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.