Nov 27, 2004

Fashionably Arcy.

Thanksgiving is over. *Commence agonizingly repetitive traditional Christmas songs heard year after year after year* The sweet sound of seasonal advertising. Ho ho hopeless resistance!

I have recently come to realize what comparatively dismal times these are for my generation. My grandparents grew up in the roaring 20's, my parents were in the prime of their youth in the 60's hippie revolution, and I was raised in the glam 80's and Nintendo 90's. But what kind of social or cultural revolution is there these days for kids to associate with? Fairly much nothing, it seems. American pop culture may as well be at an all time low. Early 90's pop music was incredibly cheesy, but somehow managed to be cheesy in a good way. "Ice Ice Baby" was such a bad song it somehow managed to be great, and I could write a novel about how much good music came out of the 80's. American pop music in the 00's is not only cheesy, it's also unoriginal, uninspired, and downright depressing in its manufactured blandness. Take a look at all the great movies that came out the first four years of the 90's, and compare them to the sort of movies that have been released in the last four years. Beyond terribly overrated blockbuster franchises like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, I have not seen all that much worth being excited about. The exact same goes for video games. The early 90's represented the absolute golden age of gaming for myself. Now, we have ultra-realistic war-simulating nonsense like Halo 2 and innumerable auto racing games with omg awesome grafix. Video games in general certainly used to have a lot more personality than they do now, and I am grieving over the drastic negative turn it had to take. I take all these factors into account when I try to understand why so much of today's youth is either depressed or on Paxil. We live in a time where there really isn't much exciting going on, aside from an utterly unnecessary and senseless war over in a desert far far away, which really isn't terribly exciting anymore if only due to repetition. These seem like such stagnant times, and it's no wonder why so many kids seem to be struggling with their purpose in life. The entire world as we know it has already been completely mapped out and explored. There is no frontier left. There is no true wildlife or wilderness. No longer can anyone place any reasonable amount of hope in being an explorer and someday discovering brand new islands or continents that no satellite has ever photographed or no human has ever set foot upon. It seems like nearly everything has already been done by previous generations, and there isn't that much left to do. This is actually a central theme in Pump Up the Volume, one of the very decent films to come out of the 90's. Watching it made me extremely grateful I never had to grow up in a generic American suburb, where nearly every house on a street looks identical, and every street arranged into a large, tidy geometric grid is virtually undiscernable apart from the street signs. ...Where global fast food chains and giant corporate retail outfits reside on every other block and the cultural mosaic is about as drab as a plain white linoleum floor. I suppose I am very fortunate in that regard... that I have always had the opportunity right outside my door to escape into mother nature and leave the overwhelming dullness of contemporary American society behind for awhile.

I find nothing that society and "reality" has to offer nearly as exciting as the sense of surrealism that overcomes me when I journey out into the night beneath a full moon and spend hours weaving and wallowing in the reality my imagination creates for myself. That is what I find truly worth living for. Surrealism and the extensive use of imagination seems to be appreciated by so few these days... but if I didn't have an incredible capacity for it, I would find life quite dismal... and I now understand exactly why. The best things in life seem to be the simplest. The harmonious music that plays on in my mind as I explore the night, the lovely feeling of slowly drifting off to sleep in an exhausted state while listening to the rain outside, the intensity of an orgasm. If we did not have the capacity to achieve such pleasure, what would be the point of going through all the motions? There's really no reason to deny it to ourselves. Beyond all the unnecessarily complex details, like my worry of getting my big paper finished by next week, the things most worth living for are the simplest things. The real reason I feel beauty all around me is because beauty has saturated my heart, and it pumps through my veins. I am simply glad I know what I am living for during a time of such... decadence.

My mother finally lost her waitressing job. The owner has been speaking of shutting down the restaurant for years, and he finally made up his mind, apparently. I guess she'll have to find a similar job closer to home, and with her qualifications, it shouldn't be too hard to find one that produces nice tips. It's not the end of the world, mom.

yeah, i'm lookin' at YOU!

Nov 20, 2004

You forget there's 24 letters in between...

I consumed a little too much Kona coffee liqueor tonight. Well, not quite enough to impair my ability to ride a bike. The way I see it, riding something and driving something are two entirely different species of marmot. I would not have dared commandeer a gigantic mass of steel and glass, but a relatively compact mechanical stealth machine? Certainly. I longed for the outdoors, and that's exactly where I found myself five minutes later, wearing but a pair of shorts (and a belt!) in the nippy sixty-seven degree November weather. ...Took the ten minute ride through Waikii, past the old candy store and Lincoln Park, to the ethereal Alae Cemetery. Traipsed about the headstones for awhile, doing cartwheels at one point or another on the soft grass, and listening to the occasional bat utter its beautiful resonant note. Rode back all the way to the other side of town, past the well-lit industrial facilities of the harbour, and found to my delight no one congregated near the head of the breakwater at the end of the gravel road. Leaned my bike up against a tree and began hopping one large, flat boulder after another out to sea. I reached a lengthy section which was a narrow grid of smooth concrete, but that soon dissipated into more boulder-hopping, again. Left the noxiously bright lights of the harbour and the constant humming of its industry behind me as I ventured as far out as I cared to. Stubbed my toe very hard as I miscalculated a jump to an adjacent boulder. Took my time returning home, and realized when I examined my feet under the light that they were a bloody mess. Attained a few nasty scratches on my left shin, too. Cleaned it all up for the most part, and now... it's 4:00 in the morning, and I feel like I lost a good two hours somewhere along the way. It's so easy to lose track of time when you're utterly caught up in breathtaking surrealism and sense of danger.

