Archive for October, 2009

Halloween

Halloween weekend has never been that exciting for me.  I think the most exciting Halloween I’ve had was when Elizabeth and I had just started dating.  She dressed up in some ridiculous princess dress and I think it was the first time I saw her plastered drunk.  She was hilarious.  You see, I was the kid who bought the same costume every year.  I was a ninja.  But those days are gone my friends, I can no longer be a ninja.  One year I was a Army-Man, but the helmet was too big and I had a miserable night.  No more army man.  But mostly, I don’t really like dressing up.  Maybe its because I grew up in Harrisonburg where Halloween means the girls dress, well, like they’re from JMU.  I’m usually overwhelmed to tell you the truth.  You know how at most parties you can talk to a girl without her thinking “he’s trying to get in my pants.”  Well, I’m naturally dissuaded from talking to girls I don’t know who are scantily clad because I feel like the jig is up.  They know how they dressed and they know why I’m talking to them, I feel naked.  I’m incapable of going into a conversation where the overt reason for two strangers talking is because they want to hook up.  When I say I’m incapable, I mean it.  I’ll be all goofy and I can’t possess an ounce of confidence in those scenarios.  Maybe I’ll wear a mask, get a drink with a straw, and sit in the corner being the creepy kid.  I think that would fit the Halloween spirit.  I’ve also used the strategy of drinking far too much; then I usually talk to anything and everyone.  Or maybe I’ll just call my sister to have her bail me out of socially awkward situations via a phone conversation.  Who knows! The possibilities are endless.

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Bob

I was listening to a new voicemail, and right after that an old voicemail from Bob, while he was in the hospital, started playing.  I deleted it and instantly regretted the action.  That was probably the last time I’ll ever hear him and now I feel like shit.  Damnit Bob.

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Puck You Miss

Puck You Miss!

I want to thank grace for having seen this show.  She made makes me feel more normal when I’m walking around drunk quoting the entire three lines that I know by heart.

Today I argued with Tom in seminar.  He was hijacking it once again, beginning to talk about their “warrior culture” vs our culture (he also likes to define cultures as either “shame” or “guilt” oriented.)  He then proceeded to explain to the kids how different we are from those people.  Essentially, he nullified any reason to read the Iliad.  I challenged that assumption and things got a bit heated.  But I think it ended up being a healthy discussion, one in which even the kids began to join.

Also, after talking to Elizabeth two nights ago, I’ve begun to wonder in what capacity I feel guilt.  At first I thought that she always felt guilty in the strangest ways, but then I began to think that I’m not really sure that what I call feeling guilty is the same as her definition.  And then I began to wonder whether I do feel guilty.  I know when I mess up, but I usually think to myself, “shit, I’ve screwed things up,” not “oh, I’m a bad person.”

Reading the Iliad again is freaking sweet.  The ‘seminars’ can be frustrating but the opportunity to spend time with the book makes up for any frustration I endure.

I now want to relate a story about Smelly Kid from yesterday.  It was awesome.

Andrew walked into the office during break time carrying Hemingway’s ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’. 

He asks, “What is the abdomen?”

“It’s your stomach area, those are your abdominal muscles.”

“Oh, well some guy just got shot there. Twice.”

Andrew thoughtfully exits.

Three Minutes Later 

“Do you want to know how he got shot?”

“Sure”

“A guy was shooting at a Mexican running around in a bar and two stray bullets hit the Russian.”  He’s laughing at this point.

“That doesn’t sound so funny”

“It’s funny because the Mexican is wearing a Sombrero!”

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Space Cadet Cole

I have been an absolute space cadet today.  I’ve had to give so much thought to tasks that I would normally perform on autopilot.  For instance, this morning I put on my tennis shoes instead of my dress shoes.  Oh, and teaching has been an absolute disaster.  At one point I was writing up an equation on the board.  I spoke out loud “x minus 10” and wrote “x = 2.”  Where did that neuron run off two?  It surely didn’t make its way down the nervous system to my hand!  (I don’t really know how that’s supposed to work)  I’m going insane, even as I write this I keep misspelling words, not because I don’t know how to spell but because my fingers aren’t cooperating.  Luckily I’ve got the trusty Microsoft Word and it auto corrects most of the errors.

Anyway, I think I know what’s at the root of this, but I’m still surprised that I’m so out of sorts.  I slept alright last night and got a full night of sleep.  But I woke up bothered and have been preoccupied all day.

To distract myself, I also wrote down some ideas about school last night.  Here they are:

“A School for Boys

(We’ll not an all boys school, but one in which I think a boy would excel.  Not to say that a girl couldn’t excel.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a girl and don’t know how they would react. But I can say for sure that I know how boys respond to modern education, and it isn’t good.)

Aspects of the School:

Encourage the belief that their education was for people of quality, and that their ability to excel in that education was telling of their personal quality.

They would not be working for grades, but rather working to maintain their position as pupil and hopefully gain the ability to think well and the favor of their teacher.

The teacher would tell them when they are being stupid.  It would be up to the teacher how frank they were with their student’s progress.  This allows for the natural personality of the teacher to assert itself and ensure the students know that he is in charge of the class.  Younger boys will resent any authority the teacher pretends to have otherwise. They view grades as a petty thing, though it is the only real weapon the teacher has, which amounts to “telling his parents.”  The pupil’s little sister is capable of exacting worse punishment! (this may change around high school, sophomore year, when grades begin to really matter.

The teacher would possess the freedom to teach what they wanted to teach.  If the pupil had a desire to learn something different, he would have to seek out another teacher.

