"Democracies die behind closed doors."
The list goes on, and on, and on. That article, along with my Political Science lecture this morning, has severely depressed me. It seems the more I know about the structure and function of our government, and the more I know about how the current administration is using or abusing it, the more hopeless the situation seems. It wouldn’t be right to stop learning, simply because what I’ve come to understand fills me with fear, doubt, and sadness. If I ever want to change anything about the systems around me, it will be beneficial, no, necessary to understand them as best I can.
What an exhausting past few days.
Main Entry: 1ex·haust
Etymology: Latin exhaustus, past participle of exhaurire, from ex- + haurire to draw; akin to Middle High German [oe]sen to empty, Greek auein to take
1 a : to consume entirely…
I was lucky enough that Reed pulled me aside in class on Thursday afternoon, and asked if I would like to start facilitating for the challenge course at that very moment, instead of sitting through a decidedly lame lecture on reading techniques. My answer was a (perhaps too loud) “Hell yes!”, followed swiftly by a “See you suckers later!”.
When I got outside, I met up with Nate and the other facilitators for that day. The group we were working with was composed of elementary school kids, most of them only as tall as my waist. I arrived just in time for the front-loading circle sit down. The two kids to my right, Josh and Chad, were instantly recognizable as the kids who act out/make fun of everything/question almost all authority. I would dominate them with a mix of cunning, guile, fart jokes, and general understanding of our similar motives.
The day went well, and I got experience stepping up to introduce activities, extolling the values of safety, checking over body harnesses, and maintaining the focus of others. After the kids left, I got to help take down the ropes course, and Nate showed me how to properly scale on of the poles using the lobster-claws and a seat harness. It was a lot of fun, trying to figure out how to take down the system without ruining it, and it was especially exciting since we didn’t finish until after sundown.
Friday was a blur, was there even a Friday this week? Perhaps not. Oh yeah, now I remember. After my music class I saw the girl I want to be friends with walking a little ways ahead of me, so I started to catch up with her. Instead of initiating a conversation about anything at all, I turned around and walked away. I feel like a totally inept spaz, still. So yeah, I guess I just wish Friday never happened. Friday night was a bit better, but still inept. I was going to see a film being shown on campus, titled Ripe for Change. I thought I was only a few minutes late, but when I got there I realized that the film actually started an hour earlier. I sat around for the last six minutes and some discussion with the promoter afterwards, and he was kind enough to lend me a copy of the DVD, requesting “if you like it, you can send me a check for it, or just mail me back the DVD.”
Later that evening I got a call from Mike, who would be the lead facilitator for the group I would be working with on Saturday. He let me know that we would be starting around 7:30am, and I went to sleep early in preparation.
6:45am is the earliest I have ever woken up in Chico. Turns out the sunrises here aren’t too spectacular after all. I got myself dressed and pumped for my first full day working for the Outdoor Ed. program, and I was on my bike by 7:15. I definitely got their too early, and when Diana showed up, she invited me inside to help get the gear together. Reed was there, and he gave me some brief words of encouragement before shuffling off to his other obligations. Soon enough I met the other facilitators I would be working with, Mike, Tyson, and Tina. I was the only person there younger than twenty-five.
The group we would be working with was a group of fourteen students and two professors who were preparing to go to a national business management competition in Reno. I noticed that I was still at least two years younger than anybody else there. Under mike’s direction we took them through a series of low-elements first, like “Acid River”, “Spider Web”, and “Trust Falls”. There were a few snags when it came to activities I was leading, that I feel can mostly be attributed to my lack of experience, but I don’t think it detracted too much from the overall experience for the group. By this point, I was already feeling comfortable taking a leadership role, and using the activities to try and teach, despite the age difference. Breaking for lunch at 11:45 I sped off on my bike and got two slices of olive and artichoke topped pizza from Celestino’s (the only NY pizzeria in Chico). When the feeding was done and the group reassembled, we started with the high-elements, specifically the “Lazy Susan/Pamper Pole”, “Giant’s Ladder, and the “High V”. I’d had experience with all of these except for the “Giant’s Ladder”, but it wasn’t a problem. We moved along well, if a bit slowly, and eventually settles down for the debriefing. I think Mike, Tyson, Tina and I were able to get the metaphorical lessons across to group, without much direct idea planting.
Tearing down the course was also a learning experience, and Diana let me go up some poles using the lobster-claws and a seat harness. I’m also getting good at stacking and wrapping ropes.
When I got home around 7:30pm or so, the cafeteria had already closed up. I was starving though, and settled for a dinner of corn chips and salsa. I finally sat down to watch Ripe for Change, and it made me both more aware of the benefits of eating locally grown organic foods, and of how hungry I was. Chips and salsa, you do not satisfy me. I was again able to get to sleep early.
