Saturday, November 21, 2009

welcome back

ive been so busy with graduate school that i havent had time to think about my life which—miraculously—is proceeding forward—bit by bit—with the passing of every examination.

now that ive taken a step back to look at where i am right now, i find myself in an environment characteristic of a planet unlike that of the one i have spent years building for myself.

i have no idea what is going on.

everything that was months prior, now is something entirely different—or something that is now lost.

missing?

where am i?

Monday, October 12, 2009

discombobulation.

everything has felt unusually odd lately. could it be the changing of the weather? absolutely. could it be the rediscovery of alcohol? absolutely. could it be that ive realized that graduate school leaves me with the life i wanted—which is to say without one—when i am now discovering that sometimes itd just be nice to have a shittyass 9-5 job that i can forget about at 5pm and not be expected to be some supergenius who i to become trained to save the word? absolutely. could it be that no matter where i settle down i always find my life being less than what i wanted it to be? absolutely.

do i find this to be the most infantile of rants?

absolutely.

but it feels nice to say.

Friday, September 18, 2009

garbage day

i am expecting a visitor this afternoon. so what do i do? i do what anybody else would do—clean the bathroom. clean the kitchen. vacuum.

take out the garbage.

i extract garbage bags from the various trash cans around my apartment. i put on my shoes. i exit the back door of the building to the back parking lot, where the dumpster is located.

i ascend the steps from the lower level. and as i hit street level, what do i see? i see a homeless man picking through the dumpster into which i was about to deposit my trash.

i was only steps away, and so was committed to the act.

and the fact that i was accomplishing this in the unnerving presence of a homeless person—desperately looking for food and clothing—was nothing short of humiliating.

i approached quietly, with the gravest of faces, and tried as gingerly as i could to throw my garbage away.

as i turned to go back into my apartment, he wished me a good morning, and ravenously tore open my garbage bags.

i have never felt so undeserving in my entire life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

all moments are transient but the universe is cyclic and so we will find ourselves back here again

moments ago i may as well have been mute. but now ive so much to say. about so little. with no words. and no time.

time.

and so i will be blunt: with the changing of the seasons comes the changing of the sun. it is now shining through the kitchen window into my basement studio apartment in a way it has not done in the almost-four months that i have been living here.

and i really like it.

peace.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

rip van winkle

welcome back ryan.
welcome back to reality.
you have slept long.
and you have slept well.
you have awoken from a 24-hour dream.
you have experienced many wonderful things in your dream.
and it is hoped that you enjoyed them.
go, now, and return to you life.
it has been patiently waiting for you.

but worry not:

you will sleep again.
you will dream again.

if the above was truly spoken to me in a thundering voice from the clouds as i crossed the albany city limits, i would not have been surprised in the least. and i would not have disagreed.

the past 24 hours have been as surreal as a dream, as only experiences as wonderful as those can be experienced in dreams—at least thats what i believe, now.

i will not share with you the electronic recreations in my brain. suffice it to say, the hypothetical decree above is a satisfactory substitute for any detailed explanation i may offer.

just know that the dream was as good as any dream that makes you never want to wake up again.

and i lay my head down. and i close my eyes. and i go to sleep.

but i do not dream.

not tonight.

the city of the hills

if you were hoping for something remotely coherent, then i’d stop reading right now, if i were you.

if youre up for a trip, then keep reading. because this will be nothing short of that—one hell of a trip.

the young—they cannot possibly comprehend where we—the elders—have been. what we’ve done. where we’ve done it.

they can only be told and make images in their minds. but thats all that memory is anyway.

i am currently writing under the influence. most importantly is not the state of mind in which i am writing, but the location—always, the most important quality of anything is where its taking place. everything else is irrelevant. mostly.

i am currently sitting on a couch. i am in my underwear. and gym shorts. and black socks. i am comfortable. but i look up from my computer screen and am simply in awe of my surroundings in such a way that i cannot possibly be comfortable but such that i cannot possibly be uncomfortable.

so what do i feel?

your guess is as good as mine.

i am in a house, of course. a house in the city of oneonta. which is a mindfuck in and of itself. this is the first time i have been here since i so cloudily graduated from here a mere 4 months ago. it is a dream. really: i will wake up tomorrow to a waking dream. i will float through more dreams of seeing friends—loved ones—and i will only awake from it when i enter the albany city limits. i am sure.

more about the house: i am currently sitting on a couch in a house located at 27 church street. 3 years ago—which may as well be a lifetime ago—27 church was where anybody who was somebody went to party in the city of oneonta. like all things long gone in my life—they are not long gone—so long as i remember, because memories are simply electronic recreations of past experiences. which goes without saying—if my mind can recreate something, then it must still be happening. which is to say—all moments occur indefinitely.

right now—i am still being born. my father still loves my mother. and the world is at least slightly welcoming to a newborn baby.

happy birthday, ryan—baby boy.

i see ghosts about me—because thats what my electronic recreations appear as to me. i can see myself walking into this place—many years younger. i am 18. damn. i am dressed so peculiarly because in my young age i cannot possibly know how to dress. but it must have worked. i am surrounded by my entourage. i am drinking keystone. it tastes fine now but little do i know—i’ll learn that there are far better alcoholic beverages out there to consume. i am dancing like a fool but totally enjoying myself. and thats the way to do it. in this day and age—when i feel like it—i still do the same thing. for the same reason. and its all justified by the same reasonings.

human beings moving in ways that cannot explain due to stimuli they cannot possibly comprehend—this certainly is a beautiful thing.

i see this all—but then i blink my eyes several times and im returned to the present. it is quiet here. it is cool. there are fans. there is no party. no beers cans strewn everywhere. nobody is getting laid in the shower, and there is no loud music. i am 3 years older. and i am about to lie my head to rest in this party haven of years gone by. it is now a quiet little home to my dear friends.

and i just cant get my head around that.

walking the streets tonight was unreal. ive been away from here—as ive said—for 4 months. a small amount of time. but considering the change in my relationship with this city—which is to say, i am no longer a resident of this city—it was nothing short of a dream. as ive said.

i have run out of brilliant things to say. that is—of course—if anything i have said was remotely brilliant to begin with.

the point of all of this is: i dont want to grow up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

i would rather be…?

more background for the old and for the new readers:

after straightening myself out in the fall of 2007 with my education—and probably more booze—i got myself an internship with the wadsworth center for laboratories and research at the center for medical sciences in the city of albany, ny. shortly after i found that out, my father admitted to having an affair, gave my mom the old heave-ho, and moved out to what used to be—what will forever ‘used to have been’—the family camp. and hey presto—life became hell again. especially at home. luckily for me, the three months i spend every summer there would not be spent there, but instead, in the city of albany, ny.

talk about a summer vacation.

ah yes, and let us not forget: there was a girl in that story too, who pretty much disappeared off of the face of planet earth right before that vacation. it was frustrating. she reappeared in april of this year for about two weeks, and then disappeared again. thus my prior frustration is immensely justified. [i hear she got a boyfriend about a week or two after she disappeared, and that she is doing well. good for her.]

and so, while there in albany—while effectively living on my own—i learned for the first time in my life that i could be entirely self-sufficient and self-reliant. i did not need to depend on anybody else to keep me alive or get things done. i also realized that i did not necessarily need people around—least of all a significant other—to entertain myself and be happy. i was particularly content to entertain myself, and to have a good time—by myself.

for the first time since june of 2007, i had felt pretty much on top of my life again. i had everything figured out: go back to college for one more year and graduate at the end of it, take the GRE, apply to and get accepted to and choose a graduate school, find a studio apartment someplace, and all the while to hell with women. and, by-and-by, i accomplished exactly all of that. success!

essentially, i became a champion of singularity, of independence. if one of my friends became downtrodden due to the loss of a significant other, or hell—even a prospective significant other—id tell them rather violently to suck it up—they didnt need anybody else to be happy and thus, they should not be unhappy with their apparent “misfortune”. as far as i could see, they were fortunate to be spared the bullshit that seemingly comes with relationships (and this opinion is not derived from the relationship that i was in during the winter, spring, and summer of 2007).

thus ends the background.

but during the course of this summer that i have spent entirely alone in my studio apartment, my feelings have changed, somewhat, on the prospect of being on ones own. being able to be self-sufficient and self-reliant are great skills to have, for it allows one to be able to survive with the barest of essentials. however, i have learned that friends are important. i miss my oneonta family. i miss my frankfort family. i miss my blood family. and i have realized that although i do not need to be submerged in friendships and family all off the time, i certainly most need them to survive.

but that was all warm and fuzzy for me to come to realize. the next is incredibly, and painfully hard for me to actually acknowledge and write down here.

