A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

31 December 2010

So this is the new year.

I'm not writing a New Year's post this time.

I've done it-- like most people do-- every year for the past seven or eight years, but don't intend on giving my half-formulated hopes and sad middle-class disappointments the chance to rot away in the blogosphere this year. This has been a wonderful year full of new friends, experiences, and achievements, and this upcoming year looks to be even better. I'm not setting goals because I've learned that if you just keep plowing along, goals you never knew to set fulfill themselves.

And so, in this spirit, I leave this as my one hope for the next year: That I really live it. That I meet its challenges with an almost aggressive aplomb, that I love every moment and cherish it all because it's life and I only get one to cherish. I know that if I do these things, I will meet every goal and surpass every aspiration. Life will take care of itself. It's the living I have to watch out for.

I leave for England in less that a week. Let's do this.

19 December 2010


Got engaged last night! Might post the story, but right now I'm enjoying the holiday and spending time with friends, family, and my new fiance(!).

14 December 2010

Buried beneath the work.

So, you know, I'm just clawing my way through finals week, hoping that my As come out intact and my other grades... well, I just hope they're as good as I can make them. I've got a killer Chaucer exam in a few hours that determines 40% of my total grade for the class. Which, considering how well I've done in Chaucer thus far, should not pose much of a threat to my A+. However, this exam is two 4 page essays and ten paragraph-long "short answer identifications." Ha.

May hope spring eternal.

04 December 2010

A Cold Weather Man.

I realize that I must live somewhere cold, somewhere it snows. People up here tell me that I'll get tired of it, that it really is irritating, blah blah blah, and perhaps they're right, but not right now. I love snow. It transforms wherever you are into a different place.

I like to think of U of I as three campuses: warm weather, autumn, and snow. The warm weather U of I has a pretty fun atmosphere-- lots of people on the quad flying kites, sunbathing, and playing frisbee. The campus population seems to multiply, and one can't help but notice that suddenly every girl owns at least one flattering sundress. It looks like this, basically:

The autumn U of I brings with it football games, my birthday, and Halloween, but its beauty is hit-or-miss. Champaign-Urbana can have brilliant leaves for a time, but then one big storm comes flying down the prairie, and all the leaves get blasted off the trees. No-pants make an unfortunate appearance during this time, as do a proliferation of UGG boots and North Face jackets. As you can see, it is also often wet during this time:

Snow U of I comes to clothe the barren landscape, but sadly not the no-pants. The UGGs remain, as does all the North Face. Despite these clothing tragedies, snow U of I is easily my favorite version of campus. The population appears to shrink, basketball has gotten in full swing, and everything just looks so pretty (and there's Christmas!). I'll give you two shots of this one, just because I like it more:

01 December 2010

Testament to change.

I'm starting to like Melville. This development in my personal taste has come as a shock even to myself. I nearly invented an imaginary friend simply to tell him about it.

Not sure I can muster enough willpower to plow through Moby Dick, but I've really enjoyed his Piazza Tales, which are surprisingly deeper than I had expected. I can tell that he wrote intentionally, with the idea that his works should and would be subject to scrutiny and analysis. The way he constructs his narrative always seems to toy with different modes-- poetry, prose, charts, graphs, etc.-- that he weaves together like clues for the reader to follow. I like that. It appeals to the English major inside of me.

As if I needed a way of marking college's profound affect on my life, here is yet another marker. Touche, university, touche.

28 November 2010

Back to the grind.

Oh, how I wish tomorrow would not arrive. I don't want to go back to school, I don't want to go back to night after night with little sleep as I slave over papers and projects, I don't want to shower in a cubby, and I don't want to have to marshal piles of quarters simply to do a load of laundry. I've had a great break, I really have, and I feel that it was just starting to get going by the time it reached its end.

Alas, I suppose that's the stuff of life. But anyway, I'm not all sad about returning to school; I don't even mind the work so much as I mind the means by which it must get done. Less than three weeks from now, I'll be right back here in my room, ready to celebrate Christmas with my family. Carly will have arrived from her stint overseas, and I'll be bristling with excitement as I prepare to head over for my own time abroad. So I suppose I shouldn't complain-- a full plate is certainly preferable to no plate at all.

Now, to sleep...

17 November 2010

Tchaikovsky and coffee.