I'll have to do quite a bit of studying over the weekend... I have two exams and a fifteen minute group presentation on Monday, all within a time span of three hours. There isn't much more to the week after that, though I suppose I should start gathering my sources for that 10-page geomorphology paper on tsunami sedimentology that's due on the 6th. Someone called in a bomb threat today, and the EKH building was conveniently evacuated right at the beginning of my last class. The instructor chose to resume it outdoors, but I escaped prematurely with my project group to the library. Compiled all the digital photos we took into a Powerpoint presentation, only to discover we had no way to save it onto disc. An hour later, we found ourselves in the GIS lab (in the building that had previously been threatened, probably by a student who had a test slated for 2:00 and forgot to study), which supposedly had CD-RW drives that worked. They didn't work. 45 minutes of specialized Derrick Hindery assistance, and we finally managed to get it on CD using his notebook. What a lovely way to whittle away an overcast Friday afternoon. Technology disgusts me sometimes.

The word "blog" really annoys me. Then again, so does the word "pudding."

And now, I fancy a play of Donkey Kong Country. Retarded as all the Kongs are, the game is still beautiful, and very nostalgia-inducing for me. Snow Barrel Blast... ahhh!

Nov 19, 2004

Room 5 in the math building smells weird. Like a wilting beard. If only online dating sites could find me a match I could light. I just realized that I am a poet who had no idea that he was one. Yeah, well you can tell Shelley her discombobulated onion is due by the fifth spongecake.

Don't mind me; pre-THanksgiving stress. It'll be worse just before winter break.

Nov 15, 2004


As I lay upon my bed near the window, facing the high ceiling drenched in murky shadows, listening in between songs that flow with mellifluous sentimental resonance to the rain sheet down in almost deafening fashion as it has done for hours, hearing the monstrous surf pound against the shore, feeling the cool breeze of the outdoors caress my body, becoming lost in my spectacular art collections and captivating imagination, taking the occasional sip of a delicious ice cold green tea as I feel sleep slowly overtaking me with the promise and possibility of hours of blissful dreaming ahead of me, I also take a moment to recognise one thing:

This is why I am alive.

Nov 14, 2004

Water, water, water...

I just realized that "Electric Circus" by Blank & Jones is really "Aquarius" by Boards of Canada. The sort of names I could come up with songs if I wanted to give various songs random names just to confuse others.

So we're being pummeled by rain again tonight. The day started off hot, dry, and hazy--pretty dismal weather for a duck at heart. In the course of what seemed like an hour, though, a dense layer of dark, magnificent clouds moved in seemingly out of nowhere. Drizzling occured for a good fifteen minutes, then it started coming down like it had something to prove. It hasn't stopped since, either. I rode down to the breakwall tonight, not expecting anyone to be down near its head, and there wasn't. The fact that the wind is heavy enough to nearly knock a light human being off its feet and the rain is driving sideways would keep most people indoors. I contemplated walking out along the breakwall this evening, as it leads clear out to sea for a good two and one half kilometres, and the sense of isolation I would achieve out there would certainly be a wonderful thing. I hesitated when I noticed high waves sending heavy doses of sea spray clear across the wall and into the other side. Many would consider me crazy if they had any knowledge of the sorts of risks I take outdoors, simply for the exhilaration of being, but I'm not stupid. I sensed a little too much danger for my own comfort. Certainly, it would have been a great joy to walk out along that wall in the rain, with my bare feet landing upon wet rock after wet rock, immersing myself in barely comprehendible surrealism, but I thought better of it. If I had no one to live for but myself, I would have gone for it, but I realised that when it comes to keeping reasonably safe for the sake of important others, it simply wasn't worth it.

I am rather tired. I have had a week to do my math take-home exam, and haven't started on it yet. I've been meaning to look up sources for my geomorphology literature review, and haven't gotten around to that. And my political geography photo essay? Pfft, right. I feel somewhat insecure about slacking so much, but then I must remind myself that I have always worked best under pressure. One way or another, everything is going to get done. It always does. I'm just glad I have nothing due tomorrow.

Oh, I weathered a dull hot, sunny day yesterday by wandering up the river a ways, and finding an excellent spot to frolic for hours. The river bed surface is slippery beyond comprehension, and that combined with nice, long, smooth rocky surfaces makes for great natural water slides. That was great fun.

...But! I almost slipped and fell inside this little cauldron:

Later, I voluntarily jumped in, because it was more fun than a jacuzzi full of jackals.

Wandering a little farther up the river, I encountered a small electrical substation on the bank, which was entirely vacant, so I decided to go exploring. A small stream tributary brought me to a large building, beneath which a rapid jet of water shot out of:

And whatever machine up there behind it was noisy. So very noisy. I could only imagine it to be some enormous fan blade... one of many evil industrial mechanisms of doom in a building full of death traps. I wanted to push somebody in just so I could see that whitewater turn a lovely scarlet red. How surreal it all would have looked in the full moonlight... I might just go back there that particular time of the month. I'm always seeking to expand my already wide range of exotic locales to escape to when the time is right.

And good Anubis, people, don't throw your car batteries in the river. It makes Arcy sad.

Nov 13, 2004

Exclusive never-before-seen footage!

Old, but still golden.

Am I a REAL chocolate endeavor?

