Yeah, so apparently I'm on my college's Men's Varsity Volleyball team.
Three hours ago Coach: "Alright, so what's your experience with volleyball?" Ben: "Uhh...well, I've never really played on a team before, persay, but I assume I'm phenomenal. I really hope to redefine the sport and raise the bar for us all."
Last night So I was playing four square last night, and I was having a damn good night. And while I was standing in line, debating the waning degree of my sobriety, a guy I hardly know starts asking me about volleyball. I thought I was making small talk. Him: "You're pretty good out there (as I was saying, I was having a damn good night). Have you ever played volleyball?" Me: "Oh yeah. Volleyball's a great sport."
Next thing I know, I'm on the varsity volleyball team. And frankly, I'm just as surprised as you are.
1.28.2002 I'm back at school now. The smell wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but the overall condition of my room is definitely worse than I had remembered. There were playing cards all over the floor from a drinking game we played almost two months ago. That night must have been one of the last of the semester, but it feels in my memory like that night was a few weeks earlier in the semester. And that's the weird part -- I hardly remember that night, yet I'm stuck cleaning up the associated mess.
"One for Mothman." "Just the one?" "Yep." "Alright, that comes to $8.75. Out of twenty. Are you sure you don't want to buy a second ticket now, this show's about to sell out." "No, just the one." "Are you meeting someone inside?" "No, I'm alone, just the one ticket please." "So, wait, it's a Friday night, and you're going to the movies by yourself?" "Yeah." "So, wait, hold on, you're going to the movies by yourself, and you're going to see The Mothman Prophecies?!" "Yeah." "That's the most pathetic thing I've ever heard."
This conversation took place earlier tonight, silently, and in about fifteen seconds, with the exchange of three glances.
As I've mentioned before, I spend a lot of my "study" time reading through photo books. It has definitely change the way I look at things.
I like these two pictures better at their original super quality, something is definitely lost in reducing the file size, but then again we are in a recession, we can't just throw around data like we're billionaires.
1.23.2002 Fantastic New Discoveries Otis Redding - These Arms of Mine - this song is fantastic, I can't believe I've never heard it before and frankly I'm disappointed with myself for not having the keen intuition to seek it out Beta Band - The Cow's Wrong - classic beautiful Beta Band, if you're into that kind of thing Otis Redding - Hard to Handle - slower, but otherwise identical to the popular Black Crowes cover. Oh, and now I can understand the words of the chorus. I wasn't missing so much.
And I do not recommend Lou Reed - What's Good Otis Redding - Merry Christmas Baby
And Lauren does not recommend Anything read by Robert Frost
1.22.2002 Explanation: The Divisions of Self Sometimes I hide money just because I know how much I love finding money. I do the same with Hot Tamales whenever I have the chance. By coupling a lack of tangible friends/enemies with a poor memory of insignificant details, I have inadvertantly created divisions of my "self," at least in terms of time.
This construct is both rewarding and damaging, depending on who the sucker is at any given moment (it's always either present-me or future-me).
Example: Rewarding First Case: Positive Manifestation - Knowing that over the three days that I would be gone, I would forget that I had bought a pound of Hot Tamales, a pound that I had fallen asleep eating, Present-me decides to hide the box under my pillow, knowing that it would later be found and appreciated greatly by Future-me. This case is dually rewarding, in that Present-me experiences the joy of giving and surprising (in this instance) a loved one, and Future-me experiences both the joy of being surprised with a gift and the joy of consuming almost a pound of sugar and modified food starch.
Now, this case raises an important point, the changing nature of the self. For the act to have any bearing, Present-me must become Past-me, and Future-me must become Present-me, but this only occurs substantially if I can (passively) forget the details of the case. For instance, if I had remembered that I left myself the Hot Tamales, then there would have been no surprise at all. I put the candy under the pillow. That's not much fun. But, if I can forget the occurance, and upon coming home find the box of cinnamon-flavored enjoyment, I will be surprised -- "I (Present-me, a manifestation of my "self" with his own memories and values) didn't put this here!" If he (Present-me) doesn't remember it happening, it might as well have been done by another. The other, is, of course, Past-me (who made the transition from Present-me to Past-me in the process of forgetting. Follow? Good.), who is, in this instance, an all-around nice guy.
