Thursday, May 31, 2007

Good evening, internetland, computerland, and possibly cell phone land. How are you? What's up? Empty polite greeting, etc.

I will now reveal to you a plan of mine, a mine of plan: The Knights of Mars. Sounds cool, no? (If you say no, I will hurt you! HURT YOU!!!) Maybe a little explanation is in order. The Knights of Mars is an idea of mine, a sort of faternal (although it would include women) society that would spread wherever I or my friends or their friends would go providing a welcoming place to go to everyone in it wherever they may go in life. I'd like to elaborate, but I need to go.

So goodnight, good evening, empty polite goodbye, etc.

Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks! (just a cautionary goodbye, I'll probably be back with a real session later today.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I'm planning to try to get a session about Memorial Day done before the day is over, but I don't want to do it if I can't get it right, so if I don't do it, well, to all the veterans out there and to all those who have died in service of their country, thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hero for a day

Good, well, actually morning folks, here's a rarity I'm actually starting a session before noon-time, so soak up the goodness, soak it up, SOAK IT UP!!! Any who, I first heard the Metallica song which is the title of this session in an Otakon video which meshed it with scenes from some sort of special edition Dragonball thing. Why am I sharing that? No particular reason, so let's move on. While I probably would have picked this title name no matter what the circumstance for this topic (I probably should tell you what the topic is, it is the show "Heroes") seeing as it has the word 'hero' in it, the phrase "Hero for a day" seems particularly appropriate due to how lavishly praised Heroes has been and how much it's recent season finale has been massively slammed. But the point of the matter is that I'm doing a review of Heroes.

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm looking at you Bob, and you too Smithee, Heroes has random people gaining superpowers and dealing with the changes it inflicts upon their life and the world, a secret organization and a coming disaster (at least the first season was about the coming disaster), good stuff, no? Actually I wasn't that intrigued with the concept at first because I thought it would be done in a really crappy way, but it's done well, so I'm good with that. It's part of the wave of dramas that have been coming out lately and being one of the most successful it is often compared to one of the other most successful of the major dramas, Lost. It shares with Lost the supernatural sci-fi-fantasy drama label, but in many ways it is, as the respected TV columnist Alan Sepinwall calls it, "the anti-Lost."

How, may you ask, well Sepinwall would point to the fact that Lost has long complex, twisting, conveluted mysteries that never really seem to get resolved and even when they do get part resolved the writers throw in some more craziness to crazy it up a whole lot more. With Heroes, yes there are conspiracies and surprises but they tend to resolve mysteries relatively quickly, adding new mysteries but in a way that moves the plot forward instead of just tangling it up and such. But I think there is more to that comparision, something that goes to the tendencies of the mediums the creators of these series had previously majored in. Lost was created by J. J. Abrams, a long time tv guy, and Heroes was created by Jeph Loeb a long time comic guy, get where I going with this. Basically the thing is that while Lost concentrates on character (I mean half of every episode is usually in a character's head giving glimpses to deepen up the characters), the usual measure of tv shows, Heroes concentrates on plot, the usual measure of comic books. The result is this, Lost has deep, many, many dimensional chacacters, but a nonsensical plot, and Heroes has a complex but sensical nicely moving plot, it's chacacters often lack full depth (there are exceptions, most notably the awesome, awesome Hiro and Horn-Rimmed Glasses Man (Noah Bennet)), often they are simply archetypes, which while nice at times are not used to their fullest and are sometimes tiresome.

The comic book heritage also may factor into the final episode of Heroes. Comic book fans are notoriously detail oriented, memorizing every tiny, tiny detail and then ranting and raving insanely when one of those details are contradicted by another detail. The final episode was criticized for many factors but for most notably the last scene when one of the main character who is exploding do his powers becoming uncontrollable needs to be flown out by his brother (at the expense of his brother's life) despite the fact that the main character had flying powers. Now the reasoning that came me is that his powers had become uncontrollabe and so, well he couldn't control his powers. To back it up a fan noted (on Sepinwall's website) that in a flash-foward to this, the main character says he's frozen. That's the sort of detail that would come easy for comic book fans or which comic book fans wouldn't mind searching for, but it doesn't nearly as well for tv. Why? Because with tv, especially at an intense climax scene, you're put in the moment, and going back and thinking about how this makes sense needs some level of detachment that the tv view should not need to have. So while I understand what the Heroes writers were getting at, I still have to be critical of it.

Still, I love the show and I'm going to be watching every episode next season. It's got a lot of cool moments, a couple really cool characters (although not as deep as Lost's per se), and a really interesting plot line. It also, as comic books tend to, has created a huge, complex and fascinating universe (Lost also does this so here there's less of the anti-Lost comparison), and so I got to say I still think despite all it's flaws it's awesome. But I can't help but think, well, what if it didn't have those flaws, what if those things were fixed, then it could be great, heck it could be legendary, it could be a 10 out of 10 but it doesn't reach that. Now it's always hard to judge a tv show while it's still on the air and especially given the possibilities for the next season, but as things sit now the best I can give it is a 7 out of 10.

So that's my Heroes review. Since the series is still coming out maybe next season I might actually throw some reviews of individual episodes...or maybe not, depends what I feel like, because I the Rand, I the Rand indeed. So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

And when does the soothing breeze become the hurricane

I'm doing well, but I can't help but ask myself, how long can this last? Mentally and emotionally I'm as strong as I've been in a long time, but I've done well before only to see it collapse, will that come for me again? But it is best not to obsess on this, rather to use this time well and enjoy it. Times are good, so why not be happy about it?

