as some sort of monument to my past, so here's an update.
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I have been ill of late, struck down by various disgusting weaknesses of the mind. I'm better now, I think. I will not allow my human frailties to blind my reason to that degree again. I'm sane, I'm lucid, I'm in control, and I'm taking my goddamn life back.
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Oh, and this is something I wrote a long time ago, but never got around to posting at an appropriate moment. Seeing as this seems to be one, here you go.
The Economist’s Sonnet of Love Purest
It is that time, the time we must ask,
O what have I gained, O what have I lost?
What coffers were emptied throughout the task?
And what of the opportunity cost?
Would I be happier without this all?
Could my time have been better spent elsewhere?
What prospects did I let slip through and fall?
Have I forsaken bliss? When did I err?
We pay dearly for our blindness and sin.
For it is not just Rome that lies burning,
But infinite Edens that could have been,
Leaving us with a relentless yearning
For things long cast off and lost to the past.
But the old dreams are dead, and we outlast.
I'll do more radar soon enough.
I can't believe it's over. For three years I have lived largely in, for, and because of the Junior State of America, and now there is no more. I owe JSA and everyone in it more than I could possibly express, including a nice $1200 in unpaid convention fees. I still can't believe it's over, and it's probably better that way.
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The convention itself was a complete anticlimax. I've sat through classes that seemed to last longer than this weekend. I spoke more than I have since my first convention, and I can't remember a thing I said. Even the elections, the great drama that we've been plotting and stressing over for the past 6 months, fizzled out. Addison's campaign died a quiet death without so much as a nudge on my part, and he's not even saddened by it. This leaves Emily to preside over the death throes of the once-glorious PNW Junior State, a dubious honor. It's not to say that Spring State wasn't fun, though, as it was probably the most fun convention I've had since JSA was still big and shiny and mysterious and new to me. I debated gloriously, and kicked copious amounts of ass for the amount of prep I did. I even managed to cop a best speaker on my pet topic, parliamentary government. I got to spend a lot of time with my dear Brittany, which was great fun, as always. I also got to hang out with the rest of Cab for the last time, especially Wylie, who somehow manages to put up with me still.
Anyways, I need to stop and get back to what I'm actually supposed to be doing, so I'll cut it off here. I promise I'll get the next installment of radar up before I leave for Anaheim.
OK, at Devon's request, the short run down on my college options:
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UW- Accepted, will go there when frozen pigs fly out of hell.
McGill (The Harvard of Canada in Montreal, for all you ignorant Americans) - Got into the college of Sciences, waitlisted at Arts and Sciences. It's Canada, which is a big plus, but it'd basically mean going into psychology.
Berkeley- Got in, but for the Spring 2006 term. I don't really want to wait around for another 5 months, so this is a no.
NYU- Got in, but as a foreign student by accident. Hopefully I can get all that sorted out.
George Washington- Got in, but probably as a foreign student too, same deal as NYU.
Stanford- Rejected. The bastards'll pay for that one when I'm running things, I'll tell you that much.
University of Idaho- Haven't actually applied yet, although I'm getting around to that. It's my fallback school in case my grades go down the crapper and I get my offer denied somewhere else. Which, given as it seems that all the cool people are going there, wouldn't be too bad of a thing.
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This is the big one. Apathy is undoubtedly the most generally useful and efficient member of the radar pantheon. Taken quite simply, apathy is not caring about things that don't make you happy, that you can't change for the better, or that you can't affect. It's a means to streamline your life to the point where the metric fucktons of shit that the world throws at you just pass straight through. The easiest way to gain apathy is to start by approaching life from an egocentric perspective. You must think about what you want, what you need, and what makes you happy, and then you must go for that. Everything else, the things that other people and society at large would make you think are important, simply doesn't matter. The only thing that does is your survival and your contentment, and your means to these ends. When the little distractions of life pop up, you have to be able to give yourself perspective, and to realize that at a scale beyond the immediate, none of that matters. On the grand scale, after all, nothing matters, as we are no more than flakes of cosmic dust. Once you realize this, you can selectively apply it to parts of your life that you do not wish or need to care about. Apathy also means becoming a realist. There are so many enormous problems in the world that cannot be solved by the exertion of one person alone, or even many people in concerted effort. The basic truths of human nature, especially, and their various ramifications are all immutable. You cannot change them, so all psychological attempts to do so can lead only to failure and pain. Apathy must also be applied to your personal philosophy, religion, politics, all your spheres of opinion and belief. Ultimately, we think what we think, but you must recognize that were there a right answer to all these questions, it would have been given long ago. Instead, your opinions are simply a function of your experiences, your upbringing, and your genetics. Of course, no one can subconsciously realize this (see also: Denial), but you have to make the intellectual switch to non-evangelistic philosophies. You do not have the right answer, and you cannot impose your beliefs onto the world through force of opinion, so all you can do is participate in the world's intellectual conversation in order to enrich yourself, and to move closer to The Truth. Apathy, in the end, is just lowering your standards for the world and your life to the point where they're already met, so that you can focus on simply being content with what you have.
