The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream:

so find me some concupiscent curds.

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it's been a long time...

i've put a lot of thought towards what i've been doing with my life.

am i cut out to be a teacher? do i have the tenacity and the drive to be one? are the intricacies of my life too much for me to really understand who i am? can i do it? i hope so. you see, i have had so much going on in my life that i wonder if i can cut it, if i can do it. should i go on with what i truly wanted to do, or just give everything up, and go into the military, and drown myself in what the higher-ups tell me to do? i hate to doubt myself, but i am tired of hearing others tell me what i should do with my life. is my life my own, or am i living through another person's life? should i really listen to someone who wants me to live the "ideal life?" should i repeat the past, or create my own?

frankly, i believe it's bullshit. every man and woman on this earth should decide what is right for his or her life, apart from parents, apart from society, apart from opinion. if someone wants to do something, they should be able to do it for themselves, apart from financial aid for school, apart from opinion, apart from restraint. break apart from tradition; break apart from the needs and wants of others; break apart from what is expected of someone. do what you need to make yourself better. do what you have to. that is all i have to say.

(no subject)
i haven't posted in a while, mostly because i've been mentally out to lunch for awhile. i suppose, in retrospect, that it was a good thing to stay out of the public forum for awhile.

have you ever wondered how one small event, one tiny, insignificant detail in your life can change it drastically? of course you have. this subject has been beaten to death by authors and bad hollywood movies for more years than i care to count. but...think about, REALLY think about it. did that guy who cut you off on the highway this morning put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day? did you brush it off? what would have happened if he had been gracious, instead of an asshole, and waited an appropriate distance before changing lanes? would you have cut someone off yourself?

i'm thinking about this morning, in my education class, where we were given poker chips to represent our relative wealth; each colored chip had a different value. each person was given a different amount, to represent the relative wealth of Americans. we were encouraged to trade with other people without letting them see the specific chip until they agreed to trade. then, once we revealed the chips, the larger denomination went to the person with the smaller one. the final standings were pretty impressive. i went from a lower class peon to middle class, just in three turns. think of it as a microcosm of life, not just money or relative wealth.

i've given this a lot of thought lately. in my mind, nothing is predestined, although the circumstances in some people's lives can resist this naturally occurring freedom of choice in their lives. everything is random, although i do NOT think everything is falling apart. that just doesn't wash with me. the phenomenon of the Random rules our lives. why else do people win the lottery? why do they die young, or die at an extremely old age? there is no pattern other than what we make for ourselves; our jobs, our daily routines, (for the most part) our personal tastes, (also for the most part) our sleeping patterns--or the position in which we sleep. this is a natural human tendency to minimize the Random. if anyone has seen "Pi," they would understand what i'm driving at. there is no rhythm and no reason in our lives that occurs naturally. looking for a pattern is a waste of time, although it is a noble pursuit.

that came out of left field. i need to stay off the coffee. anyway, i have to get back to work. i just needed to get these thoughts down somewhere, and writing it takes too much time.

the beastie boys...
dear journal,

haven't talked much lately.

however...i was listening to the beastie boys, primarily "an open letter to NYC" when i realized that i had forgotten lt. marks, USMC. that really hurts...he was my mentor, my friend, when things got tough at the USMMA. he was there my first year, and his last...he was so proud, so strong...i KNEW he would be a gift to the Marine Corps. and where am i, while he's smoldering in a grave, a casualty of the pentagon attack? HERE!!! ALONE, with the exception of a loving family and a woman whom i love...what infuriates me is that he died in a stupid accident, instead of dying where he should have, defending his country...

i'm doing well, but his death still haunts me. what could i have done?!? i don't know. God help his parents, because i can do nothing to help them. he was a crazy, awesome, amusing, intelligent and sardonic guy. he made our basic training bearable. he made our meals amusing, since the food was horrible, and he joked on its quality. remember the food fight? he was in on it, slinging hash and salad and beef all over the place. that's one of my fondest memories of him. i had duty that night without a clean uniform, but it was worth it.

i just hope that he is in Heaven, laughing gently at us. because...we are small, innocuous, unimportant pieces of flesh, working toward a pension and wall-to-wall and a bungalo or a condo in our retirement. he's laughing, because he's given his all, and many of us haven't. God bless you, lt. marks. God be with you.

