Saturday, March 31, 2007

It begins, again!!

This week has been, mixed. But right now I think instead of saying, something, something, etc. my life sucks, or something, something, etc. my life's great, or something of that like, I'm going to post up the first 8 chapters from my epic poem, the ones that were up last week, and then I'm going to kick it up a notch by posting up another 8 chapters, BAM!

Check out The World of Rand

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tech me up baby

I was planning to put up the first issue of my comic Comikier (you can see it at, logically I should be able to make a link of this but angelfire is doing some wierd stuff to me), but circumstances intervened, instead, I'm putting up this essay on technology which I wrote a while ago and I thought it was pretty cool so check it out.

Technology is a force that often exceeds human control. Even when it is a tool that dwells in the hand of its user, its effect on its user can be hard to predict. In the last twenty thousand years or so, technology has grown by leaps and bounds at an ever accelerating rate. This has given society tools of immense power and these tools have changed society greatly. Within these tools are the potential for loneliness but also the potential for a greater community. Technology has helped forge a global community with greater communication and transportation. In addition, it has allowed larger populations living closer together. However, technology can also bring immense freedom, and in freedom lies the potential for great loneliness.

Technology has brought people closer to each other by means of communication and transportation. Communication technologies have advanced to a state which would have been regarded as magical a hundred years ago. Cables and sattilites carry information around the world allowing people seperated by thousands of miles to carry on real time communications in the form of telephone calls, emails, IMs and more. For most of history, the majority of people would have trouble communicating a hundred miles away. The people who lay outside the narrow world of the village were regarded as strangers, completely alien to the people of the town. In addition, people who needed to move would have to sever relations with their relatives. Modern communications has changed that. Now communities can be formed among millions and across huge swaths of land. Communities like this can take the form of nations, they can also take the form of online interest groups, as well as many other varied forms. This communication is bolstered by improving transportation. Transportation technologies have also improved greatly. Before the car, seeing a relative across the country was a risky and lengthy venture generally best avoided. Before the horse, travelling a city away was something only the brave endevored. But with modern transportation technologies people can meet in person despite great distances. Transportation technologies have shrunk the world, making everyone closer.

In addition to living closer metaphorically, technology has enabled people to live closer together physically through cities. The modern city is a technological marvel. It relies on an economic system and on infrastructure that enable thousands, even millions to be fed and to have sanitation in an area that is relatively miniscule. Without the technology the city relies on, a population the size of New York that did not farm could not have been supported. In addition, without modern technology it would be difficult if not impossible to contain and remove all the waste New York produces. Cities rely on technology, and cities have brought people closer together. A person living in the city can meet thousands in his lifetime. A person who visits a city regularly can meet hundreds. By contrast, a thousand years ago, cities were much smaller and people met fewer people. The density of cities bring people into contact more and more as it becomes possible to bring more people into the urban environment. And yet, despite this increased density, it is still possible to refuse the company of others.

Refusing company has become easier than ever because of technology. The freedom technology offers has made people more able to ignore each other, and this can lead to an increase in loneliness. Technology has allowed people to do more with less effort. While the overall economic system technology has produced has made us interconnected, the ability to do more with less has reduced the need to ask for help. Historically, people might need help to entertain themselves, now they turn on the tv. Before they would need help to get rare herbs, now they can order it over the internet. There are greater opportunities than ever for meeting people, through the online world, the telephone, community centers, etc. But all of this takes effort, and if one chooses to minimize all effort, it is perhaps easiest to avoid people and the attention they require. Increasingly this is possible due to the power of technology. The power of technology has the potential to bring people together, but it also has the potential to keep people apart.

Technology has brought people closer together by creating new methods of communication and transportation, as well as giving people the ability to live closer to each other. Yet it also gives freedom, which allows the user of technology to keep away from society. But if society places a high value on community this can be overcome. If people are convinced that community matters then they can use technology to move closer together and communicate more with each other. If technology is properly used, it can create a global community with all of humanity living with each other as neighbors.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Striving towards infinity

So I've only been able to get one real post off this week, but honestly, I can claim almost (almost being the key word) legitimately to being busy. I've been going to seminars, meeting with teachers, going to class, and doing radio station stuff, working on my internship plans (damn I still need to do some work on that and soon), etc. I'm in a good mood (partially thanks to the weather which has been gorgeous these last couple days, and that really does lift up your mood) and in good moods I tend to have to clean up the crap from my bad moods as well as moving along various projects (right now my webcomic, which is starting to come together). Thankfully, few new problems have complicated my life right now, I'm actually in a good enough mood that I'm worrying a little that I might get manic. Perhaps the only bad part is that I've been having a lot of sleep problems lately, partially because I'm not sure whether my good mood will be there when I wake up.

Part of the annoying part of my mental problems (the sort of stuff which has been called manic-depressive) is that I go up and down without any clear upward or downward trajectory over long periods of time. So while my life is doing well now I'm unsure whether this is an actual upward movement or just a temporary upswing. I am sooo tired though, bad sleep patterns+caffine addiction do not equal strong energy level (I always like to leave up a session for an entire day at least so it has a chance to get seen, and so if I start my posting at a really late time, I probably will only post a new one at a really late time), also I'm still not taking care of myself that well since I'm eating badly and missing teeth brushing. Yet as my psycologist has been reminding me, what I accomplish is more important than how my feels are doing right now. So am I moving forward in my accomplishments? Well, I think I can say yes, on multiple fronts, although perhaps things aren't as good as they could be, but they are good.

