Sunday, December 24, 2006

Habari gani Christmas! Merry Kwanzaa! Happy Kwanzaa!

It almost works out to jumble them all up. Almost.

Happy Holidays, now that's nice and generic.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Q: What do my cat and I have in common?
A: Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Granted, my cat has feline alopecia OCD, whereas I just have standard OCD, but I realized today that it affects me every day. Most people notice my OCD tendencies when we're dining out. After the meal is done, I start arranging the dishes on the table so they are neat and organized. This is the time when Sam and our friend Liz start moving things around and knocking things over. They find it quite amusing to see how frustrated I get fixing everything they move around.

It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized how far it really goes. With the exception of Black Friday, today was one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and I made the mistake of trying to do some holiday shopping after my final day at Best Buy. Each store was like a madhouse, and I realized that the reason I hate busy retail stores is because nobody follows an organized pattern. For some reason, everyone seems to forget to stay on the right side of the aisle, to put things back if they don't want them and to be aware of other shoppers. My ideal retail store would have a track, not unlike those used for sporting events. Each lane would have a specific purpose, and people would be held accountable for their actions in these lanes.

There's a sporting goods store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that has a track in it. It's not designed for this purpose, but just thinking about it makes me a little giddy. Apparently it's not enough for every thing to have its own place, and I can't truly settle (especially in a crowded area) unless every person also has his/her own place. Organized shopping, what an idea.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I found this journal entry from December 2004 this evening. I think I really latched onto my current style in this short excerpt.

I guess I'm destined to write things with a twist of the melancholy spirit. It's part of who I am, it's Blue. I don't deny my past, but I'm finding ways to continue on...isn't that the point of life? Strength, emotional strength, drives us to be who we are. Physical strength comes into that as well, but only to the extent of getting up from the table, stepping on the bus, and going to work. We live in several worlds simultaneously. Emotional, physical, pyschological, past, present, future all combine to create one day. As a whole, most people are flawed in all of those aspects, but that's what makes humanity such a beautiful thing. Recognition of the flaw, acceptance of it. Those are the things that matter.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I have quite the case of writer's block. So instead of squirming through a mediocre post, I'm just going to put one of my nonfiction essays from this spring up. Hopefully, I'll be able to write something interesting soon.

Product Warning

I needed a break from the stresses of life. I found one. I just wanted to lose myself this evening.
Instead of hitting the bars to drink and let loose, I opted for solitude. Strolling through Judah Park, I smelled earth. The smell of chopped wood and summer heat clinging to the air made me drowsy. Content but lonely.

I’m losing my Christianity. I don’t think this is a bad thing. I’m finding more happiness, more acceptance, more forgiveness in the nameless beliefs I’ve adopted. The virtue of selfishness, denying any preconceived notions in order to appease myself. I decide what I believe.
I lay down on the hard pathway and stared at the stars. Drinking cheap vodka, I stared at the motionless sky. Nothing moved. It was perfect peace. I took in the smell of the fresh soil and though about my past.

The scent of wood chips triggered memories of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the stacks of lumber that eventually formed a house. I thought about the beach of Lake Superior and the bitterly cold, strong waves that toppled over my body. I thought of life fighting the freezing waves and the soft sand that welcomed me where liquid met solid.

I wanted to lose myself in that border today.

Now my faith is as fleeting as the tiny rivulets of water that streamed between the fingers of my closed hands. I can do nothing to stop the escape of my faith.

I tried for a long time to stop it, but it was fruitless. For the two years after you died, I devoted myself wholly to God and to living a moral and upright life. I was met by silence. I felt no stirring of the spirit. I felt no divine presence that comforted me. I felt cheated.

As I lay on the cold, hard ground, I felt some sense of peace. I understand a little better that life is not responsive to human pleas and my piety will have no influence on that. The calm air settled down on me like a blanket, and I closed my eyes. Insects buzzed in the night, and in the distance I could hear traffic. I was alone. I thought about death then—yours, mine, others. I always think about death if I’m left to my own devices. They say a key factor in development is the social condition at age 13-15. That was when death most closely lived with me, and when I was most dedicated to the silent god. I still want answers to the mysteries, but I don’t expect anything. I ask, but silence follows. It’s always silence.

In my daily endeavors, I find human kindness but not divine presence. I find beauty in nature, but I don’t feel any omniscient, benevolent force. I feel the pulse of life—individual life in balance with itself. Peaceful chaos of existence. I think about rebirth. There is too much to live in just one lifetime. I think about people who end their lives. I think it’s a lousy escape, but it’s what is right for some. I hope those people find the right path in the next life. I think about fate and repetition of history. Who we are forms what we will be in the future.

I spent a lot of time dissolving into the silence of Judah Park. The cold, hard ground became comforting as I stared into the pinpoints of light in the sky. I held a conversation with silence.

And I eventually emerged from the peace that had settled around me. I came back to my apartment, which was full of people laughing at inane conversation. They were awkward in their Christianity to me. I heard them laugh and wondered if they knew some secret to hearing divinity. I sat in the same room with them for awhile. I was silent. I was still a little drunk. I wasn’t ready to tell them I hated their faith.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Insomnia...inshomnia

I definitely feel tired, but don't feel like I can fall asleep. Maybe I should go drive around for awhile, since that always makes me feel like passing out. However, 'tis not a healthy thing to sleep behind the wheel. Rather than taking full advantage of this late-night, I've been wasting my time surfing around the internet and organizing my documents. I have a pretty comprehensive shopping list for tomorrow's errands, at least.

I want to complain about work, but I don't really have any other options right now. Believe me, I've looked around. I look around every day. It's times like these when I really dislike living in the middle of nowhere, College Town, USA. Sure, there are a few part-time positions in the area, but nothing that actually requires any of the skills that I learned in college. Basically, the last three years of my life are proving to be of little value right now. Sure, I'm going to earn a more advanced degree (pending acceptance into a program), and I'm not at the terminus of my career preparation path, but it sucks.

To end on a positive note (seeing as how I'm trying to be positive), it's not the end yet. It will get better.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Life Post-Stroller

It's Thursday, which means this week's edition of the Northwest Missourian is out. I've only glanced at one issue since graduating from NW this spring, but for some reason I thought about it this evening.

As many people have learned, I was the Stroller this last spring. There are a few statements I hope impacted the students and faculty, but let's face it: writing an anonymous editorial column every week is just a constant fight against spewing forth pure suckage. So here are some of my favorite clips from this past spring. I haven't read the Stroller since I left, but I hope it's providing something for the school.

"If you want to go to AFTERdark, go to AFTERdark. If you are a Christian, more power to you. If you can’t accept non-Christians, reassess your faith. Why is it so important to make sure others believe the same things you do?"

"Did you know that if you search for the Mods on the Northwest Web site, it turns up only one hit for the actual buildings?
It seems the administration has simply chosen to gloss over the fact that for the past several years they’ve considered that doublewide trailers are suitable for students. Why, they’ve even added awnings outside."

"We live in a society where we talk about freedom of speech and the First Amendment, but most people can’t even tell you all the rights granted to us in the amendment.
Religion, press, petition, assembly and speech. Memorize that. Although we are a nation founded from Puritan ideals, must we continue to base our governmental actions on a strict moral code that denies the rights of many of its own citizens?
Your Man doesn’t think so. Although things might be a little different and alarming at times, the best way to new ideas is new standards. What was once unspeakable is now commonplace, and the censorship of today only denies the progress of tomorrow."

Just a few thoughts I wanted to revisit.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Silence is an idea that can surround you in the busiest, most hectic times of your life. Silence can soothe the soul, but that is not the silence I speak of now. I speak of the silence of god. Mankind has sought for the meaning of life forever, but that is not what I demand of god. I have a much more demanding question."

In my futile efforts to continue on with "Fractured," I sat in front of my laptop for some time this evening. I fixed a few typos, and thought about a children's story I have brewing in the back of my head. I had iTunes playing on shuffle in the background because with 4.4 days worth of music, it keeps my writing process from falling in a funk.

Anyway, I was sitting away when "Lump" by Kyler England came on. England visited the Northwest campus during the spring of 2004, and I was one of very few people who saw her perform. I really enjoyed what I heard, so I bought one of her CDs. I eventually expanded my collection to three discs.

The most emotionally stirring of these three albums is "How Many Angels," an EP that addresses the death of England's mother from cancer. "Lump" addresses the sense of powerlessness patients' family members often feel when dealing with cancer. Obviously, it always strikes a chord with me.

