Friday, October 28, 2005

Sometimes You Just Have To Smile

Turn the volume up. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Rambling Continues

There are times when we know we are alive, and times when we merely think we are living. Certainly if one draws breath, moves about, and spouts off a phrase or two, they can at least in some small measure be considered alive. At least that is what passes for living these days. The other day, I went up to Huckleberry Knob with Dad. It’s spitting distance from the Cherohala Skyway that crosses the Tennessee-North Carolina boarder. (About 2 hours from Oak Ridge.)

The Huckleberry trail is a short one; about two or three miles round trip. Fall is my favorite season, and being on top of that mountain and seeing all the (sadly muted) colors on the trees on the surrounding mountains was breathtaking. If only it had rained more this year the colors would have been spectacular. For two hours I stood in the same spot and turned circles. I heard the wind blowing over the grass, making the sound of the surf lazily rolling to the spongy beach sand for prolonged moments – continuous, uplifting, healing.

I experienced then something familiar and comforting. I could feel my feet take root in the ground. I could feel the cold air enter my body and come out again warm. Gravity then reversed and I could feel the weight of the mountain working its way into my shoulders. I began to wonder what would happen if I could stand there forever. What parts of me would be worn off first and carried away on the wind? Do mountains feel cold or wet or lonely? In that question nothing else matters. Everything doesn't seem so bad any more. I belong here, in the South. In the mountains. This is my place. Not Chicago, Seattle, or New York. Tennessee is my home, it's in my blood. Though I may leave it for a short while, I will always come back to it.

Far too often, I find myself wondering what’s next. I mean next on that unwritten list of expectations that we all have. Where is all of this leading me? Honestly, I never planned on getting this far in school. I had it all planned out when I was 10 years old. I was going to finish high school, join the army or air force, go career, fly the A-10 Warthog or wield an M-16 in combat, blow some shit up, get married, buy a dog, have some kids, retire, and do something else. You know what I’m talking about; follow in Daddy’s footsteps, but in my own way; on my own terms. After all, he went to college and finished. I always sucked at school and I didn’t care back then.

I never really wanted to go to college, anyway. I hated reading until I was 15 (ain't dyslexia grand?), at which point most people have decided to attend college. The more foresighted among us had already taken the SAT or ACT a few times by that point. Me? Nuh-uh. I didn’t want any of that jive. Fuck that. I had better things to do on Saturday than fill in bubbles answer irrelevant questions. Like what, you say? I don't know any better now than I did then. Fuck it…a growing teen needs his goddamn sleep!

Don't look so shocked. Yeah, this isn’t the stuff I talk about normally, but sometimes the fingers start to wiggle, the eye twitches, and you realize there isn’t a good reason not to talk about it. So why the hell not, eh? I guess next time I’ll say something about why I’m at UTC and not in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. Don’t get me wrong, I like it here doing the whole intellectual thing, but I just don't feel like I belong. I didn't want this life, and now that I have it, I'm looking for a way to use it. Teaching will be great, but I'm not ready for it. Not yet. There is something else out there for me, and I need to find it before it fades away.

Please don’t take any of this to be a doom and gloom type post, because it isn’t. From time to time you have to take that hard look in the mirror and say, “No bullshitting, man. What’s the deal?” I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now, but I think I’ve just now found the courage to open my eyes and face it. And of course, I’m confronted with the question of whether or not what I am seeing is reality or merely a reflection, warped by imperfections in the glass.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I'll start flipping the Church the bird in a minute. A couple things:

First, I'm so happy to have found this. Oh, Vienna I love ya. Sure, Shane thinks your music is, "too slow," for his taste. Well, he's just a shit-kicker. Don't you pay him no mind.

Second, I told Jesse today that, "When Harlan Ellison talks about Science Fiction, he's talking about this movie." That movie, friends, is Serenity. However, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to retract that statement of pure adoration. After seeing it a second time, it's not half as good as the series was. The movie tries to do a little too much and falls victim to the typical Hollywood fuck-ups we've come to expect. If the movie could have been 3 hours, I think it wouldn't have been so bad. Fucking, idiot audiences...ruining things I like. I have a feeling that I'll be picking up the Firefly series on DVD this weekend. Granted, I watched 2 Episodes on Tuesday, and 12 on Wednesday...but it's good. Oh, it's good in a way the Holy Sorkin can not touch. Yeah. I went there. So, Serenity - good: Firefly - the shit.

