Sunday, March 28, 2004

"Only You Know And I Know"

Well, I had a pretty good birthday yesterday. Clif called me at 5.30 am from France to wish me a happy birthday, after which I proceeded to sleep for the next six and a half hours. Got up, made an effort to clean the apartment, and the folks came over around 6.00 pm and took Beth, Jessica, Dominic, and myself out to dinner. The folks left, and we sat up and played MarioKart until after 1.00 am. Then I sat and chatted with Miss Webster for a couple of hours, hit the sack, and got up at noon today and came to work at 2.00.

So yeah, not exceptionally exciting or exceptional, but a fun evening full of good conversation, good friends, and things of that nature.

Also, my folks got me some cool stuff--a new flat-panel LCD computer monitor and the X-Men DVD collection (both movies and extra goodies...good stuff). The monitor hasn't arrived yet, but I got an IOU in my birthday card. Jess and Dom got me a kick-ass t-shirt which reads, "I play air guitar in an air band." Very funny stuff.

Work has gone by relatively quickly tonight. We haven't been tremendously busy, which I don't really mind, to be honest. I got some drawing done, won an eBay auction (for Soul Calibur II--$28, which is about half what you'd pay in the stores), and played some Gameboy.

Anyway, had lots of friends and family send me well-wishes yesterday, and that was very nice indeed. My 24th birthday went very well, even if it's one of those you really don't think about a whole lot. It's not like turning 16, or 18, or 21, or 30 or anything like that. It's just another birthday, another mile marker to show you the progress you've made in life. But at least it feels like I've made some progress. I could reflect back upon the previous year and yammer on and on about it, but I'm not sure there's a need to. It's been a good year, with ups and downs, but looking back upon things from the vantage point of another year down the road, I like where I am compared to last year. I have some new friends, I have my old friends, I'm happy with who I am, and things seem to be going well for me.

Here's to another 24, eh?

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "Birthday"

Saturday, March 27, 2004

"So They Say It's Your Birthday..."

Very, very Happy Birthday to you, m'dear. In honor of this glorious occasion, I've searched and searched for pants and cake for you. However, instead of pants, I found this (complete with link, if you click on the picture)....

Didn't have quite so much luck finding a cake, but it prob'ly wouldn't taste the same, anyway (what with the monitor getting in the way, and all).

So, you're old today, huh? Not quite as old as the Monkey and Bob, but still getting pretty close. Borderline "no longer a young whippersnapper." One of these days, we'll be able to call you an old geezer, too (meaning it only in the best of ways, of course). Anywho, I hope this day is everything you dreamed it would be and more. You truly are one of the most wonderful people I have ever known and deserve only the best. Happy Birthday, hon.

"We Didn't Start The Fire"

Friday was an eventful day, to say the least. Had a conference with my advisor about my Master's Thesis. He had some very constructive things to say about it; first and foremost that it needs a lot of work. But at least he told me the sort of work it needs, gave me some really good stuff to look at and for, and he said that it was still workable. Granted, I'll probably be graduating in the summer instead of May, but that's not a big deal because it doesn't interfere with me attending Ohio State in the Fall (assuming, of course, that they accept me. Still haven't heard yet).

Spent the evening hanging out with Ev, watching anime and chatting about damn-near everything under the sun. It seems as though I actually had some profound things to say this evening, and I think I may've helped Ev out on a couple of sticky points he's been having trouble dealing with.

Also got a call from James, Heather, and Alison (aka Bob) a little after midnight, wishing me a happy birthday (I'm now 24 and all old 'n' stuff). It was good hearing from them, and I was especially happy to hear from James about upcoming Terry Pratchett novels (huzzah! Pratchett's next is another Granny Weatherwax novel). The one downside to the call (other than the fact that I couldn't talk for a real long time) was that it made me suddenly miss Ozarks and a couple of people specifically a lot more than I have in months. Mostly, it made me miss Heather and Amanda Erisman.

I don't really know how much detail I want to go into about this, especially since it's been a long day, I don't know how much I'll say if I get real deep into it, and I don't know how much private stuff I really want to share (though I'm 99% sure neither of them reads this thing). But those two are probably two of my absolute closest friends ever, and I hardly ever get to talk with them. Though really, if I were being honest, I don't miss talking with them the most. I miss their presence the most. I miss just being around them, hanging around and not doing anything important or profound. Those two understand me better in a lot of ways than I understand myself.