A little Azumanga Diaoh note

I just wanted to share that YouTube has the whole episodes of Azumanga Diaoh (my last session was a review of that show), although they are sliced up into thirds, WATCH IT!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The temptation of wheat or Azumanga Diaoh review

First of all, the theme song makes no sense, no sense, this link has its lyrics, but it includes the above line the temptation of wheat, and stuff like Cake for you, Tea for you, etc., very, very weird, further proof that Japanese people are crazy (of course my assessment of that is wildly innaccurate since I'm basing this largely on my own tastes for crazy anime). Still song crazy, so it gives you a little clue about the show itself.

Actually in some ways the show isn't as crazy as the intro song and sequence would imply, but in other ways it's just as crazy if not more so. It has a few moments like Kodocha where random things pop up but that's mostly just in the dream episodes. Mostly it's just high school life and not even really eventful high school life, overall nothing much happens to these kids except the school life and the breaks and such. There aren't even the crazy romances of normal high school life (except for with one girl and her obsession with another girl and a teacher's obsession with the first girl (don't worry none of this actually amounts to anything but a lot of laughs). There are rarely long plots even within an episode even since each episode is actual 5 5-minute shorts pieced together (the manga was sort of like a comic strip (I think) and the show first aired as 5 minute shorts each weekday and then the week's episodes were combined on Saturdays (I think, I wasn't there to see all that stuff during the first time around, A. it was a some time ago, and B. it was in Japan)). So with no plot and ordinary high school life how can it be as crazy as temptation of wheat? In the end it is because the characters are just crazy, zany, and absolutely hilarious.

This is one of the shows which makes me feel like an absolute girl, it is a girl's show, there is only one male character and he is just a side character playing the pervert teacher with a heart of gold stereotype (mostly the pervert part) (of course this is never really developed much as it would be if he was the star, but there are plenty of other shows for that (including plenty of animes like that)), but that's part of the charm. It allows the characters to just talk easy as friends and let all their quirks and crazies come out. In some ways this strikes me as more accurate than most romance-centered high school shows, because while the romances of high school tend to come and go, the friendships last and talking to your friends, just shooting the breeze (damn breeze, time to die!!!!) that's what high schoolers really spend most of their time doing. So this show is about that. The quirks and crazies of high school girls and their teachers, and about friendship. It could be very dull, it could be, but instead it's absolutely hilarious because those quirks and crazies, while so ordinary, are played up to maximum effect but without taking away from the love you feel for the characters.

The characters are a mix of archetypes and somewhat novel characters (who are found plenty in real life but are rarely explored). For the archetypes (there's a subtle difference between archetypes and stereotypes, while both are basised on the classic notions of the character types, the archetypes have their depths probed, while the stereotypes are pure superficial) You have Tomo, the crazy mega-enthusiastic goof-ball, you have Osaka, the ditzy, out of it goof-ball, and you have Yomi, the all-together, little-snobby, ultra-dieting, and mature girl, and Karoin, the obsessed-with-her-crush girl (although with a twist the love is another main character, aka, another girl), on the less-heard-of-side you have the grade-skipping-ultra-young, Chiyo, and the looks-very-mature, looks-very-cool and very aloof and looks kind of scary but really is very nice and loves cuteness girl, Sakaki and one which might fall on either side given my lacking knowledge of teen shows, Kagura, who's the ultra-athlete. With the teachers you got the standard boke and tsukkomi, that is the ultra-goof-off and serious person who puts her in her place, and then you have as a side character, the perverted male teacher, who turns out to have a heart of gold but is still very, very, very perverted. All these quirks are perhaps not groundbreaking but they are played out in very normal circumstances to the absolute breaking point but without passing the point of making the characters unsympathetic (although to some I've heard the male teacher passes that point, but I think he's cool (that's what is wife says)). Overall it's a good mix, although I wouldn't mind seeing at least one well-rounded guy, but I suppose that might distract from the girl's show atmosphere, which does add a certain lightness and charm to the show (after all the atmosphere girls carry with them is quite charming (although I'm actually probably too old to be saying that when the show is about high school students (and one student who's the age of elementry school kids)) and it might distract from the ultra-cutsyness of the show. Some will be turned off by this, but me, having the tastes of a ten-year-old girl, find it awesome. At times the show does draw on a bit, and you do kind of wish to have more in-depth adventures that might explore some more facets of these characters, overall I kind of had a sense that I wanted to know them a lot better than I got a chance to, but still you know them enough to love them, and enough to laugh like a madman at them. Overall I'd give this a 9 out of 10.

So that's my Azumanga Diaoh review. I think it went pretty well, although perhaps I could pull out a little more analysis if I wanted too. Oh well, the point is, awesome show, watch it, WATCH IT!!! You go now.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Transformers the Movie: Is it Transfomerrific?