the other evening i boarded the number 7 bus from the glenmont lowes back to downtown albany. i was seated in the back and noticed a row of seats forward, across the isle, an older gentleman of probably his mid-60’s to early-70’s was seated alone with his collapsible shopping cart. as has become a peculiar observational habit of mine, i glanced at the ring finger of his left hand and noticed it bare. i thought to myself, “good for him! he’s doing life on his own.” and then i thought to myself, “but, he really has done life all on his own. he may be a widower but otherwise, he has gone his life without the love that i had once felt [that i am convinced i will never feel again], without children, without building a family.” and then i thought to myself, “this could be me in 45 years.”

a years worth of ardent cynicism was somewhat touched by this man, and the story of his life that i had created for him in my head. i realized that, although at this point in my life i am still cynical about the relationships of my generation and am very suspicious of love subsequent to having lost it, at some point, i will find a female who may break through that cynicism entirely, who will show me that not everybody is full of lies, deceit, and a talent for conniving. [and the following i cannot believe i am saying—i may edit this out later.]i will want to spend the rest of my life with her, and start a family with her, and i must realize that that is an entirely human thing to do, and an entirely human thing for me to someday want to do. and although at times i feel so detached from this planet that i may not even be human, i know deep down that i certainly most am, and that there is no sense in trying to convince myself otherwise.

i hate myself for having just admitted that.

the diamonds in the rough

i will not discriminate between people who follow my blog, and those who may be simply searching around blogspot for something interesting to read for want of anything more entertaining to do. thus do i recount a tale told so many times over, to set the stage for the point of all of this—a point i know i have made somewhere before.

two and a half years ago i pretty much had life made. i didnt give a damn about my education and i was dating a wonderful girl. i was far more of an alcoholic then than i am now. several months later that was all shot to hell and it got the best of me. i hit rock bottom.

some story.

what i didnt realize then—and what i dont think many of us realize—is that when things are really bad, theyre not that bad. or, perhaps they are that bad, but every single moment of every single day isnt that bad. i think back to the fall semester of 2007 and for some reason i find myself missing the misadventures of those first few months—before i started to straighten myself back out again with my education. the certain hell i was going through had a particular flavor. and perhaps it is because i am a masochist that i find myself missing that particular flavor. and i think it is also because deep within the depths of all of that hell, there were still plenty of perfectly wonderful things going on.

for example:

- most of the friends that i have who are still at oneonta and cannot legally purchase alcohol yet—i met them in those first few months. and i love them all to death. they helped me tremendously and became good friends in the process.

- the girl i so loved and was so betrothed to and i were still on speaking terms. we were civil. out friendship was patched up relatively quickly if memory serves me correctly. there were the ups and downs that come with being a poor ex-boyfriend trying to cope with the fact that we were friends—and nothing more—and all that that implies. but all of that was overshadowed by the fact that the girl i still cared about most on planet earth was still my best friend. i couldnt have asked for more than that.

- dr. nigel mann’s animal behavior class. dont ask me why, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, that class was probably the most satisfying i ever took at oneonta. and the utica zoo field trip—though important in my brain for other reasons—was what got me starting to think about altering my career path and becoming a research scientist. without that class, i dont know where id be on planet earth right now.

and i think—again, masochistically—some part of me just misses the time. a lot of it was malevolent, yes, but things not only felt bad, but in retrospect, they just felt different. and it is a feeling i know i will never get back. because i will never be in the same place at the same time with the same hell exploding around me. and it is in my nature to be curious as to how it would feel to relive something again.

no matter how bad it was the first time around.

move-in day

the time at which i begin to write this is 8:19 am. the date on which i begin to write this is sunday, august 23, 2009.

originally, i awoke sometime around 6 am, before forcing myself back to sleep. but i feel that it is no coincidence that i was wide awake at that hour.

every last or second-to-last sunday in august for the past four years has been marked with a dawn journey—my life packed into boxes and bags, stuffed into back seats and trunks—to the state university of new york college at oneonta.

and that is not what i am doing now.

and some part of my brain and my heart feels as though that is what i should be doing right now.

i am not in the right place.

i should have pulled up to the service door of some dorm about 22 minutes ago now—i would have picked a dorm room as close as possible to the service door, to the laundry room—just like last year.

but i am not.

i should be greeting RAs i may know as we go through the obligatory paperwork upon the completion of which i get my room and mailbox keys.

but i am not.

i should be a sweaty mess, carting things from my mother’s and father’s cars, and beginning to unpack them whilst barking orders at my parents to put this here, or that there.

but i am not.

i can close my eyes and look around the room, a collage of all of the images from all of the times that i have done that on move-in day. i can hear the rain fall outside, as the windows would be able to relieve the heat of unpacking. i can even smell what an unoccupied-for-three-months, empty oneonta dorm smells like.

but i am not there.

i miss my old life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a reply from grandpa

so my grandfather had this to say about my spiel:

so it sounds like the reason we are the greatest country this world has ever known is we were lucky. not because  people who have the money and  invest in new technologies to create jobs has led to our greatness.
if we tax the hell out of people who have wealth, where does the incentive come from to create more wealth and more jobs. if you make more money the government will only take it from you. I think this is called socialism.
evidently cuba and russia (communist)  have and had the ideal governments where everyone is equal.
yes there are inequities in our government(and some of them can be corrected) but if you destroy the incentive to accumulate wealth, this country will be destroyed.
there is no perfect government but history has proved the usa has the best so far.

to which i had this to say:

well said my dear grandfather, well said!

I think that if a government is intent on actually governing (as it seems, every aspect of a country) then the government should also play a prominent role in economics, etc. russia, for example, had such a prominent space program during the cold war, because all of the scientists involved were all government-hired scientists (as I understand it). and they were all probably making somewhere around the same amount as the local garbage collectors, say. now, sure its far simpler to be a trash man than to go to school for 10 years to become a scientist to get paid the same amount. but the point is, would you rather go to school for 10 years and become a scientist, or wade through a city's filth all day long, removing trash and (essentially) bettering the community? some would choose the former, others would choose the latter. but thing is, the scientist who goes to school for 10 years still needs to somebody to take his trash away to a facility that processes it--and he certainly isnt going to. and the garbage collector still needs scientists to develop medicine for when he gets sick, say. the point is: all jobs in a society are equally important, regardless of the degree of intensity of training involved. thus, should not everybody have a relatively similar wage and living conditions?

as far as innovation and so forth, I believe that a country does not need millionaires to invest in innovation (and how many of them really do? some: certainly. most: probably not.). what I do believe is that the government can foster this innovation as the need arises (this is a perfectly horrendous example but, look at the manhattan project: would anybody in the united states really be that mentally dysfunction as to develop and atomic bomb unless somebody had given them incentive and financing--in this case, the US government?). so, lets say everybody has similar wages and are taxed equally (or in the case of the US, "tax the hell out of the rich"), and the government has this whole big chunk of money it didn’t have (hi ho!—surplus!). not only can that money go into improving the various aspects of the country (health care, etc.), but it could also be used to finance certain projects. for example, the same way entrepreneurs go to big businessmen and banks looking for financing for some contraption, scheme, or whatever, they would instead go to the government (like we scientists do), a certain committee composed of people from all sorts of various backgrounds would determine whether that would be a sound investment or not (like the national science foundation does), and then the person going to the government would either be granted a financial award, or not (like us scientists are, or are not).

the point: its not that their cant be investment to create jobs and provide incentive to innovate, its just that it could and should go through better channels (I.e. government, not private). I think that I would have far more trust in the government (which I have apparently voted for and apparently represents me) holding the majority of the country's money, than the rich holding onto it. because what are they really doing with it? a majority of them? not improving the economy, I will tell you that much. that’s why there is this economic crisis: a minority of the citizens of the united states of america hold onto a majority of the money, and they don’t want to give it up (trickle-down does not work when nobody at the top wants to trickle down). so the upper class becomes the upper upper class, and the middle class becomes the lower class, and the lower class well, theyre already at rock bottom. thus, as corporate greed increases, the disparity between classes increases--soon, there will be no middle class. and the poor arent going anywhere--theyre the majority. its going to be up to the rich to let go of their greed--and their money--or up to the government to tax them more heavily, to get the majority of the country's money out of their hands, and spread around to everybody else so that people can start buying things and investing in homes and cars and so forth. that’s going to get the economy going again.

it doesn’t necessarily mean the rich wont still be rich, it just means that the poor wont be as poor anymore.

