Friday, October 31, 2003

"I Gave Her My Best Kiss She Gave It Back Again"

I retook the GRE this morning up in Oklahoma City. It's been almost two years since the last time I took it, back on December 26, 2001. At 8:00 in the morning. Eight o'clock in the morning the day after Christmas is a hell of a time to be taking the GRE. Noon on Halloween is much better.

I've basically spent the day in isolation. Since I took the GRE this morning instead of working, I didn't see anyone from work (including coworkers and athletes). I've seen people in the bank, the GRE testing facility, and on the road, but I really haven't had any conversations with anyone. I haven't smiled at anyone today, though I did laugh at some of the stuff my father said over the telephone earlier this evening. But a phone conversation just isn't the same. All the friends I'd have hung out with this evening had prior engagements--either dinners, get togethers with other people, in Arkansas or some other distant state, or attending parties I wasn't invited to or wouldn't be comfortable at. So it's another solo Halloween, just as last year was. That's okay, though--I watched anime instead, and now I'm going to go work on grad school apps (almost got 'em done, thankfully).

The sad thing is, I really need to sort of prepare myself to deal with a lot of isolation. Come May, I graduate from OU. Come August, I'll (hopefully) be attending a university in some other state: either Missouri, Virginia, Ohio, or Wisconsin. I don't really know many people in any of them (I know one person in Missouri, and a few in Virginia, but the person I know in Missouri doesn't live anywhere near St. Louis, and I'm not even sure if the school in Virginia would enable me to pursue my teaching goals). The fact of the matter is, I'm going to be heading off for parts basically unknown in less than a year. Not only that, my discipline is such that I probably won't encounter many people on a social basis. Sure, I'll see people in classes, I'll see people in whatever apartment complex I live in, and I'm sure I'll even get to know a couple of them. But will I be able to form the bonds I have at Ozarks, or even here at OU? The only reason I know most of the people I know here is because I met them through an old high school friend or I already knew them (mostly because they were former Ozarks students like myself). I've only met one person here who is completely unconnected to anyone else I knew prior to coming here, and I work with him. We were sort of thrown into a situation where we had to interact, and it just so happened that we got along and there were circumstances allowing us to just sit around and chat aimlessly for hours, discovering we had quite a bit in common (and that I amused him, something I apparently do quite well for many people).

The fact is, I don't really make friends that easily. It's not that I'm not a friendly, easy-going person, or difficult to like, or anything like that. Part of it is that I'm an introvert, and my basic response to meeting new people is to either withdraw into my shell or make quiet, wry comments until the person laughs. So far, I've basically gotten by on the skin of my teeth and by dint of the fact that several of the people I've met are extroverts. I can't always rely on either factor.

And as I said, my discipline is one which lends itself to isolation. We research, we study, we read, we attend class, we write papers. Historians are actually quite boring people. We don't have much time for socializing, and I've noticed that virtually every other history grad student around here is rather...dour. Somber. Maybe they're just really focused on their discipline, I dunno. But they strike me as rather self-absorbed, unaware that there's a world around them, and too wrapped up in making sure they know everything they can about history that they don't care if they have friends or not. I like history, but I want something outside of it for when I get tired or bored of battles, names, dates, and religious controversy involving people who died three or four hundred years ago. I want living people with energy and life in them.

I guess what it all really boils down to is that I'm afraid to move on, afraid to change. If I can stay in the situation I'm in, where I'm familiar with it and comfortable, then I can continue to feel safe and secure. I can remain happy. But if I change that situation, if I move to a new place where I'm unfamiliar with my surroundings and with the people, there's always the chance I won't be happy there, that I'll be very unhappy. Sure, it's a pretty stupid and irrational reason to not want to face change, to not take a risk, but no one ever said irrational fears would make sense. That would make them rational, and a rational irrational fear is nonsensical, thus being very irrational in and of itself. But I digress.

Ultimately, I think what I really want to do is take all my friends with me, drag them along wherever I go like a security blanket while I suck on my thumb. I know I can't do that, and that even though we'll be in different places we'll still be friends, it doesn't make dealing with it any easier, I guess.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Tom Petty, "Crawling back to you"

Thursday, October 30, 2003

"Words Fail--Buildings Tumble"

I went out stargazing with some friends last night out at Lake Thunderbird (Lake Dirtybird to the locals). We were going out to see the aurora that we were supposed to be able to see because of the massive solar flare that was going on the past couple of days. Unfortunately, the aurora wasn't viewable at the time we were out there. But the view was beautiful nonetheless.

