Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review

Since this is literally the last day of 2011, I thought it would be nice to look back on the year that was. And even though not much has changed for me, it's nice to stroll down memory lane and highlight the big events. Walk with me?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Carting Off

She told me to leave it. That someone would come and take care of it – in fact, it was someone’s job. I just stood there. This is the woman who raised me to return pencils after I borrow them, to pick litter off the street and recycle it, to donate extra money to charity, to help whenever and wherever I am. And now, she’s telling me to leave our shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot. I was shocked.

No really, I was flabbergasted.

My mother is a single mother of three and she taught all of us to help people. She taught us that it’s our duty as humans to help others – to improve situations, even if it’s only a tiny change. It’s because of these lessons that my biggest fear is that I’m not a good person.

I joke about doing “my good deed” for the day, but I honestly have to force myself to stop thinking if I’ve done enough. I cannot explain this properly, but I’m constantly worried that I’m not helping the universe. I won’t try to pretend that my life is significant on a global view, but I believe that by putting good in, good will come out.

Returning a shopping cart to the store may not seem like a big deal, but it’s surprising the amount of people who don’t do it. So many people that stores created a job just to combat the issue. I believe that by retuning the cart helps that person and somehow that will snowball into something bigger. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what I was taught. That’s what made her comment so confusing. It was like she had given up.

I won’t pretend to know the details of my mother’s life. I did at one time, but a space has grown between us. In many ways, I’m a stranger in my own family (but that’s a story for a different time). My mother is a beckon of hope for me, if she can not only survive her life but also continue to spread good there’s a chance I can too.

But now that’s she given up, I have to wonder: what’s the point of even trying. If she can’t do it, how can I?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ten Years Later

I know that I should feel something passionate or poetic about the tenth anniversary of 9/11, but honestly, I’m just tired. Tired of all the noise and commotion and the nagging feeling that somehow I should feel proud we were attacked.

I want to state right from the beginning that I don’t hate America, I’m not pro-terrorism, and while I’m against this war, I support our troops.

I think the reason why I’m frustrated with everyone making a big deal of this day is it is not like we were the only country attacked. London was attacked on July 7, 2005 and just recently Norway was attacked by a terrorist. To act like 9/11 was a defining moment in our country’s past only insults our European friends. Yes, the attack did change the course of our country history, but it does not represent anything about our nation.

Also, this isn’t the first time America was attacked. When I was traveling to Chicago (via train), I remember seeing some graffiti that said, “12/7. 9/11. Never forget.” But we don’t celebrate Pearl Harbor.

As Americans, we remember that day, but we don’t flout it. It is a battle scar we have and we’ll tell you all about, but only if you ask. In a way, I feel like this is more respect of what happened. Battle scars are not trophies.

Last semester, I had a professor say that 9/11 was the biggest event in my life. His comment really bothered me because I feel it robs me of my past and future. My best friend’s wedding means more to me than that day. The same can be said of my grandfather’s death, my tattoo, and even being accepted to Salem State.

Each of those events changed my life in different ways, and to be completely honest, more than 9/11 ever will. Besides, to focus on our past only hurts our present and ruins future chances. I’m not going to avoid planes because someone used it as a weapon once. When I get married, I don’t want to be thinking of 9/11.

A tragedy happened, but as a nation, we should let time and peace heal us.

I think The Washington Post editorial on tenth anniversary of Pearl Harbor said it best: "It is to this future rather than to the past that thoughts should be directed on this anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day."


Monday, August 29, 2011

He Lives In The Middle Of Nowhere With Muriel

I watched a woman pee. This wasn't a sexual thing, the woman and I were stuck in traffic after an event we both attended had ended. We had been waiting for at least an hour when she opened the backseat door and the driver's door to create a make-shift barrier. She dropped her pants, squat down and peed. From my view point, I couldn't see anything except the doors, but the car to the left of me and the truck in front of me must have had a clear view of everything.

I understand that she must have had to pee extremely badly, but to have the courage necessary to pee in public like that is admirable. And I know that I'm giving this woman a little too much credit, but it seriously took some huge ovaries. Never in my life, would I pee in a crowded parking lot.

In my defense, I have done things others would never dream of.Some people think that for me to live alone is courageous but I feel that is just something I'm doing. The same can be said of when I found a place to live in Boston on Craigslist. My English professor at the time was amazed I would do this without worry; I was not.