I am a very big Transformers fan. So when I heard about the movie I was very very happy, now... a little less so. I've seen the previews and as my older brother pointed out the movie seems more human centered than the properly robot centered tv show. Moreover it has Shy Lebuff (I have no idea how to spell his name), the kid from Even Stevens which makes this seem like it might just end up being a highly cutesy movie, which would be highly annoying. One of the most important things about Transformers is that it took itself seriously, if this movie can't do that...well, no matter what I'll probably see it, I'm too big of a fan not to unless it's a complete and utter travesty (like the Aeon Flux movie).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sleepy and the sleepy

My energy is well, low, which sucks. But well, I'm tired. And yet, and yet, I've got a good deal of work to do. But the situation remains as it is, and despite my lack of energy I must still work on. Still it occurs to me that eventually I might have to deal with my chronic lack of energy. Perhaps I'll start taking a stimulant, especially since I'm already sort of self-medicating with caffine. But for now, I'm just working tired, I'm still driving but at least I'm not operating heavy machinery.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Eyes on the Past

It is often said that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Yet often times those who do learn from the past simply conclude that the repeat is inevitable. Despite my history major I have to say I despise this sort of historical determinism. Yes, the past influences the present, but it does so in an often unperdictable way. We can look at the present and pick out the trends of the past, but that does not necessarily mean we can look at the trends of the past and perdict the future. Even when history does repeat there are important and notable differences in each repetition. To ignore the differences between the past and present is often more foolish than ignoring the similiarities.

Inside Outside and Inbetween

Hello, hello, and hello, all thee who read these words now, hi. Anyways, one of the problems with topical sessions is that I need to think up a topic. Now I do have a lot of thoughts buzzing around in my head in a maddening buzzing phenomenon, but summoning just a few good thoughts to expand into a session can be difficult, especially if I don't have enough time to take one of the ideas from way back in my head which deserves a long, big exposition. But I've delivered a few topical sessions and perhaps it is time to return to the topic of me, and by that I mean my thoughts and random digressions from those thoughts and by that I mean...well, nothing much in particular.

Let me recount some happenings in my life, now before you groan and moan, and I know who you are if you groan and moan, I have powers you know, I will be brief and limit the happenings to important matters worth talking about (of course anything having to do with me is worth talking about but I will try to be selective), if for no other reason than because I really do need to get some sleep soon. The most notable happening is that I have begun an internship at WRAT 95.9 The Rat , a nice little rock station if I do say so myself, and I do. In other matters, I am looking for a part-time job because I need money because the internship gives none (I am actually looking for alternative internships as well because this non-paying internship actually needs an 1 hr. and 1/2 car ride (if I'm not speeding, which I usually am, or was, since I'm going to cut down on that now that I have recieved a ticket for driving, oh, just a little fast (20 miles over the speed limit), and if I get another ticket, poof goes my liscence), which means it is actually costing me a decent amount of money in gas (of course it is really costing my father, but if it's costing him it makes me feel like a bum), also it is a rock radio station, which while very cool, is only tangentially related to my goal job of journalism), I also am working on a new Comikier comic, which should be done in a week or so, plus I might start making strip comics for Comikier (to check out Comikier and other great and grand things of Rand, the mighty and glorious, check out The World of Rand). I was ambivalent about this idea for a while. On the one hand, comic strips could be printed in a newspaper, say the Targum (the only newspaper which has any chance of publishing my comics since it has a quota of student-made comics to fulfill), on the other hand the full page a full page comic gives me gives a lot of options. I can experiment with form, I can do longer storylines without multiple comics, I can do extra designs in the margins, etc. However, it does have a limiting factor, the comic has to be long enough to justify a whole page. And while I do have a few ideas of comics long enough to justify a whole page, those ideas need a good deal of work before they are even drawable, delaying future comics for a while, and while I have a number ideas for multi-comic adventures, Comikier is still kind of new so I don't want to immediately expose people to that. The strip comic is restrictive in size and form, however, I have a lot of ideas for strip comics, and I actually can arrange several strips into a page if it makes me feel better (this would also give me an opportunity to throw in extra side material in the extra spaces that I might be uncomfortable putting into a whole page comic due to the prospect of distracting from the story (with the page already having several strips the idea of multiple features is already present and so wouldn't be too distracting). I still have to ink the newest comic page and then I'm going to start working on some strips, the first one will be a strip version of the first Comikier, and then I might do some random stuff, should be cool though.

That's where I am with Comikier. Amazingly enough, given that I do Comikier irregularly, I don't even have a legitimate webpage for it (just an extension of my, sigh, angelfire page), I don't have many Comikier comics, etc.,etc., Comikier is not the most pressing matter weighing on my head. What bothers me the most right now, is that I think I like a girl. Now this may not seem like news, but after two disasterous non-relationships (complicated matters which I have to tread delicately on to avoid offending the other parties), I have been somewhat avoiding romantic matters. Overall, I've never dated, but while in high school that was because of well, the non-relationships, well, it's complicated, in college the matter was because of fear and ackwardness most of all. Now there have been girls I was more than average attracted to and at least one with whom I made a clumsy attempt at asking out (I may have been rejected there, I might not have, I'm really kind of uncertain), but the emotion I'm feeling right now is stronger than that, although far, far weaker than love, although it has potential, for what... I'm not sure. Perhaps that's what bothers me more than the other feels I've had for other girls is the potential I'm feeling (although, then again... I'd rather not go through the exactitiudes of my romantic history right now, maybe later).

Now how to deal with this, that's the rub. Ask her out you might be thinking, well, duh, of course, but that's not going to happen. At least not immediately, maybe after a while as I get a little bit more comfortable with these feelings, or maybe I'll just delay the whole thing until the girl slips out of my reach. I don't know. Well, I know what I should do, but asking a girl that I like out on a date is an awful large leap from my normal behavior (actually not as much as it seems since I'm really not that ackward around girls nowadays, and this girl is a friend), and inertia has always been a powerful force for me. So stay tuned to find out (unless circumstances recommend otherwise, I'll probably drop a note, perhaps just a sutle one, noting that I have gone out on a date).

