Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why, Hello Last of my Childhood Delusions!

I realized something kind of depressing today as I lay on my bed at home, wondering why it was taking so much effort to do my homework. You see, I still hold on to the belief that one sunny afternoon I will find myself sitting in a library, or in my room at my desk, and suddenly realize that I'm being productive, that I've cast aside the majority of my procrastinating ways and finally learned how to finish things in a timely manner. The truth of the matter is that day will never happen silently or without a tremendous concentrated effort on my part. It's kind of like facing up to the fact that Santa really doesn't exist and that I actually have to get a job if I want to buy superfluous items for my enjoyment. Just being on my best behavior won't cut it anymore. Procrastinating and waiting to the last minute to do papers and study for tests isn't going to cut it anymore. I actually need to put in some effort now if I want more than passing grades. Sadly, it has taken me this long to finally admit this to myself.

So, good bye my academic Santa, it was nice deluding in you while it lasted. Hopefully, the destruction of my ignorance will benefit me in the long run. However right now, I do not care to relish in the long term health of my academic career. I have a 300 page book to read, a 5 page paper due by Wednesday, and new delusions to meet. Why- Hello Reality! My name is Olivia, it's nice to be slapped in the face by you again! I hope one day we can work on your extreme dislike of my work habits and I can look the other way at your uncaring and merciless approach to my happiness!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Bunker in the Amazon...

... or how to survive the Earth's imminent doom (read Zombie Apocalypse, Nuclear Holocaust, Global Climate Change, Explosion of Yellowstone, etc)

For some time now, I have been contemplating the imminent doom of the human race. Now, I tend to view myself as a rational, scientific human being. Albeit, one who occasionally gives in to feats of irrational phobias from time to time, but otherwise, I'm generally stable. However, the year 2012 is fast approaching and with it, a slew of apocalyptic hype. The evidence was gathered, the ancient tomes of times past pulled out of their quiet corners, the everyday science of the world gussied up to marvel and incite powerful emotions, and the literature expanded exponentially. The general consensus: the world is going to end in three years. To which I say, well shit.

Now, if we are to put any stock in these allegations, even for an instant, what's one of the first things we do about it? Panic. Yes. And then prepare. Prepare for the inevitable doom of our life on earth. Our realities, our social constructs, our culture and our history. And how do you go about doing such a thing? That's where the bunker in the Amazon rain forest comes into play.

Originally, when it first came down to it, I was just content being pissed off that I wouldn't be able to finish graduate school. Seriously, I go through high school hating it, looking forward to the freedom of college. Then I spend all of this time in my undergrad, working my ass off, listening to professors who butcher the subject I love (granted, there are some really great professors out there), wading through extensive lectures and putting up with it, just so I may one day enter a graduate program and finally get the opportunity to do what I want to do with my life and my education. Obviously, if the world were to end come 2012, these plans would be null.

With this in mind, I began to stew upon some ideas. At the start of this blog post, I thought I'd just explain why I wanted a bunker in the Amazon. However, after three solid paragraphs of flippantly crafted rhetoric, I kind of want to give this more thought and attention, to idle away at my office hours and allow myself the opportunity to indulge in all of my paranoid scenarios along with the chance to explore a sustainable way of living in extreme conditions.

So the post that began as How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse may just turn into If We Can Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, Why Not Live Like This Everyday and Not Have to Worry About It At All? Now, without further ado, I present The Plans, to be richly and comprehensively embellished upon in a later post at a later date - when I don't have two labs, an interview and a meeting, breathing down my neck.

The Plans:
(multiple, yes, and listed in order of how dire of a situation the world's in)


The Amazon

An island

An underground city in the subway/metro system of a large city


An underwater ecosystem

Outer Space

In the promised later posts, I will, in all of my amateur expertise, name a situation that would require us to initiate The Plans, and then go about explaining what The Plan entails. The point is to be epic, but realistic at the same time - won't that be fun?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's been a while...

“Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.”
- Mark Twain

It's been a while since the last time I've pontificated a point or an idea on this blog. From then til now life has moved on in its ever stubborn matter, not caring if I say something, do something, feel something. Good old life.

I haven't been exactly relaxed these past few months. I tried to make life better, but who knows what can be called better from worse. Maybe you have to make it worse in order to make it better. Start with destruction so that you may know what it means to create. Maybe life is just one mistake after another, some better than others, some worse. Mistakes are just decisions we make, and in hindsight regret. In their conception, they were just as innocent as any other action. Does that make them any easier to view and look back on? No, it does nothing to help whatsoever. It merely adds more words to their contemplation and gives me something to talk about while skirting other issues.