What does that have to do with anything? Not a thing. I just wanted to relate that to you. Having grown up in a town that thought it was a city, I never really got to see many stars. There was always too much light pollution from the surrounding area for the sky to be very visible, even on a clear night. Sure, I know what the stars look like, and I can even pick out a couple of constellations. But for the most part, I never really looked at the sky that much. My eyes tended not to stray above the horizon. Hell, I was lucky if they even strayed beyond the square of ground under my feet.

So being able to go out into something that felt like the middle of nowhere (and apparently a creepy middle of nowhere, to hear Beth and Jess talk about it) and be able to see the stars was nice. It was like being back in Yellowstone almost, though the scenery below the stars wasn't quite as impressive.

I've been listening to two things lately--well, three if you count whining athletes. But I'm talking about music here. The first is the Beatles. I borrowed four or five of their CDs from dad (despite being what you might casually call a Beatles afficionado, or even a Beatlemaniac, if you will, I only actually own a couple of their albums myself. There's never been a reason for me to purchase the rest, as dad's had them), and I've been spinning them in the CD player in the car pretty much constantly. The other musician I've been listening to is the great Bob Dylan. I just go through cycles--last week, I ended a Van Morrison cycle after playing his latest opus, "What's Wrong with this Picture?" about a dozen times. Now it's the Beatles and Dylan. For the Dylan, I've been listening to basically everything I have of his, from his early folk stuff ("Freewheelin' Bob Dylan") to his three masterful mid-70s albums ("Blood on the Tracks," "Desire," and "The Basement Tapes"), his revelatory mid-60s electric stuff ("Highway 61 Revisited" and "Bringing it all back Home," mostly), his mellow country-rock duo of "John Wesley Harding" and "Nashville Skyline," and his latter-day masterpieces ("Time out of Mind" and "Love & Theft"). I've also been listening to the "Live 1975" double-disk set every day, just for the fun of it. What does any of this have to do with anything else? Absolutely nothing. I just really didn't have a whole lot to talk about today.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"Seamus--That's My Dog--Was Outside"

I'm not much of an animal person. Don't get me wrong; I don't go around kicking puppies or anything. I'm not cruel to animals by any stretch of the imagination. Just that, given the choice between having my face licked by a dog or an attractive woman, I'll take the woman every time.

What makes it all annoying is that animals really like me. It's like they can sense I'm not an animal person, so they purposely gravitate towards me like light to a black hole. Such was the case last night when I went for my jog. A dog started following me while still in my neighborhood. I tried everything short of actually kicking it to get it to go away, because I really didn't want a dog following me around campus and causing trouble. Well, it kept following me. Nearly got itself run over twice, too. I was finally able to give it the slip on campus when I passed a small group of people who cooed over the dog and it stopped to get attention. The dog either started following them or just wandered off after that, because I never saw it again (which includes not seeing it on the side of the road, for which I was thankful).

I want to be clear here, though. I didn't wish the dog any ill-will. My biggest concern was that it'd almost gotten itself run over twice while following me, and I didn't want that on my conscience. I may not be an animal person, but I'm also not a cruel person, either. It has every right to life that I do. What annoyed me was that it was just running around my neighborhood. It obviously belonged to someone; it had a collar but no tags. Now it's just another stray running around a campus already overpopulated with stray animals.

The whole incident just annoyed me, though, because people kept assuming it was my dog because it was following me. One guy yelled at me when the dog stopped following me and was seeking attention from him. I tried to yell back that it wasn't my dog, but the guy didn't speak very good English.

Anyway, there was a reason for relating this story, I thought, though it might've just been to let everyone know that I had a frustrating experience last night. But then I watched some anime (Sorcerer Hunters) and everything was better.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Traveling Wilburys, "Heading for the Light"

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

"As I Went Out One Morning"

As I was walking to work this morning, I inexplicably started thinking about all the girls I could have had if I'd wanted them. I know that statement sounds rather prigish and egotistical, and maybe this whole post will come across as nothing more than a ridiculously misogynistic rant about how I'm only loved by those I don't want. I don't really know, guess we'll just have to see.