and: its not that there should be an incentive to increase wealth--instead, there should simply be a desire to be the best human being one can be (the Word of God comes to mind). in the dog-eat-dog market that capitalism fosters, there is no hope of that. in a perfect economy, there would be an overall understanding that not one component of society (that is to say, one particular specialization) can function without all of the others (which is to say, all of the other occupations). thus, no one person should be rewarded more than the other for their contribution to society (or at least not by definition).

the unfortunate thing is that human beings--by their very genetic nature (see richard dawkins' "the selfish gene")--are incredibly greedy organisms, which is why capitalism works. it is surprising that capitalism--a dog-eat-dog economic system--flourishes in a mostly christian country, a religion in which the Word of God is certainly most is not the following: do your best to out compete thy neighbor and come out on top of him. you would think that in a country whose main religion and whose constitution (despite "separation of church and state") is based on the aforementioned religion would be more egalitarian. thus, it is not surprising that the beautitudes--Jesus' sermon on the mount--are not referenced more often than the ten commandments (for example, "blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth": this sounds like a millionaire's nightmare).

you get the point im trying to make: america (and many other countries with capitalistic economies) could be said to have an overall "morally" corrupt society (which is to say, everybody simply insists on everybody being nice to each other--which is to say, be moral--but many people are not, they're simply looking out for their own skin, which is supposed to be immoral, or so I understand it--and it certainly most is genetically and evolutionarily favorable in nature) simply as a result of our own genetic ("human") nature (e.g. social darwinism), and thus, we can only have a corrupt economy.

only in a utopian society where everybody rejects their genetics and does behave as morally as people say we should act could an egalitarian society flourish.

I am a dreamer. so be it.

love,

ryan

an e-mail from grandpa

i received the following e-mail from my grandfather just now. it contains therein a quote, which i share with you below:

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

- Adrian Rogers

and i now share with you below my response (for which i am sure to catch hell; at least i didnt ‘reply all’)

my response to the statement by the questionable adrian rogers:

why does any one person need to have--and better yet, why should they have--more money than they need to survive, when the poor--who didn’t ask to be born into the first place, or be born into a poor household, or have unfortunate circumstances that prevent them from holding a triple-digit job, or who live in a country where nobody can get a job--are surviving on the pennies they receive from bottle-and-can returns--the only humbling job they can possibly get in this country that simply has no jobs. why are there no jobs? because most of the small business owners don’t have the money to employ them. who does have all the money? your corporate CEOs, your stock brokers, your wall street-shysters--the very same people who seem to need--and certainly most have--more money than they could possibly ever need to survive.

case in point: those who have more money than we humble, hard-working americans have (and for that are we not owed six figures a year?) probably don’t even deserve to have it in the first place. whereas we make our money supporting the elderly in nursing homes, broadening the depth of scientific knowledge, assisting special-needs children in elementary schools, etc., they get their outrageous sums of money through inheritance (the prerequisite to which is simply being born with the right last name), or through swindling others on the stock market, through bribes--through all manner of business practices to which one could attribute no other adjective than this: immoral.

so my question is this: why not tax the hell out of the minority that which holds the majority of US currency? does that not mean lower (or at least, not increased) taxes for us--the middle class--the working class? does that not mean more federal tax dollars to overhaul our health care system? our dying social security system? our childhood and secondary education programs?

and another question: why should the rich be able to practically burn money for fun while some of us are struggling to pay rent each month whilst engaging in entirely humane forms of labor? answer: they shouldn’t.

hows that for a "profound paragraph"?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

dog food

its happening again.

my brain is going absolutely bonkers.

listen:

i want to sleep, but i cant keep my eyes shut.

i am perfectly comfortable, but i just cant sit still.

i am hungry, but i have no appetite.

i am in pain, but i feel no pain.

i want friends and family to come see me, but i just want to be alone.

i want to make music, but i dont pick up my guitar.

i want to read, but i dont pick up a book.

i want to watch a movie, but i dont turn on the television.

i want to go outside, but i keep the door shut—i do not put on my shoes.

the one thing that i do want though, without contradiction, is to go swimming.

why?

Friday, August 7, 2009

containment

have you ever wondered: why was the US—why was the world—so hell-bent on preventing "the spread of communism", a form of government—to my understanding—where the working class makes the rules, where the standard of living is equal for everybody?

answer: because the rich aristocrats in political offices the world around were so insulted by the mere thought—the mere suggestion—that those less fortunate should have the same standard of living as them. or: that their fabulously well-to-do living situation should be reduced—reduced to a level that would be affordable for everybody else.

oh yeah, and theres this: they didnt want to give up at least one of their fifteen yachts, or 100 mansions, say, and and a small percentage of their money through taxes, say, to help everybody else out who were simply less fortunate than them for one reason in particular. maybe its not that they didnt have a job, or fail to look for one, or work at least a low-paying one. but the reason they were less fortunate was simply this: the aristocrats had all of the fucking money.

until this past wednesday, i had $39 in my entire bank account. and not a whole lot more in cash.

shove that up your ass hyannis port.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a tale of two species

i love squirrels. nobody i know even fancies squirrels. but i love them. i find them to pathetically entertaining.

“look! theres a morsel of food!” one may think to his or herself. hop hop hop. stop! look around. “is there anybody else who has spotted that delicious looking morsel? is there anything bigger than me that wants to eat me? doesnt look like.” hop hop hop. stop! “here it is!” he or she might think, as they triumphantly stuff it in their mouths for safekeeping.

what a smart idea.

and then—theyre off! they bound to the nearest tree or building and—! up they go! they climb the damned thing like it were nothing.

i dont know about you, but to me—that seems like just about the coolest thing.

and what a smart idea: what in the hell is going to eat you 80 feet above the ground, concealed by branches and leaves? answer: not a whole lot.

most people probably dont like squirrels for the very example presented. they consider them varmint, as every morning, they wake up—just like everybody else—and jump from garbage can to garbage can, from dumpster to dumpster, from junk pile to junk pile—doing anything they can to find food.

how disgusting this must seem to most people.

and as i turn my own sleepy eyes from these delightful creatures—who didnt ask to be born anyway, who are simply doing what darwin suggested they could only do, which is fight, forage, and fuck—i observe another urban species waking up—just like everybody else—going from garbage can to garbage can, from dumpster to dumpster, from junk pile to junk pile—doing anything they can to find food.

what is this other organism, you ask? here is the answer: homo sapiens.

homo sapiens—meaning, ‘wise man’, an utterly stupid scientific name to give to such an utterly stupid organism—are the very same species—in fact—that put this particular subclass of homo sapiens in that particular occupation.

classes—of course—being defined by what one has, and what another does not have. homo sapiens richus have oodles of money that they could burn for fun—if theyd liked—and not be anymore poorer than before the demolition. homo sapiens poorus have not a cent—not a morsel of food—and are reduced to that darwinian definition of an organisms’ sole purpose in ‘life’: fighting, foraging, and fucking.

fucking outdoors where simply any passerby could see you has got to be so exciting.

it would seem that the former species—homo sapiens richus—has dwindled in numbers, or, evolved from your ‘everyday’ homo sapiens—a species that at one point owned only what it needed—as there are simply very few of them in existence, at least in the united states of america.

does this mean that soon homo sapiens richus will become extinct, making way for homo sapiens poorus? i dont think so.

the aforementioned—however—is not true. it is simply that homo sapiens richus appears to require the absolute minimum number of additional members of its species of the opposing sex to promote the cycling of its species. thus—evolutionarily—it makes sense that their population has indeed remained miniscule.

or is that how it really works?

it would seem that the latter species—homo sapiens poorus—are either increasing in number, or are at least more reproductively active than homo sapiens richus, because there are so damned many of them, at least in the united states of america.

this however, is not true. it is simply that because the population of homo sapiens richus is so absolutely tiny that the population of homo sapiens poorus has been able to grow to its current gargantuan size.

or is that how it really works?

maybe it is. its called ‘density-depended population growth’. and i never thought id use a term i learned in general ecology ever again in my life, subsequent to graduating. i shudder.

i dont think that is how it really works.

keep reading:

it is interesting to note, though, that homo sapiens poorus may be as close to the original species of homo sapiens as one could get in this day and age in the 21st century, as they are doing exactly what their ancestors did: woke up every morning, and did what they could to find food, a good fuck, and theyd fight to the death for it—if necessary. they are not slaves to free enterprise—to capitalism—but are instead at the whim of natural selection.