Firstly, a bit of background on radar. It's an acronym that exemplifies a system of thought that Anna and I came up with on a bus during symposium, and have been developing ever since. Radar is, quite simply, a tool. It's a tool that, used correctly, will allow you to control your mind. Because, ultimately, the only reason that you are unhappy or unsatisfied is because something knocking around up there is telling you to be so. The point of radar is to fight back against whatever's telling you that so that you may get on with your life. Like any tool, radar is easily misused. I am not saying that repression, apathy, denial, asceticism and rationalization are always good things to have. Misused, they will make you miserable as all fuck. The idea is to know yourself well enough to know how to use radar, and I cannot help you there. Will radar make you happier, even if used correctly? I cannot say. If you use it it will, however, change you, so if you want to be changed, read on.
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Repression is, basically, the beating back of unwanted desires through sheer force of will. It is, like all of the branches of radar, something that nearly everyone uses without realizing it. Repression is not eating when you're hungry, not fucking when you're horny, not killing when you're vengeful, and not collapsing when you're exhausted. Because of the sheer force of repression that is necessary simply to be a functioning member of society, it is one of the most powerful prongs of radar. It is surprisingly easy to stuff whatever biological or psychological need you have into a little ball and never speak of it again if you are truly committed to it. Just think of all the monks and nuns of human history, who performed feats of repression that would boggle modern man without losing their minds. If you truly have the will to repress something, if you can intellectually decide that it is bad for you, it is a fairly simple step of discipline to do so. The problem, of course, is obtaining such resolve. The use of repression within radar is not necessarily to use it more, but to use it judiciously and consciously. You must be able to, at least temporarily, separate your rationality from your humanity for long enough to decide which of your plethora of biological and psychological needs are harming you and then consciously repress those at every turn. To do this, however, you must let go of the great number of repressions that are pushed onto you by society without reason. You must be unafraid to allow some of your dirtier, baser, yet ultimately harmless desires to shine through so that you can stop whatever it is that you need to stop.
Sometimes it feels like the mundane parts of my life, the parts that drag me down into the utmost pits of ennui and exhaustion, are the only parts that are real. The rest, all the exciting and fun and plain relaxing bits seem like some sort of wonderful dream that I get to escape to on occasion. Maybe it's because times like these are when I really get to retreat from all the external stimuli and just sit around and think for hours on end. It helps me get my insatiable need to process and analyze my life and my environment out of my system for a while.
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Anyways, the weekend update. I was busy, as I seem to inescapably be at the moment. It felt good not to be running off to a convention for the first time in what seems like a small eternity and to be busy on my own terms for once. Friday I spent dealing with my mother's bullshit, and the less said about that the better. I do seem to be in a bit of a bind about my online PE credits, as the chance that I won't graduate on time seems to be growing. I'll figure something out, though. Saturday was work and plotting evil things that I really shouldn't be talking about in public. Suffice it to say that maniacal laughter is appropriate. Sunday, or today if you aren't being pedantic about such things, was hiking with Brittany. It was quite fun, we managed to get very lost and climbed up in a number of places we technically shouldn't have. As much as I hate to say it, I really do need to go hiking more often. I'm turning into my dad, I swear.
My list of souvenirs from this weekend:
*Knowledge of the mormon way to romance (don't)
*A hose connection vacuum breaker
*A new appreciation for the delicacy of Carr's crackers with whipped cream
*A number of new mysterious marks :p
Oh yeah, and the regional's next weekend, and you should all come so that my bitchwork won't come to naught. It'll be fun too, hopefully.