They're two very different people. Heather is the sister I never had, and we have a rapport that I think some married couples would envy. She's a bit goofy, but a wonderfully warm and caring soul. We helped each other survive a lot of crap at Ozarks. Heather was my comforter, my ward, and my confidant. There is still very little--if anything--that I wouldn't tell her if she asked.

Amanda is stubborn. That really tells you almost everything you need to know, and probably tells you why she and I are good friends. I react to stubbornness by being more stubborn myself, and she does the same. It's like two brick walls slamming into each other again and again. She's loud, brash, and likes to laugh at me when I do something stupid (which, around her, is pretty much all the time). But she's also one of the most generous people I've ever met, and willing to do anything and everything for those she cares about. And her smile lights up the whole room. You want to be a better person, just so you can see her smile again. Her laughter is infectious and genuine, something you don't encounter much anymore. There were days that the only reason I made it through to the next one was that I wanted to see her smile again.

Heather and Amanda are also two of the very few people who have actually seen me cry. It doesn't happen very often, and I'm usually rather embarrassed when it does occur. Like I said, they both know more about me than I do. They get to see the ridiculously animated and perhaps even charming Chuck, but they also get to see the mopey, depressed, barely willing to keep trying Chuck. Admittedly, a lot of other people have seen the latter as well (Chris and JP especially, having lived with me for three years), but Heather and Amanda always got it in concentrated doses when I couldn't stand to keep it inside anymore.

I love them both dearly. I miss them both dearly. I wish they were closer. I wish I could still just walk down the hall and visit.

I'm probably going to Ozarks for Alumni Weekend. They'll both be there. Amanda Webster will be there, as will Bob, the Noise Monkey, and a handful of others I still care about at that school. I look forward to the weekend; it may be one of my last there with them.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Dire Straits, "On Every Street"

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Your Eyes Are Burning Holes Through Me"

It's been a good day. Slept in pretty late after staying up late last night to watch the Concert for George (mom taped it off PBS for me a couple of weeks ago) and Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I (ditto). Both worthwhile, though the Brooks movie had commercials (curses upon AMC for putting in commercials and editting for content!). I noticed some interesting things about the Concert for George, though. First of all, Dhani, George's son, looks disturbingly similar to his old man. It's uncanny. Second, Tom Petty and Eric Clapton look really freakin' old now. They really haven't taken care of themselves very well (the same can be said for Neil Young, who was on Conan last week. He looks downright ancient, as does Petty). I guess some folks age gracefully, and some do not.

Anyway, went running with Beth this afternoon. Also helped her get some new running shoes (before we went running, actually). Running didn't go quite as well as we'd hoped, but she was breaking in new shoes and running for the first time in almost a week (and on concrete for the first time in almost a year).

Beth also happened to doodle a little picture of Earl for me while she was sitting bored in class one day. That'll be posted as soon as I can figure out how to add stuff to the Dim Bulb Gallery. I still find it amusing that so many people like Earl. He was only ever supposed to be a minor character in the comic, but he's become rather prominent. Hell, I'm just finishing up a major storyline that features him.

Also found this in the school paper yesterday. Who's that in the front row with an exclamation mark on his t-shirt? That's right, it's Simon. The guy who does the comics on Monday wanted to do a group portrait sort of thing of the main characters of each day. He had to use political symbols for a couple of them because those two only ever do political cartoons (and not very funny ones at that). Only the Monday guy and myself actually make comics that're worthwhile (he had one about the deterioration of peoples' spelling and grammar abilities a month or so ago that had me rolling and wishing I'd drawn it).

Anyway, work looks like it'll be slow tonight. Maybe I can catch up on all the guestcomics I've been promising people I'd do for a few weeks. Hey, I can't help it--I had to write a Master's Thesis.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Soul Coughing, "16 Horses"

Saturday, March 20, 2004

"Enough A Cynic To Believe"

Well, I'm back in Norman again. I would've waited until tomorrow morning to come home, except for two things:

(1) I didn't want to have to wake up early tomorrow and drive back to Norman from Shawnee. I'd rather sleep until noon.

(2) Got something in the mail in Shawnee from Ohio State. It was a notice that they'd received my FAFSA and a form that they wanted me to fill out that was about a Graduate Tuition Fee Waiver.