homo sapiens richus—on the other hand—are hopelessly reliant on capitalism. and here is where the true tale that explains the origin of and the current populations sizes of the two species in question is told:

homo sapiens richus require a boss to tell them what to do with their life—which could be spent doing many other far less servile things. they do what their boss tells them to do with their life, and then they get paid. they take that money and buy the very services they provide, thus giving their boss even more money, and he becomes evermore power-drunk off of green paper. eventually this addled employee—hopelessly dependent on his boss for instructions and money—becomes an esteemed employee. he moves up the social ladder—whatever that is. he starts getting more slips of green paper biweekly. next thing you know it, twenty years go by, and hes the power-drunk boss. he is god. eventually him and his former boss—now a cohort—end up owning so much of the money in circulation and the ground underneath everybody’s feet, that there are no more green papers to go around for anybody else—there is no place for anybody else to stay.

and thus was homo sapiens poorus born, as the result of all the fucking around homo sapiens richus were doing. what an invigorating, motivating tale.

what a sad tale. we cant all be successful. and what is success anyway when somebody else is suffering?

maybe homo sapiens richus are more darwinian than i originally thought.

for fucks sake: a little boy—who by no means asked to be born into the shitty circumstances he is most certainly living in—was picking through jefferson streets’ garbage last week.

give me a fucking break.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

cameras

they are fascinating—cameras. they capture things that only the most magnificent of brains can recapitulate.

they remind me of lives i once had that i thought i had not forgotten—but i am wrong.

for all that i remember—ive forgotten. repressed. recovery.

moving on.

they are fascinating—cameras. they produce immortal recollections of lives ive once loved. lives ive now lost.

moving on.

but.

no one can ever take them away from me—lives ive once loved—now lost. repressed. recovery.

moving on.

for all of the pieces of developed plastic that are now burned—thrown away—forgotten—i will shed tears.

they are times that my most magnificent brain will recapitulate indefinitely.

lives ive once loved. lives ive lost.

lives i wont forget.

respressed. no.

recovery. yes.

moving on.

never.

thatd be a tragedy. a rejection of my very life.

chaos.

peace.

no.

when the flash goes off before my eyes—the past is closer than it seems.

clicks away.

close my eyes.

the past is as close behind as memory allows it to be.

tomorrow may as well be three years ago.

i am a fool.

or at least--

i am human.

so be it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

waiting rooms

i am currently comfortable. the most comfortable—in fact—that ive been in twelve days; during which time my insides and mental stability have been wrenched and burned as the result of an as-yet undiagnosed medical condition resulting from some complication in my cholecyst—my gallbladder.

it is expected. my mother had choleliths (gallstones) and a subsequent cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). her grandmother also had similar complications. what exactly—i dont know.

the aforementioned train of thought was just interrupted by my name being called by a doctor at the boundary between me and where the real fun is. i just got an IV in my arm. and—hence the title—i am currently in a waiting room.

sitting here writing—for the first time about my life in what seems to be forever—awaiting a hepatobiliary imino-diacetic acid scan. it will test the functioning of my liver with respect to my gallbladder and small intestine, and it will subsequently test the functioning of my gallbladder with respect to my small intestine.

and so all of that other stuff was just history. whatever. point being: after being pained for consecutive days on end, for what is at least the third time in four months, i basically got mentally fucked up enough to say, "enough is enough" and start getting the medical ball rolling, so to speak.

and so it is.

the point of this particular written monologue has to do with the title itself: waiting rooms.

most people dread them: the wait. the other patients. the wait. the paperwork.

the wait!

but in the past three years, i have found a particular peace in waiting rooms. typically because it was never the case that i was in there for my own personal health. in the past three years, it was always me escorting my beloved residents to basset healthcare in cooperstown, or basset healthcare in herkimer, or the slocum-dickson medical group in utica, or saint elizabeth’s hospital in utica, or saint luke’s hospital in utica, or some damned place in syracuse. and so on.

and while they waited, i got to take what could certainly be called a well-deserved break from the seeming nonstop craziness back at the nursing home—which i so thrived on—and could still thrive on.

and though i enjoyed every second that i ran around that nursing home—making beds, ambulating residents, escorting residents to physical therapy, passing nourishments, running errands—going on a transport typically meant a scenic drive, reading vonnegut in the waiting room, learning things in the examination room, and a scenic ride back to the nursing home.

it was a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy day.

and i suppose thats why yesterday, while waiting for a putative diagnosis (which i already suspected, mind you), and now, while waiting to get jazzed with technetium 99m—a radioactive tracer—i am entirely at peace.

i dont even feel any pain.

oh the mysterious ways that the past can comfort the present.

story of my life the for past three months.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

home—we’re coming home again

a bit of a history: so one best friend flies across the country from the west coast to the east coast yesterday. meets up with other best friend back in frankfort. and the two of them drive to albany for a night of mayhem. it was a blast. but before it even got off the ground, talk of this one night led into talk of the subsequent night. and as my experiments are obligated to sit at least until friday, i decided to pack up and come back to frankfort with them this morning.

before we even got on i90, something felt weird. not a bad weird. but. just weird. it wasnt like when i became unstuck in time and went back to my high school graduation. it was nothing like that. this was just a feeling. i think it is because i have not been anywhere near frankfort during the summertime since that fateful summer of 2007. and even as i sit here now, listening to an ep by the now-defunct band named the stickup—and ep i luckily bought on a whim during the summer of 2006—i just feel immersed, almost, in this feeling. like i am swimming through a different world.

but this always happens to me no matter where i go. i am always living in the present. looking towards the future. and sensing the past.

my house has always smelled different in the summertime. and i guess despite my previous summer living here being so traumatizing, my brain has repressed the bad and can take in all that it is sensing around me and simply cause me to enjoy being in my house and in my hometown during what always used to be such a relaxed and fulfilling time of year—namely, the summer.

ive missed this smell. ive missed this house. ive missed this town.

its good to be home.

Monday, July 6, 2009

the few, the proud…

observation: it would seem that despite overall international displeasure with war, young men and women fresh out of high school or college or the breadline are still lining up to be turned into unemotional, unfeeling, hopelessly obedient robots day after day after day.

question: what if everybody just said the hell with the peruvian air force or the hungarian army or the united states marines or the japanese navy or the insurgency and on and on, and there were no more soldiers left to fight anybody’s wars?

dare i say: war is perpetuated by the mentally defunct young men and women of planet earth who at the ripe young ages of 18, 19, 20, 21, 43, and on and on, must somehow find it amusing to run from defilade to defilade, from trench to trench, otherwise turning fellow members of the human race into so much hamburger meat. and somehow—bless them—they are able to aide their fellow countrymen by translating that unimaginable mess into terms that must be far more easy for civilians to understand.

this is it: defending ones country. or: defending ones religion.

give me a break!

Monday, June 22, 2009

schlachthaus fünf

the way that i feel write now is so bonkers that i am being driven to write it down. i have no idea what i am feeling, and thus no idea what it is that i am about to say. your guess is as good as mine.

the way i feel right now may be the way one feels as they are about to die. i feel like parts of my life are flashing before my eyes. better yet: i feel like i am literally, physically, mentally, and emotionally living out parts of my life all over again. better yet: not living out again but, watching, almost like a movie, from behind my eyes, just like everything happened the first time. its like i am sitting in the skull that was, watching everything on two oval-shaped television screens that are placed side-by-side. not only can i see these things but i feel like my limbic system is plugged into the limbic system that was, and i can feel everything as though it was really happening.

and like that, its no longer just television. i get up from the couch. i look around me. i am no longer in my apartment. i am in my mothers house—my fathers old house—and i see them both there. it is night. the pool is open. somebody is swimming in it. probably my sister. i hear lawn mowers in the distance. the sun is setting behind joslin hill. it is still as humid as a lung outside. i hear bugs. but im not outside. im inside. walking through the kitchen. my cat is probably watching intently what is going on in the pool area—as he always does—waiting for somebody to begin their approach from the pool area to the back door—giving him an opportunity to escape outside to eat some grass—roll around in the dirt. i can hear the fan upstairs. i feel the fan blowing on my legs now.

i am currently describing what i literally feel and see. i am sitting down. i am walking through the kitchen. the fan is real. i know that much. i turned it on to dry my clothes because the dryers in my apartment are atrocious.

i get a text message from my girlfriend, probably. i answer it. i am probably in a bathing suit—never taken off after an afternoon outside. i will start work at the high school soon. as soon as i graduate this upcoming weekend.

i smell like chlorine. my skin feels dry.

i go upstairs and the old wallpaper is still there—the bookcase with all of my sister’s and my old books from childhood. that big book of fairy tales my meem got from i-dont-know-who. i will read tales from there soon—i am sure—as i do every time summer begins. i am not too old for it.

if there is one thing that i find to be most sacred and most important, it is this: that i never ever forget how to be a child.

i have the physics regents exam coming up this week. im not even going to study. im not going to study because i know it all like the back of my hand—and who studies for cumulative exams like that anyway? what a great class this was. i am going to miss mr. frye.