Then I thought of the nonfiction essay I wrote this spring, "The Silence of God." Futility and my quest for theological enlightenment seem to go hand-in-hand. It's funny, only in grief do I think of god. I think it's because my time of deepest devotion was my time of deepest depression. I think of all the bitterness and pain that welled up within my being.

I found relief from mental illness at the same time I was losing my faith. Turning away from god finally brought some sense of peace. Now I'm studying the tenets of Buddhism. One of the Four Noble Truths is the Truth of Suffering. Not that Suffering is inevitable, but that Suffering is because of our own inadequacies and attitudes.

There is a lot of debate about whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy, but I don't care which it is. Buddhism is bringing me some form of peace, some form of relief that my Judeo-Christian upbringing never supplied. And so I can grieve, but I can continue on. I must stop thinking of my mother's death as something that damaged my being, but instead strengthened my being. The independence and will I possess are products of losing my mother. It advanced me in so many ways, and that is by far the best way to honor her life. Not dwelling on the things I missed because of her death, but celebrating the character she helped instill during her life.

I must be positive, accept the life I am living and constantly seek to improve myself. The silence of god is nothing to me because I can make my own noise, raise my own voice.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I felt like updating this thing tonight, but I have little or no content. Life is pretty boring, but we get to travel home in a couple weeks. I'm excited.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Me: 1
GRE: 0

A satisfactory score on the verbal and major ass-kickage on the math section. One hurdle of many down in the quest for graduate school.

Monday, October 02, 2006

It's just my luck

So, I figured I'd use my free evening to practice music for church. Armed with a stack of music from this past Sunday, I made my way across main street to St. Paul's Episcopal. I had just made it across the path when someone called to me.

"Hi! How are you?"

Damn! Mormons! It's quite ironic. You see, just this evening I had commented on seeing the Mormons on my commute home. I joked about meeting them at my door and telling them that I used to believe in the Book of Mormon, but am now studying Buddhism, oh and would they like to meet my wife, who is currently practicing Judaism.

No, instead, I stood there trapped between the Mormons and the church door. Laden with stacks of books, I could do nothing but stand and act friendly. I had no real issues in lying to them, but then they asked to stop by sometime later this week.

Lacking any ability to say no, I begrudingly told them that I lived just across the street. They should be stopping by Thursday or Friday afternoon. I'm trying to figure out who I should have over to greet them. Right now, I'm thinking no one, unless I can find a Furry.

That'd be a scene. Mormon, meet Furry. Furry, stop hacking on Mormon. It's stranger than fiction, which is what I think my life is starting to become.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I need something different in my life. Right now, I just feel filled with spite and anger.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm missing some of my fiction materials and that is rather disappointing. My fiction notebook from last fall is MIA. It had several story seeds in it, and now they're lost to the gods of misplaced items while moving.

I'm also missing several (as in 15 or so) pages of a story I wrote last summer. I had originally typed it on my handy dandy typewriter, but had not finished retyping it on the computer. So now it's back to basically the beginning. I do have the start of the story, which I'm converting from the basis for a novel into a short story. However, I'm having difficulty tapping into the motivation for writing the story.

Well, it's getting a bit late, and I'm getting a bit tired. More to come another day.
I'm missing some of my fiction materials and that is rather disappointing. My fiction notebook from last fall is MIA. It had several story seeds in it, and now they're lost to the gods of misplaced items while moving.

I'm also missing several (as in 15 or so) pages of a story I wrote last summer. I had originally typed it on my handy dandy typewriter, but had not finished retyping it on the computer. So now it's back to basically the beginning. I do have the start of the story, which I'm converting from the basis for a novel into a short story. However, I'm having difficulty tapping into the motivation for writing the story.

Well, it's getting a bit late, and I'm getting a bit tired. More to come another day.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In an effort to feel creative but being wholly unable to create anything new, I felt an urge to post this musing from the nonfiction class I took this spring. It's a meditation on a one-sentence Xanga post I made last summer.

Green

There was absolute silence as I stared into the mirror. Even the roar of the air conditioner was absent. No movement in the world, no sound at all. At first my ears strained to hear anything, but then I accepted the quiet. I was all alone in a different world. I was not me in this moment. Staring into the eyes before me, I saw green with just a fleck of grey around my pupils. I had changed into something new. The planets in my personal universe had aligned while I slept in the evening, and some thief had stolen the old me away, leaving a new me in my stead. They left me alone in the world, and I knew it because my eyes were green.

I thought a lot about death that mild summer evening, the shocking verdigris that stared back at me in the mirror reminded me of my mother’s eyes, a sight unseen for almost eight years until that June evening.

All of my life my eyes have changed color, shifting from blue to slate to blue-green, but they had never been completely green. Science shows that we receive our eye color based on genetics. My father has blue eyes; my mother had green. All of their children have blue eyes. Mine shift color frequently, an event unexplicable by scientists or genetics.

I had been dwelling on the idea of death and the grief that accompanies a loss even after eight years. It’s a criticism I often receive—I’m morbid. I’m also caught up on this idea of green, a color that reminds me of life and, apparently, death. Why did the color of my mother’s eyes become my own temporarily and what could it mean?

It’s that green, the green that I saw in her eyes that brought me back to her on that clear June evening. I’m reminded of a similar June evening in Colorado, 1995, my eleventh birthday. I was upset about something, and my mother took me on a walk down the gravel road as the dark night enveloped the campground. The surrounding woods buzzed with the sounds of nature, night birds calling, crickets chirping, and the hum of life. It was chilly, and my mom wrapped her arm around my shoulders as we walked.

I don’t remember what she said, but I remember that she was there for me. I couldn’t see her face, but I could feel her soft gaze upon me. When I looked into her eyes back then, I couldn’t see the death that waited behind her right eye. Sure, I understood that cancer had taken up residence on her retina, but the idea of a tumor killing her was foreign. Moms don’t die, they can’t.

Perhaps it’s the fact that my mother always commented on my shifting eye color that makes me so aware of them. I remember wanting my eyes to turn green, deep green. Once in awhile they were flecked with emerald shards, but they still held the clarity of blue. Blue is beautiful, green is a magical color.

I think I was visited by her spirit, her memory in my dreams that evening. My wife has dreams about my mother. She has had conversations with a woman she has never met, and everything she says rings true. They meet at a café and drink tea. They chat about me, and my mom offers my wife advice. Maybe my dreams brought me back to my mother as the daylight faded this summer. Maybe her spirit lingered with me. Maybe I connected with something beyond this plane of existence. I don’t remember dreaming about her, but something prompted me to wake and go directly to the mirror.

When I awoke, I came into silence. The profound weight of life was made known to me as I stared in the mirror at a new me, a different me, a new living form sharing my eyes with death.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

So, I celebrated my first day off work by getting incredibly sick. High fever, migraine, nausea. It was great. Then I celebrated my second day off by going in to work. Pro: Overtime. Con: It sucks to work 6 days per week.

I started feeling really crummy right when I started to study the GRE math review, so I blame that. Seriously, this test is going to suck eggs, but it will all be okay.

In other news, this headache needs to end soon or I'll have to go to the doctor. It could be worse, but it definitely could be better.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A seed

So, I've been carrying around this idea for awhile, and as poets Robert Haas and Brenda Hillman say, "I haven't heard a line." It all stems back to my nonfiction class and an exercise we did.

The task was simple: see what happened the year you were born. That's 1984 for me. It was intriguing to see all the things that happened that year, but I began to dwell on what I have not experienced in this lifetime.

The idea that has stuck with me the longest is this: famed photographer Ansel Adams died two months before I was born. I have been to many of the locations Adams photographed, but I still can't grasp that the world he knew and the world he captured never existed while I was alive. True, those locations are still there, but nothing is as it was in those photos.

I don't know why this is so disturbing to me, but I just can't come to terms with it. The passage of time is more real to me in this one fact that in so many other ideas. And so, I've been carrying around this message throughout the spring and summer, but it won't come out the way I want it to. There's a poem or an essay here, something with the potential to stir, but I can't figure it out.

The only thing I ask is, please don't take this for yourself. I'm too connected to this idea to see someone else produce something from it. Perhaps it's just a strange sadness I'll carry around the rest of my life, but maybe, just maybe, I'll find something great to write about it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

by James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Survey

Now, most surveys you find on the internet are just plain stupid, but I really liked this one because it's something I'm passionate about.

A book that changed my life: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. Now I'll admit that I saw the film adaptation before I read this book, but the ideas in this book changed my entire outlook on life and the afterlife. It's what broke me loose from the constraints of traditional Christian thought regarding the afterlife. I may be wrong, but I feel much more alive and purposeful since beginning to understand an alternative theory on death.