I want the universe to be predictable. That's all I demand of it. I could suffer all the indignities of time and space, all the frailties of matter and the cruelties of physics if only the universe would not continually upend everything I try to make of it. If I think about it, my life today is nothing like I had expected it to be a month ago, or a week ago, or even a day ago, and while it's not, in this case, really so much of a bad thing, it still scares me. I am left wondering why the hell I even bother attempting to take any degree of control over my life when all that ever happens in the end is that some bolt from the blue arises and upends all my work. It's an exercise in futility to expect anything of the world, to leave anything to chance. Because, ultimately, the one thing that holds true, and it holds true to the degree where it has even left me questioning both my sanity and my atheism, is that the universe never does what you expect of it. The thing is, though, that I cannot really believe this and continue living. After all, if it's really true, and all of this is for naught, what the fuck is the point of doing anything at all? So I soldier on, attempting to take some degree of control over my life, hoping that this time it's going to work as I think it will, but in the back of my mind lies the gnawing knowledge that it's not. I put "everything you think you know is wrong" as the title to this blog for a reason: it's true. Both for me and for everyone else, and we all would do well to remember that.
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repression apathy denial asceticism rationalization
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this post is my promise to myself that i'll actually write the radar megapost later this weekend.
Graduation is about 3 months off, and I really fucking cannot wait. I am, at this point, so utterly sick of almost everyone and everything that makes up my daily routine that I could vomit. I have never found a more perfect hell than Woodinville High School. It is a school that was designed by sadists, is run by pawns of insidious parental watchdogs, and is populated by a good majority by people who exist solely to ensure that civilized society does not fall apart simply for a lack of manual labor. The "education" I receive there could easily be garnered by spending a few hours a day reviewing decent math, physics, and art history textbooks. The rest is complete and total fluff. And they wonder why I spend so much of my day at school asleep.
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We are not characters, defined only to carry out the arbitrary meanings and purposes of someone else, and lacking any existence out of our context, our sheet of paper. We are instead actors, free to tear up the script, give the erstaz directors the finger, walk off their stage, run out of their theatre, and free to live, if we so choose. The only thing we cannot escape is our humanity.
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Just something I've been thinking about for a while.
So, seeing as I'm bored and this journal has lain fallow for too long, I'm updating it, although I make no promises as to if this'll become a regular occurrence. As you may have noticed, I'm semipermanently abandoning this thing's original political slant. I've more or less given up on politics, or at least American politics, for those of you who haven't figured this out already. There is quite simply no real discourse left here. The left has entirely marginalized itself and abandoned more or less all of its great causes for mere pedantry. There is no ideology left, no vision. It has gotten to the point where I hate the American left more than I abhor the right, which at least in its blunt idiodicy manages to effect change. I am left with no one to champion, no one to root for, which renders politics utterly boring. Your country is going in a certain direction, and nothing is going to change that. Canada, fortunately, is also not going to change any time soon, but that's not really a bad thing.
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Anyways, if this is going to regress into an utterly mundane blog about My Life, I should probably start talking about it. For those of you who are looking for comment on the events of the past few months that have made my life interesting in a number of ways, you will find nothing here. I will leave everyone with their illusions about what was going through my head and what happened. Suffice it to say that I am currently dating Brittany, and that I am very happy with that. Other than all that, life progresses about the same as ever. I still have no idea where I'm going to college, except that thanks to some of my bungling of deadlines and such things may not turn out as well as I'd like. But that's done, and all I can do is hope for the best. Work sucks, as I am certain I've bitched at you all about enough already. Sadly, though, it looks like it is sucking in a way that is inspiring a mass exodus of my coworkers rather than the labor unrest I had been hoping for. Oh well, c'est la vie, I suppose. I'm surviving school, I guess you could say. My final grades are probably going to not be pretty, especially with bad marks on all my PE bullshit from the Mormons tacked on, but I'll survive. Hopefully I'll even manage to graduate. I think that's about it, at least for now.
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The gold eagle perches atop the standard
Overseeing the procession below him:
A huge mass of razors and needles,
Of iron bulwarks and steel robes
That huddles together against the snowfall,
Holding pillars of fire high
And the shafts of their lances low.
The snow falls, and blades can do naught
Against the unstoppable onslaught
Of blindness, chill, and fear.
For in the noise of snowflakes crashing
On cold Teutonic ground
Lies a sound, a dull ominous hum.
It is the sound of ten thousand barbarian ghosts.
For this is their land, this is their home,
These are their screams that echo through the night.
And these are their axes, those are their wolves
With their teeth that tear and devour.
That is their crashing, their bellowing, their burning,
Their charge that pours down from the hills.
But it is your blood they will spill,
Your columns they will crack
And your ears that will never escape
Their final, resounding peal of laughter.