i shower now. wash off the pool water and chlorine. the smell of outside. i get into whatever evening wear ive been sporting. probably some pair of cotton shorts with a drawstring. a white t. i go downstairs and dish out a bowl of ice cream. im sure ive gotten another text message by now. ‘i love you too, amanda.’ i devour the ice cream. it probably isnt mint chocolate chip but more something along the lines of cookie dough—or cookies in cream. something vanilla, im guessing.

so ive just gotten skewered by my hair stylist—my hair is as short as i am tall. so i try doing it a different way. it works. i dont know it yet but this is how i will wear my hair for the next year and a half. time flies. its friday and i havent shaved in days—there is barely any hair there. but i like how it hides my babyface. amanda and my mother agree—i look horrible. so i go to the graduation rehearsal. tonight my right ankle will start acting up. i think its the weather aggravating it—i had sprained and fractured it 6 years ago. i dont know it yet but cracking it will become a bad habit i wont break until it becomes so routine that i forget to do it. i go to sleep.

i wake up and apparently my life is supposed to be on the brink of a major ending—and another beginning. i actually dont look half bad in my cap thingamajig. mom takes pictures. i go do my hair. i go to the gym. we’re all excited. for the first time in 6 years i am not playing pomp and circumstance at the high school graduation—im walking out to it. only a month earlier i was walking out to that stupid ‘i’ll be your crying shoulder’ song with amanda on my arm. and damn did she look beautiful.

to this day: she looked beautiful.

so i walk out and cant believe it. i sit down. and graduation progresses. i get awards. i get my diploma. i almost botch my photograph with whoever-he-was. i sit down again. someone talks again. i throw my cap where i can easily retrieve it. i pick it up. graduation is done. there are lots of hugs, tears, high-fives. etc. my family approaches me. im sure theyre crying, too. and theres amanda—bless her: she sat through the whole, sweltering 2.5 hour ceremony, just to watch her baby graduate. arent i lucky or what?

so now theres more photos being taken and i still have them on this very computer. we go home. amandas mother is there, i think. amanda apparently went graduation shopping for me. a belt buckle i will never wear. one of those white stone surfer dude necklaces that i will wear every single day until we break up. i think. a green shirt that i dont know where it ended up—its probably in good condition but id swim in it, im sure. a pinstripe sport coat from hot topic that sits in my closet next to me. i wore it to my graduate school interview for ualbany. and ive worn it to many other important functions as well.

some things you just never lose use for.

i get into comfortable clothes—i cant even breathe from my shirt and tie. i drive amanda to my grandfathers down the street and around the corner—hes got beagle puppies. theyre adorable. i go home. get all of my graduation party invitations. get in the car. my parents drive me to party number one. they drive amanda home. i go to some parties. i go home. my family comes home from my despised cousins graduation party. my mother and sister—some other family members, im sure, go down to the vfw on acme road. they begin setting up for my party.

‘i love you too, amanda,’ and i go down into the cellar to play my new video game that my mother bought me for graduating—the only material gift that i got.

and now that i think of it, this is where we arrive to the beginning of my tale. or maybe it was the end of the next night. in which case i wasnt in the pool all day--

i am getting dolled up. into my suit. with this new off-grey shirt and snazzy tie. ive lost the tie now—somehow—i will always regret losing it, too. i get dropped off by my father at glenns graduation party. its kind of awkward. dad picks me up, and we go to my party. i have photos from this, too. on my computer. this one.

my friends came. my teachers came. amanda stayed for the whole damned thing—again. bless her. and now everybody is leaving. i take the car, stuff it full of my friends, and drive to nicks party. this is nice. and i hit somebodys car as im backing out. not too badly, though. just grazed it. whoops.

somehow everybody gets where theyre going. my house is dark inside. the windows may or may not be open. my graduation balloons are everywhere. the big ones are deflated—are taped to the back of my bedroom door in my old house. my fathers old house.

it happens.

and here i am. i think i am back in my apartment. it doesnt smell like my apartment—it doesnt smell like anything. the fan—the one that was real—its still blowing, from the opposite side of the room than usual—over where my closet and now-dry clothes are. i like how it feels from this angle. i might just keep it there.

i really, truly feel—maybe even believe—that i just did all of that all over again. maybe not over again—maybe its always happening. still happening. right now. why not? i cant do or say anything differently but, so long as i remember it—if im only remembering—then it must still exist. the way everything looked, smelled, tasted, felt. if i remember it all—if i can sense it all—then it must still be there.

and i am glad that it is. that was a good time in my life. that was a good summer.

these are things i have not sensed—and i will now use the word ‘sense’ instead of ‘remember’—in a very long time. i have had glimpses—but never like this. i cant even imagine what my brain activity must look like right now on an fmri—i have described here details that i could not have possibly remembered otherwise. otherwise what? i dont know. details that i could not have possibly remembered unless i were describing everything in such detail like this? details that i could not have possibly remembered unless this actually just happened again?

i dont know.

i know i didnt actually physically go anywhere. but i sure felt like it. and thus described it as such. it was a nice ride, anyway. didnt you enjoy it?

the point is this: something in my brain snapped this evening and my conscious was sent somewhere. somewhere i have been before. and done things before. maybe it was a dream. maybe it was a memory. or maybe our brains are truly able to walk us through times in our life in such detail as we could have never consciously tried to remember it—that is to say, we simply did. and we dont know why.

i told you from the get-go that i had no idea what i was about to say. i still barely remember what ive just typed. i have nothing stellar or spectacular to end this trip in time with.

none of this was revised. i will re-read it now and content myself to make no revisions. how can i revise what has already happened?

and here, now, the author is stripped of his freedom to edit: whats done is done.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

frankfort

the other night, i came across a message that said that the frankfort middle school/high school band concert would be that night. having felt lazy all day, and recognizing that this may be the last band concert i ever attend, i came to the conclusion that i should go. if anything, it would be nice to walk amongst the warm, late-spring air that has been mostly absent this whole season. i walked with a smile on my face as the warm sun set behind the baseball field. the football field. route 5s. circa survive blaring in my ears. i entered the high school for the first time in two years. interestingly, the only thing that felt out of place was the fact that everywhere were banners and papers proclaiming “congratulations graduating class of 2009!”. even i didnt feel out of place. i knew which rooms belonged to which of my instructors. i could point out my senior locker. i floated through the senior hallway—through the auditorium—like a ghost. nobody recognized me. have i really changed that much in two years—four years? i was not offended by this. i was able to walk through a place still so familiar to me unseen—invisible. not under the watchful eye of teachers or administration.

the soloists and high school band performed amazingly.

the younger of my friends—seniors now, only 8th graders when i graduated—they recognized me. said hello briefly before being whisked away by their parents—bedtime. one of the custodians i worked with during the memorable summers of 2004 and 2005 recognized me. we talked. it was nice. and surprise surprise: i dont remember his name. frank is the best i can come up with. i think i am wrong.

i stepped into the band room—ms. asher barely recognized me. we talked for a short while. she congratulated my having graduated from oneonta—on my acceptance to graduate school. it was so odd seeing a younger teacher now from the perspective of somebody as equal as her: a college graduate. almost like we could be best friends if life allowed for it. it was an interesting idea to toy with in my head. i said goodbye to her for the last time, and began to walk home.

despite my likeness that evening to a ghost amongst tombstones, it was on that walk home—as i passed the tennis courts—that i realized that, no matter how much i sometimes dislike being here, no matter how much i sometimes dislike the people here, no matter how much i want to get the hell out of here already and move to albany, i will always have a home here, and at least a handful of human beings who love me. its a comforting thought.

it is beautiful here in the spring. when it warms up.

heres to you, frankfort.

ghosts

recently, ive realized that i have been wandering through memories and have been causing them to physically manifest themselves. partly my fault. its the month of may. the feeling of spring turning into summer. its happened last year. i think may will always feel weird.

with all of these graduation things going on, my brain cant help but mosey into depths of my hippocampus—wired inexplicably to the limbic system—to reproduce how i felt—how my environment felt—four years ago at this time, as i prepared to graduate from high school. wants to just test the old waters. for the hell of it. who knows? my life was so much different then: my parents were together, i was infinitely more innocent, and infinitely more ignorant and naive—i had no idea what was out there. and i had a girlfriend, too. her name was amanda.