Morals. How could I possibly conduct my life as a decent, upstanding human being without them? How would I get through life had I not a specific set of behavioral guidelines laid out before me that dictates what I should or should not do, think, or feel? Good golly, I might actually choose to rely on my own judgment and occasionally listen to my instinct instead, and that could very well be dangerous. It's wonderful that so many people are kept in line out of their fear of God and the unknown, inspired and perpetuated by their mentors, the church, the bible, and the unsubstantiated moralistic hogwash regularly disseminated throughout society for purposes of securing control over people when their minds are still young enough to be imressionable to believe just about anything. But what about creatures like me who are atheists to the extreme, and can only logically deduce that man created God in their own image as opposed to vice versa? That God was created just to keep people fearful and in line (sounds a lot like the Bush administration, actually) and to make humanity feel superior to every other species on the planet? (It's always needed that resassurance, I'm sure.) Who sincerely feel that morals should not be imposed on everyone, because what might work for one individual hardly works for another? Jehova's witnesses, huh. I can respect their continuous efforts to go around spreading the word of God (which is really the word of humanity, arrogantly glorified to supposedly originate from some higher power). Actually, I really can't. I prefer a fine coat of fur to a fluffy coat of wool, thank you, so go ask someone else to be your Shepherd's sheep, ma'am. An ideal, perfectly functioning society is one in which we can all subscribe to a unified code of behavior. Well, I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen, because everyone's different, and for that sole reason, we will never be as efficient and productive as mechanized droids. Last I checked into my own archive of philosophical conclusions, contributing to human society was hardly the meaning of my existence, anyway. There is no point to anyone attempting to force their morals upon me. If they're simply sharing their moral-based opinion with me, and they respect my personal spiritual beliefs, then I can respect theirs. But when someone insists I'm "sick" or "immoral" for feeling a certain way or doing a certain thing, and that I need to change myself, I have no reason to respect them at all. I go by my very own belief system, and there is no reason it should be any more right or wrong than theirs when it comes to myself. You can pray for my terribly immoral self all you want, and I'll be sure to prey for you, too.

I experienced another school dream a couple nights ago. The setting was another imaginary school somewhere, and an overwhelmingly large one at that. It reminds me of Wilcox, the largest elementary school in the most urbanized area on Kaua'i, where I lasted only a month because for some oddball reason, I had difficulty adjusting to a school of several thousand just after completing first grade in a school of one hundred fifty. Bridgeport elementary, Dallas, Oregon--a true rural school in a rural town, to Wilcox Elementary, an urban school where my race was actually the minority. Amazing how my parents had to work their way up once they moved here, from an apartment building on Nawiliwili harbor to a duplex in a Filipino neighborhood where illegal cock fights were scheduled bi-weekly to a series of rented houses in increasingly liveable areas until finally a purchased house. Kekaha elementary was a -much- better place to complete second grade, I found, despite the daily doses of racism I encountered. Third grade, too. Oregon was pretty, but we couldn't live half a block away from a twelve-kilometre long beach or the wettest place on Earth almost in sight there. Peculiar how we opted to move to the island of Hawaii a mere month before Hurricane Iniki made landfall on September 11th, 1991, wiping out most of our former hometown, and washing out to sea much of the school I previously attended and scorned. As I watched the television footage from our neighbor island, which received maybe a little rain out of the storm, I was crushed to see so many of our favourite beaches permanently obliterated by the inland flooding run-off and large swells.

At the time, I was attending Kahakai elementary, what I preferred to refer to as "the concrete asylum," as it was easily one of the most hideous, prison-like schools I ever had the misfortune of having to frequent. Nothing but dismal grey concrete everywhere; no artistic expression, no aesthetics in the building design or outdoor scape, nothing. And some of the teachers, they seemed like ticking time-bombs, and seemed as if they would be more at home in, well, an asylum. We were living far out in Coffeeland, only about a three hours drive from Mountain View, up a driveway so steep our poor little Toyota Tercel couldn't make it up without stalling, so we had to park it on the flat area below. Of course, we couldn't leave valuables in it, because squatters up there had a way with picking locks of any sort. We lived on a water catchment tank, and in times of droughts, flushing the toilet wasn't a practical idea in some cases. We were told that if it was number 2, yes, you always flush the toilet. Regular old number 1, though, and the next bathroom patron can deal with it. Our country home was little more than an old coffee shack, but we had a commanding view of the ocean, and no neighbors! We were true tropical hillbillies back then, yup, we were. Eventually, we packed up and moved to a lovely subdivision in Kamuela, a mountain town that seemed perfectly situated for optimum drizzle weather and spectacular fog effects. It never got quite cold enough to snow there, but the house in which we dwelled was the only Hawaiian structure I'd ever visited that actually contained a fireplace. The house contained all sorts of bizarre idiosyncracies, come to think of it, including the eerie blue overhead light in the hallway and the various hollows and cubbies in the walls.

The next school I transferred to, I actually stayed with until I graduated! We moved into another house, this one an old sugar mill homestead, no doubt once occupied by a dozen foreign laborers. A crazy lady who looked and behaved like a ghost (which is fortunate, because we didn't have to see much of her) lived in the small cottage in the backyard. A gargantuan lichee tree dominated the portion of the backyard behind the driveway, bearing succulent grape-like fruit once a year and supporting an expansive wooden treehouse. I remember spending entire afternoons up there, having Calvin & Hobbesesque adventures with my imagination. Ah, and there was the small screenhouse tucked every farther back, inside which myriad exotic plants thrived. I lost myself in there many times. I lived a ten minute walk away from the intermediate school campus, and by the time I was ready for the more distant high school campus, we moved again, this time purchasing a home farther up in the hills--the home I go back to visit every few weeks or so. I could end up inheriting the house someday, should the house and my parents' pocketbooks stand the test of time against Hawaii's physical elements and financial challenges.

