Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Today after class I ... came home and relaxed for once. After many nights getting in a smidgen before my curfew, always not finding parking anywhere near my house and having to walk through the darkened neighborhood resisting the urge to speed up while glancing around me frantically for any sign of malevolent beings, I came home around 10 and talked with my sister. I listed to the White Stripes (the third or fourth time today) and got caught up on all that is a near freshman girl's world.

For the past few nights, I've had a lot of fun but it hasn't been the ecstasy that it once was. I'm sure those moments will come again soon, but it's been more laid back recently. The two times when a moment of connection occurs, for me at least, is when you have an amazing mental connection with someone, or when you're so comfortable with them that you barely need to talk. There have been more of those latter moments lately, and they're just as enjoyable. There have been many wise people who have said a true friend is someone you can be quiet with, and I totally agree with that. At that point, you've already had the forementioned electrical connection, and you can rest quietly knowing that conversation isn't necessary.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Sweet! I just found a bunch of bootlegs from a recent weezer concert. They're playing so many songs from Pinkerton and Blue- stuff that they haven't played in concert for years. And I now have a live mp3 of butterfly!! I can't wait I can't wait.
I finished reading Queen of the Damned (the third book in the Vampire Chronicles series) and lay there thinking nothing, not even reflecting on what I had read but totally absorbed in the world that Rice presents. I'm enthralled with the myths she is able to create, and the characters, and the ideas. I read her books like a story, though. For me, there's no philosophical reflection that comes from it, no great questions raised in my mind even as I devour pages of what is clearly supposed to be a forum for a type of belief.

Now I'm listening to the Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness. It's a double CD and I got it for $11 yesterday. And once again, I find myself unable to concentrate on what I'm trying to say. Every time I try to write recently, this happens. I either have a whole mess of ideas that I'm unable to distill into something concrete, or I have the urge to write and can't find anything to say. My thoughts come out incomplete, and I can't find the words I want to use. Or even worse, I just lose interest in what I'm saying. I hope that this resolves itself before long.

And now, even though I am morbidly aware of not having left the house today despite my plans to the contrary, I am going to do some history homework. I doubt I'll leave unless somebody calls me, and that really doesn't happen too often.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

We just got back from our 24 (actually about 27) hour vacation. Today was a very, very long day, but it was an overall good experience.

My weekend: starting with yesterday, I had a great beach day. It's been perfect weather all week, and I had regretted all of the things that were keeping me from going. But I finally got to go on Friday, and it was amazing. We swam out so far that Kai couldn't touch bottom even when he went all the way under, and then swam within 15 feet of a whole group (pod?) of dolphins. It was so awe inspiring to see them. I love the arch of their backs and fins, and they were there for a good 10 minutes! There were even some smaller, greyer ones that were probably babies.

Then I went home and drove down to San Diego (Escondido, actually) with my family. It's reminscent of all of the soccer tournaments I've played in suburbia- Targets and K-Marts galore, tons of other chains, and everyone we saw was white. I couldn't help feeling mildly disconcerted by the entire area; it just turns me off to be surrounded by what is so clearly mainstream America. We stayed in a cheap hotel, and my mom commented rightly that we could be in Anytown, USA, down to the biker bar next door. I just repeated to myself that I would never live there, and tried to fall asleep.

The next day (this morning!) we went to the Lawrence Welk resort to see my mom's friend's group. They sang 30s-50s standards to an audience full of people who clapped a few measures into every song, probably remembering dancing to that very tune in a diner or some such place. It was a show full of corny jokes and cornier music, but they loved every minute of it. And I enjoyed it too. There's something to be said for that time, or at the very least something to be said for appreciating the past. Those men and women have seen so much (1/3 of them stood up when Bill asked for veterans), lost so much, and are still around to tell about it. Also, the era itself deserves a note of appreciation. I hate saying "It was simpler then," but from what I can tell, it really was. We all know mainstream America now, how it's horrifically corrupt and passes on disgusting messages to children and more than half of our population is obese. From what I can gather (and this perspective is loaded with stereotypes, remember), it wasn't like that back then.