I'm having one of those days where I wake up scatter-brained, and attempt for a few hours to focus on my work, but then fail because I can't remember what I needed to get done or why it was important in the first place and then I realize I lack any sense of urgency but for some reason am restless and then I don't know what to do with myself. I also write egregious run-on sentences.

I cannot express how much I need a break. I mean, I pulled SIX all-nighters in the month of October alone. If we're sticking with statistics here, that's two more times than I had pulled them in my entire life up to that point. So, aside from being physically exhausted, I'm running out of intellectual energy as well. Unfortunately, this last problem has embodied itself in my two major research papers that I have been writing-- both of which have not turned out well.

As I've said before, I've got some really great news to share in the upcoming weeks. More on those things as they occur...

11 November 2010

I think I'm on to something...

This will be quick and hastily written.

Well, I know I promised that gigantic life-update of a blog, and have certainly failed at delivering it. Yet the reason isn't neglect, but that so much keeps happening in my life that the blog keeps growing larger and larger. Thus, I propose a change in format-- instead of penning one post to rule them all, I will just shoot some quick announcements via this blog as I have the time, as my presence on here needs to grow along with the great happenings of my life.

First announcement, then: I am definitely, totally, for sure going to be studying at the University of York next semester! Naturally, I'm looking forward to it; spending six months steeping in Medieval and Early Renaissance sites while soaking up all of the UK I can... seriously? What's not to like about that.

Second announcement: I continue to waffle on my vocational plans. Part of my hope for my time in England is that I can spend some time reflecting on this, as one of them (BIG ANNOUNCEMENT HERE) has me going to graduate school not for my M.A., but for an M.Div with the intention of taking Holy Orders and entering the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. Been going through the discernment process for this, working closely with Fr. Alan Herbst here in Champaign, who has been a wonderful mentor to me during this time of transition and decision-making. Still want to get my PhD though... and not in Theology.

Third announcement: I've really been stepping up my involvement with Interfaith in Action here on campus. As Facebook will tell you, I had the opportunity to attend an IFYC leadership conference hosted by the White House at Georgetown University. Made loads of new friends, lost my voice for two weeks, and bought a Hoyas t-shirt. Look for some great things happening before the first of the year (some pretty awesome things are afoot).

18 September 2010

Where am I, you ask?

I know that this post will go largely unnoticed, especially since whatever limited readership this blog carried disappeared once I stopped posting regularly. However, once my busy schedule lets up a bit, I will finish putting together what will be the most mind-blowing (both in size and content) pieces I have ever put on the internet. It will attempt to update everyone on some very important aspects of my life that I have kept quite private until recently. For now, I leave you with this meager update:

This semester has proven incredibly taxing. My workload is double that of last year, and I spend the majority of my time sloughing through Latin translations and short papers on the American Gothic as a literary form. Yet I have still managed to enjoy this semester more than almost any before it. I maintain an active schedule, serving in leadership positions in two organizations on campus, InterVarsity and InterFaith (not related, despite the shared "Inter" prefix.) Through my involvement with them, I have made many new and wonderful friendships. My Fighting Illini are actually playing some football this year, which has made going to games a lot more enjoyable. I have devoted more time to writing this year than last, despite my full schedule, and have also spent a lot more time reading for pleasure and intellectual enrichment (isn't that what school is supposed to do?) which has played a significant part in reclaiming my writing.

And, perhaps best of all, I turn 21 in less than two weeks.

24 July 2010

Disillusioned by disillusionment.

This morning I read through a book by art historian Francoise Barbe-Gall entitled  How to Talk to Children About Art. Its description from the blurb on the back cover: "... this guide anticipates how kids will react to paintings by artists as diverse as Botticelli, Vermeer, Degas, Chagall, and Pollock. Questions and answers about 30 famous paintings provide historical background, explain genres such as still life and portrait, and demystify religious and mythological themes." These "questions and answers" are broken into three color-coded sections per painting-- one for 5-7 yrs, one for 8-10 yrs, and one for 11-13+ yrs. To be fair, this book actually did manage to untangle basic queries children (or anyone) have about art while also providing a nice bit of historical context, which, in the end, amounted to a very accessible resource for those wishing to explore the basics of art appreciation. However, I'm not so sure she always did the best job "anticipating" the various questions children will ask, especially when it came to the 11-13+ age bracket.

