Hope is a Demon Bitch

This weekend provided a rare exception to the monotony. Cori and Lindsay came down to see me and enjoy the free food. We didn’t do much, but I did finally visit the carousel museum downtown. It was nice to see people for a change. I’m hoping to come up to Lincoln at some point to visit more people.

It seems my current medication has really increased my anxiety, so I’m going to call the psychiatrist about it. It’s weird to have mental side effects from meds because they creep up on you. Anyway, partly due to that and the annoyance of having a dog, I’m sort of fed up with the new puppy. She has so much damned energy. Anyway, I’m hoping to get to a point where I can tolerate her more easily. Fortunately Dad has retired, so he’s around most of the time. He occasionally goes back in to work because he’s a glutton for punishment.

Although I have like nothing to do of late, I haven’t started reading as much. I dug out my stack of “to read” books from the boxes in my room. I’m hoping to get around to them starting tomorrow.

I’m still searching for jobs. The one I’m looking at right now is at Home Depot. I have to admit I’m not thrilled about working there, but anything would be nice at this point. I’m going to make phone calls for all of my other applications tomorrow. I might be able to get interviews somewhere else, so I’m still looking. I need to go out and apply at more places, I suppose. Ugh.

Not too long ago, a movie called the Wackness came to the Ross. It was about a young man who sees a psychiatrist and pays him with marijuana. The title comes from a line spoken by his girlfriend about how all he sees in life is the wackness, the part of life that sucks. I’ve realized that’s exactly how I see life.

Tomorrow I resume my phlebotomy class after a week-long break. Last time I was there I managed to draw one vacutainer of fake blood from a fake arm. I’m moving up in the medical industry. I wonder if I’ll be able to find a job doing venipuncture anywhere near here. I didn’t see any openings on local hospital websites for phlebotomy jobs, but there are a number of places that require plenty of lab workers.

Anyway, I’m getting ready for bed. I’m more than ready to do something more interesting tomorrow, even if it’s reading. Something is better than nothing.

February 2009 or: How Not to Kill Yourself

On February 1, I attempted suicide. I had purchased materials within the past month, and had everything I needed to produce hydrogen cyanide. When I finally began the process, I was unable to get the gas to condense correctly, so I turned off the burner and stoppered the apparatus. However, I had inhaled enough that my heart began to race and I passed out. Two hours later, I awoke because I had to pee.

My breath was coming in gasps because of the cyanide. It took about twenty minutes to even stand up. I stumbled across the room to unlock the door, and called the cops. As I was on the phone with the dispatcher, I got a call from Alan. I decided it would be bad form to switch over on an emergency call. Moments later the cops barged in. I stumbled out of my room to the stretcher, and they wheeled me out. On the way through the lobby, the evacuees from my floor looked scared for some reason.

The only thing I remember from the ambulance ride was saying “this oxygen tastes like shit,” which absolutely no one found funny. I had to answer questions about how I procured cyanide about fifteen times. Somehow it was hard for them to grasp that I bought the chemicals on eBay and Walmart. Once I got to the hospital, I was catheterized and given an antidote intravenously. It made my urine purple for a week.

Apparently my situation was quite serious, but no one told me. Thinking back, one of the nurses did say something like “you might not make it through the night,” but I thought she was just being nice.

In Lincoln, suicides are put in emergency protective custody in the Lancaster County Crisis Center. After a good visit on the 2nd from several friends (and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Juan Franco), I was shipped there and put on Zoloft. I have yet to discern a change from the meds.

Anyway, after 24 days in the Crisis Center, during which I met several extremely interesting people who I will be able to tell stories about for years, I was released and returned to Leavenworth to live with my parents.

Having said all that, I have some remarks:

1. To all the people who visited me in the crisis center, thank you very much. Just having one visit made the days much more bearable. I only wish I could have reciprocated for all your generosity, but I suppose I still have time. I assure you I am very appreciative of everything you all did for me.

2. This is absolutely the last thing I want to talk about. Oh, if you’re curious about the mechanics of it, I can give you a play-by-play of cyanide poisoning, but the whole emotional part of it is just annoying.