I'm sure I had a point here, but it's slowly slipping from my fingers. I spent the past 27 hours in three totally different worlds (the third: this afternoon I was in the gay district in San Diego) that are all distinct from each other and from the one I live in. I'm not sure if I learned any of those lasting lessons that are supposed to come with such immersions, except for observations about myself and the way I react to such glimpses of different cultures, so to speak.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Last night marks the second time in a row that Jocelyn and I have been hanging out and it's turned into a large, random-peoplea activity. We're going to have to fix that... Last night was really weird, though, because we went to ben & jerry's, and at first I kept seeing people I thought I knew but really didn't. Then we looked at the front door and saw a familiar figure; and who should come trooping in but Kai, Jaden, Brittany and a bunch of other people. I was so surprised to see them that I didn't quite register the fact that Brittany had been away for weeks. I was a mood where everything was funny and so ended up cracking some pretty bad jokes, but at least they didn't mind. And the ice cream was good.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Hooray! My midterm is over and I feel reasonably good about it. Though I'm not sure if I even answered the question, I had so much pleasure writing my essay that I feel like it barely matters. Also, when I write like that I know that it usually sounds really good to teachers and graders, so I might have left some stuff out but I used some mighty nice language to cover it up. Ms. Horn told me once that it was easier for "writers like you" to go to evidence from inference; ie, I can use not so good logic but the fact that I can string together words like a textbook makes up for it.

Does that sound unbelievably vain? I do believe it does. Oops. I'm just in the thralls of enjoying writing again, though. It's been a while since I've written anything that isn't intensely personal, and it was good to have that detached feeling again where all I have to do is pick the right words before I feel complete. I really want to know what he thinks of my essay. Probably the work of a pretentious high school student, but as long as I do well I don't really mind.

Now ends transmission of self-complimenting. Goodbye.
I have a history midterm tonight, and I can't find it in myself to care. I can sense the nagging urge to study, and the voice that's telling me I should be worried, but I'm really not. I'm going to study, of course, because if I don't I really will be as screwed as I like to say I am. But this class feels like middle school again- a vague feeling of superiority, overt self confidence that I know everything even though I can't define all the key terms. I trust that the knowledge is there, and there's a 90% chance that it is. But if it's not...

Yesterday I went to the darkroom and fell in love. The smells of chemicals, Miles Davis playing on a crappy radio and the sheer unadulterated magic of watching images appear on what appeared to be blank paper. I love defined black and white lines and the way that you can print a huge eye if you really, really want to. There's something so pure about taking photographs and printing them yourself. I say it's the magic of images and contrasts, but for me I think it's something deeper than that. It's just something that feels so right to be doing.

I came home and tried to study, and I just kept thinking of photographs I could take and doing test strips and burning in faces. Awake at 1 30 am, I read "Creative Darkroom Techniques" and was happy. I can't wait to do more.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

This weekend has been so long and so glorious. I can't tell if time is going slower (ie days are really long) or faster (this morning seems like a really long time ago). It's a combination of the two, I suppose, but it's added up to make me feel entirely alive and yet as if everything that has happened to me wasn't really real. Or maybe that's the lack of sleep kicking in.

Besides a lot of time spent at the beach which has led to much more of a tan and a warm feeling of contentment, the best part of my weekend was saturday night(/sunday morning). There was so much good music and amazing conversation. The moments of connection that we live for just kept coming, piling one on top of each other until I was overwhelmed with what I suppose could be termed familiarity, but with someone I never met before. I take a lot of it for granted with my good friends, even though I am always grateful for it. But it came as a surprise that night, when I had thought all I wanted to do was engage in comfortable conversation and watch a movie. I feel like being so excited about this diminishes other people, and I don't want it to come across like that. It's just rare for me that this happens, and it's rather reaffirming when it does. And it's cool to have my taste in music appreciated : )

This feels like something I should wax philosophical about, but I'm too content in my own skin right now to go outside of it, even in my thoughts. I just want to state that I love music, I love my friends, and I love this summer.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Wheee! I just made a Weezer B Side CD and am currently listening to it. This is a lot more exciting than it sounds because not only did I make a weezer cd, I made a cd period. My burner and I have a history of not getting along too well, but I just downloaded some random software and prayed. And it worked! It's funny about b-sides because they sound like songs that are on albums, but not quite. It's because they were written at the same time as various published songs, of course, but it confuses my brain. I recognize a riff here or a line there, but I'm not organized enough to know what songs they're from. It's especially hard to figure out what a given song sounds like when that song is playing- humming along to try and find the original tune always ends up singing along with what's really playing.