Now that Spring is approaching again, I feel the need to run away. South, of course. Away from the mud and cold of the winter. In the middle of the night, the windows rolled down, the road stretching out behind me in a fading concrete banner, the stars spelling out the hours and months and seasons, the nearly tangible smell of dark forests and deserted beaches - I would run away if I could. If I didn't have so many connections with this world, so many reasons not to leave, I don't know if I'd ever stay in one place longer than a season.

So if you find yourself talking to me late one night and I randomly ask you to run away with me, keep this in mind. I'm not crazy, I'm just restless. There are some days that stick out in your mind's eye. When all you want to do is escape what's going according to plan because the sound of your own voice and the feel of the same routines makes your skin crawl. It's because sometimes, good enough isn't enough anymore.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The End of Another Year

“What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine'?”

- Nietzsche

I love Nietzsche. He gets right to the heart of things and makes you wonder at your ideas and conventions. Do you regret the choices you've made? Would you live the life you have made for yourself and over again? And would that change what you did now? It almost sounds like the 'if you knew you were going to die in X amount of time, what would you do' question, but one that challenges your entire life. You will live out all of your mistakes and all of your glories forever more. All that you do now will be repeated time and again. You can not escape to an afterlife, you can not escape what you run from. On the flip side, you will relive all of your loves, all the perfect moments you had forgotten to appreciate. The next time you relived your life, would you remember to not take those moments of calm, of still and quite happiness, for granted?

What is Nietzsche trying to say? That we're screwed to live out miserable existences? Maybe, he was kind of a debbie downer when it came to the condition of mankind. But maybe he wanted us to accept that we all make mistakes, that we all at one point find ourselves in our loneliest loneliness, but despite all of that, we must not define our lives by our failures, but by our triumphs. In our darkest hour, we must not let that demon convince us that to repeat our lives would be hell, but a chance to happily live life again, even with all its lows. We must remember that to live is to be loved and be hurt, to forgive and to regret, to teach and to be taught, to be sick and to be healed. Life is a give and take. The bad gets mixed up with the good sometimes, but there's never one without the other.

There is no escaping Nietzsche's question, but you have a choice in how you answer. You can gnash your teeth and curse your existence, or you can be thankful to exist.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Finding of Thanks

It's Thanksgiving time. Give your thanks to people. Remember to be thankful of life, of the world, of the opportunities provided to you. Every year, my family goes around the table and thinks of something unique and touching that they're thankful for. You must be unique and touching - it's a requirement, enforced by the normal family pressure of who can make someone cry out of touching heartfelt happiness this year. And every year, I find it within myself to flop on the heartfelt touching side of it. Shit, I hate talking about emotions. It makes me very uncomfortable, even around my family. So this year, in preparation for the inevitable, I thought I'd give it a trial run. What am I thankful of?


The mind draws a blank, and the old standbys flit through my mind, slowly drawing out my suddenly timid thoughts. Family, friends, food on the table, roof over my head, warm blankets and the crisp smell of fall in the morning. Thick socks on cold nights, Scrabble tournaments, and tea pots. Escape books, mellow music, a good listener, hidden journals, black ink pens that glide across the clean paper in an irresistible manner. Homemade soup, cold cold glasses of milk, fresh bread, food made with love, the smell of breakfast in the morning, the sound of my mom happily singing while she cooks. Football games, stealing shrubbery for table ornaments, sparkling grape juice.

This year I am full of thanks for the things that have managed to change in order to stay with me for nineteen years; the happy memories of past years that have morphed to become tales told with exaggerated gestures and uncontrollable laughter at the recollection of it all, traditions that come and go. And the things that things that haven't changed so much; the smell of turkey, the taste of mashed potatoes and sweet corn, the sound of our old piano, and the simple, almost mafia-esq knowledge that family comes first.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holy Expletives and Other Tidbits of a Sorts

“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.”

- Albert Einstein

Being productive is exhausting. No one really ever mentions that. Granted it's a releasing kind of exhausting that makes you sleep for a solid 12 hours and wake up refreshed and well rested. But it's exhausting. It takes a lot to not screw up, to balance and juggle and stay on your feet all the while moving forward somehow. You gather this strange momentum of energy around you that just pushes behind, forcing you to do things as efficiently as possible, and if you get it right, then it makes everything easier. But you're just one unlucky bastard should you screw it up. It's slightly terrifying, because if you have this much responsibility, then that means you have people there to see you bomb. And they can't help but watch as you crash and burn. But in the end, when it's done, and you're standing on the other side of the calendar week, or month, or year, there's that feeling of such great accomplishment and well deserved self pride that you didn't die in the process. I wonder if that's what leaders strive for, that feeling of endorphins rushing through your veins when you've crossed the proverbial finish line. I'd like to think they did, but that might be asking too much of some people.

On a less contemplative side, I have a gigantic papier mached globe in my room and I have no idea what to do with it. Berea is this weekend, I have cleats, and fall is in the air! Happiness all around.