3. Today I baked a delicious cake.

October in the Chair

I was told that my last note was “not funny enough” and that I should “eat a handful of sharp, painful tacks.” I shall try ever so much harder this time.

This week ushered in midterm season, a very special two-week season of midterms. This was the first week, obviously. I had 3 tests, and next week I have 1 more. After that, fall break, a magic the gathering tournament, gamercon, and “i am so proud of you.” I’m sort of excited about them in that order as well. Let’s learn together!

Fall break will probably suck. Now that I know my tolerance for LV is less than 3 weeks, I’m worried how much more it has shrunken in the meantime. It could be drastic. Anyway, I have to fill up my tank with precious gasoline (for the economy!) and drive 3 hours (for the environment!) and stay in LV for 4 days without losing my temper (for the family!). I already have an orthodontic appointment, hair appointment, and some other crap I should do. I’m 90% sure my father will go on his whole “let’s wax your car Steve” thing for the bajillionth time, which he always plans for the exact time on Sunday afternoon when I could be doing six better things. I don’t even think cars need wax. Certainly not for nourishment.

During that span, Alan is driving down from Lincoln to play in a Magic the Gathering tournament in Overland Park, and I’m probably going to join him. This tournament is the qualifier for the pro tour tournament or something like that, which is in Kyoto, Japan in February. This event is a Shards of Alara sealed deck tournament, which I will likely suck at just as in the prerelease event. The problem is the new “mythic rares,” which often make decks much better. Needless to say, at the prerelease, I didn’t get any mythic rares in 2 tournament boxes and 6 booster packs, and I lost as many as 3 games due to 3 different mythic rare cards. Fucking trading card games.

After fall break I will have to scramble to grade next week’s Matrix Theory quiz before Thursday. Shortly thereafter, there shall be Gamercon. I have mixed feelings about it. I’m only going to play in one campaign, but I’m also running one. I’m not sure who is going to end up playing in mine, but I’m going to have to make the encounters fairly carefully, to balance between powergaming and noobishness. I think I can make it fun though. I must succeed!

Then, the most exciting event of all: I get 1 day off of work, then I’m going to Omaha with Mark and Rachel and maybe who knows how many others. Together we shall find stuff to do and then in the evening, we shall watch Don Hertzfeldt’s newest film, the sequel to “everything will be ok,” “i am so proud of you.” I couldn’t be more excited if I pissed my pants.

Yesterday, I shaved. Today, I bought a video game. Tomorrow, who knows.

September So Far

Outside, it smells like a sewer. The constant misting rain is like living inside of a sweaty man’s jock strap. Tomorrow I would like to go shopping, but I fear the football crowd will make that difficult. Hopefully the crowds won’t be too bad before the game, which the Internet tells me starts at 6.

I know everyone wants to know just what it is I intend to buy, so I will elucidate. I need dry-erase markers because someone took the hideous red one from my door. I will likely buy two sets of the red, green, black, and blue variety. Then I shall draw a giant dong on my door to show that it is off limits. I also need aloe vera gel, shampoo and vitamins.

I have lined up a craft project: making a T-shirt based on a Sealab 2021 episode. I need to procure navy blue fabric paint for this, which I shall seek out at Wal-mart. When I finish, I will wear it. Usually I’d take a picture and share it on here, but I probably wouldn’t actually do that. Also, I have no camera.

Anyway, let’s talk about me. I have 4 classes this semester: Japanese, Math, Computer Science, and Philosophy. I realized I hate all of them 2 weeks ago. I’m thrilled.

Japanese is exactly like the last two semesters, which also annoyed me. Somehow it didn’t register in my mind until this fall that 6 hours of class is actually more than 5. So now I have invested even more time in that subject, which I’ve finally realized is just too time-consuming. My lazy ass will probably stick to 12 hours for each of the next 3 semesters. The moral is, I’m done with Japanese after this semester. The Internet tells me that is acceptable for the ASC foreign language requirement.

Math is actually not too horrible, except it’s proof-based and I hate mathematics. Somehow I will have to goad myself into taking 3 more classes in the subject before I move on. I don’t think I’ll add the CS major, although I will still pursue it. I’m thinking about doing CS research next summer. I need to look into that before it happens. If I do, I would likely move into an apartment here in Lincoln, which I think would be a nice change from the twin hellholes I’ve inhabited the past two years.