Ya know, I didn't mean to segue quite like that, but I think it makes for an interesting transition into my beef with da Holy Church of the Big Guy. I don't mean to say that Aaron Sorkin is on the same level as God, but I think you guys are smart enough to catch the metaphor. The sacred and profane, people. That's what I'm talkin about. I'm certain that at least one sphinker tightened at the suggestion that maybe Mr. Sorkin ain't that cool. Hell, he's a hack! Fuck The West Wing. Fuck it in its stupid ass.

This must be what it feels like to go insane.

No, I love Sorkin. But that doesn't mean I can't love Joss Whedon too. Oh, I can hear the cries of relativism now. Fuck off, you! It all comes down to taste, really. Some people's taste is more exacting than others, and that ain't so bad. But it's when you start stamping your foot and shaking your fist in my face, screaming that Whedon couldn't write his way out of a pay toilet and that Sorkin is the most gifted writer ever, that I begin to have a problem. Oh buddy, it's a big'un too.

But you know what? I don't have enough space here to rant properly. I'll just say this.

Have a little courtesy, people. Don't wave your dick in my face and tell me it's the only way to salvation, kuz it ain't. And by your dick, I mean your faith. Because, in my mind, it's a little too close to a wang you intend to turn on my soul and that don’t sit proper with me. I don't think like youz, see? My taste is more exacting. I got deez ideers of ma' own. Follow? You ain't gona change my mind, you're just gona piss me off. If the 700 Club tells you, "that just means you're doing a good thing; it's natural for people to get angry when you speak the truth," I'll tell you that's just the sweat from God's nuts to your mouth, ain't it. I'm not pissed at all evangelists, just the ones that think they're gona get blood from this here stone.

Well, that was an ugly mess of incoherent thought. I think I may say something about my scatter-brained approach to thinking next time. Maybe not. We'll just have to click on the conveyer belt and see what the ol' blind man has for us...unless my taste buds are outa wack, I'd venture a guess it'll probably be a bunch of shit.

Jesus, I’m starting to think and type like a character from Firefly. I need help.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yarrr. There Be Evangelists Here.

First of all, Casey, if you think I’ve touched on any of your “faults as a human being,” you’re wrong. You’re a unique, beautiful, honest, and loving person. So you’re shy. So your courage rests on shifting sand. So you’re a little naïve. Guess what. The same is true for me. You’ll find your own way, just as I will find mine. And that holds true for everyone. We all find our own way. And if you can find a point in the untidy mess of my last post it’s this: you shouldn’t apologize for searching, deciding, and testing your way.

Now, you should apologize when you act like a dick. So recognizing that fault in myself, no matter how righteous I may feel, I owe you an apology. And here it be.

Sorry for being a dick. Now, show me your valve.

So, this morning at 6:30am as I left the apartment I kicked a rolled bundle of papers someone left outside my door the previous night. I figured it was one of the newsletters the apartment manager leaves now and again. I threw it in the door and went to class and didn’t think twice about it. That is, until I got back.

Upon entering the apartment, I kicked the bundle again. My somewhat dulled sense of cleanliness compelled me to pick it up, and my curiosity demanded I open it to see if I was being evicted for my roommate’s inability to take out the trash. But no sweet eviction for me. No no. It turns out that they’ve found me. And to think I was rid of them for good when I sent Shane packing.

Oh what folly! Those bastards at Southern Adventist University have found me! I suspect it was that sweet girl from G-19 who begged to use my water closet last Sunday when she locked herself out of her apartment. She wound up hanging out for a bit while she waited for her roommate to get back with a key. She seemed like a nice enough girl. But, I’m afraid that I have to lay this accidental violation of my personal privacy on her doorstep…not unlike a bundle of evangelism bound with irritation instead of a rubber band. Oh misdirected anger! Oh foolishness!