Sunday morning I woke feeling like a heavily tenderized meat-sack. My shoulders and neck were killing me, are still killing me, I assume from the climbing I did on Saturday. I decided the only cure for this (and the slight head cold I’ve had for a week) would be a ride up to Paradise. It’s been far too long since I’ve ridden the steep winging road, a course I at one point considered doing weekly. Perhaps that could still become a reality, as I find higher value in these diminishing fair-weather weekends. As always, the views were gorgeous, my legs got sore, and my bike got dirty, success in all respects. My little odometer rolled over the four-hundred mile mark just before I got back to Craig Hall. Part of me is disappointed in that figure, and I think it could be a lot higher if I could muster a stronger morning resolve.
Bright Eyes flips around in my mind. He is either brilliant, a pompous ass, or a total fucking psycho. Get it together my man.
TV killed the radio serials.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about “The Office”, variations both US and UK, and now I can finally indulge my curiosity. The first three seasons of the US show, commercial free, can be seen online here. Enjoy, my fellow privateers!
I’ve spent my evening messing around on the interweb.
More specifically, I’ve been fooling with the Internet Archive, and it’s wonderful services. This archive of all things downloadable was created by some rather intelligent and philanthropic people, who recognized that the internet could use some sharing, library-style, bitches. What they offer is free hosting for any kind of file, along with a massive archive the internet itself. You can input a web site’s url into their “Wayback Machine” and see a snapshot of that page from last week, or a month ago, or two years ago. Me, I’m way more interested in their willingness to host any old crap I can upload. So far, I’ve put up eight Meat Machine songs, which can be downloaded from here. Their site is so kind, that it readily assists you in attaching proper creative commons licenses to your media if you so desire, and even reformats the files in to a number of different formats and bitrates. If you hate M Space, but think you need it for free music hosting, or you think YouTube is crap, but rely on it to make your videos publicly available, I highly recommend you take a look at the Internet Archive. It takes only the slightest understanding of ftp to operate, and they’re so amazingly generous in what they offer. Hey, if it’s good enough for ultrastars like Defiance, Ohio, then it’s better than good enough for my free-loading ass.
Of the eight songs I uploaded, there is one that I just recorded today, titled ‘January’. Here are the lyrics:
She asked me how I was doing,
and all that came to mind,
was that most wonderful feeling
of when we hung out, for the last time, so
I answered honestly,
“It feels fucking great,
being able to talk to you,
like you’re next to me, and
not three thousand miles away”
And I can’t wait for January,
will get the best of me.
And I can’t wait to see the snow again,
to back in town, feel at home,
and see what’s grown of my best friends.
These three months might be longer
than any thing else in the almanac,
and I’ve pulled leaves from everything new here,
it comforts me the child.
And I’f getting a hold on this,
then I’m applauding off stage.
But I’d rather be drinking hot chocolate,
and feeling free staring,
and sharing two couches.
And I can’t wait for January,
will get the best of me.
No I don’t want to think
and fuck November,
and fuck December too,
I miss you.
You may have noticed that I chose to break my rule of “don’t drop the F-bomb”, and I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I think this song still has a lot of room to grow, music & performance wise, and I’m not dead-set on leaving those profoundly clumsy cuss-words in there. Let me know what you think.
Bite into that sucker with some SALT.
I’m better than anyone at breaking my own rules. I know all their weaknesses.
I spent a couple days drawing crap, or not drawing anything at all, and tonight (er, Thursday night) I sat down and did some doodles I’m rather proud of. I regularly sketch the images we’re shown in my Art History class as a way of note taking, and there were some nice subjects today. I decided I would give myself a little more time, and put in a bit more effort to capture some of them. I think the last page I did, with the drawing of the statue of Hermes, is one of the best I’ve done in a while. I have a very strong stigma of drawing faces and feet, and his miraculously look sort of alright. Makes my day.
If you’re on my pen-pal list, and you’ve been spending all your free time pacing back and forth, scheming new ways to punish me for not writing to you, you can’t just cut that shit out. I’ve picked up the pen once more, and your letter should arrive shortly. Concordantly, if you’d like to be added to said repartee, let me know your address, along with a list of five things you wouldn’t hate to see me illustrate, and our correspondence shall begin. I think words are sexy.
I’m also starting to develop my taste for the “wolf peach”, and if you can suggest any particularly pallet-exciting recipes, or methods for consumption besides just biting-chewing-swallowing, I am now open to hear them.
Apparently one of my all-time-favorite bands Insouciant is up to their old tricks again, recording some new material the way they do. I had filed them under “Notrock Bands That Have Died Far, Far Too Young”, but I guess I can always shuffle them back into the “Noisy Friends Of Mine” category. Does this make them a zombie-band? Now if only highly toxic chemicals buried by the government next-door to a graveyard would leach in to the soil and animate for my entertainment some kind of zombie-Khantra…
I watched Iraq for Sale, it made me very angry, it made me very sad, and it made me want to vote even more. It also made me wonder “Wait, is there any difference between Democratic Capitalists and Republican Capitalists?” The correct answer of course, is a sudden, out-of-breath, throat-raw-from-crying, “No!” The corporations that have so much sway over the United States government really don’t care about parties, and moving one set of suits out of office, and replacing them with other suits who say “yes” instead of “no” and turn left instead of right, won’t remove any of the powers that we’ve so complacently surrendered to the corporation. If they can put The Bottom Line ahead of any moral, why wouldn’t they put it ahead of party loyalty? They’re playing both sides, they’re playing to win, and they play so much harder than an individual like you are me possibly can. When bureaucracy and corruption turns the standard operating procedure to a useless formality, what is left besides radical thought and violent action?
