest one yet, as well as the nicest—a Super 8 Motel. It cost a bit over 60$ for two beds (which were more comfortable that I would have expected) in a nonsmoking room with all the standard necessities—hot water and cable television. [And a very impressive complimentary breakfast the next morning.]

We spruced up a bit after dropping all of our stuff off from the car and then went out. At the little restaurant in Centerville, the one with the hamburger soup, we ganked (shut up spell check I’m making it a word) a newspaper that was left on one of the tables and read about Richard II being performed starting that day, June 25th. Apparently there was confusion—the lady at Sioux Falls agreed that the newspaper was poorly written—apparently Richard II did not start until July 1st. So, we wandered around Sioux Falls, enjoying some very interesting buildings around the area, and the falls—a beautiful area to come and picnic. While walking back to our car, we ran into what we were looking for the whole time—the venue of Richard II. And hey, they were having a semi-dress rehearsal today.

The venue for the performance was enclosed on three sides by stone and partially closed off by stone on the fourth side—kind of like a sideways capital Pi or a sideways U type shape. The walls of the venue stood like the entrance to a very small castle inner ward, with the stone at the top ridged, teeth-like. This stone enclosure contained three sets of bleachers for an audience to sit upon on the north, west, and southern sides, with the main setup of the play being to the east. This whole setup was enclosed by a large, black metal fence about ten to fifteen feet away from the rock enclosure.

The semi-dress rehearsal was closed to the public. Paul and I talked a bit with the director before the performance, we considered staying and watching from the outside, but then decided against it and left.

The semi-dress rehearsal started at 7, it was about 6:40, we left, heading back into the city—about five minutes after leaving we resolved that we were going to head back to Falls park to watch the performance—I just wanted to gank some liquid refreshment of some variety, perhaps a milkshake. No liquid refreshment was forthcoming, so I turned the car around, retraced our route and went back to the park where we sat outside the metal gated walls, trying to look rather sheepish. Paul and I actually were considering staying until July 1st just to see the performance—in the meantime we would naturally drive out to see the Grand Canyon and then return and then go home. I was in the process of just reaching my dad to ask him if such a crazy scheme would be alright when the director, stricken with compassion by Paul’s best puppy-dog look, sitting right next to the fence, said we could come in.

Woohoo!!!

Oh man, I was so pumped. A private performance just for us. Paul and I sat on the western bleachers, so the performance was happening mainly right across from us on the eastern side. We were told that Paul and I would get to play the part of scenery in one of the middle scenes.

Paul thought he had read this play—turns out he read and loved Richard III. This work, Richard II, I can definitely see was not nearly as good as anything else I have read by Shakespeare. It lacked a constant protagonist or antagonist or a cohesive driving force or goal.

But still, the acting was so good, and the dialogue in the play is exquisite, so really as an audience member, I still really enjoyed each scene with its own internal tensions, humor and conflicts. Yes, the overall story was lacking, but man, it was so fun. Our little role was quite humorous—Paul played a fruit bush of some sort that needed pruning, and I played a tall weed that had grown too much. Heh, it was funny because I’m tall. There was a gardener and his apprentice that commented, while pruning and weeding, that their garden resembled the kingdom that Richard had let grow beyond his control—thus leading to him eventually being deposed and imprisoned.

Man, that experience was so serendipitous and delightful. And afterwards, we did the only logical thing—we saw Dodgeball: A true underdog story. Man, that movie was hilarious. The only thing that I was told before going to see it (by my older brother John) was that the last line is “…fuckin’ Chuck Norris.” Heh. Man, that movie was so win. I was giggling and hollering so much. But then again, so were most people in the theater. Quality, quality stuff—yes, it is silly, largely slapstick, and straightforward—but it was exactly what I wanted. Oh man—the subtle “less is more” writing for Vince Vaughn was so funny, and luckily, the previews for the movie did not reveal the film’s best jokes, unlike so many movies today.

We returned to our hotel, I enjoyed a very pleasant shower and a very good sleep. I don’t remember any of my dreams.

We woke around ten, enjoyed a good breakfast in the lobby—I burnt my finger on the waffle iron and ate too much for the only time on the trip.

After we checked out (kick out time was at eleven), Paul and I still had about five hours before the wedding, so we did not get completely decked out for the event just yet. We decided to do some more exploring of Sioux Falls—we checked out the historic district of town. It was historical. Not that impressive (at least the part we saw). We did visit a gloriously large and beautiful Catholic church—there was an organist playing constant music that sounded like it was out of a Castlevania game. I felt like Richter Belmont—but there were no vampires.

Outside, we walked along the historic drive into a elementary schoolyard—there they had painted on the ground a map of the United States—Paul and I amused ourselves by following our tracks and trying to recall all the states. Yeah, I’m not very good at that. Twas amusing though.

After some milling about, we drove into town—I was looking for a bookstore. We never found one, but in the search, wandered into a very excellent store, Ten Thousand Villages. It is a store based around the concept of fair trade (which I understand somewhat). It seems to be an extremely good cause—and though, it always seems like it is not enough, I admire any step in the right direction. The people working there were working there voluntarily as well, and the main shopkeeper was the dean at the local college in Sioux Falls. She enjoyed talking with Paul—and he her. There he found a few things to give to his friend(s) as wedding gifts. He bought them an Indian style sculpture of the Holy Family, an international cookbook which combined recipes with stories of the cultures of third-world countries, and a card, beautifully created with the word, Peace, written on it in many different languages. Ryan, a polyglot like Paul, should appreciate that.

Outside the shop, we sat while Paul wrote his card—this process was interrupted by a delightful old lady who decided to sit and chat with us for about half an hour. Really, the only things she felt like discussing was random pop culture and current event—stuff. She talked about the Olsen twins and about how one of them had an eating disorder (anorexia). At one point she said, “something must be wrong with her stomach,” and I twinged—I did not know how to respond. Eating disorders are so much worse. This lady also talked about Chelsea Clinton getting a job and being financially independent from Bill and Hillary, and finally settling down to get married at 24. She rambled, and I had a difficult time caring too much or being able to relate, but it was a good enough experience. For much of this conversation, I sat with her alone—Paul had gone back into the store to get the presents wrapped—in hand crafted paper, while talking a lot with the women in the store. When he returned, we left to go back to Centerville.

We changed clothes in broad daylight outside of the Catholic building—it was abandoned, extremely so. Heh. I drove Paul up to the church, and he ran into Ryan entering the church. I dropped him off, drove down the street, turned around and then picked him up again after Ryan went inside. We parked the car outside of the convenient store. Inside, I asked to use their bathroom, which was in the cellar of the store. Here I shaved, because I had forgotten to do so at the hotel that morning.

No mirror. Fun.