Now, that second one got me thinking. I hadn't received anything like this from either Wisconsin or Washington U. I know I sent my FAFSA information to all three schools--I filled it out online, so they should have received it within a couple of days of its completetion way back in like January. Why didn't I receive such notification from Wisconsin or Washington U, then?

Besides, the second page in the letter, the thing about Graduate Tuition Fee Waiver...that got me thinking. It got me thinking maybe I've been accepted to Ohio State.

Now, they'd send the FAFSA notification thing to Shawnee because that's still my permanent address. But my Norman address is the one I put on all my applications and such, so an acceptance letter would show up here. With this in mind, I packed up and was out the door a scant half hour after returning to Shawnee from my grandparents' place. I don't think I spent 48 hours at home this week. Ah well.

Anyway, long story short, there was nothing in my mailbox from Ohio State, so the waiting continues. However, I'm a lot more confident about Ohio State now.

It also kinda relates back to something my mom mentioned in the car on the way to Ponca City Thursday. She said something about how she'd been praying about me and graduate school and the like the other night, and suddenly she got this feeling of overwhelming peace about the whole situation. She said she had this sense that it was all going to work out exactly as it should, that I'd be accepted and that I'd be going to Ohio State in the fall. Evidence seems to be pointing in that direction at the moment, and I certainly hope she's right. Oddly enough, when she mentioned that to me, I'd felt a bit more peaceful about it all. My mom is something of a worrier, as all good mothers are to an extent. She's concerned about damn-near everything, always worried about whether or not we've done everything we need to do, whether or not we're adequately prepared for every contengency...I swear, she's taken the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared" to its hyperlogical extension. I know that the graduate school question has been preying on my mind of late, and I know it's been bothering her just as much. To hear her suddenly not be worried about took a heavy weight off my mind, let me tell you. Perhaps more than anything this week, that really was a relief.

Just got done watching the movie Masked and Anonymous, which stars Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Luke Wilson, and Jeff Bridges. I'm still not sure what to make of the film. It's very surreal. Dylan's character was almost straight out of one of his songs, an aging cynic who doesn't really know what to expect next from the world except more trouble. It was interesting, at least, and some of the reinterpretations of old Dylan tunes (both by Dylan himself and by various other artists...and not always in English) were intriguing. I'm glad I picked it up, but it'll take a couple more viewings before it makes any sense, I think.

Oh, and just one more week until I turn 24. Send well wishes and cash gifts if'n you're so inclined.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Cold Irons Bound"

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"I'm Not The One Who's So Far Away"

Just got done with the first draft of the Master's Thesis. Emailed it to all my committee and to my father for proofreading and comments. Part of me is so very, very glad to be done with this, and another part of me fears that I'm going to get it back and they're going to say, "God, that was awful. We're not letting you graduate." Sure, the latter seems a little unrealistic, but when you remember that this really sorta dictates my future (even more than getting in to the next grad school), it's kind of a heavy thing. Eesh.

Anyway, gotta make Friday's comic (already made Wednesday's), do some cleaning up around here so it's not such a pit when I return (I don't want moldy dishes), and pack up. I can do all that in two hours, right?

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Godsmack, "Voodoo" (don't even ask me why)
"Don't Know If I Saw You If I'd Kiss You Or Kill You"

Today was a productive day. Got lots done on the Thesis, so I should have the rough draft done by tomorrow without too much of a problem. Also went for a run today. It wasn't pretty. I haven't run on concrete in almost three weeks (I've run during that time, though not much and most of those times were on the indoor track). Lord, did it hurt. My shins, my ankles, my knees, my thighs...I could hardly move. I managed just over a mile before my legs gave out. I'm going to take running shoes and clothes with me when I go home tomorrow and try to run every day I'm home, so we'll see how that goes. Maybe with dad around, I can get myself going again. If I can just get used to the concrete again, I'll be fine, honest.

Had dinner with Jessica and Dominic, then they came over and we just sorta hung out for awhile. It was nice to just relax, not have to think about anything, and play some videogames with Dom while Jess organized a list of songs for me to download for them for their wedding in early June. After Jess and Dom left, I worked a little more on the Thesis, did a quick little pic for Ping, and went to Wal-Mart to get some Starburst Jelly Beans, which are like my Achilles Heel, I swear.

See, that's the thing I really hate about Easter--the candy. I both love it and loathe it. On the one hand, if I want jelly beans or Cadburry Creme Eggs or whatnot, they're only a short drive away. On the other hand, if I want jelly beans or Cadburry Creme Eggs or whatnot, they're only a short drive away. It's a terrible double-edged sword. I have a tough enough time with self control at the best of times, but when so much great candy is so readily available, it's hard to resist temptation.