So now what? I need to take advantage of this moment of lucidity since I suddenly have the ability to do what I want, and yet I must be careful not to overburden myself else I'm going to fall apart. I also should try to integrate into my life things that make me happy, which means I should try to build relationships among other things. Just as when things are bad, I have to remind myself I must push on. There's the danger when you're happy that you'll ignore all your issues and simply bask in what's making yourself happy, but there is more to life than just simple chemical bliss, if you want real satisfaction in life, yes appreciate happiness, but also use happy times to press forward with your goals in life. That's at least my plan. But I will admit happiness is nice, very nice in fact, and I'll try to keep that going, even if I'm not going to make happiness my obsession.

I think that's about enough for right now, I still have some more stuff to do, and I still need to go to sleep. So take it your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Now with more stuff! Check out: The World of Rand

Monday, March 26, 2007

The terror before the hurricane

I think I know why I'm feeling so much anxiety, so much fear, and going through some rather annoying mood swings lately. Right now I have a lot of opportunity. I have opportunities for internships, I have an opportunity to pick up my grades, I have an opportunity to start dating, I have an opportunity to do more writing and to really start getting stuff done with my projects, and I have an opportunity to submit stuff for publication. In short, I have a lot of opportunities to make my life better. A lot of these opportunities have time limits on them, however, but it's not a matter of I'm not sure if I can get these things done in time, well there's a little of that. My fears largely stem from the fact that if I try to make my life better I risk failing in my venture. If I'm really trying to get good grades and I fail, then I really failed at academics. If I'm really trying to write something good and I fail, then I really have failed at writing. If I try for internships and don't get them, then I, me, myself have screwed. That's the way it is. And that is kind of a little terrifying.

There's no two ways about it, I must press forward. I say that a lot in these sessions, perhaps because it's something of a mantra for me, but saying that something must get done and actually doing something are two very different things. Still there's not too much you can do to get around it sometimes. I've never put too much trust in tricks to help you get through a tough mental spot, although I will admit that deep breathing does help somewhat, in the end, overcoming problems usually comes down to a choice. Are you going to do it or not? And it depends on your will power most of all, of course there are factors that can boost or diminish your will power. A good day or a bad day, if you've just watched a great movie or been disappointed by a bad one, if you're bored out of your mind or if you have a ready distraction. How these factors affect you really depends on your personality. Still, you can always brush all these factors aside and make a choice to do what you need to. There is always enough will power if you can just push through, but pushing through isn't always easy, and for most people, perhaps not for all, but for most, there will be some failures.

Still, you have to risk failure, you have to accept failure, and you have to move beyond failure. All three of these things I have trouble with, well, I really don't have trouble accepting failure, in fact I'm probably too ready to accept failure. But that's life. While I don't put my faith in tricks, I do use them, like I said deep breathing helps, watching quality tv or a quality movie or reading a quality book helps, getting outside and clearing your head helps, but you've got to be careful not to spend too much time with the tricks or the problem will simply keep on mounting. Whatever the tricks you still need to make your choice, and you still need to steel up your will power.

You can always pray, and you can always give your burdens to God, but it's up to you to accept God's help.

I believe in personal responsibility, and so I take myself as responsible for my failures, on the other hand, you can always forgive yourself, no matter what, God won't hold it against you why should you hold it against yourself. And here's something for the religious and non-religious alike, what is done is done, and in the end you have to move on.

In the end, we just have to push through.

So that's about enough of that. Take it your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Check out: The World of Rand

Saturday, March 24, 2007

And so it begins

So I've been pretty decent with the postings this week, every day I think except Friday and Sunday, more or less. But here and now you will get a treat, a treat that will astound your puny minds. I unveil to you, THE BATTLE UPON THE UNIVERSE.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Things uneven

I used that title because it was the first thing that came to me, but it sort of describes my feeling right now. I feel off-balance. I have continued to have mood-swings that have annoyingly interfered with my education and yet I am not spiralling into collapse. I have a lot of problems right now but I'm not desperate, but nor do I have that determined fury. I am simply, well, off-balance, and things are uneven.

I get the feeling that I'm missing something here, that I'm ignoring some facet of my life that if I worked on would make my life infinitely better or at least managable. Maybe I'm just looking for a magic bullet to make all my worries go away. That tends to happen when you whine a lot. Still I have to wonder.

I was going to write a session about that but now it seems lame so let's move on to other thoughts.

I've always measured myself by my written output. This might not be a good idea, but that's just how I look at my life. A while ago I found my little sister's old journal and I asked her if she wanted it. She didn't really care one way or the other and I have to say I was pretty shocked by that idea. I've always collected my writings, I have some dating back to elementry school, and if I had been more careful I would have some dating back to my earliest days of being capable to write. That's perhaps why I keep writing this despite my low view count, because if I keep writing I keep feeling alive.

But if I want to feel like I'm moving forward in my life I think I need to start submitting work for publication or contests. Unfortunately, that requires some bravery, and despite the infinite courage of the great and glorious Rand I must say I'm a bit afraid of rejection, and submitting works does carry that risk.

I recently won a scholarship contest. The money I got from it is nice, but it's also nice to win something, to know that I can win things. I feel like I've started doubting that lately. Right now I've got a lot of applications coming up, internships, jobs, writing contests, and I've got to say I'm petrified, but hey, I'm Rand, ultimately I just have to do it.

