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Never felt so good, before.

I couldn't help but stop when I heard it. Stopped and dropped everything and started wandering down the labyrinthine aisles. Navigating the sea of last minute customers, seduced by the siren song that was all too familiar to me. And after a mildly convoluted journey, I stumbled across it. And, naturally, slowly walked toward the display in coordination with the movie.
When Jack opened the Christmas Town door, I sat down in the chair.
I'd almost forgotten how much I absolutely loved that movie, which is a lie. Maybe it was just the fact that I was watching it on what may have been the biggest television I've ever seen in all kinds of ultra high-definition, Blu-ray, LED screen specifications. Maybe it was the ultra high-fidelity sound system that was blasting it. Maybe it was the ultra comfortable leather chairs they had set out. But probably not. I just love that movie to death and I'm absolutely willing to forgo my Christmas shopping to watch it. I've never s…

Peregrine propensity.

There are certain things that I actually get pretty excited about. Things that happen outside, mostly. Both outside of my sphere of comfort and outside of my control. Anyone's control, really. Like sunrises. Normal weather phenomena. It's awesome. But also, I get excited about eclipses. And I was really excited about the lunar eclipse that was supposed to happen.
Until I went outside.
The fog and cloud cover was so dense that you couldn't see the moon before the eclipse. And even when the moon was eclipsed lunarily, an event which I can neither confirm nor deny actually transpired, there was so much light from everything ever that you couldn't tell it was the darkest night in 456 years.
That's something I could've gotten pretty excited about.
I wish I were back in New Mexico, almost. Or Arizona. Standing outside in the dark craning my head back to stare the stars. I've never seen such unadulterated expanses of night sky until or since then. Thens. …

Time to do some Christmas sings.

I got a new phone. It's weird because, really, I didn't need a new phone. I would've been fine keeping my old one. Really. But, apparently, it was time to get a new phone. I've only owned three cell phones in my life. I used my first one until it stopped working. I crashed my bike and fell on it and it stopped working properly. It would only receive half of the calls and stopped ringing entirely.
I got a bruise and stopped putting my phone in the shirt pocket on my back.
This phone, though, is pretty cool. And by pretty cool, I mean I can turn it into a really cool phone. I went for a few days with "Normandy to shore party, come in" as my ringtone. It was hard not to answer the phone as the Commander. But now it's got the Batwave. Complete with the animation. Which means, really, that I've realized a childhood dream.
As far as my communication device is concerned, I am the Batman.
And that's pretty much all I really need to get through t…

Moving from left to right.

I had almost forgotten how much I loved running. Or, maybe, love is too strong of a word. Generally, even. Either way, I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed running. I was anxious about the whole thing. I mean, it was hard to find the time to run and train up before it. Not that I'd need to train up for a measly five mile run, of course.
So we ran cold.
It was wonderful. The crowd of people, the energy. I couldn't help myself. I just ran, made my way up the group a bit. Nothing spectacular. I knew those little 50-yard sprints were going to bite me, but I didn't care. I was feeling competitive. I love that feeling. So I ran and I ran until my knee started to bother me. It wasn't much. Just a bit tender. And then it got worse, so I walked for a bit. Just a bit, though. Because if there's one thing I love more than competition, it's pushing things too far.
And so, naturally, I sprinted the last mile as best I could. Which is bad, apparently. So tha…

Get 'em, Gooseboy.

It had been such a long time since I'd last seen him. Not terribly long, I suppose, but long enough that I took note. He's doing much better. Health-wise, emotionally. It's fantastic. I couldn't even remember the last time I'd seen him so happy. He was laughing and smiling and joking around. Not even self-deprecating jokes.
Real jokes.
And so we walked and we laughed and we caught up on things. Things and people. She's moving all the way to Dallas from Boston. Partly for work, mostly for him. She's good for him, I think. They seem like a good match, at least. Things are going well. As long as he's happy. I'll meet her in a few days and pass judgement. It's nice to hear him finally start talking like he knows what his future holds. Such a dramatic change. You can only beat a man down for so long.
It'll be interesting. Seeing them together. Got to make a good impression, I guess.

A long equation of letters.