A book I've read more than once: I've made it a point to read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien every year since the first time I read it. It's a classic piece of children's literature, and a quick and refreshing read.

A book I'd take to a deserted island: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I chose this book mainly because I'm still learning about all of its intricacies, but every time I think of the passage "Imagine a Carthage sown with salt..." I get goosebumps.

A book that made me laugh: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. This book is wonderful, and Kwan cracked me up on more than one occasion. Of course, it has some sad parts too.

A book that made me (want to) cry: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This book is a perfect companion to teenage angst, but it has a deeper level of dwelling on relationships and our unrealistic ideas of what those should be. That sadness, the discontent, flows throughout the whole book.

A book I wish I'd written: The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Not the most well-written piece of prose out there, but I love the public reaction to it. It's a cultural phenomenon, and people seem to completely forget that it's a fictional story. Some folks are just way too sensitive.

A book that should never have been written: The Haunting of Hip Hop by Bertice Berry. Dreadful. I'm glad I only paid a few dollars for it.

A book I'm currently reading: Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang. It's her early work: a novella and some short stories. I've only read the novella, but it's pretty interesting so far.

A book I'm planning to read: The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My job makes me feel like this:



However, instead of trying to sell you a car that was just owned by a little old lady who drove it back and forth to church every week, I'm trying to sell you a TV while the store managers are breathing down my neck pressuring for the sale.

Add in mystery shoppers and it's no wonder I haven't written anything creative lately. I can't seem to get away from this job. I even dream about it.

I had a nice talk with Nick D. today about why job satisfaction is so low in retail. Simply put, we don't produce anything. We can bust our butts working the sales floor, but in the end, we have nothing to hold in our hands to show that we worked hard and did a good job. True, the store has profits, but it's all too abstract.

Anyway, that's just my thought on the matter. Now can I interest you in this Pinto?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If you don't think this is funny, you probably haven't read "A Modest Proposal."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm rather ambivalent about this new job. Sure, it feels great to have some income after being unemployed for several months, but I'm afraid the rest of my life is suffering because of it.

I haven't written anything creative since August 3rd. More than three weeks have passed and my story sits untouched. Instead, I spend my days trying to sell people TVs and other home theater equipment. It's a little depressing, actually.

Furthermore, I'm driving about 80 miles round-trip to get to said job, making the rest of my day pretty non-existent. By the time I get home, I just want to relax and veg out.

There were so many opportunities for me to work here in Maryville doing something I actually enjoyed, but they just didn't work out. My high school journalism teacher just recently arrived in Kuwait to teach English. Her life right now seems so exotic and new. Mine is all about explaining the difference between plasma, lcd and projection screens.

I guess I'm feeling a little more discouraged than normal today because my department is having a mandatory meeting at 7 a.m. tomorrow. That means I have to get up at 5:30 to get ready and drive down to St. Joseph. I had the day off (except for playing at church), but now I get to wake up early and waste time in a meeting. After the cost of gas, the whole thing will have me earning about $4.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

So I switched to blogspot and then failed to consistently update. Good going, eh? So what's been going on in my life since August 3rd? Quite a bit, actually.

Probably the most exciting news is that I got a job. I'm working at Best Buy in the Home Essentials department. I'm a candidate for management, so they're keeping a close eye on me during my training and first few months here. With any luck, I'll wind up being the customer experience coordinator soon. Turns out my job as yearbook editor gave me a good leg up on the competition because I already have experience supervising employees.

Today was orientation for work and I'm working the rest of the week. It's a little inconvenient to have to drive to St. Joseph everyday for work, but it's better than being unemployed, no?

What else...I've been playing the Suikoden series for the past few weeks. I was feeling a bit nostalgic for the games, so I started with Suikoden I and I'm now on the third game. It's interesting to see how much the series has changed since 1996.

My brother is getting married in November, so I'm going back to Michigan for a weekend to be his best man. He and his fiancée were down in KC for a wedding this past weekend, so they spent Saturday night and Sunday here in Maryville. I hadn't really had a chance to meet Aimee, so I really enjoyed spending time with them. She's a nice girl, and I think they're good together.

I'm afraid I haven't done much writing in the past few weeks. I'm feeling rather uncreative right now. Plus, I was retyping my story (a good way for me to get more ideas) when I came across a statement my main character made that made me angry. He was trying to be profound, but it sucked. I got mad at him and haven't really touched it since. Hopefully he'll learn to avoid making such comments in the future. Actually, I just need to restructure a conversation to remove the necessity for him to be profound, but I'm not feeling up to it right now.

I'll get back on the creative horse soon. Until then, Phoebe (our kitten) will take care of creative expression in this household.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I've been in a writing funk this past week or so. And by writing funk, I mean I haven't written anything. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. I find this very disheartening. I don't know exactly why it happened, and I can't figure out how to get back into my story.

I still feel very strongly about it, and I can't draw myself away, but for some reason I'm frozen. I don't know if it's my pesky self-editor rearing his ugly head and I just don't recognize him or if it's something else. Either way, I'm finding myself in an interesting predicament.

I looked at graduate schools again today, and I'm really glad I bought An Insider's Guide to Creative Writing Programs by Amy Holman. I found a couple more schools that have pretty good programs and offer some unique advantages. Plus, it helps to have a lot of options out there. You see, most programs only accept 10-12 writers every year. So out of the hundreds of people applying, you really have to stick out. Hopefully, I will. However, my top choice (U of Iowa) is also one of the most prestigious writing programs in the nation.

Speaking of sticking out, it will be difficult to stick out if I can't assemble my portfolio. You see, most schools want 2-3 short stories or a section of a novel. I have one short story that hasn't evolved (or is evolving) into a novel, and I have one part of a novel, but not enough to make a good portfolio. I guess I should stop complaining and start writing.

You know, I'm feeling just the slightest bit creative, so maybe I should take advantage of this. Thanks for letting me work it out here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've been desiring a change in blog location for awhile now, and I thought now would be an appropriate time. So here it is, The Boy Named Blue has moved onto blogspot. I'll be customizing this a bit more as I become more comfortable with html formatting.

Well, I didn't get the job at Northwest, so it's back to the great job hunt. Fortunately, I think I have some strong leads this time around. Granted, one of the jobs I applied for is no longer listed, but the other two are pretty secure. One is a job working with pre-press desktop publishing. In other words, one of my favorite parts of working for student publications. It's for a printing press here in Maryville, so I'm hoping they'll want me.

The other job is in St. Joseph at Best Buy. Back in May, I had pretty strong prospects there, but I was unavailable for an interview due to the fact that I was in Michigan. I'm back and they're hiring, so I'm keeping my hopes up. The only difficult part will be choosing between the two jobs (if it comes to that). I guess I'll cross that bridge when it arrives.

My novel has reached somewhat of a standstill as I find myself needing to do a little bit of research before writing any more. You see, I'm traveling through the past lives of the main character, but I need to have a better historical grasp of what he would have encountered. In addition, I'm trying to figure out just how many past lives an individual would have. I'm coping with the issues of gender change, species change and other variables that are throwing me for a loop right now.

In the interest of better understanding reincarnation, I bought a book on the subject. However, I will be returning said book because it's written by the leader of the Eck...something religious movement. Apparently he's the current incarnation of the highest religious being in the order. His arguments for reincarnation are a little too weighted in his particular religious views for me continue reading it. I guess I'm looking for something more philosophically based than religiously based.

I think the evidence for reincarnation is pretty strong, but there are a lot of people who are so ass-backwards in the idea that they're beginning to ruin its appeal. People claiming to be Anne Boleyn or the thief that ratted out Anne Frank and her family...we weren't all famous in our past lives. I'm fairly certain I was quite the fancy shit farmer in medieval times. Granted, I don't want my main character to have the most boring lives, but come on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I'm trying to figure out whether I'm being pessimistic or realistic. I guess I just have to wait and see.

I read three poems this evening that I first read during my poetry writing course. Last year, they struck me as very stirring and provocative poems. Tonight I read them and had little response. I guess that's why it's so difficult being a poet. People's responses change over time. I hope I will be stirred by those poems again someday.

I have this urge to write poetry, but I'm trying to focus on my story. I only call it a novel in my head because it's nowhere close to being of novel proportions. That being said, there's still much to develop in this narrative. I really see it developing into a full-fleged book, but there's a lot of work between then and now.