Considering all the different schools I've had to attend throughout my life due to my family's consistent moving, it's no mystery to me why I would have so many school dreams later on. Adapting to new schools was never an easy process, and such dreams of mine tend to remind me of that. It was my first day of class, as usual, and I couldn't seem to locate any of my classes. I reckoned I would have to visit the office first to obtain some sort of schedule, but I had to wander the entire campus over before I could find the office. Meanwhile, I was panicking because I was missing my first class. Hey, at least I wasn't naked this time! Somehow, I found my second class, which took place in a small courtyard where each of the students were sitting in raggedy armchairs, facing an instructor lecturing on how to be extreme pineapple membranes. I knew not what that meant then, nor do I know what it means now. He was quite a character, too, for he was not lecturing behind the desk, but rather on top of it. And the "desk" was really an Italian leather sofa. At least, I presumed it was Italian, for "Italian leather sofa" just sounds better than, say, "Rwandan leather sofa." And he asked me, as soon as I walked in, "John, tell us, are you a REAL chocolate endeavor, and why?" As soon as he popped this question, I flicked a brown piece of dog kibble out onto the grass. You know, the kind that's O-shaped, something that would look quite appetizing as a breakfast cereal. "Very good, John," was his response. "You are one expectorating hydrant of praying kidney juicers!" Joyjoyjoy. Flash forward to my next class, which took place in a dull regular classroom with a dull regular teacher whose forearm bore a tattoo which read "SUB." He gave us a quiz, on the FIRST DAY, which read "SINLAB." I always have wanted to take SINLAB 100 before, but never had the chance. Maybe I should have taken the SINLAB quiz while listening to SKINLAB. I was stumped on all the questions, including the last one which asked, "which are the five frustratingly mutilated brownies of morning dew?" Even though my name was supposedly John, I still couldn't possibly fudge a proper answer, so I just drew up a flawless isometric sketch of the New Jersey turnpike.

I woke up soon thereafter, still rather tired. Such intense dreaming over such a prolonged period of time requires plenty of energy. I get a better night's sleep if I don't dream as heavily than if I do, and as far as I know, there's no way to predict or control how lightly or heavily I will dream. At any rate, it's no fun having to get up and go to class when, in your mind, you feel as if you've already spent a full day in class.

Nov 11, 2004

The more I know

Though devoid of the myriad of hideous buggies found in other parts of the world, there are a few evil critters, brought here from elsewhere, that you should know about. The worst are centipedes. They can get to be six or more inches long and are aggressive predators. They shouldn't be messed with. If you get stung, even by a baby, the pain can range from a bad bee sting to a bad gunshot wound. Some local doctors say the only cure is to stay drunk for three days. Others say to use meat tenderizer. ... Cane spiders are big, dark, and look horrifying, but they're not poisonous. (But they seem think they are. I've had them chase me across the room when I had the broom in my hand.) ... Regarding cockroaches, three's good news and bad news. The bad news is that here, some are bigger than your thumb and can fly. The good news is that you probably won't see one. One of their predators is the gecko. This small, lizard-like creature makes a surprisingly loud chirp at night. They are cute and considered good luck in the islands (probably because they eat mosquitos and roaches). ... Though not a bug, one animal you are almost sure to see is the mongoose. Think of it as a stealth squirrel with mean-looking red eyes. Mongooses (no, not mongeese) are bold enough to take on cobras in their native India and were brought here to help control rats. Great idea, except mongooses are active during the day and rats work the night shift, so never the twain shall meet. It was a disaster for local birds since mongooses love bird eggs. Kaua'i is the only major island to avoid the mongoose (and vice versa), and the difference between its bird population and the Big Island's is dramatic.

Vog is a mixture of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Each day (since the current eruption began) Kilauea belches 2,500 tons of sulfur dioxide which reacts with sunlight, oxygen particles, and water in the air to form a mixture of sulfate aerosols, sulfuric acid, and other oxidized sulfur compounds. Why should you care? Because our trade winds blow toward the southwest, carrying the vog from its source, down the coast where the winds wrap around Mauna Loa and head up the coast. Then daytime onshore breezes and nighttime offshore breezes rake it back and forth across Kona. If you have a severe lung condition or are very asthmatic, you may experience discomfort. ... Those who stay in Kohala and Hilo are usually free from vog. In all, it's probably less than the smog most mainland cities, but we did want to alert you to one of the few negatives to living on an active volcano.

There's no doubt about it, people really are friendlier in Hawaii. You will notice that people are quick to smile and wave at you here. (Those of us who live here have to remember to pack our "mainland face" when we journey there. Otherwise, we get undesired responses when we smile or wave at complete strangers.) It probably comes down to a matter of happiness. People are happy here, and happy people are friendly people. Some people compare a trip to an outer island in Hawaii to a trip back in time, when smiles weren't rare, and politeness was the order of the day.