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

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I want to get lost in your rock and roll

I don't really believe in cartharsis, at least not as something you do often, maybe as something you do rarely. What I mean is once in a while when emotions build inside you it can be helpful to release them, but if you do that often you often end up obsessing over the emotions your trying to release and they simply become a more prominent part of your personality. However, I do believe in music expressing emotions helping you get over the emotions. Now isn't it the same principle, the principle of releasing emotions? No. Well, maybe partially. Listening to music expressing your emotions does make you release them, but more importantly it helps you grow the emotions if the music is quality. If the music is quality stuff listening to it helps you mature your emotions into a more controllable state and that is often more helpful than simply releasing them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In this lonely world

Good afternoon, dear friends of internetland. For the first time in several days I am writing a full session while there is still daylight out and the result is...slowgoing and much weariness. It's hard not to feel that this time would not be better spent sleeping but the show, well, the show must go on. And so I press on. My loyal readers might recognize that phrase as one of my most overused ones. Another one of my most overused cliches is me whining about being lonely, but it is a very prominent part of the human condition, loneliness affects us all in some way or other and it has affected the course of huan history so many times, just as it is shaping the future today.

(Nice gradiouse segway, don't you think?) Loneliness sways people. It alters their thoughts and motivations. It is a plague to many and they seek out some way, any way of ending that plague. They search to belong somewhere, to find a sense of kinship with some people. And how does this affect history you may ask, well it affects psychology and psychology affects history. A desire for belonging fueled nationalism in both its moderate and extreme variants, it is part of the reason that people join militant movements, because it gives them a sesne of belonging to a community since they now have enemies that don't belong. And without belonging, some survive, some are fine, but some collapse, diving into depression, insanity, and other non-nice places. Loneliness can be deadly and properly manipulated it can be powerful, but it is a part of our lives. We can never truly know each other, because in the end we are not who we are on the outside. Two people may act the same, but the thoughts behind their actions could be completely different. If a man helps another person it may be due to his love of humanity, it may be out of a desire for the other person's love, it may be for the onlookers, it may be for a dozen different reasons. And while we might be able to make better guesses of people's motivations the more we know them there's still too many possibilities to consider and too much space in the brain to know for certain, and to attempt to know the motivations behind the motivations, why this man wants this, it is impossible, and then to judge whether the person deep in their heart is good or bad...well, that's something that we cannot do.

All this seperation between people, even between people who have know each other for years, breeds loneliness. It is part of the human condition, but then again there are also degrees. While we may not know for certain if our friends are truly our friends we can take leaps of faith and trust them, and this can bring us a sense of companionship, easing the loneliness. We can feel a kinship through family and community feeling a desire for the common welfare and a sense of common love based on an idea of a community which is at least in name shared. We can also look to the commonalities between people and cling to that as closeness (this is one of the motivating factors behind identifying people who are simliar to you and those who are different). And there's always God. Loneliness is always there, but there are ways to reduce it, and of course there are ways to increase it. Isolation, removal from contact, removal from community, removal from mutal need, etc. And in this world it seems that the latter factors are growing.

The modern world seems to be growing in loneliness. Our community spirits are looser, we need each other less, we interact with each other less. We have so much capablities of our own that the reliance upon others that forced us to maintain a closeness is waning. But on the other hand we have more possibilities of communication than ever before, more travel opportunities, and more ideas upon which to bond. So these could in theory decrease our loneliness. But in practice, the conviences of the modern world can decrease your loneliness if you use them to do so, but will increase your loneliness if you simply use them to remove yourself from other people. What has changed in the world is freedom, we no longer are forced by law, by custom, by necessity to be communities, but we still can be by choice. And this is scary. Because relying on the choice of others for the future of a community that you love is frightening, other people may be lazy, or cruel, and your community could whither, and perhaps, just maybe, die. Freedom removes force, and so communities are no longer forced to exist when there is freedom, and so they might just disintegrate. Here we get back to the whole history angle (you thought I forgot about that didn't you), all around the world people are trying to reduce their loneliness. Some are doing this by using that freedom of choice to reach out, but others, others are looking to force. They are trying to force a sense of community by trying to change the laws to reflect their customs, by trying to limit the choices of others, by trying to force their ideas upon others, such as hyper-nationalism. And this use of force can often lead to murder, it can lead to dictatorship, it can lead to chaos as well as the order of the guilded cage. That's the world we live in. And what to do about it? Well, sure we can reach out to each other and try to reduce loneliness through our choices, and sure we can try to counter those who would use force, but... but ultimately some degree of this conflict is inevitable with the onslaught of freedom. Freedom is not simply a peaceful, easy thing, it causes changes that tears at people's souls and causes them to tear at the souls of others. Should we then abandon freedom? No. Sometimes good things carry with them bad effects, it is the consequence of the complexity of the world, to insist on only doing good things when their consequences are purely good would lead completely to paralysis. And so despite the price we must continue to press on with freedom, it is more precious than the air we breathe and so if it must cost us our breath, then so be it. At least that's what I think.

