Monday, March 28, 2005

Giving up on trying... blow people's minds.

See, did that statement "blow your mind"? Of course, it didn't.

Today I was getting ready for my first class, and I saw a young man with--with an overly tall beanie on, no less--preparing a powerpoint presentation on a lab computer. It was weird; mostly because it was as if I could actually read his mind. I looked at him, and then at the screen, and automatically the thought that popped into my mind was the voice of a hippie/stoner saying, "Man, this is totally going to BLOW THEIR MINDS!" He also had headphones, a dull stare, and a pen hanging out of his mouth in the manner of a cigarette...but those are all neither here nor there. The point is that it got me to thinking about people having their minds blown, and why it just isn't happening anymore:

I am pretty sure that it is a scientific fact that people stopped having their minds blown sometime in the late sixties/early seventies. There may have been a few holdover flower children who had blowings of the mind on into the early nineties, but that is because their drug addled brains still thought it was the sixties and were actually being amazed by things that had happened before but that they could not remember having happened. The point is that people just aren't surprised anymore. At least not in any sort of life-altering way.

Let's just say that the only people that still believe that minds may be "blown" are probably idealistic high-school or college kids who have probably just read a book (Fast Food Nation, No Logo, Walden, anything by Chomsky or Zinn, something about zen Buddhism, etc.) and are now in a position to write a report or give a presentation in which they can incorporate their new nuggets of knowledge. To these young people the world is blind, but needs only have it's eyes opened to what is really going on--and they are going to do exactly that.

Problem is, that most people are not blind. It turns out that a good many people have a good deal of knowledge, they just don't care. So when a wet-behind-the-ears undergrad finishes their presentation on capitalistic greed and American imperialism with a flourish that suggests that the word "voila" should probably have been used they are met with the dull stare of a crowd that intones, "Duh, but how does that effect my new station wagon and three bedroom in the suburbs." People already know that the world sucks. The world DOES suck. It would seem, then, that it is simply the hope of most people that the suckiness of the world will just stay put in countries who's names cannot be pronounced and who's locations remain a mystery, other than to say that they are "over there". The new apathy is one that assumes that the world is going to suck--no matter what. And, as long as that sucking is as far away as possible I can ignore it and everything will be okay.

I have come to terms with my apathy about the "new apathy". It is sort of an "if they don't care, why should anyone care" situation. Yeah, I understand that there are undernourished people working 80 hour weeks for a pittance in the third world, but seriously, that's their problem. Personally, I'd probably rather turn to a life of crime than work in a factory making things I cannot afford. I can't understand why other people do that. In fact, I don't think that they should do it. Sure, there should be a sense of community in the world, but how did it happen that people stopped being accountable for their own shit?

In the book Catch 22, Joseph Heller suggests that "they can do anything that we cannot stop them from doing." That is one (of many) of the catches in life that the book covers. As it applies to the global economy; of course companies are going to look out for themselves and try to maximize their profit, that's the nature of capitalism. Your job is to have the same attitude about yourself. Think of yourself as a company that must get the most profit possible for the product given. Companies will treat you like shit if you let them. However, if enough people refuse to be treated like shit the balance of power will shift, and the corporation will have to meet demands or suffer from having no work force.

I know this all sounds good in theory, and will be much harder to implement in real life, but when was anything worthwhile ever easy to attain? Everyone should watch their own ass. Of course you can help out your friends and neighbors, but try not to do so at the expense of your own health and happiness. It is up to everyone to not just "let things slide". If you do not expect the best, you will not be given the best. People who go through life super happy just have low expectations...of others, and of themselves.

This is not an essay aimed at getting people to stop trying to blow the minds of others...simply a series of ideas that might help people realize that they are responsible for their own well being before that of others. Raise your standards for the sake of a better life. A good deal of the time you will get exactly what you expect out of life, so start expecting more.