For instance, when discussing Jackson Pollock's No. 3, Tiger, she anticipates the 13 yr. old to ask, "Is the painting really supposed to mean something?" This I think to be a perfectly sensible question. Her response:
At the time when Pollock was working, around World War II, the painting styles then current no longer had any meaning for him. Nothing would have been able to give the feeling of disarray, collapse, with the kind of force he wanted to convey. He couldn't paint actual things breaking down and disappearing because he felt lost in a world where he could no longer recognize anything. But he kept on searching. The painting does not represent ruins: it actually is chaos itself. Everything seems thrown into confusion, lifted here, there, everywhere, without any respite, by the inexhaustible energy of the painting.
Okay, fair enough. But wouldn't a 13 yr old ask Why? Why didn't the current styles hold any meaning for him? Why couldn't he paint things breaking down? Why did he feel lost? Why couldn't he recognize anything? (And what does that mean, exactly?) What did he "[keep] on searching" for? Did he find it?

Instead of answering these questions-- or "anticipating" them-- the page is left blank. Our author moves on to Yves Klein's Untitled Blue Monochrome, an equally enigmatic piece, though in its simplicity rather than its complexity (it is just a solid blue rectangle), and leaves Pollock alone. This lack of explanation has come to characterize for me the language of modernity (and of its over-used progeny, post-modernism). Everyone is disillusioned, thrown into chaos, unstable, etc. etc., though no one in any of my English classes (the source of most of my encounters with both movements) has told me why. I can understand someone who has endured the horrors of a World War (as Pollock had) could become bleak in their outlook toward humanity's future, but often no explanation is given for this notion of the world, which turns the very concept into an abstraction itself. I was once told that the reason TS Eliot wrote The Wasteland was because he was "disillusioned with the growth of cities, and with city life in general" because there were so many people and none of them knew one another. No more was said about it, though we spent a great deal of time discussing how Eliot masterfully plays with form, language, and symbolism to drive home this idea of "disillusionment." And I am left to wonder about this characterization of an age. Did everyone feel this way? Did hearing German spoken in a London cafe really have such a profound effect on people? Does it today?

I know the world is complex. I know it is depressing. I know we have (oftentimes severe) issues and problems. I know nuclear holocaust is possible. It has been a reality since the day I entered the earth from the warmth of my mother's womb. But I must ask: Am I disillusioned because I don't understand disillusionment? I know it comes across as being uncultured to admit that one doesn't "get it," but I'm truly curious. I appreciate modern art, I enjoyed Ms. Barbe-Gall's book, and I think The Wasteland is a work of pure brilliance. But sometimes my mind goes on tangents like this one...

08 July 2010

There is no time for updating when life is going on.

Though my absence from this blog may suggest otherwise, I actually have much to tell. More has happened in these past weeks than (arguably) at any other time in my life; I have plumbed the depths of disbelief and relished the surest faith, I have contemplated and considered, I have run there and back, I have asked and answered, and in so doing have come to a wonderful understanding of the powerful implications held in the word "vocation." It is this last bit which has transformed me most. Yet it is also this last bit which I feel least comfortable divulging within this blog (at least, not yet).

I will say only this: I was both right and wrong when it came to my stubborn insistence regarding my career. It has become both more and less.

I know that being cryptic is irritating, so I will stop. Just know that what has taken place these past weeks has changed me forever, and is perhaps the culmination of a journey that began 7 July 2007 at a very late hour in my pool in Franklin. I will divulge more as I feel it appropriate.

08 June 2010

Morning's glories.

For quite some time, I have missed the morning. I haven't overslept (I wish I had!), nor have I been away from it somehow; I've participated in it, I've gotten up and had my coffee, I've watched the news, etc., etc. But I have not reveled in it. I have not enjoyed it as I used to do. For many years, morning was my favorite time of day-- I loved the stillness, the quiet, the semidarkness just before the sun crests over the horizon. I loved drinking my tea (or, of late, my coffee) and letting my body wake from dreaming. Mornings were, in a way, magical to me. They were the genesis of a new day. It was as if God Himself came down and hovered in the steam above my mug, and played in the dew on the grass or the mist in the Tennessee air.

But this past year has been different.