Second Case: Negative Manifestation - On the whole, I've found that we humans, specifically Americans, are both a cruel and lazy bunch. In terms of work, we will put off what we can as long as possible, doing as little as necessary to go unnoticed, and often doing that little bit in a half-assed manner. We lay blame, we point fingers, we pile in front of the television to watch "When Cars Attack." Disgusting. Well, such is the nature of the second case. Looking around my dorm room the day that I would leave for home, I realized that there were all sorts of chores that needed to be done before I could leave with a clear conscience. There were plates of food, a full trash, junk on the floor, it was already starting to smell, and it had only been collecting for a couple of days. So what do I do? Do I clean up the mess? No, instead, I literally think to myself, "HA! HA! HA! Mother-fucka!" And then I lock the door and leave. Not only does Present-me experience the release of not having to do the dreaded chores, but he really enjoys screwing-over Future-me, who he views not only as a separate entity, but as an arch-nemesis. Future-me is, for most intents and purposes, a sucker. Though every once in a while he gets a surprise gift, most of the time he just returns to a dorm room with a smell that would keep God out. So when I return to my dorm room, I will literally think, "FUCK! I hate that guy! You win this round, bitch."
Do you know who is the nicest guy in the world? Past-me. He hid almost an entire box of hot tamales, knowing that I'd find them and be overwhelmed with joy. He put them under my pillow where he knew that I'd eventually find them. I love surprises! Man, you know, sometimes I don't give that guy enough credit.
Anyway, 294 miles later, I'm back in Connecticut. Again, no impact on any of you, but I just spent four-and-then-some hours in a car, so I felt it was worth mentioning.
MTV recently held tryouts for new Real World applicants. I really should have gone, I didn't find out about it until too late. But anyway, the Real World is getting really ridiculous. MTV takes a black panther, a white supremacist, Jesse Helms, and a blind homosexual, and puts them into a house with two beds and fourteen saunas. And then they mix Ecstacy into the food.
Well, I'm off to Cornell for a few days to visit a few kids there. If Ivy League kids have internet access, I'll try to post something. But if not, I'll be back Wednesday, and I'll have my cell with me if you want to hear my sensuous voice. 860-965-4224.
"Can human meat be frozen and retain its flavor?" Human flesh does not keep its high quality long in the freezer because changes in flavor and texture occur. If freezing any ManBeef product is necessary, it should be kept in original wrapping or after heated tightly sealed and stored at 0 degrees F for no longer than two months.
For Keelin the inconsolable, who called me in hysterics and changed the way I think.
p.s. I think this camera is doing some sort of strange caricature of me, I'm not sure what's going on.
1.18.2002 Recent search requests: god is angry i love you always ben animal.orgy metal spike implants my cute kids nude
Are these the people that read my site? Is this how you all got here, searching for nude children and adulterated animals? Maybe I don't want a larger readership, maybe I want a smaller readership, with some sort of moral entrance exam to sift out the freakies.
1. For recreation, I might _________. A. cut apart women in the Sears catalog and assemble their parts into a dreamdate. B. take part in one of my perfectly sane hobbies. C. search the internet for "my cute kids nude."
Well, I'm drawing again. Art is a big part of my life, despite how little I've been acknowledging that part of my life. Anyway, just for fun, I'm cataloging my progress. I'll post updates at significant intervals.
Janaya, value-pool. - 14"x18," roughly 25 hours
While I haven't decided what small adjustments I want to make to the piece, for all intensive purposes, it's finished. I really enjoy working with this style (which I call "value-pooling" for logical reasons), but this is not among my best. I don't know, I'm not sure if I'm happy with this piece or not. Ask me again in a few weeks.
I love commercials for broadband internet services. The kids chime in, "I love doing homework on the internet, it makes learning fun!" Did you know that the majority of the internet is pornography? And even if the little homework girl doesn't trip over a mountain of pornography in doing her book report, sooner or later the cute ten year-old is going to find her way to a website about sending crack over the internet. I learned about sex by watching Three's Company reruns, today's kids are going to know more about sex than I do now by the time they're twelve. "It makes learning fun!" I'll spare you a graphic.