But to return to topic: I can't really explain why I started thinking about this. I think it all started when I downloaded an old Credence Clearwater Revival tune last night, "Someday Never Comes." My senior year, I met a girl (who shall remain nameless because I feel like keeping some things private. Those who know her will recognize who she is, and that's fine. The rest of you don't know her anyway, and knowing her name won't do you much good) who loved this song. I'd actually never heard it before, though I thought I was fairly familiar with CCR (or at least with their two Greatest Hits collections, and this song was on the first one). I'd never heard the song, but loved it. It's taken me this long just to be able to find it to download. So downloading that song probably got me thinking about her. She was a nice girl, and I found her very attractive. She had a few problems, mostly stemming from the abrupt end to her relationship with her ex-fiancee (breaking off a relationship right before you get married does that to a person, I think). Anyway, I met her at a time when I was very, very interested in someone else (a friend of hers, actually), and had eyes for no one else, you could say.

I remember a night. Not necessarily a pleasant night, but a night nonetheless. Both of these girls were in a state one could call inebriated or, to be more accurate, piss drunk. Somehow, it had fallen upon myself and a couple of other girls to take care of these two. The girl I was interested in was completely passed out by the time I'd carried her up to her bed. The other was not. She was still wide awake, and in something of a state. And she asked me why I didn't think she was good enough for me. And I hated myself for not being able to like her, for liking someone else who would have nothing to do with me, and just for being the idiot that I am.

Time marches on, though, and she's married now and, for what I know, happy. The other girl is engaged to be married. Come to think of it, a lot of girls I was interested in or who were interested in me at one time or another are engaged or already married now. I must be behind the times.

But the whole incident that night revealed a facet of my personality that I still don't fully understand. I tend to go after the girls who are, for whatever reason, unattainable. I don't know if I like the chase, or secretly think that I'm better than I really am, or what the deal is. But I tend to fall for the girls who won't have me, while a perfectly wonderful girl is standing right in front of me, beating me in the head with subtle hints that they wouldn't mind going out with me. And I never catch it, because I have no head for subtlety (note to the ladies: most men can't catch subtlty. Be as subtle as a sledgehammer, it's your only hope to get through our thick skulls and the thicker cloud of self-interest we're usually wrapped in). So I sit and mope, and some girl I'm totally unaware of goes unnoticed, and the girl I'm after finds some other guy. That's the usual pattern, anyway. There are variations, but not many.

I don't wish any of the girls ill will, though. Even the ones who wouldn't have me. Hell, especially them, it seems. I have a tough time thinking ill of anyone for not wanting me. I'm a study in contradictions: I think very highly of myself in some regards (I think I'm a decent writer, funny, and maybe even sometimes charming), but I also think I'm not very attractive physically, and that belief creates a sink hole for self-esteem that I collapse in to every time. I think it's probably self-defeating--I don't think I'm attractive, so then I'm not attractive. Or something like that. I also tend to think the girls who are attracted to me could do better. I mean, what is there about me that deserves someone who actually likes and adores me for who and what I am? I don't have to work for anything in that sort of relationship, which is probably ultimately why it'd be dangerous for me to enter one of them. If there's nothing for me to work for, if I don't have to earn someone's respect day after day, I'm pretty sure I'll get lazy, self-absorbed, and stop trying. That's no good for anyone, including me, and especially her.

There have been other girls before and after that incident, but it stuck out in my mind as a sort of obvious representation of my whole situation when it comes to relationships. Like Vizzini, it's like I won't take that which is in front of me (bonus points if you catch the movie reference). It's probably a highly specialized form of stupidity.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Idiot Wind"

Monday, October 27, 2003

"With A Little Help From My Friends"

So I was discussing social group dynamics with a coworker of mine last night (yes, this is what he and I do for fun--discuss social theory and anime. Sometimes at the same time. He's an intellectual, and I pretend to be one, so it works). He said he'd noticed that in social groups on college campuses that have graduate programs, a group of undergraduates will often have a "token graduate student." He'd noticed these groups were, in general, more stable, but didn't know why. He also didn't know why there'd be one or two grad students in a group of undergrads.

