August 9th, 2001

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Don't get so down on yourself

This is a really incoherent BAD BAD Entry. Skip it if your time is valuable or if you don't really care about my half formed thoughts and ideas.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Time keeps rolling by. I have no idea where today went, just that it went. I managed to work out and to watch Dogma, which is a film that I'd wanted to see for awhile and that proved to be more entertaining and less thought provoking than I thought it would. Kevin Smith is a good film maker in that he is willing to step outside the rules of conventionality and make a story that is true only to itself and not to the rules of Hollywood (well insomuch as the investors will allow him to.)

He is not such a good film maker in that once outside the boundaries of Hollywood he often doesn't have that much to say. Dogma is a fun movie but it has a fairly pat ending and while it deals with religeon in a psudo subversive way it ends up actually being a kindhearted film. I guess that's subversive in its own way, but it ties up so neatly that it doesn't leave you with all that much to think about. On the other hand Smith just wants to be funny and I can respect that. Plus there is no character in cinematic history that I know of, who is as stupid, vulgar, annoying, and ultimatly sweet as Jay. Jay's a perverted idiot but you can't hate the guy.

Dr. X said that Gabe's thesis that men vilify women because women can reject men sexually works both ways. I have thought about this a little off and on and I don't think I really agree. While it's true (I think) that women have sexual desires and needs they are not expected to expose themselves to rejection in the same way that men are. This is changing and has changed somewhat over the last few decades but men are still expected to be the initiators and women are still apt to flirt with guys they are attracted to rather than be direct and ask them out.

We are expected to be the ones who open ourselves up for direct rejection.

And I can't do it.

I understand that there are disadvantages to being in the more passive role, such as having to wait and wonder and the fact that after a certain period the power differentials tend to change and shift into the male's favor. But still it's difficult to be the initiator, especially when you are so used to turning success to failure that you have absolutely no ability to tell if someone is flirting with you, something that is very rare with regards to myself but has, I believe, happened in the past.

My theory is that with the shifting of women's established roles you have a sort of tectonic plate thing going on underneath the surface and we're currently in the middle of mountain making. A slew of decades ago it used to be fairly simple for the higher end of the middle class. Marriage was the goal and there were only a few ways to get there. A man's worth was measured in large part by his success and a woman's by her physical attractiveness and suitability for domestic roles. This is a vast oversimplification of things, but bear with me for a moment.

I'm not saying this was better, just easier. I think that the opression of women was a rather lame brained scheme to begin with. I mean if you're going to live with and mate with someone wouldn't you want her to be as interesting and deep as possible?

Anyway, this is a bit of a non sequitor but I'm a bit too tired to fill in all the middle steps in this logical progression, but anyway feminism came saw and conquored, and now women are out in the world doing and being. So now instead of being a man with a good job approaching a woman with nice breasts for a basically commercial exchange we have two people with roughly equivalent assets trying to figure out how they fit together.

Okay that didn't exactly make sense, even to me, but the idea is sort of half formed. The basic gist of it is that society is not really equipped for equality among the sexes. With women no longer being required to be the moral center of a relationship casual sex and unhealthy parenting flourishes. Men with working mates need to lean to do more at home. Blah Blah Blah I'm an idiot.

On another note my friend Hee-Ann says that women don't know what they want. He says that his brother is an asshole but gets plenty of attention from the female gender because of it. I have observed first hand that some women tend to flirt heavily with and attempt to gain the affection of men they see as unobtainable because being attractive to people they are attractive to is very important to their self esteem. So they'll date the jerk instead of the nice guy because the nice guy will give them attention and respect either way and the jerk will not, and they want as much attention and respect as it is possible to obtain.

Supposedly they grow up later on.

Whatever.

I don't fully trust Hee-Ann because his family was screwed up. His dad openly cheated on his mom.

Whatever.

I think I made this entry because I wanted to resolve my thoughts and feelings about the movie Dogma. See I first ordered it when I entered college for the second time and it was delayed about half a year so my relationship with the film bridges a large period of personal growth. The boy who watched Dogma this afternoon was very different from the boy who ordered it from DVD Express in January. It made me think about how far I have come and how far I have left to go.

All the other stuff was just stuff I'd been kicking around in my head for awhile but apparently not long enough. I will revisit it at some point but if anyone bothered to read this entry feel free to comment on what you THINK I mean or what I have wrong or whatever. I could use some help in turning these half thoughts into ideas.

The surface message of Dogma was that ideas are better than beliefs.