-A.R. Leith

"They're going to try and make you a martyr. They'll keep on pushing 'til you're pushing back harder."- The Dillinger Four.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Basically it was pointed out to me this morning that my job choices both revolve around the weather. Today it is snowing. If I were still at my winter job I'd probably have wood...but as it is I'm working at a golf course and am pretty much unemployed until the shit melts. So what gives with that. All it leaves me with is these afternoons where all I have to do is sit around fostering one of two thoughts...

One: Someday I might have money...either from working very, very hard, and saving it all so I can give it to somebody else later in life, or through some lottery route. Either way I generally turn on golf or baseball or something and think about architecture until I fall asleep on the couch and miss a bunch of phone calls that would invite me to do something that could be fun. It sucks, except now I have a ton of house designs built up in my head...which on second thought is about as useful as a handful of wishes. So it's not all that productive. I'll try to stop doing it. Which would be easier if I wasn't depressed and sick with mono. (Clinically I don't know if either of those statements is true, but they are my informed guess.)

Two: Similar situation, except rather than architecture it's about women. I'm going to go ahead and lay it down here. (Actually this happens all the time, walking, driving, sitting in class, open heart surgery, skydiving, anytime these thoughts about girls just pop into my head.) The point is this. There have been five women that I have known in my life that could have been THE there are many ones. The point here is that I'm picky as hell, and cannot find the right girl for me. I have only ever dated one of these five, and it ended badly, but that's life, right? The others have not worked out for a myriad of reasons. Not least notably of which is that I often fail to talk to them and tell them how I feel about them. Yeah, it's my fault, but I fear rejection.

It also doesn't help that I spend a lot of the time listening to the emo. It makes me sad about girls and fear the worst. Right now I'm pining for number five and dunno what to do about it. I wish there were a better way to find out if someone else was interested in you. I've just read an article about it and I'm going to try to put some of those techniques to use, but who knows where that will lead. Strangely women that I find attractive are among the very few things that really scare me about life. I guess I'm just a pussy.

In the past I have mentioned the five things that I look for in a women...I thought of more today, but mostly that come later in relationships. Like gregariousness. (or even knowing what that word means...that'd be a good start.) But yeah, I'm shy and quiet--until I get to know a person or group of people, that is--and so it would be nice if I could date someone who is more outgoing than me. Subconsciously I think that is a reason I like for a girl to make her intentions known first. But that doesn't always work out. And as we all know- "Life sucks, get a fucking helmet."

Okay, back to the snow at hand. I'm over winter. This year sucked because I couldn't ski with the kids. I hate skiing by myself. In fact, I hate doing pretty much everything my I'm looking forward to summer. That's about all there is of that.

Totally off subject: I was half asleep on the couch the other day when I had this dream/vision/whatever of this girl from one of my classes just coming over and laying on top of me and we both fell asleep. Not necessarily sexual, but very nice indeed. I don't know what to make of it all. Life is weird. I'm tired of typing now, I'm going to read more. Wish me luck on everything, I'm going to need it.

-A.R. Leith

"Assign me to a nice girl, so she can ruin me...eternally."- Jawbreaker

Monday, March 21, 2005

"I went to college, and Guess what I learned...

So lately I have songs stuck in my head. Okay, I shouldn't qualify that with "lately"...I always have songs stuck in my head. The weird part is that all the songs that have been stuck in there lately are about how bad the world sucks. You know, war, pestilence, girls, plagues, parents, and the man--they're all down on us, and with no good!

So yeah, Propagandhi, the angry half of Lawrence Arms songs, the Broadways, all of it. Constantly running through my head. But here's the odd bit, I'm happier lately than before. I certainly don't get it. Not even a little bit. But I worry about the people around me...and I'm going to tell you why:Most of the time I kind of wonder if people are thinking objectively and critically around me. I know, I know there are supposed to be emotions involved in every day life. But what if I'm not emoting properly. "What if this crazy world thinks I'm the one who's crazy...I'm not crazy, just frustrated." I find myself, more often than not, making decisions about life from a more objective and less emotional standpoint. For example, when it comes to love and dating I tend to think about it in terms of: How will this person look in 20 years? What would our kids look like? And most importantly- Can I stand to hang out with this person for the rest of my life? While it seems to me that others are thinking about how "hott" said person is, and how badly they "want" them. I'm worried about being able to provide for another person, or several people. Maybe my heart is--like the grinch--several sizes too small.