i love nichole. i've found someone i can relate to completely, with the same interests and wants. besides, her love of certain authors and movies has really opened my eyes up to the world. anyone who enjoys bret easton ellis, chuck p and max (or maxx) barry can't be all bad.

i just felt i had to get this one off my chest for good. she makes me realize that i'm not poison. that i'm not a bad guy, and that i can always improve myself, as i have been doing in the intervening months. if anyone says otherwise, take it up with her.

ode to the unprepared.
i just realized something:

i have a purpose in my life. the smallest things that define who i am, make me realize that i am a man...are the ones that will make me useful to career, my relationships, my drive to succeed. i will become a teacher; i will inspire others to succeed, to do more with their lives. i will not fail. i will become what i have started to do long before...what i refused to do before.

i did so because i wanted to make more money than i would have as a teacher. however...i could not do anything else. English is my love and my first language...not engineering or business. i am not an engineer or a businessman. i am someone who loves the language i learned at such a young age, that my parents forced me to learn. for that, i thank them with all of my heart. because it was them who taught me that i have a gift. it was them who taught me that i have abilities beyond what many people i have met could utilize. so many people cannot use the language that they were taught at such a young age...and those who can, will. i've never believed that old saw "those who those who can't, teach."

that's bullshit. BULLSHIT. teachers teach because they believe that they can make a difference, not because they can't do anything else. you will always have bad teachers, but there are so many good ones out there. i've had wonderful teachers out there, especially my English teachers. they cared, even if their students didn't. and for that, i couldn't thank them enough. i felt for a time that i was lost. but i know was a minor setback. i'm back, and ready to rock. i'm telling all of you...bring it on! i'll take anything you can dish out. God, if you're listening, bring that shit on! no matter what, i will prevail. no matter what, i'll use everything that i've learned, everything that i know, to do the best i can and to make the world better. i dare you. just try. ready.

friends and others
while i wait here extremely patiently for the rest of my study group to show, i realize that my mind is not on my work. i'm thinking about the pain that nichole went through last night, which i could do nothing to help. i think about jason's dead brother; i can relate to death in the family. i think about the mess i got myself into when i scheduled my classes, and how i can barely stand typing another fucking paper, because i know more are on the way. i think about inconsistent, unreliable work partners, annoying classmates and random idiots who think it's funny to bowl my ass over on campus, with a halfhearted "sorry, man, thought you were someone else *titter*..."

i just wish that i could make a difference for the people around me. i wish that i could help to make others happy when their lives are crashing down around them. a lot of people in the world need someone there for them, and i don't know which ones need it until it's too late. i know all of this is just a big whiny "poor me," but i can't help that. it's just been a hard time this semester, with a lot of unnecessary drama. it seems like everyone i know is either unhappy or has lost someone dear to them.

my situation raises so many questions. am i pissing in the wind by thinking that i'll make a difference as a teacher? will i be competent enough and driven enough to excell, and make a difference with this career? am a capable of being there for loved ones when they need it the most? can i function despite all of the flaws that i possess? is there a point to me being here? why can't i seem to stay on task all the time, and why do i feel so scattered and dislocated?

i don't know these answers. nobody does. all i want is to be well-adjusted, serene and competent in everything i attempt. i want to be a good friend, to be worthy of everyone i love and who love me, and to be someone who can get through to difficult kids who don't care to learn. i want to make a goddamned difference, and at this point, i'm not sure i can. i don't really know who i am. i don't know who michael is. i know his component parts, but i can't describe him as a whole.

maybe i've just lost my direction. i feel like i'm coasting, instead of driving toward what i want. maybe i need outside help, if i can't solve anything internally. maybe i need someone to talk to.

"they lost half a million at cards but they've still got a few tricks up their sleeve."

the art of "lock, stock and two smoking barrels" intrigues me. don't ask me why. for some reason, this movie just sticks in my mind like a burr. the first time i saw it, i couldn't believe how intelligent the movie was. it is everything that so many hollywood producers try to create, but fail miserably. other really, REALLY good movies are "moonlight mile" and "donnie darko, "boondock saints" and "the rules of attraction," "american psycho" and "memento..." the list goes on.