Then we figured it out, and it seemed blindingly simple--these grad students were most likely only recently graduated from their undergraduate work. At a large institution like OU, I'm sure a high number of the people who decide to get an advanced degree remain at OU. It makes sense--you already know the professors, you know the program and what's available, and it's just easier. Granted, not everyone does, and sometimes you get students like me, who are from a different school. But then again, Ozarks didn't have a graduate program (if they had, I'd have probably continued attending there). So the token graduate student was, until recently, an undergraduate, and this was simply the group he'd been in prior to moving on to the next degree. I know that several of the people I'm friends with were not in the same year I was at Ozarks, or even if they were, a good number of them did not graduate when I did. Even though I went off for graduate school, I was still friends with them. I had the unique opportunity to be the token grad student in two social groups--one at Ozarks, and one here. In the Ozarks circle, it was usually like I'd never left when I went to visit. It felt normal, more like I was returning home than visiting from home. The OU circle, on the other hand, is composed of an old high school friend and several of the people she's introduced me to. This new circle also includes several students who have yet to complete their undergraduate degree, but some of those are also age peers. It's kinda weird, really.

But yeah, it all made sense when my coworker and I thought about it--why would someone abandon their social group just because they were done with their undergraduate degree? I mean, you're isolated enough as it is as a graduate student. You aren't on campus very much except for class or research, you take classes at different times from other students usually (all the history graduate seminar classes in the history department are at night). It would make sense that you'd want to retain your old social group for more than the obvious reason that these people are your friends and have been for a while now. There's the added fact that most graduate students do not socialize with one another. I've never gone out for a beer with a fellow grad student. Never gone over to their place just to hang out, or gone to see a movie. We see each other in classes, perhaps in the library. We are peers, but not friends. It's kinda weird. Also, I noticed a lot of the other graduate students around here are too narrow-focused, too serious in their endeavors, too concerned with becoming "professionals" to want to loosen up, relax, and even just smile. I think I'd go insane and strangle someone if I were like that. I need to interact with people, and while I still get to interact with my friends from Ozarks in a limited capacity, I need people I can call up and go visit without having to make long-term plans or worry about whether or not I have the whole weekend free to do so. I need people who are close enough that we can decide to go see a movie that evening 30 minutes before it starts, not 4 1/2 or 5 hours.

That seems like a weird place to end the rambling, but I'm not sure I have anything else to add. I guess I just consider myself lucky to be included in so many social groups, token grad student or not. To you, my friends, I say thank you.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Counting Crows, "Einstein on the Beach"

Sunday, October 26, 2003

"Voices Echo 'This Is What Salvation Must Be Like After A While'"

I spent Saturday afternoon with family. Lots of family--Clif, my parents, my paternal grandparents, great-aunt and uncle, their son and his wife, my paternal aunt and uncle, and their son and his wife and daughter. When we have spontaneous family gatherings, we don't mess around. I spent most of the afternoon doing one of three things--eating (lots of good food), watching football, and taking care of my cousin's daughter. Her name's Bailey, and I think she's just over a year old. It's been a while since there's been an infant Cottrell (if you discount my siblings and myself, who are all infantile in our own special ways), and it's an experience. We're handfuls. It's down to genetics, I think. But it's been rather fun watching Bailey grow up over the past year. I can remember when she was only a couple months old. My cousin and his wife make a trip home about once a month (they are currently living in New Mexico, while his parents live in Midwest City, Oklahoma), so I've had the opportunity to really watch their daughter grow. The last time I saw Bailey, she could crawl. The time before that, she was almost crawling, and just starting to get her teeth. Now she has her teeth, can walk, and can say a couple of words (her favorite seems to be "hi," said loudly, happily, and often. She also likes the "sha-la-la"s in the chorus of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," but then again, who doesn't?). It made for a fun afternoon, really, and also made me realize something--I can't wait to have kids of my own.

I think my aunt or maybe even my mother commented on it--I'm great with kids. They seem to be almost drawn to me, as if they recognize that here is someone who, while nominally and chronologically older, is a kindred spirit, a child at heart. Or maybe I just have some weird affinity for them. Whatever the reason, I like kids. They've got this joy to them, this wonder and sense of innocence. They see everything with fresh eyes, as if it were all totally new and totally beautiful. I wish more adults could have that sort of vision.