One aspect of Hawaiian culture you may have heard of is Hawaiian Time. The stereotype is that everyone in Hawaii moves just a little bit slower than on the mainland. Supposedly we are more laid-back and don't let things get to us as easily as people on the mainland. This is the stereotype ... OK, it's not a stereotype. It's real. Hopefully, during your visit, you will notice that this feeling infects you as well. ... The whole reason for coming to Hawaii is to experience beauty and a sense of peace, so let it happen.

---Doughty, Andrew and Friedman, Harriett. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed. Second Edition. Wizard Publications.

Nov 10, 2004

Godless & Joyful

This morning, I was thinking about my not being socially affiliated with virtually anything. I have never played a sport, never joined a club, and have never participated in some volunteer organization. When I consider it, I truly don't have any desire or ambition to, either. Throughout high school, so many competitive students around me were busy joining as many clubs and participating in as many extracurricular activities as possible just so they could make their transcripts look good for college. My personal extracurricular activities consisted of venturing out into the forest or remote beaches and taking in the epic beauty of the natural world combined with its embellishment by my imagination, or going home and immersing myself in captivating games and music. Either way, I always managed to leave 'reality' in the dust. Thank Anubis I had the option and capability of doing so. I realised just how much I have -not- changed since then, and I am extremely grateful for the fact. Not only did I enjoy myself as much as I possibly could throughout high school without allowing myself to get sucked down into all the BS they cram down our craniums, I'm now in college, making progress and doing well... and I feel I know myself now more than I ever have before. Most of the nostalgia I experience surrounding my high school era is not directly related to high school at all, but instead, the long process I went through of finding myself and determining my identity. I often found that an hour spent wandering through the woods, alone with my mind, spirit, and imagination, was far more educational and enlightening than a day spent walled up in various classrooms, nervously acting like I felt I belonged amongst the crowd, expected to conform to dozens of written rules and hundreds more unwritten ones. No, I cannot help but to be nostalgic towards the times of my discovery of my close kinship with nature, my true place in the world, my spiritual recognition. What really triggers an incommensurably intense sense of nostalgia within me, though, is when I reflect to the times in which I was first discovering beauty--learning to recognize it, learning to open my heart to it, learning to let it permeate my skin and deluge my soul. I underwent a few grand realisations: I do belong in a certain place; there must be someone else out there just like me; my reality can very well be whatever my mind decides to make of it; I am in control of myself and my future, as destiny and God are merely elements in the conventional human fairy tale, which I need not associate myself with for any reason; and the trivial details of life only matter if you make them matter. I discovered the wolf. Such revelations I experienced seemed to transform my character for the best. I became generally much calmer and patient, much more confident and far less anxious and self-defeating. I left my days of horrendous rage attacks and anxiety episodes far behind. Yes, it's hard not to be nostalgic about such times.

On a completely unrelated note, television series depress me. They reflect a sort of lifestyle that makes me grimace... the sort of systematic, rigidly scheduled lifestyle that always involves switching on the television set at a specific time five days a week, so one may continue following the jaw-dropping plot twists of the latest hospital drama or "reality TV" show. As far as "reality TV" goes, the only kind of "reality TV" I'm interested in are nature programs featuring beautiful furry, scaly, and feathered stars of the natural world, as opposed to a bunch of moronic models competing against each other in a series of stupid contests for cash and prizes. Humans just aren't that interesting, especially when driven primarily by greed and hunger for the spotlight. Ah, if only there existed some precise method to calculate how many hours the average television viewer wastes watching commercials about the latest low-carb invention or the newest, hippest chewing gum that's guaranteed to engulf you in some unexpected Arctic blizzard before bringing a promiscuous beauty queen into your dorm room the instant you pop it into your mouth. I'll just sit here and chew on my lame generic store brand chewing gum while all the beauty queens flock to the doorsteps of those cool people who plunk down dollars more for the same product with a label so flashy and shiny it would make your spinning rims jealous. And I'll gladly continue to maintain my moderate-carb diet, thank you, as my cells sort of need carbohydrates to survive, and even they as individual units are probably smart enough to recognize just how idiotic low-carb diets really are. We've got such ridiculous products as low-carb cookies, low-carb candy, low-carb ice cream, and low-carb soda. How about a reduced fat extra lite low-carb axe in the chest?

Today is a beautiful sunny day. I don't consider all sunny days beautiful, by any means, but this afternoon, the snow-white cottony cloud-blemished sky is of a vivid deep blue one can only expect to observe in the tropics, and the flora radiate a rich, effulgent green. I can even see enough of the mountain summit from the back window of my upper-story apartment to notice it still proudly bears a regal crown of ice and snow.

Levin desires some late breakfast, and I haven't masticated on anything today but a slice of cheese, so I shall go appease us both, then amuse myself playing with his lustrous wingspan.

Nov 6, 2004

How shall I die today? Let me count the ways...

I experienced a most spectacular dream last night, and I feel its memory simply deserves to be preserved in words.

The first scene I can remember was of the New York skyline on a sunny day. It played out very much like a commercial, as a male announcer rattled off facts about some of the city's tallest skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building, over background music typical of a commercial. I was hardly paying attention to the words, though. Sweeping views of tall buildings rising above the clouds filled my vision, and I felt as if I was watching an advertisement on television and sitting in an airplane at the same time. The ground seemed miles away, and the ocean beyond seemed to curve upward into the sky, rendering a marvelous fusion of deep and light blue. Wherever I was traveling to, I had a dreadful feeling about going back.

