Whooooa. Haven't written in a loooong time...and I suppose a lot has happened. I've been runing around, busy with classes and tests(test in popgen, which I hadn't attended since the last test...wheeeee!), and singing, and peace stuff. Now I'm in charge of making contacts at every other private university in the state, plus inviting Howard Zinn to speak (ha! but worth a try...) And work! It's piling on. And my mother had another baby, of course, and I still haven't seen her, and I'm in an italicizing mood...and my sleep schedule has been totally out of whack for quite some time. I slept from 5 to 8 this morning, then made it through the day, and now it's after 12:30, but I'm not feeling all that able to sleep...but I'm going to go ahead and post this update right now, and try to write more later.
Continuing my trend of not writing, I suppose...I've just been, well, running around all week. Last night was the first night in a week that I got more than 6 hours of sleep, which was nice. And now I still haven't fully woken up...I keep just wanting to sort of lounge around, but I know that I have plenty to do--should do laundry, and clean my apartment, and go to the mall and buy gloves. And I have plenty to do for the peace organization, and probably some classwork, too. But I think I'll lounge around for a while longer...
Wheee, hectic week! Thanksgiving is soon. Really. Must keep that in mind. Then I can rest. Right now, I'm just being awful about getting enough sleep. I tend to find creative ways to waste time...like, today, I avoided work by, of all things, reading theology. I stumbled upon some stuff by Paul Tillich tangentially last night (like this), and ended up spending quite a bit of time reading a book I picked up by him tonight. Neat stuff--mid-century, and it somewhat amounts ot Christian existentialism, though, really, well--take this, from that page:
It would he a great victory for Christian apologetics if the words "God" and "existence" were very definitely separated except in the paradox of God becoming manifest under the conditions of existence.... God does not exist. He is being-itself beyond essence and existence. Therefore, to argue that God exists is to deny him.
The method of arguing through to a conclusion also contradicts the idea of God. Every argument derives conclusions from something that is given about something that is sought. In arguments for the existence of God the world is given and God is sought.... But, if we derive God from the world, he cannot be that which transcends the world infinitely.
And of course, any good fundie could quote out of context and scream, "He said that God does not exist!" But that would quite obviously be missing the point. And I could probably ramble about this for a while, but hey, it's almost 2, and I'm trying to make myself go to my morning classes tomorrow, so I should go...
How many of you people out there
Been hurt in some kind of love affair?
And how many times did you swear
That you'd never love again?
How many lonely, sleepless nights?
How many lies, how many fights?
And why would you want to
Put yourself through all of that again?
Love is pain, I hear you say
Love is a cruel and bitter way of
Paying you back for all the faith you ever had in your brain
How could it be that what you need the most
Can leave you feeling just like a ghost?
You never want to feel so sad and lost again
Listened to an old Genesis album today, and I'm tryinig to figure out if "Knife" is sardonic or not. It's unclear...at any rate, sounds like most of what I'm hearing from the people in charge of the nation right now--
Stand up and fight, for you know we are right
We must strike at the lies, that have spread like disease through our minds
Soon we'll have power, every soldier will rest
And we'll spread our kindness to all who our love now deserve
Some of you are going to die--
martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide
Oh, it seems that I was on the local news last night, though I presume I looked pretty scary, since I hadn't shaved for several days or slept at all the previous night. We set up a fairly large demonstration on the main quad, at the bus stop--we had a tent, and several people wrapped in blankets to remind people of the reality of millions of Afghani refugees. I didn't sleep Wednesday night because I had a test to cram for, and major assignments in two classes, plus I had to totally rewrite the flier we used, since the situation changed pretty drastically in the previous day or two. I actually never came home that night--I realized at some point that it was 7:30, so I went and grabbed breakfast and went to class. And so there I was, having not showered or slept in a day, unshaven, with a blanket wrapped around me, and the newspeople apparently found something decent to take out of context from what I said. Oh, and they misspelled my name, apparently. Naturally...hehe
And through all of that, I think I still did quite well on the test. Of course, that was the test I'm least worried about--it was quite straightforward. Physics and logic are next week. woo. hoo.
