2 comments Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sometimes, while I'm on itunes, I like to listen to other people's collection of tracks. None more so than "Lori" though. She's got one of the most interesting and eclectic mixes from alternative, oldies, emo, punk, to a nice wide assortment of indie. Lately, while searching through her 20.2 GB's worth of music I stumbled on some Of Montreal whom I first heard about through Bardot. I highly recommend you check out all of their music as it's hip and rock'n to groove to. Plus, their video for Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and other games) is a good watch. I also heardGary Jules (check out "No Poetry") whom sounds alternative borderline country. I haven't heard him before, so if you have kudos to you. I also enjoyed listening to The Notwist (check out "Off The Rails") who sounds indie-rockish. Finally, as recommended by dooce sometime ago, I heard Idlewild who totally rocks the fscking cazba. They're like Coldplay only ten times better, minus the piano, add a violin and some rocking riffs.

Usually I'd go off on each artist's style, but you just need to check them out for yourself. Hopefully the links will get you to some of their music.

0 comments Friday, October 28, 2005

I took my midterm for Eastern Civilizations and managed to finish it well enough. Still, I don't know if I was able to make it laconic, cogent, and succinct. I know that if I had more time, say two hours, I would've been able to produce a highly analytical and detailed essay regarding US and Japanese relations. As it was only 50 minutes though, I only managed to make my first point very clear and understandable while the rest of the essay got rushed. I'm sure it was decent, just not of my usual caliber. That's just how it is, though. It's not like I can change what happened and it's not like it's that big a deal since it was my first essay exam that was timed like that (with exception to the AP exams). Regardless, good or bad, there is always the potential to improve and do better the next time around.


I've prepared myself for my midterm tomorrow in Eastern Civilizations as best as possible given the time constraints upon returning from the debate tournament. As I'm not good at writing in when timed as evidenced when I got a 3 instead of a 4 or 5 on my AP English exam (seriously, I stand by timing being the main factor in my inability to get a 4 or 5), I hope I can pull this off well enough. Hopefully I can write well enough that my ideas are laconic, cogent, and succinct.

I know I can do it, I just need to get it done.

2 comments Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's good to be home after an elongated weekend in the middle of the great plains. While the tournament went surprisingly well considering the judges didn't time any of us, it wasn't of the usual caliber our team encounters. There were good debaters and speakers, but overall, the prevalence of each was minimal with exception to our team. I know that sounds egotistical, but it's true. It was almost like most of the other teams weren't prepared and just showed up for the hell of it. As a result, we won first place by almost double the points of the second place team, and so on.

Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled by the tournament. Still, having Lacey there was a nice change from the last tournament where it was boring and everyone seemed to be feeling each other out. In terms of the social dynamic of the team, this tournament was significantly better.

Other than that, though, the weekend didn't hold much. We ate at the Cracker Barrel two times, which was good. We also ate at the Atlanta Bread Company twice and it was heavenly. I really wish Boise had one of those. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere of the bakery/restaurant was calming and classy. If I had the capital to bring one of them here, I most certainly would!

Yesterday, before we left Oklahoma City, we decided to see the Murrah Federal Building Memorial. It was a nice sight to see, but the museum was, in essence, the nadir of the trip. After winning and having a great time, we were exposed to the depressing footage from that horrible day. As such, most of the team left the museum in silence, thoroughly depressed.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got a Superior in Impromptu and an Excellent in POI. Go me! Now, the question remains, will I be prepared for the next tournament that is coming up in 17 days?

5 comments Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This semester has been an interesting and perplexing lesson in sacrifice. I'm not sure if it's because I've become more self-aware or if it is because I'm being more selfish than I was before. Regardless, I've come to realize that there is a time and a place for sacrifice and significant costs and benefits with each sacrifice.

Perhaps that's why I've been focusing on my studies more so than any other year. I'm focused on my studies because they are all engaging and interesting this semester--the first time this has happened. It's hard for me to simply half-ass my way through these classes because I feel compelled to do beyond my best as I enjoy these classes so much. That's why, in the wake of this weekend's tournament, I've decided to place my weight and value in these classes over speech and debate. So much so, that I skipped speech today (to finish all my readings and respond to them AND study for a test and a quiz) and slightly offended my coach. And while I initially felt bad, I don't anymore. I love debate, it's stimulating and enjoyable. However, it is not my life. Sacrificing one class of speech so that I can stay ahead of schedule and get the grades I know I am more than capable of and deserve, then, seems like more than proper balance to me.