I probably shouldn’t blame her. But how else would they know where I live. Was I the only one to get this shit? It doesn't really matter. I’ve decided to let the event itself slide. However, like the proud pedant that I am, hungry for all words printed, I read the letter from Dr. Sheffield and the attached pamphlet; "What the Bible Says About Prophecy."

I’ll tell you about what I read in the next update. You’ve suffered enough for now. Go. Recover your strength. For next time we delve into Chuck’s spiritual beliefs. God help you, kuz it ain’t gona be pretty.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

To Casey McAcrtressness Esquire III

I love the study of history. I love it because most people take Henry Ford's view that it's, "just one damn thing after another." What a bunch of stupid fuckers. I'm not delusional enough to think there are any inherent lessons to learn from history. Nope, nu-uh, wrong-o. History tickles my balls because it's not just a field of study, it's a perspective. It's like studying the mind through past actions. It can be applied to everything. Nothing escapes the all-seeing eye of the historical perspective.

Yes, smartass kid in the back?

But what about the things that aren't recorded?

You weren't paying attention. History is a perspective, not just a study. Yeah, we read a bunch of old documents. We look at old pictures. We talk to people who were there; people who lived it. We dig up shit. We run tests. We do all those things and more. But that isn't my point.

My point is, we remember. If we don't remember, we don't learn. And so, our recollections of past events are vital to shaping our present and our future. This doesn't just apply to the foundation of Ah-mer-ick-ah, as you may have thought back in 7th grade, or continue to think Mr. President. No, nu-uh, wrong-o, Wall of Shame. It applies to us as well. We have a personal history, and it's recorded in that pudding in our skulls. Our nerves have memories as well. That's why your golf swing continues to suck. If you feel, you learn. If you think, you learn. But only if you remember.

Yes, skinny red-head in the front who's attentively taking notes before she moves to Chicago?

But what the hell does this have to do with me?

Everything, baby. You forgot! For that brief moment you took a stand. You stood up and said, "This shit is ridiculous. Fuck you!" You made your point. You showed how a seemingly self-less act of human love and compassion could be twisted and corrupted by political bullshit. I'm there with ya, sister. It's bullshit. Believe me, I know.

Oh, but you took it back. You apologized. No, no, no! NO! NOOOO! You don't apologize for your thoughts. You don't apologize for having a heart; for being human. You do NOT apologize for having an informed opinion. Not ever! Wall of Fucking Shame, sister!

When you do that, it's like you said nothing at all. You forgot that we can be anything we want to be at any moment. We don't always see the world as what it is, but as we want it to be. You forgot that hard words are needed. Sometimes they are the only thing that can penetrate our prejudices. Sometimes they the only thing that makes us face what we believe; to face how we see the world. Hard words make us confront ourselves. And if we have our eyes and hearts open, they make us better. But, most of all, you forgot that “those people” would, quite unapologetically, crucify you for thinking those thoughts, let alone writing them. And you apologized? To them?

I've got my own little tirade against the Church coming. I've been mulling over it for about 10 years now, and I think I got all the words in place. You felt you had to apologize? You think someone may have been offended. Baby, you ain't seen nothing yet. And I ain't one little bit sorry for thinking it, either. Know why? Kuz I remember, baby.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Only Cure Is More Piano.

Well, I sure talked about it enough, perhaps it's time to pony up and let you decide for yourselves. So, without further bullshitting, I present to you ANWR - Stall Tactics - Epiphany. In my own defense, I haven't used MLA citations in over 5 years, so before you unlock the pillory, remember - I'm only super human. (And the APA or Chicago styles are far sexier.)

Also, be sure to check out this chick, Vienna Teng. I caught her on PBS the other night and was enthralled. Dare I say, transfixed? No? Ok. Spellbound, then. Talented. Female. Asian. On PBS. Just by her description, I bet Shane would go cock over collar for her. As for myself, since L.A. has fallen through, I’ve considered a road trip to catch her in Raleigh, NC on Saturday. If anyone is interested, let me know. I’m just insane enough to do it, but not so much so to want to foot the bill for gas all by myself. Plus, a 900+ mile round trip drive would probably be a bit lonely.