And I must run, of course. Will attempt to write more over the weekend. Should be pretty busy, of course, with the crucnh coming next Monday and Tuesday, but we'll see :-)
She's a picture perfect child
Searching out in childlike ways
Now she's questioning her mother
She's questioning her father
She's looking for the answers
to the problem that confronts her--
Do you know where the sun goes
when the water falls?
Do you know where the rain goes
when the water falls?
My watch is working sporadically. Like, often enough to make me think it's working, and then it randomly stops, and gets several hours behind, and freaks me out, and stuff. Weirdness. Maybe I should get a new battery or something. P'rhaps.
Well, johndoe is down, so I'm just going to write and not post it until we have the site back. Hopefully, it won't be too long...but, we'll see.
The wind had a way with her hair
And the blues had a way with her smile
And she had a way of her own
Like prisoners have a way with a file
So I ended up wandering away from that entry before adding anything more to it. Oh, well.
I really need to go get groceries, but I'm just being so lazy today...I need to get groceries, and shower, and do my physics homework by 5, then my compsci assignment by 11, and study for logic and physics for the tests tomorrow. Other than that, though, I don't have anything to do...
I ended up wasting time on Saturday by poking around two used bookstores near my house, both of which also sell CDs. One of them has been around for a while, and it's always strcuk me as oddly sketchy. They sell comic books, too, many of which seem to be pornographic--at least, glancing over at that section, the pornographic ones are very obvious. And the guys who run it are just weird...or maybe they're just socially inept. At any rate, not at all the type of people you'd expect to be running a store. At any rate, though, I got two used CDs at that one--a Van Halen one, and a Nanci Griffith album--and then I went to the other store, which is maybe a quarter-block away, and much nicer and brighter and stuff. There, I got a book, which isn't very heavily used, because it's pretty recent, but it's quite interesting--it's called The Activist's Handbook. I haven't read too much, yet, though, because I've been attempting to make myself work.
And I think I'm really going to get up and shower and go buy groceries. Wheeee!
But have I mentioned that I love this Nanci Griffith album?
When we die we say we'll catch some blackbird's wings
And we will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring
Whoa. It's 3 AM. It certainly doesn't feel like 3 AM...I mean, I should be tired. Or I should have at least started studying for my two tests tomorrow...or I guess they're today. Hrm. Kate's been asleep for a while, and is giving me nasty looks right now. I'm sure in an hour or so, though, she'll be back to her hyper state of running laps around the room, which will make her hungry, so she'll go sit beside the door and meow at me until I agree to feed her. So it's a good thing that she's calm now...and I should stop avoiding work. Must study, then I can slack off after tomorrow. Woohoo!
You've gotta cry without weeping,
talk without speaking,
scream without raising your voice . . .
Wheeee, Thanksgiving break! That means I survived my exams yesterday, so now I can slack off until Monday. Or something. I should definitely go to work this weekend, and catch up, but I have time for that...and I'm finally going to see my little sister. She can't avoid me any longer! Kate is basically my excuse for not wanting to spend all break at my mother's, though, since I can't bring her along, apparently, due to the multiple dogs, kids, and the newborn for whom now is probably not a good time to check for cat allergies. So, I have to come back in time to feed her, and all.
So apparently, my older sister's boyfriend told her to move out of his apartment, and she's now living with our father. It was bound to happen, I suppose--they were living in this tiny little place, and I never really got the feeling that they enjoyed being around each other all that much. It seemed that she probably wanted to move in more than he wanted her to. At any rate, though, she's searching for a new place, but she doesn't really have that much money. I hope she finds a decent place, though.
And it should be interesting to see family this weekend...haven't really had any "family event" recently, though I've been seeing my father more than I have in a long time. We'll see how it goes, though. And then I should be back here for the weekend, in time to work and catch up on sleep.
Oh, and in my continuing quest to avoid cleaning, I redesigned the site. You can always e-mail me and let me know what you think. I think I'm going to come back and look at it in a day or two and decide how much I like it then.
Oh, and I'm going to see the movie Amélie tonight, since it just started showing at the nearest artsy theatre. I'm looking forward to it. But alas, I should go clean up this dump now. Will write more later, when I'm bored at my mother's, I'm sure.