Amelie was good. I really like the direction that artsy-ish movies are taking in terms of creativity. Seems like there is much more narration, text on the screen, spoken analysis of characters, and dammit, I like it. The plot was fun, but more than anything I liked the style of the movie. The humor wasn't so much in the plot as it was in manner. And the lead actress has the darkest eyes, I question whether they're real. And then I answer my own question. No. I can see why most of the people I know who've seen this label it a "girl movie," the plot is full of concepts and ideas that seem (in our culture of unnecessary labels) female-oriented: fate, selflessness, molded rubber sex toys. All in all, I really enjoyed it. It was better than anything that Julia Roberts has ever done, and its a better "romance" (maybe more with ideas and quirks than between two specific people) movie than anything I've seen come out of the American Thinktank in a long time. Thank you, Andrea, you're the reason I went and saw this, and I enjoyed it.
I'm in a lousy mood. I've got nothing nice to say. Try this instead.
Lauren and I have plans for tonight to go see Amelie, and only an hour after hanging up the phone with her do I realize again how extremely and profoundly broke I am. I need to hang out with more girls who are perfect gentlemen, I need a girl who will take me out to the movies. It's embarrassing that I currently have four dollars in my wallet, that's not even enough to treat myself chivalrously. So, accordingly, 'Operation Scrounge' is officially in effect. Part of me likes being entirely broke, I find myself a good deal more creative. Oh, stargazing, where would I be without you.
I was supposed to spend these few days up in Maine visiting Nick Viti with Erin, Jesse, and Alex Hale, but I had too much to do around here. It turns out that all of the things I had to do (cleanout my room, clean my car, go to the eye surgeon, attempt to reconcile my newfound debt) aren't even mildly enjoyable. So I guess this is just a shout-out (even I'm groaning) to the kids in Maine, I wish I were there.
I'm hanging out with Mel tonight, probably watching Fargo and pajama-ing it up. I helped her pick out an external CD-writer today. It's sad that I've accidentally traipsed so far into geekdom that I'm the one you call when you need help picking out computer hardware.
I spent most of tonight sorting drawers of high-school-related clutter, tossing out a lot of the things I've picked up just because they were shiny. I came across so many envelopes of pictures, all full of pictures of ex-girlfriends, back before they became mean. Oh, nostalgia. It's funny, I love movies, god knows I watch at least a movie a day, but the movie industry has got it all wrong. I don't know, I guess I just expected life to be composed differently. Maybe thousands of examples of succinct development and resolution have tricked me into thinking that I should be waiting for something. I think I've always made the mistake of expecting something, made the error of discounting the role of the small things in the big picture. A photo I took when she wasn't looking, crumbled notes full of trivia and infatuation, a card she laughingly said I'd throw out that night, and have kept for six years. They're not plot twists. But it turns out that that clutter is my life. It turns out that most of life is character development.
1.13.2002 I'm home! I'm not back at school yet, I'm still in Connecticut, but it's not like anyone of you know the difference. I had a really wonderful week, I learned a good deal and made more great friends that I will slowly lose with my poor long-distance-communication skills. I have a lot of stories, and I'm going to try to write a few of them down before I forget them, but first...
A Few Things That Happened While I Was Out of Town:
1. My bank account became suddenly and incredibly overdrawn. How does this happen? Just when I thought I had no money, it turns out that I have significantly less than no money. I'm really not sure how this happened. I was even worried about it happening, so I kept a close watch on my accounts, and even transferred money into that account just to be safe! But according to Key Bank (which is apparently less a bank and more a high-interest debt collecting agency), something like two dollars has become something like one-hundred and fifty-four dollars over a week or two. This, of course, was the only letter I received the whole time I was gone. Take a moment to scroll to the top of the page and notice the title.
2. Dave Thomas died? While his death has absolutely no effect on my life whatsoever, it's strange to think of Dave not being with us anymore. Dave is just one of those background characters in my life who I took for granted. It would be like if the Trix rabbit died of liver cancer. I'm just going to stop talking before I offend someone. Rest in peace, Dave.
3. A skinny kid crashed another airplane into another office building. I think it would be easier to respect this group's political stance if they'd stop crashing planes.