Anyways, I have other things I need to do and other people need this computer and so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I can't see you every night, free

I know I've been somewhat sketchy with my posts lately. Well, I'm at home, and if you don't understand the significance of that, I no longer can spend large periods of time simply staring at the computer screen during my most productive hours (ie the mid-evening). Also I've been highly busy trying to get a job. But all this complaining is giving me a lame-attack, so I've just got to say, hope to improve my posting and post more, but just wanted to let you know the situation so you don't die of despair feeling I've abandoned you, because my dear readers, I have not. (By the way if you still want to read my posts, I do have a nice sized archieve, many of which contain posts that are timeless.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! A happy mother's day to my Mom (who probably will never read this given the fact that her actually reading my sessions would probably be a bad idea), and a happy mother's day to all those mothers out there in internet land!

Friday, May 11, 2007

My American Dream

Greetings all, now given how I explained that many of my sessions have titles that have nothing to do with that actual content of the session, I must now contradict that and give a session that does factor in with the title. But then again I did give the cavet that the non-relation between session and title was not a definite rule (or at least that was implied) and I said that that was mostly the case for personal sessions and this (at least once I get through this introduction) is a topical session, so in short if you're surprised by the title relating to the topic then you're a bum.

So having read that you would probably assume the title had something to do with the American dream and if you did so then you would be right. However if you assumed that this session was actually about my personal American dream you'd be wrong, the "My" part of the title is actually just a shoutout to Scrubs which I usually watch while I write my sessions. I will at some point visit the subject of my American dream because I'm just that interesting, but today I will start with a little something I've been thinking about which is my favorite movie Rushmore and one of my favorite books The Great Gatsby.

Both I think have to do with the American Dream, The Great Gatsby more famously but also Rushmore. What is the American Dream you may ask? You may ask, but you'd be asking a computer, and that would be a little crazy but anyways I think the American Dream really comes down to chasing a goal and a dream with all your passion and not giving up. The Great Gatsby was like that, Jay Gatsby chased his dream of being a man that could win Daisy's heart, that is the ideal rich swinging 20's man. But Rushmore was like that too. Max Fischer is always chasing after a dream with all his heart and passion, at first I really couldn't tell what his passion was about but then I thought about that opening scene where he is dreaming about giving the perfect answer to the ultra-complicated math problem and that gives the whole class no homework (or is it A's) for the semester (an unattainable dream for him since he is an absolutely horrible student, just like being Daisy's perfect man was ultimately unattainable goal for Gatsby since the means which he used to become a rich man stained him in front of Daisy). And then factoring in his absolute love for the school (the Rushmore of the title, a elite private school which he got ad and all his ton of extra-cirricular activities it occurs to me that his dream, his true dream is to be the absolute perfect student. Unlike Gatsby his dream intially is not attached to a romantic factor (although it actually might be a desire to please his dead mother who first recommended him to the school), but later it takes on a romantic dimension when he falls in love with Ms. Cross a teacher at Rushmore for little kids. His dream takes on an added dimension now, to become the man that Ms. Cross wants (he believes he can do this by building an aquarium and acting as spunky as her late husband, and also by becoming a perfect student as his later attempts to get good grades I think show), I think these two dreams are actually intertwined especially considering Ms. Cross is a Rushmore teacher.

But ultimately tragedy ensues. With Gatsby it is the loss of Daisy whose husband reveals Gatsby's true nature as a bootlegger and ultimately shatters his image as the perfect rich man. With Fischer the fall is more prolonged and complicated. First, he is expelled from Rushmore due to his pursuit of Ms. Cross, then after several rebuffs he is finally told off by her after he gets her fired from Rushmore. He also loses his best friends, an eccentric millionaire who becomes his rival for Ms. Cross, and his sidekick who like Daisy has his image of the protagonist shattered. Fisher is ultimately defeated, and actually he takes his defeat worse than Gatsby, for a moment giving up his dream (although it is suggested that Gatsby does this as well, you have to take into account the unreliable narrator who is also trying to justify his life I think, where he eventually gives up dreaming). I could bring out the parrellels more, but that would take time I don't have (maybe I'll turn this into a more formal essay and post it up somewhere later), so then we must move on to the aftermath of the fall. Here the differences between the two become very striking.

While Gatsby retains one good friend, the narrator, who attempts to encourage him, he is ultimately surrounded by fakes and as the narrator points out "careless people" like Daisy and her husband. These people ultimately cause Gatsby's demise because they play around with people's lives and then avoid the aftermath, like Daisy's husband whose affair sends his mistress running wildly into the street, and Daisy who finishes the job by killing (accidentally running her over, but still carelessly) the mistress. This sets into motion Gatsby's demise (they actually might have had a more direct role by directly the mistress' husband to Gatsby's house, but this is a matter of interpretation). With Fisher it is different, and ultimately I think it is because he is not surrounded by careless people, but by caring people. His disillusioned friend, his father, the girl he rejected all help him to recover and pick a new dream, a better one, which is to try to help all those around him. And in the end, despite the grave problems his friends and associates have he does help all of them. He achieves his dream, he may have been hurt badly and lost some hopes along the way but ultimately he recovers chooses a new direction and really wins.

Gatsby I think could have also chose a new dream if he was given the time, especially since he was stronger than Max and did not sink into the depression Max did. The narrator might suggest he did but again I think this is just the narrator trying to justify his choices, when he left Gatsby, Gatsby was smiling. Even if he had the depression I think Gatsby could have recovered after all he recovered from his first rejection from Daisy and maybe hopefully with the help of his friends he could have chosen a new dream especially since he recieved the news that he was better than the whole lot of the rich people with a smile, perhaps understanding finally that it was true. But he didn't have the time to recover or choose a new dream, because the rich people in whose circles he hung around were careless, most especially Daisy and her husband, and they destroyed him with their carelessness as well as destorying the poor husband of Daisy's husband's (I should by now start using his name Buchannan) mistress (Myrtle). Fischer triumphed because he lived in a better world of caring people.