“Okay.” The medic said.He continued to stare out the window at the city.The empty city.The quiet city.The somber city with its glass and concrete fingers that reached desperately up into the sky.He couldn’t tell if the sun had started to set.It was dark.Every day was dark.It was always dark.“I’ve heard enough.”“And, uh,” the man said, stifling a cough.“It’s like I was saying.We’re just looking to stay for the night.A couple days at most.Just until, you know.”He nodded toward the sleeping boy in the corner.The man looked tired.Frail in the candlelight.His thinning hair and the bags under his eyes made him look so much older than he was.Or probably was.Actually,the medic thought, he’s probably pretty old.He looked over the father again.The man wrung his hands silently.His eyelids dropped and he shook himself awake.The last couple of weeks had not been easy on him.He looked so tired just sitting there, as if the effort of sitting up and staying awake came at a tremendous cost to his body…

The cloister bell rings.

I've always thought it was funny to see what you absorb from your surroundings. The little personality ticks you get from your close friends. That weird pronunciation that slips through after you watch a bunch of shows where the characters have different accents. The little things that most people would never notice. Other people, I mean. But silently, you would acknowledge it every time. Or some of the time.
You would know, some of the time.
And I guess I have sort of an obsessive personality. I get attached to things quickly. And strongly. I get into things obsessively. Like Doctor Who. I love it. I love watching Doctor Who. I've watched the 10th Doctor's run so many times now that it's starting to manifest in my personality. The way I speak. The way I stand. The way I run around in my sneakers. The way I let my coat swing around me. It's pretty damn nerdy, but kind of funny. No harm, no foul, I suppose.
There's a whole science to it. To the per…

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat.

There's a certain friend of mine that never ceases to make my day whenever I run into him. There's just something about him. He's the most honest person I've ever met, I think. He's actually happy. And it rubs off. I've only ever seen him with a huge, goofy grin. Energetic and bubbly and hilarious. He's so full of life and faith and everything. I don't even understand how that's possible.
I was lucky enough to run into him twice within the span of a couple of days.
And it was fantastic. I aspire to be him, one day, probably. So humble and content and legitimate. I mean, it was only reluctantly that he told us he was on the football team. I think that says a lot right there. Truth be told, I barely even know the guy. But I respect him a lot.
So that's, you know, that.

The cold beneath my fingers.

I really want to play saxophone again. And immediately. It is a pretty terrible feeling when somebody asks, "Hey, I've got a big opportunity, do you still play saxophone?" and you answer honestly: "No, not really." Maybe it's the music I've been listening to lately. All jazz. Maybe it's the weather. Or some kind of identity crisis.
Again.
But the whole episode really burned me. I came home and sat on a bed with my saxophone in my lap for a while, just looking at it.Feeling it. The soft pap as I pressed the keys down. The airy buzz. The first sound that's so cold and so warm at the same time. But still so empty. Lonely. But I don't care. I'm going to play it again. And the clarinet, too. I haven't played it in forever. I saw a clarinet lamp and couldn't help but hold it. I miss it. I miss them.
I've changed, recently. Irreversibly, I guess. Maybe it's why I've had so much trouble getting back into wri…

Non-denom nom nom.

I knew how things would go down even as he walked down the steps. I tried to bury myself in the Sudoku puzzle--which I hate doing--when he walked up next to me. I took a quick glance at his shirt. Hell is REAL, it read. "Have you repented for your sins?" He asked. "Did you know that Jesus Christ our Lord and savior died for your sins? Did you know if you live a life of sin you will go to Hell?" And before I could think of anything to say, I said, "I know the word of the Lord."
And so began my 20 minute conversation with the Hellfire preacher.
But it really wasn't that good of a story or an experience except for the fact that it made me think about stuff. Entirely unrelated to what I was doing at the time. Because I was in auto-pilot mode. The mode where I detach my mind from my mouth and carry on full conversations with people without actually being invested in it. I realized I've gotten very good at it. I just don't process anything t…

Here's where I disappear.