CS is crap. I cannot believe that CS 310 is even considered a junior-level class. I have never wasted more time in a prerequisite. It is literally required for every 400-level class, and there is no reason that anyone needs it. CS 156 covers the vast majority of the material, and the instructor makes me yearn for the monotone voice of Reichenbach. Instead, I have a high falsetto voice. The subject matter is basically the heart of computer science: algorithm design. The problem is that I’ve already taken like 15 hours of CS here. If I hadn’t picked most of this up by now, I probably don’t deserve the programming skills the good lord bestowed on me.

Philosophy is a special kind of Hell. Here is the general pattern for the class: 1. read material for class, 2. show up for class, 3. have shitty group discussion, 4. do weekly shitty assignment. Huzzah. Basically, we talk about fairly simple philosophical issues which most people overcomplicate in the group discussions. They never address the heart of the issue, instead talking about some random irrelevancy. I hate group work so much. Anyway, the weekly assignments are about Plato’s “Crito,” which I hated the first time. Subsequent readings and 3 tiresome assignments haven’t changed that. I have 5 more of these assignments to do. So far they have been outline-type things, which I can never do correctly. I don’t think in outlines. Fuck you, establishment.

My career is skyrocketing. First, I’m working 2 jobs at the Daily Nebraskan. Second, I’m grading for Math 314: Matrix Theory. The DN seems decent so far. I write one column a week and no one reads it. It’s sort of like writing graffiti on the bathroom walls at home: no matter how eloquent you are, only your mom is going to see it.

As for the copy editing, I have mixed feelings. While I don’t mind the work (I love the sensation of smug superiority), I really don’t like the hours. Basically a night at the copy desk wipes out my entire evening. I work from 6-11 (at least. ugh.), which means I have to do homework there. Furthermore, on the off chance that something cool happens (highly hypothetical here), I can’t go. On the other hand, I can do reading there, which is nice. Also, copy editors write headlines. Never criticize writers for heads because they don’t write them. Please remember that for the future. Basically, I have to find 5 creative words to describe a huge, pointless article. It’s often hard to find a decent verb for the headline because nothing happens in the story. This is insider information I’m sharing with you.

My third job is for the math department here. I grade the weekly quizzes for two sections of Linear Algebra. It’s just like grading anything else, except it pays annoyingly little. I earned $8.50 hourly all last year, and now I just get $6. Plus I only work 4 hours a week at this job, which I think means I get less than one night’s pay at the copy desk for grading. I guess it takes less time, though.

Then again, I haven’t been paid jack shit from any of my various part-time jobs. Thanks, payroll departments throughout campus. Hopefully I’ll get a check before the end of September for the DN (they owe me a bit for August), because I have been buying stuff online. I really have more money than I think, but no one is giving it to me. What if the DN goes bankrupt? I’ll have nothing but the huge tub of Warheads candy I bought for 13 dollars. God help me.

Over the weekend, I have to write a third column, do homework for Math, possibly some Japanese, a ton of which is due Thursday (dammit), and go shopping for aloe. I also would like to see 2 movies: Burn After Reading and Righteous Kill. Whether or not I will have time remains to be seen. Plus I have the opinion section budget Sunday. I probably shouldn’t criticize that here.

I finally got around to reading some Batman graphic novels. The two based on Arkham Asylum (A Serious House on Serious Earth and Living Hell) are excellent. The former is well-drawn but weird as hell, while the latter is more typically drawn and plotted out. It still has a good story with interesting characters. I read the Killing Joke, which didn’t impress me at all. It might have been a big deal back in the day, but doesn’t strike a chord with my jaded brain.

I also read Flight 5, Daisy Kutter: the Last Train, and Nightmares & Fairytales 4. Flight 5 proves that comic artists can’t write anything worth reading. Basically each plot is just a “cool” image (either a literal image or just a “neat” plot idea) that doesn’t go anywhere. I have rarely seen more pictures saying less than in Flight 5. Nightmares & Fairytales has sucked since the third collection, when the author stopped doing good stories. I have to give Serena Valentino credit for starting a terrific series. I must also credit her with shitting all over it. Diarrhea.

