Category Archives: to be excessive

because everyone is boring sometimes

A Life Reflection — Back by Popular Request (the Obama Campaign and a Voluntaryism-ist)

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Apparently I am more enjoyable when writing about myself than anything else. Awesome. So I can just be a huge narcissist and people will read it up. (Get it? Like, instead of “eat it up?” Ha…ha…ha…).

Ok. There are so many things I could write about. Like, I worked for the Obama campaign in Colorado. I could write about that. Except I can’t really remember what happened. It’s just a blur of 90-or-so-hour weeks filled with calling people I didn’t know on the phone and having the same conversations over and over again. Not to suggest that I didn’t enjoy the repetition of conversations about whether Obama was ahead or behind in the polls, except, well, I didn’t.

I ate a lot of ramen. And a weird assortment of vegetables and one or two homemade pies provided by volunteers (no, I was not in the routine of baking anything given that I basically fell into bed every night). I lived with people who were wonderful Democratic supporters and we were all communal and familial and it was nice, if exhausting.

And about halfway through, they even gave me my own office — cool, right? My red county voted 40% for Obama, which was significantly better than predicted. Oh, rural folk, you are close to my heart.

In any case, it was an exciting deal. I like organizing things and having precise instructions. But it makes me wonder if I will ever have a long-term position in my life. Because most of what I’ve done thus far (professionally or in volunteer work) is bit-sized, small chunks of bigger projects.

Just now I was trying to think of the right parallel word for professionally in terms of volunteer work and it reminded me of a strange anarchist type person that I met in a pizza shop while I was registering voters. Of course, he and his brethren insisted they were voting for Gary Johnson, and by the end of the conversation he ended up sending me a link to the definition of the philosophy of “voluntaryism” that suggests all forms of human association in groups should be voluntary. It’s not a concept I’m completely at odds with, but then I also sort of think it’s a child’s philosophy (i.e. we should never have to do anything we don’t want to do), and I think there are real benefits to growing up (i.e. responsibility for one’s actions, making contributions to public goods even when we don’t really want to, etc). Granted, I have not read extensively about voluntaryism. But Wikipedia offers a offers a peak at it that only too clearly suggests it’s not much for social welfare. I’m pretty big on social welfare, social responsibility, that sort of thing.

What I’m really trying to show you is what my job was like, every day. When you start walking up to random people, registering them to vote, or trying to get them to actually follow through and vote, you open yourself up to all sorts of exposure to their ideas and world view. Sometimes they’re nice/thoughtful/grateful. Sometimes they’re opinionated/angry/confused. Almost always, if they open the door to having a conversation with you (literally or figuratively), people want to tell you what they think. And that is both interesting and occasionally mind-numbing.

If nothing else, I learned a great deal about things like voluntaryism, and I heard a great many personal stories about felons voting rights, veterans’ disabilities, shut-ins’ lives, oxygen tanks, illegal immigration, health care reform, Obama’s desire to alter the American flag, adoption, and religion.

So maybe I remember a few things.

To Dream of Jungles

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I am one of those people who likes to talk about dreams. Although I don’t tend to weight them too heavily in making life decisions, I like thinking about what they mean — I like the idea that dream interpretation could have significance, that our inner lives might actually be reflected there with some relevance to our conscious lives.

Recently, I’ve been unpacking and sorting through the stuff/clothes/junk I’ve accumulated over the six years since I graduated from high school. A couple of nights ago, I had a dream among the tins of old broken jewelry and perfume samples, I found a stash of green onions and broccoli, which was obviously of some concern given that these things have been packed away for a good amount of time. My interpretation? It’s time to use the green onions in the refrigerator that I bought for making peanut sauce about a week ago. It’s time. And I might be craving and increased broccoli intake.

Then last night, I stayed out late with old friends and when I got home, I almost fell asleep before falling into bed, which is definitely dangerous. Sleeping standing up is uncommonly difficult and I’m pretty sure the dangers are similar to those of having seizures or fainting suddenly.