Jump forward to a vision of an overly enthusiastic, more than slightly nutty pilot commandeering the small plane I was on, acting utterly giddy about lining the aircraft up with an exceptionally narrow runway and landing in a matter of seconds. For some reason, I was in the co-pilot's seat. It seemed as if he was going to crash the plane into the runway at a forty-five degree angle, before he quickly leveled it out for a smooth landing. The runway, though, was full of obstacles, including various parked and moving cars and trucks, tents, and pedestrians who looked like stereotypical tourists--pale skin, gaudy flower leis around their necks, khaki golfer shorts, visors, white T-shirts with loud flowery designs and the word "Hawaii" all over them, maps, brochures, and massive camcorders in their hands, a general look of awe and naïveté on their faces. Before we came to a complete stop, we had run over quite a few members of this species... and neither of us nor anyone else on the runway seemed to be concerned in the slightest. I watched as the right wing of the plane nearly took out a couple casually walking along the side of the narrow runway, as if they were just leisurely windowshopping. We managed to stop just before reaching a parking lot full of cars.

Suddenly, I became a regular passenger in the coach section. Everyone on the aisle seats stood up and began fumbling with their luggage, ready to make their exit. I gathered up my possessions and waited for the crowd to start migrating outwards. I soon found myself in the terminal (delightful term for an airport building, hm?), or what appeared to be so. A quick glance to my left, and I noticed a small conference room behind glass doors, in the center of which old men in formal suits appeared to be discussing something of importance. The walls were lined with exhausted-looking travelers sitting on their luggage, all minding their business. I started walking in the direction opposite of the room, and spotted my mother conducting business at a ticket kiosk. A thick glass wall stood between me and her, and the only way to go seemed to be through a large cylindrical pipe that was about half as tall as I am. Convinced this was simply the prescribed way to get over there, I climbed into the mouth, placed my bag on my lap, and began sliding down the tunnel. I flew down the chute as it twisted and turned, ever descending. It was well-lit, so I was able to see the narrow confines fly by as I held on tightly. What an exhilarating ride!

I ended up in what appeared to be a retail warehouse, and a very poorly lit one at that. Naturally, I was barefoot, as I always am in my dreams, and I could feel the coldness of the concrete floor as I padded along, uncertain of where I was. My primary motive, as soon as I arrived, was to find an escalator that would lead me up to the upper level of the terminal, so that I might meet up with my mother and actually make my next flight. Here, I was surrounded primarily by various racks of shoes seemingly reaching up to the ceiling. Of course, the ceiling was not visible, for it was obscured by shadows. Some of the shoes seemed to hum and quiver in their boxes, as if ready to jump out of their nests and begin walking off. As I wandered a little farther, an aggressive saleman with a moustache approached me and asked if I needed help with anything. I flatly told him "no" and started walking off in the opposite direction. In every corner I looked, I could not seem to find an escalator or set of stairs anywhere, which I found odd for a multi-storied airport terminal. The building seemed to transform slowly into a factory populated with heavy machinery, making grinding and grating, yet strangely melodic, industrial music. I wandered slowly down a narrow corridor, my feet ambling along the icy floor, gazing about a cold environment of monochromatic steel grey. It was so cold, in fact, that I could see the vapour of my own breath before me. I was so awe-stricken I seemingly forgot all about my flight agenda for awhile. I stepped onto a metal grating leading over a seemingly vast pit of heavy machinery, its raw power causing the bridge to vibrate violently. Despite the heat generated by the machines, everything was shrouded in a heavy mist, and it wasn't long before I found myself damp and cold. As I looked down over the railing, I could see that all the heavy metal was in motion. Giant pistons pumped up and down on either side of me, themselves producing noise so intense I could not hear myself think. Below, bevels, gears, cogs, and pulleys of gargantuan proportions maintained their mighty revolutions. Looking up into the shadows, I could see nothing but the tips of what appeared to be great stalactites. Suddenly fearing for some reason that the ceiling might be closing in on me, I began to run in a sort of half-panic. As I fled past the restless machinery right beside me, it produced a sinister laugh that seemed to echo throughout my head. Whenever I looked at anything but the narrow, winding corridor ahead, I witnessed the mechanical face of some horrendous robotic demon. In an instant, a sudden gust of wind swept me right over the railing, sending me plummeting downwards for metres and metres as I flailed my arms. I landed what seemed like head first into a large pool of water so icy it was just short of frozen. I could easily feel the pain the cold caused in my muscles from head to toe... if I didn't get out immediately, it would be just another death. Several chains with links twice the size of my paws drooped into the water, and I cleverly latched onto one of them, shivering and soaked as I climbed it slowly, then jumping from it onto another steel platform. A small wooden door materialized into the frosty concrete wall, and without thinking, I opened it up and stepped through it.