That's honky dory.
  • Current Music
    Everclear
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You're like a Kenny Loggins record, no one's ever gonna hear you

Another message from Dr. X arrived this morning. I wish that my email wasn't all crapped up in terms of sending out, but it is so I have to post my response here, which is not a bad thing because it forces me to fill any other potential readers in on what I think s/he is saying and therefore it forces me to clarify to myself what I think the good Doctor is trying to tell me.

The first thing I should do is clarify that when I said I wanted to write to allow me to have meaningful conversations with people who already understood my beliefs, I meant that I would talk with people who had read my writing after I published it. I guess for this my role model would be the ubiquitous Jeff. He has written several books on psychology and he tells me about how people call him out of the blue to discuss ideas he has put out there on paper. That sounds like an attractive proposition, and it's not my only reason just one that appealed to me at the time I was typing that entry. I do have the desire to put finger to keyboard and just write, and people have told me that I am a good writer, even people who might know something about that sort of thing. I have always wanted to be a writer. I have always been fairly good at writing. It is a skill that can be improved though. Almost every great book went through multiple revisions, and there are reasons that most great writing is done by people who have some years and a lot of practise under their belts. Which is not to say that everyone can write, just like not everyone can be a professional basketball player. (A little poke in the ribs at 5'7" Jeff there.)

I honestly can say that I prefer venting towards people that I know a little than towards strangers. That's one of the reasons that I like Jeff. He's not afraid to tell me far too much about his personal life. I don't really care if people consider me crazy or refuse to listen to me. That's their dealio. But I cannot stand social relationships based in a lie so I tell the truth about myself. Too much and too often. But that's me.

Dr. X informs me that I was incorrect when I stated that s/he prefered giving help to recieving it because s/he doesn't like giving help either. Personally I love offering assistance. I can listen to other people's problems for hours and try to figure out something they can do about them. Part of it is that I trust other people to succeed in putting my plans into action better than I can. Part of it is that I like knowing that there are other people out there with important problems too. Part of it is that I just plain enjoy using my mind to try to figure out a good thing to say or course of action. Part of it is something I don't understand.

I have been asked if I know why none of my friendships are entirely fulfilling. I think that the reason is that none of the people I have met have shared both life status and interests with me. The people my age tend to be interested in a whole lot of bullshit that I just don't care to talk about and the people who are older tend to have more experience than I do and I find myself unable to keep up. I dunno, Jeff says it's because I hide and don't put myself out there. I honestly don't know why I have never encountered the type of person I am looking for. I also honestly don't know if I'd be the type they were looking for. Maybe I've sat next to my soulmate in Calculas class only I wasn't HER soulmate so it's sort of a two ships in the night thing. I've had people who I've CONSIDERED best friends at the time, but invariably the relationships broke down and I feel like in most cases I outgrew the other person (except with Dar-Won who moved back to Korea.)

What is true love? Well that's a really easy question to answer. Oh wait no sorry, what is Spackle is an easy question to answer. What is true love is DAMNED hard.

True love by my definition...hmm. Hmm Hmm Hmm and hmm once more. I'd say that true love is the state of caring more about how the other person feels than about how you feel, but that's a hokey and cliched statement. I'd say that for me my speculative idea of the state of true love (having never experienced it myself I can only imagine what it would be like) would be intertwining someone so deeply into the fabric of your life that to tear them from it would leave you, as a person, irreperably damaged. The problem is that you can embed someone who'se bad for you quite deeply into your tapestry so that then begs the question of whether true love is always a good thing. I don't know. Maybe it's different for each person? Maybe it's just loving someone in the best way you as a person are capable of loving someone? Mostly what I know is what true love is not.

True love is not needing somebody, ANYBODY, to fill a void in your life that you really should be filling yourself.

True love is not lying to your wife about fucking the secretary because it's easy and you get double the sex that way.

True love is not one sided.

True love, once found, is not a side issue in your life. It isn't what you have when you don't have any work to do.

True love is not the lack of anything better.

Dr. X wrote a paragraph which consisted only of the word "Geek" followed by a question mark. I don't know whether to take this as an accusation, request for clarity, or very subtle statement of something else.

When I said that I want this journal to be accessible to more than 48% of the population I meant that I want it to be accessible to more than JUST men. I thought that men made up 48% of the world population. Was I wrong?

In New York city we don't wave cheerio. We might spit a tense "Hello" at one another as we rush past on some irritating errand or another. In Columbia I sometimes stop to talk to an aquaintance on the campus but invariably these are men. Well there was one girl who I talked to a couple of times but she didn't seem all that interesting so I reverted to entertainer mode like I am wont to do. I can be quite funny. Really I can. I....oh forget it.