This morning I woke up dreaming that I had been employed to design jungles — yes, like the Amazonian things in the arena of the equator where it is hot and sweaty. My job was to create jungle space everywhere. (An overwhelming task given my complete lack of jungle-building knowledge and also, in my dream, the apparent resistance of most communities to the artificial creation of jungles in their neighborhoods.) I think this might be a sign that I’m concerned about global warming. In addition, it might be related to some job search anxiety and my sense that I am underqualified for a variety of the jobs to which I’m currently applying.

Either way, I’m enjoying the dreams. Keep ’em coming, subconscious. And I will draw a picture of a jungle for the twins.

Armpit (and even less glorious) Hair

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Did you know that when you shave, when the hair grows back it can be split and you can have multiple hairs growing from the same root? Did you? Did you?

According to a lady who waxed my eyebrows it’s true. Which means you can get all bushy in the armpits and “down there” if you shave a lot. It might have been a ploy to get me to wax my entire body instead of just my eyebrows, but then I started examining one of the armpit hairs in question and I am telling you, they’re like little groves of hair trees in the armpit hair forest. Unacceptable.

I don’t know what the answer is.

The Convenient Truth (Convenient because it’s Truth)

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Twitter is awesome. (Thanks, Katay, for really introducing me to the concept).

More truth: I have a writing bug at this time of night. Despite being truth and therefore inherently convenient (for a blog post), this is simultaneously not convenient because I really like waking up early. I loved 8 am classes. It’s sickening, really, but morning is so much better than anything else. Except for night. Like around 11 or midnight. So that’s a super frustrating set of preferences to have. It’s like I need two nighttimes, and by nighttimes I mean sleeptimes. And both should begin around 1 or 2 and last until 5 or 6 (morning and afternoon, obviously).

That would work, right? I could become a super-in-tune-with-my-body-yogi-type-of-person. Maybe that’s not exactly what a yogi is. Uhh. Whatever.

Sometimes I like to do yoga in the morning, for about ten minutes. See? I’m well on my way.

Aside: Mailman, the mutinous kitten, is currently in a fight with something in the bathroom, which is awesome, because it just sounds like someone banging and crashing around and I appreciate that, while I’m alone in the house. I have a completely insane cat to protect me and surround me with noise and joy.

 

So last night, I had a bizarre sci-fi nightmare, which made me feel significantly less like a yogi. Hold on. That is very likely the question of the century. DO yogis have nightmares? It wouldn’t be very… I don’t know… calm of them. Still, this is an important question.

But my sci-fi dream involved a super psycho and malevolent woman (shocking, right? there was an evil mastermind) who would basically turning people into zombies (I’m not even into zombies — I have NEVER seen “The Walking Dead” or any of the all-the-rage vampire movies).

Cat update: Earlier today, he ran straight into the post that resides in the middle of the cabin. It was hilarious. Sometimes he climbs like a fourth of the way up it and then realizes the endeavor is useless. It’s cute. Now he is hiding behind the vacuum cleaner planning his next attack in my vicinity.

The point is that she was just injecting them with something, or forcing them to ingest something — you know, like a date rape drug — and then a little while later they would go all nutso, get crazy strong and eat the people around them. We’re talking Hulk-like, shirt-ripping strong and a ghastly amount of Beast-face transformations among my inner circle of friends. (Ok, subconscious, this is officially my message to you to get a little more creative when you have free reign).

It sounds corny here, I know, but when you’re dreaming and you’re supposed to be the hero who saves the world from all of your best friends who have been date-rape-drugged into eating your flesh, life is less than super fantastic and being cynical or critical is not exactly a cakewalk. What tv show is it where some character decides to change the usage of cakewalk? (I cannot remember proper nouns to save my life).