After that, we returned to the church, and I met Paul’s friend Shannon Mutchelknaus—Mutch. Mutch was a cool guy—short light hair, kind of a baby face, who was laid back, exuded the spirit, as well as South Dakota farm boy goodness. We were to sit at the very front of the church. Besides the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the preacher, and the pastor, I was the next closest person to the soon to be wed couple. I kind of felt like I should be so close—I mean, I did not even know them. Shouldn’t their parents be closer than I?

Anyway, the service was quite excellent. Noticeable differences between Catholics and Lutherans—they didn’t make the sign of the cross, and they sang four songs consecutively led by four guys (I think friends of the bride), who played drums, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar. The songs were quite joyous.

The preacher was a very young man, probably no older than the groom himself, and he gave a very energetic sermon on the always controversial Ephesians passage about how the wife needs to submit to her husband—and in the relationship he represents Christ and she the church. But, uh, I’m still working that one out in my mind.

During the wedding vows, Melissa got choked up—probably when she finally realized the enormity of the situation. She eventually managed to choke back her tears and speak the words. But, come on, the pastor forgot to say “You may kiss the bride” after he married them. Man, we missed the kiss! [To be made up for many times over at the reception—but never quite to our satisfaction.]

Because yes, this was a cheap wedding—they had plastic silverware and plastic cups. Nothing to clink with!! Need clinking. (*Shakes fist*)

I was the assistant punch server to Paul and Susan.

Once everyone was seated, we got our dinner—and as vegetarians, it was quite the anti-Atkins diet dinner: mash potatoes, noodle salad, dinner roll, and corn. Heh. Everyone in the dining hall had pretty much finished eating dinner and desert before the bride and groom showed up. Stupid long pictures. After they arrived, they sat down, had some food and then we watched a slide show of family pictures. It was very nice—yes it was set to music, yes the second song was The Reason by Hoobastank. Heh.

After the cake had been cut, the best man (Ryan’s brother) gave an extremely standard speech, and we were directed to some man’s farm (friend of the family) for the dance/reception, I helped clear tables, blow out candles, stack chairs, and so on. I let Paul have his space around his friends, trying to keep myself busy. Eventually I got to reading some from Matthew’s Gospel—when I went back out Paul was gone (oops).

I wasn’t worried—I locked his set of keys in the car. Heh. I found him walking back to the car (can’t really get lost in Centerville), and we headed over to the party.

It was on a very large farm—we were extended an invitation by Mutch to sleep there. So later we did. But first, we enjoyed the party—yeah, I danced to the mandatory songs—the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance (shudders), but that was about it. I did really enjoy talking with Ryan and many of his friends there. They all (especially Ryan), love God and Jesus so much. It really made me quite giddy (as well as feel like scum at the same time. Funny thing that.) He talked about his experience talking with people in Egypt and at an international Christian conference in Minnesota—tales of people having visions of Christ and being called to them from all sorts of backgrounds. His focus on God in his life was truly touching—I mean, I just don’t see that—in Ohio, in the Catholic Church, or anywhere else. Wow—very wow.

Did I mention that Ryan and Melissa are going to a marriage retreat in Colorado for their honeymoon?

Yeah, there was a lot of joking the following morning (with the guys that slept at the house) about how they were going to counseling for their honeymoon—but in all seriousness, that is admirable for trying to begin their marriage truly focused on God.

So, we slept at John Somebody’s beautiful farmhouse—they had five children, and only one is still living at the house, so they had plenty of room for Paul, Mutch, M Dub, some other guy, and myself. I slept well—perhaps too well.

Around ten I awoke, had breakfast, and soon we headed out—M Dub (Michael Weber) with Mutch and Paul and I following them to Mutch’s apartment. This was up north en route home through Canada, and this gave Paul more time to spend with his friend (since who knows how long till they see each other again).

Good thing we went with—while on the farm we had to jump start Mutch’s car. After ten miles of driving or so, he had to stop his car. Basically, his alternator was busted, so he couldn’t get his battery to charge, and the clamps to hold onto the battery were way too loose, so it was difficult for the battery to do. You could slide the stupid clamps off with your hands. Yeah. But, Mutch got some wire in his car, tied it around the battery leads to fit the clamps tighter, and this worked as a temporary solution. We had to stop the car once more before making it to his town, but we got their eventually.

By the time we did, it was almost three (I think). We still hadn’t gotten to mass. The few Catholic churches in that town did not have late masses. We didn’t make it to mass in Minneapolis either. First time I’ve ever missed mass when I wasn’t sick.

Oh and, although I’m sure you could figure it out, Minneapolis means “water city.” ‘Minne’ is the Dakot word for ‘water’ and ‘polis’ from the Greek for ‘city’. Interesting mixing of languages.

Really all we did in Minneapolis is have a minor argument over where to eat. Paul was not hungry—I was, but was willing to wait till he was. It was stupid—after I forced Paul to walk out of one Indian restaurant (whose parking lot we had parked in—for customers only), we reconciled, and resolved to eat at the next restaurant we happened upon or go back to the one Indian restaurant. It was another, nicer Indian restaurant. It was very good, but I felt bad for the other establishment.

We walked around a bit of Minneapolis then got a little lost trying to find our way out—we did not have a map of the area and did not want to miss our exit going North towards Tulane. Eventually we found it—and Paul drove for awhile. Back to the long drive home. I listened to Ethan Hawke tell me about Montana Wildhack on Tralfamador.

About halfway to Tulane, I took over driving. I drove through Tulane and for a very long time onto a dark back-road type drive that hugged Lake Superior north towards Ontario—61 I believe. It was very dark, and at times I thought I may have lost the road, but never did. At a gas station a few hours away from Canada, Paul took over until about 2:30, where he stopped at an extremely well lit rest stop. Six miles outside of Canada.

So bright. Shouldn’t have drunk that 24 oz. cappuccino. Yeah, I had a very difficult time sleeping—wide awake until close to three thirty, and eventually got quasi-comfortable and got some rest.

At around eight in the morning we got up, and I took us into Canada. The guy at the border just asked us if we had anything to declare—firearms, drugs of any kind, and so on. The most dangerous thing in our car was probably either our umbrellas or perhaps our little stuffed bean bag animal, Snaps the crab, who road the dashboard to tell us how we were doing at driving.

Stupid kmph to mph conversions. Gotta love Canada though—it is so beautiful and peaceful and green. There was an extremely helpful lady right at the border at a tourist stop who recommended to us many fun things we could do to better rationalize why we were going home through Ontario—among the things we ended up doing were going to Kakabeka falls and the Eagle Canyon. Man, she was so nice, and it seemed like she could do her job blindfolded. Very impressive.

But first, it was off to the Finnish restaurant she recommended for its pancakes.

I got a veggie omelet. It was the best one I had yet. It tasted like it was really made with eggs—as opposed to what? Shrugs. It was great, that’s all. And our waitress was hot. She did not say much. Paul says she did say “Aboot.” I didn’t hear it.

We walked down to lake to see some land mass that apparently looked like some Indian guy. Right—it was no Tiger in Fievel Goes West.