Still, I realize that I let this powerful perception of my coach get to me. I let it govern my feelings, I let it make me feel guilty. However, and this is ironic (but it is the strange and great purpose of having a brother/family around), my brother helped me realize that my coach, and any problems/issues/etc. for that matter, are only as powerful and difficult as I perceive them. I knew this, but I never realized the weight of it until now. My brother, surprisingly, helped me out. I don't feel guilty for missing that class today, not anymore. I know I did what was right for me either out of self-awareness or selfishness, and that's all that matters. I am a student first and foremost, and this...this is just another tournament in a stream of many more to come. Another issue of many more.

I refuse to let anyone tell me otherwise, especially if their intent is to make me feel guilty for a proper and beyond equivalent sacrifice. No matter what happens this weekend, good or bad, I know I made the right decision.

Monday, October 17, 2005

You only have as much power over me as I allow you to have.


You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Except I'm focusing more on Communication and, possibly, History.

2 comments Sunday, October 16, 2005

As I've noted numerous times before, the weekends before a tournament are the worst. In addition to trying to stay ahead, I must also manage to practice my speeches as many times as possible so as to improve them and make sure they are memorized. This weekend, of course, is no exception to that.

This week shored up some wonderful assignments to keep me boarded up in my room from dawn until dusk: an English paper, a 20 page reading for English, a reading response, studying for my abnormal psychology test, eastern civilization readings (to stay ahead) and outlines for the midterm, readings for interpersonal communication (to stay ahead), as well as debate topic research and speech practice.

Again, my brain motivates me to do all these things, reminding me that I've gotten through such situations before. Cynically, though, I remind myself that, while that may be the case, the pressure and stress are too much. Not that I'll burnout, but I will get burned in one way or another. I just hope they're only first or, at most, second degree burns. Manageable. Recoverable.

4 comments Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I've been in a weird mood lately. I think, given the numerous things that have occurred (classes driving me crazy, debate/speech gone awry, and other personal issues), it has probably been in the course of things to come and I just didn't anticipate it. I dislike how life does that to you--how we are aware it is cyclical, but blinded to its approaches. That's just life though. That's change.

Yet, even as I know this, I feel somewhat disheartened. I accept change as it comes so rapidly, but what it leaves in its wake is harder to deal with. Things always seem correct and proper at first until you realize that the scenery has changed and that you can't do much about it except keep moving. That's how this year has been so far: change without control. It's the reason why I'm not as happy as I was last year on the debate team, even though we do well and I've done well. It's the reason why I'm more motivated to focus on myself and my classes because they seem to be one of the only static things I have. It's the reason that certain things have fallen apart, even though I tried my best to mend some of them.

I'm sure there is a reason for all of this, maybe even some motivation to grow and do more. And that is great, but I'm just not feeling it right now.

I need a break, a long extended break.

0 comments Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rising indie music from Silversun Pickups from their EP Pikul. It's rockably mellow and strikingly intense with abstract lyrics and great guitar rifs. I especially like Kissing Families, the title track (I'm assuming), which is has an ruggedly uplifting drum beat in conjunction with the guitar rifs. It also has a nice bass/violin breakdown. The images portrayed in the song are scattered and far between, but they come together in the lyrics later as the song unfolds to state "that everything is connected and beautiful, and now I know just where I stand" bringing it in to a deeper context. Booksmart Devil opens with eerily haunting sounds to emerge later as a toned-down rock song with echoing electrical chords, picking up lyrical momentum along the way. Sci Fi Lullaby details the end of a relationship with simple, but effective acoustic tunege. The rest of the album is also well orchestrated and worth the listen. All in all, the seven song EP Pikul is worth the buy if you dig similar sounds from Straylight Run (minus the piano) or Death Cab For Cutie (with a bit more drums and a little bit of a lyrical outburst from the lead singer here and there), but you can only buy it on itunes or at one of their concerts. Of course, you could just listen to the three songs (Kissing Families, Booksmart Devil, and The Fuzz) they have streaming on their website if else fails. At least do that much.


After finishing The Epic of Gilgamesh for my Western World Literature paper, I have to say that it is interestingly more intricate than I originally gave it credit for. Who knew? Now, if I can write this as well as I see it after some in-depth analysis, maybe I will get an A?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Marching Bands of Manhattan
by Death Cab For Cutie
from Plans

If I could open my arms
and span the length of the isle of Manhattan,
I'd bring it to where you are
making a lake of the East River and Hudson
And if I could open my mouth
wide enough for a marching band to march out of
they would make your name sing
and bend through alleys and bounce off other buildings.