Mornings have simply become a means to and end. They morphed into a time for cramming as much caffeine into my system as possible before jumping into the shower, dressing, and running out the door to head for campus and the day's activities. This was and is a sad regression. I don't know what brought it on: a change in scenery perhaps? A change in habit? Perhaps.

Now, having finally moved out of my apartment on W. Clark St. in Champaign, I feel I have started over. I have hit a metaphorical "Reset" button that has taken me to a time before this year-- before college, even-- and to a place where mornings are once again calming and reflective. I write all of this to point out that this "return of morning" is quite appropriate and much welcomed for me. It has come with other things as well-- I've been reading voraciously, writing more, and sleeping (a bit) more.

My life seems to have returned to me.

27 May 2010


... are so much fun.

08 May 2010

My, my...

I can't believe it's already exam week. I feel like spring break only just ended, I feel like I have so much time, so much opportunity-- but, I don't. I'm done. My cards are on the table, and if my hand sucks, then, well, I'm just out of luck. My mind cannot comprehend the fact that in less that one week, I will be a junior in college. A junior. Was it really that long ago when I was a junior in high school, when we were having pool parties in my backyard, when my car still had only twenty thousand miles on it?

...how the time simply flies.

03 May 2010

Lost my voice.

After trying to convince everyone I know up here in the Midwest/Chicagoland that Nashville and Franklin are the greatest places on earth-- after defending them against those who think Nashville is nothing but a conglomeration of rednecks-- it pains me to see the most beautiful place on earth become God's mud puddle. I know this isn't Katrina, this isn't Haiti, this isn't a giant oil spill that threatens the marine life of the Gulf Coast, but it is my home, and I will forever wish the best for it. I spent some of the greatest times of my life making memories in many of the places that now find themselves submerged under dirty water (LP Field, the Opryland Hotel, even the Sonic on 96). My prayers don't feel sufficient right now; I want to be there to help. I want a magical Sham-wow to soak everything up and put things right.

I love you Nashvegas, and I hope to see you back to your old self real soon.

01 May 2010

UMich and Mr. President.

There are times when my Illinois Loyalty sneaks up on me. For instance, UMich has Barack Obama as their Commencement speaker, and the first thing I thought was: "We better outdo that."

Now, one cannot really "outdo" something like a Commencement address; it's a speech, after all. (And more than that, it's a speech with a predetermined message/goal: to inspire graduates, kick-off the rest of their lives, etc.) But that didn't stop my orange and blue blood from leaping in my veins.

I'm one more step toward total indoctrination. And I'm enjoying it.

27 April 2010


I know repeat this often, but please spare me your criticism: I do a poor job of keeping this blog up-to-date.

I mean, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece about my Ebertfest experience, but only got as far as putting it in the "Draft" folder before going to bed and vowing to edit it in the morning. Obviously, I have not made much progress in editing it, as it still has not made its way out of the Draft folder and onto my homepage. I am often torn when it comes to blog posts, as I feel that while I generally have something to say, I would rather do my ideas justice than have them be deposited in vulgarized form on this blog. Thus, I have many Word Doc files with half-typed papers on all sorts of things, but a blog containing nothing. (I am re-writing a novel forheavensake). I'm not someone who advocates half-baked theologies or poorly-penned philosophies-- if you want to write a treatise, then do so, but please don't post it on Blogger or Wordpress. When I see your spelling mistakes and errors in syntax, it degrades whatever you are trying to say (which, many times, cannot be adequately said in something you are by nature trying to condense into blog form anyway). I find it only fair that, if I criticize others for doing these things, then I shouldn't do them myself.  So, what should I do? My life is often too boring to simply offer updates, which is why I also neglect my Twitter account. If anyone reads this and would like to offer some suggestions, I would be more than happy to consider them.

Until then.

14 April 2010

Vita mihi mortuus est.

I'm in a bit of a caffeine haze, so this post may not represent my writing at its most eloquent; however, I have a few spare minutes, and thought that an update was in order. I just got out of yet another advising meeting (met w/ Prof. Layton of the Religion Dept. last week about my Medieval Studies stuff) where I discovered just how much I will have to cram into the next two years in order to graduate well. And by "graduate well," I mean "graduate with honors." In addition to studying abroad (which may or may not set me back credit-wise), I will have to take three honors seminars on top of an Independent Study in which I will write my senior honors thesis. To avoid having to take all three honors seminars Fall of my senior year, I must find a way to make one fit into next semester's already tight schedule. This has proven difficult.