The funny thing is, I actually really enjoy tutoring kids. I mean, I like kids. They're hilarious. I just don't particularly like going there. The bus can be a scary place. Actually, the bus is a scary place. Full of scary people. Which, largely, is why I don't ride the bus home anymore.
"Everyone here," he said. "Everyone here is fake."
I nodded silently, shooting a furtive glance to the woman behind me. Things were getting out of hand. "People are just fucking fake here, man. Up in fucking Chicago," he went on. "People were fucking real. There was no fucking 'Blood' or 'Crip' shit going around. Look at me." I looked up at him. "I'm fucking somebody. I'm fucking GD governor. GD. Gangsta disciple. I'm somebody, man. People here? They're fucking nobody."
"Damn, bro." I said. I checked my watch.
And, so, the conversation continued in much the same way for a while u…

Tomorrow's not what it used to be.

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday of the year, I think. It's certainly the one I look forward to the most. Even more so than my birthday, which isn't a real holiday, I guess. Halloween just has so much to it. Maybe it's the nostalgia of dressing up and being silly and having fun. Or brainstorming and planning a costume. Or partying. Or just dressing up.
I actually just like dressing up and playing make believe.
There's something about this semester that has really thrown me off. I haven't been drawing what I want to. It's always right up against the deadline, some kind of rushed thing. I mean, everything this semester has been right up against the deadline but even more so with the drawing. I haven't been taking it particularly seriously, which is a shame, I guess.
One of these days I will post all of the comics between two months ago and now, since, you know. Whatever.

Hold the fruit.

The lack of writing, I think, is why I've been so wound up lately. I haven't been able to sort through thoughts properly. Haven't been able to compose myself, I guess. I've lost my routine. Maybe I just need to get my groove back.
Or get used to a new one.
It's just hard. I really don't feel motivated to write. So much for passion. It's one of those things, though, that I sort of need to keep doing things properly. Legitimate diaries and journals get lost or forgotten. Or, well, actually, they don't. I always feel so guilty trying to write in a nice journal. With the nice binding and covers and nice paper. I'll write for a little while and then stop because I worry I'm wasting a nice book with doodles and random nonsense. Nice books like that should be filled with wonderful things. Oh well.

Surgery and satisfaction.

My brother is wrapping up high school band camp. It's kind of funny, because suddenly we have something we can both relate to. Sort of. Not really in a loving, brotherly way. It's more like a begrudging transmission and reception of information. You take what you can get, I guess.
After a few days of band camp, I discovered that he had been leaving his instrument in the band hall without a lock. "Nobody steals stuff out of the band hall." He told me. I related some appropriate anecdotes and let him borrow my own lock until he could get one for himself. "I'm going to need that back," I told him. "So you'll need to get your own lock." A couple of weeks later, I reminded him of the terms of our deal. The next day he returned my lock and revealed that he had left his saxophone unlocked.
And apparently, for reasons beyond my comprehension, this is my fault.

Scribbled and erased a thousand times.

One of the things I really enjoy about the summer is sitting in my room at night and watching the dramas that unfold on my windows. All of the moths and bugs flock to the window, trying to get to the light on the other side. And, so, it becomes a hunting ground for intrepid geckos. I've seen geckos eating some pretty damn big moths. And they'll fight each other for bugs. I've seen huge moths slam into my window, too. Like, Mothra type shit going on. It scared me pretty bad. I saw a gecko try to eat a cicada, once. The cicada flew away with the gecko. I wish I had that kind of resolve.
I'm finding that I don't, especially as I clean my room and sort through my old things. Unfinished stories and projects and songs and all sorts of things. All abandoned over time and forgotten. I won't let that happen to this zombie story, though. Hopefully.

Might just let it go.

I read an article the other day that stated, with several different levels of confidence, that our personalities are pretty much set after 1st grade. And, so, I thought about it for a bit and tried to remember what I was like in 1st grade. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the memory of my teacher.
She was an older woman with a gaunt face. Very serious. Also, very mean. Unduly mean, it seemed. Considering we had just come from kindergarten, a year that revolved primarily around raising chickens and playing games, being forced to exclusively do legitimate schoolwork with no transition was a bit of a shock. And the few times we did anything remotely fun, she managed to suck the pleasure out of them by criticizing us for not coloring inside the lines or some such foolishness. There were, I'm sure, many other examples. But thinking about 1st grade fills me with a sort of rebellious fervor.
It was, I believe, the first time I had ever recognized an authority figure …

Please don't get too excited.