So I didn't. I bought some jelly beans. Lord, are they good. And when Easter's over, and they all go on sale...dear God, I'm done for. Doesn't matter if I've given up soda pop, it seems I'm taking in all those calories anyway on some days.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Barenaked Ladies, "Thanks that was fun"

Monday, March 15, 2004

"What Does She Get For All The Love She Gave You?"

Damn, things are finally moving on the Master's Thesis. I found a nifty source in the library today that's solving a lot of my problems. Nothin' like spending an hour and a half sitting in front of the microfilm reader machine and printing out a 160 page primary source document to make a man feel alive and $10 poorer.

Anyway, I'm finally in my writing groove. Document explication is the thing I do very, very well, and now I have a nifty document to pick apart for page after glorious page. Then I'll do it with some other documents I have, because that's just sorta how these kinds of papers run.

So it looks like I probably won't be going home until Tuesday, which is fine by me. Means I'll probably try to hang out with Jessica and Dominic tomorrow evening for a while, since I really haven't seen any people (except for library employees or Wal-Mart employees, who don't really count...unless they're Wal-Mart employees in Clarksville, in which case they count doubly so as people, since both Amandas and a couple of other people I know happen to make that a rather more entertaining Wal-Mart than either of the ones in Norman) since Friday around noon.

Anyway, I'm not fairly confident in this silly thing again, which is a damn sight better than I felt about it, say, yesterday, or Friday, or Thursday, or Wednesday, or Tuesday, or Monday, or last Sunday...well, you get the idea. This was not a good week, for the most part, but I'm past it now, and things can only get better now, right? To quote Terry Pratchett, "Every day, in every way, we are getting better and better."

While I'm home, I'll be celebrating my birthday. That'll be fun. Means we'll also get to celebrate my grandfather's birthday (it's on the 25th, two days before mine). For as long as I can remember, we've been going to my grandparents' place for a few days on Spring Break, and while there, we do the joint birthday celebration. It means we'll get fed really well and we'll have cake. Mmm, cake...

Of course, I'm gonna have to fight the urge to have a Coke while at the grandparents' place. Temptation seems to be stronger up there than at home (where we have no soda pop) or here (where I have no money to purchase soda pop). I think it has something to do with the tendency to spoil grandkids that grandmothers have. Ah well.

On an unrelated note, Adam put together based on a comic I did on Friday. Needless to say, I want one.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Old '97s, "Four Leaf Clover"

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Renegade Folk Hero"

Ugh, I'm having a terrible time writing this damn thesis.

I don't know why this particular paper is so difficult. Probably because of the dearth of primary sources I've been able to track down. At least, useful primary sources. And the time period seems so muddled...a guy whom I know for a fact is a Non-Juror (meaning he wasn't a part of William and Mary's church and that he would be against them) wrote something that seems to defend William. At least, people think he wrote it. They're not sure. They at least know he wrote something with a similar title. But I'm confused as all hell. I really wish I had a week to just sit in the library and find stuff. It'd help immensely.

Of course, there's a line of thougt that suggests I should have done all that months ago, and I should have already known what sources would work and wouldn't before I sat down to start writing earlier this week. God, I'm such an idiot sometimes. Why I've put this off so much, I can't even begin to imagine.

Anyway, I'm just writing here to try to get my hands warmed up and get me in the writing mood. The thesis needs a lot of work and a lot more material, not to mention some structural work. But I think I know what I need to do, and I think I can get it done. I hope.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: George Harrison, "All those years ago"

Friday, March 12, 2004

"Delusions Of Grandeur"

Just got an email from Clyde. He apparently received his care package from home today, which contained a copy of the Cross-Eyed Yeti CD. Apparently that CD is also a big hit with all the folks he knows in France. That's right--we're goin' international, baby!

Of course, having heard some of the stuff that's popular in France, I can see why they'd be so ready to accept the Yeti. Something so stripped down and basic, so fresh and's like the antithesis to the crap they've got available over there (the Scissor Sisters cover of "Comfortably Numb" still makes me hurt).

As Clyde suggested, perhaps my trouble getting into a grad school is just God's way of saying perhaps it's time for me to consider my music career (I can already hear James screaming). Maybe the world is ready for the Yeti. Clif put it best--"Delusion of Grandeur? Maybe. But that's what the Yeti's all about."