Back to Flight 5, though. I think only 2 or so stories had real ideas in them. Argh. They were so well drawn, but ultimately proved to just waste time.

Back to Batman now. There was a rather heated debate at the lunch table about what the third movie might look like. I didn’t rage at the time, but I will now. They will not bring back Two-Face. They will not bring back Rachel Dawes. If comics ever want to be taken seriously, they need to drop the revolving door to the great beyond. I trust that Nolan will not stoop to faux resurrections until the fifth movie at least.

They will not replace the Joker. They will not use Catwoman unless they change it like mad. I predict they will either use the Riddler (but maybe not because the Joker’s plot was already so twisty and complex), the Penguin, or a decent Poison Ivy. Because she deserves it. Then again, I can’t write like Nolan or his brother, so I’ll leave it to the experts. (Go with the Riddler, boys. You know he’s awesome.)

I intend to go to the Magic: the Gathering prerelease events this month. It’s supposed to be a fun sealed-deck tournament. If I get decent cards, it’s possible I won’t get ass-raped. On the other hand, I know very little about building decent decks. So the rape is inevitable. At least it’s a new opportunity to meet more of my favorite kind of people: shrill nerds. God, I love their acne.

Last but not least, I have a D&D campaign planned for Gamercon III. It will be fun. I need to plot it out a bit more, but I think it could work well. I will incorporate scrapped ideas from my last campaign to make it more fun. I doubt people will play it, but at least I will have it written. Maybe I can sell it to homeless fantasy fans. Everyone deserves a break sometimes. But they have to pay.

I am on the cusp of a real dilemma. Even though I know how it all ends, I keep idly waiting for something good to happen. I can’t wait to gush regret. It could start any day now. You’ll see the results as I hemorrhage more trite paragraphs in the future. Except I probably won’t write about it.

Living in NC

I have prepared an itemized list of the many facets of living here for the summer. Having spent 3 weeks here as of today, I feel like I can speak with some authority about the experience. Results may very as time goes on.

My Job: I’m not very impressed so far. I have next to nothing to do, due to software issues or only having one thing to work on for the group of three people. When this happens, my input is generally extraneous or unhelpful. We gave our first presentation Friday, but I got nervous and forgot to mention a lot of material. There were only 8 or so people in the room, which doesn’t bode well if I have to present this material at a) UNL or b) a conference next year. Part of the problem is that I speak best when I have complete command of the material, and I’m still not clear on everything with this project. Anyway, I don’t think it mattered too much.

I’ve busied myself at work by visiting “Project Euler,” which is a bunch of math problems you can solve by writing programs. This has proven a good way to practice programming with MATLAB, and review Java when that’s more convenient. I think the work will pick up a bit this week, but we’re already fairly far ahead of the game.

My Future Job: I will be an editor and opinion columnist next year at the Daily Nebraskan. I wouldn’t think much about it, except email correspondence from the editor-in-chief began this week. I also got a “welcome” email from the opinion editor. These messages are kind of nice, as they make me feel like less of a lameass for checking my school email every two hours, because I’ll actually get something from time to time.

I also have an assignment: writing two articles about abortion from the pro-choice and anti-choice viewpoints. I have to find good arguments for each side. The real problem is that it’s an argument with a dead end. Namely, there’s no reason for abortion to be illegal that isn’t based in morality. From a pragmatic point of view, legalized abortion is simply safer. There’s no real argument against it, but it’s also a little like flipping the table in a chess game (“I’ve got your argument right here!”). I’ll try to restrict my piece to the ethical dilemma. Anyway, more to follow.

(less boring items now)

The Shower: The shower is the nearest place where I can get nude and wear sandals. As such, I visit it quite frequently. I have already selected the particular shower I prefer, having used another one just twice. Every time I visit my shower of choice, there is a bug there. Not just any bug, but the same one. I’m sure of it. He sits around and only moves when the water splashes near him. Generally this move is to a drier place, but he still stays put. I have to wonder why he stays in the shower all the time. Is it where he lives or does he just like the scent of male BO?