So I woke up and texted people who I hoped were in approximately the same time zone to reassure me that none of them were zombies and if they were, could they just get on with it, please? Because it’s five in the morning and I really need to sleep or die and that’s just the whole real deal. So follow the path to my blue elephant nightlight — yes, I sleep with a blue elephant nightlight because it’s scary having a mad cat in the house — and devour my flesh asap. K great thanks.

Mad Cat update: Mailman has become distracted by the vacuum cleaner and forgotten to attack my vicinity. Maybe he wore himself out racing around the carpet and running into walls.

I guess maybe all of this means I wasn’t meant to be a yogi after all. And that is the truth. Another truth? I would like all of you to cross your fingers for me. I’m not going to say why, but if you do it and it works, I will. Oh, mystery, what better addition to a free associative blog post?

Less Mad Cat update: He totally forgot the attack and came to purr on my lap. Ferocious. Wow.

Finally, we have come to the end of the free association. Now you know new things about me:

  1. I do ten minutes of yoga in the morning when I remember, which is usually when I’m sore.
  2. I nightmare about my friends turning into the Hulk (but weirdly, with faces sort of like the Notre Dame guy — pretty sure this is a politically incorrect detail).
  3. I sleep with a large blue elephant nightlight.
  4. I have decided that nightmare should be a verb in the way that dream is a verb.
  5. I appear to have a fairly inaccurate concept of what a yogi is.

Ta DA

Oh, and these are my favorite babies in the whole world:

 

 

Diss Update, Running Travails and Life Goals for One Month

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So I have written a 20-page short story and I think it’s, like, almost done. (I never used to use the word “like” in my writing that way, but now I think it’s funny). I also have a mostly done 3-page short story. Although the fonts are a little different, I made the size the same so I would be telling you the mostly-truth about length. Now I need to finish another 3-5 pager and I’ll be all done. For now.

And it would be great if I could finish some big applications then, get all the maximum number of people signed up for The OpEd Project, and procure employment. So that’s on the docket. Yay life.

Anybody who wants to give short story feedback, let me know!

In other news, I really need to pee, I am part-owner of a kitten named Mailman, and that third short story needs to come shooting out, like now. Oh wait, that’s not other news. But it just got in there. Because it’s true!

Sometimes the truth just comes out.

On an unrelated note, I might have runner’s knee. What IS that? My Dad is concerned, especially because I was talking about marathons today. I have always been against marathons on the premise that running one is bad for your body because bodies like regularity, rhythm, constancy — that sort of thing.

In any case, I may or may not think that running three marathons would be better, you know, as an initial goal, because then you would be a marathoner as opposed to a ran-a-marathoner-oncer, which would mean your body would get used to it, right? Also, I think that running marathons might be my new favorite possible excuse for traveling the world. And being super fit. Both parts = good parts. There are some potential counter-arguments to this, I think. Like that I could travel the world and run half marathons and it would probably not kill me as quickly.

And then there’s this runner’s knee thing.

Let me describe and if any of you have advice, I would appreciate it: First, I run and later my right knee is a little stiff and sore — but really really not sharp pain by any means unless I keep my knees bent for too long and then they will both hurt until I straighten them, which causes both to pop, although my left knee is never really stiff or sore and this last part (about the bent knees needing to straighten) has been true since I was in middle school so I’m pretty sure it’s not a terrible awful thing.

So it’s really the stiff/sore thing that seems bad. And the fact that sometimes when I bend and straighten my right leg, the knee pops every time. Or when I bend in a different way, to stretch or just move around, it makes little cracking noises. Does that make sense? I would like better or more advice than “ice it” because it *for reals* doesn’t hurt badly enough for that the vast majority of the time and if it did I would ice it. Also, if that’s the only option, then I really do have runner’s knee and the other big rec is that I should rest it. Get me? I like running; I don’t want to rest it indefinitely. I haven’t even been gettin all cray cray and running too much recently.

That’s the story team. Help me out.