I don't like flirting. I don't like playing games like that, it's just not me. It probably is related to the fact that I don't enjoy shallow discussions, or poker games, or most social situations, or Britney Spears etc.

I think that marriage is still a goal of most middle class people, but I live in liberal New York and the institution has definitly changed. My generation has started to seriously consider whether serial monogamy might not be a better way of life than "artificial" monogamy. Personally I think I understand the appeal but I know that deep inside my romantic notions are caught up in the idealistic code of chivalry from the dark ages. Yeah I know that the knights and lords boinked the chambermaids and the damsels and ladies gave rides to the stableboys, but reality is rarely as sweet as fiction.

I think that women are supposed to grow up and stop dating jerks around when the biological clock starts ticking and they want a father for their children instead of just a fire for their loins. Then they wed some financially secure nice dork and settle for security. Then they get bored and leave him or start doing things involving whipped cream and no clothes behind his back. Of course I know that men cheat in larger numbers than women, but I think that the tendancy is for the good parts of each gender to settle down with the lousy parts of the other. I'm also just plain more concerned with female flaws than male flaws in this regard because I feel I'm a good person and I know that if I do end up in a relationship it will be with a female. This means that I have to look out for the dangers inherint in that situation. It's a practical consideration and perhaps an unfair one, but...eh.

I'm also a pretty shy person socially. I won't approach people and I often believe that people who approach me do so out of pity. In class I'm a demon though. I tend to dominate classroom environments to the point of earning the ire of my peers. I just like to express myself *shrug*

I think that I've had some interesting insight into some of the differences between British and American people through my communications with Dr.X. I'd type more about them but I have to go administer a test in about 75 minutes and I need to take a shower and mentally prepare myself for that. It's not going to be easy for me, especially since I feel like a failure as an instructor.

P.S. I'm sorry if this journal appears to have degenerated into a conversation between Dr.X and myself but so be it. It's very hard to balance what I want it to be ideally and what it is easiest to make it. Maybe I should stop trying.

But I won't.

I'll answer more of Dr. X's email later, but for now, to the shower and then elsewhere. Must prepare for proctoring.
  • Current Music
    Bloodhound Gang/Chris Isaac
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(no subject)

Well I gave the test and it went alright. Four students showed up fort he test, with a fifth coming late but allowed to by my supervisor. Two of the students left immediatly after the test and one had to take another test so I ended up going over the test with just one other person, a late twenties or early thirties woman named Cristina. I carefully explained all the questions that she got wrong and we chatted some about stuff that wasn't all that pertinent to the class. She told me about her view of spirtuality and how our ancestors look down on us from heaven, giving us hints as to what we should do in life which show up as irrational urges. I tried to explain my view of aetheism but she just repeated that if I tried hard enough I could find what she called meaning. It was interesting because I've never heard anyone talk about faith as an active process involving practise and effort before. Most people tell you that you should believe but I've never had anyone tell me that I should TRY to believe even if I don't and eventually that belief will come to me. It was strange.

Of course she also said that I should become a scientist (because apparently I communicate the science to her in terms of examples that she can understand. I don't know, science ain't really my thang, well it is, but math isn't, and high level science is often just math in pretty clothing.)

She wants me to tutor her in math during the fall semester. I'm willing to try to help but it's very strange to be teaching someone who calls you a little boy and talks down to you about certain other subjects. I mean I understand that she has lived a lot longer than I have and experienced a ton more, but it's still odd to seperate academic and life knowledge to the point where we can both be talking down to one another. I'm more used to a traditional older teacher younger student relationship, or at the most peers. It's definitly odd.

After class I decided to give in to the advertising campaign by KFC featuring Jason Alexander. The truth of the matter is that I really do enjoy Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I don't eat it much because the closest store is almost a mile away. But today I trudged down there, picking up a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke on the way, and bought a bucket with some mashed potatoes and buscuits. More than enough to last me all of today and probably into tomorrow, but not a ludicrous amount. Anyway while I was trudging back home 2 different strangers spoke to me. One was a door man who just said "It feels like the air is steam" (it is damn hot out today. The air is humid and scorching and it feels like you're walking through a thick fog of sheer heat. It was not an ideal day to walk to KFC but I had a craving) and one was a construction worker who said "All you need now is Ice!" I don't know how many of you know New York City, but it is not very common for strangers to just say stuff like that. I guess the heat just makes people long for human contact of any sort if only so they can complain about how damn hot it is.

The chicken was good and I drank almost half a gallon of water so I feel better now.

Anyway it was a pretty good beginning to a day and I can't say that I don't have any pride in being told that I communicate well by Cristina. I mean it's rewarding to have someone tell you you're doing a good job when you're volunteering your time to try to help someone.