Also of note is the septic stench that arises from the shower. It’s a little like sewage, and it comes in waves, so there is no constant smell but a whiff every once in while. It smells awful. Here are the potential sources of the odor in order of likelihood:

1. The Drain. There is a good chance that the warm shower water gets the drain smellier. I don’t know what the physics behind this involve, but it seems quite likely. It could be some kind of settling or warming effect, but either way it does not smell good.

2. The Nozzle. I’m slightly worried that it’s coming from the shower head. I doubt this is true, because the water doesn’t seem to have a smell, but it’s possible.

3. An Orifice. This is extremely unlikely, but since no one else has reported the smell it could be coming from me somehow. I’m really hoping I don’t randomly smell like sewage, though. There are no social prospects for the “sewage stench guy,” I assure you.

The Sun: The sun is a large radioactive ball of fusing gases. It is also the devil. I have realized that while throughout history the sun is often revered as a god or highly important object, it is actually an evil one. The sun does not care about you. It is trying as hard as it can to melt you with ultraviolet radiation, and the only thing that stops it is outer space. Space is the real hero.

The reason I mention this is that every day is full of sunshine. I hate it. My skin is constantly hot, which is really annoying. Also, I have learned that while I don’t sweat much from my armpits, the crevasse beneath my man boobs gets damned sweaty. This is kind of unpleasant when I’m wearing a light-colored shirt. Plus, sweat takes forever to evaporate. My back sweats, too.

It has rained twice here, both for periods of like 10 minutes. I did go outside the first time, but the second time I just sat around, like I always do. Anyway, this is the only place I know that is brighter and warmer when the sun is blocked by clouds. Clouds just piss it off more…

Nintendo DS: The DS came out in November 2004. Ever since then, I have been waiting to have the money to buy one. The aforementioned dull job has ponied up the cash to enable this. I’m thrilled. I promptly bought 6 games at Walmart and 3 at Gamestop. I intend to buy a few more on Amazon.com soon, to have them shipped here. Anyway, the 9 I have are: Brain Age 1 & 2, New Super Mario Bros., Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Elite Beat Agents, Professor Leyton, USA Today Crossword Challenge (I wanted Crosswords DS but there was a mix-up. It doesn’t really matter.), Drawn to Life, and The World Ends with You.

I’ve already beaten New Super Mario Bros, and I’m almost done with Zelda. I’ve also been doing the Brain Age games, although I’ll probably just play them once in a while after this week. In other words, 4 out of my 9 games are pretty much complete, and the crossword game is just for when I’m bored. I think my exhaustive supply will be worth the money. Plus, what am I getting paid for anyway?

Neon Genesis Evangelion: This show sucks majorly. I can’t believe it’s so popular. I was playing Zelda whilst watching it or else I would have died of boredom and annoyance. SUCKED. Lord, I hate mecha anime.

The Mall: This was fun. I took a trip to the mall Saturday to buy things. I spent a bunch on the DS games and some books by Kevin Smith and Vonnegut. I’d had them on my amazon wish list for a while, but I’ll probably read them while I’m here. I also have a bunch of “classics” I want to read, but those take me forever to get to. It’s heavy reading. Anyway, the bus is free for NC State students. I enjoyed the trip, although I ended up waiting for the bus for a long time. I blame the schedule online, which was clearly not right. Ah, well.

The mall is really nice, although I’m kind of lame and hate clothes. This meant that I only visited maybe 5 stores. It was nice to do something different. I might make this a weekly event if only because it’s free and gives me something to do. Maybe I should start buying some books or ordering them. Which reminds me, I ordered 2 from a nearby comic store that won’t show up for like 2 weeks. God, I hate brick-and-mortar stores. I thought, “hey, I’ll support this place,” but no luck. I also have some dedicated-deck card games I want, but no one to play them with so they’re low on the purchasing priority queue.

Other notes: The new episodes of Venture Bros. are terrific. All the plot details are kind of cool. They’re taking the series in a whole new direction, which is good.