I've also been trying to dedicate myself to my writing--establishing goals, that sort of thing-- which has seen only nominal success. I must dedicate myself to strive once again for near perfection. Last post, I mentioned how I felt run down, depleted. In my last line, I wrote that I desperately needed something to "wake me up." Perhaps this upcoming year will act as the catalyst to fuel my faltering life. If nothing else, it will force me to get my head back in the game, to cull my true priorities from the empty obligations, and to pursue once more the goals I have set for myself.

12 April 2010

Ad infinitum.

This seems like something I would have posted six years ago, back when I routinely deposited my emotional vomit in my Xanga page. (That's my way of apologizing for whatever is about to spill out onto this entry.) But here I am, midway through my 20th year of living on this earth, and I am no less restless than I was when I was a quiet 10 year old, or a 14 year old with dreams too big for reality, or a 16 year old who was still afraid of kissing girls because he had been fat once, and we all know what that can do to you-- unlike times before, where I felt that my restlessness could propel me somewhere, I now feel a terrific weight of apathy suffocate my will to fight. Back in the days of Xanga, I would go on and on about how I felt depressed about things or worried about things or beleaguered by nothing at all, but at the end of each post I would end with some terrifically sentimental statement about how, despite my recent setbacks, I would triumph against that faceless foe I deemed life (or adolescence, etc.) and move closer to some nebulous concept I called "destiny." And while my hormones have stopped raging around like they once did,  I still find myself on nights like this one with a feeling of restlessness so deep I almost think it will consume me and compress my being into utter annihilation. (Dramatic, huh?) But I do not seek melodrama. The thing that troubles me is not my moodiness, but rather my lack of it. I appear completely nonplussed at this bouts of frustration; where they once yielded great bursts of creativity, they now putter out like a weak flame placed in a rainstorm. They once produced pages of a novel, now they don't even so much as whisper to world. What's worst about all this is that I ache for creative output. But because of my odd suppressed self, nothing comes out when I sit down to write. Nothing happens when I stop and try to think. There was a glorious time where I could lose myself in my own thoughts, and before I knew it I would be so deep in my dreams that I could hardly get out. Though I know it produced some real rubbish (like my Xanga entries, for instance), it also brought me simple pleasures and profound progress. I don't want numbness to become my new pattern from which to hew a life.

I need something to wake me up.

06 April 2010

Where does the time go?

I must admit, I do not keep up this blog as attentively as I should; however, that is not to say I haven't had good intentions. Hundreds of times a day I think to myself "I should post that thought on my blog!" but then none of those thoughts ever make it that far. Instead, they usually fall back into the recesses of my mind, and then are lost. Oops. I promise I'll get back into updating this. Perhaps I'll even have something interesting to say.

I cannot help but feel that this year has rushed past me. What had begun last summer as a considerable mound of hopes and expectations has now dissolved into something else. I thought that I would be starting a new life here; instead, I was simply leaving a former one. I thought I would encounter a time of unparalleled personal progress, but instead met a season of intense personal difficulty. What I had constructed for this academic year is difficult to articulate-- I had in mind a soul-saving experience that would alter the course of things for the better. I imagined a richer life, a time to recharge and revive. And, though in a roundabout way, I suppose that is what I got. I'll certainly never be the same for what this year has done to me, and I'll even venture to say that I'm better for it. However, I did not expect that 'wiping the slate clean' hurt so much.

I must have grabbed sandpaper by mistake.

Yet I've enjoyed it. Though it hasn't always been pleasant, this year has still been rather good. My desire is to live these next few weeks to their fullest and enter the summer with something I haven't experienced in years: a fresh spirit. Here's to the morning, warmer weather, and good coffee. Here's to--

18 March 2010

Been well, thanks.

I am now one exam away from Spring Break 2010, and, I have to admit, my mind is fighting to be one step ahead of me. Ha. But I have put in some serious study hours for this test (about nine over the past two days), so if I do poorly, it will be from inattentiveness rather than lack of preparation. Prō certō, dē Latinā est. (I think that was right...)