I just realized my past few posts have been all about music. Change of subject: tomorrow I have my Reed interview. I'm doing it now as opposed to after I turn in my app because they sent me a nice letter saying the dean of admissions is going to be in town doing interviews and would I like one? I decided I probably wouldn't be any more prepared for an interview in a few months, so I might as well do it now. For the past few nights, I've been lying in bed planning out how the conversation will go. I'm witty and articulate and funny, of course, and the guy asks all the right questions. I hope that my mental preparation will hold up and provide a backbone for what I say in real life. I always think of myself as a not-so-good conversationalist, but contrary to that belief, I think I've been improving monumentally in the past few months. Or at least rambling more. I think I've started talking a lot more than I used to in conversations with rather random people. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, because sometimes I end up reflecting on what I've just said and it seems rather convaluted and pointless. In that vein, I'm always very impressed by people who can tell stories coherently, with a beginning, middle and snappy ending. And preferably, there will be a few funny lines in there too.
Gotta go, kiddies. More ever-amusing updates will follow eventually.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I just filled up my 5 CD changer with punk CDs and am listening to them in order. I bought the Distillers at Amoeba the other day (along with a bunch of other new music that I have no idea how I will absorb), and they totally kick ass. It was rather fortuitous that I discovered them- driving after midnight and "City of Angels" came on, which I liked but didn't know who it was. Just as the after-hours KROQ guy was telling us the band, David started talking and I missed it. But luckily, he said it again at the end of his little blurb! So I knew the name, and then the CD was in the used section.... and now I'm here listening to Rancid and loving it. I think of all the music that I find, stuff like this is really me. Which is strange, because I'm not "punk" in any conventional sense of the term. Even the words and the anger aren't really who I see myself to be. But when I read the words, I understand where they're coming from, and I just love the music.

All of a sudden I'm annoyed at this post. Bye.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

I've spent this entire afternoon downloading songs. I have about 700, which is impressive even though I met someone yesterday who had five thousand seven hundred songs. I've now adapted his strategy of typing in a band's name and downloading as many songs as I can. I like this idea because it's good for getting a heavy dose of new music, but at the same time I'm afraid that downloading in bulk will take away from the songs individually. I'm just listening to them a lot more slowly than I'm downloading them.

And I feel perfectly justified wasting hours sitting on my ass because I've been home (not counting sleeptime) for probably four or five hours since thursday afternoon.
Yesterday (among many other things) I went on a random photo shoot, scouring the streets of santa monica and venice for interesting things/people to take pictures of. We went into the Venice Ranch Market, a slightly seedy market on Rose where I always go to get ice cream, and there was this amazing woman sitting by the sugar. She was the perfect subject for a photograph, but I didn't want to try and take a surreptitious photo of her because the store was too small for me to get a good shot and not be seen by her. As I was taking pictures of the glorious repetition that occurs in such stores, she started talking to me and asked if I wanted to take her picture. She picked up what looked to be a Torah and held it to her chest, not moving an inch, beached in her chair. I couldn't imagine her anywhere else.

It seems to me that the most interesting subjects for photographs are the old, the destitute, the ones that appear unhappy or unclean. I think that the reason for this is that such people wear their stories on their faces or their clothes. Every wrinkle in that old woman's face seemed to speak of experience, a life of hardships, perhaps, but also of great joys. It's more of a starting off point for the stories that we create when we look at an image. A bum curled up on the street creates much more fodder for the imagination than a bland couple walking by. Let me directly contradict myself now by saying that I believe every person I see could make a good photograph. There's a photographer who has a book of portraits, riveting portrayals of people from every walk of life. The photographs are barely large enough to frame the face of the subject, and all of them are in vivid color. The proximity of the photographer to the subject creates a rare intimacy. By creating such an intense closeness with the subject, the photographer (whose name I must find) strips away a lot of the barriers that we create and presents the viewer with a soul, an concentrated essence of humanity. Such connection is what I believe every artist is trying to achieve.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Dude, so it's Saturday and I'm updating even though I have things I'm supposed to be doing so I can do stuff later, but I'm still frozen in front of my computer after catching up on the parts of people's lives that they feel compelled to share with the rest of us. This is why I haven't gone online in a while, because I was afraid of getting drawn in. But if you don't go on in a while and then feel the need to catch up with what you've missed, then you spend even more time online and the things you read just kind of blend together. It's quite a conundrum.