Multiple choice, or standardized tests would not be used or would only be used in a minimalistic way.  Tests seem so petty, and for some reason boys are rarely bothered by low test scores.  I find that low test scores convince boys who already lack confidence that they are stupid, while convincing the confident boys that the tests themselves are stupid.  And if the test is the highest aspect of the class, the confident boys will tend to spurn the class itself.”

These are just cursory thoughts but I think that boys would more likely respond to a program shaped by those thoughts than the current method of teaching.  I have a feeling, though, that a program based around those thoughts would increase the disparity between the educated and uneducated boys.

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Annie the Dog

I never got to tell you about my weekend!  I’ll be perfectly honest, it was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time.  I’m definitely getting used to the social dynamics of living in La Plata, that is, I’ve become comfortable going other places for my social life.  That seems to be the norm here in commuter-ville. 

Now, I’m pretty sure Kate doesn’t read my blog so I can definitely tell this story.  Even if she did I don’t think it would upset her.  Friday night Kate and I planned to hit the bars downtown with Emily and then meet up later with the mill crowd for a “cocktail” party that required us to dress nicely.  I would like to say that we made the most of the cocktail party, but we ended up spending most of the night downtown with Emily and two of her friends from work.  All in all I would say the night was a success; we had a lot of fun, “Beyond” has freaking amazing sushi, and I thought I was conducting myself well.  But then it came time to go to the cocktail party. (I’ve left out a considerable portion of the night where poor communication from James left Kate and me wondering to and from her house.)  Kate’s house was on the way from downtown to Westport on Port Republic so we stopped there to put on nicer clothes.  (we were walking through all of this, I wasn’t driving around like a drunken lunatic.)  Now, Kate’s dog doesn’t like men, this is a well-known fact in the city of Harrisonburg, especially among the postmen.  I was standing downstairs waiting for Kate to finish getting dressed when all of a sudden Annie just let loose.  Usually when this happens I just have to say her name and she quits barking. 

I readily admit that the actions I then took were stupid, but I was drunk.

As Annie was barking away I thought to myself “shit, the dog is barking.”  Instead of walking to a different part of the house, or outside, I decided to go towards Annie in an attempt to quiet her down.  Dumb, I know.  Annie did not quiet down, but instead got louder.  At this point I’m thinking “tactical error.”  Kate was pissed, but understandably so.  After that debacle we walked, quite briskly, up Port Republic to the cocktail party. 

My memory becomes spotty at this point.  I remember drinking part of a cocktail talking a little and walking upstairs because I was tired.  Then I woke up the next morning on the couch with three text messages from James: (1)“where are you?” , (2)“you are at Westport. I’ve arranged a ride for you via grace in the morning.  I gave you a blanket and I took your shoes off so you wouldn’t get written on.”  (3)“I wish you the best of luck. Godspeed.”

Person of the Weekend: James

The next morning I woke up before anyone at Westport.  So I just walked down to my car, stopping at the closest gas station on the way to get aspirin.  Still feeling miserable I ate some food from dad’s coffee shop then went to Barnes and Noble where I spent the next six hours reading a book by some crazy liberal about the death of conservatism.  A brilliant strategy for a lazy saturday, one which I plan to adopt from here on out.

Place(s) of the Weekend:  Barnes and Noble for the reading space, and Beyond for that sushi.

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Action with Respect to the Fairer Sex

So I have been wrestling with a question these past couple months; it pertains to my decision making process when it comes to girls and relationships.  Previously I have always made decisions based upon what I thought was the correct thing to do with reference to the relationship.  For instance, if I was beginning to feel trapped or thinking about leaving for a reason in which the girl wasn’t culpable then I simply swallowed down any discontent I felt.  The situation is similar now that I am single, that is, there are times when I’ve made decisions not based on what I wanted to say but what I thought was the “right” thing to say, or what was most likely to bring about the desired result.  This first approach is one that is not considered favorable by most, I think.  They would say, “if you feel a certain way, you should act in that manner.”  Mostly, I think that is a vile sentiment generally espoused and followed by weak people.  If you have a commitment to another person your personal feelings don’t come first.  I also think that giving priority to your own feelings over doing what is right by the relationship will never actually make you feel better.

But I have changed with regard to some situations, especially those that occur in the life of single Cole rather than not single Cole.  An instance where this decision making process has played a role  is calling/ not calling the girl.  Previously the decision was made depending on whether or not I thought it was a good idea.  Generally speaking, my goal was to make myself attractive to the member of the opposite sex.  So, whether or not I wanted to call, I acted upon what I thought would have the best effect.  To be honest, I’m worn out and can’t keep that sort of thing up anymore.  I also have come to doubt the effectiveness of always trying to act effectively.  I think that attitude came from a natural doubt of my own inclinations, in which I have come to feel greater confidence.  Let me clarify that thought – I don’t necessarily believe that my inclinations will always be the most effective when it comes to girls, but I believe it will be most effective when it comes to making me happy with the decisions I make.

I can understand if all this sounds too convoluted.  Mostly its confusion I think stems from the difference in the rules of action I place on myself while in a relationship as opposed to out of a relationship.  And while these rules are somewhat different, I think both are leaning towards simply following my inclination.  There are many cases where I think self-control is necessary, but mostly I plan to avoid trying to do the “right” thing.  The more I try to impress or please others the less I find myself or my audience impressed.

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Amazing

These are photos I found while reading the news. I thought they were amazing and wanted to share them with you guys.  They were entered into a Wildlife Photo Competition sponsored by the BBC.  The picture of the wolf won.

Song Bird Conflict

A Wolf Hunting

Get off my territory!

Flea Navigates Ice Crystals

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