Maybe that's what we need in America. Not a country that's less ambitious or less willing to pursue our dreams, even though often the dreams are ill-chosen (Max's dream of being a perfect student was certainly ill-chosen since it was a dream that was ill-suited for him, someone who was bad academically, and overall it didn't make sense because eventually you have to leave school (a fact he was trying to avoid in the beginning of the movie, partly simply by ignoring it or trying to add another year his stay at Rushmore)) and/or lead to spectacular failure. What America needs is people who are caring, who will pick up those who fail and help them regain their cofidence and find a new path. Maybe America needs people who will take responsibility for their actions (which Max in the end had to do as well, which was part of his process of recovery and his new dream of helping those around him), instead of Daisy and Buchannan who ignored their responsibilities and the fall-out from their actions. Maybe in such a kinder world, Gatsby could have survived and reached his potential. Maybe instead of the narrator saying in the end I think Gatsby was alright (I'm paraphrasing), he'll say of course Gatsby was glorious. And if that's what I need, and I think it is, maybe it's time we all aimed are lives towards that and started treating each other with a spirit of love and caring, without forgetting though to dream the magnificent dreams (I think dreaming that magnificently is also an act of love, a love for the goal and a love for the world that allows it, as well as a love for the human spirit that is capable of such passion and the Creator of that spirit), the kind of dreams that made Gatsby great even in defeat. That's at least how I think, and that's at least how I think. Anyways, I thought it was neat that I could combine ideas from two of my favorite works, and so now that I've done that I realize I actually need to get going (to Rutgers, to get credit for an internship to help me along in pursuing my dreams, of course, I must be careful never to forget to act with caring). So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart (this phrase actually works very well for this session), and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A little less conversation, a little more action

Well, after looking at my view count for the last several sessions I have come to a couple conclusions. First of all, consistency is good, so posting everyday is a good idea. Second, I think my topical sessions are getting more play than my personal sessions and so I think I really should to do some more topical sessions. Honestly, this is probably a good thing because I like doing topical sessions. On the other hand I also feel I should do some other stuff and such and basically combine my personal stuff and my topical stuff and give my topical stuff a personal touch, the lack of which has made me reluctant about doing topical sessions. And so on and so on, etc.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I want to be your sledgehammer

Greetings all (I'm thinking about starting every session with a greetings, just to make sure that this webpost (I'm trying to get this word to replace the awful, awful, ugly word blog) never gets too impersonal). You might be wondering what the title of this session will have to do with the session itself (if you're not wondering this you're a bum, BUM!!!), the answer to that question is... I don't really know. The song Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel was stuck in my head and that line seemed to be a nice title so I put it in there. I think lately my titles have been more and more like that, just random phrases in my head, which being in my head at the point of writing might actually by association of thoughts be related to the subject of my session but just as easily might not be. Anyways, this being a session simply on my life (well, not simply on my life, more about my life and the thoughts and ideas that emerge from the thoughts I'm having about my life) I don't think having a title that well sums up the session is all that important.

With that out of the way I think it is time to share with you the miraculous fact that I have indeed finished my junior year. Yay, wooo, etc., etc. The finals are over and the fallout from that will be coming relatively soon. But my concern, oddly enough for me, is not really concentrated on my grades but rather for my summer plans. I wanted school to end so badly and now that the year is over I am struck by enormous question of what to do.

One thing I know I cannot do is revert to my old habit of doing absolutely nothing. I have to admit it is tempting even if it does inevitably lead to depression and self-loathing, it has the attraction of sloth and inertia, doing nothing requires no effort, no change, no quick adaptation to new challenges. But it is also no life of quality or satisfaction and so it cannot be chosen by the great and glorious Rand. So I must do something, but what to do exactly? Well, one thing I can do is continue with this webpost, putting up sessions hopefully every day. Another thing is work on my webpage The World of Rand , and perhaps even get a domain name for it. Also, put up some more comics and work on my stories and poems and enter them in contests. Also, work on a family website with a family tree. Now this is actually a lot of stuff, and hopefully I can work on all of it, but I might not be able to. But the bigger problem is that none of this actually improves my chances of getting a job or gives me any money and so I am forced to take on something more formal (I really hate formality).

This leads me to internships. However do to late and inadequate planning I only have one internship opportunity, an unpaid internship at the Rat Radio station in South Jersey, a nice opportunity but not a great one anad like I said unpaid. This point is actually something of growing concern for me do to the fact that money is becoming somewhat tight around the house. I have been getting some pressure to get a job and if I want my projects to really pick up steam I need to start putting some money into them (like into a scanner and a domain name and maybe some professional drawing supplies, paying contest entry fees, etc.). Can I do both the internship and a job? Maybe. However it might be difficult given the enormous drive to get to the radio station, still, it might be doable, however, it is coming time for me to formallize how much time I will be able to give to the internship and so this might constrain my job options somewhat. This brings me to my job options. The easiest option and the one which I can do even with doing the internship full time is a job with the Princeton review teaching an SAT or GRE class. The more desirable option but one which would be harder to get and would make doing the internship almost impossible would be a job with the Princeton Packet. If I am going to pursue such a position I might have to cancel my internship, maybe perhaps, without even knowing whether or not I have the job. And then there are opportunities around town and elsewhere if I actually start giving some effort. And so I am faced with tough choices and a need for some concerted and sustained effort, neither of my strong suits, but I got to do what I got to do. School might never have been all that desirable to me but it had a degree of safety and familiarity that I don't have in the job world, still if I want to advance in my life I need to take risks and give effort and push past my fears and sloth and anxieties to achieve my dreams, even if it's annoying or even painful. The die is cast and I must cross the Rubicon into the unfamiliar territory of destinity, I must face the real world. Yes I have one more year of college but if I am to go for the risky field of journalism I will have to have good credentials and I will have to enter the real world now rather than later. There is no choice, this must be done or failure.