I've been up to lots and lots of stuff since I last posted. A lot of things that had big buildups weren't as exciting as I thought they would be, but some of the things that didn't seem nearly so impressive from far away turned out pretty well. Thinking about it right now, one of the best parts of my week thus far has been running this morning. Sick and strange, I know. But we were so on, so in rhythm. It was an amazing experience. I go through life looking for mental connections, connections established through similar ideas or senses of humor or experiences. But there's something to be said for a purely physical connection, and I'm not talking sexual here. Just when your body is in sync with someone else's, and it's a really pure experience. And this kind of connection doesn't necessarily have to happen during exercise- it's the same sort of thing, I think, as just being held or holding someone. There are so many ways to anchor yourself to someone.

Despite all of this joy at connections, I have been questioning a lot of social situations lately. I enjoy my time with people, but sometimes it's just a way to fill the hours of my day so I don't sit at home thinking about how sad things are. Some of these psuedo-connections are so temporary that they seem like a waste of time. But is it better to only make friends that you know you're going to keep for life, that you have everything and anything in common with? Or can an equally good experience come from a random gathering of randomer people? I mean, of course it can be fun. It can be great. It's just that sometimes I can be sitting with people and not feel like I'm really there. And then it just feels pointless to be out "socializing."

Of course, that's the entire point of a carpe diem philosophy. To enjoy the moments as they come and not think about how will affect the larger picture. Roughly, that's the point. I really try and do that, but I think I won't be truly satisfied at all times until I figure out the bigger picture. And unless I "get religion", I doubt that will happen soon. Any philosophical belief that I come up with seems applicable in the moment, but doesn't cover enough to really make me feel secure. It's probably because I'm a little afraid to face death in my ramblings, but it's an essential part of any equation for mental health. Just an understanding of the big questions- that's what I want.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

I've decided that I should start drinking coffee. First of all, it can keep you awake. This is good for all-nighters (hw or conversations), and in addition, I have a strange penchant for the feeling you get when you're really tired but forcing yourself to be awake. Being really tired but still functional strips away a few of the layers we build around ourselves. That's why conversations late at night are so good, and writing (if you can hold a pen properly). There are just fewer inhibitions.

Also, coffee creates a myriad of social opportunities. It's something to do when there's nothing else to do, and it's the ideal setting for a casual date. And most importantly, how will I ever meet my ideal man in a coffee shop if I don't drink coffee!? It's such an ideal ("I'd be sitting there, reading, and he'd come up to me and ask me what I was reading. Then we'd get into this deep conversation about books and issues and he'd walk me home and we'd kiss in the rain..." *snaps out of her reverie*) It's weird how many people have that scenario in their heads. I guess that's why so many people just hang out in coffeeshops- we're all waiting for our soulmates.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

I just put my head down to listen to the orgasmic part of Only in Dreams. God, I love music. Even when people are making me angry, even when I have no idea why I'm still awake (and don't tell me it's barely 11 o'clock, I know that!), even when life is basically unreal... I can just be supported by this web of melody and harmony, throbbing bass and wailing guitar, repeated riffs that build and retreat until you're aching for them to take that last step. And then it does, and things are more right than they ever were before.
Finally! Last night I sat down at the computer and, humming along to Louis Armstrong, started to write in blogger. Then my mom came along and insisted on doing something with the cable to get her new computer up and running. Lo and behold, I come back after watching "Octupussy" (which is a real Bond film even though it sounds like a porn flick or an Austin Powers parody) and my cable is no longer working. After 45 minutes on the phone, I find out that my dad plugged the cord into the wrong frickin' port!!! I mean, the first thing the ATT help line said was "make sure your computer is on", but I didn't expect such silliness to exist in my own home. Oh well- I'm finally back.

Today I saw The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys which I demand that everybody go see immediately. It was an amazing movie, and it is the only movie that has made me feel this way that I loved. It is simply a slice of life, with all of the comedy and tragedy that goes with it. It was one of the most genuine things I've seen onscreen in a long time. Walking around westwood afterwards, Cassie and I decided that it really is true that Hollywood (as in big-name, big-budget blockbuster Hollywood) is unable to produce truly good movies. This film is only playing on two screens in the area, when flicks like Spiderman are still playing in almost every theater across the country. It is a true tragedy.