surely as a consequence of my poor, confused, hijacked brain, i got in touch with her a week or so ago, and she ended up bringing me to this party she was at. it was nice to see her—for sure. but it was the same as the last time i had seen her—20 months and 6 days beforehand: some part of me felt—and i feel that at least one ex of a relationship will always feel this way regarding their corresponding ex—that of everybody in the room, i should have been getting the most attention from her. its not that i wanted it, per se. some unknown part of me just desired it. (maybe i’ll find that part some day. i dont think i care to.) maybe because at one point in time, i was the the only person in that room filled with people getting that attention. i dont think that those are things anybody will ever get past (notice that i didnt say “get over”. see the difference?). and i feel as though because of how the final breakup went down, and how i handled it, i was the one who felt more scorned. i dont know. but that is how i felt last night. i felt almost invisible. it is not her fault—why should i, an ex of four years, give a flying fuck? and why should she? it shouldnt matter. but it does. for some reason. and i feel as though it always will. she was my first girlfriend, after all. and we were together for the better part of a whole year. again: i think that is all a reflection on how i handled everything subsequent to the breakup. i was bitter. i didnt want to talk to her. it was torture. i just wanted to be left alone. after nearly a year of that, i realized that it was pointless. and i apologized. we made amends. fin. there hasnt been much to add to the story since then. the whole point is though: with all of this graduation stuff going on, i miss when i was a senior in high school, and miss the time i spent with her, and how my environment felt around me—how it sounded and smelled, how it looked and felt. and i dont think she feels the same.

and i guess some part of me thinks that that is sad.

i would rather remember every detail then forget or deny a whole year of my life.

thats just me.

again: why should i give a flying fuck?

onward.

and by the simple fact that it is may, in which the beginnings of a very difficult summer two years ago was founded, some part of my brain cant help but wander through the memories and ghosts of that time—im listening to the same music, reading the same books. some part of my brain is trying to recreate the environment of two years ago. yet again—i dont know why. maybe my brain is trying to test me—figure out how i could have handled things were i then who i am now. i dont know. i know simply that it is happening—nothing more. and wouldnt you know it—last week, i saw dana, too. but her and i are a different story. we broke up. we still talked. we were still best friends. things got increasingly difficult for me towards the end summer—to put it lightly. but we started talking again once we returned to school, fortunately. thankfully. there were rough times in there too, but basically, we remained very good friends. and still are. she came to visit me in albany last summer. and when she found me at the senior class picnic last night, she latched onto me—wouldnt let me go. if that wasnt nice, what is? she attended the bar crawl, and we talked here and there when we could. i didnt feel like i did around amanda. i didnt feel starved for her attention. again—its not that i necessarily wanted it (in retrospect of what i just wrote here and above: i am lying—we all want attention from our exs. plain and simple). it could be because i was getting attention—whenever we ended up being at the same bar, we’d wave, say hello, talk about whatever. it was nice. and we ended up spending our last night as oneonta undergraduates drinking in the dorms. talking about our lives. about life—like we always do. singing and playing guitar. bar hopping until 3am. and if that wasnt nice, what could be? i am very thankful that her and i are still friends. i wouldnt want it any other way.

again: i think its the differences in how ended relationships are handled that defines how you will feel around that person for the rest of your life.

i panicked when i got home saturday for reasons known to me that i will not share with you. sorry. but i am fine now. the ghosts have disappeared. despite what im hearing, reading. i only see the walls of my house around me. i move to albany (hopefully) this weekend or early next week. and i will walk amongst the beautiful ghosts of last summer, i am sure (this is not a bad thing, as you know—albany changed my life in ways i cannot explain). for no matter how far you exceed the past, you cannot deny it. it will always catch up to you.

in retrospect of what is written here and above: writing this thing—i feel—has served no purpose. but i had to get it out.

thank you for reading.

the final annual end-of-the-school-year blog

NOTE: this was written over the course of thursday, may 14th; and today, june 21st.

hello babies. its that time again.

i am not writing to you from an empty room, whilst waiting for my family to come and pick up my belongings, and bring me back to frankfort. i am writing to you from a partially empty room—the soley resident of matteson 013 still here. i go home in two days—i graduate in two days—not two hours. but i fear that i will not have the time in between now and then to write—as i always do—and so, here i am, writing to you. from a partially empty room. the keys of my laptop echo out of my room and through the living room. i clap my hands—the living room claps back. i am not alone, after all.

clap.

this has been as difficult a year as it has been easy. in the fall months, i was becoming increasingly frustrated with who and what i saw around me. people being so shitty—people giving a shit about things that obviously did not matter. their insolence and immaturity made me sick. i shrunk away. as i was prone to do, considering i had basically lived alone since june. eventually, i found even more ways to entertain myself. better: i found out what all of the things in my mental box labeled ‘unparalleled happiness’ were—the books, albums, movies, places, activities, food that all made me happy—and i took refuge and comfort in them when i couldnt stand even having to share air with the human beings around me. eventually, though, i think those feelings subsided a bit.

winter break was okay. i worked at VHS—for the last time. today i said goodbye to my nurses, and to the adult daycare crew, and handed in my badge. i am no longer an employee there. though i will always have a place there, and people who love me there—it is no longer where i belong. it was the first time in a long time ive had to say goodbye—to say, ‘im not coming back—this is the end’. ive been doing that a lot lately. and i will be forced to continue to do so. christmas was okay, too. everyone seemed to be okay with my father being around—except my uncle (mothers brother), still. my father was not allowed at that particular christmas party. but. whatever. things seemed to run smoothly. it was better than the last time he had come to some sort of family function that i was present at (easter of last year). its my sister—it seems—who is now making this the hardest on everybody. she loves my father. she hates me. shes cool with my parents being civil. she wants them to hate each other. she wants them to be back together. or so it seems. or so ive been told. she hasnt quite said any of that to me. but thats how my mother makes it out to be—who, by the way, my sister thinks is stupid. apparently. i dont know. she doesnt talk to me much.

clap.

i came back to oneonta in january with a bang—i was ready to get back in the lab and get back to work and crank out my last semester of my undergraduate career (did you get the joke? we all do it at least once—hence the name. confused? good.). shortly thereafter i went to california with glenn to visit eric—again. and it was one of the most memorable weeks in my life. not only did i have a good time, not only was it great to see eric after 9 months, but i think all three of us learned some important lessons in those 8 days. we learned that you only live once, and that you should never let opportunities pass by you because youll regret it in the end if you do. ive lived everyday since that trip mumbling that mantra to myself everytime i feel like im letting opportunities pass by—you only live once. i came back to oneonta from that trip refreshed. i was ready to give humans beings a shot again—i think—because i just wanted to get out there and have fun with my last 2.5 months in oneonta. bioclub has been my savior when it comes to faith in human beings because theyre such a legit group of people. at the end of our first week back to school in january, bioclub went to boston—which was another great trip—and a good sized group of us got really tight after that. wed have parties. go to the bars on tuesday afternoons. we had another camping trip (we had one in october, too, which i have previously wrote about as being a rebirthing experience) several weeks ago. that was—yet again—an absolute blast. i will miss them dearly.

as will i miss all of my friends. the past few days, every time i leave some sort of party or gathering, it seems like theres a new set of people to say goodbye to—never to see again, maybe. i get used to this when i work at the nursing home, because i meet people in month A, and have to say goodbye to them in month B, or C. the thing is, when they get discharged, when they die—when you watch them have a stroke in their bed, or hear them drowning as their lungs fill up with fluid—or when i left for college, yet again—i knew id never see them again. they get hurt—wed make them better. they get sick—theyd die. and theres no coming back from the dead. i have met countless people—i know—who i will never see again in my life. and these are people i grew to love. they hadnt been around the socially elite of this day and age enough to become as shitty as they are—that is to say, the socially elite. but this is different, now. saying goodbye to people i have known for four years, three years, two years, a few months. people that ive spoken with and partied with and had lunch or coffee with. who i may never see again. the relationships are tighter or—at least—more established. to those of you at suny oneonta who have stuck by my side for the past four years, three years, two years, few months—i love you and i will be seeing you soon—i hope.

to those from frankfort who i will surely see sometime soon—i love you all as well. i thank you all—and you know who you are—who helped me through the tough times—the summer of 2007. i would not be here without you. and i thank you also for all of the great times playing pong on a sunday night, or piling 30+ beers on a small table in the bowling alley while totally sucking at rock-n-bowl. these are things that i will never forget.

to those from the valley—i love you all as well. and i apologize that in the past 4 years i have not been as easily accessible as in high school—a consequence of going away for school (a decision i will never take back) and short, interspersed breaks. i know there are a few of you who have seemingly thought i have abandoned you—abandoned me in return. for this i am not sorry—i cannot help the circumstances of my life. and i am sorry that you cannot see that.

“i thank you for your attention, and im outta here.”
kurt vonnegut, jr.
April 27, 2007

clap.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

the gentleman from tralfamadore

“’nobody likes to think hes being used,’ said rumfoord. ‘he’ll put off admitting it to himself until the last possible instant.’ he smiled crookedly. ‘it may surprise you to learn that i take a certain pride, no matter how foolishly mistaken that pride may be, in making my own decisions for my own reasons.’”