The other day, as I drove home from class, I realized there was a fly in my car. A tiny little fruit fly, not unlike the ones we studied once upon a time in high school biology lab. It was albino. He flew around for a bit as I drove out of the parking lot. A bit annoyed, I tried to wave him out the window. He would always fly back in and land on the dashboard. Finally, he landed on my finger. I moved my hand about, trying to get him to fly away. But he never budged. He sat on top of my knuckle and faced forward, looking out toward the road. I tried raising my hand to the open window, but he would walk down my arm until I brought my hand back inside the car. And he would face the road again.
So I let him drive with me, my ever vigilant fly buddy. During the trip he faced forward, unyielding in the face of the uncertain path. And in that moment, I connected with him. He wanted what I wanted: to move forward. To go somewhere. Somewhere new. To have an adventure. We conti…

Keep the car in drive.

The other day I decided that it was finally time to get rid of my toys. It was something that I had been thinking about for a long time, but never acted on for multiple reasons. Chief among them, the fact that I still played with them from time to time. I'm just a boy. I can't resist opening my Lego box or busting out my action figures every once in a while. You just get that urge to sit down and let go of all of the nonsense you're forced to deal with every day. Plus, I mean, some of these toys are pretty badass. I'd sit down and play with them until the sun came up, unfolding a plastic drama on my carpet and realizing I'd never be able to part with any of it. The sentimentality and the creativity they fueled.
But, after months and years of telling myself I would and after months and years of being told I should, I did.
And it was so easy at first. I mean, when was the last time I played with G.I. Joe? Or those generic soldier action figures? Just as soon as I&#…

My life is my own.

I'm sure I've said it many times over, but shows like The Prisoner really resonate with me. Not the remake, of course, because it was garbage. The actual one. At its core, it was a single man against the system. Maintaining his individuality in the face of conforming to a homogeneous society. But more fundamental than a social struggle. It was the single man resisting the power that was both corrupt and absolute. Even though everybody else complied and tried to break him down, he still held to what he knew to be right and wrong.

And that stuck with me.

At the end of our conversation, whatever it had been about, my dad turned to me. "It's not something people like to acknowledge. The only rights you have are the ones you are willing to fight for." He pulled the truck to a stop and killed the engine. "You are a free man," he said. "Whether or not you realize it. Whether or not you choose to realize it." And with that, we went inside the…

Just the stirring in my soul.

I, really, kind of don't want to be here anymore. Not in the sense that I am dissatisfied with my life or my present situation--which isn't to say that I'm not, because I am in a way--but in the sense that I am dissatisfied with the lack of things happening. I keep looking around. Out the window of my room. Out the window of my car. Out the window of the living room. I want to be on the other side of that glass. That's where the action is.

I need, desperately, an adventure.

I need to go somewhere. See something. Anywhere, anything. I don't care where or what as long as it's happening. I want to travel so badly. Grab my backpack and my camera and walk away. I'd settle for going to the same state park I've been to a hundred times over. It's this routine I'm stuck in. Seeing the same shit every day, going through the same motions. I need to change it up, break things. I need some vitality--being cooped up is killing me. What I reall…

Surrounded by all this pavement.

I watched them as I quietly locked up my bike. They were in the alley. Or, rather, she was in the alley and so was he. He was getting more aggressive, and she was trying to leave. They hadn't noticed me and I wanted to keep it that way. He didn't look like somebody I wanted to tangle with. But the fact was, they were where I wanted to be. "Leave me alone," she seemed to say, trying not to make a large scene. "I said get over here, bitch." He seemed to reply. He continued to get up close to her even as she tried desperately to get away. I kept my head down and hugged the wall as I tried to pass by, unnoticed. He puffed out his chest and knocked her to the ground. I stopped. He continued to get up in her business and, finally, jumped on top of her. "What now?" I imagined him growling at her as he dug into her back and stepped on her head.

I stepped out into the alley.

"Hey," I challenged. "Leave her alone." He turned to…

Walking the dog.