4. I fell even deeper in love with New York. From the incredible volume of sensory input to the smell of steam and wet cardbaord, there's just something fantastic about the city. On Monday, I accidentally wandered into a fight on the subway. On the number six green line, headed downtown, I happened to pick a car where a tall, thin, bushy haired man was having a loud and near-violent argument with who I presume was his wife, Susan. This man was screaming. "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, SUSAN? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO ROB ME OF EVERY FUCKING OUNCE OF MY LIFE? Can't you see that I just want to be enough for you? CAN'T YOU FUCKING SEE THAT?" At this point, he made violent gestures toward her, swinging his long arms just to the right and left of her, his closed fingers nearly hitting the walls. I was just afraid that the fight would make it's way down toward my end of the car, and that one of his flailing fists might miss "Susan" and find it's way into my jaw. "Can you just tell me why you have to crush all the life out of me? CAN YOU JUST FUCKING TELL ME THAT? WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME?! WHY, SUSAN?" The reason that Susan didn't respond, of course, was that he was alone in the subway car, alone with myself and fifteen or so terrified passengers, none of which was the woman in question. I love New York. I love it.
5. I saw an improv show at the Upright Citizens' Brigade Theatre. A question I've asked a lot of people this past year is what they would do for a living if all things were the same, if all jobs had the same benefits. The people I admire most are the people who wouldn't do anything differently. Well, I'm not one of those people, I don't have that kind of self-confidence. I have a lot of interests, and even a few talents, I suppose, but not really the sense of security or commitment to back them up. But if I could do anything for a living, I would write sketch comedy. This improv show was amazing, it was incredible, far better than anything I've seen on Saturday Night Live in the past ten years, even better than a lot of the Kids in Hall material. It's in moments like that, sitting there curled over in laughter and absolute awe, that I hate myself for not being braver.
I'm spending the next week at a medical conference dealie at Cornell Med. (like Club Med, only with fewer daiquiris), and then I'm staying in the city for a couple days after that. But I should probably be back on the 13th, in case you want to start some sort of elaborate, unexpected countdown. Anyway, god knows if I'll have an internet connection (I won't), but I'll check my e-mail (email@example.com) when I can, feel free to send me anything (letters, thoughts, viruses). Hope you all have a good week.
Part of me wants to change my layout to make the page more compatible for the 800x600 kids, but the other part of me remembers that hardly anyone reads this, and that work is hard, and therefore not worth doing. You decide who's gonna win this one.
I've lost almost all of the places in peoples' lives that I once held sacred. It seems like everyone in my life has changed to find people who better fit them, to find people who can better occupy a space I once held. And I feel like I should have done the same but haven't. There are still the people who mean everything to me, but I know that I no longer mean that to them. I can hear it in their voices, in their false enthusiasm, I can feel it in the cold air of my lonely room. I feel like I still exist as a shadow, as the molted skin of some creature up and gone. They recognize me, but it's clear that the only things that ever really mattered to me have passed. I feel like something should have taken their place but hasn't. And it robs me of my energy. I hate feeling alone. I hate the way my voice quivers when I ask the few important people in my life if they want to do something later. I hate that I have ways of hiding that sort of thing. I've spent this past year learning that I've taken the wrong things for granted, that I've made too many assumptions, that people are too intrinsically alone. I don't want to live the superficial life of mindless recreation that seems to quiet the thoughts of my many peers. I just want someone to stare back at me and know what I'm thinking. I just want to be able to know that they're thinking at all. I've had that before, I just didn't keep track of where I put it, so I know it exists. Because right now I just feel alone. And I'm fighting not to get used to it.
As accustomed to and fond of the small yellow display and words "Done, with errors on page" that have adorned the bottom-left of my webpage since one fine day last month when I destroyed my archive template, I fixed the problem.
A moment of silence for the passing of an old friend.
1.2.2002 Repeat Travis - Writing to Reach You (from long rides in Keelin's car) Velvet Underground - Stephanie Says Nick Drake - Fly (like most of this list, from the Royal Tenenbaums) Nico - These Days (great Jackson Browne cover)
i've been out walking i don't do too much talking these days these days these days i seem to think a lot about the things that i forgot to do and all the times i had the chance to
and i had a lover i don't think i'll risk another these days these days and if i seem to be afraid to live the life that i have made in song it's just that i've been losing so long