– winston niles rumfoord

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1959) the sirens of titan.
chapter 12, p. 285

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the greatest lie

most children are lied to by their parents almost routinely. its a security: lie to your child, and they will be happy, and you will remain in control. its a common way to raise a child it seems and most parents must find that this is sufficient and that it works. peace.

eventually that child grows up. and the lies no longer work anymore. for example: we know that we arent going to turn into a cow if we eat too much ice cream. and so on. thats just silly. and by challenging that lie, one is then free to eat as much ice cream as he or she desires--the control is gone, the bar has been lifted. nothing can be done or said to stop them now.

thats the thing about lies that are used to control (all lies are used to control)—once they have been defied—exposed—that control is dead, and freedom (chaos?) may take its place.

there are some lies—however—that a child will hold onto until the very end—until the credits begin. like a lover who just cant believe that their significant other wants to call it quits. probably the greatest lie to a child is the one about that jolly fat man in a red suit who flies around the world with his sleigh and reindeer and plethora of presents for the children of planet earth: santa claus. heard of that one? it was a sad day when i finally understood and was told by my parents that santa claus was not real. christmas would never be the same. i could never be excited about it again. one of my greatest childhood excitements was gone, and would be gone forever.

but it was a form of child control: youd better behave yourself in church and around the family or youre getting shit in a sock for christmas! same with the easter bunny. and the tooth fairy is such a crock of shit: be a good sport about daddy ripping your teeth out, and youll get a quarter under your pillow in the middle of the night. whoop-dee-doo. and then we learned that this was all bullshit, and then we could act like brats again on the holidays. chaos.

peace.

there is another form of control that is slightly more subtle, yet easy to pick up on if youre secular enough. that ladies and gentlemen—of course—is religion.

religion is a terrible thing—at least the roman catholic religion as i understand it from 20 years of having followed it. youd better go to church! had better go to confession! had better go to sunday school! had better take communion! had better behave yourself! had better not eat meat on fridays during lent! had better dump 10% of your monthly paycheck into a basket every week! or else!

or else some dude sitting up on a cumulonimbus cloud in a white robe with a big golden crown who made everything in the universe because he felt like it and apparently cares about what 6.705 billion human beings are doing down here—which is farting around and making way too much whoopee with way too many other human beings and combustion engines—is going to condemn you to spend the rest of eternity in the center of the earth with another dude with red skin, horns, and a trident who is his sworn enemy and was defeated in a galactic battle for the ages who has also been condemned to the center of the earth. guess he should have fessed up a little more cash on the sabbath day. naughty naughty.

and we wouldnt want all of that for you now, would we?

and it is lies of that kind that are so dangerous. they scare little boys and girls into being good little boys and girls—that is to say, overly and ridiculously moral. my definition of moral is this: defying everything that makes you a human being by instead being unarguably obedient to your parents, schoolteachers, and government. that is whats called being a slave—an object, a piece of machinery.

and we wouldnt want all of that for you now, would we?

whats even more dangerous is when those lies are dumped into the brains of somebody who may have lost some of their marbles along the way (anybody who believes in god must have lost their marbles somewhere along the way, i think). because there are lies not only to intimidate—to control—but to offer comfort in times of hardship. god loves you. god is there for you. god is listening to you. god wants to help you. there are some people who are sick and dying; who may be sitting in a bathtub filled with red water and razor blades, who will hold onto this lie until the very end—until the credits begin to roll—who truly believe that they will be saved from their torment—which is apparently caused by some dude with red skin, horns, and a trident, who chills out in the center of the earth—and will someday find themselves in better circumstances.

and then they die of cancer; and then they die because there is no more red water to go around inside of their plumbing; and then as their conscience goes kaput, that persons family is left to wonder why why why?

why did god take grandpa with colon cancer? why did god make my daughter turn her wrists into hamburger meat? why didnt god save them? well the easy way that religious types and horny clergymen get out of that one is with this: god deemed it so. it is his will. it is what he wants. and thats what we should want, too. and then everybody gets angry at that poor old guy chilling out on a cumulonimbus cloud up up in the sky, in a white robe with a great big golden crown.

a lot of people have got to be angry at him these days.

and then life goes on and god gets forgiven—lucky him—and then everybody goes back to loving him, yet again. until he decides to fuck somebody elses life up, yet again. chaos.

quite a vicious circle for somebody apparently so loving. but hey, if youre the commander in chief of the whole fucking universe, why mess around? besides: its got to get boring watching everybody get along all of the fucking time. got to fuck some shit up somehow and watch the world burn. now THATS entertainment!

the point is this: religion and ideas of a god can certainly be used to scare the hell out of you—it scared the hell out of me. and thats the point, apparently (thou shall fear thy lord). but other ideas about religion and a god can be comforting, too. but it can only be just as comforting as ideas of santa claus, the easter bunny, and the tooth fairy. and just as transient. god is not there. there is nobody listening. and nobody is going to help you.

and just as one-by-one, i felt let down as the ideas of the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, and santa claus went kaput, it is when i defied that final—that greatest of lies—that i felt let down most of all. for, despite my endorsement of loneliness, it was when i acknowledged that i was truly alone in this universe that i understood how much religion had comforted me when i was feeling hurt and alone—just as much as any lie could—and how much i relied on it, and how there were times where id believe the lie to the very end—until the credits began to roll.

fortunately, upon rejection of this carefully conceived and crafted lie that i had been born into with no choice whatsoever—however—i  realized that i could never be let down again.

there were no more lies left to believe in.

peace.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

you are now entering the city of brotherly love

“but his head no longer sheltered ideas of how things could be and should be on the planet, as opposed to how they really were. there was only one way for the earth to be, he thought: the way it was.

“everything was necessary. he saw an old white woman fishing through a garbage can. that was necessary. he saw a bathtub toy, a little rubber duck, lying on its side on the grating over a storm sewer. it had to be there.”

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1973) breakfast of champions
chapter 12, p. 103

Monday, April 6, 2009

hitchhiking with kilgore trout

“‘i cant tell if youre serious or not,’ said the driver.
“‘i wont know myself until i find out whether life is serious or not,’ said trout. ‘its dangerous, i know, and it can hurt a lot. that doesnt necessarily mean its serious, too.’”

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1973) breakfast of champions.
chapter 10, p. 86

hoarding disorder

“…but outside—i never feel lonely. even if nobody is around—just the birds, the creatures, the trees, the sun, the moon. at night, it is so peaceful, with the stars…”

Sunday, March 29, 2009

“if you were stranded on an island…”

if somebody were to lock me up in a lowes home improvement warehouse with the novel “breakfast of champions” by kurt vonnegut, the film “indiana jones and the temple of doom”, the album “on letting go” by circa survive, and a limitless supply of arizona green tea bags and chinese food, i would be happy for the rest of my days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

tattoos and social interaction 101

so you dont have any tattoos, and are in the general vicinity of somebody who does. perhaps youre being introduced, or perhaps youre both at a social gathering, and theyre simply standing near you. and the simple fact is this: youre not quite sure what to do. what should you do? what should you say? should you say anything?this example-based approach will teach you—who do not have any body modifications, or who got them to impress your friends—how to interact with other human beings who do have body modifications, and take quite a bit of pride in them, such that everybody may feel respected; such that everybody may have a grand old time; and such that you dont look like a total doucheass.

1. lets say, for example, a person who has some calligraphy tattooed onto them walks into a party, and their ink is clearly visible. should you:

a. not do anything.

b. stare at them.

c. demand of them, “whats that say?”

d. comment on their artwork, and then inquire as to what it says, and perhaps follow that up with, “what does that mean to you?”

e. none of the above.

if you selected choice “a”, thats a pretty good start. what the heck does it matter if somebody has got ink or not? if you selected choice “b”, that would make you pretty lame. if you selected choice “c”, then that would make you look like quite a doucheass. if you selected choice “e”, then perhaps you should take the introductory 100-level course. however, if you selected choice “d”, then you clearly understand that it takes quite a lot of thinking and commitment for somebody to get something tattooed onto them (that is to say, on them for forever), and you want to respect that person and be respectful of something so very permanent, like somebody’s own child, say.