I’m finally in the prime of my life (unless that happens at 23). This happened without much fanfare, which was good. My biggest celebratory action was the DS purchase. So worth it. I think it’s released all of my pent-up game-buying drives, because I’ve been unable to get all of the DS games for nearly 4 years. I was a junior in high school when it came out. It’s funny, because all of the games I want stopped being on shelves like 2 years ago. Here’s hoping I can get some bargains online.

Anyway. Not much else happens here. I hope everyone had a good father’s day. For the first time in like 25 years, my dad didn’t have one of his sons around. I feel kind of bad for him, but I honestly don’t think we would have done anything together if I had been there.

I thought for a long time if the sun would come out, it would make things better. I guess now I just want it to go away again. Life is strange sometimes.

Embracing Obstreperousness

Looking over this, it is not only extremely long and very inane, it also rambles at the end. I was just writing what was in my head, seeing if anything interesting came out. It didn’t. I’m going to bed.

Also, this is 1324 words. I wish I could write that much about something interesting

I need a place where I can talk about all the things I can’t talk about. This is not that place. However, I still feel like cracking out a few hundred words only seven people will read, so here I go.

My classes are going well so far. I’m getting the hang of the MIPS assembly language, so that will make CS fairly straightforward. Japanese is the same old busywork. English is going to be English. I wish I didn’t have to read a textbook, but I think the papers will at least be fun. I would love to take an English class that wasn’t the same as all the ones I’ve taken before. Math is easy, even though it’s really abstract (it’s abstract algebra, and the title is actually quite apt) and not practical at all. That basically means that everyone in the class is a math major. Fortunately, I’m definitely at the top of the class, which is nice.

I need to contract 6 honors hours by the end of the semester or lose my books scholarship for next year. My plan is to contract CS and Math, the two subjects I should be able to annihilate. Both instructors seem perfectly fine with my doing that, so I just need to figure out what extra work I will do. I’m also applying for upperclass scholarships, although I’m not all that sure I’ll get one (there aren’t a whole lot of scholarships for the UNL Math Dept.)

On the employment front, I still have an extremely small chance of grading for the CS department (highly unlikely, Riedesel implied it’s only going to happen if one of the grad students doesn’t want the job), and I applied to be an RA next year. The interview is in mid February, and I think I’m a solid candidate, so I should get an offer (knock on wood), but I don’t know if it will be someplace nice or not. If it’s not a good place, I will probably just try and get a TA position in the math department again. Except I’d want one with “responsibility” or I’ll be bored out of my gourd. Maybe I’m too picky. Hm.

I’ve been exceptionally bipolar lately. It’s odd for me, because I’m in a good position with respect to classes, but I still have the same stuff that always bothers me. So I get in a good mood over school stuff, only to have my mood crushed by everything else. That’s the opposite of how it normally works. I’m also finding my usual solaces are crumbling, and that doesn’t help anything.

The big thing occupying my last few days is applying to do math research somewhere this summer. I’ve applied to 6 schools (UNL, Central Michigan, Univ. of MN-Duluth, Hope College, NC State, and Rutgers) to do 8 weeks of work through June and July. It would be nice to get out of the house for a break, and the stipend is around $3000 for most of them (sometimes less). Thank you National Science Foundation for including math in your funding umbrella. My advisor said I am a good candidate, although I’m not sure my personal statements were helpful. It’s hard for me to write what I want to do with math because I have so little experience. I’m not a bad writer, I just can’t talk about math that way. It’s unfortunate, because there’s a good chance I’ll have to write about it in later life.

All of my technology is breaking. Apple is in the process of replacing my out-of-warranty iPod because the effective battery life is around 1-2 hours. My laptop’s battery light is blinking a lovely orange-orange-orange-orang

e-green pattern at me constantly, although Dell’s advice was basically crap (Try another battery. ‘I don’t have another battery.’ Too bad.).