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Cross-Eyed Yeti, "Ode to Cock Rock"
"What's Wrong With This Picture?"

It's early. I'm at work. People in Madrid are blowing each other up for ridiculous reasons, people in California are deciding to reneg on tacit decisions made decades ago, the Oklahoma State Legislature is trying to get rid of quarter beer night, and I still have too many pages left to type on the Master's Thesis.

Yeah, it's a great morning, alright.

When did our nation become so damn stupid? When did we all become so full of hate and fear of the mythical "Other" that we'd trample their rights, deny them equality, and refuse to recognize them as humans?

I'm not gonna rant and rave about this for paragraph after paragraph. There are people much more eloquent than I already expressing just how ridiculous and insipid these things are. I just wonder whatever happened to humanity. When did we become so callow and heartless? As a history major, I think I can pinpoint the exact moment--the minute we started acting out against one another. So really from time out of mind, we've been finding new and exciting ways to hurt each other and strip one another of humanity and dignity.

Stupid world. Stupid fucking world.

~chuck cottrell

Song of the Moment: REM, "Wake Up Bomb"

Thursday, March 11, 2004

"When Will We Fall Down?"

Well, work is progressing slowly but surely on the Master's Thesis. I've managed another page or two since I arrived at work. It's rather slow going right now, because I'm still working on the background and stuff, and haven't made it to the document dissection part (which is where the real fun is). Had to look at an awful paper when I first got in, but that's behind me now. I think I'll be able to get this out of the way before I go home Monday. I hope.

Well, back to work. I want to shoot for 10 pages by the end of the night, and I have to get up early tomorrow morning and come to work. Wee.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Cleaning Windows"

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"Nothing's Real, Deafening Loud"

This is what's wrong with popular music today.

Honestly, what the hell? They give a guy who cannot sing or play any instruments a record deal? The whole American Idol thing still strikes me as preposterous anyway, mostly because I think it cheapens the abilities of those who actually work their asses off practicing and playing in bars and making music their life. I'm all for letting talent take its shot, but honestly, does American Idol provide us with talent, or just this 15 minutes' star? It's corporate crap at its bloody worst, I think, and I wish they'd just cancel the whole damn show, set Simon Cowell on fire, and be done with the whole thing. And fire that Justin guy from the first season out of a cannon without a helmet. As big as that idiot's hair is, he'll be plenty padded for headfirst impact.

In other news, work on the Thesis has progressed to the actual writing stage. Hoping to have 5-10 pages by the night's end. We'll just have to see what happens.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Jam"
"I'm In Heaven When You Smile"

Well, Tuesday went significantly better than Monday or Sunday. I actually got some work done on my Thesis, lots of folks wished me well and did their best to cheer me up, and I've been listening to Van Morrison for about 24 hours straight, with obvious pauses for class

Went jogging with Beth again, and again we managed a 9.30 mile. I think I've got my running schedule figured out now; all I have to do is follow it. On Monday, Wendesday, and Friday, I'll do a slower, longer run by myself (my traditional three mile run around the neighborhood and campus). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll run a shorter, faster run with Beth. This way, I get in some sprinting and some distance. It also means I run five days a week, taking the weekends off because I'm always busy during my usual running times.

I still feel pretty drained, emotionally speaking. It's been tough convincing myself to do anything productive. My mind just keeps sliding back to that damn rejection letter, which I seem to have somehow hidden from myself (I know I didn't throw it away...I keep these things, so that I can remind myself that I have to prove my abilities to others so that they'll know what they were passing up. I still have the rejection letters from when I applied for my Master's). I was basically only able to work on the research stuff tonight, not actual writing. I also noticed that a good portion of my primary resources are effectively useless for the paper as I currently conceive it. Therefore, I'm probably going to change my focus a bit to reflect the stuff I actually have. The problem is that some of my best sources deal with stuff that happened before the guys that became the non-jurors actually became the non-jurors. So I'm going to broaden the focus a bit, include some of the things (such as a thing called the Trial of the Seven Bishops) that I've got lots of good information on just because. And I actually have a legitimate tie-in for the information--mostly, it'll show that the non-jurors had no love of James II, the deposed king, yet they respected his right to the throne and refused to accept William and Mary, whom the non-jurors saw as usurpers. Turns out there were about 400 of these non-jurors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury (the head of the Church of England just below the monarch), five other bishops, and then hundreds of regular clergymen. My good buddy Jeremy Collier became the third generation of bishops in the non-juror movement, it turns out, having been bestowed with his authority by a guy who was given his authority by one of the original non-juring bishops. I've also figured out how to work in some of Collier's writings. I had two excuses--one, he's one of the most prolific apologists (that is, defenders) of the non-jurors and the anti-William group; and two, I acutally have primary sources by him that are applicable and make the arguments I want to use.