In high school, a history teacher had us answer a "question of the day" to start class. I remember one question was "what is the definition of courage?" Most of the class' answers involved overcoming a fear, an act of bravery or something akin.

However, a student (I believe her name is Kaara) said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Courage is not accomplishments done in the face of danger, but doing the right thing even when you don't want to."

Even now her reply makes me stop and think. Sometime you can not explain a complex idea like courage without defining what it is not. For isn't not knowing what something is, half the definition of learning to understand it?

I can't recall my original response to the question of "what is courage" but I'd like to change my answer to this: courage is not something done to achieve a specific goal, but doing something another person would never do.

In a sense this makes every action courageous. So how do we know if we have any courage? Maybe by doing something we'd never dream of. Or better yet, maybe we all to need to pee in a parking lot.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Swim Fan

I watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I watch this show because:
1) it’s fucking awesome
2) it entertains me
3) it’s funny
4) it’s produced by the same woman who helped make The Power Puff Girls
5) flawless animation
6) solid storylines that while are a little corny, are fun to watch
7) wonderful songs
8) to sum it up perfectly, it’s fucking awesome

You can watch all the episodes on Youtube.

I would gladly call myself a fan. I’ve “liked” the official Facebook page, seen all the episodes and I’m currently waiting for the second season to start. I’ve seen fan-made videos, read fanfiction, and after some Googling I’ve even learned the names of some of the lesser (and background) characters.

The best thing about Googling the background characters is I was able to learn some fan-made histories. There is a pony named Derpy Hooves. Derpy is a special pony; she isn’t all there; lost a few marbles; retard. The first time Derpy appeared, she was at a party and her eyes were crossed. Every appearance afterwards, Derpy has done something to further the idea that she is a functioning retard. Some fans have even decided that Derpy has a daughter who loves Derpy and helps care for her.

Another fan favorite is Caramel. Caramel was named by the writers and even has a few lines, but some fans have decided that Caramel is gay and in a relationship with a stallion by the name of Big Macintosh. The fanfiction and fanart for these two are really cute and highly recommended.

Although none of it is true, I loved learning these fan-facts and it makes re-watching episodes more fun. And yet, I would never have thought to name a background character, let alone makeup a history. And herein lies the problem, I’m only a causal fan.

There are some people who love a show/book/movie/anything so much that it becomes a part of their identity. I have a friend who after seeing Lord of the Rings, became obsessed and filled her life with anything LOTR related. To this day whenever I see anything LOTR, I think of her. In middle-school (junior high) a group of friends did the same thing with Pirates of the Caribbean, this time to the point of changing their names to Jack, Will and Swann. Eight years later and two of them still respond to Jack and Will.

But it is not just tv shows/movies/books that I detach from, it’s life experiences too. I put a wall between me and the world, and I have no idea why. I know I keep secrets from people (like not telling my roommate I was gay) because I don’t want to get too close to people. I understand that, you can’t hurt me if you don’t know me.

But take this example. I saw Ellie Goulding in concert in March. The building had two floors, the bottom was directly touching the stage but the top floor had a better view. My friend and I choose the top floor. Before the show, I remember looking down on the first floor and thinking There are two options for this show. 1) I could watch from up here or 2) I could experience it down there.

We ended staying on the second floor and I’ve come to realize that I almost always choose "see" instead of "experience."

I wish I could finish this post with a vow to change, but I seriously have to ask myself if I can? And if possible, do I want to?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

She Threw It Away

When I was in fourth grade, we had an assignment to design a trap for a leprechaun. The trap had to use at least one lever, pulley, or similar mechanisms. I don't remember why, but my uncle helped me (read: all by himself) build a super awesome trap. There was a cage that lowered onto the leprechaun and everything. It was made of wood and we painted a forest scene, complete with a lake with tiny frog figurines. There was ivy, butterflies, and birds perched all around. Seriously, this trap was the fucking shit. And that's me being modest.

After the teacher graded the projects, I took mine home and like all my school projects, gave it to my mom. She put it on top of her desk in her work area and kept it safe for years. Then we lost the house and kept the important things and left what we couldn't carry. She took the trap.

Five years later, my mom moved into a little one bedroom apartment. (I was living with my brother in a two bedroom place at the time) She borrowed a mattress and box spring from my cousin; TV from an uncle; microwave from a second cousin; dishes courtesy of Wal-Mart. For the first couple of weeks, her place didn't have the home-y feel to it because the only decorations my mom had were refrigerators magnets. Don't get me wrong, those letter magnets are worth hours of entertainment, but they're only available in the kitchen.