Always, always, always, well, almost always easier said than done. Another factor in my reluctance to submit to writing contests is my lack of output. I do have a lot of old poems, but a lot of them aren't that good. On the poetry side I could probably submit ten or fifteen to various contests. I could probably up that number if I gave a good editing job to some of my older poems, but I guess I have a little bit of fear when it comes to doing a big editing job or actually putting a story down on paper. I'm always afraid that it won't come out well and since I measure myself by my written output, not writing well is scary for me. Deep in my heart I know that my self-worth does not come from what I produce but from the love in my heart, and I know also that I have some talent and if I try I can produce good work, maybe not everything will be gold, but if I get some discipline going and keep writing, I should have more than enough to submit. But that discipline is difficult, especially due to the fear, but also due to my general lack of discipline. The shortage of material is especially acute on my short stories side. I have only one, maybe two short stories that I would submit on the drop of a hat, I have a number of other short stories that need some serious edit jobs, but I also feel like I should be writing more short stories. But I find myself reluctant to sit down and write those stories. To some degree I might have an actual writer's block with my short stories, which is nothing to be ashamed of, even though I think subconsciously I am ashamed of it, but it's also a matter I'm afraid of sitting down because what if I can't write or can't write well. As I've been saying that prospect is terrifying.

I think I've been repeating my points so let me get out of that paragraph. As always, while it's nice to state and explore your problems, that alone does not help solve them. Always, you must face your difficulties and tackle them. Still I wonder if I missing something in my life that would make my problems seem less, well, insurmountable, as they do sometimes. Right now in my life, I feel sort of iffy if I can move into the real world and iffy if I can become the sort of person I want to be. I think I've lost a lot of confidance in my long struggles with depression, and I'm not talking about manic confidence, I'm talking about real confidence, but that stuff doesn't grow on trees. Perhaps that's what's missing in my life, or perhaps that's a symptom of something more. I kind of feel like what I'm missing is a woman, but I can't rely on me getting a girlfriend and even if I overcame my painful social anxieties about dating it would be unfair to force my girlfriend to become my savior. Maybe there is something missing that I'm just not seeing that will help my life become great, but maybe I'm just clutching at straws. Whatever might be, I still need to deal with what I'm facing right now, although perhaps I can reserve a little part of myself to explore the possibilities. Whatever. I always wonder about the secret implications of the words and sentence I use, but let's discard all of that and just say, I still need to deal with my problems. Even if I have had only mixed success so far, tommorow is a new day, and so I still have an opportunity to improve myself and conquer my anxities, and more than all that internal warfare bullshit, I can actually get stuff done. There is always hope, I believe in that, and so I always will look to tommorow.

So what do you want?

I'm kind of tired of the long titles I've been doing for a couple sessions now. I did them for two reasons, first was because it was fun and second was because I wanted to increase views. It isn't really fun anymore and doesn't really seem to be increasing views. I'm somewhat unabashed about my desire to increase views makes sense from my perspective. I think I can produce something quality, and while that in itself is an accomplishment, it is better if I expose the world to my quality goods. In addition, I'm ambitious by nature, which means that this role of the writer who actually gets read suits me well. I think that's important, that it suits me. Yes I want to do good, but I want to do good my way, and my way is writing and being heard.

There are a lot of ways to do good really. You can be an artist (like I fancy myself, although I try to avoid the word artist, because it does have a pretentious reputation (although the sound of the word isn't too bad), I tend to use the word writer even though I wouldn't mine working in mediums other than the written word) or similiarly a builder or creator of some sort. You can be a discoverer, someone who studies things, makes analyses or just reveals things unknown or underlooked. You can be a helper, you can be a teacher, or you can just be a good friend, spouse, or parent. There is a school of thought which feels that a person should do whatever will benefit the most people. I don't really think that. I think that yes, you should do good with your life, but you should do good in a way that you want. There are so many ways to do good, so many needed ways, and are some needed more than others yes, but... but to completely sublimate your will to what others need I think is to destroy a part of yourself, and if humans really are beautiful and worth helping then it seems obscene to destroy such an essential part of one.

So what if you don't know what you want? What then? Or what if you can't get what you want? Then deal with what you have. We all have ways to help open to us, and almost always there are ways to help out there, available to us immediately, even if it is only our personal relationships. Or maybe, and this is a maybe, even if it is just preparing to help. But you need to watch out for that one, some people end up preparing for their lives doing things (that's actually one of my greatest worries). Hopefully you can do some good along the way and/or you can make some definite plans.

Then there's always helping yourself. There's nothing wrong with that. I always believe in self-worth and I dislike the villianization of selfishness (in some forms), but even if you're more severing people-centered you can remembered that you yourself is a person. Still, concentrating on just yourself is pretty hollow. Even for yourself. I mean if all your work is on yourself you're restricting your soul by cutting off its ties to the world. It's not good for you just to follow your pleasures, at least that's how I figure it.

So that's how I think about that. Whatever. So I'm still going to try to get an audience, and even if I don't I think I'm ok with it as long as I keep trying (well, no, but I wouldn't be ok with it even if I was accomplishing stuff since I'm just a little bit crazy (but despite my craziness, or perhaps because of it I am still Rand, the great and glorious!)). I've always believed that you can live a good life even if you just live trying to do good. But if you're not even trying to do good, no matter what you accomplish, no matter who likes you, no matter how much fun you have, you still have a bad life. True worth belongs to truth, and truth isn't what people think, it's what is, and if you're religous, it is the mind of God.