Booooooooooo, Amélie wasn't showing tonight, and its local release has apparently been delayed until sometime in December. I was looking forward to it...oh, well. Ended up watching Waking Life instead, and it was, well, a long drawn-out string of the kind of conversations that I walked out on while living in the dorm. Mostly bad pseudophilosophy and forced metaphors(example: group of guys walking down the street, blabbing constantly about how bad society is and how they should all resist it and work to make everything better, or overthrow it, or somesuch; they come upon a man clinging high up on a pole and ask him why he's up there, and he responds that, well, he doesn't know. One of the guys makes fun of him, and another says something like, "He's no worse than we are--we're all theory and no action, and he's all action and no theory"), and it just seemed to drag on. Well, the animation was neat, and some of the characters weren't entirely pretentious, but overall, it ended up coming off like somebody from my first-year philosophy class, with little further training or knowledge, blabbing on for several hours about his grand theories of life and existence.
Oh, well. At any rate, it was sort of a date with this girl that I randomly met at UNC. I can never tell how things go...she didn't seem unhappy, at least, but I've perhaps unfortunately taken to assuming that nothing will come of it, since that's generally what happens, anyway. It's certainly been a safe assumption for the past year or so.
Anyway, though, it's 2 AM. Should sleep now, since I need to wake up in time to wash clothes tomorrow before the meal with family and all.
Deep in the desert, one flower standing alone--
Faith, hope, and love carry me back to my home
Ah, today has been a nice lazy day...slept in until 11 for the first time in two weeks, and I've been messing around my apartment ever since. Talked to my father, and he said he was picking me up at 3:30, not 1:30, like I had thought, so I put some laundry in, and messed with this site some, and I've been listening to King's X all morning, which has put me in a great mood. Oh, I didn't mention last night--I found out that King's X is coming to Carrboro in February! Wheeeeeee! I'm there, dude.
I've read confusing fiction
and lived a contradiction
and I've wondered where on Earth I've been . . .
And my laundry is on its final spin...I hope it dries quickly! Must shower and shave and pack clothes before my father shows up.
I was talking to my sister on Tuesday night, as she drove me home after dinner, and she mentioned that apparently my stepmother was annoyed that I was out demonstrating on the quad. It was unclear whether she disliked Afghan refugees, or just dislikes that I'm bothering to bring attention to the issue, but she didn't even bother to tell me--she just bitches to my father, who tells my sister about it. I would much rather she just tell me, and I would of course disagree with her, but at least she bothered to tell me how she felt, instead of being just as annoyed about it, but basically telling everyone but me. God, I can't stand people who are that incredibly unassertive. Of course, this isn't the first time this has happened--and I'm sure that, as in the past, I'll hear it mentioned again at some later date, as an example of how little I care about my stepmother. And in a way, that's true. I don't care to address her unresolved issues of self-confidence and assertiveness; I don't really care to help her to become someone capable of interacting on a decent level with me. And I'm sounding so bitter...which I suppose I am. I'm getting progressively more pissed at most people in my family for their utter inability to maintain functional relationships of any sort. Nobody can sustain a marriage, and at any given point half of them aren't speaking to certain others. I don't believe either of my sisters is talking to my grandfather; my stepmother isn't really talking to me or my sisters; my stepsister is in her own world entirely; my step-grandmother is pissed off in a way similar to me, ather daughter for being unable to cope with relationships at all...let's see. My father may be improving, but then, this is as he watches his second marriage crumbling. Or maybe they'll get back together. I have no idea. My sister had moved in with her long-term boyfriend (four years? a long time...), who has always struck me as the most uninteresting guy around, but was probably a nice, comfortable relationship for her, which was what she wanted--but then he told her to leave over the weekend. So it's unclear what state that relationship is in, but he never seemed all that happy with having her around so much. I'm sure I'll talk to her some more int he next couple of days, so maybe I'll get a better read on that...
I'd like to think that I'm the exception in my family, except that, well, I'm not. I suppose I'm just maintaining the family image, really.