Couple things for those of you how give a shit about these kinds of things. (I'm looking at you Lunchie.) While I haven't given up on The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich my progress has slowed dramatically. My preferred selection for the water closet at present is The Selected Poetry and Prose of Alexander Pope. Pope is close enough to "poop," which isn't my motivation for picking it up at all. Nor does it easy on the (brown) eye. Sure, planting that little euphemism in your delicate minds is reason enough, but also I happen to like his pastorals...and his Essay on Criticism is the cat's balls. (We also have the same birthday. Go figure.)

I've also acquired Ellison's The Glass Teat which is everything Lunchie hoped for and more. It's good. Oh, sweet Bible-thumping Jerry Falwell, it's good!!!! I was moved to tears in Stonecup this evening. Chapter 13 broke me. Needless to say, I was a bit embarrassed by the random coffee-drinker who came to pat me on the shoulder and say, “Hey man, it’ll be OK.” Maybe I am overly sentimental. Or maybe the world’s just fucked. Either way, I swear to the aforementioned Falwell that if I wind up teaching about the late 60s and 70s, this book is going to be required reading.

Now, this was the somewhat – sorta - happy post. I’m just warning you guys. The bombs may start falling very soon. I won’t blame you for running for cover. Remember, duck and cover.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The wrost part about blogging is having nothing to say sometimes. Actually that isn't true. I have a ton of things to say, but so little time and energy to do so when I sit down to type them out. For that matter, I doubt that I have the ability to fully articulate these thoughts properly; and even if I did, there is more than just a little chance that you would mistake it for something else entirely. It's more than a little bit frustrating.

And it seems as though I am not going to LA next weekend.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Perhaps I really am a prude. I am awfully uptight. I used to think I was simply being a caring person prone to an unusual amount of worry. I’m wound so tight most of the time and take so many things so seriously; I do come off as a prude a lot of the time. For example, today in my English class we turned in our first big research papers. I got so carried away with the actual writing of the paper that I allowed a number of procedural concerns fall by the wayside…like the MLA citations. Sure I did them, but grudgingly. Chicago and APA are far superior in my opinion. I’m sure I’m overcompensating for something… And I’m digressing.

What’s chafing my ass is our next assignment. Because our class has devolved into more of a social gathering than an actual class, the cheese has fallen of Octavia’s professional cracker. (Who is to say it was there to begin with?) Our next paper is yet another argumentative paper, only this one has to be based entirely on disreputable sources. And while I can see the sense in such an exercise, I can’t help but feel that this exercise in satire will be lost on my fellow students. Shit. I doubt many of them know what satire is. My point is that this assignment may confuse some people. At the very least it may plant the idea in their head that it may be ok to cite the Onion as an authority on something other than satire. No, the irony does not escape me. I’d just rather not be in the situation that allows it to exist.

So what’s the deal here? I wasn’t always like this. We all have our days, I guess. Cold comfort, that. I think I am having one of those days, today. I worry too much.

After class, I came home to eat, study, and relax a bit. Or perhaps try to relax. Anyway, I was reading my assignment for American Intellectual History and found I wasn’t really reading, but thinking about Jen and what’s going on between us. (I haven’t a fucking clue by the way. Things have been kinda icy after Friday.) So, of course I started to worry. Then I realized I have a ton of reading to do for Wednesday, and I started to worry about that. And suddenly I was struck with the stony cold of lonesome. I wanted to be around people I trusted, people I love.

But that didn’t happen.

I wound up at Stonecup, half hoping Jen would be working tonight (She wasn’t…I’m such a fucking woman.), the other half hoping some espresso would help me focus on my reading. I had my assigned reading with me and Run With the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams to break the routine. I managed to get an assigned chapter out of the way and popped open Sams and was having a gay ol’ time. Jesus I love his writing. And wouldn’t you know it? People started talking to me about books.

You guys know me. Normally I don’t mind talking to people. But today was different. I was lonely and wanted to be alone. That’s some emotional bullshit, my friends. I didn’t really feel like talking, and I didn’t really feel like reading either. I wanted to be around people, but not to interact with them. I worry too much. This was about the time Jesse called to see if I wanted to see a movie with him, but I’m just having one of those days. Normally, I’d go, but not today. It’s been a strange fucking day, filled with even stranger and yet familiar feelings.

I worry too much.