Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the Day: Into each life some rain must fall.
Poem of the Day: Apologia por Vita Sua by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The poet in his lone yet genial hour
Gives to his eyes a magnifying power :
Or rather he emancipates his eyes
From the black shapeless accidents of size--
In unctuous cones of kindling coal,
Or smoke upwreathing from the pipe's trim bole,
His gifted ken can see
Phantoms of sublimity.
I feel like a failure. I keep thinking that I'm more or less over the divorce, save some residual anger and frustration, but an evening with six college friends who all have houses and marriages and babies, and all I can think about is how I have a failed marriage, failed finances, and a completely unimpressive job. It did get me to the gym for a couple of frustration- and self-loathing-fueled workouts, though the irony is of course that I want nothing to do with a woman to whom I appeal because of physical attractiveness. I guess it's more that I try. Hell, I don't shave, I cut my own hair, and I buy my clothes on the clearance rack, so I don't really think I can be categorized as superficial. That doesn't really matter to me anyway. What I really want is to know who I am. I used to be Kelly's husband. That was my identity. I know now what it means to really put yourself out there, so to speak. I based my existence on putting her first, and she disappears. It's not so simple as a feeling of rejection, or even of failure. It's a complete obliteration of the universe. Not an obliteration of existence, but of the world itself. It's like closing your eyes and opening them and finding yourself in a world you've never seen before, with totally new laws of physics and survival. Or like renting a video game and not getting the instruction manual. And not a simple video game, either. A real-time strategic war simulation, where the only way to learn is to jump in and play and start clicking on buttons, while you get attacked from all sides by enemy forces, all of whom know the rules, so your only option is to sit there and get pounded and hope to pick something up here and there. That's what it's like.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have $600. At least after I get done paying my entire checking account to fix my car I will. That's it. I think that was how much Will Smith had in The Pursuit of Happyness before he ended up homeless. I'll get paid Thursday night, but for now, I have $600. If my car breaks again I can either afford to go to school or to fix my car. Meanwhile, my mother, who rolled about $30,000 of my student loans (that I didn't know I had) into revolving credit, says that she will use her bonus at work to remodel her backyard. Which she already remodeled. Instead of paying down her delinquent debt. Or, failing that, paying down the portion of my credit debt that she still pays because she made such a mess of it that I can't make all the payments on my own. I think I need to be reminded that there are worse things than being poor. And, for that matter, that I'm not poor. But it would be nice not to be tethered to debt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

O Melville Where Art Thou

I think I'm moving to Austin.

Now what to do about my job?

Ha! That's a totally (well, okay, not totally) new train of thought. Ha!

I'm also going to begin reading Moby Dick in a few minutes. I'm terribly excited. And I love that I'm a big enough nerd to be excited about reading Melville. A person who gets excited about reading Melville has no business living in New Braunfels, Texas. I should be living in a city where people know who F. Scott Fitzgerald is and the streets are paved with books. Or at least the Fitzgerald thing. And I'm still going to buy the three bottles of liquor. *crosses fingers* But it'll have to wait until after payday, because apparently blowing a head gasket is a little on the expensive side.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quote of the Day: First God created idiots. That was for practice. Then he created school boards.
Poem of the Day: A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Lat pulls, Moby Dick, and Ally McBeal

Scatter-shooting while wondering what happened to certain highly-paid Dallas Morning News sportswriters. . .

I think I'm moving to Austin.
Has the cycle finally been --
Or maybe not.

Now that my grad class is over for the semester, I finally have enough time to get back to the gym. And I am sore as crap. I have every intention of getting in two ass-kicking hours at the gym every day over the break. I have come to terms with the fact that I flat-out suck at working out, and will never, for a variety of reasons, have anything even resembling an impressive physique, but going to the gym regularly does insure that my pants will continue to fit and that I can take off my shirt at the pool. Most importantly, however, it gives me a bizarre boost of mental energy. I assume that for most people this manifests itself as sustained energy throughout the day, getting up more easily in the morning, etc., and I enjoy a modicum of those benefits as well, but mostly I suddenly find myself with the gumption, the pluck, the audacity, really, to, say, attempt to conclude the semester in my literature elective, the one filled with random students who needed a second period class, by teaching Othello. Take that, teenagers. Do your worst. And also to read Moby Dick, so as not to have to look embarrassed every time one of my literature professors says during class, "I assume you have all read Moby Dick?"

There was an episode of Ally McBeal once in which, at the beginning, Ally is caught by a co-worker buying some sort of prophylactic. The rest of the episode is comprised of the office speculating about why she might be buying prophylactics, and with whom she might be using them. She explains to a friend at the end of the episode that when you buy a lottery ticket, you have no intention of winning the lottery. Yes, technically someone does win the lottery, each and every time, but the odds are so astronomical that you'd have to be delusional to think that you would win. But you buy it anyway, because it just feels good to act as if you have hope. She bought the prophylactic because it was her lottery ticket. In that vein, I'm going to buy a bottle each of red wine, white wine, and, I don't know, vodka (and some cranberry juice or something to go with it). You know, just in case someone happens to want a drink. It'll be my lottery ticket. *crosses fingers*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quote of the Day: To plainness honor's bound when majesty falls to folly.
Poem of the Day: The Code -- Heroics by Robert Frost http://www.bartleby.com/265/127.html
(It's long, see.)