Well, I don't know when they'll call tomorrow, but I suppose I should get some sleep in case they call in the morning. The wait for the news is almost over...now I just hope it's good news.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Well, tonight I wrote a meager 340 words on my story and then I came to a screeching halt.

The bad thing about writing a story as it comes to you is sometimes you need a jump start on the next scene. I stared at the screen for awhile, consulted my favorite book on novel writing for advice, and then decided to go for a run. I hoped running would give my mind time to think about where it's going next. Well, I put in three miles and came up with practically nothing, just vague ideas.

But it was not all for nothing. While showering after my run, I realized why I have not named my main character. It's funny how we have reasons for doing some things, but we don't always realize what those are until later. I'm less concerned about that now (and thanks to my lovely reader input), since I have a reasonable defense lest anyone challenge that.
Well, I might try writing a little bit, or I might just go to bed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have a job interview at 3 p.m. I'm quite nervous about it. Actively finding a job has been one of my great projects since the beginning of April. This is my first interview that has come up because of said job search. According to my sources, there are two other candidates applying for the job. None of us have all the experience they are looking for, but I feel a little disadvantaged. I know I'd be great for the job, and I put a lot of thought into it before I even applied. Now that it's so close, I really want it.

Naturally, said interview is keeping my mind awake, and so I find myself in front of the computer at 2 a.m. once again. I say once again because apparently my muse thinks I'm in Europe or something and that this time of the day is the best time for me to write. I do have to give it credit, though. It is very quiet here at 2 a.m.

I've been wanting to watch What Dreams May Come the last few nights, but I shouldn't. The score from the movie is in my "Writing" playlist on iTunes, and my story revolves around the afterlife. These two components are very dangerous. I'm afraid if I watched the movie it would taint my story (more than it probably has already).

Despite my desire to see a movie that I shouldn't, logically speaking, watch, I'm very content with the way things are proceeding in my writing. It took me awhile to stretch my creative muscle, but now the words are flying from my fingers (as is obvious if you've seen one of my Xanga comments). I'm suffering from Montezuma's Literary Revenge, and I hope to never recover. That's right, I drank the water of inspiration, and I ate the worm in the tequila of creativity.

Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep. And who knows, maybe my job search will soon end.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, I submitted an application for the advertising manager position. I was on the fence about the position, but I decided that I could do it for a year. In a way, I feel like I haven't moved on from graduating, but I suppose it's better than being unemployed. So now, wish me luck in getting an interview and the job.

What else is up with me? I just finished reading Peter and the Starcatchers, which was pretty good, although more targeted at children. It's one of those books that I would read to my children at bedtime. Lord knows I wouldn't read them my current story. It's far too weird for children.

Speaking of my current story, I'm pretty happy with how it's developing. I went back through what I had started and wrote myself out of the corner I had developed. However, in doing so, I've slightly altered the plotline, and I'm trying to figure out where I'm taking it next. I suppose I should just start writing and not worry too much about plot holes at this point. I need to get the bulk of the story out on paper and then fine tune. It's a difficult step for me because I want everything to be right the first time. Revision, revision, revision...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Your Weekly The_Boy_Named_Blue Horoscopes (Vol. 1, Issue 3)

So I was sitting here this fine evening cooling down after a nice run when I realized that Your regular Friday evening horoscopes have been horribly delayed in publication. This is probably due to the fact that I was watching the cult classic Army of Darkness Friday evening instead of sitting in front of my computer. You have my utmost apologies.

Note: These horoscopes are based solely on scientific fact and should not be interpreted as fiction in any means. Avoid driving heavy machinery while under the influence of these horoscopes as drowsiness may occur.

Cancer (6/22-7/22) Okay, so I've been a little cruel to Cancer these last few weeks, and I guess it's time to make some amends and stop referring to you as Cancer the Tumor. Cancer the Crab it is. But never you fear, they have this special shampoo and comb just for you. This week: Avoid further exposure to dirty hookers.

Leo (7/23-8/22) Leo the Lion-O. I was in Movie Magic this week when I heard the ThunderCats theme song. That is perhaps the worst television show theme song ever created. Jeez, last week I give you crap about being overly effeminate, and these week I find out that you have horrible theme music. You kind of suck. This week: Bring me the head of Snarf.

Virgo (8/23-9/22) I hope you've atoned over the past week for your geriatric fling because you're going to need all the divine intervention you can get. With all the bottle rockets being shot over the Fourth of July holiday, it's fairly certain that at least one will hit the moon, knocking it out of orbit and sending it crashing into your house. With any luck, in the mass confusion following said accident, no one will realize it was your explosive fetish that caused this mess. This week: Lay low for awhile, and maybe find a safe house.

Libra (9/23-10/22) Libra the Liberator. It's your holiday this week, celebrate America's declaration of independence by declaring your own autonomy. You could start making your own toothbrushes out of twigs and cat whiskers or maybe you could be your own grandpa. Whatever you choose, make sure you wear clean underwear. You never know when you'll have to fling them at someone. This week: Seriously, clean your underwear already.

Scorpio (10/23-11/21) Scorpio the Oiprocs. Now, an oiprocs sounds just about as fictional as a capricorn, but I guess you have to work with what you're given. After all, you can't choose your birthday; you're not as talented as those Virgos, are you? Now, I'm not sure you can actually do this, but you might look into changing your birthday. If you can't do it legally, at least tell people it's a different day. Come on, no one likes an oiprocs. This week: Think about what you've done. After all, oiprocs hatred has to be a little bit your fault.

Sagittarius (11/22-12/21) Sagittarius, the most difficult Zodiac name to spell. Is it one "t" and two "r"s or the other way around? I guess you'll have to look here every time you have to answer that question. You know, the folks at the Scripps National Spelling Bee all know how to spell you, but they don't appreciate having to do it. Painful, just painful. This week: Make your own spelling be. Include fake words; that makes it more fun.

Capricorn (12/22-1/19) Capricorn the strange creature. I'm feeling rather uninspired by your sign. Perhaps this is because you too are boring. Now, I'm not one to point fingers because it's easier to just libel someone on the internet, but seriously, you need a life. I mean, I sat around all day watching TV, but you probably did something boring like hanging out with your friends or working. Jeez, that's dull. This week: Seriously, you need a life.

Aquarius (1/20-2/19) Aquarius the Nautical Superstar. Go to Wal-Mart and buy some Grapples. They're apples that taste like grapes. I'm serious. They're real. The reason why you need to eat grapples is because you aren't getting your daily recommended amount of fruit. I know these things, the stars tell me. This week: Seriously, if you don't eat enough fruit, you'll get scurvy.

Pisces (2/20-3/20) Pisces the a lot like Aquarius. Seriously, why did the Zodiac put two aquatic things together? This week: Move your sign further away from Aquarius. You know you're just trying to latch on to the more popular, scurvy-stricken kids.

Aries (3/21-4/19) Aries the Area Rug. This week, you'll probably just lay around letting people walk all over you. This is because you have low self-esteem issues. That's probably because you suck. Yep, gotta love good, old emotional abuse. This week: Gain some confidence; it's no fun knocking someone down if they're already at rock bottom.

Taurus (4/20-5/20) Taurus the Station Wagon. I'm sticking with this identification because I drove a Ford Taurus Station Wagon while I was in high school. What can I say, you were a shoddy yet relatively reliable form of transportation. Even today, I know I can depend on a Taurus to carry me and all my stuff. You just complain a lot more. This week: Seriously, no one likes a whiner. Shut up with the complaints already.

Gemini (5/21-6/21) Gemini the Multipack. You're great for every day, whether it's regular, light or heavy. You're dependable and you're guaranteed not to leak. Seriously, good job. This week: Pull the string.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Your Weekly The_Boy_Named_Blue Horoscopes (Vol. 1, Issue 2)

Okay, in the past week, Sam filled me in on the rest of the Zodiac and the months they correspond to, so I can now issue a complete horoscope listing for your social enjoyment.

*Edit* It has been brought to my attention that I forgot to list Pisces. Any fish may now find their horoscope here as well.

Note: These horoscopes are based solely on scientific fact and should not be interpreted as fiction in any means. Failure to take these seriously may dramatically impact our leprechaun population.

Aries (3/21-4/19) Aries the Ram. .maR eht seirA Your week, much like this horoscope, looks palindromic. Since rams are notorious for small vocabularies, I'll explain. Your week will be the same forwards and backwards. This fact will be devastating to your digestive system, since it's generally ill advised to shit out your mouth. I'm not exactly sure what that has to do with palindromic weeks, but you might want to keep some mints handy. This week: Brush teeth thoroughly, avoid spicy food.