So that's really what I think about that. Probably that's enough for now. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!
The World of Rand

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rand's Cowboy Bebop Review or When Legends walk the small screen

So this is my TV review day, and since this is the first I thought I'd start it with a bang, so here is the review of one of my favorite shows.
Cowboy Bebop: 10/10
So if you've read this webpost (or you like bad words, blog) consistantly you might have noticed that I reference Cowboy Bebop a lot, and if you've read it a lot you might have noticed a couple times I've called Cowboy Bebop a legendary series. So you might ask, am I exaggerating, am I blowing it's quality way out of proportion? Let me first say, that Rand the grand and glorious does not exaggerate! (Alright I exaggerate a little sometimes.) Next let me say that Cowboy Bebop deserves all the praise it gets and then some it truly is a legendary series.
Usually a legendary series defines its genre, but in this case it's a little different since it doesn't exactly fit into a genre exactly. Now it's more than the fact that it combines references to Cowboys and Bebop and related music. There are also Sci-Fi and tons of movie stuff, but beyond that, the whole of the influences and ideas and elements combine to create something undefinable. Given that I find it undefinable, it is hard to describe.
Let's start with the premise. A group of bounty hunters (at first just two men, but eventually a woman, a kid and a dog are added into the mix) hunt their bounties among the planets in the future. They are good, even great, although they have a bad habit of letting their bounties die a lot, and so they are often low on cash. Each has a complex back story, but they try to leave the past behind as they live their lives hunting down criminals, even though the past often returns to haunt them.
The whole thing, well, it's beautiful. Look at the art, it's just perfect really, every cell, perfect, right down to the eyecatches (the stills before and after commercial breaks). The colors, the lines, the details, the stylization and the realistic elements all combine into a perfect beauty. There's so much to it that I often miss a lot (I have friends who tell me all about the different references found in the tiny details in the frames), but it never feels garish or overdone. And the beauty extends from the frames to the motion with masterfully correographed fight scenes and perfectly flowing motion.
But there's lots of beautiful nonsense out, sometimes the beauty is great enough that the nonsense does not bother me, other times there is so much nonsense that despite the beauty I can't stand it. But this is not one of those cases, in fact here the beauty of the art is matched by beautiful content. There is hilarity, there is drama, there are movie references. The characters are complex and versetile with excellently worked out back-stories, multi-layered and engaging relationships, and personalities that are at times both subtle and larger than life. The plots often echo old movies but they are more than homages, they take what was best about those old movies but the main strength of the plot is how beautifully it works with the characters, how engaging they are, how they hook the watcher in and never let him go. The setting is such an immensely fascinating world that you could spend eons in it (I kind of wish there was more episodes, but then again if there were too many it might dilute the quality of each episode, remember a TV show must be judged by the whole it creates). There are so many facets of it, that I cannot begin to really say all the stuff I like about the show. I'm really not sure what else I can say that will convince you how awesome the show is but it is as I've said, a legendary series (I really wish they'd put it back on the Adult Swim rotation (I know I can just get the episodes and watch them on my computer or on DVD, but I like watching TV when it's actually broadcast, it gives me a sort of community feel and a greater connection to the world of the television), sure there are other good anime, but even in an endless loop of reruns it's still good enough to deserve a slot.).
So as you might of guessed from this immensely glowing review, or as you might have read from the start of the session, on a ten point scale this gets a 10/10.
Let me add a couple extras onto this review.
So favorite episodes.
Well, the character building episodes are fantastic. Ballad of Fallen Angels, Ganamyde Elegy, Jamming with Edward, My Funny Valentine (I think that's the episode's name, maybe not, I have a bad memory so what you want to fight about it? (little Family Guy joke for you there)), etc.
Outside those, Wild Horses excellent episode, Boogie Woogie Fung Shei, Mushroom Samba, Sympathy for the Devil, Pierrot Le Fou, Bohemian Rhapsody, Asteriod Blues, and of course the epic finale The Real Folks Blues. So many good episodes really.
Best quotes, best moments, well there are so many and I have bad memory (I'm going to do a session about that sometime), but the point is watch this show, watch it, watch it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh I should mention, the music...well, it is fantastic, never realized the Japanese could do the blues so well, but there you have it with the ending theme.
Yeah, that's about it, so I think I'll wrap thing up then. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I feel so good I feel so numb yeah, or the work which becomes a new genre itself: The Rand Show

There's a shoutout to Rob Zombie and to Cowboy Bebop in the title. It is forgivable if you don't get the first reference (Rob Zombie isn't for everyone, I'm not sure if it's really for me generally, but then again maybe if I listened to it more I'd have more of a feel for it, perhaps, perhaps, PERHAPS!), but it's unforgivable if you miss a Cowboy Bebop reference (actually it is forgivable since the reference is to an Eyecatch (that's the little stills before and after the commercial breaks), the full quote is "the work which becomes a new genre itself will be called Cowboy Bebop"). In the vein of that quote I will unveil my new name for this medium to replace the much-decried (largely by me) word blog. It is webpost. It's not perfect, it does not carry perhaps enough seriousness and sounds a little technical, and it might have another current meaning, but with a little work and usage it can be a fine term, and it is at least far better than blog.

So it has been some time since I last posted a session, and I could explain why, but I don't feel like doing that. Besides, the point is that I want this to be daily and so it must be daily, so sayth Rand, so must it be.

My mind isn't in a very constructive or cooperative mood right now, so I can't really think of a good transition to another topic. Well, there's one more thing I can say about the title, the first part, I feel so good I feel so numb yeah is a reference to the fact that while I'm in a generally good mood I still find myself unable to concentrate, unable to think deeply, unable to deal with certain issues I find myself encountering, well, it's not that bad. It's sort of like my moods, my desires, even my actions move without my mind prompting it, and so when my mood moves good, it's great, when my mood moves bad, well that's not so good. This is perhaps an exception, I don't really feel like doing this, but I mentally want to do it so I am doing it, but this is the exception that proves the rule, since I'm having trouble writing this session and actually starting to write a session usually requires the least amount of effort of most of my writing options (sometimes poetry can be easier, but that's only when the mood strikes me).