I actually can get along quite well with little kids. And in a totally non-creepy way. It's got something to do with me not actually ever growing up completely, I guess. I'm still desperately clinging on to my childhood persona. And it lets me relate to younger people with much success. On of my friends talked to me at length about such things and we decided we were both at the advantage since we both were in the same situation in that regard.

It's why I have more fun drawing Ben the Box Boy than all the other stuff.

But I don't like kids when they go through my room and touch my things. Or worse, talk to me. My dad had invited some work friends over for the weekend, and one brought his son. As soon as he got inside the house he disappeared up the stairs. When I got upstairs I found him rifling through my bookshelf, toys, and closet. And playing with a yo-yo in my room. The second time I came upstairs he confronted me. "You have a lot of knives sitting ar…

Mental see-saw.

I don't really have a good sense of moderation. I never have. It's something I struggle with, I guess. And it seems like it shouldn't be such a problem since balance is one of those tenets I try to base my life around. I guess I have trouble with moderation because I also have trouble with balance.

These things are difficult.

But it's not so much a difficulty exhibiting moderation with vices--drinking, smoking, gambling, womanizing, thievery, leaving toilet seats up, etc.--as it is a difficulty exhibiting moderation in a reflexive sense. It's something I notice most often, and ignore, when I do something that requires physical strain. Like athletics, competitive or otherwise. Most people seem to have a dimmer switch of intensity, where they can appropriately adjust the output of their intensity in response to factors both environmental and personal. They generally never push themselves beyond capacity unless they truly have to, and they make sure to mellow ou…

Eye for an eye gives us a better perspective.

As not riding it around would make me even tardier than usual, I frequently ride my bike around campus. The other day, as I made my way back to my car after a particular vile round of classes, I found myself stuck behind a massive youth volleyball team. I slowed down and sort of idled along behind them, lost to my angry musings.

But, then, a little girl in the back turned to look at me.

She smiled and I smiled back, and then she began tapping the shoulders of her teammates. "Hey," she said. "Get out of the way." And so she ran ahead of me, clearing her cow-like team off the sidewalk and eventually we found ourselves at the head of the entire group. She turned to me and beamed proudly."Thank you so much." I said. "You're welcome." She said. "Team captain, right?" I asked. Her smile dropped slightly. "No." "Ah, well." I said. "Sounds like your coach made a big mistake." I looked up at the woman I…

Light bulb full of anger.

I often struggle--grapple--with my temper. More often than I'd like to admit. Too often, probably. I've done a pretty good job keeping it in check over the years, I think, but every once in a while things get to be a bit much. Maybe it has something to do with faulty temperature regulation. Maybe you just wake up some days and everything in your head lines up such that you don't take shit from anybody the whole day. Or week. Or month. Uncontrolled tempers cause serious problems. This, I know. People tend not to respond well to you when burst into furious flames of unbridled, you know, fury.

I have to make a conscious effort every day to keep myself in line. Like yesterday. When my Mexican-American history professor canceled class via e-mail the morning of. When I got my genetics test back and found that they had failed to properly calculate my grade--an error which penalized me significantly--and then forced me to jump hoops to get it fixed. When my American culture pr…

White-knuckle daydreaming.

Some people think I take driving too seriously, I think. And it's not that I don't, it's just not what they think is going on. I actually love driving. I love driving around and going places. Partly because of the very mild sense of travel and adventure, mostly because it affords a very unique opportunity to multitask. I like driving because it's a mental challenge. And so people comment that I'm too intense when I drive because, even when I'm with friends and there's good music on the radio, I'm still holding the steering wheel and looking forward.

And it's not that, exactly.

I'm keeping tabs on everything. I'm watching the guy three cars ahead of me in the other lane getting ready to recklessly weave between lanes to merge blindly on the freeway, I'm watching the woman in my blind spot who is about to cut sharply into my lane, I'm watching the car speeding nervously through the intersection ahead. I'm observing and registerin…

Reprioritize for success.

I've come to realize recently that, visually speaking, I am attracted to very simple things. Clean things. I love modern architecture. Neutral, cold colors. Straight lines and organic curves. Sterile environments. Not to say that I dislike classical or embellished, dramatic things. I just really like simple things.