And I must go prepare for Thanksgiving festivities now. I'm sure I'll write when I get back, which is probably going to be some time tomorrow night.
And the song that just popped up, of course, is the one that always makes me cry...silly sentimental me.
We all got together for the first time last September
I said "Somebody take a photograph--
I've got a camera"
Now I got me a favorite picture
This is really freaking me out. I'm sitting at my stepfather's desk, in Cary, the land of, well, strip malls and Suburbans, and there's some sort of drawing--I can't quite tell where he got it from--taped to the desk, near the monitor. In it, there's some sort of giant Jesus figure--the standard bearded, long-haired white guy, with arms outstretched--in what appears to be a cloud of smoke above the World Trade Center towers, coming from the flames shooting out of the towers. There are what look like lots of people--or are they supposed to be angels?--in the crowd, too, just below the great big Jesus. And I'm just sitting here, wondering what the ehck this is supposed to represent...and it's mainly just really freaking me out. I don't get it.
I don't especially like my stepfather. I suppose it's the aura of fakeness and hypocrisy that surrounds him...or maybe he's just annoying. He's an MBA, so the fakeness pretty much goes without saying, and then he's some sort of scary fundamentalist hypocrite, too. And an alcoholic, though I'm not supposed to know. And an awful father. So, really, I guess there's not much to objectively admire in the guy. I suppose he supports my mom, or something. But then, he has lots of kids and only rarely spends time with them, doesn't really have a steady job, spends much of his free time at AA meetings, and spends significant amounts of money on impulse purchases, like new chairs. I'm guessing that this desk chair is new, and come to think of it, so is the desk, and there's a new leather recliner in the den. Okay, somebody has some misplaced priorities. But there must be something to admire in the guy, somewhere. I'll try to look for that tomorrow.
Also on the topic of family, my step-uncle gave a very weird blessing/prayer/whatever you call it before we ate today. He started out pretty innocently, reminding us all to be thankful for what we have ans so on, and then went on this tangent about how great it is to live in a country founded on "Christian morals and Christian ideals," unlike lots of countries in the world, where they don't take time out of the year to be thankful for what they have. And both of those points really got to me--first, he continues to spew BS about America being such a great country, full of Christian morals and so on. It reminds me of when I went with T to her crazy Southern Baptist church, and the Sunday school teacher insisted on reading every week from some book he had, that reprinted journal entries and quotes from influential early American politicians, presumably to strengthen his belief that the founders had always intended for everyone to be Christians, and everythign was downhill once we took forced prayer out of schools. Or something. At any rate, I remember him reading something from Thomas Jefferson, and I can't recall what it was exactly. But I couldn't shake the thought that, well, that's all and good, but the man had slaves. So how does that jive with the Biblical piety he claimed in his journal? And I presume that, had I bothered to ask that, he would have come up with some excuse about slavery being so common at the time. I can't think of any other explanation, really. But then the problem becomes that looking at the world through lenses of Bible-waving Christianity was merely a symptom of the times, as well. The vast majority of Americans were Christians, to be sure, but I would venture to say that in fact a lesser percentage of the influential politicians strictly ascribed to chuch population than the general populace. So you can easily explain away the strict adherence to doctrinal beliefs, but then how do you explain the prevalence who don't ascribe to that? That doesn't seem like a question for which those type of people would have an answer.
At any rate, to come back from my tangent, I disagreed with the whole "America is such a great nation founder on Christian ideals" thing, but furthermore, his continued BSing about other countries that don't have a Thanksgiving holiday just blew my mind. I suppose this is the type of imploding worldview held by John and Jane Public, but this just reminds me that they should in no way be presumed responsible enough to remotely impact any foreign policy decisions. Self-centred people really get to me sometimes. Grrrrr. I mean, really--maybe people in other countries are too busy trying to frickin' feed their families to bother to celebrate a holiday by eating turkey.
I read in the NYT today that the $25 million bounty the US has announced for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden is one-tenth the total amount of foreign aid we give to Afghanistan every year. I am so glad we're redirecting money from more important causes like, say, boosting humanitarian aid by 10%. It would be horrible to feed more people. That would suck. Those funds are definitely best off being redirected.