It's not like thoughts aren't in my head, but despite my desire to write them down, I'm having some trouble accessing them in a writable form (note that writable is a relative term and with a webpost (or as you might say, if you're less cool than me (which honestly means what anyone other than me might say), blog) the necessary quality of a thought to be writable is pretty darn low.

Still, if I can force some discipline into myself I have some plans going on. I'm planning to improve my webpage for one (a constant thing really) , I'm working on a Rand comic (I did a couple pages of one for high school, and it came out pretty good, and I've got a couple good ideas (although I'm not sure I have enough good ideas with Rand to do it daily), but you need a good deal of discipline to draw a comic, since it requires a good deal of effort (at least the way I do it), although I might actually get my cousin to help me out with the drawing part (shout out to Shilpa, and maybe Sneha if she ever shows me her drawing skills)), I also need to start exercising more, need to do more work on getting internships, etc.,etc. I need to pull my mind together, but minds aren't always cooperative, of course, that doesn't mean I can't try.

Perhaps because of my trouble writing this, but also because of my problems doing sessions on time, etc. I'm planning to add a little more organization to my posting. One day perhaps for TV reviews, one or two days perhaps for my epic poem, and maybe I'll do something like that for more stuff, I dunno. But that's the plans and such. My mind really is starting to get blurred, so I'm going to have to wrap this up, I think I've got enough rambling to put this up.

Anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks (he really does). Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Words of Wisdom

So this is a little something I picked up from last weeks Scrubs episode My Words of Wisdom, maybe it's true, maybe it's not, maybe I'll boost it to a full blog, maybe I won't but anyhow, anywho, etc. Dr. Kelso told Dr. Cox you don't keep doing things again and again unless you get something out of it. And I'm wondering about my breakdowns, it's happen every year, do I get something out of it? Perhaps I do, perhaps I don't. A breakdown does give me a break from my normal stuff, and then it gives me an opportunity to some intense work with an adreneline inducing challenge of fixing my problems. Maybe that's what lures me to my problems. But then again, maybe it's just my beakdown is aimed at destroying me completely. Or mabye it's a little bit of both. But anyways. Since this is probably the only post I'm going to do this day, I might as well give a good ending (since I'm both tired and busy). So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The stars are so lovely, but beware of their brutality

We all have work to do. I must write, because well, I'm Rand the great and Glorious, but that doesn't pay the bills (although me just being Rand should get me some payment), so I need a day job, and that's the tricky part. I've had a hard time figuring out a career. I know I want to be a writer, but I need a day job. But I wonder sometimes whether I'm going to even get to be a writer, whether I'll ever be published, or whether I even have any talent. I can never really convince myself of the last one, even when I'm ready to kill myself I still want to have my writings published. But the thing about college is it seems almost designed to demolish all your old dreams. A guy in high school who was at the top of his game is suddenly thrown into a big school where he's only in the middle. You're forced into classes where you struggle, which might be something you've never had to deal with before. You no longer have the support of teachers who can give you close attention, if you're lucky you'll have some nice professors, but even then they'll never give you the same amount. Most of all, you're forced to consider your career and you're told to be realistic.
In high school, you're told you can be anyone you want to be. Yet I knew even then I'd probably need a day job, I hoped (and still hope, although I'm reluctant to send out my stuff for publishing, even if at my heart I believe in myself, I'm still afraid of rejection) to get published soon, but I still thought I would need a day job, because I knew that few people can live off their writing. But I thought I could pick whatever day-job I wanted. College tends to tell you different. You worry have you picked the right major for a job, can you really succeed in this subject or that once you get to the advanced classes. I'm thinking about double majoring in math, but I don't know if I can really deal with the hard math, same with computer science. It's not like high school where this stuff was not only easier, but presented in a friendly manner, the professors aren't cold or anything, it just seems that the classes are taught more distantly (as well as worse, I think the average college professor teaches far worse than the average high school teacher, after all, the college professors haven't been trained to teach, I think that's probably a mistake of the system, either the professors should be forced to get additional teaching training or they should hire lecturers with teaching training). And I need to look at the job market, if I choose pursue job A will I actually be able to get a job or will I end up sponging off of my parents for another several years.
This has really has sort of hammered this home for me. I've been thinking about becoming a journalist (as I've mentioned in a previous session if any of you bums remembered) and people have been saying I shouldn't because the job market's so weak. It doesn't matter how good I might be there's still too much of a risk, they says. It doesn't matter that I want to be this, I probably shouldn't. I can be anything I want to be but I have to be realistic, I think this might be an exact quote. That is a contradiction in my mind, and I think it is one literally. If I can be anything I want to be can't I aim for the stars, and this isn't even the stars, can't I aim for the the high hills.
Of course, I don't have to accept this. I can defy the wishes of others and still pursue a job even if the market is tight. If it really was the case that I could not find a job for several years I might say yes, I need to be more realistic. But I think with journalism I can find a job, it might be low-paying, but it will be a job, and I can live with that. I can live with low pay, I can live with weak job security, I can live with being competitive, I can live with struggling. Maybe in that's it, you can be anything you want to be but you might have to struggle. Well, maybe not, sometimes you don't get with you want, I might not be published even if I try (but I'm not trying now which is the real problem, and which I must change), someone who wants to be an Olympic gymnist might never get to the Olympics. Sometimes struggling isn't enough to achieve what you want. But it is enough to be proud of. Ultimately, what I want to be is a writer. Can I become one just because I struggle? I might become one, I might not, that's just the way things are, my struggling will improve the odds but they won't guarentee it. In fact, no job is guarenteed, but that said, for the hard but not upper elchelon jobs (upper elchelon jobs being like professional writer (and by writer I mean something like novelist, or tv writer, or movie writer, etc.) there you can be pretty sure that if you're willing to struggle enough you can get them. So if I'm willing to struggle enough I can probably be (although maybe not certainly, and I'll have to put a lot more effort pursuing this goal, effort not being one of my strong suits) a journalist.
But then you have to do the Calculus. Is the struggle worth it? Is the satisfaction-the struggle greater than say the satisfaction of a less satisfying job-the lesser struggle? That's why I'm still unsure. And I need to consider all my options, and that's annoying but that's just what I'll have to do. I can't really be complaining about having a lot of options, some people don't get those choices. Still it does give me some worry, and perhaps my greatest worry is that I'll make a mistake and I'll end up unsatisfied with my life. But honestly, people are able to change careers. On the other hand, a long period with an unsatisfy job could aggrevate my depression. But that's just a risk. Life's full of them, and I don't want to be afraid of taking risks in life. Maybe I shouldn't take foolish risks, though. So there's still variables to consider. Oh well, I'm a still a junior I have time. And if I give the whole matter some effort I should be fine, but of course effort is not my strong spot. Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Horror and the Glory and a bunch of other stuff