actually, i've been delving into more than just interesting, smart and wicked movies. there are a few books that i've found to be intellectually stimulating and...hilarious. for one thing, "jennifer government" by max barry (max, maxx, or maxxx, depending on how many x's he puts on his name...funny guy that he is, changing his name at whim) is one of the most satirical and smart books i've ever read. consumerism definitely gets the shaft in this novel. i get the urge to read it over and over, just because of the fact that it's so well-written. i've also found "the glitter dome" and "the delta star" by joseph wambaugh to be excellent novels. i mean, how much satire and smart-ass can you cram into a book? the answer: a lot. in fact, enough to keep a reader enthralled for hours.

i've decided that mainstream, new york best-sellers that people like oprah approve of just don't appeal to me. she wouldn't approve of books like "like a hole in the head" by jen banbury. sigh. i just don't have any interest in psychology books, self-help books or novels based on movies. books that preach morals are not interesting. i crave books with corruption, sex, gunfire, intelligence and depravity. what can i say? i'm a pleasure-oriented person. and if you spin me around, i get disoriented. i just want gratification that i can't get out of the daily grind. kill me.

give me a reason to enjoy being a college student. give me a reason to enjoy living in a rural area, with a bunch of drunken idiots who pound on my door at two in the morning. give me a reason to take gen-ed classes that take up too much of my time, when all i want is a meaningful education, with classes i WANT to take. give me a reason to not dislike the life i'm living. give me a reason for staying sober during the week. just give me a reason.

i don't want to say "poor me" because my life is actually pretty good, but goddammit, i just feel that i'm spinning my wheels here, getting nowhere. i know i'm in a hurry and that the world moves more slowly than i want, but still...i just want more than what i have. so sue me.

my ears are ringing!
sigh. i just came back from the nickelback/puddle of mud/3 doors down/12 stones concert. i can't hear, i'm dry as a bone and this shower must have sluiced half a gallon of greasy sweat, spilled beer (not mine), and what ever particles were floating around out there. the VA Beach Amphitheater is not a good place for a concert when it is in the eighties outside, with damn near 100% humidity and a packed house of beer-swilling, smelly subhumans with halitosis.

however. nickelback gave the best performance of their careers, had a LOT of fun doing it, and cut up a lot in between sets. because THEY had such a good time, WE had a great time. personality goes a long way with rock bands. they have it.

to everyone i promised to talk to tonight, i'm sorry...i have to stop every few seconds to rub my eyes just to type this. i'm bushed, and i have to get up at five tomorrow morning. i would not be a stimulating phone partner. again, however:

i know nichole sent a few emails to me, and because the yahoo/hotmail feud is about to escalate into nuclear war, i have not received them, so: my school address is (in case she happens to be checking). if anyone i don't know emails me i will, on principle, NOT answer them. in fact, i will block them. if these people want to talk to me...there is livejournal. they would/should know my screen name is barking_rat69. *sticks out tongue*

oh, another reminder to self: tomorrow is the long trip to richmond/outer banks/vagina beach (i LOVE that)/oceana. bring your goddamned cell phone! also, 7:00 PM call time for phish concert meeting. probably no more than two hours. don't forget, or your conscience will boot your ass up between your shoulderblades. go to sleep.

no more semi-profound thoughts tonight. i'm done like a porterhouse. good night and sleep a lot to do before the sun comes up.

in an attempt to squash some of the very ungenerous thoughts about myself and deal with the fact that i have made irreversible mistakes with erin, i accidentally found (actually borrowed, natch, from nichole) a book written by bret easton ellis: "glamorama." i had already read "american psycho" and saw "the rules of attraction" so i was intrigued. OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD. i nearly came in my pants, it was so good. i have never read a book like this--it was so engrossing that i speed-read full chapters, and had to reread them, because i was always rushing to the really interesting parts.

forget reading as a diversion when you're trying to figure shit out. this book sucked me in more efficiently that a red pair of DSL's. this story is extremely, incredibly, indubitably hot. add this to seeing "moonlight mile" and "the rules of attraction," plus receiving a hardback, original copy of jen banbury's "like a hole in the head..." it's a wonder i've slept at all.

i read erin's post from a while back. and while what she said about trust is true--i have made mistakes--it still hurts to see it. and, of course, to bare those more personal facets to the world makes me uneasy. all i can take from this is that i've changed some, but those same points will haunt me. in fact, they will stay with me every time i read the goddamned post. i wish i had changed sooner, and not hurt anyone in the process. erin was right about me, but now her thoughts about me are a little dated.


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