Keep it clean.

I've also been considering the types of people I let into my life. Or, rather, the people I let stay. I had some surprisingly deep conversations out at the beach on the subject of friends, and I've been thinking ever since. It's time, I think, to start getting serious about my social circle. About the list of people I designate as friends. And to start holding onto them. Which means, in some cases, reconnecting. A daunting task, surely, but it's worth it.

This is what's important--not grade transcripts--to be happy.

The knowing look and we nod silently.

A couple days ago I stopped my car just in time to let a crippled bird hoppity-hop his way across the road. He jumped up onto the curb and looked back at me as if to thank me for my consideration before I continued on my way. Then, as I drove home, a typical Westlake mom almost sideswiped me when she dramatically tried to jerk her car into my lane. I guess I can't get too upset at that since I was basically in her blind spot. Oh wait, it was actually the opposite. I was actually mostly in front of her--she was basically in my blind spot. She sped up in her lane and sort of made a halfhearted apologetic gesture with her bejeweled hand and I sped the rest of the way home, leaving her far behind.

Not to be blasphemous, but this is probably how Jesus felt when he did good things and everybody around him was an ass.

I really was excited to take these history classes over the summer. "History of Mexican Americans in the U.S." and "Main Current American Culture Since …

The goodest, even.

A couple of days ago, as I was leaving the research campus with my friend to go home, a woman approached me with her bike. "Excuse me," she said. "By any chance, are you headed that way?" She pointed off in the general direction that was the only way to leave campus. "Why yes." I said. "If it's not too much to ask," she started. "Because my bicycle has a flat tire--" "Sure." I said. "We can fit your bike in here, too."

And with that, we drove a Belgian woman home. She told us about her family back in Belgium and how we have a better education system here and we're more bike friendly than Europe and how she misses her family and Skypes with them in the evenings. We dropped her off and continued on our original route.

Later, as I entered the final stretch of my homeward journey, I saw a large something in the road. As I got closer, I realized it was a large turtle. I quickly pulled off into the shoulde…

Finger pointing good.

When I was on the boat doing science at Galveston, I saw a lot of dolphins. It was a significant experience for me because I have never actually seen a wild dolphin in real life before. It was sort of a dream come true. And in the middle of the shipping channel, no less. They really are amazing animals. It really kills me to realize I'll probably never see dolphins in Galveston again because of what happened to the Gulf. What is happening to the Gulf.

It really is a tragedy.

On a much lighter note, I started this Insanity workout program and it was so intense that I threw up before I finished the first workout. That is a good sign, I think. It is certainly an incentive to complete the entire thing. Anything that makes you feel that bad so quickly must be good for you.

I'm a geologist, not an alcoholic.

I thought I had seen people drink before. Hell, I thought that I had drank before. But, clearly, I thought wrong on both of those counts. I cannot, for the life of me, think of a reason to justify all of the drinking that transpired down there last week. There was no rhyme or reason to it, it just was. Field work just makes a man thirsty.

Taking this class was easily one of the best things I've ever done. We worked hard every day out in the field. Wake up at 7, leave the beach house by 8, hit the water by 9. My first three field days were in service on the R/V Acadiana, a 58 foot vessel that towed the CHIRP fish, the air gun, and the streamer to measure all the seismic data--looking at the subsurface of the seafloor we drove over. My second ship was the R/V Itasca using the multibeam, sidescan, and grab sampler--getting seafloor surface bathymetry. They were long, exhausting days and we returned to the docks around 6 or 7 every evening.

And then, drinking. So much drinkin…

And the doll house looks at me.

Every once in a while I start feeling like I want to explore religion again. It's a cyclic sort of mindset. Comes and goes like some sort of wave function. I think about doing it, but then I never really do. I always back out and return to my ambiguously spiritual mentality. I'm drawn to the guidance, I think. In the face of a lot of contrary sentiment, I have a lot of respect for religious people. That sort of thing takes a lot of inner strength and dedication. Having faith, I mean. Those people get a lot of flak for having a set code of morals and values that they--mostly--stick to, which is something I'll never be able to understand. I'm just too antsy about making philosophical decisions like that. Too obsessive about trying to find the balance in everything. I'm not religious or logical, I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm spiritual. Or, at least, I think I'm spiritual. Or, I want to think I'm spiritual.