After food, I drove back down south to visit Kakabeka Falls. While on the drive, we enjoyed some of the good-humored radio of Canada’s version of NPR which sarcastically relayed information about the plight of the potato farmer in Canada—due to the current strength of the Canadian dollar (or something), the unprecedented successful growing season of potatoes in America last year, and the Atkins diet. They focused on the last reason. They played a clip of a stand up comedian whose most hilarious line was “You don’t have to eat em, you just have to buy em” in reference to the potatoes, which are being sold to the public at almost one third of the price in comparison to five years ago.

“Kakabeka” means ‘there’s a waterfall.’ Real creative. It was beautiful, though. In the distance we could see Candy Mountain. Heh.

Paul drove for a little while, but he was feeling ill, so I took over and drove us up to Eagle Canyon—the home of the world’s most overpriced ticket to see a suspension bridge. I mean, Canada’s longest suspension bridge. They built a new one to surpass their own bridge. Meh—it was very high and kinda wobbly in a safe but fun way. Seriously though—the shorter one was so cheaply made. Okay, not Pat Catans cheap, but pretty cheap. It was a lot of fun walking with Paul—unfortunately there was not too much exploring to do—the route was kind of laid out. It was fun and worth the visit if we’re going to be driving up through Ontario for no good reason.

I got a bit of rest as Paul drove us on towards Marathon. When I awoke it was raining. It did that for the better part of two and a half hours. Kind of hypnotizing. I drove for about three hours until about ninety kilometers outside of Sault Ste. Marie. At one point I was followed by a creepy white van for about an hour. He had been going about 10 kmph under the speed limit for about ten minutes—about 50 in a 56 mph zone. So I passed him and resumed going 70 mph. And he tailed me, at 70 (and sometimes more) for an hour—in the rain. I don’t like being someone else’s meat shield.

But, we survived, saw some amazing views of Lake Superior—I love how peaceful it is, and eventually found a restaurant outside of Sault Ste. Marie. No, I didn’t have a veggie omelet—thank God.

Paul took over, driving us into Sault Ste. Marie and then back into the United States. It was so funny at the border. The officers at the border found it quite suspect that we had just randomly decided to drive the long way home through Canada to get to Ohio, and had only been in the country for maybe fifteen hours. So, they had us pull off into a garage dealy—they searched everything in the car, trunk, compartments, and so on. Maybe not under the car, I’m not sure. I wasn’t watching very much at all. I do know that I wasn’t wearing shoes—my foot had gone quite numb and I was trying to revive it, and Paul was enjoying chatting with the officers. Man, they loved him. Heh.

Soon thereafter on driving 70 South (I think), we realized we were quite short on gas and didn’t know where the heck we could get some—the highway was very dark, long, and it was quite late. Eventually we found a stop that promised refueling stations. The first five or six we happened upon were shut down for the night—it was only eleven thirty. However, we kept driving, and eventually, the bright lights of two gas stations arose, and we got gas.

Here we got into our only real fight—and considering how well we had jelled, that is quite commendable. Up until this point, it was so great to completely get along, to have an understanding for each other and to enjoy a wonderful trip. I had to go and try and screw that up by bitching about how he had only driven for an hour and a half. Then, when he insisted upon driving (by sitting in the driver’s seat and locking the door and lying down), I walked off—in northern Michigan—committed to walk for about an hour before turning back. I’m not really sure what the feud was about in reality. Paul had insisted that we switch—since it was my fault for not waking him earlier if I did not want to drive for the three hours through Ontario. So—I told Paul that I wasn’t leaving until he let me drive. So, he drove the car up onto the sidewalk, got into the backseat and fell asleep.

I took over—angry mostly at myself for getting us into this ugly situation. Angry a little at Paul for falling asleep so soon—I really needed to apologize. And my foolishness for insisting on driving reared forward even more—after about twenty minutes, I was struggling to stay awake. No, that is not exactly accurate. After that time, I felt that I was no longer completely competent to react to any situation. I kind of felt like I was in a lucid hypnotized state—where some mysterious reaction guides the car between the lines. The darkness in the front seat does not allow me to see my hands on the wheel or any part of my body. The lines passing all blur together, and I do not know how I am still steering the car. And I was getting tired. Though, I wanted to drive through the night, through Michigan, back into Ohio. It was a stupid thought. And I did not allow this pride to endanger us more than I had already. At the first rest stop I found, I pulled over to go to sleep.

In trying to go to sleep in the passenger side seat, however, I awoke Paul. I know Paul well—he is my brother. And he is a good, loving man, but he has had fits of rage that have scared me into believing he could kill me. That was a long time ago—however, realizing that I did not feel safe driving, part of me did not want him driving so late at night, and possibly while angry. But, he got out of the car, cleaned up the back seat or something—I did not see.

He left. In a few minutes, he returned—I was still sitting in the passenger’s seat—not moving any muscle. Wide awake. All I wanted to do was apologize—but it is so hard. I’m not sure if pride was the only thing holding me back—pride and fear maybe, but also, the need to try and apologize so that a bond is reconnected. I feel that being honest and apologizing honestly is very important. I managed an extremely pitiful, “Paul, I’m sorry” squeaked out with a painfully hoarse voice and instant doubt as too how he would react. He muttered a quick “I forgive you,” got in the driver’s seat, and took off down 70. I sat there, wondering if I should try to apologize more and maybe try to get him to pull over at another rest stop so we could sleep.

But I was so tired. And I trusted him that he had had enough rest during the day—and he had repeatedly said that he likes driving at night—and I was so tired. So, I lightly rested my head upright, and fell asleep.

For six hours.

Yeah, I felt bad that he took that upon himself. I woke up not a half hour outside of home. Man, did it feel good to see the sun. I got the chance to apologize again to Paul, and everything was fine. I always kind of wonder how that works, but it does. Paul got me a bagel. It was delicious.

I took over, Paul fell asleep (quite understandably), and I began listening to the end of Slaughterhouse Five.

So close to making it home just fine—bright and early. My mom says that the majority of auto accidents happen close to home. I truly believe in my heart that I was not at fault—however, I was tired and was listening to Vonnegut tell me about Jansen who in turn was telling me about Billy Pilgrim who was reading a book about a man who built a time machine to visit Christ and to see if he truly died on the cross…

Bump

Shit. What the h…maybe there’s not any damage…wha…
“You hit me!
You need to pull over up here.”

I hit her? How? Ugh…damnit…
“Paul, wake up, I just got in an accident”
Damnit…ugh…shoot…
I felt weak. My hands were shaking. I kept wondering what the hell happened. What the hell did happen?

As you get off of 8 going south at the Broad exit, you’ll see that there is much road work being done. We (I and the lady that was also in the accident) were both getting off of 8 South. Getting off the highway, there is only one lane for turning left, (going straight to get back on), and turning right.