Okay, so I'm going to stop ranting now.
I saw my little newborn sister for the first time today...she's so tiny, and absolutely adorable. Such little hands, but I was only able to hold her for 15 minutes or so--she's what would be termed, if she were an adult, "bitchy," but I suppose that makes her, at present, "fussy." But it's hard to care when she's that cute :-)
I'm trying to think if I did anything else today. Not really...just avoided doing much of anything until my father picked me up, sat through dinner with my relatives--oh, interesting tidbit. My step-aunt and uncle told me about some relative who had gone into Teach for America in Baltimore this year, but apparently always gone to private school and had just never imagined that the real world would be any different. So that hit her pretty hard, and she dropped out within a month and a half. How sad. I think this is mainly what the career counselor woman was referrign to when she was putting TFA down to me--many, many Duke students, I have observed, have lived highly sheltered lives in some way or another, often just sheltered class-wise. They don't know poor people; they don't know people who have to struggle from paycheck to paycheck or meal to meal, and if they go into some program like TFA, they often do so not comprehending at all what that means. I don't expect to change the world, or even to be able to get kids to listen to me immediately. I do hope to do something, but how much, well, I have no clue. But what do I know? Not much...
On an unrelated note, I got a compliment today. It sort of caught me by surprise, since I don't believe anyone's ever complimented me for the writing I have here. But, well, I submitted my site to a webring, and the guy who appears to be in charge of it wrote back that sure, I'm in, and that he thinks I'm an excellent writer. I guess that's always good to hear, though it makes me question his sincerity--I suppose I never really see myself as being any good. I just write because I want to, because it helps me, as a person. I write. It's natural. Oh, and this reminds me--I'm also probably going to join some collaborative lists (note the new "collab" heading on the front page, which now goes to an empty link), which will hopefully give me some opportunities to write with some sort of topic, and perhaps develop my writing a bit. I don't know...it reminds me quite a bit of my favorite high school teacher, my junior and senior year english teacher, who would give us random creative writing assignments to sharpen our skills. But I at least want to try writing those, and I'll see if I stick with it.
And I should go to bed, since it's almost 1, and I'm sure I'll be awakened rather early tomorrow morning. But something else just caught my attention--it's taped to the monitor:
Prayer of Jabez
Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
And enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain.
Maybe I should just shrug this off as innocuous, but really, to pray for my territory to be enlarged just strikes me as amazingly pompous. Yes, God, I know what I need, and, yep, it may surprise you, but I need more stuff. Please give me that while you're blessing me, thanks. I'd appreciate that.
And also wondering, offhand, if he feels the least bit hypocritical reciting a prayer about not causing pain while supporting wholeheartedly a war that, well, exists to cause pain, while supporting the death penalty, while opposing social programs that exist to absolve the hut of their pain...and I could go on. Suffice it to say that I'm feeling overwhelmed by the fakeness and hypocrisy in this house, and I want to go home...but for now, I'll just sleep. It'll have to do.
Another rather wasted day...my little sisters woke me up around 9, I think, and then we went to my grandparents' house, which I hadn't seen since they moved, and we got back not long ago. I held the newborn for a while, until she went to sleep, and now that she's sleeping, well, here I am. And I just glanced over the desk and saw my stepfather's résumé, which I should stop reading before others in the house hear my hysterical laughter. Or maybe I should add several tons of BS to my résumé so as to make it this good. Or something. MBAs really get on my nerves.