I think I'll sign up again next semester.

Now I'm going to go play Bloody Roar 3 a little and zone out. My mom's coming back WAY too soon and I need to take advantage of the time I have left. No long essays this time I'm afraid.
  • Current Music
    Mets baseball game
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(no subject)

I watched Mission Impossible 2 just now and I must say that it was much better than I thought it would be. While the plot was full of holes (the company had the genetic code of Chimera and yet couldn't replicate it? For some reason everyone knew that the virus would become airborne and infect the entire country but only after the cure window had passed? What happened to the murderous CEO who was willing to endanger the world for cash? He gets off scott free because he's a capitalist?) John Woo kept everything moving at a quick enough clip that even a nit picker like me didn't have much time to complain about the script in between breathtaking action scenes. The people who didn't appreciate this movie just don't appreciate John Woo action. It's not about realism or consistancy or anything except a guy doing a wheelie on a motorcycle while exploding car parts fly about him shooting with pinpoint accuracy at the driver of another car. It's all about how everything fits together and all the energy and motion resolves around the hero leaving him relatively unscathed and everything else in chaos. It's quite beautiful in its own way.

The movie did feature a rather striking female stereotype though. The supposedly incredibly adept woman who ends up being nothing more than a pawn in the battle between the hero and villain. In this case it was even more pronounced because the girl only had one point in which her skills came into play and she botched it, apparently because she was too busy flirting with Tom Cruise (although that's an understandable reason to botch almost anything. Those eyes of his..hachachacha.) She even gets to directly express her stereotypical "Untamed but just waiting for the right whip" attitude with the lines "If you want me you'll have to catch me" and of course the classic, "What're you going to do? Spank me?" It really was quite blatent and I couldn't help but think, and perhaps it's racist, Asian director+dark skinned woman=this? It was probably in the script beforehand but considering all the thinking I've been doing recently about gender roles it stuck out as a sore spot in the film for me. Didn't stop me from enjoying the incredibly coreographed stunts or Ving Rhames, but did add just a bit of sour to the eye candy.

Jeff accused me of calling him and hanging up out of embarassement which is just total bullshit. I mean I lambast him regularly in this journal, which is public for all intents and purposes, and yet he thinks that I would actually lack the guts to call him? It really irritates me when he displays such a low opinion of me because I haven't done anything to deserve it.

My mother returns in less than 12 hours, some of which I am going to have to spend sleeping. This scares me very much. She's on a plane right now headed on a collision course with my life which is actually starting to run somewhat smoothly. I've got to be strong....but it's going to be hard. Expect a lot of rage and pain to be sprayed over the pages of this journal in the near future. Grab your raingear gentlemen and get ready for the deluge.

The internet is annoying me with its slowness and the terrible terrible advertisements. Just once I'd like to see a smart add attempt, you know advertise with a sale or a cool product or something. Not just lame pictures and javascripts. Dr. X would say bollocks to that I'd wager, but being from New York I'll just say fuck that shit.

I will probably post again before the creature arrives. I think I'm going to go either watch some bad TV or try to get through one of my probably over 100 unwatched DVDs. Maybe I'll even play Syphon Filter or Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo to try to burn off some of the spy movie remnants from MI2.

Earlier today I had the idea to write one of those temptation power stories (You know, like Spawn, he has incredible power but its use has a terrible and irreversable side effect so it exists mostly as a temptation rather than a tool.) It made me ruminate once more on some of the problems I have as a writer. I tend to get too attached to my characters. I don't like to see them suffer at all, even for a little while, and I don't like them to be out of control. I know that for a good story you really do need to give the protaganist a big problem to overcome, but I have trouble doing that. Maybe if I outlined stuff better so I knew exactly where it was going. Maybe I just need time.

This journal is the biggest writing project I have undertaken in quite awhile and while I'm not happy with how it turned out it wasn't a total disaster. That's good I guess.

I have developed a taste for water. This is a healthy thing, but I'm going to have to argue with my mom about how purified water tastes better than tap. Her taste buds are old and nonfunctional so she can drink sour milk and not realize it and call me names because I refuse to drink the same milk which I can tell is sour.

Christ I wish she wasn't coming back. She's such a terrible terrible person. She's a walking bitter disaster and no matter what I do she will wreak havok on my psyche.

Maybe that's one of the reasons I feel I can never succeed, because with her success is LITERALLY impossible. I'm not afraid of much but I fear the devil and in this case it dyes its hair and speaks with a shrill Baltimore accent.
  • Current Music
    Pearl Jam