We both turned right going west on Broad. This road opens up by Front Street into four lanes. The far left lane must turn left at Front Street. The next lane from the left goes straight, but curves a little to the right as you go up the street. The next lane also goes straight. The far right lane goes straight but must turn at Second Street.

I was in the third lane from the left. Generally speaking, I needed to be the in the second lane from the left, because eventually I will turn from that lane to get home on the other side of Broad Boulevard. I remember that I was in the third lane over because I remember thinking this as I sat in the wrong lane at the red light.

I turned, as I should with the lane. And before I knew it, and before I had reach 5 mph I’m sure, I collided somehow with another car. I pulled into the left lane that goes straight—she pulled into the right lane that goes straight (not the one that must go straight).

I know what lane I was in. I was in an accident on the front right side of my car with the front left side-view mirror of another woman’s car. No one was injured at all.

I felt awful—more so because she was swearing by her heart and soul that she knew I was at fault (somehow). Her side of the story still makes no sense to me. She claims I was in the second lane from the left, and she in the third—because she needed to go straight. She claims that I did not realize that the lanes hook right and that I kept going straight and thus hit her. Now, were I to do this, I could only collide with someone on the left side of my vehicle, not on my right. The only possible way that I could have collided with her (and be at fault), were I to have veered hard right for no reason. I did not do this. The more I think back to how quickly it happened, the more I am sure that I am not at fault in any way.

I believe she was in the must turn right lane but thought (maybe without thinking), that she was in the third lane from the left—the lane I was in. Thus, when the light changed—she kept going straight, merging right into me.

The accident tore her front side-view mirror off. Our car sustained no damages. But, Paul and I could not find the insurance card. So, we had to call the police to file a report. I am glad they came because if I had just given that lady my information, I imagine she would have pushed much harder to have my insurance cover the accident.

The most disturbing part of the accident for me was that as soon as I talked with the woman, she was trying to explain to me what I did wrong. “It’s okay—I’ve been driving that road for sixteen years and many people just don’t see that the lanes hook like that.” But, I would not swallow what she seemed to be trying to tell me—I calmly explained to her what I did. And she was just like “No, you see, you ran into me…” and so on…

When we finally sat down with the two police officers—I calmly explained what I believed to have happened—after the lady. And yes, what I said was in direct conflict with what she said. And she was getting all emotional. Paul had been asleep, so he could not be a witness. No one else driving stopped to be a witness. When they talked with Paul he was reading the original Spanish of One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was his standard charming self.

And her thirteen year old daughter was with her in the passenger seat. I felt so bad. Part of me wished to be at fault so I could take the blame. She too was not able to give witness to the event.

As it went, the police filed that there were conflicting stories—no one was given a ticket and I called the police and the lady afterwards with my insurance information. I went over the accident with many polite ladies over at Progressive. Later that day they called saying the lady I was in the accident with was not going to file any damage—to prevent having her insurance rates go up. The claim was closed.

I also got a phone call from a doctor saying we could get a free visit to check on our health after the accident. At least that was funny. The following day, there were three pieces of mail for me from lawyers and one for Paul. Heh.

Immediately after getting home and hugging mom and calling the police and the lady. I cried a little. I wanted to cry a lot more—like bawl and just let any bad emotions go. But I kept being interrupted by phone calls. I did not cry any more—and I know I have no reason too, but still, I was sad.

But I was home, reconciled, and exhausted. Good times.

......

2nd April 2004

12:08am: Okay, so yeah, now it's late and I've got some stuff to update...
So, I supppose I've covered Monday--since then, for me, what I have learned and enjoyed is that--I need to keep active, it makes me happy, and that this quarter could kick ass. That is, my science classes are interesting and less, and my other classes are not gonna be easy, but they are fun and interesting--so about the other classes.

Well Tuesday's and Thursdays at nine until eleven is my Analysis and Performance of Literature class--which so far is awesome. I know it will be work (which I'm used to)--but it is also a way to express myself, relieve stress, meet people, and have fun (in general, some things I've been having entirely too little of)! All right. Tuesday was just the intro--pretty standard--what was fun were some walking/performance exercises, where we observed how we carry ourselves in walking, standing, and posing and how it conveys messages--I suppose for a change it is nice to complement work and reading with some things that are basically intuitive and instinctive and to build off of that. However, for Thursday, we had to prepare a short speech, (nongraded--woohoo, score one for free expression). Below are the fragments and summation of different people's speeches--there are about twenty kids and I don't know many names, and you don't have to read them (and as I learn names this will also update)--so you don't have to read it, but can. I didn't jot anything down, probably because I was worried about when I would go (names being randomly selected), and I wanted to pay attention and just enjoy people's expression, so this is all from memory. [until I learn names, I just have a few words that I can remember the performance by--besides T-shirt, which is the first, and mine, which oddly enough was actually the last, they are in NO order, not that it matters much to you :-P]

T-Shirt: A guy, pretty cool (actually, there are no people in this class that I would say aren't, which is awesome--it's very amazing feeling actually), decided to explain how clothing can show more about a person than we might realize--and he wore seven layers or so of t-shirts that described who he was as a person, peeling them off to show us what we could learn just from one week of clothing. Northwestern sweatshirt (for football, although he doesn't play--people just think he does), Air Force ROTC, martial arts t-shirt, and Rhode Island are the ones that come to mind.

Dance: One girl did a presentation about her love of dance--using the words, "I kind of fell into it" to kind of parallel the style of her most favorite dance--African, in which there are a lot of steps which emphasize kind of letting your body sway and fall with gravity and very emphasized rhythm. I liked that a lot.

Soccer Ref: One guy explained that over the past six or so years, his dad has had him working as a soccer ref--back then he was young, so he worked the sidelines, taking the pressure off of the center refs. Once he worked the center, where he got shit for being so young and a "babyface"--it's not his love like some, but he's learned a lot about himself from doing it.

"Blood" Brother: Bang, Bang. A kid opened rapping his hand hard three times against the blackboard. His brother was shot, fifteen times, as part of a gang rivalry--he was a Blood--luckily he was smart and fortunate enough not to get involved in gangs but he wears red rubber bands as remembrance. I felt that he couldn't maintain the excellent tone he began with in talking about his brother, but I hate to critique performances when they are that personal and serious.

Sunglasses: One kid, a big kid, big enough to be a football player, told a joke and announced it as such, so I was kind of waiting for the punchline and just when it seemed more like an anecdote or a rant, it was there--I liked that approach. Imperfect Paraphrase: "So you ever wonder how a 24 inch TV can cost less than a pair of sunglasses? So, I broke my sunglasses and I went to get a new pair. I was in the store, and I found a pair that I liked. I didn't love em, but I liked them. So I look at the price, $349! So, I go to the store manager. 'How can these sunglasses cost this much money?' 'Well sir, they are a name brand item.' 'You prick, how can you sleep at night. Do you realize I bought a 24 inch satellite TV system for $329 just the other day?' 'Well these filter out 100% of UV rays and...' 'Yeah, and that thing receives radio waves from OUTER SPACE!...Then I found out the glasses get basic cable.'