Okay, that's probably enough of a history lesson for now. Tomorrow, I'll spend the entire day working on this blasted thing. And all evening. And all the next day, except for eating lunch and running with Beth (not one right after the other, though--that wouldn't be a pretty sight). And then all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, if need be. Which it probably will.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Van Morrison, "Domino"

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

"My Hands Were Clenched In Fists Of Rage"

I got a rejection letter from Washington University in St. Louis today. It did not make me happy. In fact, truth be told, I'm still very upset about it, and I got the letter about six or seven hours ago. I was talking to my mom on the phone when I opened the letter, and I have to admit that I actually broke down in tears and cried for a good five, ten minutes.

It's just so frustrating. I thought I had a great chance of getting into that school. My talk with Dr. Hirst, a professor there (the guy I'd be working with, actually), had me convinced I could get in. I mean, he told me I had the credentials to get in. He said I had a really good shot.

And yet I didn't get in. That only leaves one school--Ohio State. Admittedly, that's the one I should, theoretically speaking, have the best chance of getting in to. But now, after two rejections in a row, I'm starting to doubt. I'm worried that maybe the fact that my GRE scores aren't astonishing, that my GPA isn't a 4.0, that maybe I wasn't as intelligent and impressive on paper as I thought I was...maybe I'm really not good enough. Let me tell you, this sort of existential self-doubt is not what you want to be dealing with when you're trying to get your Master's Thesis written and you're already under time pressure. I still haven't written anything. I'm just...blocked. I can't think, I can't read anything, I can't do anything. I'm about ready to call it a day, give up, and try again tomorrow.

On the positive side, many people have gone out of their way this afternoon and evening to try to make me feel better, and I feel obligated and moved to thank them, even though I don't think any of them actually read this.

First and foremost, Amanda Erisman, for consoling me almost right after I'd found out, and for smiling for me and convincing me, if only for a moment, that things genuinely would be okay.

Thanks to the girl at the convenience store, whose name I don't even know, who is always pleasant and cheerful and willing to talk to a complete stranger and total geek like me, and actually seem interested in what I have to say, even though I'm just another idiot customer.

To my coworker Vicki, who did her damnedest to cheer me up at work this evening, and did a pretty good job of it at that.

And to my parents. My mom for calling me up a few minutes after I'd gotten off the phone with her and offering me a few bits of wisdom that I'm trying to take to heart. My dad for calling me while I was at work, being reasonable and logical and yet also compassionate, and helping me come up with a couple of alternate plans if everything goes pancake-shaped. He helped me put it in perspective, and I appreciate that. I appreciate everything they all did for me today, and all that all of my friends and family do for me everyday, starting first and foremost with putting up with my crap. I do stupid things, I let little things get to me, and yet you all stand beside me. And I can't tell you just how much I appreciate and need that. Words fail me, and it's times like this when I'm reminded just how lucky I really am, the stupidity of graduate application selection committees aside.

Anyway, probably time to call it a day. God only knows what else might go wrong if I stay awake much longer.


Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "You've got to hide your love away"

Monday, March 08, 2004

"I'll Hold Your Breath If That Won't Make You Blue"

It was a good weekend. Well, except for Sunday. Sunday rather sucked in ways I can't discuss in polite company. But the rest of the weekend was good. Got to spend time with Ev (watched an anime called Phantom Quest Corp., a wonderful little four-episode OVA that had a slightly subtler humor to it than most of what I usually watch). Then went to grab some dinner with Ev and Beth...that was an interesting combination of people, though I think they got on fairly well. I've noticed I have a very moderate personality in many respects. I get along well with people at either end of a rather extreme spectrum, people who might not get along with each other otherwise.

Anyway, after dinner, Beth and I tracked down Jess and Dom, who came over to my place and played a bizzare party game called "Apples to Apples." I'm not sure why we find this game so damn amusing, but we played that for three or four hours.