Or, I think I want to think I…

He won't see me.

It really kind of blows my mind how quickly this semester went by. This last week in particular. Each semester seems to go by much more quickly than the previous one. It's like driving down a steep hill with the accelerator to the floor and hitting a ramp at the bottom and flying through the air but then getting out of the car because it was a simulation the whole time and you aren't going to die--twist ending! These last couple of days I've been having to convince myself that it's not just a long weekend before classes continue. This is summer. It's time to kick back and enjoy things and relax.

Except, it is just a long weekend before classes continue. My marine geology lecture starts up on Wednesday. I'm reasonably nervous--being a completely inexperienced and unqualified undergraduate taking a class that is largely composed of graduate students. But I had the professor's assurance that it would be a fun class, and I think I trust him on that. I&…

This is roughneck two-zero-one.

The airhorn sounded and for a brief moment I panicked. For a brief moment I was frozen in place. People scrambled around me, huffing and puffing. Diving behind whatever was closest. Sprinting forward. Gunfire crackled immediately from the distance. I pulled my gun to my chest and rushed for the nearest barricade. They had all gone further up the field from me. Closer to the battle. I peeked around the wooden wall. People sprinted and slid across the grass to get behind barriers and inside bunkers. I crouched down low and ran for the next barrier. And the next. When the barrels I was hiding behind stopped resonating with the plunking of enemy fire, I peeked out again.

And raised my gun, and fired.

Paintball was actually pretty damn fun. I admit, readily, that I wasn't particularly optimistic about the whole event when we started out. A large amount of college girls coupled with a significant number of clearly experienced players who had also decided to go paintballing t…

I want to die there too.

The building I walk to in the mornings for classes has a large air intake vent that is part of the outside wall. There are always things stuck up against the grating. Leaves, papers, plastic bags. These things just get sucked up into it, I guess. This morning there was a bird. He had gotten sucked up against the grating. He could fly away from it--maybe a foot--but he would always get sucked back to the wall. I paused and watched him for a second. No matter how hard he tried, he always got sucked in again.

And I started thinking.

We get ourselves into trouble a lot. Trouble that could be easily avoided. Of all possible places for him to fly, that bird flew right by the intake vent. And then he couldn't get away. That's exactly what happens to us. There's something we know we shouldn't get involved with, something we should do, yet we do anyway. And things often go bad, and we get screwed. And, often, we're too proud to ask for help. Which makes things…

Greatest show in heaven, hell, or Earth.

It was totally by accident that I found it. I mean, I never check that e-mail address and I probably never would have if it hadn't been brought up in conversation. But I did and nestled somewhere between the dozens of spam e-mails sat a message from an old friend. September 20, 2009. What was I doing in September? Writing pseudo-angsty bullshit, probably.

But my friend was not.

It was a heart-felt message about friendship and it killed me to be responding to it seven or eight months after the fact. Communication is a difficult thing. I often feel like I'm not as great a friend as I could be. As I should be. And I hate that. I should be more supportive. I should be more accessible. I should be more open. I should be better. It's something to work on, I guess.In my never-ending and often reckless pursuit of adventure, I impulsively signed up for a Marine Geology Field Course this summer. Go to the coast for a week? Alright. Go out on boats into the ocean? Alr…

Waiting and such.

A doctor came to speak at our lecture series the other day. Honestly, I don't even remember what kind of doctor he was. I don't remember any of the questions he answered. I don't remember any of the anecdotes he related. I don't remember any of the insight he imparted on us or any of the wisdom he shared. Except for one thing, which really resonated with me at the time.

"The biggest challenge facing you as pre-health profession students," he said before the lecture ended. "Is the overwhelming cynicism of our society."

He's right. He's right, and it's awful. I'm a pretty cynical guy, but at least I know it's a joke. That everything is a huge joke. But everybody is so jaded these days. We just can't stand to entertain the thought that maybe--just maybe--things aren't as bad as we think they are. As we want them to be. That maybe--just maybe--people aren't always selfish pieces of shit.