Airplane Trip from Hell: One kid told the classic, my worst vacation day ever story--sounded kind of like my trip back from California, only more ironic. I don't think I can remember all of the hilariousness and, general horror of the trip but it went more or less like--plane delayed two hours for some reason I can't remember. As plane finally gets going to take off and is just pulling off of the ground, it slams down, comes to a screeching halt. 'When they finally explained the problem a few hours later, it turned out they had blown the engine. They think they have it repaired now.' Naturally, then there somehow was a huge water spill in the luggage compartment and a few other things that managed to delay their arrival to their final destination by about twenty hours.

Car Accident: A girl running cross country, who thought that the road was clear, thought wrong. She was hit by a car, she rolled up onto the windshield and managed to shield herself from landing on her head. She used an effective technique of stating a number and then explaining its significance--all of which I can't remember. Like 76--the year of the Chevy that hit me. 2--the number of inches below my knee it hit, preventing it from tearing my leg off. 40--how fast the car was traveling when it hit me. 81--percent of the people who die when hit by a car traveling 40 miles an hour or faster. That got to me--it's kind of technique everyone's seen before, but it was quite effective.

Little Fort: One kid told about how he liked to make little forts with his best friend when he was a kid. He brought little props to reenact the fort making--a washcloth as like a huge blanket, two popout 365 day desk calendar things for like chairs, clothespins as, well clothespins, and a pencil to make it stick up like a tent. I thought it was really energetic and engaging, though I can't really recall what he said at the time--he did tie it together that now, he's RTVF (Radio Television and Film) and still a kid at heart, however.

Poem: One girl recited one of her original poems, which really tied into her personality and roots. It was most excellent and most excellently performed--it tied in a lot of doowop (?) and jazz-ish type sounds and also celebrated a famous poet/writer, but I'm not sure who. Hmm...well, it was most amazing.

Rock Concert: A guy started his presentation by asking us all to clump together in the middle of the classroom. Not knowing why, it was an interesting beginning which really developed well--if I had to pick a favorite this would be in the top few. He then explained that his boyfriend had asked him to go to a rock concert--something he had never experienced before--having only gone to like ska bands before. He had never experienced that deep down "visceral" experience of rock. The band was outside before the show, but not knowing what they could sey, they decided to move in. He began pushing through us, the "crowd," which surprisingly reminded me exactly like my experience at the Zwan concert--it was very effective. He pushed his way to the front, and as he talked about how the music started, he started playing some music with a solid rhythm. 'And all of a sudden, I felt my toe start tapping--and then my head went with it, and then my whole body just kind of moved with the rhythm'--all the while, he totally gave me the sense of someone at a rock concert--very well performed. 'Then, when I looked around, I realized that everyone else was kind of doing it too--and then I understood the visceral feeling of rock. I get it now.' Yeah, that was cool.

Bears Tickets: This one didn't do much for me. This kid explained how he managed to get bears tickets--a team he's idolized for some time--from a kid his dad knew (or something)--and he went to the game with this guy. Once the guy was good and drunk, he shared his profound knowledge about life "The secret to life is all about who you know." And upon reflection, he realized in one way he was correct insofar as he wouldn't have gotten the ticket without knowing this guy; however, on a level the guy probably didn't mean exactly, it is his friends and family that have shaped his life--so he realized that the man was right.

Duck Duck Goose: This was pretty impressive. A girl had us all sit down in a cirle, and we started playing "Duck, Duck, Goose." We soon realized that we were reenacting a day from this girls' past, in Africa. The day she "realized" her Mama had died. That is in quotes because she might not have actually realized that she was gone and not coming back until later--explaining that as a child, she felt that like the goodness in our lives, all things go in circles--life goes in circles [I didn't realize it at the time, but perhaps it was a parallel to Duck, Duck, Goose.] Mama, was actually her grandmother, and later in her life, she had to move out to Chicago to live with her actual mother and form a new mother-daughter relationship. I felt that this was well done.

Gambler: This was another "eh" story, that was captivating--which most were, but didn't do much for me. A kid explained how he loved to gamble--on anything--with his friends. So, at a White Sox game, he played the "hat" game with his friends, gambling on what the batter will do, getting like a fourth of your bet for a single, half for a double, three quarters for a triple and all for a home run (I think?) and having similar rules for having to put in money if there is an out. Well in the fourth, his friend, whose birthday it was, with about 130$ in the pot, bet the pot on Frank Thomas hitting a home run, and he did. Then in the ninth, same thing with less money, and again, Frank hit the homer--naturally, he was buying the drinks for his friends after the game.

Stalker: This one was poignant but confusing--kind of like art and poetry and literature can be, which I kind of liked. It was very daring, with tension, imagery, and a kind of sexuality to it. So, yeah, it was impressive. The performance began with this kid explaining how one of his greatest childhood experiences was watching his neighbor harvesting a carrot out of her garden--the image of a fully grown thing being pulled from the earth delighted him as a child. He presented the long, orange carrot as a residual image in the performance. He explained that as a child he would walk, sometimes pretending as if he were being followed by someone else--kind of like a play make believe, this which he pantomimed. Then he explained that one day, a man did stalk him--he walked quicker, trying to lose the man, but the man made chase and cornered him with a gun, threatening him with his life--the carrot being used as the gun. 'Give me your money or I will shoot you!' 'I'm sorry, I don't have any money.' 'Do you want to die!? I could take out your heart!?' 'I don't have any money, I could go home and ge...' 'I could shoot you in the heart and pull it out!' (this is where Michael kind of got confused, wondering if I missed something worrying about my own performance) 'This is when I realized I had to choose if I was going to live or die. So, I began dancing.' Backed into a corner, he now, began dancing, with a lot of passion and emotion, and took a large bight out of the carrot, which he is still holding. 'And I threw the rest away.' Swallows the bite, and throws the carrot away, and sits down. I think that is exactly as it was performed--and I think I like it, even if I don't fully understand it.

Latina Rock Love: This was the presentation our teacher, Coya Paz, did, about her identity when she was younger--it was rehearsed to perfection, and she switched beautifully into her Latina accent to describe how she was a tough, rocker--who shaved her head and was forceful about who she was. It was done in a narrative as if we were back in her childhood, and was very effective. Gotta love Coya.