Tonight I had such a good meal. My grandparents took us to the Charthouse, and I had a heavenly filet mignon with delicious potatoes. Part of my enjoyment was probably from not really eating during the rest of the day, but it was amazingly good nevertheless. We had a seat by the window and when I got tired of conversation I just watched the waves. The ocean makes me feel so comfortable-- I love the calming repetition of waxing and waning water, and the smells that come with the beach, and the feeling of sand under my toes as I lie in the sun. But it doesn't even have to be lying in the sun-- I can wander along the edge of the water and feel totally content. Though sitting on the sand or rocks in the chilly summer air does make me want to hold someone, and be held.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

I spent most of the morning cleaning my room, and though it is not nearly done, it makes me so happy to see clean shelf space and well-ordered books (the CDs are still a mess). I had to harden myself a little to throw things away. It's really tough for me to get rid of things that I have any sort of sentimental attachment to. Even little knicknacks that I've picked up along the way or magazines that I read once bring back some sense of who I used to be, and I have to look away as I place them in the trash. But unecessary sentimentality aside, another strange sensation I'm getting from this is how little I really need. There's so much random crap in my room that I keep for some inexplicable reason, but in reality, I only need a small fraction of it. And even "need" is an operative term. I guess, in bigger terms, it just comes down to the ties that keep us here, and the things that make us who we are. And I don't need a little sculpture or a 1996 magazine or a size 2 soccer ball to tell me who I am. But it's nice to have sometime, to hold onto and just remember.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Today we wandered along the Boardwalk, loving the feeling of the sun beating down on our backs and laughing at all the strange people going by. We got henna tattoos and shopped and ate. It was lovely. I came home and organized my books... and I have a lot of books. The method of categorization shifts by shelf and sometimes within shelves. I would be immediately drawn to any person who could look at my books and tell me why certain books are next to one another. It would indicate that we were on the same plane.
I've spent the entire morning online learning about tables and frames and reviewing silly things like "vlink." The only problem is, I'm not sure what to do with my newfound knowledge. My mind usually leaps immediately to complicated images without having the knowledge, so I'm trying to start small this time. But what to do?

I have to break away from this computer. Must...go...outside.

Monday, July 01, 2002

The weekend was definitely very interesting. A lot of time spent in various forms of transportation, a lot of sleeping under duress, interesting family dynamics to observe, and quite a few nice people. It went so quickly compared to other summer days that I feel like a valuable part of my summer has been sucked away. I just have to keep reassuring myself that today is only the first of July, and we have a long time ahead.

I had my history class tonight, and though I enjoyed it, I got in the car and heard myself start complaining. Sometimes I look around the classroom (or listen to people's comments) and I wonder how much they really understand. Is my level of comprehension really that much higher than everyone else's, or am I just convincing myself that I am the smart one? It just worries me when my teacher doesn't seem to see things in the documents he gives us. I can't tell whether he's playing dumb to make the class feel better about their observations, or he honestly didn't see that "Lev. 20.13" meant Leviticus 20:13. My dad just said "Have you ever heard of the Ivy League Syndrome?" which is some silly name for the feeling of getting to Harvard or some such place and finding out that you're just average. And of course I have, but I don't think it's something I really need to watch out for. I like smart people. I like being around them, and I don't really mind being wrong. I just want to be in an environment where those people exist everywhere, not only the people I surround myself with to create some kind of brainy buffer to the outside world.

Speaking of the outside world, I was exposed to two especially horrible instances of pop culture this weekend. One was the movie "Crossroads," which I watched on the plane just to see what it was like. Verdict: horrible. Horrible messages for all those young girls who worship Britney Spears, and unrealistic to boot.

Also, there was an article in my sister's YM that made me incredibly angry. It's not on their website so you can't read it without giving money to corporate america (or borrowing it from me). It was called "Why Geek Guys are Hot" (or something inane) and it listed all of these stereotypical "geek" attributes that are apparently the flavor of the month. It was just so blatantly fake and unappreciative and stereotypical and hypocritical. And besides, what happens if all my geek guys get swept away by blondes with perfect makeup who carry a copy of the article in their pocket as a reference? I can just see them now, looking at his face and then back down at the page. "Bushy hair" check. "Emaciated" check. (yes, it really says that) "Dorky glasses" check. Then, raising one perfectly plucked eyebrow, she'll move in, using all of the flirting tactics listed on page 23.