I have recently established five categories that I think should be fulfilled on some level by a person that I would like to date. She should be 1. Funny, 2. Stylish, 3. Crass, 4. Intelligent, and 5. viewed by me as being cute. (By the by, being cute is way better than being hott. It's not my rule, look it up. The difference being that someone who is cute is not generally overly concerned with their looks, where a person who is hott generally only has that going for them. How rare is it that you find an out of hand "hott" girl that actually has something to say? It just doesn't happen. The end result is that, while the prospect of being with such a person is initially tantalizing, in the end they become boring and un-fun. And you have to deal with that, because you were hung up on looks, so there. I hope you have kids together.)

These five simple ideas are weird, no? Not weird in and of themselves, but weird in that I have met only a handful of women in my life--short though it has been, thus far--that have met all five of the categories. It gets a lad to thinking...Maybe the problem is with me? Am I too hard to please? Too picky? Is it irresponsible of me to want to be with someone who makes me laugh instead of just laughing at things I say?

These are the ponderences that have ruled my mind lately. Oh, that and I've started to re-read the first several "Get Your War On" cartoon strips and can't help but wonder how anyone can think that genocide is okay, even if it is in the name of "freedom". First of all, people should be on their own to better their situation. We, as a nation, are not fucking babysitters. It's like if your dad beats up the bully for you at school...everyone just makes more fun of you, and things are worse than before. So that sucks even worse. True revolution comes from within. Things won't get better for anyone unless they change it for themselves. Meanwhile I'm praying (read "hoping" because what is the point of praying? If god is omnipresent he/she/it will already know what I want.) that Iraq becomes a Theocracy and the Arab community goes on hating us for being intrusive dicks until they kill enough white people that Americans figure out that maybe they don't want us there. Right now we're pretty much sticking our hand into a bee hive to steal the honey and wondering why we keep getting stung. Rats with a feeder bar have a better learning curve than most Americans right now.

Okay, that's it. I've vented it. Although I still get sad every time I think about being silenced when I try to talk politics with my family. Blah. It's out there. Think about it. Make your own thoughts on it. Whoop (is it there?)

-A.R. Leith

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Professional Mathletes

Okay, since there really aren't such things as pro mathletes (are there?), I cannot imagine why I called this that. So let's talk about something much more upsetting...

Professional Sports- I don't like it, and I'm going to tell you why:

First of all, I see a lot of time wasted by people following their "team". I'm going to let alone the obvious problem of people who refer to the teams in the plural inclusive. Like the kind of person would say "I'm glad WE got rid of Sosa, because he struck out too much." etc. That problem speaks for itself as having to do with those who watch, rather than do. No no, my more recent anger stems from the massive amount of money pro sports garners and then keeps all to itself.

So many athletes out there say they play for the love of the game, but do not let their paychecks reflect that. For example, the recent cancellation of the NHL season because the owners and players cannot come to a reasonable agreement on how many gazillion dollars they are each allowed to make in a season is so fucking weak it makes me sick. And so, for the betterment of sports...nay, all of society, I will here propose several changes that will bring back the purity and pride to professional sports and athletes.

1. None of this "trading" bullshit. An athlete who desires to play a sport professionally must play for the team that is located nearest the city he/she has spent the MAJORITY of their life living in. This will bring back some civic and regional pride in the athletes who represent us, and will eliminate a bunch of transient millionaires who go wherever they can get paid the most.