Train Accident--
I actually got to play a bit role in this one. A kid in our class, whose name is Samuel (but we later found that everyone calls him Max), did a performance about witnessing a man get hit by a train. I got to play the role of that man--and by that I mean, just lie on the ground and not do anything. Hehehe...for me this was the most powerful personal presentation. When he presented it, we learned how he hadn't tried to help the guy--I felt immersed in the moment and it hurt to see someone not help because it wasn't their problem. There was so much conflict and passion. Good times.
Dance Competition
This one just sounded painful--Nancy told about how once when she and her dancing group were competing for a national title, one of her muscles detached, tearing part of her pelvic bone with it--so basically she was immobilized (I think maybe doing the splits?), while also fearing to death that she had just lost the competition for her team. But hey, they one, and she's still dancing, so all is good.
Youth Memories
Elizabeth did this performance, and I'm sorry to say I don't remember a lot of it. I just remember that it was sweet and touching--it involved some anecdotes about her and her family when she was a kid.
Bedtime Story
Jeff shared an anecdote about when he was a kid, and to do it, he made his own "bedtime story" book, with pictures and everything--and we sat down on the floor and listened to him tell the story. Really all I remember how it ends up with him telling his mother she was an "asshole" when he was only like 4 or 5, and to explain to his mom, he just said he heard his dad say that someone else was one.
Juggling
And wouldn't you know that I went last--I wasn't amazingly pleased with what I did--but it was satisfactory, interesting, and entertaining--it was about juggling and my identity--it was basically just a rehash of what I did for Mr G's class with some new elements.

And the other class, the freshman seminar, that I'm really enjoying, is Meaning--a rather scientific, but very interesting linguistic analysis of meaning. Again, a lot of it is intuitive, but there is so much more, and the discussions for me are fun. So far, I enjoy it. Okay, yeah, lazy boy is gonna do some reading before I head to bed...(I'll be modifying this post, so if you read it now, and care, check back later).

Peace

29th March 2004

12:22pm: First, hilariy, second, Spring Break!
Homer at Gladys' funeral:

Homer: [thinking] Oh, I thought this thing was going to be catered.
Boy, am I hungry. I mean, I'm really, really, hungry.
[out loud] It's just not fair, dammit!
-- Homer really cared, hehehe...

..........

Brockman: Kent Brockman at the Action News desk. A massive tanker has
run aground on the central coastline, spilling millions of
gallons of oil on Baby Seal Beach.
Lisa: [gasps] Oh, no!
Homer: It'll be okay, honey. There's lots more oil where that came
from.

...........

Marge: Now the cat needs his medication...
Homer: [assenting, simultaneously] No problem...
Marge: ... every morning and the furnace has been putting off...
Homer: Can do. Right. Uh-huh.
Marge: ... a lot of carbon monoxide, so keep the window open.
Homer: Gotcha. Cat in the furnace.
Marge: Ah, you know, I think we'll take Maggie with us.

...........
(Lisa becomes a vegetarian and opposes Homer's carnivirous ways.)

Homer: Marge, since I'm not talking to Lisa, could you please ask her to pass me the syrrup.
Marge: Ahh. Please pass your father the syrup Lisa
Lisa: Bart, tell dad I'll only pass the syrup if it wont be used on any meat product.
Bart: You dunking your sausages in that syrrup, Homeboy?
Homer: Marge, tell Bart I just want to drink a nice glass of syrup like I do every morning.
Marge: Tell him yourself, you're ignoring Lisa, not Bart.
Homer: Bart, thank your mother for pointing that out.
Marge: Homer, you're not, not talking to me, and secondly I heard what you said.
Homer: Lisa, tell your mother to get off my case!
Bart: Uh, dad, Lisa's the one you're not talking to.
Homer: Bart, go to your room!

...........

Ah, I love that last one. Anyway--so I didn't have access to the computer over in California, so that's the reason for that delay--but anywho, I can sum it up now. By the time we flew out to California, my illness was gone, so that was good. We flew in last Thursday and arrived by midday. Our hotel was nice, looking directly out over the southside of Monterey Bay--but wouldn't you know, that it rained all day (I thought it didn't rain in California!!). Hell, it was still beautiful and green and warmer than Chi-town, so I'll take it. Later that night, we walked along the beach ("we" being myself, Dad, Mom, and Bethany) and John came over--it was nice to see him--he's growing his hair out--he looks good and was doing well. On Friday, we got up early, went over to John's house, and then went over to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) where he went to school and where he was graduating from. That went most successfully, followed by a delightful trip to a pizza place with our family and about fifteen or twenty of John's friends and family. All in all, it was quite fun and John, especially, had a good time--so that's good. After pizza, I spent the afternoon and evening with John resuscitating my computer and such--and when we could we went walking--wow is it beautiful there. Pssh. Anyway--that was successful because my computer now lives again--so that was good. I went back to the Hotel my family will stay in while I'm gone--a beautiful apartment style suite with 2 rooms, a lounge, a bathroom, and a kitchen--rather similar to John's apartment--all for less than the first one room standard hotel room--I was very impressed. Anywho, I got my own (roll out) bed and slept quite well before Saturday, when we went as a family up to San Francisco--we spent most of the day at Pier 39, looking in shops and purchasing things every now and then. For lunch, we ate at a Crab Place, and I, being a vegetarian, did not have too many choices--my dad kept offering me crab, because he doesn't think of it as meat. (Reminding me of a Simpsons line: Homer: "Seafood? I don't know, I'm not really a vegetarian.") Anyway, so I was going to split an artichoke appetizer with my sister who was getting a spinach fondue appetizer. Well, she liked hers and didn't like the artichoke--so ended up eating all of the artichoke myself. My dad showed me which parts I could eat and what not, and they had already removed the middle (which he told me was moderately poisonous), so I finished it and it was alright. We continued shopping and snacking--it was fun and beautiful. Later, we drove around San Francisco looking for Chinatown, and upon first finding a futuristic mall type place called the Metreon, our parents dropped us off for what we thought was going to be just a few minutes while they circled the block a few times (since we couldn't find a parking spot). Anyway, after a few minutes of sightseeing, we went outside, and waited. After about twenty minutes of them not showing up, John and B went into the Sony store and the Playstation store (all Playstation!), while I continued to wait. All told, after about an hour, my dad arrived on foot, having decided to park the car after all. Sigh. Anyway, we then returned to the car and drove back to the hotel. Man, I shouldn't have eaten that artichoke. At 1:34 in the morning, my nightmares of feeling sick to my stomach turned out to be me really feeling violently ill--I proceeded to evacuate the contents of my stomach by any means possible (use your imagination), and continued to do so rather violently until I had to leave for my plane at 6 o'clock. That was fun. I only needed one emergency stop at a Denny's on the way but arrived in one piece, thirsty (without being able to drink) and dehydrated as all hell. Waiting for the plane was misery, but the plane ride itself was all-right. My body was settling down--I was able to drink some Ginger Ale on the plane and managed to sleep through some of the ride and was moderately comfortable at other times. Back in Chicago (Midway), I got my luggage, sat down, and proceeded to slowly drink another Ginger Ale (from the plane) for about what I think was forty minutes or so, falling asleep between sips. Man, I needed something in me. Finally, I was able to drag myself out to the El, and could doze rather comfortably most of the way home. However, it was raining in Evanston all night basically--so instead of dragging all my stuff back to the dorm, I walked to the ISP house (which was about halfway between the Noyes El stop and Slivka) dropped off my stuff and fell alseep to the Simpsons, waking up just in time for the 9:00 mass. I now feel decent--a little sick, but mostly just have no energy whatsoever. Mass was okay--the homily was good, and I had a lot to think about, just kind of wish that I had more energy for it. After that, it was still raining, and I still was very exhausted--much too much to drag my heavy luggage back through the rain, so I decided to sleep at the ISP house (though they don't like us doing so). It was oh so comfy, and I awoke refreshed, and hungry! And, now I feel good again (as I write this)--classes today were good--I'm hoping for a successful quarter and a quarter in which I can be happy and be myself again.