Leo (7/23-8/22) Leo the Lion. Hey, do ever wonder why a lot of cartoon lions seem overly effeminate? It's probably because they're based on you. This week: Trim your mane.

Sagittarius (11/22-12/21) Sagittarius the...uh...Sagger. This week, your pants will fall to dangerous levels. The position of Mars in the third house down the street means that the neighbors are going to need to build an addition. You should probably help in the construction, but avoid any plumbing jobs since we see too much of your crack already. This week: Buy a belt.

Taurus (4/20-5/20) Taurus the Station Wagon. With the high cost of gas, your owners will probably start looking into hybrid vehicles. Now is not the time for you to have any engine trouble. If you do, you might just end up getting sold to a new owner, and they might not treat you as well. You know, it's funny. You kind of sound like a slave, but slavery isn't funny. You really need to have a more tactful sense of humor. This week: Write a paper about human rights and slavery. Make it 12-point font and double spaced.

Virgo (8/23-9/22) Virgo the Virgin. At least that's what you keep telling everyone, but we all know the truth (you dirty harlot). Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if you hadn't lost your virginity at a nursing home. I know, I know. You were looking for a fling without any commitment, and old man Jenkins practically forgot who you were mid-coitus. Mid-coitus and old people...gross. This week: Change your sign, you slut.

Capricorn (12/22-1/19) Capricorn the Unicorn's Distant Cousin. I'm sticking with this one. Capricorn just sounds a little too fake, even for the Zodiac. However, this week I'm convinced you killed off all the unicorns because they were easily identifiable. I mean, if you see a horse with one horn, then you can pretty much be sure it's a unicorn. But if you see a capricorn, you probably won't even realize it because they're fake. This week: Bring me the bodies of five capricorns so I may study their anatomy and provide answers to identity of this mystery beast.

Gemini (5/21-6/21) Gemini the Bipolar Schizophrenic. Okay, someone pointed out that fact that it would be practically impossible to be one-half of a conjoined twin if your sibling was three years older than you. All right, I'll give in to that, but I still say you're retarded. This week we'll address your rapid and drastic mood swings. Maybe they wouldn't be such a big deal if you didn't get all manic and violent while holding babies, but there were just too many accidents last week. We need to get you on some medication. This week: Ease into the medication, and keep hugging old people at the mall.

Libra (9/23-10/22) Libra the Librarian. The question is: do you adhere to the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress filing system. Or do you follow your own system? Some people talk about Libras holding the scales, but you're trying to rebel against the weight-conciousness of American society, aren't you? You know, justice isn't really blind, they just made that sculpture of her while she was playing pin the tail on the donkey. This week: Sculpt a new image of justice. Make sure to eat some paste too.

Aquarius (1/20-2/18) Aquarius the Aquarius-like Creature. Okay, every time I start writing your horoscope, I think of the "Aquarius" song, and how it was really cool in The 40-Year Old Virgin but how you're not really cool at all. I guess it's that contradiction that will come into play this week. I'm going to tell you that you'll have a good week, but since you like to go against the grain, I guess your week will end up sucking. However, now I've given you both forecasts, so I guess you'll just have to wait and see. Let me know how that all turns out. This week: Seriously, can't you think of anything that would make you cool?

Cancer (6/22-7/22) Cancer the Tumor. See last week's horoscope, you booby-loving disease. This week: Continue the remission, and stay away.

Scorpio (10/23-11/21) Scorpio the Scor-pinecone. Okay, I know Scorpio is the Scorpion, but I think it would be really cool to have one of the Zodiac creatures be a pine cone, and I figure Scorpios are just the type for that. I mean, you're already so anthropomorphic. Okay, I meant amorphous, but I wanted to spell anthropomorphic. Look them both up if you don't know what they mean. Pine cones need to learn. This week: Look into colleges. Perhaps a liberal arts major is just what you need to achieve enlightenment. Either that or a match.

Pisces (2/20-3/20) Pisces the Fish. I probably forgot about you in the first round because you're all aquatic like Aquarius. Your week looks like a big challenge because some people will be chasing you with butter and lemon around meal time. Avoid getting hooked and you'll end up floating upside down by natural causes. This week: Avoid drastic changes in pH.
So life is uneventful. I'm not kidding. I've just been sitting around the apartment everyday waiting to hear back on some jobs. Sam and I have settled back in Maryville, but I'm really getting tired of waiting. I just want a job (even a terrible one), but I don't seem to make callbacks. In the grand scheme of things, the most stressful factor in my life is money. The expenses keep piling up, and I keep paying for them, but I'm not having much income. The only job I have is playing the organ at church, and $40/week isn't something to survive on.

I haven't been writing either. I guess I just need a little success in my life before I can convince myself to sit down and work on my stories. I spent awhile at Borders today just breathing. There's something so calming and peaceful about a bookstore. It really helped melt away the stress, and I was even happy for awhile. I was looking at some nonfiction and I remembered that I was really proud of some of the stuff I wrote in that class. I'm really proud of a lot of my work, but I'm insecure about it too. I guess it's a form of stage fright for writers.

Overall, I'm happy with my life. I'm loving married life. I'll feel a lot better about a lot of things when I have a little more financial security. I hate this contempt I have of spending money right now. I don't want to be a scrooge, but I'm worried about piling up debt.

Just needed to vent that little bit. Summer is flying by quickly, and school will begin again all too soon. It will be weird not going to class. I'm not done with school, but I have an extended vacation; extended until I get into a graduate school (application deadlines are looming).
I need to start updating this thing more frequently.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Horoscopes

Instead of writing an actual update now that we're back in the 'Ville, I've decided to tell everyone their June 17 horoscope.

Scorpio - This should be more like a whore-scope because you really need to stop sleeping around. As the moon settles into that one part of the sky, you'll notice a burning sensation when you pee. This is perfectly natural for someone with syphilis. Tonight: Share the wealth.

Aquarius - You smell like fish. It's highly advisable that you take a long shower and avoid laying in the sun. Also, the position of Jupiter in the sky means you'll need a telescope to see it well, and you'll have to figure out exactly where to look. Tonight: Squeeze a lemon over yourself.

Leo - Grrr. Like a tiger (without the stripes). Tonight: Avoid maiming small children and take in a movie.

Sagittarius - When's your birthday again? Isn't it like September or something. It doesn't matter anyway because no one's going to bother mentioning it when it comes around. Tonight: Take more "emo" pics for myspace.

Pisces - You're a lot like Aquarius. Stay away from seagulls. Tonight: Find a dirty pirate hooker to talk to.

Capricorn - Much like a unicorn (expect with a Capr), you are fictional. I don't think you really exist, but if you did, your blood would grant me immortality. How many horns would a capricorn have? Tonight: Figure that out and let me know.

Cancer - You're probably breast cancer because you like boobies. No one likes a lump. Tonight: Shrink and die.

Gemini - If you're this sign, it's not so much that you have a dual personality as you were originally one half of a conjoined twin. Your other half was three years older than you and severely retarded. Your parents split you up and your twin died. Luckily, you were able to keep all your organs and characteristics, including the retardation. Tonight: Hug people at the mall.

Those other signs - I don't remember you because you never call anymore. I'm tired of only being your fair weather friend.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Well, we're back from the Honeymoon and are staying at Sam's parents' house for a few days. So I suppose some sort of update is in order.

Well, the wedding was a blast. My nerves were not too bad on the wedding day (although I did manage to break a tooth the day before because of grinding my jaws in my sleep). My wedding nerves were rather passive, and they didn't get in the way of the day at all. I drove about 1,000 miles around southwest Michigan running various errands the few days before the big day (and on the big day). I don't think I've ever driven so much in such a little time (long road trips to and from school excluded). Due to my great amounts of driving, I didn't get to relax as much as I had wanted, but such is life.

The wedding was great, the wedding party was great, and all in all it was a successful ceremony. I'll post pictures as soon as I get pictures.

Probably the most memorable event of the wedding day was when we stopped at Tyden Park on our way to the reception. We had rented the Holly Trolley to take the wedding party around town, and we wanted some outdoor pictures. Upon arriving, we found the park fairly empty, save for one unkempt woman in a black Cher shirt. As she approached the wedding party, I realized she was a crazy cat lady (not joking). She chased her cat around the park yelling, "Come back here, ya old bastard." Turns out she wasn't just a crazy cat lady, but a drunk crazy cat lady. Luckily, I was able to avoid her for the most part, but Sam and her bridesmaid Shelley had a close encounter with the woman. Great memories.