Well, that's not entirely true, there's always a choice, and there's always options and opportunities. After thinking about all the stories I've heard and what I've known I've come to this conclusion. If you search hard enough, commit sustained effort, and take risks you can find opportunities even if it's not in the normal places. That said, these things require searching, sustained effort and risks, like I said not my strong suits. But I am the great and glorious Rand, and even if they are not my strong suits I can still push through that weakness. After all, I have God on my side. And so perhaps I should (I'm saying should because given the irrational and often uncontrollable nature of my fears my fear probably won't do what it should do but I simply need to push through that) not look at the future with anxiety but rather with hope and confidence, because it will be good as long as I keep trying to do good with my life. I think the real measure of someone's life is how good a person he is and if you spend your life striving to be a good person and to do good with a spirit of love in your heart, then well then you're a good person and you've lived a good life. So I think I'll be alright.

Anyways, I need to get going, things to do and miles to go before I sleep (I'm always a little angsty about using that phrase because even though it's a good one and by Frost one of my favorite poets, it has a hint of death around it), so take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Into the deep

I've been putting off studying and basically doing anything of worth for a while (that's not really true, I have been studying, just not as much as I should and I have been doing things, just not as much as I could). So I'm nervous. I now face the end of my junior year and my final final. But I find that while there is the temptation to retreat into depression and self-hatred I feel that I cannot go down that road anymore. If I ask myself truthfully whether I am deserving of self-hatred or whether my depression is warrented, I cannot answer yes. God is with me, He loves me, and that is all I need to prove my worth and to prove that my life is alright. Besides, things aren't actually going badly. So I'm a little nervous, so I'm procrastinating somewhat, so what, it is a problem, I have to deal with it, but it's not something major, it's nothing fatal, and I'll get over it. After all, I am Rand the mighty and glorious.

And so here's to the future, it's going to be great.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks! (I might do another post tonight, might not, we'll see, but if I don't as I said Goodnight Folks!)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Studying the math

Something makes it uncomfortable studying math. It's a subject that I'm pretty good with, enough so that I'm a minor and I have done decently well in most of my math classes. And yet there's an oddness with math. It seems like something out of my range, but then again I have moments when I become obsessed with the beauty of mathematical logic. And then there are other moments when the whole things seem stale, unknowable, and mysterious. The latter moments tend to seize me most in times like this when I'm trying to study and it feels like hitting my head against the wall. The former moments tend to come to me when I'm doing actual problems and start to understand things and speculate about other prospects. And yet it feels like more and more the moments of understanding and beauty have become rarer and rarer and I've got to wonder if I can take another year of high-level math. But I've gone this far in my college career with a math minor and it would be hard to do differently, anyways time and time again my mind has proven itself able to figure things out or at least memorize what I need to know to get by, even if I do get uncomfortable at times. So I've got to do what I got to do and I've got to study and hope that I can get those moments of understanding and maybe even a glimpse of the beauty that is the seamless logic of math.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Paper walls of ivory towers

I'm feeling a little bit off, a little bit tired, a little bit flat and out of it, I don't know, it's not something terribly serious though, but I'm Rand so I'm still awesome, so very awesome. Well, that's me.

But on the plus side I acutally feel like I'm somewhat in motion, making progress in my life. I'm nearing the end of my school year. I have an internship with a radio station and I might take an internship with Rush Holt in the Fall or Spring. And I'm trying to get a job now. What I'm aiming at is Princeton Review. It's not a great option because I'm no longer that interested in teaching and it seems only mildly intersting with pretty low-level subject matter, but it shouldn't be too bad for a part-time job. And I'll be working with high school students which should be easier than the little kids I supervised last summer, should be at least. It feels good to get into these programs because although there's more that I want to do and these programs aren't the perfect fit with me, they still are something and it's nice to have that something.

On of the biggest concerns I have with college is I never feel like I have anything to mark my progress, I just pass through another year, another cycle of tests and grades. It feels like I'm treading water, trapped in stillness. This is especially since what I do in college only matters for the degree I get, it has little ramification onto the larger world. That's probably why I'm steering away from the acadamia option. Yes, I could investigate history for a living, but that isn't enough I have to be producing something and yes I would be publishing papers but most of those papers would just be incremental increases in the historical field or dry academic stuff, and often to get to the level in the subject where I could actuall publish a paper I would have to exceed my interest in that subject. What I mean is although I might be interested in this idea or that in history, I'm rarely interested enough to want to write a research paper about it. I might want to think about it, think up new ways of looking at it, or maybe write a story about it, but when it comes down to the actual meat of academic work, the research, I don't think my interest is enough to make that work that appealing really.