Peace
Michael

23rd March 2004

6:46am: “I once thought I had mono for an entire year, but it turned out I was just really bored.” - Wayne
Yeah, so now I have a little more time and desire to update, but still not to much concrete to say. I stopped journaling when I felt it consumed too much of my time--that was probably irrational (partly), but I'm sure it was just easier not to examine myself.
And, I doubt I'm any more ready now really, but, hey, at least I've got some time off, so I can't use that first execuse. Yeah, so the last three weeks or so--I didn't do well in...well life in general. Somewhere in there, however, I gave up my failings and just worked, accepting whatever happened--so that felt good. I've figured a few things out, but exactly what is a question I'm not ready to answer--putting things into words is very, very dangerous--so not yet.
So, that almost defeats the purpose of me keeping a journal, right? Well, who knows...maybe. All I know, is that I've figured a few things out and felt a little better.
However, I do feel like my mind is clouded (somewhat), and that wanting to go at this all alone is just the wrong way to do it, but I have such a difficult time seeking (and accepting) others' help--with anything. All in all--those friends that I do have have been supportive, but I'm still not sure how I'm going to...be me again--I don't know, be happy and active and fruitful and me. Because I know right now I'm not happy, and I'm feeling less hopeful than usual--which is unfortunate because I'm a very optimistic fellow (or at least part of me is). So, I'm worried--but I try to maintain hope--next quarter, I can change things around--I've already promised myself (and Andrew) to make the simple changes of a) changing my meal plan (to help me control my eating) and b) getting out to run. But for me, I know I need to manage my time the way I want to--that means being a decent student for a change and also finding time for service (!!) and recreation.
Right now? Right now, I'm home on Spring Break--it's moving quickly, but I don't mind--probably because I'm sick and the faster it moves the faster I'll get better right? Well I don't know about that, but because I am ill, I don't mind just laying low for a few days. Early (4:30ish) thursday morning, I get up to fly out to California--I get so see John graduate his Masters program on Friday, mess around on Saturday, and fly back early Sunday to Chicago. Man, I want to be healthy, but such is life--I just hope it's not too serious (like mono or something :-P).
I gotta get some better stories...hehehe...

Anywho, take care.
Michael

22nd March 2004

9:43pm: "Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city. He is the cancer and I am the... uh... what cures cancer?"
Myeah...so, umm, I haven't updated in almost a month, and instead of saying anything useful for a little while, I feel like posting some more Simpsons quotes:

Homer: I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode. I think it was called, "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."

......

Marge: Have you been up all night eating cheese?
Homer: I think I'm blind.

......

Advertisment: Don't you hate carpet fitters that charge extra for the underlaying?
Homer: (Enraged) I HATE THEM SO MUCH!

......

For automated stock prices please state company name.
Homer: "Animotion."
Animotion...up one an a quarter.
Homer: "Yahoo!!!"
Yahoo up 2 and a fourth
Homer: "Huh, what the hell is this crap?"
Fox Broadcasting, down eight.

......

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I suppose I should get back into the world of the living or something--eh, don't much feel like a real post right this second--maybe in a little while...

26th February 2004

12:31am: "Don't mess with the dead, boy, they have eerie powers."
Okay...there is not much point in updating, except to let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. After Sunday night's crazy all nighter, I basically just slept through my Monday, so nothing much eventful there.

On Tuesday, I hated Physics lab (damn oscilloscope and stupid TA) and computer class was fun. I'm sure I spent too much time talking with Pat and Amy on IM...I need to make better decisions along those lines.

*Shrugs*

Let's see. I got to talk with my parents at home. John got offered a job at his current college to possibly continue his work on his Masters up to a PhD and also to teach there. I'm not sure of the specifics, but I know he'd be making more than my dad. Mom's getting around okay after surgery--she had a miserable time, but she's progressing and it looks like we will all (except Paul of course) be making it out to California to see John graduate. I'll be there briefly, but I'll see John and my Grandpa and Marion, so that's good. Bethany's doing well--working out with the track team and trying to decide if she should take the Algebra II/Trig line of higher math. Hmm...she's a bright girl and works harder than any of her brothers, but I don't know how to advise her.

Wednesday wasn't too good. I fell asleep after econ and wasted my time after class, which was bad. I don't like it. I've got a midterm in Chem tomorrow, but I think everything will be okay.

Alright, I'm off. Take care of yourself and anyone else that you can. Keep searching and loving.
Current Mood: hopeful

23rd February 2004

4:37pm: *a plastic bag blows in the wind a la American Beauty*
Peter: Look at that plastic bag, it's like it's dancing with me, making me feel that there's some benevelont force in the world watching over all of us. Some times there's just so much beauty in the world that I feel like I can't take it.

*cut to heaven*

God: It's just some trash blowing in the wind! Do
you have any idea how complicated your circulatory system is?!
----------------------

Well, hi there--yeah, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything--and yes it's been eight days or so since I posted, and no I'm not going to be awesome and update all eight days. I probably couldn't recreate what I did on them anyway--they all kind of came together in a large blur, and I got bogged down with work and decided to cut the LJ for a bit.

But, I know that I want to continue, so I'll give you the summation of the last eight days--basically, Chem lab blows, the Physics test was tricky, the Math test was fun, and my paper last night blew. Oh, and I'm working on 0 hours of sleep. Yay!

(LJ Reader: That's it--that was you're week!)
Michael: Yeah, sorry about that, but that is also part of my problem is my current inability to find meaningful things outside of school--my inability to find life, and love, and beauty, and God, and answers, and quests, and jaunts, and ...oh so many things that matter more than school.

(LJ Reader: Boo....go back to Sheboygan)
Michael: Hey...that's not nice, and umm...I'm not from Sheboygan, I'm from Ohio. :-)

Anyway...but last week was also a little strange--besides class and shit and not liking how I can't make the decisions I know I want to make--Andy talked me into (more like coerced the well-meaning bastard) going to see Health Services this Friday (or maybe Thursday)--as of right now, I don't even know what exactly I'm going to say--because the last few days have been pretty awesome, but I know I need to talk with someone, even if just to get me out, get me thinking, get me talking, and get me motivated.