Then we started getting her stuff out of storage. First was the VHS player and all her tapes (goes to show you how old my mom is) and her curtains. Then a bookshelf and boxes of novels. Pictures, posters, board games, etc. And finally the leprechaun trap, which was placed on her bed's headrest.

A year and a half later, my brother joined the marines, I have an empty bedroom, can't afford the rent and my mom spends all her time at my place anyways. So she moved in with me. (It's important to note that she moved in with me, not the other way around.) This is the third time in seven years my mom has moved. During the move, I kept asking my mom why we couldn't throw some of this stuff away, especially the trap and the board games. What use did they have? She refused and somehow made room for nearly everything she had.

Then, earlier this week, one of my dogs knocked the trap off the table and it broke. I was not home, so my mom picked up the pieces and threw them away. I only found it because I was taking the trash out and noticed a piece of trap in the bin. When I asked my mom why it was there, she explained what happened.

The trash man comes in three hours, and it's taking all of my will power not go digging for that leprechaun trap. It is pointless, but for some weird reason I want it and it hurts to think that it'll be in a landfill outside of town soon. But now I understand why my mom wants to keep all those board games.

It's not that we might play with them again someday, it's that we played with them once. They remind her of happier times and who am I to question if she can keep her memories?

Friday, April 29, 2011

What School Taught Me

I know what a gerund is*. I actually learned that this semester in one of my classes.

Why does this matter? Why am I starting a blog post about gerunds?

I'm not sure. Recently, I've been thinking about why I am in college and whether or not going to debt is worth it. Some of the classes I'm taking this semester are kind of pointless, at least to me there are. I like Law & Ethics, but I doubt that I'll use anything I've learned in this class in my life. For two reasons:

1. I knew a fair amount of the material covered from previous classes.
2. It's Law & Ethics. I don't know how to work the definition of pornography into everyday conversation.

The same principal can be applied to Writing for Media, News Writing, Grammar & Style, and Global Village. Not to say I didn't learn something in each of those classes, just not something that's going to help me in the foreseeable future. The only thing I learned was a few tidbits of pocket trivia (including gerunds!).

At least that's what I thought at first. I've come to realize that maybe these classes are not pointless. G&S has taught me about who I am as a writer. Global Village taught me more about my values than how other countries use media. And let's not forget the socialization I learning.

Ever since I left high school I have become awkward and shy. This semester I've pushed myself to not sit alone in my room and to talk with people. Overall, I think I've done a good job. Made some new friends, looked at boys, went to sports events to actually see the game (crazy I know).

So I've gone $30,000 in debt for intangible things. And here's the best part: I'm adding two more years and $60,000 before I'm done. I have second thoughts, but not regrets.


*A gerund is when a verb with the -ing ending is acting like a noun. Ex: Matt likes being a musician.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sometimes, I can't believe how much I love the English language. Or more correctly, how much I love words/thoughts/ideas/feelings/life.

I love writing, creating something out of the thoughts floating around in my head. to form that perfect sentence is like a summer's kiss in light rain. There are so many choices, that finding that words that fit perfectly together can be so overwhelmingly daunting that I back away from writing. Of course, that's the worst thing to do. My idea didn't go away because I didn't know how to express it. It's still there and it still wants to be heard.

I realized that it's this trait that makes me judge art the way I do. Songs need lyrics; movies need dialogue. Books get off the easiest. Write one perfect sentence and I'll remember your book. I'll never forget The Forest of Hands and Teeth because of one idea the writer shares.

"When you hear the constant screaming, you get use to it. You stop looking for it, and when you hear it, you just shrug it off. Life is normal."

It was a zombie book that sucked. The main character is a whinny bitch that didn't deserve to live. But I liked the idea that we get so use to something that despite it being fatal, we just accept it. It's so true.

I finished another chapter in my a book of short stories I'm writing. I'm proud of myself. Of course, I'm working at a ridiculously slow pace, but I have hope for this one. I'm tired of giving up on ideas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not.

This semester, a new dorm and dining hall opened on campus. Students have generally accepted this new dining hall as THE dining hall and people crowd the tables every night. Students will fill up their plates, eat half and throw the rest away. In an effort to cut down on the waste, the school has put up a board that tracks how many pounds of waste each day, and a bin with food bits in it.