The reception was awesome as well. We had a blast at the Country Club, and there are lots of pictures for us to post as soon as we get them loaded on the computer. I had a blast hanging out with all of our friends and family, and the people working the reception said they hadn't had that much fun at a reception ever. It was truly awesome.

Blah blah blah, left the reception, went up to Grand Rapids to spend the night in a hotel before leaving for Mexico the next morning. After a rather lengthy flight from Chicago to Puerto Vallarta, we arrived at our all-inclusive resort, Grand Velas. I could describe how truly awesome this place is, and I will soon post pictures of our room and view, but for now you can just stop by grandvelas.com to see pictures of the resort. The honeymoon was a great chance to relax and spend some quality time together. It was just what we needed after the stress of the wedding. I did a good job not getting sunburned until Friday, when I truly got fried by the pool. All in all, it was great. We didn't have to pay for food or alcohol. Sam has a great story to tell everyone about my encounter with a peacock after drinking a whole bottle of White Zinfandel, but I'll let her tell you that tale. I also got drunk on mojitos and tequila later in the week.

At the end of the honeymoon, we were both ready to come back to the U.S. of A. and hang out with our family. The trip back was rather uneventful, save for the fact that Mexico was playing Iran in the World Cup while we were at the airport. Needless to say, a lot of the airport staff was more interested in the game than in helping the travellers.

So now we're back in Michigan, and we're spending a few days here before coming back down to Maryville. I'll do my best to post pictures very soon (and NYC pictures for those of you who are still waiting). Until then, keep on keeping on.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wedding in T-minus very little time...

I haven't updated because I haven't felt inclined to. I've been spending most of my time hanging out with Sam and working on wedding stuff. It's going to be very odd once this is all done. So much time and energy for this one day.

I have the evening free because Sam is having dinner with a friend and I have nothing pressing. I haven't figured out what I'm doing. I kind of want to go somewhere outside of Hastings, but I don't know where to go and what to do. It's that kind of evening. I want to have pressing business because that's what I'm used to. This free time is just too weird.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I have an interesting theory on my writing practices. It just came to mind as I sat down to write this entry, so I'm not at liberty to divulge this information yet. It's been an odd evening. I've spent all day embracing my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and the apartment is really shaping up. I think we need another bookshelf, but three five-shelfers and two three-shelfers already seems excessive. Also the idea of symmetry and matching furniture leads me to want to buy another media storage shelf from Wal-Mart. Luckily, my OCD tendencies also extend to financial matters.


I think I've been depressed this last week. Nothing terrible, but noticeable to me. I didn't get either job I applied for, so I'm still looking for work. I don't think that is the cause of my depression, but it certainly didn't help. If I choose to look at the big picture (a cliche I rather despise and a difficult task) this rejection is good for me. I've found acceptance and praise throughout most of my life. Sure, there have been disappointments and rejections, but none that really affected me deeply. However, I'm entering the writing life, a life that is full of rejection slips and very little feedback on those slips. I have to build up confidence that my writing is worthwhile. I have to build up confidence to withstand rejection. It's a warning that I've heard a few times, but it didn't really sink in until I didn't get these jobs. Granted, neither was a reflection of my writing skills, but they were jobs I knew I could do damn well if given the chance. It's all about getting that chance.


My fiction is suffering right now. There's very little of it, and I don't think most of it is ready for the general public. Even "Flight," the piece I read at my senior reading, is still in need of revision, and it's just a short story. Two novels are floating around inside my head right now.

They're constantly morphing and developing, but neither wants to come out on the page. I hate to force them out, but they're doing very little good as they are now. I have also seemed to misplace the typewritten pages of the piece I wrote last summer. I was in the process of transferring those 20-some pages onto the computer during the fall, but they got misplaced in the shuffle of papers. Maybe they're just hiding for awhile. I'm not sure how good it was anyway, but I feel like I need them.


The view at my new desk is interesting. I have my laptop and then peeking out above the screen is my Royal Typewriter, a wonderful gift from my friend Harry Hamblin (shipping and handling was $20, but it was worth it). I can't tell which writing entity wants me more right now. The typewriter seems very romantic, very Hemingway-esque. For some reason I also seem to identify with Hemingway when talking about writing. I get the sense that he and I thought a lot alike on some issues. Of course, I've only read a couple of his books, but I think we shared a philosophy on the writing life (except for the alcoholism. He was an alcoholic, right?).


I wanted to play the piano about an hour ago, but I didn't have access to a piano. I could get to a keyboard and an electric piano, but I wanted the feel the vibration of the strings in the air. I wanted to play the music that came to my fingers and feel the draw of the chords pulling me into something mysterious. I've always thought about composing, but I don't have the technical skills for that. I play and forget what I've just created. A lot of it is messy, but sometimes I find something very striking. Maybe I'm just distracted.


Well, I'm going to try to write something. I'll probably kick myself at church in the morning, but I'm not in any condition to sleep right now. If you made it this far through my rather aimless pondering, thanks for reading. I don't know if there's any real substance to this post, so I apologize for wasting your time if there's not.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

So I went down to KC Friday afternoon to have my portfolio reviewed. I met with the Editor of the Kansas City Star Magazine, Tim Janicke. He approved of my work and said I passed. One more obstacle out of the way. Graduation is becoming very real.

I had a great time Friday night. I got to hang out with some people I haven't been able to see a lot of lately and had fun "catching up." Truly good times to be had.

I've had a very relaxing weekend. It's nice. I also think I've figured out what I'm reading Thursday evening. I hope everyone likes what I have to read. If not, well okay. I'm fully aware I still have to grow quite a bit before I can claim to be a "good" writer.

Well, this Easter service will be killer if I don't head to bed relatively soon.

Harry - Thanks for the invite. I needed that.

So I went down to KC Friday afternoon to have my portfolio reviewed. I met with the Editor of the Kansas City Star Magazine, Tim Janicke. He approved of my work and said I passed. One more obstacle out of the way. Graduation is becoming very real.


I had a great time Friday night. I got to hang out with some people I haven't been able to see a lot of lately and had fun "catching up." Truly good times to be had.


I've had a very relaxing weekend. It's nice. I also think I've figured out what I'm reading Thursday evening. I hope everyone likes what I have to read. If not, well okay. I'm fully aware I still have to grow quite a bit before I can claim to be a "good" writer.


Well, this Easter service will be killer if I don't head to bed relatively soon.


Harry - Thanks for the invite. I needed that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It occurred to me this evening that I haven't actually written in this thing for awhile. I've updated, but not really written. So I'm going to try to fix that now.


I feel that I've been validated in the last few days. I've received notice that five, yes five, of my poems will be published this summer. "Hands" and "Nightsong" are being printed in Medium Weight Forks. "Judgment," "Goddess Moon," and "Learning" will be published in Thirty One Seventy. Granted my big focus is on fiction, but I also want to be a poet. These acceptances have really reached out and said, "Hey, someone actually likes what you've created." It's nice to have validation.


On a different front, I found a job I am applying for. As many of you know, I will be in Maryville next year, so I've been looking for a "filler" job. However, I came across a listing for an Admissions Representative for Northwest, and I have sent in my application. I don't have the job yet, but I feel that I'd be a good candidate for the job and my close association with many areas of Northwest (a byproduct of my frenzied university life) has given me a greater understanding of this university. I really want this job. This potential job also makes me feel like all of my work hasn't been for nothing. Think good thoughts as I undergo the application process.


I'm getting married in less than two months. It's suddenly very real. I think the moment it really hit me was when the pastor took us into the sanctuary during marriage counseling to give us a rough runthrough of the ceremony. All of the planning up to this point has been somewhat abstract, almost disconnected, to me. However, now things are very real. There's a size 9.5 wedding ring sitting in a box in Hastings, Mich., that will soon find itself as a permament fixture on my hand. I'm excited. I feel this rush that skims just below the surface as I think about it all. It's some kind of natural buzz.


I seem to have made some *peace with religion. I'm longer aversive to it. I'm really questioning some of the belief systems I grew up with, but those are rather denomination-specific. There are certain things I will always believe, and they won't always match up with one specific religion, but I can at least coexist with them now. I just hate it when people get pushy.


As I'm thinking about religion, I'm reminded of my visit to the basement of Wells Hall today.