So yeah, the short version is that I really want kids. Granted, there are all sorts of obstacles--1) I don't have the time to raise a kid right now, 2) I don't have enough money to raise a kid now, and not least of all 3) I don't even have a girlfriend, let alone a wife. I hear that sort of thing simplifies the whole child-making and having process. Call me crazy, I'm something of a traditionalist in that regard. It all just means I can't and won't rush into the whole thing. I have a tough enough time taking care of just me, I can't really imagine what it'd be like trying to care for another life that is totally and completely dependent on me for survival. On the one hand, the idea excites me. But it also terrifies me, as I think having a child would and does anyone. Anyone with sense, anyway.

I think the whole "need a girlfriend, then a wife" thing was especially emphasized when I proceeded to spend all evening by myself watching anime. Which isn't to say there's anything wrong with that--I really like anime. I like people, too, though, and would like to spend a weekend with my friends again sometime soon. Really. So stop hiding from me, people.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Police, "Masoko Tanga"

Friday, October 24, 2003

"Romeo Is Bleeding"

How do you tell someone that you have feelings for them, when they seem oblivious to any subtle hints, and you're afraid being too direct will make them uncomfortable? Seems like the sort of question you get to stop asking yourself by the time you graduate high school, right? Well, maybe so, but I haven't really had a serious romantic relationship since high school, so I might be kind of stunted.

But honestly, what can I do? I like this girl, a lot. She's damn near perfect--smarter than I could ever hope to be, funny and warm and cute and interested in what I have to say, and able to make the things she talks about seem interesting, even if I have no idea what she's talking about. And she doesn't mind my weird obsessions, like the Beatles, or anime, or videogames. Hell, she's actually willing to partake of some of them with me, and just smiles knowingly when I mention the others (she actually thought roleplaying sounded fun). I don't think I'd go so far as to say I'm in love yet--I haven't known her nearly long enough to make that sort of bold statement--but this is a girl whom I could see myself falling in love with very easily. And I think she just sees me as that guy she hangs out with. I keep second-guessing myself. She probably thinks I'm some goofy-looking geek, a dork who can be a good friend, but nothing more. But I'm already that for any number of girls; why can't she be different?

I dunno, maybe she still can be. There's still time left in the school year, before each of us graduates from our particular degree program and heads off for parts unknown. Between now and May, who knows what could happen? Anything, right? Or maybe nothing at all. I don't honestly know, and that's probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking thing of all.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Goldfish Bowl"

Thursday, October 23, 2003

"The White Paint Plastic Saints"

I had a bizarre dream last night, and now you have to sit through me talking about it.

In the dream, I was a famous cartoonist. There was some big thing on the internet, a sort of exposition rather like the World's Fairs of old, and I was one of fifteen people involved in it as a representative of comics. I was, well, famous.

I woke up smiling from that dream...the fact that I was quickly frowning soon after has nothing to do with the dream and everything to do with the realization that I had to get out of bed immediately or risk being late to work.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be famous, or at least moderately well known. Doesn't really matter for what--comics, music, writing, being the first documented example of spontaneous combustion due to sexual frustration and the friction inherent therein--the reason behind the fame (or infamy, as it may be) is of little consequence. I just like the idea that someday, I could open up my email inbox and see an email from a random person. The email will read something like: "Hey, saw your comic/mp3/short story, really liked it. Keep up the good work." It doesn't have to be glowing praise. It doesn't have to exalt my name to the Heavens. I just want recognition from someone I don't know. It's not that my friends or family telling me they like the comic isn't good enough for me, it's just that in a way, they're almost obligated to like my comic (it's like telling your girlfriend you like her cooking, even if she can't cook). This isn't to say they are obligated, just that they're more inclined to sugarcoat things (well, most of my friends are, anyway) and less likely to give you an honest, unbiased opinion. Complete strangers, who don't know me and thus are not at all worried about hurting my feelings, can often give a much more honest and critical (in the objective sense of the word, not the "this sucks" sense of it) examination. I think.