There have been a lot of …

I am not a number.

I was watching some people parallel park the other day. It blows my mind--really--how bad people are at driving. One guy tried to park his little compact in a huge space. He put his nose straight in and then tried to back up and straighten himself out. He went back and forth a few times, angling his car this way and that until he ended up in the middle of the street. Then he pulled forward and tried to back into it. He angled too sharply and ended up running right into the curb. He pulled forward and backed into it again and again with no progress. Finally, flustered, he gave up and sped away from the spot.

Another girl tried to park her car in the first spot on the row. She pulled up along the length of curb in front of the spot and her friend jumped out to spot her. The girl tried to back up slowly into the spot--a technique that required driving straight for about 10 feet--but ended up rubbing and scraping her car against the curb before she made it the entire distance. S…

Approximate extinction angle.

Where do my days go? I seem to have a real hard time keeping track of my time these days. Like, tests and deadlines and such suddenly seem to go by. Suddenly there is only a week left in school. When did that happen? Feels sort of like a rug was pulled out from under me but I'm only just now realizing it. I think I'm ready for everything scholastic to be over.

Which will never happen.But, one can hope, I suppose.

Angry crow takes flight.

People say the dumbest shit sometimes. We were walking down the street earlier today and overheard a conversation between a boy and a girl. She was clearly very worked up about something. Or at least acting like whatever she was talking about was something she felt strongly about. You can always tell because someone like that will walk sideways alongside you as they'll try to face you directly when they talk at you. It's a tactic to convince you that they believe what they are saying. He didn't look particularly interested. "One American baby," she said. "Is, like, forty African babies." That was the entire snippet of conversation we overheard.

What the hell does that even mean?

This quest is too hard.

I really like movie soundtracks. I was thinking about it the other day. I feel like I've missed out on a lot of really good cinematic experiences because I didn't sit in a theater and hear which ever iconic theme play. Like Star Wars. I saw Star Wars when they re-released the original trilogy, but the significance of the experience didn't hit me until later. It's like hearing the Superman theme play before Superman Returns. I never got the opportunity to hear that anthem blasting in a theater until then. Or Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which sucked. But at least I got to hear the theme--for myself--in the theater. Or Casino Royale. Waiting an entire James Bond movie--which was totally worth it--to hear the theme I already knew so well.

I'm really sure what it is I'm getting at, but in an incoherent way movie soundtracks have a significant emotional impact on me. Also, I just really fucking like listening to them.

I feel like my brain is melting…

Peeled out on and sploded.

Not that I am--or ever was--a particularly unshapely guy, I'm starting to feel pretty out of shape. Not grossly so, mind you, but just maybe a little mushy on the edges. And I'll be honest: I do not like it. The other day I ate an obscene amount of food and was still feeling overly full well into the next day. Then, when I didn't feel so full, I felt sore. Sore. I ate so much food that my body was sore. That, I think, is pretty terrible. I mean, damn. Who the hell gets sore from eating food?

I do, apparently, and I am ashamed.

I'm going to start exercising some more, though. And by exercising some more, I of course mean I'll start exercising period. Because I actually don't make it out to the gym anymore. I got some pretty radical swimsuits though, so I hope that's enough of a kick in the dick in the balls to start swimming. Swimming regularly. And running. And I need to go mountain biking. And rock climbing. All I'm saying is that my che…

While the record goes 'round.

It feels a lot like I'm losing my struggle against every day. All my time just sort of disappears and I never really feel like doing anything. Like drawing or writing. And those are things I need to do. Also, studying. The year is just catching up to me, I guess. I can feel it in my increasingly slouchier posture. I thought I already fixed that, too.

Just a few more weeks.

I tried to pee the other day, but I had a problem. I couldn't find the fly to my boxers. So I searched, frantically, to find it. It's certainly normal for it to shift one way or the other during the day, but I couldn't find it. Oh no, I panicked. My boxers don't have a fly anymore. In the end I had to pull everything down to go about my urgent business. I later found out that I had been wearing them backwards the whole day. And I realized something.

If you take something for granted long enough, you are bound for disappointment.

Clothing yourself is a lot like maintaining a relationshi…