So I'm tired, crazy and quite the bum but being the great and glorious Rand I feel it is my duty to spread my thoughts, feelings and ideas throughout this wonderful world of ours and because of that I return once more to this forum. I'm not really sure what I want to write about, but I must continue writing, because otherwise this project of mine will most likely die, then it will come back to life and return to haunt me, most likely in a metaphorical sense, but there is always that small chance it could come back as a ghoul and I'm out of ghoul killing dust. So once more Rand rides again!

I read today about the idea that a mySpace page is an expression of narcassism, and I have to wonder if that is my case. Well, I can't say out and out I'm narcassistic, sure I might repeat the fact that I am great and glorious again and again, but that's just part of the job. Personally I deal with tons of self-loathing, though there are periods where I have feelings of utter grandeur, but perhaps that's not relevant when thinking about narcassism. Am I self-centered? Well, I do tend to stay in my head a lot, and much of my time is spent dealing with my problems, given that I do have legitimate problems this might be justifiable, but yes, a lot of my time is spent on me. But is that what it means to be self-centered? Let's look at it from this angle, am I running my life for my own pleasure? No. Ultimately, I like to think my life is devouted to God and doing his will. And due to my personality and my love of people (not necessarily though a love of being in crowds or something like that though), I believe the best way to do that is to help people through my writing, through charity, and through influencing the world's intellectual, cultural, and political currents, or something along those lines. This blog (I shudder whenever I use that word) is a small part of these ambitions (and yes aiming to change the world does give me pleasure, because it does work with my fundemental ambitious nature, however, I think there's nothing wrong with wanting to do something that makes you happy or at least something you want to do, in fact, we all should be doing what we want to do, but we should be doing what we want to do in a way that serves God, or if you're not a believer, than something that advances the ideal of goodness (I don't want to say greater good, because I'm not talking about utilitarianism where you try to increase overall happiness, I more mean working to promote ideals you dub good in a way that obeys those ideas)), it is not an online journal, it is exibitionism, well, maybe it is a little bit of both of those, but mostly it is a way to write and spread my writings. I should also say that I think the act of writing itself serves God and advances the ideal of goodness, but I also like the fact that this is being given to the greater world, and I think over all this body of work is something of quality, and when something of quality is exposed to the greater world, again that is serving God and advancing the ideal of goodness.

So is it simple narcassism that drives me to make this blog? No. Am I narcassistic? That is a more complex question. You'd have to take in the whole of my personality, including elements which I only have a vague or illusionary grasp on. And then we must face the question is narcassism bad? Here we'd have to face definitions of narcassism and then definitions of the components of the definitions. But I like to think my life is devouted to something greater than myself, and if that is the opposite of narcassism, and depending on your definitions it may or may not be, then there you go.

Many times though I still wonder, am I doing enough? Not as much as I want to. I still don't have the power to change the world and I haven't been putting enough effort into getting that power, I haven't been putting enough effort into publishing more of my writings, and I'm not doing as much as I want to help people in general. So yes I can just try harder on the first two, but third one is the tricky one. What more can I and should I do to help people? Should I be a better friend to my friends? Yes, that's an easy one, well probably, the thing is social interaction is strenuous for me, so, but the answer still is yes. Should I do more volunteer activities? Here we come to an issue that is reaching a head right now in my life. Early in the semester I volunteered to help out with the Rutgers Readers (a fine organization, let me assure you, basically we help out and supervise kids (1-3rd graders I believe (maybe some Kindergarden kids, I can't remember)) in an afterschool program where they do their homework and then play around) and I went to one session. It went well. I was a little uncertain about some things, but overall the whole thing went very well. I helped the kids with their work and played around with them, and so the mission was accomplished, but there's a but. The next week they had President's Day off so there was nothing (Rutgers Readers go once a week, and I went on a Monday), the week after though... Well I chickened out is the short of it. The long of it is that that day was a pretty bad day for me over all. So there's one unexcused abscence (we're only supposed to have two with three abscences all together). The next week, I chicked out again, and this time, although the day was somewhat bad, it wasn't that bad. And I think (I could have my days wrong here), that brings me to this week. Given the fact that I will miss a week in April (although the program might have ended for the semester by then), I really should go to it this week. But I'm not sure if I will.