Now, I understand not eating something because you don't like it, and I greatly encourage trying new things, even if you're not sure how it'll taste. But I've seen students eat half a burger, and throw the rest away. I once saw a girl take three licks off an ice cream cone (that she made herself) and throw the rest away. It's as if some of these people think the food supply is never ending.

Last December I decided that I would stop throwing away food, or at least cut back. Something that I'm proud to say as been extremely easy. First, I cut back on portions. This has actually made me healthier. Now when I finish a meal, I sit back let my stomach decide if it's full or not and act accordingly.

But food isn't the only waste I've seen at Salem State. My apartment mates constantly leave the television and lights on. Once again, I understand the need to have background sound playing and not wanting to wake up to a dark house, but I find it all unnecessary. Right now, I have the light in my room on, and my laptop charging. That's it. My cell phone charger is unplugged and only gets plugged in when I need it. Same with my iPod and battery chargers.

Energy and food are expensive. Let's all hold hands and try not to waste it. Or at least grow up and act like adults who give a fuck.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A look around my room

I moved into dorms this January. I packed the night before, and excluding my flip-flops, I have everything I need (oh and food, but that's not what I meant).

I have my beddings (pillows, blankets, sheets, etc), clothes, personal hygiene (toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, foot cream, etc.) and student necessities (backpack, binders, pencils, etc). But that's something every student has. This post is about the items that won't help me in college, but I NEEDED them.

First thing I packed was my cameras. I'm a journalist, so I need these. A digital camera that I love, but is getting old. And a flip camera that I almost never use. I also brought little notepads, as those are easier to carry than notebooks. Pretty simple.

Next, a calendar, batteries, various chargers, iPod, and an address book. Self-explanatory.

Third, my winter gloves and scarf. Also self-explanatory, but I choose my TMNT gloves, not because they work (they're fingerless and thin as air) but because they remind me to be myself. My scarf is actually a toga slash turned into a scarf. That came because I wanted my roommate to know I'm a little bit of an old ball.

Fourth, books and a deck of cards. To fight boredom. These ones are failing at their jobs. I finished all the books, and I'm too shy to ask my roommates to play with me. Hopefully, this will get better, but I doubt it. Once a pattern sets in, it's in for life.

Fifth, a blow-up desktop zombie. This is because I love zombies, and because my sister gave him to me. He reminds me of her, but he also tells me that life is definite and if I don't act now, I'll lose my chance. I have a skull bead that does the same thing, but I don't have it up yet.

Sixth, is my book journal. Every time I finish a book, I update the journal with the title, author, and a small review. This primarily is to prove to myself that I can maintain a project for more than three months. But it also reminds me of my past. It tells me where I've been, and where I'd like to go. Mostly in a literary sense, but still it's a focal point if I ever need one.

Seventh, a framed painting. This one is special because I wrote the poem that the painting is modeled after. The painting was part of an art show where artists would draw something based on poems, and writers would writer something based on paintings. It was wonderful to do and I was breathless when I saw the painting inspired by my poem. This reminds me that I'm creative, smart and a bit of a dork. I love it.

Almost last is my graduation cap's fluffy thing. The fluffy thing is so important to who I am. I dropped out of high school when I was 16. I eventually graduated from a high school in 2009 because of a wonderful program that picked me up and saved my broken spirit. Don't ever think of high school drop out as dumb, no we're just lost. I'd given up on my future, but that fluffy thing reminds me of miracles and tells of impossible hopes come true.

But my favorite (and last item) is a friendship bracelet made by a friend. It's rather simple in design. Blue and orange thread wrapped around itself and knotted to hold it in place. Too small to fit o my wrist without braking, and definitely too fragile to see the outside world, but this bracelet is my heart. It reminds me that people out there love me for me. Not what I can do for them, not because we are family, not because 'destined for greatness' but because I simply exist. Because they're glad I breathe. And while it has not had to yet, I know that love will keep me afloat in the coming storms.

My whole life fit in four plastic containers, but I know they were brimming to the surface.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I am so horny, it's sad.

I'm a virgin.

At 20, my only experience with anything sexual is one kiss and constant masturbation. Now you might be thinking that this honorable; saving myself for someone I love, maybe even marriage.

Only problem with that idea is I'm a guy. Now you think I'm pathetic. What if I told I was gay? That makes it worse? Yeah, I agree.