I’ll have to borrow Alan’s battery sometime, just to see if my battery is what’s causing it. If so, I’m screwed because the warranty on Dell batteries is 1 year (same as the iPod. I got both before I came to school and they’re already broken. I fucking hate technology. Built-in obsolescence is a horrible practice. Apple especially feels the need to employ it, and as someone pointed out, their motto is “don’t make it cheaper, upgrade it and keep the price the same. You don’t pay less, we give you more!” If you get that reference, you get an ‘A.’ Unless you’re Mark.). If it’s not the battery, I’m screwed because it’s the motherboard (there’s some battery-related component of the motherboard. Who cares, it’s all hardware. Software is where it’s at, bitches.). I might still have that under warranty, though it could only be the accidental damage one. This is pretty damned accidental, I guess (I sure as hell didn’t do it on purpose and it started at a random time).

I got a bunch of homework assigned today, and tomorrow I need to wash my T-shirts (haven’t done that since I left for home. That means nearly 6 weeks or 42 shirts. All stone sexy.), so I’ll have to do stuff in the afternoon. Tuesday is the best day of the week because I only have 1 hour of class and then 23 hours of free time. In a row. Although the last 9.5 hours of that is Wednesday. So I guess that Tuesday is, strictly speaking, the day where the majority of my largest span of free time within the working week occurs.

I reread my favorite book, House of Leaves, last week. It is an amazing book, and I recommend it to everyone. It is very complex and cool. I have a bunch of movies I want to watch, and I suspect I will persist in renting them weekly at least to burn through the list. There are a number of items on there that I’ll have to watch alone, because there’s no chance anyone I know would watch them with me (everyone hates on drama for some reason).

Speaking of drama, there is certainly a lot of it. Everything seems to upset someone lately. It makes my neutrality hard to maintain. I am a lot more listless about the things that are important to me, which should never happen. I can’t tell what’s happening around me (socially), but I can tell that it’s leaving me too productive. I don’t want to go down that path; it’s not pleasant.

It’s going to be cold tomorrow. I’m upset with the weather right now. I wish not having a heart gave me superpowers, like the fish guy from those pirate movies. I want to write something people will read. I haven’t properly cooked since I was in high school. The closest thing was last year, when I made cookies. Cookies are my favorite food. I also like mozzarella sticks and a properly cooked steak. I’d like to have all three, but I can’t.

I want to donate blood now that my heartbeat is acceptable. It’s not fair that I’m on a ridiculously strict diet and what is essentially heart medication at age 18. I love vegetables. I’m always tired but it takes me 45 minutes to fall asleep.

Human beings are immensely complex. You will never understand yourself, not even physiologically. But more importantly, you won’t even understand your own emotions and motivations. Sometimes, they just are. I have realized that this complexity makes it almost entirely impossible for someone to understand anyone else. There is just too much to understand about yourself; it’s impossibly hard to even try to figure someone else out. No wonder selfishness is so fundamental. I can’t remember what having a heart was like.

I hope the sun is out tomorrow.

Fucking Technology

For Japanese class, we’re expected to do a 4-5 minute skit entirely in Japanese. My group prepared our script, got it okayed by the teacher, and today we filmed the live-action parts. For an hour and a half. On a rented video camera. On DV tape.

After getting all of that done, one of my group mates returned the camera, and entrusted me with the sacred DV tape of might. I went to dinner with it (showing it a fantastic time, introducing it to all of my friends. I paid for the wine), and promptly went to Andersen Hall to get the video in a digitally manipulatable format. Lo, I discovered that while there appeared to be time codes in the first few minutes of the tape (which indicate that there was likely some kind of information written on it…maybe), it appeared to be blank. FUCKING. BLANK.

We had spent an hour and a half doing this, in addition to the cost of the tape and chocolate cigarettes (which are now gone. Let’s hope I can find a substitute if we re-film). Aghast, I denied what my eyes were telling me, and went to the twins’ room to see if they had a camera I could borrow (to verify the travesty). They didn’t, but they sent me to the library, which allegedly had one. At the library, the clerk told me that all of their video cameras were checked out, but they did have a computer that could read DV tapes. I pushed play, and pressed the “fast forward while playing” button. I had to hold it down for the duration of the tape (just in case), and was rewarded with plain ol’ blue screen. I decided that perhaps it would work if it were in a camera (let’s hope that is actually true, for it is my last hope).