Then Sunday...God, Sunday was awful. I'd received an email from my boss on Friday that a student with a temporary disability needed someone to type a paper for them. I replied back, informing her I wouldn't mind typing a paper for a student in need. I assumed we were talking about a three to five page little English paper. No big deal. A half hour, an hour at most, and we'd be good to go.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I arrived at work a few minutes before 2.00 pm, and the guy who needed stuff typed showed up at the same exact time. he handed me what he needed done--Garibay papers.

Now, that's not going to make any sense to anyone who doesn't work with me, so let me explain: we have a guy in the athletic department who is a retired army colonel. His name, coincidentally, is Garibay. We usually just call him "the Colonel," even though he's retired. Anyway, he teaches a couple of military history classes, and since he's also the assistant director of atheltic academic services (or something of that nature), a lot of the athletes end up taking his classes. So far, so good, right? Well, he has them do these book reviews. He has them do the book reviews in military style. What is military style, you ask? Well, it's this very strict (heh, strict. Military) format that the students have to follow. The Colonel is trying to teach the students to write within a particular discipline, to learn how to follow directions and a specific format. All good ideas, right? Well, these book reviews end up being about 10-12 pages each. And I got to do three of them. To top it all off, I accidentally got the format wrong when I was writing the first two, so I had to go back and fix all the formatting issues. It took me almost nine hours to do these three things. By the time I was finishing, my wrists hurt, my hands hurt, and I was wondering if it was possible to feel the stigmata just from typing. Even now, my hands and wrists are hurting, because when I say ten pages each, I mean ten single spaced pages.

The sad thing was, I was going to use work on Sunday as prep time for writing my Master's Thesis this week. I was going to go over all of my research, take some notes, organize my thoughts, maybe write up an outline or something if I was feeling really spry. But no, instead I spent the whole time typing these papers. And when I left work, I was too worn out and frustrated to even attempt to do anything productive tonight. So I'm just gonna wake up early in the morning and start working on the Thesis then. I have my work cut out for me, but I've got a schedule, and if I can stick to the schedule, I can have a good rough draft knocked out by Friday.

On the positive side, I did get paid double for typing those damn papers. Pretty good, considering we didn't have anything else going on in the Writing Center all day.

I just got an email from Clif about the sort of music he's been listening to over in France. Apparently, the poor child has had to deal with MTV France, which is sad. He's found a few songs and bands that apparently aren't too bad, but he said the techno cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" was a little weird. I'm gonna have to find it now just because.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: Scissor Sisters, "Comfortably Numb"

Thursday, March 04, 2004

"The Stars Are Laughing At Us"

I ran today for the first time in a week. I ran one mile by myself, then another with Beth. The latter was faster than the former by almost a minute, proving yet again that running with someone makes me run faster. Not necessarily as far, because God knows I was worn out after that second mile, but most definitely faster.

It's pretty quiet here at work tonight, which I don't mind at all. I wish I'd brought my Gameboy, though--I'm a wee bit bored.

Found out something rather interesting and amusing this afternoon--Beth has a class with Audrey, the Ozarks graduate who also now attends OU. Apparently Audrey recognized me at the movie theatre last week when we were watching The Passion, and vaguely recognized Beth in their class as one of the people with me that night. It's bizzare just how small the world is, really--I mean, in a school of 30,000 people, two of the maybe half dozen people I actually know here--two people who didn't know each other--happen to both be in the same class. Craziness, eh?

I think Everett wants me to look at something for him. My only hope is that I can actually understand the words in it.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "I'm Looking Through You"

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

"The Screaming Sky Won't Let Me Sleep"

The weather was just downright nasty today. It rained constantly, so I didn't get to run today, either. In fact, I haven't gone for a run since I ran with Beth last Thursday (which we plan to do again tomorrow...who knows how that'll go). I feel lathargic and blah, as though I don't have the energy, desire, or ability to really do anything of worth.

Adam started working on redesigning the Dim Bulb page today. So far, the only thing anyone will notice is that we've added a dropdown menu for the comics so you can jump to specific comics or storylines. Adam only did the highlights for his and for Troubled Times, but I was feelin' spry, so I set it up to list every single freakin' comic I've done so far. When the page is completely redesigned, there'll be a new background, a new layout, a different way of handling the rantspace (one which doesn't involve Adam or I accidentally erasing each other's posts and which will allow us to actually post a notice if FTP or Keenspace is down), and a list of favorite links on the main page. All very spiffy, all hopefully accomplished sometime soon. Really depends on Adam's schedule, though.