Let's talk (I'll fill in your parts)

I don't think people should just fuck everyone they see. And I certainly don't like the raise in teen pregnancy. But I think we can all agree it's sad that the only sexual adventures I've had was a kiss from a girl, and she's a huge tease who kisses everyone. Plus there was no tongue and it barely lasted 3 seconds.


Well, I grew up in a small town, where homosexuality wasn't really talked about. I don't think the town would have stoned me, but we definitely didn't have any parades. Combined with the fact that I stereotypical like older, buff, men and my choices were limited. Besides, no one wants to fuck a fat 15 year old.

But when I was 16 I moved to a big city...near a military the South. Talk about a double-helping of intolerance. I only told one person, and it was terrifying. I had good reason to stay in the closet though. A classmate once said that she wanted "all the fags round up and burned." (Not to me, we were having a class discussion when she said it)

Unsurprisingly, I came back home less than a year later. Two years later, I moved to Boston for an internship. Being in a city that is well known for its gayness, you'd think I could found someone to hit this. Not so. While I was there, someone actually told me that I was "going to burn in hell." I respond with, "at least I'm having fun getting there." Went back to my apartment and cried in the bathroom until my roommate came home.

Internship ended and I was back in Small Town (refer to paragraph 5).

But location isn't the only problem. First, I'm awkward and insecure. Pretty boys make me dumb. My lips melt together, refusing to let me say anything in fear it'll sound stupid. Next, my eyes, which crave to see naked glory, stare (which makes everyone uncomfortable). Lastly, gays are worse than girls, and I'm far from attractive and I have no idea what self-worth feels like.

But it's not only that. Sex makes me nervous. Alone in my room, I can post this, no problem. Ask me about my sex life, I'll blush, stutter something incomprehensive, and quickly change the subject. It doesn't stop at talking though. I walk up two levels of my building to use a vending machine.

How is that relative?

Well, the vending machine two doors down from me, has condoms. I'm so freaked out by the idea of sex, that I only use that machine when its past 3 a.m. and even then, I run back to my door after I get my candy (usually M&Ms).

Point of all this?

I have a tentative date this weekend. He had an ad on craigslist (yes, I'm so goddamn fucked up that I had to find a guy on the internet), so if I don't post anything for a week, call the police.

He's probably killed and ate me by then, but I'm young and gay and (once again) in a gay-friendly city. That's prime news, and dying young is the only way to become a legend.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In a Certain Slant

Recently, I had the option to recite one of my poems in public, but I choose not to. I told myself that as a reporter, I couldn't interact; had to stay neutral. But even before I was assigned to cover the event, I thought I'd like to go, but I won't read.

It's not rejection I fear. I've had that my whole life. No, I think I fear acceptance. I couldn't risk someone understanding my poem. Can I handle giving a piece of myself to a stranger? And if someone takes it, will I ever get it back? And worse yet, will they love it like I did?

Maybe I just want to be special. Isn't that what the teachers have always told us? "You're unique." "Don't be afraid to be yourself," and all that other crap. And how can I be special if a complete stranger understands me? Then there's the true fear, what if I'm not special? What if, I am just average?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Start Is Really an Old Begining

It's 2:30 and I'm about to start a blog. I don't know why. Wait, yes I do. It's because of hyperbole and a half and because I just drank some milk. Maybe I should explain.

Hyperbole is a wonderful and humorous blog. Go read it. Done? Good.
I was just reading about how Allie was arrested and how she coined the phase "mandatory sex party" and it made me think why don't I have crazy adventures?

Just as I was about to dive into some truly epic melancholy, my body screamed, "I'm thirsty! I'm thirsty! Get me something to drink! RIGHT NOW" So to please the beast, I went to my kitchenette and poured myself a glass of milk. Just when I was about to go back into my room, one of my apartment-mates (I have 5) comes out and asks if I was having a late night snack.

Originally, I was only going to have the glass of milk, but the mention of food made me hungry. I mumbled yes, opened a cabinet and grabbed the first thing I could: Chocolate covered granola balls. Being the creative soul (read: weird) that I am I poured the balls into my milk, thinking it'll be just like chocolate milk!

It's not.

How does this explained the blog? Simply, I missed having one from my emo teen years, and I wanted to share that chocolate granola bars in milk =/ chocolate milk.

You're Welcome.