So here's the deal--I really just want to help people--it just seems like I get that "yeah" kind of feeling when I'm doing it, and I know that there is no other place in the world for me to be at that moment in time. But, I suck--wait, let me rephrase. I'm in a hella hella science program because something also tells me I'm supposed to be in it right now, but I can't seem to motivate myself also to find out how this science thing is going to correlate to this loving others thing and I'm too damn lazy to get out there and live--rephrase, things are getting better damnit.

And as far as actually needing to see a counselor? Well, I've been clinically depressed a few times before in my life...or at least that's what the doctors say, and I somehow know they are partially correct. Partially insomuch that sometimes I just would hate myself for no reason--I had control over my thoughts and actions, but I just wanted them to be negative, I just wanted them to suffer. You see, when you're depressed, part of you gets addicted to the suffering--it's a frightening proposition to be happy all the time, or any of the time. Somehow, depression somehow makes you null to the pain and after a while, it is all you know--anything else, like happiness becomes pain. And to some extent, I am now experiencing this.

Now? Now is strange--I get along pretty well with just about anyone that I want/need to get along with--that sounds strange--but I don't actively pursue "acqaintance" friendships, but I know there are some totally excellent people that I just need to open up to. And now, part of me feels about as lonely as I ever have been--except my vents with Pat, Andy, Amy, Tony, and the family. But the other part of me will hang out and play hearts with upper-classmen, crack jokes, or watch TV, but more or less have fun-- (while basically just wasting time)--but that's not me--I don't actually want to be spending my time pointlessly like that--part of me just likes being acknowledged and feeling like I belong to some extent. And it is this depressed part of me that liked high-school better, where I could more easily isolate myself from everyone and get by on my own. But I know life isn't supposed to be like that, I just need to reach out to those who actually care and use my time as I want and need to. Because there is some truth to my depressed thoughts, sometimes I deny it. But, there are other things that are definitely related--I know I'm depressed because often enough I'll just stop caring--and I can't count the times I've said "I hate myself" and haven't really meant it--but part of me does. And I'm eating way too much--eating problems have always been a crutch for me when I'm depressed--and I can't wake up in the morning when I want to--and this isn't just pulling all-nighters, this is I've slept well on Thursday and Friday and manage to sleep thirteen hours on both Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and here's the thing that most people will gasp at and now label me as a freak--well if you know me (like I do), I know I'm not a freak, but I carved about a 1 cm square into the back of my left hand with a thumbtack. Yeah--that kind of made me realize I need to talk with someone--because it didn't hurt much when I did it, I like the way it looks, and I want to do it some more now that it's healing. But I'm not going to--some deep-seated guilt and self-loathing has definitely been coming through--I've become too numb to some of the pain I allow myself to live with--and this is not who I want to be. But the last few days have been pretty good. I uh, had to pay the repurcussions of an amazingly uneventful weekend all on Sunday, but I did it, today was good, and things are good. Umm, if you read all of this, then good for you.

Blech
Current Mood: sleepy

14th February 2004

3:33pm: "Well then, my goal becomes clear, the broccoli must die."
Morpheus
Morpheus


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Apparently, I need to try some more quizzes. They are quite amusing and sometimes frighteningly accurate. One time though, I answered the questions to the quiz "What Kind of Wings Are You?" The First time I got Demon Wings--so I went back and changed a few of the questions I was a little wavering on. I did not change anything drastically, just a few answers that were similar--and my next result was that I am Angel Wings. Ah, so true, so amusing.

Go Morpheus! That's a pretty good and accurate response. Nice picture too.
1:46pm: "If we hit that bullseye the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."
Yeah, so Friday was alright, I made it to class. Physics is coming along pretty well and Math was fun. The Chem TA session was rather bleh...and the Chem lab for two and a half hours was even more bleh. This week is a two week lab that I thought we could get done in one--so I set up all the stuff after getting out of the TA session early. Yeah, that didn't happen. It took Juliet (my lab parter) and I five attempts at getting four of our stock solutions to register a .999 correlation coefficient on this light transmission plot...anyway...Three Nines, that's one too many if you ask me!

Umm, after that I had dinner and came back and vegged some--watching some television and doing some Physics homework. I had a very good conversation with Pat--man I love talking with that man--he always makes my day.

Around midnight I watched the latter part of Shawshank with some people in the lounge. It was my copy that I had lent to Derek and I didn't even know he was watching it, so it was rather serendipitous. Afterwards, he (with Melissa and Mark) taught me how to play Euchre. I had watched them many times before, so I pretty much knew how to play, now I just need skill. I chilled with them until around three.
Current Mood: meh...

13th February 2004

1:36am: Mmmm.... Bouncing Souls
I've met some people along the way,
some of them split some of them stay,
some of them walk some walk on by,
I've got a few friends I'll love till I die
From all of these people I try to learn,
some of them shine some of them burn,
some of them rise some of them fall,
for good or bad I've known them all.

We live our life in our own way,
never really listened to what they say,
the kind of faith that doesn't fade away
we are the true believers

well you can fight or you can run,
under a rock till the war is won,
play it safe and don't make a sound,
but not us we won't back down
true believers
all the way,
you and I

We live our life in our own way,
never really listened to what they say,
the kind of faith that doesn't fade away
We are the true believers.
We are the true believers.
(True believers.)

Score one for Kairos CD!
So today was alright. I wasn't that tired last night, but apparently I didn't want to get up in time for Physics...yeah, I need to deal with that. [Michael's brain: Then maybe you should go to bed, dummy] [Michael: Shut up brain.] But Math was interesting...as a class we designed a quiz involving second order differential equations. I didn't really enjoy the experience, but it certainly was something I was glad I experienced. And there was no Chem today, so that was great.

Thus, after Math, I went down South to Norris to get a new Wildcard. Then I went to the Student Load Office to sign some crap so that I don't lose a loan. Then I went over to the Student Housing Office so that I could activate my meal plan again (although when I got there I found out the Wild Card Office had done that for me).

I got back to the dorm a little before four I think. I didn't get much accomplished until dinner at five. After dinner I again didn't get much accomplished until a lecture at seven.

But at seven, I went to "Running Toward Fear: A Poet's Response to War and the The Black Situation." Yeah, I need to sit down and write about a few things and basically just recall some of his better points, but it wasn't an amazing speech. Three students gave dramatic readings of their own poetry before the speaker (who is also a poet) spoke. The speaker was difficult to hear, and his speech lacked a clear direction. He made it painfully clear that he was against the war, and after he moved on from this topic, to discussing the role of language and cultural identity, I felt more interested and engaged. Lacking paper, I found myself writing down all the interesting parts down on my left hand--it was quite a sight after the lecture, and it all made it home to Microsoft Word. But, right now, I'm feeling lazy and tired. I enjoyed the experience.

After getting home, I quickly copied the thoughts from my hand, then washed my hand (hehehe...), and then got to work on some Chemistry. I don't know when I'm gonna find time for Computers...(if I'm going to find time)...but everything else is okay.


Hehehe...
"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it"
Current Mood: I'm tempted to say bouncy...
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