My bewilderment wasn't alleviated any when I found myself in the dim, grimy office of an auto shop. The most prominent features of the room were disorganized stacks of papers, a buzzing computer, and several model cars piled up everywhere. I exited through another door frame and scurried through an expansive garage full of elevated... not cars, but coffins. On the opposite wall, several large garage doors were wide open to the outdoors, affording me views of blinding blue sky and verdant rolling hills. I decided that my goal would be to get outside, and search around out there. The floor upon which I was standing, however, seemed to be covered with a thick fluid substance which was slippery as oil but conveyed the colour of blood. I slipped and fell this way and that, until my fur was more or less completely covered with the mysterious substance. It took me what felt like a good ten minutes to reach the doors, but I rejoiced as I ran out onto concrete blacktop, leaving the building behind. The place still looked distinctly like an airport, and I was determined to somehow locate the terminal level I was originally supposed to be in. As I ran, it didn't seem as if gravity had much of an effect on me. I could easily jump ten metres into the air, not hitting the ground again until thirty or so metres away. Movement was so effortless it seemed as if something else was controlling me. The sensation was euphoric and liberating, to say the least. I utilized this manner of travel to make it all the way to a vantage point from which I could see the runway I had originally landed on. With a renewed sense of glee, I hopped down a steep grassy slope, not stopping until I encountered a tall electrified fence sporting a series of horizontal steel wires. Dense underbrush crowded the fence on the other side, with gnarled limbs of old trees reaching over the top. I suddenly lost my gravity-defying powers along with quite a bit of hope when I realized I would have to take the risk of trespassing in broad daylight to make it back to the terminal--providing I could even get over the fence. Like second nature, I walked along it, looking for weak points that I could somehow exploit. It wasn't long before I located a particular spot where a couple wires were sagging, opening a space that looked just large enough for me to squeeze through. My Arcanine senses warned me of the danger of attempting to fit through such a narrow opening without touching any of the wires, but being the daredevil-by-nature that I am, I decided to go through with it anyway. Very carefully, I slipped my left leg through the opening, followed by the rest of me. Lo and behold, however, I could not quite make it. The sagging wires, for some unexplained reason, became taut within a split second, not only slicing deep into my chest but also frying the rest of my body with electricity. A raspy buzzing noise filled my aural senses, and my vision was overtaken with a blinding white light. As one might expect, I woke up moments later, paralyzed for a few moments. As soon as I recognized I was safely returned to this world, I sat up, yawned, rubbed my eyes, stretched, and smiled. What a magnificent way to die! I thought.

Yes, I love my sub-conscious and imagination very much.

Nov 4, 2004

Sleepwalking away...

It's nearly 4 a.m., and I cannot sleep. Ordinarily, this would not bother me, as I even look forward to perhaps staying awake until dawn and experiencing early morning euphoria. Having a botany lab slated for the early daylight hours, however, changes the complexion of everything. Pulling myself out of bed that early to attend a scheduled event I am hardly enthused about is always a challenge, especially when I've attained very little sleep. Last week Thursday, I simply could not bring myself to get out of bed, and ended up sleeping through the entire lab session. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford to do such a thing.

Chris Vrenna's album, 2 a.m. Wakeup Call, is best listened to during times of insomnia. That is precisely what it is intended for. Insomniac music by an artist who calls himself Tweaker. I'm entirely convinced that one best appreciates the strange, haunting melodies when sleep deprived. Sometimes they're dreamy... other times, nightmarish. "Movement of Fear" is one of the more psychologically disturbing compositions I've heard. I am actually intimidated to listen to it alone in complete darkness while half asleep, for fear of it summoning up nightmares. It does follow directly on the heels of "2 a.m.," a much more soothing, ambient tune, conjuring up images of leaping effortlessly from cloud to cloud in the sky under the stars at 2 a.m. But, of course, Vrenna loves to play with your mind, and take advantage of your lethargy and heightened susceptibility to hallucinations... and that's exactly what this album does. It fulfills its goal of taking the listener on an epic journey, and the journey isn't always pleasant. Sometimes, I'm afraid to listen to it... afraid of what it might do to my mind. I can't say the same for any other album I own. It inspires my imagination to conceive of the most bizarre thoughts and fantasies; too outlandish to be justifiably described in words. In a way, it's beautiful, and in a way, it's utterly frightening. It's also a stupendous work of pure genius. When you put down that empty cup of coffee, crumple up that full sheet of paper, and lay back and listen to this, you are taking a certain risk. A work such as this is hard to absorb, and harder for many to even bear, but once that is accomplished, it simply becomes a part of you. Whether you like it or not.

This would be the perfect disc to have with me, I'd imagine, when driving down a desolate road at 2 a.m., entirely destinationless and struggling to keep my eyes open while at the same time charged with a sense of wanderlust, stupefaction, and incomprehensible attraction to all things uncertain--the very sources of my insomnia--that I cannot hope to ever explain. Cauterized and remorseless in my desperate escape from the grinding familiar, I am driven toward something unknown to me, and I would rather it be shrouded in the ghastly surrealism of mystery than see it for what it truly is. Nothing seen through one's eyes is confounding as what can be envisioned in the mind. My imagination, perpetually vivid and efficacious, mirthfully compensates for what the shadows obscure, and I would just as soon as the shadows never crumble to dust. A radio tower by day is a tower for transmitting radio signals. A radio tower by a midnight moon is a spectacular monument reaching into the heavens; an access portal to a secret floating island; a staircase to the top of the world at which awaits the preternatural trigger to the most powerful sense of euphoria the mind, body, and soul is capable of withstanding. The world is quite a spellbinding place... in my mind.

An anonymous reader left me a comment saying my journal is sorely lacking in cuteness. Well, personally, I feel cuteness has become entirely overrated, but I still do not mind patronizing a good kind of cuteness. Enjoy:

Nov 3, 2004

Déjà vu

Rise and groan, woodchuck chuckers, it's Groundhog Day! I definitely see a shadow extinguishing what little rays of hope I had left for America's future. Sorry folks, four more years of Bush. It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last us what may seem like a lifetime. If we stick together, though, we might just stand a chance at getting through this!