I was actually discussing with Adam the other day ways in which we could get a larger readership over at Dim Bulb. There are several ways--doing guest art for more established comics, paying for advertising (cost prohibitive for both of us, he because he has a fiancee, me because I'm a grad student, which is like being engaged in terms of time spent with it and the amount of money and effort I sink into it), doing link exchanges with other comics (such as we did with The Jaded), getting picked up by Keenspot, Keenspace's big brother, or begging for links from bigger comics. None of them is particularly effective, and we're not likely to increase our demographic by simply cranking out strip after strip and waiting for our audience to find us. So how do we do it? Will we? Or will Dim Bulb remain a small labor of love until one or both of us finally loses interest? Hard to say. I'd like to say that I'll keep drawing the comics whether anyone reads them or not, that I'm not in this to become famous or to even make any money off the comic (something which I've always doubted the serious possibility of anyway). But if push came to shove, and something had to give, would the comic be it? I really hope not. Crooked Halo is an outlet for me, a sort of cathartic release which allows me to blow off steam over the crap that's bothering me (usually dealing with stupid people or with grad school stuff), and I feel I really need that release. The comic is a forum for me to air my grievances with the world in general and with myself specifically, a place where I can examine humanity by examining my own issues and hang ups. I like to think that Crooked Halo and Dim Bulb will be around for a long time, that we'll build up a cult following and a strong core readership and eventually become well-known.

Regardless, I don't plan on quitting any time soon, which probably annoys at least a couple of people. And that's fine by me--one of the other goals of the comic is to annoy, pester, and otherwise antagonize folks.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: David Bowie, "Fame"

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"Up All Night"

I can't really explain why, but over the past few months I've developed the nasty habit of going to bed at ungodly hours. Well after all sane human beings are sound asleep in their beds, I'm still awake, sharing the night with the goths and vampire wannabes. I've even taken to running later at night, mostly because I can't seem to find the time to do it during the day, and because there's a smaller chance of getting run over while crossing Lindsey Street (stupid main thoroughfare through campus).

But yeah, I stay up till 2:00 or 3:00 on a regular basis, and not just on the weekends. Which is all well and good if you can sleep in the next morning till at least 10:00 or s. I can't--I have to wake up early every morning to get to work by 8:00.

This annoying situation is of my own design, really, and I have no one to blame but myself. Fact is, though, rather than trying to establish a regular sleep schedule, I just take the occasional afternoon nap, which actually doesn't help me any at all and really only perpetuates the whole staying up until ungodly hours thing.

There was a point to all of this, I've just lost it.

Anyway, I can't help thinking that at the age of 23, I should probably not be doing this to myself. But I've noticed over the past, say, four or five years, I've been staying awake later and later, sleeping less and less, and generally doing my damnedest to prevent myself from ever sleeping more than three or four hours at a time. Unless I'm at home, and then there's really little else to do but sleep at night. Not like anyone in my house is awake after dark. Not like there are any people left in Shawnee I know of.

I've digressed, let me get back to my point--I'm starting to get almost used to so little sleep. That's not good, at least not in the normal sense of the word. What's going to happen is that I'm going to run up against a situation where I need to be well-rested--say, writing my Master's Thesis--and I'm not going to have a reserve of sleep to fall back on. I'm already trying to run myself on the proverbial fumes of the gas tank; trying to make a trip cross-country on said tank is probably unwise. But it's what I'll end up doing. So, fair warning--in the coming month or two, if you see me, and I have a harassed, dogged, and generally bleary-eyed look about me, it's of my own doing. But please, take pity on me--I'm a grad student, we're supposed to abuse ourselves. That's what graduate school's all about.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "I'm So Tired"

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

"Steal My Heart Away"

Perhaps it's because I've been listening to a lot of Van Morrison lately, but I've been thinking an awful lot about relationships of late. About what I want out of one, what I expect out of love and a significant other.

I think the other factor is that I keep reading Dav's Live Journal, and Lord knows that's a running theme in his.

Anyway, what do I want out of a woman? There's the usual schtick, I guess--smart, attractive, funny, warm, generous, laughs at my jokes (not all of them, because frankly, they're not all funny), can take care of me (I need taken care of, really, and someone who can keep me organized, because I can't do it myself), etc. It's basically the list of attributes you'll get from virtually anyone of a similar disposition. I want someone who appreciates spontaneous romance, doesn't mind holding hands in public, but also doesn't mind a quiet evening hanging around and doing not much of anything (something I'm very fond of).