A Humble Request

I think I'm going to move to Austin.

No wait, I've changed my mind.

No wait, I am.

All I want for Christmas is to be able to have a train of thought other than the above, say, once a day. It's terribly inefficient to have your mind perpetually preoccupied with a complete lack of decisiveness. It's the opposite of efficient, actually. I'm enamored of the idea of living in an actual city, with actual places and things to do, and, I'm nervous mentioning this because I don't want to jinx it, books. The idea of being able to browse a bookstore that stocks something other than James Patterson, Twilight, and Ann Coulter is enough to make me feel guilty for entertaining such indulgent thoughts.

But the idea of losing my departmental seniority and having to teach freshmen, or sophomores (or "freshman," as I like to call them) is enough to make me google "hermitage."

But I taught the current sophomores in third grade, and I have to get the f out of town before they get up to me. Their souls are as black as the night itself.

But I have the current advantage of working for incompetents, which makes it terribly easy to get away with pretty much anything I want.

But I have the current disadvantage of working for incompetents, which makes it terribly easy for me to drink a lot.

But the thought of being in a community with intelligent, educated single people makes me think I'm dreaming about, well, a community with intelligent, educated single people.

But the thought of having to deal with I-35 makes me think I'm having a nightmare about, well, having to deal with I-35.

But I have the current disadvantage of living in what is, according to my unsystematic and thoroughly incomplete eleven minutes of research, the most conservative county in Texas.

But I have the current advantage of living in a county where I get to feel superior.

It's Amy Poehler's last show on SNL. Et tu, Baby Mama?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An actual musing

I'm having trouble with my identity. I can't find it, see. I used to have one, and was moderately fond of it, work in progress though it was. But I seem to have misplaced it. I swear it was right here, and I can't imagine where it could have gotten to. Those pesky identities. Take your eyes off of them for one second, and they up and disappear. I seem to have become the type of person whose kitchen table is cluttered with books and bills and unopened mail and notes. I remember tacit tolerance of such pointless clutter as being quite contrary to my identity. But I don't have it right in front of me, so I can't check to make sure. I could get a new one, and in fact many people suggest that in that respect this is more of an opportunity than a conundrum. But it's one of those catches (not a catch-22, which is, in reality, an extremely specific kind of catch, and is reported to be the best catch there is) in which you have to have something to get something. It's easy to search for identity when you know that at the end of the day you've got one waiting for you at home. It's like a job that way, or a car. And it's terribly annoying. I find myself, in the interim, having to construct a makeshift identity out of whatever happens to be handy, like putting up printouts of paintings by Egyptian abstractionist Farouk Hosny, or sleeping on the couch for no reason other than that I can, or reading poetry by Dylan Thomas and Mark Svenvold. But sometimes all that is handy is something horribly un-useful, like staying up too late or drinking beer or buying pizza, and those things are very cheaply made and don't last very long at all, and I just end up having to replace them. I think that maybe my identity ran away and I need to go find it. I think that maybe it ran off to Austin, because that was its first home, or it might have taken off to Seattle, because it always talked about one day moving there. Sometimes I get the weird feeling that it's hanging out in Dallas or Portland or New York, or Houston, but it would only go there to make me mad because it knows how much I hate that place. I wonder if I should go after it, but I would really hate to go to all that trouble just to find that it's not really there after all, or that it had already moved on by the time I got there, or that while I was going out to find it it decided to come back. What a comedy of errors that would be. Maybe I should just wait, you know, to play hardball with it, or set it free because that's what everyone says to do with something you love. But that advice has always sounded suspect to me, because what kind of a way is that to show that you care about something? I think it sends mixed signals. But then, what kind of a position am I in to be giving advice? I can't even keep up with one little identity.
Quote of the Day: Once or twice a day I find myself enveloped inside what I like to call the Impenetrable Shield of Melancholy. This shield, it is impenetrable. Hence the name.
Poem of the Day: The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal.
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quote of the Day: We who are young are old.
More Profane of the Day: I kinda want to fuck her but I kinda want to punch her in the face.
Thing I'm pissed about: Getting a C on a bullshit test
Poem of the Day: He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quote of the Day: The ordinary can be like medicine.
Insignificant thing to do for no reason other than there's no reason not to do it: Learn to type
Poem of the Day: In My Craft or Sullen Art by Dylan Thomas

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labor by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quote of the Day: Holy shit, that's a hell of an elk.
Poem of the Day: Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes
(In honor of the election of Barack Obama)

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!