I wish we could open our eyes
to see in all directions at the same time
Oh what a beautiful view
if you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
that I live like a hermit in my own head
but when the sun shines again
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown (4x)

Your love is gonna drown (4x)
Your love is gonna...

Take a 40 minute shower daily especially during the times when I need to use the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for classes and work. Thanks a lot dear asshole of a brother! It wouldn't hurt you to conserve just a little and cut 20-30 minutes off you shower time so other people, namely ME, could use the bathroom.

Thanks, fucktard!


Midterms are fast approaching in college land at this time of year. It is during this time that professors toss out enormous papers with all too soon due dates and/or tests that are worth a large portion of your grade in hopes that you can juggle everything as you ride along, carefully so, on your unicycle positioned ever so steadily on a tightrope.

Perhaps it's not that bad, especially for most people. I'm sure a paper and a test or two can't be too detrimental. In my case, they wouldn't cause problems if I didn't have to juggle debate along with the rest of it. Not that debate is difficult, because it isn't when you're prepared and have a good debate partner (of which, I'm sure I'm saying goodbye to Hillary at semester as she is seeing wedding bells more and more). Rather, when mixed with the rest of these courses, it is the one, and usually the only one, that spells potential disaster to everything else. While I do enjoy debate, the time it requires us to spend away from courses, especially tough courses (e.g. Eastern Civilizations and Western World Literature), is a bit much. This year it is also costing me work time, which, in turn, is costing me money. Our next tournament will cost me three days of class, two of which are important days in my Eastern Civilizations class because they are right before the midterm. While I'm not too worried with the course right now, the weight that the midterm carries is starting to leave me slightly anxious in the wake of this realization.

As nerdy as I am, I'll probably pull through just fine. Which is good. It's my standards for this semester, however, that are starting to pull at me. I digress though. Instead, the motto "If you have a problem and it can be solved, don't worry about it. If you have a problem and it can't be solved, don't worry about it" seems to ring in my head as a reminder that things are as they are for a reason and you can only do your best. Even if you want your best to be a 4.0.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

After a slump of a weekend which included a lot of reading for both courses and speeches, I was finally uplifted by the Desperate Housewives. Thank God for dark comic relief after a weekend of reading.

5 comments Tuesday, October 04, 2005

  • Tonight — Attending a lecture given by Karen Armstrong on "The Battle For God." It should prove to be interesting and potentially helpful for debate/speech stuff.
  • Wednesday — Nothing in particular. Working on my paper for Western World Lit and maybe some other stuffs.
  • Thursday — Seeing Death Cab For Cutie in concert with Lacey, Chad, and Cary. After which, I will be finalizing my WWL paper and studying for my quiz in Eastern Civilizations.
  • Friday — Communications Study Group for Movie Analysis. We chose "10 Things I Hate About You," and by "we" I mean that the girls in my group (which is the rest of the group as I'm the only guy) thought that it would be best. I guess it's not too bad though. Julia Stiles works for me!

3 comments Sunday, October 02, 2005

I finally organized most of my room today. Given the schedule of events I've gone through during the last five weeks, I haven't really had much time to organize much of anything in my life, let alone my room. After the tournament got over last weekend, though, a lot of my time freed up and I was able to start getting rid of the boxes that have sat in my room for the last two weeks. Now it actually looks like someone lives here, and it only took a month!

I won't go so far as to say that it feels like home (because if this were home I wouldn't be living with my brother), but I will say that it feels like a place of residence that I can live in agreeably. Haha!

2 comments Saturday, October 01, 2005

As per usual, I've updated the blog colors and masthead.

The masthead and lyrics are cut and dry, I think. The obvious and literal connection: I chose a picture of leaves in the fall because leaves, of course, change with the seasons. Reasons, likewise, change heedlessly--sometimes taking into account everything going on, and sometimes they change at the whim of a moment. Right now, this time is that whim, that change that has occurred and continues to occur.

I feel that, in many ways, my life changes like the seasons around me. I go through seasons of winter when it's lonely, empty, and a bit chilly, but often beautiful; seasons of spring when it rains and there is new growth and understanding; seasons of summer when the sun shines to illuminate the world (and potentially burn you) but increase the shadows of things yet to come; and seasons of fall when colors change and the atmosphere cools, when things are no longer clouded by the haziness of the heat of summer (or the chill of winter, or the rain of spring). In this regard, fall is the clearest of all seasons--a time of change, but in clarity and understanding--because there is nothing to distract attention in the atmosphere. There are only colors of change and moments of reflection with each leaf falling.