But a girl could have all those attributes and still not be right for me. I know I've run across several women who met all or at least the greatest majority of those requirements, yet I did not want to date them. Why?

I actually figured out the answer to this quandary just yesterday. I want someone who is all those things, but who is most of all my equal. I don't want someone who simply looks up to me. I don't want to be on some pedestal (who'd be insane enough to put me on a pedestal remains to be seen). I want a partner, an equal, someone who admires me but is not so in awe of me or what I do that she relates to me in a subordinate manner. I'm not a dominating person, and anytime I've been in a relationship with a girl who was that submissive, it didn't work. It drove me nuts, because I'm indecisive, a natural beta, and I can't do it. I need someone who can make decisions for herself, who can speak up when they disagree with me, and who isn't afraid to tell me when I'm being an idiot (or isn't too blinded by some bizarre, misguided hero worship to even recognize when I'm being an ass). I don't think it's too much to ask, but my recent dating drought might indicate otherwise.

Oh, the Oklahoma Daily, the OU school paper, has been publishing one panel gag comics of mine for a couple of weeks now. Just click on "Opinion," look for Staff Cartoons, and there you'll find me. If you search the archive for "Staff Cartoon," you'll pull up all the stuff I've done for them so far. It's just one more step on my path to world domination.

*Insert maniacal laughter and crack-boom of lightning and thunder in the background here*

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Only a Dream"

Monday, October 20, 2003

"Sail Us To The Moon"

I had this nifty rant about diversity on college campuses all written up, and I keep losing it when I try to load the post. I keep forgetting how to work this stupid thing, so instead you're just getting a random rant about whatever I come up with.

We had an idiot in the Writing Center Friday. Now, idiots showing up in the Center is not anything extremely out of the ordinary. With a student-athlete population as high as OU's, there's bound to be a fair percentage of them that's dumber than a box of rocks, and just happened to make it into college because they could play a sport (probably football). Well, this guy was an idiot for new reasons. See, we have recruitment tours that come through the place every so often. It impresses the parents of prospective student-athletes to see the academic services center we have here at OU (which is deservedly impressive--the folks who work here, and I'm not just talking about the Writing Center, are quiet good at what they do). Anyway, this moron decides to announce to a tour that we have written papers for him. This is patently absurd--we don't write the papers for students. So it reflects poorly upon us, and I don't like that sort of thing. Now we are even more limited in how we can edit the papers, because any stuff we were doing that might be considered borderline cheating (such as suggesting words to replace for crappy word choice, something we do quite a bit) we can no longer do. All because one idiot thought he was being funny. In reality, he only hurt himself and us. On top of that, we then had to have a meeting with our boss about this crap, and that was unnecessary, really, or should have been. I swear, it only takes one fool to reflect poorly upon all student-athletes.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Radiohead, "2 + 2 = 5"

Sunday, October 19, 2003

"Call Me Up In Dreamland"

Huzzah for research, y'know? It's virtually all I've done today--research for my Master's Thesis, or research for my 19th Century Europe paper. It seems like that's all historians do sometimes is dig through archives and look for that one single, solitary source that will make or break their work, that will clench their position in the pantheon of great historians whose names are mentioned with awe, admiration, and great respect. You will never find the name Stephen Ambrose among those names, I can guarantee it.

Ambrose was the devil, plain and simple, because he pretended to be a historian when he was really just a plagiarist. But damn, he was a popular one. Really, I could have dealt with his crap if it weren't for the fact that the uneducated masses usually saw him as the representative of the historical profession. Most historians just saw him as an ass.

I wouldn't mind being as popular as he was, though. Granted, I think there's probably very little chance of that. Too limited an interest group for early modern British cultural and religious history. Ah well. That's why I do the comics and writing and songs. I want to be famous, or at least moderately well-known, to the point where someone might send me a random email or something saying, "hey, I saw your comic/short story/mp3, and thought it was great!" That's really my goal, I think.

On a slightly related note, go check out The Jaded, a very nifty webcomic by a wonderful young lady named Ping. It's a very well-done comic art and story-wise, and she's also one of the nicest random people I've ever met. She's actually helping us out with the archives at the Dim Bulb site, and not because she expects anything in least, she hasn't asked for anything in return...

