April 4th, 2002

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Every heart that beats's pretend.

Today was, interesting. First of all I got my justice paper back and it was an A-. Not an A but certainly a respectable grade and one that I normally wouldn't care about on a 15% paper. I mean realistically it's not even a point off my final grade from an A. The thing is that the criticism I recieved on the paper was inaccurate. In fact I had defined the concepts that the TA accused me of failing to define. This pisses me off. This paper didn't neccesarily deserve an A but if it got an A- it should have been because of awkward language and bad examples, not for inaccurate critcisms of my logic.

After Justice I worked out and had a pretty good run. I might need to tighten the belt on my exercycle soon because I'm not having much trouble with the top tension. That's fine for now but eventually I'm gonna need to up the ante. Makes me kinda proud.

Anthropology was a total wash. The professor didn't show up and one of the TAs (who I HATE as educators) babbled for like 40 minutes before releasing us. I have no idea what she said because I was busy checking through my Justice essay but I'm sure it wasn't important.

In psychology the author of one our books came in to give a guest lecture. He's a journalist with the New York Times, so naturally he knows how to spin a good yarn. The story he told was definitly interesting and informational but there were a few parts that had me squirming in my seat. One was that he basically refered to being fat and unweildy as everyone's greatest fear. Well it's something that I deal with every day and it's not PLEASANT but it's not my greatest fear. I'd think that commiting evil actions or being completely out of control would be the biggest fear people would have, not just how they'd end up looking aesthetically. This was in reference to mental illness and I think that mentally ill people who just end up with aesthetic problems are probably pretty lucky when compared to some of the more serious cases. So that didn't sit well with me.

The other issue was how little he actually knew about psychology. I understand he's a reporter and all and it's not neccesary to be an expert in a field to report on it but I felt that there was a political agenda being advanced and only thinly disguised as learning. That left me feeling a bit queasy. I don't know, maybe I'm old fashioned but I think that the classroom should be for facts not crusades. That's probably just me though.

The thing that got me thinking most in the class though was when he talked about depression as a disease that can be as devestating as schizophrenia. Depression is something that I know well. Not only does it run in my family but it's something I've struggled with my whole life, especially since my father died. I always used to think of it as either a clear view of the world or a character flaw. In other words either "I'm depressed because the world is a giant lump of shit" or "I'm depressed because I'm a bad person and if I was not so loathsome I'd feel better." I no longer think that this is the case. Depression is a pernicious and vicious disease. It's difficult to deal with in part because it masks its own existance. It's very difficult to look out from a state of depression and actually understand that you are, in fact depressed. It seems at the time like you have perfectly good reasons to be depressed and depression increases that impression even further by tending to actually worsten your life condition, whatever it may be. Anyway I managed to defeat depression without the use of drugs, and that took a tremendous act of will, but I didn't understand that at the time. Basically what I'm saying is that all this newfound willpower has been there all along but it was just being used to fight off my depression, not for constructive purposes.

My depression isn't gone now, it's only faded. When you're depressed it's very difficult to concentrate on anything at all, be it school or cleaning or whatever. I still have that difficulty. My mind still tends to wander and I still see a lot of futility out there. However it's much less pronounced and I can honestly say that I haven't wanted to just give up in frustration for a few months now. That means something. I have always known that a lot of people want what I have, be it financial advantage or academic talent. Only recently have I begun to appreciate the things that I have. Slowly but surely I'm improving.

I'm not sure what I wanted to say with this last bit except to say that while depression is not as debilitating as schizophrenia or a personality disorder, it is a condition which is more complicated and insidious than it seems. I know from personal experience just how insidious and complicated it can be. But now that I'm stepping out from behind the veil of my depression I also understand how much energy I expended fighting it and now have more faith in my emotional strength and reserves. I'm also asking that if you know a depressed person you understand that it is a sickness and if they won't do anything it's because it takes an enormous amount more effort for them to do it than it does for a normal person to do things. I'm just starting to relearn how easy basic life functions can be when you're actually feeling decent and it's pretty shocking. Oh nevermind, I guess this is not the way to go about explanining depression, halphazard and without structure or thesis. Later on I will try to construct a more coherent picture of what I mean. If I can still remember by then
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Like a fool boy

I've been trying to email someone my essay from justice class that got sent out as a class sample, but she keeps saying that it isn't going through so I've decided to post it here. The professor's comments are at the end. Feel free to rip it apart or criticize the writing or whatever, it's certainly not the best paper I've ever written and I wasn't even really expecting an A.

Without further ado:

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Gentlemen mark your opponents, fire into your own ranks

Not much happened today, it was actually rather calm and relaxing. Lit-Hum was cancelled on account of the professor actually observes Jewish holidays (He doesn't wear a yarmulke but his focus IS Hebrew literature so I'm guessing that he isn't just using it as an excuse to cut class. On a secondary side note I made a comment on tuesday based on skimming through the book during class which the professor said he'd never thought of before but was planning to steal for all future classes because it made a lot of sense. Doesn't that kind of thing make you feel at least a little bit guilty?)

Instead of just using the extra time to zone out and watch DVDs or play video games though I decided to actually do some of the reading for Japanese. I read most of the Novel Kokoro which is actually a pretty damned good book, and was able to make an informed reading response for once which I'm pretty proud of. One of my post Wisdom Teeth resolutions was to do more of the reading and this is a step in the right direction. Of course it did highlight one of the problems which was that reading most of the book took the whole damned day, but nevermind that.

Anyway my classes went by pretty quickly. Japanese History is usually a blast and since all the tests are Take Homes there's no pressure to cram facts into your head so you can actually sit back and pay attention to the big picture. Statistics was just short, although there were a few irritating things. First of all when I got there the two girls from my project group were sitting up front but neither of the guys bothered to show up. Now you know how much I LOVE to be the only guy in a multiple female group (That would be not very much for any recent readers who might think I am refering to sexual concepts rather than mysanthropic/mysoganistic ones) so I sat down with my headphones on and focused my eyes on a corner of the blackboard, hoping that by doing so I could hold off any discussions about the project until I could get some masculine backup. (We were supposed to discuss the project before class today and I figured that if it were just the chicks and myself decisions could be made democratically that would have us doing statistics on Backstreet Boys concert ticket sales, or whatever else chicks are into) Well neither of the other guys ever did come but the two girls seemed quite content to just talk amongst themselves and I was enjoying one of my absolute favorite songs of all time (Walk Unafraid by REM) so it wasn't like I was torturing myself to make a point. Diana kept glancing back either at me or the door behind me, I couldn't tell with my eyes fixed on the blackboard, but nobody bothered to tap my shoulder or anything so I figure that no decisions were made, or at least if they were I can appeal them on account of my being there but not consulted.

The class was super short (like 50 minutes rather than 75) and afterwards I was hanging around to talk to the professor and Diana hung back too. She mentioned that the other chick (I probably should call her a girl or a woman, but I'm an arrogant somewhat offensive son of a bitch and I think chick has just enough of a needling quality to be the right word) had sent out an email which neither she (Diana) nor I had gotten. Anyway she was still hanging back and finally she asked me whether I was waiting for the professor and when I said that I was she split. This wouldn't be significant except that it implies that she was waiting for me (If I wasn't going to be too long) and confuses me in that its seemed in the past like she's wanted to AVOID walking out of class with me. When Adam's in class we both head out with him and that's fine but we never established a protocol for when he's cutting. That's another thing I hate about dealing with the female gender. It's just awkward. If I hang back and wait for her while she chats with the prof (Like I would for a male friend) is that some sort of untoward and unintended sign of something I don't want to give a sign of? It's all very confusing. Oh well at least I'm ignoring my instincts and not being a total asshole to her. That's progress. Although there is the problem of the fact that we were supposed to arrange some kind of study something before the mid-term and now I don't have anyone's email address (was hoping to get them off Otherchick's email) so that's not gonna happen. But that's allright, I should be okay anyway.

I read some more of the zone books and they are much more demanding than I have been. Oh well. I'm not going to sweat it until I stop losing weight this way.

I might be coming down with some kind of sickness. That would suck.

I have so much reading to do over this weekend it is far from funny. Definitly gonna have to start writing some papers soon. That kind of sucks.

My psych TA now thinks that I'm an idiot and an asshole but I think it's just because he's extremely touchy. *shrug* I've been called worse.
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