An editor at Vanity Fair decided to take issue with the fluffy coverage of the inauguration while being interviewed today, it's really quite hilarious. Clip is here: http://condor.wesleyan.edu/mkestigian/fox/
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meh, this is just some of my random poetry that i would normally just stick in my aim profile for a bit, but it ended up being too long, so it's here.
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He turns the key in the lock,
Turns, sighs, and shuffles down
The length of the reception hall,
Past potted plants and old marble Greeks.
He settles, half-collapsed, into a chair;
Fabric and dust and moths and wood,
Tainted by the faintest hint of musk.
He sits, and he drifts, comfortably traveling
Out past Cairo, through Samarqand, to Orissa,
Where he floats by the beautiful Indian seas,
Relaxing on sandy beaches, enjoying the breeze
Whilst his fireplace blazes madly, singing
The air itself with ferocious warmth, and making
The sweat pour in torrents down his back, like rain.
And he writhes and he sweats, and he moans softly
As he shudders against an echo, a shadow,
Or perhaps the white-hot soul of a dream
Pulling him backwards, calling him crashing back
To logs incinerating themselves neatly into smoke
To butlers rapping at doors with brandy and tea
To smooth satin slippers and bathrobes of wool
To business papers and gold fountain pens
To waiting in parlors for audiences with royalty
To the sound of the mahogany grandfather clock
That ticks ever so slowly, and consumes darkly.
Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit
so, in order to hopefully reinvigorate this thing and justify my exposing people to it again (not to mention avoid doing work at 4 am), i have decided to actually slide in some of that dreaded personal bullshit until i come up with a really sparking rant. hopefully my dad isn't reading at this point. anyways, let's see, what's happened since august. school, obviously, as i am buried in a mountain of bullshit and early mornings related to that. and of course our old, dear friend procrastination is still here to fuck me over in general. jsa also bore down fairly heavily for a while leading up to fall state, but that's done now. it was worth it though, as we put on a positively smashing convention in general. work is, well, work. socially, things are quiet, as usual, although some people from work have threatened to drag me out partying and such over winter break, so we'll see how that goes. romantically, things have been completely dead until this god-knows-what with lisa happened during and after fs. but since that's still kind of going on and hopefully will continue to do so, i know far better than to dig into that any further. anyways, that's my life in a nutshell. i swear that next time i'll rant and generally be entertaining.
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Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero - why the hell does everyone leave off the second half of such a beautiful quote? seriously, just because it's pessimistic and doesn't fit into your little sporty pep-talk or whatever doesn't give you a licence to deface art like that. fucking pop culture, unable to do anything remotely near confronting the darker parts of life or even respect those greater minds that do. ok, this time i'm really done.
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You are Sexual Intercourse! Woohoo!
Staight-forward, passionate, intense, and a
most pleasurable act!
What sexual act are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
shocking, really. seriously, though, i'll actually update this at some point, but for now i am, as always, too busy.
I'm sick and tired of the lie spread everywhere on the political spectrum from the fundies and lolbertarians to the liberal-but-not-leftist scum that government is inefficient. That no matter what the issue or the area, that the private sector can do anything better than the state. I'm sick of people trying to defend nationalized enterprise by contrasting the benefits against this "fact" because it's eliminated all debate on the matter before it ever started. People, for whatever reason, never have and probably never will expect anything near the level of efficiency from corporations that it does form government. If anyone does, they are immediately met by the stupid false choices of capitalism; the idea that if I don't like how any business works I can always choose to take my money elsewhere, or some such bullshit. Of course, it's really easy in this day and age to spend money somewhere that doesn't just waste most of it. What all this has hidden is the fact that no matter the amount the government wastes, it will never compare to the amount the private sector wastes.
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First, consider the waste of redunancy. Competition in any industry involves all sides duplicating administrative, research, and manufacturing resources that could be more efficiently used if centralized. One CEO or board of directors can plan out an entire industry as easily as they can plan out a fraction of it as well as how their portion is going to beat all the others. I know that any of you of the capitalist persuasion are just going to start shouting about how competition is the mother of all innovation and all that shit. Shut the fuck up. Innovation is totally independent of economic systems. Given the funding and the resources, those who think up all the technological, structural, and all the other innovations are going to do their thing because that's what they do. Intellectuals and scientists are going to be pushing progress because it's personally fulfilling, they don't need the opportunities of the capitalist system to drive them forth. In fact, almost never do they actually get to reap the rewards of their effort; it's the parasitic fucks who are good at taking innovation and selling the hell out of it who get the big bucks and the credit. When you offer these capitalistic incentives to science and progress, it actually only slows it down. The people who actually have something worthwhile to produce are inevitably crowded out of the market by the considerably less brilliant people only looking to fake progress for a quick buck. Which gets us onto the other great waste, marketing.