So I went to Henzlik, where they also check out cameras (that makes no less than 3 buildings, campers), to see if they had any. After looking in the basement, which I could have sworn was where that place was, I went back to the ground floor and found it immediately. I should also add that I spent about 15 minutes wandering around Andersen Hall, also. Apparently Henzlik only checks out cameras from 9-5. If you’re reading this, Henzlik, then fuck you too. So I came back here and fumed. That was about 4 wasted hours (Dinner is retroactively wasted, because my whole evening is tainted).

I fucking hate technology. It has long annoyed me, partly because I like consistency and reason and technology betrays both. It seems consistent, but somehow fucks every thing up, and it seems reasonable on the surface, but is more emotional than PMS.

The moral is this:

1. Don’t borrow a video camera from the University. It’s only for 24 hours, and apparently it fucks up tapes. Dammit. Besides which, if you turn it in late, it’s $21 dollars an hour. I bet they round up, too. Borrow from a friend or have your own, because that way you can at least have a bit of flexibility. It isn’t as if anyone uses a camera that often, so you can ask nicely and probably borrow one. As a practical matter, if you do have to check one out from the university, use the library, because they’re open until 11:30pm on school nights.

2. DIGITAL FUCKING MEDIA. Not only should they be used (fuck tapes…right up the ass), but they should be fucking STANDARDIZED. If this camera had taken SD cards, I would have had like 4 different ones for it. But no, it took some fucking proprietary card that no one owns and would have to buy separately. Naturally, it’s cheaper to buy these god damned tapes than a stupid proprietary card, so of course you get the tape.

DV tapes are from the devil. If you own even one DV tape, then you have brought the devil into your life. Beg for repentance and destroy your camera. Get one that uses SD cards, and lend it to me. I have to film a Japanese project.

Blood.

I tried to donate blood today, and it went exactly as well as the last two times.

Last year, in the grand month of November, I was compelled (by guilt, I think) to donate blood even though I had missed the homecoming blood drive. I went to the Lincoln Community Blood Center on 13th Street. It was the first time I had ever donated blood, and I was nervous. Anyway, I got through all of the survey questions and pre-tests (Have you ever had Chagas disease? Do any of your family members have mad cow disease? Have you ever paid for sex? and so on. There’s also one thing where they put your blood in a solution to see if it’s dense enough to sink.). Anyway, I passed all of that, and I went over to a chair and got my blood drained. It went fairly well, and I was fine the next day and thought no more about it.

This year, in January or February, I returned to donate again (after the requisite 8 weeks) and to my surprise found that they hadn’t gotten the blood type from my previous donation for some reason. Annoyed by that, I was sort of dwelling on it as I was doing the pre-tests. For some reason, my heartbeat was too fast, at over 100 beats per minute. So I was deferred. Before I left, I asked what had happened to my previous donation. Apparently it had been destroyed in transition and instead of helping someone in need, it was presumably spilt in some white truck somewhere. Out of frustration, I called the next week and canceled my second appointment (you’re allowed to donate any time after a temporary deferral).

Because it had been nearly a year since the first time I had donated, I felt that I could forgive the system and went today to try again for homecoming. I was picky, though, and decided to donate to the American Red Cross instead of the Community Blood Bank. After I watched the US version of “The Office” in the waiting area (the UK version is much better), I went back to go through the pre-tests again, and again I found that my heart rate was much too fast (120 beats per second…my temperature was also 99.2 but apparently that doesn’t disqualify you) so I ended up deferred again with a preprinted letter in my hand. So tomorrow I’m making an appointment at the health center to diagnose this arrhythmia. News to follow, I suppose.

It just disappoints me sometimes, though. The time last year when I donated might be the only time I ever get to, if this is some chronic thing. And it just got destroyed and didn’t help anyone. So often the blood banks talk about how much they need blood and how it will help the theoretical sick and injured, but they somehow lost my sample. It’s only by the fluke that it was my first donation that I was even able to find out about it. Otherwise I’d have assumed I had helped someone.

Rather than treat my tissue with respect, they accidentally destroyed it. I’m not giving them much credit, but they don’t really deserve it. They ask people to make these donations in good faith, knowing that we genuinely want to help, but how many samples just get lost or destroyed? Why should that happen, even once?