And I'm rather annoyed at myself for using the easy insult of "hypocritical" last night. Everyone's a hypocrite, and those who claim that we should somehow criticize all who are are, well, silly. To not be a hypocrite would require that one not have any strong beliefs of any sort. I'm a hypocrite, and at least now I see that. I've done stupid things that I would hate other people for, and yeah, I've learned from them, but that doesn't make me any less of a hypocrite. I suppose it's nice to strive to minimize the hypocrisy, though, and that's something that nobody in this house seems all that inclined to do. It's stilla rather inane criticism, and there are far more concrete ones I could come up with. Perhaps what specifically pisses me off most about my stepfather is how inconsistent his entire life is. He claims his family is his first priority, or maybe God is up there somewhere, but at any rate, he makes grand claims about stressing love and commitment to family, and he fails on every count to put these ideas into action. Instead, in daily life, he's never home, and when he is home, he's a total ass to everyone. He's gotten worse since I lived with him and my mom, mainly because now he feels like the house is his--before, he was an outsider in a house of my mother, my sisters, and me. Now, he's the standard head of the household that fundies talk about the husband being, and he's doing such a crappy job of it that it's really depressing to spend time around here. So I bitch and moan to my journal, I guess. And I file away everything that I don't like about this household, because at least I can learn that...if I can't see much to emulate, I can see plenty not to emulate. And I try to be kind to my mother and sisters and avoid criticizing him to his face, because that would just not be pretty.
I realized that the book I brought along is The Activist's Handbook, which amused my stepfather. I haven't gotten very far, but it's an interesting book. In the introduction, the author was talking about how important for activists not to let their issues be redefined by opponents--you need a clear issue, a clear message regarding that issue, and you need to stick with it. He mentioned a major campaign, in the 90's, by many conservatives to emphasize that the nature of homelessness and joblessness lies in personal responsibility, and that it had nothing at all to do with massive cuts in social programs and safety nets, and how many activists for the homeless allowed this to redefine their activism, so that instead of working to increase awareness of all these cuts and their impacts, they ended up spending time defending the rights of the homeless to camp and beg in public places, which served only to marginalize them further. At any rate, though, this is something I felt when demonstrating the other week--the purpose of our demonstration was to spread information about the plight of Afghani refugees, to remind people that millions of people are short on food and in grave danger this winter, and when reporters showed up, they focused on asking why we were in favour of stopping the bombing, when we're quite obviously "winning the war." I pointed out that we're not, in fact, winning any war in particular, unless you mean merely that the side we're supporting in a civil war is beating the other side, but they had succeeded, to some extent, in averting attention from our main point--it's not about winning a war, it's about feeding hungry people, getting aid to people who need shelter and blankets. And that's only possible if we bother to support peace.
I believe I've written more in the past several days than I had written in the preceding month or two. Not that anybody's reading of course, but perhaps people will start, or something.
I was talking to someone or another the other night about how badly I needed to clean up my room, and mentioned that I've taken to piling books and papers on one side of my bed, in a way because otherwise, it feels so huge, which mainly reminds me of how nice it is to wake up beside someone I really care about. I'm not talking about anything else, just awakening next to someone who smiles back at me...I remember that. It was nice. And I'll leave now with a snippet from a Joni Mitchell song that comes to mind...
But when he's gone,
Me and them lonesome blues collide
The bed's too big
The frying pan's too wide . . .
Everybody needs answers
Everybody needs hope
Everybody needs someone
Oh, oh, oh my soul . . .
It's only 10, but I'm considering sleep. Hrmm. Spending all day with my family really wore me out. Yes. I'm getting nothing at all done, so I'm going to sleep.
Heehee...there's a black tail sticking out from under my bedspread.
Kate is just so adorable! And when my little half-sisters came in tonight, she was really good with them. They don't exactly know how to treat cats ("No, no, don't squeeze Kate!"), but she just purrs through it all. I love my cat.
I may have written about this a while ago, but I was thinking not too long ago about how long I'll pesumably have Kate. She's probably the only major possession (or something close to a possession) that I have now and will still have in 10 years. So it's great that she's so easy-going and generally wonderful--I'd hate to be stuck with a bitchy cat for that long.
And I'm really going to sleep now.
It's a lazy rainy day, and I was close to launching into a whiny lack-of-relationship-ish entry, but then Kate came over and cheered me up, so I don't really feel like doing that now. Now she's lapping the milk out of my cereal bowl.
Summer wind blowing the grass on the hill
When was the last time that I stood still
The wondering comes and goes, but it's sometimes clear . . .
Feels like summer here. It's 75 degrees, and humid. I'm looking for my shorts, and then I have to run to physics lab, which I think is the last one...then Messiah rehearsal until 10, then finishing up my program, then probably sleep, or something--wheee!