The biggest problem with marketing is that it completely subverts the parts of capitalism that actually serve a use. Marketing allows products to create their own demand, basically. Even if the consumer's life was perfectly complete without whatever they're selling, marketing will make you want it. This totally subverts almost all real innovation. Why go to the trouble of making something that will actually make people's lives better when you can simply make any sort of crap and know that people will lap it up because you can tell them that they need to? And all real innovation has that extra cost attached to it, too, that it needs to be effectively sold in order to rise above the bullshit. Just go for a walk into any big store and look around at all the shit that no one actually needs. Imagine all the effort that went into making it and all the other worthless shit in every single corner of the globe, and how all that effort was completely fucking wasted. It didn't make anyone any happier, it didn't make anyone safer or healthier, it didn't advance the human race one fucking centimeter. Capitalism took the time of everyone who made all that shit and sold it and the money of everyone who buys it and wasted it. And that shit is an immeasurable portion of the world's economy, especially in the "developed" world. Trillions of dollars and countless man-hours, all going towards nothing at all, every single fucking year. Imagine if all those resources were actually used to make people's lives better, to solve the world's problems. That would be efficiency. Regardless of how much bureaucracy it would take to get there, how much waste the government would supposedly create, what we all would gain would be beyond measure. Money once spent on making enormous stockpiles of today's fashionable clothes, toys, whatever, could go to things like infrastructure, and technology, that actually makes people better off. Effort spent on the next way to beguile idiots to buy crap could go towards solving the world's humanitarian, diplomatic, and scientific problems. You cannot beat that. Your worthless, directionless system would have to be a hundred times more advanced and wealthier and more efficient to compete with that level of organization, that level of purpose, and nobody would say that it is. Chaos will never outperform order. No matter how much socialism is misrepresented, the truth remains. That's all that needs to be fucking said.
So, since kind of interesting things are happening to me, I've decided to break the ranting-only rule of this lj and put them there. That means that stuff here is going friends-only, in order to keep my dad and random internet people out of my life. Feel free to comment to be added to my friends list, if you know me and actually give half a shit about my boring life.
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I've had a most interesting week of JSA stuff. First came symposium at the UW. It was an interesting educational thing, I guess. Plenty of cool speakers and such. To tell the truth I was too obsessed with seducing the womenfolk to really notice or care about anything else, unfortunately. The pressure of working on a deadline on such an important task combined with a near-total lack of sleep really did a number on my mental state, even before the inevitable rejection. Damnit, I promised myself I wouldn't let this lj become my constant bitchings about my relationship and sexual issues. Oh well.
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Sleep on the plane combined with sheer excitement of being in California for Zuma, which I had been hoping to be able to go to since I learned about it and excited as all fuck for since I knew I was going, cured me of all stupid self-indulgent depressive fuckery, though. I really shouldn't say much about what goes on at Zuma, what with it being JSA secrets and stuff, but suffice it to say that we were staying up in the mountains at this absolutely gorgeous old school/nunnery/conference center with the coolest people in the world. I really cannot express how wonderful it was. Suffice it to say that I would trade every other wonderful JSA experience for those four days. We were doing amazing things in an amazing place, but what really made it was the people. Everyone was amazingly intelligent and funny and wonderful in general; it was enough to restore my faith in humanity, and that's a feat. There was Nick, my cool, bitter Floridian roommate, Daphne, who was kind enough to let me argue socialism to her, Dorian, the tall ultra-conservative black guy who got into a billion debates/shouting matches, Anna and Josh, who made beautiful music for all of us, Caitlin, who was our little bit of chaos, and I could go on for ages but my pathetic readership has probably already stopped reading so I'll stop writing. Oh, and of course I met Diane, who is absolutely marvelous in general and who I think I may have actually made a sort of affectionate bond with, even though nothing happened and we probably won't meet for a long while if ever again. Sigh, oh well, I've probably jinxed everything now anyways. Still, there are some things you can't take away from me. Like my new JSA mug! I won it in the impromptu speaking contest, and I'm incredibly proud of it.
I think that's about it for my life. There may be other momentous events to come, but who knows. I do promise to deliver a rant unto my poor deprived reader base soon, though. I just need the time and the inspiration to make something truly epic.