The basement was rather warm, so the folks at the Missourian had propped open the door. The wind blew down into the offices, circulating the usually dead air. It reminded me of the summer when I would work down there all alone while the air rushed about. The cooling system moves a lot more air than the heater. I kind of miss those days where I had a more idealistic view of myself as an editor and the production of the 2006 yearbook. I'm wiser now, but I suffer from the occasional bout of nostalgia.


Hmm...I wonder how much I've changed this year. I guess I couldn't really figure that out myself. If nothing else, I now have one less internal organ. I hope there's more than that.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's amazing how much that reporting 2 project has been weighing down my life. I spent five hours this afternoon working on the damn thing, but now I'm finally done. I still have a lot of work to catch up on, but I'm going to try to tackle it all without procrastination. It's a bitch.

So I got kind of peeved this evening when I was (in so many words) accused of not being helpful, but then I realized that I wasn't actually being helpful. I think I've been focusing on my own problems too much recently. When my appendicitis came to visit, I started to focus a lot on how I was doing with little to no attention to other people's problems. I'm prone to selfishness, and I guess I need to work on that.

I'm going to work for a little longer and then go to bed.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Today is a banner day.


Today is the first day since my staples were removed that my belly button has not bled into my bandage. I believe this means that the wound has finally closed up and life can return to some degree of normalcy.


Today also marks the day where the shit has begun to fall in on me. All of the work that has piled up during my recovery demands my immediate attention so that I can catch up in my classes.


Today is day one of my two stressful days this week. Tomorrow is day two. Wednesday, although somewhat busy, does not hold as much stress.
It might turn out to be an okay week.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I always wondered how doctors remove staples from your body. It's a lot like pulling staples out of paper. Granted, the prongs of the staples aren't folded in as far when dealing with human skin, but they still just reach in there, squeeze and the action plucks the staples from your skin. The pain is a lot like pulling hairs. It's a sharp sting that lingers after the staple is gone. The doctor started with the lowest surgical wound first, quickly plucking four staples as I thought, This isn't all that bad. I bit my lip in an effort to hold back the verbal expression of pain. He quickly switched to the two staples that were right above my beltline. Snip snip. Two more metal clasps freed from my dermis. Then he began to dig. The scab and clotted blood held the four staples in my belly button tighter than the other six, and he had to dig into my scab to release the other four. Three deliberate snips, more digging and a final snip freed my skin of its surgical bindings. "See me in two weeks," he said, turning to place the instrument on the counter. "That's it." I pulled my clothing back over my wounds and stood up. The whole process only took a few minutes, but the sound of the staple remover stayed with me while I walked to the car.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Well, I'm alive and kicking. I went under the knife Thursday evening, and I've been resting up at Samantha's apartment since then. This morning I was able to tie my own shoes. I'm still pretty limited in terms of mobility, but I'm all right. I feel really bad about missing out on Tower deadline, but I couldn't hold off on the surgery.


My appendix was wrapped around my liver and right against my kidney. If it had ruptured the infection would have spread right into those vital organs. In other words, I would have been extremely sick or could have died. Instead I just have three small incisions in my abdomen that make it somewhat difficult to move.


In other news, my yearbook staff kicks major ass. They've really done a great job while I've been laid up. I'm really proud of them. I know deadline can suck ass, but they've proven themselves this time.


Well, more to come later.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Once upon a time I had an appendix. That time is no more.

I have picture for those who are obsessed with the disgusting.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"No man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions." - H.W. Beecher

My life seems to be moving at light speed. However, I can't seem to catch up. I haven't even broken the sound barrier. Fourth (and pretty much final) deadline is one week away. We have a lot of work before we reach that day, but I think we'll be okay for the most part. Now if the server would actually work...I have a couple creative writing deadlines before I get to yearbook deadline, so let's see how that all goes. I just want to avoid the big "D" word after this is all over.

It used to be a rush. Now it's just too stressful.I haven't been keeping up with the xanga mainly because I haven't been keeping up with anything. I've started reading all the time when I'm not working, so that's pretty nice. I finished three books last week (one was for a class). I'm halfway through another one. This is a good thing because there is a giant stack of books I haven't read on my bookshelf. However, reading is preferable to working, so that is a bad thing.Well, I need to get to work. More later.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Oh Monday, you would.
So I took a shower just a bit ago and I was about to update when I realized that I never actually rinsed the conditioner out of my hair. I think I'm getting senile (at 21 nonetheless).

My Monday was adequate. I can never bring myself to get out of bed when I don't have class in the morning, and I think that needs to change. As I talked about in one of my earlier posts, I've been battling some major fatigue. I think I've figured out why, but I'll just keep that to myself.

I went running tonight. I realized that if I want to be in shape for my wedding photos, I should probably start on that now rather than closer to the big date. I need to push myself to stay active, but I have confidence in myself. Maybe it will help with the fatigue too. It's kind of counterintuitive that exercising leads to more energy, but it's true.

In other news, yearbook deadline four is 13 days away. After that, only proofs for that deadline and four pages (basketball) are left. Those should be done 1 1/2 weeks into March. Then my official duties as yearbook editor-in-chief become pretty slim. I'm really looking forward to that.

I must say that I love it when the choir sings are church, but I'm looking forward to being the only person there at 10 a.m. this week. You guys are seriously cutting into my practice time on other Sundays. Oh well. I'd rather have you than not.

Deadlines for Medium Weight Forks, Celebration of Quality and Thirty One Seventy are rapidly approaching, and I haven't had time to work on any submissions (except for Celebration, those were pretty much finished in Nov.). I need to get started on those. Now, if only Writing & Publishing would stop demanding so much of my time. I guess that's what I get for taking a 500-level course.

Well, I need to get some homework and reading done, so I'll talk more later.

*EDIT* I spent some time this evening working on submissions for creative writing. However, I would like some second or third opinions on the quality of my work. Please let me know if you'd be willing to read through some of my stuff and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 10, 2006

FOUR JOBS I HAVE HAD
1. Walmart Pets & Live Fish the primary purpose of this job was scooping and counting dead fish, cleaning aquariums and selling those few surviving fish. I've seen our aquatic friends in all states of decomposition thanks to this job, and in the end, I quit because they stopped scheduling me to do this.
2. Church Choir Accompanist in high school, pulling in 80 bucks for three hours of work per week was nice, very nice. However, it did ensure that I went to church every Sunday, a habit that I've continued because I still work at a church.
3. Insurance processor in a cubicle, for two summers and one winter break. Very straightforward job: take application, enter application, check application, submit. Very boring job. I've spent my birthday in a cubicle. I feel like an adult.
4. Centennial Research Assistant Ask me anything about Northwest history. I can either tell you the answer or tell you where you need to look. I've read every issue of the Missourian from 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 along with the two history books and almost every yearbook. I am a wellspring of useless data.

FOUR MOVIES I CAN WATCH OVER AND OVER
1. Frida - The unibrow just doesn't get to me. I think it bothered me for the first couple minutes but then I became enthralled in the story. Great piece.
2. Spirited Away - I loves me my subtitles.
3. Amelie - "How many people are having an orgasm right now?" "Fifteen."
4. dead tie between Dead Poets Society and What Dreams May Come - don't you just love puns?

FOUR PLACES I HAVE LIVED
1. Independence, Missouri Ages 1-4.
2. Buckner, Missouri Ages 4-16.
3. Hastings, Michigan Ages 16-19 The land that time forgot.
4. Maryville, Missouri Because I loves me my small towns.

FOUR TV SHOWS I LOVE
1. Futurama - funny, underappreciated show.
2. Family Guy - Why not?.
3. The Daily Show - America needs its fake news.
4. Iron Chef - Chuck Norris is Iron Chef Roundhouse Kick.

FOUR PLACES I HAVE VACATIONED
1. Sanibel Island, Florida - Nice!
2. Deerlodge, Montana - there's a drive-in restaurant right next to a prison. gotta love my dad's hometown.
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico - I love the desert landscape and summer flash floods.
4. Estes Park, Colorado - I've been there several times in my life. I think it belongs to a part of my past that's long gone. I haven't been in about 10 years. I'm so much different now, I'm not sure I can go back.

FOUR OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO EAT
1. Jambalaya
2. Paninis
3. Gyros
4. Children


FOUR SITES I VISIT DAILY
1. You Know How You Do
2. Be The Boy
3. Toothpaste For Dinner
4. The Superficial

Monday, February 06, 2006

So tired...
I'm battling some major fatigue. Part of me thinks it's just stress; the other part thinks it's something a little more serious. I should probably go to the doctor to get checked out, but I'm hestitant.

In other news, homework sucks. That is all.