Scene: The Lime (Tries to) Order a Coconut Latte at City Brew

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*City Brew is awesome because they have every flavor (most importantly, coconut and almond, not in that order).

(I have already ingested a grande almond latte when I approach to counter, and I have been sitting in City Brew for approximately 2.5 hours)

Nice girl behind counter: Hi! What can I get you?

Me: Hi!

(Awkward pause).

Me: Uhhh… I don’t really know.

Nice girl: Oh that’s ok. Take your time.

Me: Uhh. Uhh. Oh, uhh. Hmmm.

(Awkward pause).

Me: What kind of chai do you have?

Nice girl (perky voice): It’s a syrup!

Me: Oh. Do you know, um, is it Oregon Chai?

Nice girl: No, it’s our own chai, I think.

Me: Right. Would you say it’s sweeter or spicier?

Nice girl: Probably sweeter. Yeah, probably sweeter.

Me: Hmmm, yeah. Ok. Uhh.

(I look up at the menu as if it will suddenly say something different than before).

Me: I’m so sorry I don’t have a brain.

Nice girl: Oh that’s ok! We’ve been really busy. I feel like that too!

(Super perky)

Me: Yeah. Ok. Um. Do you have coconut syrup?

Nice girl: Yes!

Me: Oh good, perfect. Can I have a tall coconut latte?

Nice girl: Would you like that iced or hot?

Me: Oh god, that’s what I’ve been having trouble with. Ohh. But I don’t like iced lattes.

(This might seem like the time when my choice should have been obvious, but no way no how).

Me: Uhhh. Uhh. Hot! I’ll have it hot and a cold water.

(Because they often serve plain water warm in coffee shops, you know).

Nice girl: Ok great. So a hot coconut latte and an ice water.

Me: Yes! Oh. Can it be in the, uh, the mug thing?

(What is the mug thing? What has happened to me?).

Me: I’m so sorry, I’ve just been emailing for too long. It was really busy in here earlier. You must have been busy.

(Holy crap, I’m completely psychotic).

Super nice girl: Yeah, it was totally crazy. I couldn’t even get the pastry case refilled. And drive thru was nuts too.

Me: Yeah. Wow. Cool. Thank you.

(Yay one-word sentences, long pauses between words — I am so articulate).

(I sit down).

(Super nice girl brings over my latte and water and then realizes there isn’t a straw, which she says she’ll just grab for me and I try to say no and it’s awkward but it’s too awkward even to write in dialogue, so I’m just telling you about it here in the parenthesis and wondering who has even gotten this far — why would anyone want to relive this conversation? Why? I don’t know. But now I have and now you can, too, if you just start from the beginning and read again. Up you go!).

#ohblogging

On mystery, as inspired by a visit to my parents’ outhouse

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My Mom would like me to lay claim to the outhouse. She thinks that I should call it the family outhouse. I disagree. When I stay with my parents, I say that I am staying at my parents’ house. And I maintain that the outhouse is also theirs.

On the wall of my parents’ outhouse is a poster with a quote on it that I am now struggling to remember. It’s something about “living into mystery…” which is funny for an outhouse, but reasonably wise, I think. Or catchy. Or something. So I decided to look for life and mystery quotes partially to explain to myself how I have ended up where I am currently sitting (not in the outhouse — don’t worry!) and partially to remind myself that not knowing everything is actually probably a gift. Maybe that’s my pessimist half talking, though, because I worry a little that knowing much, with any certainty, would be depressing.

Annie Dillard says “We wake, if ever at all, to mystery,” and C.S. Lewis says “Consciousness is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.” I want to assert that there are more options, but I like those two. Helen Keller is credited with “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” So I’m avoiding believing it’s just pessimism that allows me to give in to mystery or surprises or wandering.

We have to invest more than pessimism; we have to focus and diligently follow whatever mysterious force asserts itself in us.

And this is what I think, all thanks to the poster in the outhouse.