I'm still debating on whether or not to email the history departments at Ohio State and WUStLou to inform them of my achievement this past weekend. Part of me wants to, just to let them know that I'm a good historian and because I think it might increase my chance of getting in to one or both of the schools. On the other hand, part of me thinks they've probably already made their choices, and telling them now wouldn't have any effect on things if they've already decided. I'll email Dr. Dippel tonight and see what he thinks.

Clif is apparently in Italy this week. Mom said that he got calls at home from two of the national parks he applied to work at this summer. This is in contrast to last summer, when he couldn't beg a table bussing job at a single damn park (he applied to several) and ended up spending half the summer in Norman with me, recording the debut Yeti album in the back bedroom of my apartment.

For some reason, I've been listening to XTC all weekend. I pull out their stuff from time to time, because it's really well done, smart, polished pop in the tradition of the Beatles (the band members are unabashed Beatles and '60s pop-rock afficianados). Their album Oranges and Lemons is especially enjoyable, and I love the song "Across This Antheap." Good stuff. So I've been spinning that disk all afternoon and evening. When I get home, I might pop on their greatest hits collection and mellow out to that.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: XTC, "Across this Antheap"
"Old Man, Look At My Life"

So I was thinking about the trip back to Shawnee earlier today, and I started pondering one aspect of it specifically--my visit to the high school. I remember high school pretty wel, though I started it nigh on a decade ago. I don't remember being as snotty or as rude as most of those kids. I don't remember being as loud and obnoxious. And maybe I wasn't. Maybe a lot of the other kids, the ones I didn't see, are better behaved than the ones I did see.

But I distinctly remember not being that...young. They all look and act so young. Was I ever that young?

Part of me feels so much older than I am, like I'm already well beyond middle age and approaching dotage. Maybe that's from studying history.

On the other hand, another part of me feels significantly younger than my actual nearly-24 years. I feel perpetually childlike, mostly because I've kept a sense of humor about the majority of things in life (I've always said that if you can't find humor in something, you're probably taking it too seriously...though there are a few notable exceptions). That's what allows me to keep doing the comics and find enjoyment in simple things, and to keep from becoming the sour old people I see wandering the graduate history deparment. Many of them have scant years over me, and yet act like they are ancient, ponderous beings who cannot remember anything except musty books and stuffy libraries.

Age is such a weird thing. It supposedly determines what we are and are not mature enough to do in this society. Somehow, the difference between 20 and 21 is enough to allow one to legally drink. The difference between 17 and 18 is the difference between being able to smoke, vote, and get drafted, and not being able to do those things. But I've met small children who possess wisdom and a bearing far beyond their years. I've met adults who are no more mature than five year olds. It's something of a mystery how that works; how, as Monica put it, some souls seem to be "misplaced" in time.

Maybe it's a way of presenting different generations with a worldview alien to it. Who knows. Maybe it's silly to assume there's any sort of "logic" as we presume to know it to what God does in people's lives.

~chaos cricket

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

Monday, March 01, 2004

"This Bird Has Flown"

Spent the afternoon in Shawnee, doing various and random things. I installed my old scanner on a computer at my church, chatted with my mother, visited my grandparents (my grandfather showed me the stuff they took out of his neck disturbed me), and went to the high school to critique a drama piece for a friend of mine. Also got my laundry done and fed. These are always good things.

I'm just now remembering and realizing, though, that I left the ice chest with my milk, hot pockets, and various other "needs to be kept cool" foods sitting in the middle of the kitchen. I completely forgot to put that stuff away. Hope my milk doesn't go bad.

There's not really a whole lot to talk about. Trips home are always a little strange. I don't know how to react to them, or to home, or to the people I often encounter while there. I end up having to make that awkward small talk, the "so, how's your life been since last I spoke with you, years ago?" I have to summarize the past three or four years into a few short sentences. Then I mention I'm getting my Master's in History, and they say, "oh," and their eyes immediately glaze over. I think I've outgrown Shawnee. It's a good little town, for the most part, but I don't fit there anymore.

In other, completely unrelated news, Return of the King absolutely rocked the house last night at the Oscars. And about damn time props were given to a fantasy film, don't you think? And props they received--all eleven Oscars they were up for, at that.

It is, I must say, a good time to be a geek.

~chaos cricket

Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "You Won't See Me"