Oh, and this is the fourth time I've written out this damn post. If it doesn't work this time, to hell with it.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Wonderful Remark"

Saturday, October 18, 2003

"Shout Out These Songs Against The Clang Of Electric Guitars"

I've been dealing with graduate school applications and related things for the past week. There's nothing particularly difficult about any of it, and I really should have done this stuff a month or two ago when I said I would. But part of my nature is to put off doing what needs to be done so I can do what I would rather do; i.e., nothing.

But the applications got me thinking. Originally, I was going to have my Master's degree finished by December. That date has now been pushed back till May. Why the delay? Well, partly because none of the schools I want to attend accept students in the spring semester. Another reason is that I've been putting off doing the stuff related to finishing this degree and getting applications for the next school done. But mostly it's because I don't want to leave.

Now, I know the idea of anyone not wanting to leave Oklahoma seems astounding. Really, it has less to do with the fact that it's Oklahoma, and more to do with what I have to leave here. I'll have to leave comfort and familiarity for isolation and the unknown. To be frank, going someplace I've never been before scares the hell out of me. Washington University in St. Louis might not be too bad, and Union-PSCE in Richmond would put me within striking distance of DC and thus Wendy and the East Coast Crew, but I know no one at either Ohio State or Wisconsin. Out of the four schools I'm looking at, only one puts me anywhere close to someone I know. But, I've just started finally finding people. I've found old friends and new ones alike, and I'm not ready to leave them. I hated leaving Ozarks; after four years, I'd bonded with my friends there so much that the act of leaving actually caused some sort of mental breakdown which I only fixed by spending the entire summer in the beautiful surroundings of Yellowstone National Park (it's amazing how peaceful and restful mountains can be to someone from one of the flat states). I haven't been here as long as I was Ozarks, and I don't know as many people, but I'm no more inclined to want to leave them than I was last time.

The thing is, it's almost like the decision is being taken from me. Most of my friends from Ozarks have already been cast to the four winds, heading out for points known but very, very distant (my roommate and his wife, arguably two of my very closest friends, are in Seattle, WA, of all places, and as mentioned before, Wendy--my absolute best friend--is in DC). I almost don't feel I'm equipped for all these partings, though people (mostly my mother) keep telling me that that's the nature of life--people come and go.

Well, I don't want it to be like that. I want to stay in close contact. I want to be able to still walk across the hall to see my closest friends, to be able to holler across the room at my roommate and then all of us gather in the living room to play video games. I want college to last forever, or at least the communal aspects of it.

I think it all boils down to my ideal place: it would be somewhere where I could stay with all of my friends, some sort of big house or dorm-type building where we could all stay, interacting and laughing and loving. It'd be something of a heaven, really, though I know that term is thrown around a lot. And the saddest thing is, I realize I can't ever have a place like that. The nature of life is that people move on and away. We can't stop them, we can't freeze time at this single moment and make it last forever. We can only cherish the moments and times we do have with those people who make living worthwhile. That's what I want to do, and I accept that nothing will last forever, but I just want to make this moment last a bit longer is all.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Flaming Lips, "Fight Test"

Friday, October 17, 2003


Hey all, and welcome to an experiment. An experiment in what, you ask rhetorically? Or maybe you don't, I don't know. This is a chance for me to ramble. That's really about the extent of it. I wanted someplace with more freedom and flexibility than my rantspace over at Dim Bulb, because though the rant space is fun, it's very difficult to edit it on the fly. This seems like it'll be easier, and maybe Adam won't accidentally delete my posts here :).

The other thing about the blog as opposed to the rant space is freedom of topic and tone. At Dim Bulb, I feel that I have to be funny, or at least vaguely entertaining. I don't feel such an obligation here. I think I can have the chance to be more...complete, more realistic. Admittedly, what is written here will still be shaped by the fact that I'm aware I have an audience. That's sort of how things work--I have this need to perform, but I don't want to be pigeonholed as a one-note joke, as it were.

So anyway, this'll be a chance for me to more fully express myself. Besides, everyone else seems to find these things so bloody fascinating, I thought I'd give it a shot (we mostly have Dav to blame for it, honest, though I doubt I'll be anywhere near as eloquent or profound as his Live Journal is). Maybe you'll enjoy this, maybe you won't. I don't know, and don't honestly care that much. This is for me; you just get to peek in.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Counting Crows, "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby"