Category: personal


I don’t really like this song, but it works well as a title for this post.

Today I had an excellent conversation. It was me and John and Kathy and we were talking about things I love to talk about (the power of literature and an intelligent discussion of religion) in a really cool way. It was purely intellectual and that is something I don’t experience often. But this isn’t about that.

Ever since I have known John I knew he didn’t have the same interests as I did. Nothing is more different about us than what pop-art we appreciate most. He is a music man and I am at my best watching a great movie. I always got the impression that he didn’t take my interest in film as seriously as I took his appreciation for music. If we disagreed on who we though was a good band or what kind of music we listened to, I always felt like I deferred to him because it was his thing. I didn’t feel the reciprocation, though, and that kinda sucked. Whenever I would try to talk about movies he would groan and roll his eyes. Tonight I confronted him about it and he said that he would groan because I said he should see Tropic Thunder and other such films and then he did and he hated them. After I explained how instead of saying he should see these films I was only trying to convey how I felt watching them (AKA I laughed a lot), he began to see that I wasn’t quite getting the respect for my chosen art that I felt I deserved. He vowed to try to understand that I was coming from the same place he was coming from but in a different mode of transportation. Then we both cut our thumbs and we signed our names in our own blood. It was great.

So, in conclusion, Tropic Thunder is a movie that everybody will love and enjoy 100%.

As many of you know, I am an amateur photographer. I have another blog where I post one picture every day and these next ten shots are my favorites from this year. I’ll go into a little more depth than normal on these because I like them so much.

10.

This is a sculpture that my mom got for some holiday (I think). It was taken towards the beginning of the year. I really like what goes on with the shadow and the character looking out of the frame. I think the grayscale works, too.

9.

Taken at the Hartford Auto show a month or two ago, this color was great. The black stripes just add to the awesome, I think.  I’m really happy with the focus that I got on this one.

8.

This is from Horsebarn Hill at the very highest open point on the UConn campus. It was a kind of crappy rainy day earlier and I thought I would take the chance to go up to the hill and see if I could get some wide shots of the campus. As the light was fading I saw this line of clouds move in and then I realized that the sun would be setting right as they were passing over me. I only touched this up to recreate the colors that I saw that afternoon.

7.

I love the depth of focus on this one. It really captures the crunchiness of the leaves. Also, it looks cool. This was taken on one of my many photowalks around campus.

6.

From this Sunday, this is the only picture on the list that was taken with my new Canon XSi. It is also my new desktop background. I love it so much.

5.

From the same day as the cloud picture above. I had recently watched The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and I wanted to see if I could recreate the look of that film. I think I got pretty close. I also love the focus on this one.

4.

I think this one was taken towards the end of fall, even though it looks a lot like a spring picture. This is perhaps the best color I have gotten in a picture. I think it is beautiful.

3.

This isn’t the technically best shot but I think the beauty of it balances the so-so technical work. It was raining one afternoon after work at my summer job. We had just pulled into the driveway and I saw the sun shining while the rain was still falling. I crouched pretty low to the ground (I didn’t want to lay down for obvious reasons) to get as much sky as I could. I wish the background trees and house weren’t there, but I think the reflection works just as well even though the top half could have been better.

2.

Two days before my birthday I captured this on my way back from one of my classes. I enjoy shadows and how they are a version but not exactly the same as the real thing. I thought getting the very bottom of the actual tree and having the rest be in shadows was pretty great. I think I did it by accident, though. Which is lucky for me.

1.

As you can see, I like pictures of trees and nature and stuff. This is about two weeks after the previous shot and I think it is kind of amazing. I feel weird talking about my pictures like this, but there it is. Fromt this picture you would never be able to tell that the lake was actually a gross, duck crap filled pond. It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, I think. All of these pictures are even better in a bigger size which you can see if you click on the pictures.

So that’s it. See you later for other Top Ten lists!

This is my final paper for my Modern English Literature class. I got an A- on the paper. I hope you enjoy it.

Opening lines are important. They can be exciting (“It was a pleasure to burn.”) or boring (“Opening lines are important.”) Sometimes the author just wants to set up where the rest of the book will take place and sometimes the author uses the opening line to set up the tone and actions of the rest of the book (“All this happened, more or less.”) A. S. Byatt’s opening line to “The Thing in the Forrest” goes like this: “There were once two little girls who saw, or believed they saw, a thing in the forest.” From this we get our two main characters (the girls) and what happens to them (they see a thing in the forest) but we get the most important piece of information from what is set off in commas: “or believed they saw”. Byatt never clarifies if they actually saw the thing in the forest or if they imagined it or if it was something in between but she does imply that it doesn’t matter if they saw it or not. They believed they saw it and that is all that matters. There is a line from the 1994 classic film The Santa Clause which says, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing,” I think that this sentiment is what Byatt is trying to convey, and I agree with her.

There is nothing in any book that matters that says there is a difference between perception and reality. The reality of reality is that reality is relative. We see what we want to see and discard everything else. The NBA might as well not exist since I never watch it. For all I know Alice really traveled down the rabbit hole and Jonas could really receive all of the memories of the past and hold on to them for everybody else. All it takes for one thing to be real is to believe it is so and it only takes a closed mind to deny all of the different realities provide by literature and our imaginations. The thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom isn’t language or prehensile thumbs; it’s the ability to think of things that can never exist. As long as we continue to dream of and write new worlds and scenarios and most importantly believe in these scenarios we will be a prosperous species.

When I was an engineering student I would get dirty looks for reading a work of fiction instead of an instruction manual or blueprint because the fiction didn’t really exist and instruction manuals are useful and real. My fellow students were going to make the world a better place through sheer force. They would perfect everything and make everything easier, faster, stronger, better. They knew they could build the best mousetrap ever because they understand the world and how it works. There would be no need for fiction or stories of the future and the past and the never-going-to-happen because reality would be perfect. I yelled at them about their shortsightedness and arrogance in my head. They were being taught that only what was real mattered to their studies and I became afraid of our future. I overheard and took part in many discussions about how stupid and boring the Freshman English classes were because the world of fiction had no bearing on what was actually happening and that they were wasting precious time they could be spending learning about stress tests and load bearing beams reading stupid stories about things that couldn’t even happen! These are the kids that would get a LEGO set and build a giant box instead of an arctic base or a moon rover. A lack of imagination as a child led to the future of our society being doomed. Luckily I got out of there as fast as possible and retreaded to the happier reality of fiction.

When a good reader reads they learn as much about how the world works as an engineering student learns from a lecture. They learn about how people interact with people and how they deal with situations and how to be a good human being, even though all of the events and people and reactions are made up by the author. They can take the make-believe and believe it can be made. The unwavering belief that anything is possible as long as the believer keeps on believing is the most important aspect of life. If we can perceive anything as reality we can change reality to whatever we want. If we apply this concept to everybody on the planet and everybody that will ever be on the planet we can truly perfect the human race. We can create the best of all possible worlds through imagination and belief. We can use fiction to change reality for the better and we can use reality to create even more fantastical fiction. We can spread all ideas everywhere and give everybody the option to think about how they think things should be and we can change things.

Alright, enough of this changing the world business. That can’t really happen anyways. It’s just a pie-in-the-sky idea, taken from an idealist’s brain and translated into lofty ideas about reality and fiction. Everybody knows that only the real things matter. How much money do I really have in the bank, how much does an education really mean, how much does this essay really matter. None of it is going to change much of anything. We shouldn’t get our hopes up for a better future. In all likelihood the world will be just about the same when I die as it was when I was born. Sure, the technologies will change and there’ll be more people in the world but none of it will make much of a difference. I certainly can’t change much for myself, much less anybody else. I might as well go read an instruction book and learn how to make things work better than they do now. It’s not like a believing something can be better will actually make the thing better. Unless. Unless everybody believes in the power of belief. If everybody fully understood the power of belief and the effect it has on reality they would truly become wholly realized as human beings. We would appreciate every possible reality presented in fiction and non-fiction as being possible and we would be better for it. Even our engineers, misguided though they may be right now, could become better at what they do if they dared to dream about things that nobody dreamt of before. If they just got past the idea of “impossible” they would realize that impossible doesn’t exist. They would recognize that the only the impossible is impossible, everything else will work if you believe you can find a way to make it so.

Welcome to finals week.


Here comes another one of those awkward personal posts.

When I was in 8th grade, I had a girlfriend. Well, kinda. The story goes like this. It was Valentines Day and they (the nebulous “they”) were selling roses for a dollar. This one girl I had a crush on, we’ll call her SB cuz I forgot how to spell her name, wanted a rose. I said I would give one to her, but I didn’t have any money. So I borrowed a buck from a kid I didn’t like, his name was Mike, and bought SB a rose. Then she hugged me and that was it. Or so I thought. I guess she got my home fone number cuz she called me when I got home. She called to ask if I wanted to go to the dance that night. Unfortunately I was an awkward 12 year old and I panicked. I told her I couldn’t go because of a “family thing”. Here’s a hint, I never have a “family thing”. Needless to say… well, I’m not gonna say it. Just guess how she reacted.

So the next day she ignored me even though we had several classes together. Then when I got home she called again. I’ll transcribe the version of the call that I remember:

Me: Hello.

Her: Hi.

Me: What’s up?

Her: I have something to tell you. But I can’t tell you. Here is some other guy.

Him: Hi. You Alex?

Me: Uh, yeah.

Him: Well, I’m going out with SB now. She said thanks for the rose though.

Me: Oh.

Him: Ok. Have a good day.

Me: You too.

I actually said “You too.” What a lame-o. Of course a second after he hung up I thought of the perfect comeback. Try this one out:

Him: Well, I’m going out with SB now. She said thanks for the rose though.

Me: Good thing I didn’t waste a dollar on her. How much did it cost you to date her?

BURN!

Man, that would have been great. But I was young and stupid. Now I’m old and slightly less stupid. Unfortunately that was my last girlfriend. It’s strange how such a non-event can change everything. Just think, if I didn’t go out with her I would be married to Jennifer Garner right now.

Next time on awkward personal post… Prom!

This was originally going to be a repository for my “serious” writings, but I think it could be a lot more than that. I’m going to turn this into my “regular” blog where I write whatever stuff I feel like and post a story or poem every now and again.

I’ll try to do one a day to keep honest, but I can’t promise anything.

So, for today’s post I figure I’ll give you guys some recent history. About 2 years ago I went to the doctor for a regular checkup. It turns out that I had a pilonidal cyst (DO NOT GOOGLE) right below my tailbone. The doctor said it wasn’t a serious medical condition, more of a quality of life situation. He gave me antibiotics and a method of keeping it under control. It didn’t hurt or anything, it was just kind of awkward.

I developed a routine. Take a shower, get dressed, stuff paper towels down my pants to catch any “drainage” (again, DO NOT GOOGLE), go on with my day, take a shower, flush paper towels down the toilet, rinse, repeat (not really rinse, that would be gross {although I suppose I should be judging, what with the paper towels down my pants} [I really should stop making parenthetical jokes, but I can’t. You’ll have to deal with it]) For two years I did this. The first two years of my college life, no less. And it’s not like you couldn’t tell what was going on. I don’t know if you could see it through my pants, but by the end of the day you could definitely smell it. It’s a unique smell. I can’t describe it. Sorry to everybody who had to smell it.

Towards the end of this school year it started to get worse. It became painful to sit down and the “drainage” got worse. Finally, a week before final exams, I had to go to the emergency room. They said it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen, but were surprised at the amount of pain I felt, or didn’t feel. They said normally the patients they saw with a case half as bad as mine were crying and on pain killers.

I should back up a bit. I had been to a specialist a couple of times throughout the two years, but he didn’t want to operate on me because the procedure he knew was painful and took two months to recover from. I was alright with this as long as it didn’t hurt. Then, over winter break this year he told me about a new experimental procedure by a new doctor — Matino — that would have a recovery time of a week or so and didn’t involve excising any skin. I made an appointment for the week after school got out in the spring. Back to the ER a month ago…

They put a bunch of gauze back there so I didn’t bleed through my pants and told me to make an appointment with a doctor so I could get it fixed. I guess it got pretty severe. I also got to have a guy shove his finger up my butt for the first (and, for the foreseeable future, last) time that night. Not so fun.

I went to Matino, the new doctor, later that week and he took a peek. He exclaimed that I was one of the most severe cases he, a guy who worked solely on this kind of stuff, had ever seen. Great. He said he would like to try out his procedure on me. He explained that he would basically cut open a small flap of skin on my butt and clean it up. He would then inject some kind of dead person fluid (minus everything except some protein or something) into the flap and sew it back up. I wasn’t too excited about this, but he said it had a higher success rate and a quicker recovery time than the old procedure, which was pretty much just digging out all of the area around the cyst, leaving you with a big whole at the top of your butt crack.

I scheduled the surgery for a week later and went home to watch movies.

Friday, the tenth of April, I went in to St. Joseph’s in Manchester to get surgered. They thankfully gave me the option to get put all the way under, which I graciously accepted. I woke up about two hours later, laying on my back. I gather that they explained to me how the surgery went, but I don’t remember much from that day.

Fast forwarding a bit to today. I went to see Dr. Matino for him to check up on me. He said that I was “infinitely better. Amazingly healed.” I don’t think he expected it to go as well as it did. Yay for me and him, right? So here I am, sitting (!) at my computer at nearly 1 in the morning and telling the whole internet how I had surgery on my butt. Gotta love the blog.

If you liked my take on whatever the hell I just wrote, please, come back the next time I write something. It probably won’t be as gross, but I’m not going to make any promises.