2. Oh yeah, getting paid. There will be an absolute salary cap on how much an athlete can make from playing games for a living...We're talking a maximum of like $200,000 a year. (This goes for coaches and managers for owners, they won't exist. The team will belong to the city and they can fucking elect front office officials who can make no more than 200k a year. So there.) Ticket prices will remain ridiculously high, and any excess revenue will go into maintaining/refurbishing facilities and to the local schools or other worthy endeavors. This will keep people from getting greedy, and only people who really love the sports will get involved.

3. College athletic scholarships: Okay, I really have no problem with this, because it addresses the above problems. Someone who loves the games getting paid to do it, but getting paid with an that works. Unless, of course, the athletes are getting special treatment in their studies and end up like the UWV athletes I saw on TV last night after their "big win" who weren't really winners at all because they couldn't put two coherent thoughts together. How can you get to be a senior in college and not be well spoken? The world and your educational institution have failed us both...I'm pissed about it, why aren't you? But yeah, otherwise teach the kids for free if they can play ball; that is more of a win win situation.

4. Any city that can field a team gets to play, end of story. We're going back to Little League on this one. But if you can come up with a full roster at the beginning of the season then you should be allowed to play. If you suck then you have incentive to get better. If your city rocks, then keep on keeping on...there will be nice trophies and ceremonies (maybe even a parade!) and the end of every season for your players. Hoorah!

5. Helmets are for pussies. At most pro athletes should be allowed to wear those little leather jobbies with no face mask that footballers used to sport. If you're not skilled enough not to get hit in the head then there is somebody in your home town who might be. Plus, if it turns out you can't dodge that curve ball you get all the goddamn pudding you can handle...forever. If you have questions about this, just look at boxers. They don't wear helmets and pretty much all they do is get hit in the head...and to them cartoons are still funny, so they pretty much rule.

6. Any activity where human power is not the primary mode of motivation is not a sport, PERIOD. NASCAR drivers are not "athletes" for the same reason I don't get a trophy for hopping in the Crown Vic and going to the corner store for milk faster than my neighbor. The car is doing all the work. For the same reasons cart golf is not a sport, while ballroom dancing probably is.

Okay, I think that's all for now. Sorry it's been so long between entries. That is, if you care at all. Don't be afraid to comment if you have something to say, or any questions. I like comments. Okay, I'm done. I need to go to bed. Got a big day tomorrow.

-A.R. Leith

Rando Quote of the day: "This is your life. It doesn't get any better than this. This is your life...and it's ending one minute at a time." -Chuck P.

Friday, March 04, 2005

So, it's March.

Yeah, this is pretty much the best month ever. It contains my two favorite holidays in the calendar year. St. Patrick's day, and my birthday. The advent of Marchi Gras was several years ago, and it celebrates the week of debauchery that is the time between my birthday and the most Irish of holidays. It's a good time, and I wish you all a good March. Now, on the the comments, questions, and complaints:

I went to a presentation put on by the "Master Plan Ministry" at the local college here the other night. The presentation was called, "Are you a Monkey" and had to do with the concept of "Intelligent Design"...essentially it was a bunch of scientists who got together to tear apart the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin. That is all well and good. We are forever looking for new explanations for life and how we got here, what we're doing here, etc. HOWEVER, I think it is very important that you have actual new developments before you go to press with a glossy new DVD about your theories. What I'm saying is that I didn't learn anything I didn't already know about life from this presentation. Obviously there is some force in the universe that gives direction to cellular (not phone) development and creates varieties of life. The problem is--and always has been, as far as I'm concerned--that nobody knows what this is. Not one person has been able to realistically quantify this force and the reasons for its decisions. So I think the whole thing is fine to think about, but don't bother me with theories until you have something more concrete that what the force is NOT. That's all I have to say about that.

Other than that, all is well with the world, I think. So we'll talk more later. Okay? Okay.

-A.R. Leith

p.s.- I'm sorry this wasn't more profound or anything, but it's early, and my arm hurts.

p.p.s.- Justin, we need to talk.