So I'm going with journalism or at least that's the plan. Anyways, matters are calling me away from you my lovely, lovely, extremely bummy audiance so take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Comikier .3 is out

Check out Comikier #3! The newest Comikier comic, this time featuring Rand, Guy of the Universe!
While your at it check out:
Comikier #1
Comikier #2
And of course The World of Rand hompage

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

That which we wait for

My last session seemed kind of light on substance, it's probably because I did it in only an hour and usually when I'm having trouble writing a session it takes me an obscenely long amount of time and I had only an hour. Also, I was excited at the prospect of posting up a new Comikier comic but that will have to be delayed now since I left a bunch of my crap at home (stuff that really had no reason being at home at this point in the year). But unlike most other times I find I'm not overwhelmed by an emotion, right now I'm feeling somewhat depressed but blandly so, it's annoying.

In fact a lot of things are annoying me right now. First of all the delays with the Comikier comic among a lot of other things. Second of all, I don't feel like listing all this crap. But overall life is treating me nicely which is perhaps making it a little bit harder to say interesting things about my life. Sure I still have my problems, I've been avoiding social contact, I feel like crap right now, I've got a final right ahead of me and I might lose 1,000 dollars in scholarship money. But hey I've got my health (relatively speaking I'm healthy), I've got family, I've got friends, I've got a good brain (an intelligent and decently creative one), and a lot of future prospects. Overall, life isn't too bad even if my current mood isn't terrific.

Now I thought hey, I didn't do a great session before but I'll do a great session now, but with me feeling like I do, I don't think that's going to come about. So instead let me do what I assumed I'd do a lot later and which I probably will do a lot later which is to share some of my interests (I assumed I'd wait until I've gained a decent amount of daily views before doing this but what the hey you only live once or at least once upon this Earth). And by this I mean let me share with you some websites:
First of all

World of Rand

I like webcomics, they usually have a freer form than I can see in the newspaper and some of them are pretty good, some of them are crap, but some of them are good.

Least I Could Do
Penny Arcade
Angry Little Girls
Sabrina Online
I think that's enough sharing for now, so toon in next time for stuff and things that do stuff. Or not.

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce

When I'm feeling pessimistic and doubtful about myself, the future, and humanity's abilities I begin to feel almost Marxian. I think maybe humans are nothing more than economic creatures, maybe the world does need mass bloody revolution, etc. then I come to my sense and remember humans are in the end spiritual creatures possessing of complex minds which reach far beyond economics and I remember that the means don't justify the ends and that humanity can reform its problems without mass killings, etc. One other Marxian adage that occurs to me while I'm pessimistic, or at least occurs to me now and likely will occur to me in the future is the title of this session: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Marx was speaking of the French Revolution comparing the first which led to Napoleon and the later revolution of 1870 which led to Napoleon III. But looking at current times I see odd parrellels with the past except they seem distorted, watered down and pathetic. George W. Bush reminds me of another nationalistic, common-man imaged, polarizing figure, Andrew Jackson, except that Andrew Jackson for all his faults contained a germ of legitimate reform. He became a symbol for popular democracy. George W. Bush, whose star has risen and fell far quicker than Andrew Jackson was also once considered symbolic of common people rebelling against the "liberal elites," his value as that symbol is fading but the sense that the common people need to rebel against the elites is still around, except there is no great reform ideas being articulated, only moderate, piecemeal ones which won't satisfy or change things quickly enough, meaning at the core of the movement is just anger.

But perhaps the better parrellel for this era is early 20th century/late 19th where people became discontent at liberal capitalism and came up with new revolutionary theories to challenge it. Except the theories they have now are all the same like nationalism or socialism, except even the rehashed theories are watered down. Chavezism is watered-down socialism with all the incompetance of communism without the redeaming quality of washing away the old social problems. But maybe it comes down to this. History isn't repeating itself, but the old historical forces which caused previous events still remain except now seeing them again after we thought we had dealt with them those forces seem tired and ridiculous.

Like the anger against capitalism. It really isn't anger against capitalism I think. A lot of it is just a sense of being lost, being small, being thrown around by forces that are alien to you and wanting to do something, anything to take back control. And so you try to force the nation together through the ideology of nationalism via the engine of socialism. But that doesn't work, because after a while you'll realize that you're actually at the bottom rung of the movement. Maybe you're on some worker's council or something, maybe, but even then it'll always be the more popular guys that'll really have all the power. You, you're still powerless in the end. Because the truth is the world acts upon us, and very few people can have power large enough that they can not seem small compared to the world. If we were to divide all of the power out there evenly and hand it out to each person, that would simply give a situation where no one would have a large piece of power and everyone would seem small compared to the world. I think even those with lots of power feel small, because most of those with lots of power acquire it through spreading out their interests throughout the economy or politics or culture and that simply exposes them to more historical forces to push and pull at them.

In the end, we must accept that events out of our control will always shape our destinies. Yes, we can work hard and improve things and help things, but we should never delude ourselves that we are in control, because then something out of our control and horrible, like a meteor strike, or a hurricane, or a terrorist strike might come and we'd have to watch as our illusions crumble. I'm not saying stop trying to improve the world, but rather... take pleasure in your effort, because even if you can't control the world you can control yourself, because ultimately we are more than our economic outcome, status or produce. We are not economic men and Marx was wrong. And history just rumbles onward, mysterious like the location of an electron, even if we could see it, it would just dart somewhere else and we would not know it anymore.

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