Thursday, November 27, 2003

Sisters, nostalgia, and other diseases

My sister Ashley got in from Northern Arizona University today. Believe it or not, it was actually good to see her for the first time since July. She seems to be doing pretty well, though the questions about what I'm going to do with the rest of my life started coming too quickly. Oh well, I'm used to it by now. I can't wait until I actually have an answer.

After my parents spent two hours performing their nightly ritual of watching "Law & Order" reruns, we spent the remainder of the evening watching old family videos at Ashley's insistence. There are definitely a few moments of pure hilarity that had me laughing to the point of tears. Sometimes it just feels good to laugh that hard.

Feeling in the nostalgic mood after that, I pulled out the old (and by old I mean 32 MB disk space and 20 MHz processor) Macintosh Centris 610 that I used throughout middle and high school; I wanted to forage through old songs I'd written and novels I'd started back then to see if they offered any ideas. And what a trip down amnesia lane it was! I think some of my personal favorites were the short story I wrote about Earth being taken over by super-intelligent Spam; the essays I was forced to write about "The Ascent of Man", the college-level book I had to study in eighth grade; and a whole host of crappy love songs I wrote while I was a big fan of Boyz II Men. If you could see some of the cheesy, cliche lyrics I once I really hope I'm out of that phase.

However, all my past writings weren't entirely without value. For instance, I dug up all of my old college essays and read through them, particularly the ones for schools that accepted me. Though I doubt I'll write about the merits of "Seinfeld" for my grad school essay, it still got me back into the frame of mind that I'll soon need to be in 24/7.

Also, some of the stories and songs I wrote back in the day weren't half bad. One of the songs even gave me an idea for a new song along the same lines. And most of the stories were written from the perspective of an immature high schooler, which should certainly help me master the voice for my novel. Which I swear I will make progress on eventually. :-)

Song lyric of the day:
"So I always get nostalgic with that song
But now it's over
Will you hear me scream at the top of my lungs?"
          -Big Wreck, "That Song"

Monday, November 24, 2003

Super Bowl XXXIX: Washington vs. Houston

Well, another football Sunday has come and gone, and both my teams lost. Again.

I should be honest: I misjudged the Texans. Certain they were going to get stomped by the Patriots, I turned off the game and went to go see "Master and Commander" instead. The movie was okay, some parts were pretty breath-taking but it failed to hold my interest in the middle. It did spawn the best toast ever: "To our wives and sweethearts: may they never meet."

When I got home I found to my dismay that my Texans had actually made a game of things, but they still lost in OT. Fortunately, I still had the Redskins game to look forward to. Sadly, I had to miss out on the first 30 minutes due to an episode of "The Simpsons". Hey, a man's got to have priorities, right? Tonight's "Simpsons" renewed my desire to travel to England at some point, if for no other reason than to see Tony Blair in that cool rocket pack.

At last, I flipped over to the Redskins game and noticed that Patrick Ramsey was injured and Tim Hasselbeck was in. As if the Redskins weren't going to have a tough enough time with their #1 QB against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Then, of course, Hasselbeck proceeds to have a better game than we could have hoped for from Ramsey. The Redskins still gave up a 23-10 lead in the fourth and lost, 24-23. That's okay, though, because next year the Texans and the Redskins are going to face each other in the Super Bowl. Just wait and see.

Song lyric of the day:
"I'd like to change the world
It's easier than changing me
And I'd like to find one girl who knows me"
          -Carbon Leaf, "Shine"

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Patriotism, liquor, and music

The Houston mayoral race is in a run-off, so I got to vote for mayor today even though I wasn't here for the original election. In Texas they've implemented a system called "Early Voting", which, amazingly enough, means you vote early, before the official voting day. This is a great idea for numerous reasons: you get to avoid the lines on election day, the final voting tally can be calculated more quickly, and maybe now people will choose a candidate based on their stance on issues rather than some meaningless deep dark 20-year-old secret that gets unearthed two days before the vote.

After fulfilling my "patriotic duty", I got to see the new location of Spec's, the liquor store. They claim to be the largest alcohol store in the world, and I can believe it. They're inside an old grocery store and they fill every inch of it with beer, wine, and liquor. You name it, they've got it. (Actually, I was a little disappointed in their beer selection, but the wine and liquor more than makes up for it).

Vandy got crushed by UT today, 48-0. Glad I didn't have to witness that. The Virginia Tech game was also a heartbreaker, but fortunately USC all but secured the second spot in the Sugar Bowl by beating UCLA.

Closed the evening out by listening to "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. The song always reminds me of the bus scene in "Almost Famous". Ah, the healing power of music! As Bob Marley once said, "One good thing about music is, when it hits you, you feel no pain." So true.

Song lyric of the day:
"Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today"

The Rightfielder in the Pumpernickel

Made actual progress on the novel today, which was exciting. I now have some vague direction plotwise, which beats just having an interesting character. For people who haven't heard me talk about the novel, it's called "The Rightfielder in the Pumpernickel", for reasons I will not divulge. More mysterious that way, right?

I recorded another song today, called "Goes On". It's a song about addiction, and trying to stop doing whatever you're addicted to but it keeps going on no matter how you try. You still believe eventually you can change. Hopefully it works on multiple levels. It does for me, at least.

Speaking of music, it's been almost 6 months since I've downloaded a song and the radio is no longer cutting it. I need sustenance. I await the day when the RIAA realizes the error of their ways. Until then...

Song lyric of the day:
"I haven't felt like this in so long
In a sense too far gone from love
That don't last forever
Something's gotta turn out right"
            -Alice in Chains, "Got Me Wrong"

Thursday, November 20, 2003

...Just like Brian Wilson did

Today was one of those days when you lay in bed for a long time trying to force yourself to get up. If you fail, you usually grab the novel beside your bed and start reading (which I did) or stare up at the ceiling and think about stuff (which I also did). Somehow both seem like worthy uses of one's time.

After dragging myself through the shower, I started the day by learning how to play "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits and "Sullivan Street" by Counting Crows on guitar. Both were very therapeutic -- for some reason, I've moved on from my hardcore grunge period of guitarring to my sad love song period. I guess that's the same movement I've made in song-writing too. I recorded a basic version of an as-yet untitled love song that's actually halfway decent. I hope to have it finished soon.

Had a long political discussion with my mother, which is essentially pointless because we agree on just about everything. I don't know if that makes me old school or her new wave, or which option is really preferable.

Other than that, I'm basically trying to get started on my novel and wondering where to begin (and where to go). I hope to have some direction (and some written words) soon. Check back :)

Song lyric of the day:
"Hey Mrs. Potter, don't turn
Hey Mrs. Potter, I burn for you
Hey Mrs. Potter, won't you talk to me?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The genesis

The story so far:

In the beginning, the universe was created. Then Earth was created within said universe. Then a bunch of other stuff happened. Then, in 1981, something happened on Earth that would change the course of history and the space/time continuum forever....Ronald Reagan was elected president.

That same year, something else significant happened in the life of one boy: he was born. And by being born, he was given the opportunity, 22 years later, to create on the internet a weblog in which he could share with numerous people his thoughts on random things that may or may not be remotely interesting to anyone but him.

And so it begins...