The thing about me is the idea of being there, with all those kids depending on me, surrounding me, watching me, well it is pretty terrifying for me. During the actual experience I'm hit by generally only a vague discomfort, with perhaps some points of sharp discomfort, but thinking about going, well, it's very annoying. On the other hand, the experience is also nice, since I do enjoy playing around with kids. So I have to decide, should I write an email resigning from the Rutgers Readers or should I continue, pushing myself to attend despite my discomfort? Yet I have to wonder why am I doing this? Do I want to help these kids? Yes. These kids in particular? Well, I did get to meet a couple when I went there (although I've probably forgotten all their names which will make our next meeting, if it happens, all the more ackward), but overall not really. So am I invested in this activity in particular? Not especially. So why don't I quit?

Beyond the fact that I made a commitment (I don't think that fact is that important since it's not like people were actually depending on me, it just would have been nice if I helped out), there's also the fact that any other volunteer activity where I'd work with crowds of people would likely be roughly similiar. Maybe uncomfortable in different ways, maybe nice in different ways, but the fundemental social anxiety remains. So do I need to do this type of volunteering? Well, as it is I'm not doing much public service, which maybe isn't a big thing. I mean I've lived my life pretty well, and I'm hoping to do good with my life, so do I need to do public service? Do I want to do public service? It would be nice to feel like I was improving people's lives. It would also possibly, possibly, possibly (because my volunteering at a hospital previously didn't really give me this, but there the limitied interaction with patients and my heightened mental problems of that era dampened the experience) make me feel like I was making a difference. But I could also do more private volunteer work, like tutoring, it might be easier with me to work in a one-on-one environment (although then I would be more depended on and given my spotty attendence at well everything this semester I might not be reliable enough for this). I could also join a group working for a charitable cause. The Children's AIDS network is on campus and I could help out with their fundraising, etc. I could also steer my church and college youth groups in more charitable directions, but that would perhaps require more leadership than I am able (or is it perhaps willing) to give for a youth group. But all of this would require a rather sudden change in my activities, and it is already half way through the semester. Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be simply to give money whenever I have cash on me (although lately that's not too often). Is that enough?

Is it enough simply to give cash instead of directly participating in a volunteer activity or a directly helpful profession (this is not taking into consideration the fact that the cash is really my dad's although my income from my summer job went into that pool)? Well, overall I'd have to say yes. We all help in different ways according to our gifts and personalities. Some perhaps only directly help (although perhaps through produciton of art, good job performance, or good relationships they help indirectly and more importantly) through cash (although even that is not a requirement if you're too poor to give anything at all), and that cash then goes to support those who can help in other ways.

Maybe it comes down to unjustified guilt. Maybe it's ok for me not to participate in some charitable venture, but just for me to give to charity. But given the fact that the money isn't really mine, well, though it is more money than would be given otherwise. It would be nice to join a charitable organization probably, but maybe a more private one, or maybe a more abstract one that isn't interacting with crowds. But then there's still matters of time, and matters of my chronic mood swings this semester. So I don't know. But overall I'm living a pretty good life, I try to treat people nicely and I'm trying to do good with my work and future ambitions, so even if I'm not doing all I want to do, I'm doing alright, perhaps most importantly because I'm trying.

So that's about enough for now, well, perhaps not all I would like since I didn't address the philosophical basis of charity very well nor did I attack the cultural implications of charitable activities at all, and even my analysis of my own charactible activities is perhaps not as clear or well brought out as it should be, but I think there's enough to chew on, and more perhaps would keep me typing for way too long and would probably make you choke on massive quantities of text. Besides this is simply a session, not an essay, not a manifesto, not a book, and this being a session I am given the freedom to end it right about wherever I feel like it (although it's best if I hit the ending at the end of a completed thought), so I will about wrap it up now.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My dogma ran over your karma or I ain't got no reincarnation