**Hugs the nearest tree**

Nov 1, 2004

The fight at the end of the tunnel

It's easy to fall into a horrible mood and become entirely convinced that you will never be able to escape it. It happens to me quite often. My dismal outlook on reality is often further compounded by a lingering doubt that I will ever truly return to contentedness. I subconsciously perpetuate my foul temperament by assuring myself that breaking out of my misery will be some epic feat. Yet, perhaps two hours later, for one reason or another, I could be sunny and cheerful as I could be. The moment continues to change, and nothing stays the same forever, so such a doubt is entirely irrational. I experience depression now and then, but it rarely sinks my spirits for very long. I've fairly given up attempting to justify many of my moods. I don't believe I should torment myself by constantly searching for the rationale behind them, when there very well could be none at all. I still have the habit of blaming bad moods on certain stimuli left and right, such as too much school-related stress, loneliness, or lack of things to look forward to in the immediate future. Those could very well be factors that cause my foul moods, but perhaps they could just as easily be the most negative factors in my life that I naturally consider when chemical reactions in my nervous system summon emotions commonly perceived as 'negative.' Just as I can rarely hope to explain the origins of the euphoria that washes over me at certain times, I can't explain sudden bouts of melancholy, either. I must remind myself that a miserable day today never automatically equates to a horrible day tomorrow, and that is what enables me to go to sleep, content in the knowledge that each day is a different flower. A large quantity of flowers together in a patch may create the illusion that each individual is more or less identical, but when examined closely, one notices that each has a few defining features which sets them apart. Rather than mope about and whine about how sad I am, it's much more effective to simply accept it as a part of the gift/curse of having such a deep conscious.

This is bound to be a very stressful week, so writing this undoubtedly helped me more than anyone else. I can look forward to the weekend and the many simple pleasures it provides, and that is enough to motivate me to pull myself through all the routine, humdrum obligations of a typical week. I often consider 'reality' to be nothing more than a continuous series of tests I must pass in order to truly enjoy being alive. And I pass them anyway I can, because there is never one 'right' way. There are infinite routes one can take through life, comprised of the thousands of decisions one makes unconsciously everyday, so how do we know if we are on the optimal route? I don't believe one should even bother with such a question, and simply trust their heart to guide them in the right direction. You can complicate life beyond comprehension, or you can break it down and simplify it so you can go through it with a clear head and a thorough understanding. Life truly is what you make of it, and few people seem to realize just how much power they have. How deep you are willing to delve into life's mysteries simply depends on how much you're willing to risk being crushed by the psychological weight you piled upon yourself and buried alive. A deep thinker is likely to encounter a greater degree of emotional suffering than a shallow fool, but I would never trade the sort of enlightenment and power I have for the ignorance and helplessness of a shallow fool. I no longer struggle to decode the meaning of life, for I know what I'm living for. Why I am so characteristic of a wolf, on the other paw, is an entirely different loaf of bread. That presents yet another thing I can dedicate my life to, though-- finding the answers. I have every reason to be... don't you?
What is a mere mortal going to do with 10,000 free smilies? Really. I find myself overwhelmed enough by the presence of a dozen. I can't decide if I'm happy, sad, angry, confused, or sterile. Ahhhh! Then again, it would be kind of cool to have a smilie that says, "k, i'm feeling rather quixotic but limber at the same time, so i'm off to grab the goody lint brush off the top of the 1886 victorian bookcase and slap my puppy with it twenty-three times then have some broccoli with a hint of rose red chili powder from wyoming. i like my aunt theresa's purple beret when she drops it in her swedish clove-smoking son-in-law's flower bed on rainy thursday mornings, don't you nathan?"

Imagine the sort of time I'd save being able to use a smilie to express all that rather than having to type it out all the time. **Signs up**

I finally updated my profile, as well. My musical selections were horribly outdated.

The silent treatment could very well be the cure.

More often than not, I have no idea what to say. More often than not, I find it easier to simply say nothing than struggle for what I feel are the right words for a given situation. I feel the exact opposite of those who find silence to be awkward. I often find words to be awkward, and a communication format based entirely on written or spoken words becomes quite difficult to bear at times. I stop and consider what a huge role non-verbal communication plays, and remind myself it's a terribly lacking ingredient in text and phone conversations. I cannot always think of the words to express myself. In fact, I usually can't think of the words to appropriately express myself. I'd much rather express myself through a facial expression or a bodily movement, for I am quite an animated character, and I feel such gestures express more effectively what I am typically thinking or feeling than my words ever could. Responding to e-mails, or even instant messages, is often a challenge, as a proper reply always forces me to dream up and arrange a series of ... words. Maybe I wasn't formatted to think so heavily in terms of language, maybe it's yet another facet of my non-human sensibilities. I speak English when necessary, but oftentimes, I would love to get by with a few simple grunts and growls. Linguistically simple, yet they can express so much ... in person. It's fascinating how words can serve as evidence of my competence, an exceptionally useful tool for my survival as well as convenience, and the bane of my existence all at the same time. If I'm mostly quiet in one's presence, it isn't always because I have little I wish to say. It's often because I have too much to say, and words cannot possibly do it all justice. The easiest way to deal with it? Not say anything at all. But goodness! Words are absolutely necessary to maintain a journal such as this.

You lose all sense of reason
You have no sense of danger
It's like you're living in a dream.
It lets you float through crowds and
Makes you smile at strangers
It's just the greatest state of being.