In what seems to be a trend, Keith Olbermann says something I can stand behind.
Pile of it.
Here’s me catching up.
I didn’t do a page on the tenth, so I did two on the eleventh to cleanse my soul.
I sang a Dead Milkmen song along with one of the chefs from the cafeteria tonight.
“Love me two times baby,
love me twice today,
love me two times baby,
love me twice ‘cause I’ve got AIDS!”
That’s just how we roll, late night.
I’m working on an idea for a comic, called ~Naut, it think it might only be funny to philosophy students though. I’ll be sure to post it here when it’s finished.
I’m inches away from declaring outdoor education as my major, I’m not sure how that makes me feel.
I’ve fallen behind in my letter writing duties, severely. I must improve the situation soon.
More bike riding is in order this weekend, hopefully I won’t get as many thorns in my tubes now that I’m riding on Conti Gatorskins. I should go up through Magalia again, it’s been too long. I have eyes for those hills.
Pullins Cyclery up the street seemed like a very respectable establishment, and if I thought I could make my schedule work, I’d kill to work there.
It’s true that the “weather’s a changing”.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I tried to learn how to play “Clementine”, but it’s really hard, and I couldn’t do it justice, so I left it off.
I’m up early, for the first time in a while, and it’s good. Unfortunately the cafeteria doesn’t open for another half hour, so I’ve got some time to kill before I get my eat on.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to post yesterday’s page. It definitely wasn’t as satisfying as other pages have been, but I need to remind myself, that’s not the point. The point is to draw, and to do it often.
There are obviously a lot of musical themes on this page, what can I say. When my room mate is gone for the weekend, I bust hot jamz constantly.
I’m really fucking hungry.
I’m trying to decide what I should do with my day, I know I’m going to be riding my bike though. On one hand, I could go for the shorter “Keefer Road” ride, see some cool aero-planes, take photos of them, and then try to draw them for today’s page. Or, I could go for the much longer ride, up through Paradise and Magalia, and destroy myself. Either way I need to get some breakfast in me.
What say you, tremulous tides of internet fating?
Nuke the whales
Today’s page was mostly inpired my breakfast: a bannana and whalemeat. I’m only kidding, it was inspired by the cruel bannanocide I have inflicted upon the cafeteria.
I’m going to go for a bike ride tomorrow, I hope I am. I haven’t gone for a real ride in weeks, and the only thing keeping me in bed is my own lethargy. Hopefully, miraculously, I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling inspired to move.
Riding to and from class, I got another flat from a thorn. I had hoped it was a pinch flat from when I was bunny-hopping up some stairs, trying to impress that one badass girl from my Art history class, but no. She probably thinks I’m some nobody-chump-who-can’t-even-get-a-pinch-flat.
If I owe you a letter, or you want a letter from me and simply assume I was going to send you one, I’m sorry. Though incoming mail is one of the few things keeping me afloat in this ocean of suck, I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting words together to send out. I’ve scheduled some time this weekend to catch up, even if I can’t think of what to say.
I think it’s funny that using the phrase “scheduled some time” makes it’s seem like I’m really busy, even though I’m not.
I really like Greenday?
I’m about to start reading Walden, and I really wish I could talk to my dad about it?
I want to take pictures of aeroplanes?
I feel rewarded after supporting the arts?
Call me, and we’ll talk about January.
I did most of today’s page at a nice coffee shop in town. Siobhan got a drink and I got to doodle. The barrista who served us was wearing a shirt with the face from the album cover of “staring at the sea” on it, and it made me happy.
The couple next to us was talking about the grievous sacrifice that is the latest round of bills to pass through congress, specifically those that give our president the right to waive off habeus corpus and to declare American citizens as “enemy combatants”. They all expressed shock and disgust at how their elected representatives had failed to stop this bill from making it’s way to the whitehouse, and they discussed how this impacted their motivations for voting in the next few weeks. That made me happier than any Cure related clothing ever could. If you’re not registered to vote, there’s still time, and there’s still some civil liberties left to save.
Today’s page was fun. I drew the hand between classes, with constantly changing light sources on my left grabbing appendage. I think it came out alright. ALSO, we should all join the Phi Beta Douchebag fraternity, I hear they are cool. Way cooler than Alpha Gamma Asshole.
There’s a poster hanging in the art building, that reads “Haven’t you always dreamed of living in NEW YORK?” Yeah, I’ve lived there, it was probably alright, except I moved to Jersey because it was a bad neighborhood for growin’ up in. If SVA was cheaper, or I had worked harder for that $$$, I’d probably be studying art in the big city right now. That could have been awesome as hell. Yeah.
Everyone sucks but me.
Make it look like a fish
Still on schedule.