2. lets say you know somebody who has got some tattoos, and youre introducing them to your friends from home. do you:

a. introduce your friend or acquaintance this way: “hello, id like you to meet my friend; hes got tattoos.”

b. introduce your friend or acquaintance this way: “hello, id like you to meet my friend.”

if you selected choice “a”, then, that would simply make you look like a fool to everybody around you, and as though that wasnt enough, that would make you look like a major doucheass to your friend or acquaintance. however, if you selected choice “b”, then you clearly understand that whether somebody has tattoos or not should not impact an introduction, nor should it necessarily be a topic of discussion. perhaps you understand that it is your friend or acquaintances choice as to whether or not to bring up their body modifications in conversation, and that something like that shouldnt necessarily be called out by you. for example, it could be said to be as inappropriate as saying, “hello, id like you to meet my friend; they have a feeding tube because they have acute digestive system failure and are pretty much near death.” its just not necessarily something your friend or acquaintance would like announced to planet earth, im sure.

that concludes todays lesson. hopefully you are now better-equipped to handle what seems to be such a difficult social situation for some people: interacting with those who have respectable body art.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

i dont ever want to forget again

so saturday night at a party, i sprained my ankle pretty bad. what can i say? i dont mess around. so my friends took care of me until my dear friend carrie and her roommate came and picked me up. shes an EMT. so they brought me to their house, she inspected my ankle, put some ice packs on it, and wrapped it up. the next morning, her parents arrived to visit and pick up her kitten. her mother iced my ankle, while carrie cooked me eggs and toast. she then took me to the ER where i got an aircast, crutches, and a prescription for vicodin. she took me back to her place to get some of those fancy ice packs, and then she took me to fill the prescription, which for some reason, she paid for.

later that night, my roommate andrew helped me with laundry. my dear friend shelly bought me dinner and snack foods. yesterday afternoon, the SCI1 secretary activated the SCI1 elevator for me; dr. vogler activated it again so i could go back up to the first floor after class. the PSCI secretary instructed me as to how to use the elevator in the PSCI building. the mills staff instructed me as to how to use the mills elevator; they also helped me carry my lunch to my table. last night, glenn bought me some more food, and he did this morning as well.

over the past three days, i have been helped by many people. i do not like asking for nor do i like accepting help from others. i am too proud of my independence. however, i cannot say by any means that i am not appreciative of the aforementioned help during this trying time. because i am. incredibly so.

however, i think that i got too used to this. not the treatment, or the help—per se—but the fact that people were around. i think being able to have people around to talk to and check in on me helps the depression that follows receiving a debilitating injury. it keeps your mind off of it.

and now, my friends are out partying it up all night long. but me? i am alone, stuck in bed with my leg propped up, coked up to the ears on narcotics. at first this depressed me further. part of me didnt want to be alone. i wanted my friends around. i wanted to be out enjoying my favorite ‘holiday’ of the year. and im not.

but, after giving this some thought, i reflected upon how i felt and realized the aforementioned—that some part of me simply wanted people around so i didnt have to be alone to have the time to think about being injured.

but fuck that. i know that i am truly happy when i am alone, when i am taking care of myself—no matter how difficult it may be. i know that were today any other day, id just as soon be alone working in my lab, or alone in my room reading, etc. or even if i were perfectly healthy today, i wouldnt care if i were out at bars drinking with everybody, or alone in my room drinking irish coffee, say—as long as i had to opportunity to ‘celebrate’ (sad, but true. dont judge me).

and when i keep that in mind, i realize that someday im going to break my face or something, or start puking my brains out with some stomach bug, and nobody is going to be around to buy me food or clean my dishes. and although it is wonderful to have such great friends offer to do that for me, it doesnt mean that i should want it, or be upset when that commodity is not there—because it is not always going to be.

over the past couple of days, i got so caught up in my misfortune that i forgot about what was truly important to me—my independence, my seclusion. and ive been doing a lot of complaining and bitching about how on this most glorious ‘holiday’, i am stuck in bed. but now that everybody is out for the evening—i have exactly what is truly important to me—once again. peace.

 

 

ps. a saint by the name of dr. allen anderson—my physics II lab instructor; a person i visit often when i am bored on campus and trying to kill time in between classes and experiments—has found his old cane that he used when he had a leg injury last year, and has stowed it in his car. tomorrow, carrie will retrieve it for me so i can get off of these damned crutches that have ravaged my underarms. hopefully, my ankle will have healed enough such that the cane is suitable for walking. at least then i could finally get around and carry my own meals. i cant wait.

Friday, March 6, 2009

march [on]

this time of year always seems to get me a little bit. and with good reason. the past has never given me much of a break when it comes to the snow melting. but despite whatever my stupid brain thinks, i refuse to let years past taint my enjoyment of the scent of melting snow and cigarettes. not worth it.

i am tired this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

back the fuck up.

okay. lets get one thing straight. you dont know me. i dont care who the fuck you are. understand that.

second of all: dont tell me ive fucking changed. and dont you dare tell me ive changed for the worst. want to know what it is?: your perception of me has changed.

you claim that, ‘im not the ryan palumbo you knew.’ yeah. the ryan palumbo you knew was a weak dumbass who drank himself into the front seat of a car every night with the hopes of getting the drunken balls to ram it into a tree or telephone pole. what fun! the ryan palumbo you knew had no ambition in life. how impressive! he was restless and anxious and lived everyday in the hopes that the next one never came around. how exciting!

the ryan palumbo i damned well fucking know i am is someone who is not suicidal, thank you very much. and who is incredibly ambitious despite any hardships that come my way. and i shrug them off. they are nothing but hurdles no taller than a curb. i am strong. i am happy. i can hold my own.

protect the hive from enemies. be careful—love with caution. i would rather lonely along the way.

ring a bell?

i am also an adult. i am finishing up college. i am graduating. i am in the midst of transferring to a graduate school (hopefully; my confidence in that area has been reduced dramatically). i am in the lab every morning. i go to class. i am in the lab until late at night. i am close to contributing data to a new type of antimicrobial defense system against gram-negative bacteria called a bacteriostatic, which could significantly impact public health and the battle against the growing number of resistant ‘superbacteria’. what does that mean? it means that you might see my face on the cover of time magazine by june as the person who universally cured bacterial infections. wouldnt that be something?

and what else does that also mean? it means that i cant be slaving away on aim, or myspace, or facebook, or on the phone talking to every human being i know telling them all about my life like i could when i was a bored kid in high school with nothing to do but masturbate and sit around with my thumb up my ass. so, dont accuse me of being a bad friend or wanting to lose all of my friends or of not caring about my friends. my true friends understand that i am busy doing what it is that i do. and most of my friends are just as busy as i am doing what they do. and id like to say that most of my friends understand that you dont need to be in constant contact to be best friends. being best friends means you can go years without talking, and pick up right where you left off like you had been separated for mere minutes. a person of utmost importance taught me that long ago. that belief is religious to me now.

best friends are people that you have for forever. they are relationships that need no cultivating, because they exist ambiently. yes i made that word up. but it fits. best friends are just there. floating around. they will float into your life. they will float out. and so will you. but the beautiful thing is this—while the two come together, it will be magical while it lasts. that doesnt happen to fair-weather friends. you have them for a while. and then they disappear. never to be found again. best friend will always meet up again, somehow. because thats just how it works.

and if you think im a fair-weather friend, then it was nice knowing you. and im sorry you that dont believe what i believe. and im sorry you wont be floating my way someday. and im sorry that you wont let me float back yours.

and if you think im a best friend of yours, then theres a good chance that i feel that youre a best friend of mine.

and we’ll be back together sooner than you know. and it will be magical.

Monday, March 2, 2009

rejected.

if there is one thing that i have learned, it is that its no use thinking about or pondering ways to change the unfortunate circumstances that i sometimes fall into. and so today, when i received my official rejection letter from the university of california irvine’s molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry department—aside from starting to panic—i decided that i will put the letter into an 8x11 frame, and hang it on the small wall perpendicular to my bench in my laboratory. and i will do the same with the rejection letters i am most certain to get from the university of pennsylvania and the tufts university sackler school of biomedical graduate studies (if i dont make it into a state school, how the fuck could i think id make it into private schools?). and they will serve to remind me over the next 2 and a half months that despite any optimism i have about my ability to think, question, and conduct research, that i must surely know nothing about the aforementioned (the uci mgbg departments words: the committee attempts to determine the likelihood each applicant has of becoming an independent scientist. if they—the learned doctors—dont think i can, how can i?). and those letters and those words will also serve to motivate me to continue to try to expand the skills required to do what i love to do, in the hopes that i may someday become what it is that i want to become.

i have an interview and tour at the state university of new york at albany next tuesday. i have about as much confidence for that as a piece of shit in a suit would—which is exactly what i feel like right now. except that i am far less dressed up. and when i bomb that and get that glorious piece of paper telling me to take a hike, theres only one other question left for this so-called ‘scientist’ to ask:

now what?