I always loved that quote "my karma ran over your dogma," although I don't think it actually means anything (if interpreted it could, but whoever wrote it or said it first probably just liked the car in karma and the dog in dogma). But anyways I switched it around so that it would better fit what I think. I believe in Christian dogma but not in karma. In this world where people are constantly saying there's no real difference in religions I'd like to point out the difference between my beliefs and others and I'd like to explain why and explore this.
I'm a Christian, and while some maintain Christians are not inherintly different from Buddhists/Hindus who believe in karma, I'd say there is a big difference between karma and forgiveness, especially since karma involves reincarnation and the Christian ideal of forgiveness involves Purgatory, Heaven and Hell (some might say that Buddhism isn't really about reincarnation, but you should be careful about the word "really," it implies that those who don't believe that are not truly Buddhist, it's fine if you say your belief in Buddhism doesn't include reincarnation or even that the correct interpretation of Buddhism is no reincarnation, but people shouldn't deny that those who believe in reincarnation don't belong to schools within the Buddhist range of thought (it's like the fact that I'm Catholic, but I recognize Protestants are also Catholic, even though I think Catholics are the best branch of Christianity). Those people tend to be Westerners (and I'm not refering to my friends who may have embraced some form of Buddhism, most of them understand that they simply believe in one variant and that there are others) whose exposure to Buddhism is highly limited (very few have actually read the Buddhist texts (and yes there are Buddhist texts, the basic ones are called the Tripitaka), I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I'm saying most of the people who claim to "really" understand Buddhism are not experts either). More importantly karma is sort of an exchange, you exchange a good act for a bad one, you balance your sins with your good deeds, what you do good comes back to you and what you do bad comes back to you so you have to do more good than bad with your life or in your next life. Forgiveness doesn't work like that. Forgiveness operates instantaneously, it means suddenly your sins are gone. It means that your evil deeds are washed away by the love of God. Yes there is often an obligation to do some act because of your sins but such acts are to improve one spiritually not to balance the scales. And while there is a Purgatory open for cleansing of the soul, there are no extra life times in Christianity, at least in most of the varients I'm familiar with.
Is this an important difference? Yes. Because it determines whether you value yourself based on your actions or based on your soul, it determines whether you try to make up for past deeds or simply try to live well in the future. It also makes a difference in focus between focusing on how you treat the external world instead of focusing on how you treat your soul. I'm not necessarily saying that Buddhists/Hindus are bad and although I think they are wrong they have a right to their views and honestly their views are pretty well developed and well thought through. Of the different belief systems out there Buddhism and Hinduism are pretty good ones, at least most variants are. All religions tend to have some bad variants out there and some bad, sometimes horrificly bad interpretations.
There is also another element to the karma versus forgiveness debate. This is more in the case in Buddhism and some less formalized religious beliefs than in Hinduism, but even Hinduism has it to some degree, especially in some sects, but karma does not require a deity to make it work. It can function in a purely mechanical universe. A certain mixture of good and bad deeds cause this or that to happen. On the other hand, divine forgiveness usually requires someone to forgive, and thus requires a God or gods. Of course, you can forgive yourself and leave it at that as well, but if you feel that good and bad have to do with something greater than humanity, you're probably going to need something greater than humanity to forgive. Of course, there are other reasons for belief in a higher spiritual power, but I won't get too much into that now.
My point is that there is a fundemental difference between karma and forgiveness as a means to dealing with sins and bad deeds. That difference guides our lives and because of that we should understand that difference. I think forgiveness is the superior school of thought and that's why I believe in it, but even if you believe in karma you must understand in what karma means. Of course, then again, people themselves often mix and match religious concepts, even ones so different as karma and forgiveness (even though sometimes their mixes don't quite make sense, but sometimes they create some pretty fancy systems of belief), but then you're creating a third way, which is neither one or the other. Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between religions, and you should understand where you stand, because where you stand should be how you understand your morality, which should be how you deal with your life.

That's enough for now. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Feel so bad, I feel so numb yeah

I'm feeling pretty bad today so I'm giving another pre-prepared session. I really don't even feel like writing much for this. So if you're reading this you should go to my next session and read a real post instead of this.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Look on the sunny side of life

My friend Howard gave me a comment on my last session which I think is pretty good. He told me to look on the bright side of things and honestly I probably should. I'm a pretty good writer, I have good friends, my social life slightly (very slightly) improved last night through an incident I'm not going to talk about here. And this morning I snapped out of my depressive mood. But that said, I find it difficult to stay on the sunny side at times as my mind tends to obsesses about the things buggging me, for example today my mind has been obsessing about my unreliability, I've missed some important obligations and I've lost my backpack, and honestly I can't guarentee such things won't happen again. This all makes me wonder whether I can survive in the real world but looking on the sunny side of things, despite all my problems I've always found a way to get by and in my own little way thrive, even if it's not in the way I might have wanted. Anyways, it's late and I'm tired, and I've become somewhat down, well not down but blank and unmotivated, so I'm not doing a new session, rather I'm giving a pre-made one, but it is a pretty good pre-made session so I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

I'm just super-jaded, ultra-faded, out of my mind

I got to say I'm tired. Tired of feeling down and lonely and whining about it. But I still do. Well, the whining part I could cut down on, but I still feel like writing this blog so there you go. But the feeling down and lonely part I really can't get rid of since it's just this irrational feeling that keeps hitting me. But I suppose I just need to deal with it. Yet the worrying part is when I get like this, uncaring about myself so that I no longer care to help myself, quietly self-loathing instead of actively so that I can contradict the irrational self-hatred, annoyed by everything so that nothing seems to take the edge off of my depression, and stressed about human contact so that despite my loneliness I avoid people compulsively. But I just need to deal with it.
My life is hard sometimes, yes other people have it worse, but my life can be very difficult at times. Unfortunately, despite medication and therapy the feelings have not gone away, and I'm doubtful they will ever go away. So I just need to deal with them. But I'm really tired of that. My psychologist says that over time it will get easier to deal with the feelings and that even when it's hard I still need to push through. But I've been pushing through the feelings for a whole lot of years now, and I'm fustrated. I feel old, like I've been dealing with this for an eternity. But still I need to deal with it, I need to push through.
I need to get out of myself more, stop concentrating on fixing my feelings and more with overcoming them to get what I want done. Like this, like my writings, like doing alright in my classes, like my stuff with the radio. But once again I'm having trouble doing what I want because I'm losing my will to care. But that's just one more thing I have to deal with.

In the end you always just need to press on. Shit will happen, sometimes really bad shit. But you need to press on, because pressing on is an act of triumph over that shit. It's the only way to really prove to yourself that you're bigger than you're problems. And in the end it's the right thing to do, so you got to do it. Persevere, press on, and don't quit at life, that's what I got to do, even if it's hard, even if I'm tired, even if I'm having problems with doing just that, I still need to press on.

Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!