Dear Professors,
Can we finish February before you start assigning any more homework/papers/projects? They are really eating away too much of my time right now. Thanks.
Sincerely,
Brent

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Not quite as tired

Well, I've been getting a little bit more sleep recently, and I've tried to avoid too much stress. I was in a horrible mood yesterday. I just walked around in a cloud of rage. I can get pretty cranky when I'm tired. Now I'm just trying to deal with my constant headache and attempting to do some work.

I've been looking for jobs this afternoon, and I found one in North Kansas City that looks pretty promising. I'm not sure about the commute, but I'll think about it. It's a job working as a proofreader for a yearbook company. However, I won't be on the side where I'm trying to make deadline; I'll be on the side where I'm waiting for people to make deadline. I know tons of stuff about yearbooks, so it should be pretty easy to get the job.

Graduate school seems very far off, especially because I have practically nothing for my portfolio. It doesn't help that I'm in two writing classes that keep having me write non-fiction pieces. My fiction work is just sitting in the background waiting for me to tackle them again. I'm really tempted to try the poetry program at Iowa because I can write and revise poetry a lot easier, but I really want to be a fiction writer. I shouldn't take the easy way out. I hope I can get into grad school soon, but it could take me awhile.

I don't know if Phi Mu Alpha actually ended up having Man of Music practice this evening at six. I heard it was a possibility, but I didn't hear for sure. With this headache, I'm not sure I could stand to sing anyway. If there was practice after football, I apologize for missing it.

This evening should consist of homework, but I also need to pick up some new khakis. I'm thinking that a trip to St. Joseph is in order because JC Penney doesn't have any khakis that I want. I still haven't decided if I'm actually going down to St. Joe, but I might.

I think the spring semester is always bad for me because stress has a cumulative effect. I can handle the stress during the fall, but it just keeps piling up in the spring. That's when I start to get the constant headaches and the back problems and the fatigue. I want a vacation now. Can't we all take a month off of school and just take things easy?

I'm just kind of rambling, so I think I'll let this post go for now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Well, I now know why my cat is going bald: feline psychogenic alopecia obsessive compulsive disorder. My cat is OCD and is licking off all of the fur on its stomach. Figures, my cat is the crazy one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I need an honest answer, loyal Xanga readers. Twice in the past week people have asked me about my age. When I told them my answer, the said, "Oh." Apparently some people think I look 25. However, I would like to know about you. How old do you think I look? Older than I am? Younger? The age I am? Just curious.

Yearbook deadline is very soon, my cat is going bald, I haven't written a good story in awhile, and I'm extremely tired all the time.

Despite all of this, I have a pretty good attitude right now. Off to bed.
*EDIT* Not that 25-year-old people look old. I'm just a few years away still.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My roommates and I have some differing beliefs. For example, I believe in evolution; they mock it. For that reason, I stay out of their religious conversations. Normally, this isn't a problem, but they've started talking about religion a lot more often. Therefore, I avoid these conversations. I'm just trying to keep my rooming situation as comfortable as possible for the semester. I had to get that off my chest.

Anyway, yearbook deadline is in 7 days. I'm worried, but not too worried. I just wish everyone would put in the same amount of effort. I'm tired of slackers on my staff. Just five weeks to go...

That's become my mantra: Just five weeks to go. It keeps me going. I'm ready to be done with yearbook production. I don't mind teaching practicum, but I'm tired of trying to manage this staff. I think I understand how Kara felt last year. It's not so much the work as trying to get people to do their work.

Well, it's homework time.

Five more weeks.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I need more bookshelf space. I'm about three shelves over capacity. I suppose the alternative would be for me to slim down my collection, but that's just foolishness. Maybe I can just get rid of my bed and put more bookshelves in my room.So, here's my tentative schedule for March:
March 16-18 - College Media Advisers national convention, New York, New York
March 19-26 - Spring Break/Wedding Planning, Hastings, Michigan
March 29-April 2 - Sigma Tau Delta annual convention, Portland, Oregon.


That's a lot of travel. I have to admit, it would have been cooler to go to the Sigma Tau Delta conference last year--it was in Daytona Beach.


"Um...that's all I've got...um...God's good, but you know that already." - Anon.


"Just in case you get bored, we're having a conversation about God right now." - Anon.


"Of the colors, blue and green have the greatest emotional range. Sad reds and melancholy yellows are difficult to turn up. Among the ancient elements, blue occurs everywhere: in ice and water, in the flame as purely as in the flower, overhead and inside caves, covering fruit and oozing out of clay. Although green enlivens the earth and mixes in the ocean, and we find it, copperish, in fire; green air, green skies, are rare."
From William Gass, On Being Blue (p. 75)

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Imagine a Carthage sown with salt, and all the sowers gone, and the seeds lain however long in the earth, till there rose finally in vegetable profusion leaves and trees of rime and brine. What flowering would there be in such a garden? Light would force each salt calyx to open in prisms, and to fruit heavily with bright globes of water--peaches and grapes are little more than that, and where the world was salt there would be greater need of slaking. For need can blossom into all the compensations it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lackit? And here again is a foreshadowings--the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one's hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again. Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries."

Absolutely beautiful, from Marilynne Robinson's "Housekeeping"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

So, in all the flurry and hurry of resuming classes, I forgot to tell everyone in Xangaland about the most awkward Christmas present ever.

For those of you who don't know, I'm getting married this June, so Samantha and I get a lot of wedding-related presents at Christmas. So, we went over to my parents' house in the afternoon on Christmas to exchange presents with immediate family before my grandparents came up. As we're going around opening presents, it comes time for Samantha and I to open up a gift to both of us (it's not uncommon).

So we set the gift, which was small and book-shaped, between us and each grab a side to tear. The first word we see on the present: "sex." We both turned more and more red as we opened the present. Turns out, it is a Christian sex book called "Sheet Music." I'm shocked.

Here's the kicker:

My dad leans in and says, "Karen (that's my step-mom) and I have both read this, and we highly recommend it."

Yes, my parents gave us a sex book.

For those of you wondering what a "Christian sex book" is, it's a book all about sex, but it also supplies Bible passages to let you know what's okay to do.

And yes, the author does refer to his penis as "Mr. Happy."

*shudder*
So, in all the flurry and hurry of resuming classes, I forgot to tell everyone in Xangaland about the most awkward Christmas present ever.

For those of you who don't know, I'm getting married this June, so Samantha and I get a lot of wedding-related presents at Christmas. So, we went over to my parents' house in the afternoon on Christmas to exchange presents with immediate family before my grandparents came up. As we're going around opening presents, it comes time for Samantha and I to open up a gift to both of us (it's not uncommon).

So we set the gift, which was small and book-shaped, between us and each grab a side to tear. The first word we see on the present: "sex." We both turned more and more red as we opened the present. Turns out, it is a Christian sex book called "Sheet Music." I'm shocked.

Here's the kicker:

My dad leans in and says, "Karen (that's my step-mom) and I have both read this, and we highly recommend it."

Yes, my parents gave us a sex book.

For those of you wondering what a "Christian sex book" is, it's a book all about sex, but it also supplies Bible passages to let you know what's okay to do.

And yes, the author does refer to his penis as "Mr. Happy."

*shudder*

Monday, January 09, 2006

I got an email during break to the effect of inviting me to play the piano as background music at a forthcoming event. I replied to accept the offer, and the inviter said I wasn't needed and they had sent several emails out to different people. I wouldn't normally care so much, but it wasn't just a job posting. When someone writes you to ask for a favor, you expect to be the only person they want for the job. I'm a little disappointed. Plus, the person spelled my name wrong. I'm Brent, not Brett.


*EDIT* I even gave them a discount price because I was feeling nice.


I already have a crapload of work to do (yearbook proofs are in), but I can't bring myself to do anything else. Tomorrow is busy, so I have to do it now. Maybe I can resolve to not procrastinate as much this semester. I won't try to do away with procrastination completely, but maybe I can trim off some unnecessary procrastination.

I've been thinking a lot about new year's resolutions. I myself am not a resolutionist (I think I made that word up). I've never made a new year's resolution, and I'm not sure I will. However, I've been thinking about what my resolution for this year would be. Everything I've considered I've already broken, so I guess it's for the best I didn't try to convince myself that I would stick to it.

I get the feeling I should have been doing more work during break, but I just couldn't bring myself to do anything. I'd sit down to write, but something wouldn't click. I guess I had writer's apathy. I need to return to my writing routine. Maybe classes will help restructure things.
I haven't started yet today, but we'll see how senior sem. goes. It seems kind of pointless from the outside observation.