This time tomorrow, I will be preparing to leave for Nashville/Franklin, which will mark the first time I've been back since leaving last year for my parent's house outside Chicago. I'm sure I'll get a bit emotional; it's just been that kind of year. That's not to say, however, that I'm not enjoying my life here in Champaign. On the contrary, I am absolutely LOVING being at the U of I. I genuinely feel that this is the school I am meant to attend. But I grew up in Nashville. I lived there for 75% of my total lifespan. It is a special place to me, and I cannot express how excited I am to be returning for a week. Nashville was chosen over Cancun as our family's Spring Break vacation destination, if that tells you anything about our desire to go back for a bit. Ha. So, in honor of the occasion, I am drinking my coffee out of my Bongo Java mug this morning.

A more disturbing bit of news: my hair is definitely on its way out. Every day when I look in  the mirror I notice I look more and more like Jude Law, which is the first time in history I have ever NOT wanted to look like Jude Law.

13 March 2010

Mox pacem habebo.

My attempt at humor in last entry was not well received. (Then again, it did average the same number of comments that my posts usually accumulate, so perhaps I should count it as a success.)

I haven't updated in awhile; with midterms, papers to write, studying to do, etc. & etc., I have not had an opportunity to do very much of anything. I am short of words this morning, and so I will refrain from using many.

Spring break is (thank God!) less than a week away. I couldn't be more thrilled. Having a bit of time to rest will feel heavenly after the madness of this past week and a half.

Looking forward to seeing you again, Franklin/Nashville. Oh, how I've missed those verdant hills...

23 February 2010

Secret Life of the American College Student, Season 1 Outline

Episode 1: Opens with our Protagonist (that's his name for now) at Ikea, shopping for dorm furniture. He is excited for the upcoming year, though his mom keeps badgering him about spending so much money at Ikea when he could just go to Walmart and buy the same things for slightly less money. He tells her not to worry, saying that they will also spend plenty of money at Walmart, too. Then, the frame fades to a shot of our Protagonist, now sweaty and irritated, as he loads a U-Haul with all of the things he bought at Ikea. Episode ends on a hopeful note after our Protagonist has finally moved in and his family has left. Animal Collective plays in the background, because white people really like that. Especially white people who are in college.

Episode 2: Tragedy strikes when our Protagonist goes to buy his textbooks and discovers they cost nearly half of his entire tuition. Now without money (but a bunch of heavy books), our Protagonist must attend numerous "Get to Know You" events on campus simply to get free food.

Episode 3: First day of class. The horrors of Episode 2 behind him, our Protagonist once again looks forward to new opportunities, new classes, and meeting new people. Yet, after breakfast, due to an unscheduled poo brought on by all the free food, he misses the bus and is thus late for class. Also, he now has a clogged toilet to contend with (a sad effect of the poo) and no plunger with which to unclog it. Will our Protagonist pull through!? We don't find out yet because the producers cruelly make you wait until Episode 4 for the resolution. Coldplay drones in the background as the credits roll, because, as before, white people really like that.

Episode 4: With the poo problem resolved, our Protagonist must begin his first homework assignments of the semester: reading three novels and writing a five page paper. The rest of the episode shows our Protagonist on Facebook.

Due to low ratings and the suicide of one of the show's writers, the network decides to cancel Secret Life of the American College Student just four episodes into its run. Too bad, really, because Episode 5 would have been so worth it: our Protagonist goes to Walmart for food, and then buys four 2-liters of Diet Cherry 7-Up simply because they were on sale, only to find out later that they were on sale because Diet Cherry 7-Up tastes like bad kid's vitamins. He leaves with pretzels, a copy of Die Hard, and his four 2-liters of Diet Cherry 7-Up.

18 February 2010

A new series: Secret Life of the American College Student.

Forget depictions of high school drama. Forget portrayals of raucous college parties where everyone runs around in their underwear while a handful of super-inebriated sorority sisters pass out on the lawn. Forget about stoners in a dimly lit apartment littered with pizza crusts, Xbox controllers, and porn. I'm talking about something even more secret than that-- actual people.

In order to demonstrate just how thrilling and controversial their lives really are, I'll be posting with my ideas for episodes of this exciting new show (coming to no networks everywhere). Look forward to it.

11 February 2010

Am I this addicted?

I think it's official: I'm physically addicted to caffeine. Either that, or I am just so monumentally exhausted that it has ceased to have any effect on me. This morning, I plowed through nearly six cups of coffee before I even left my apartment, and am almost certain to make a trip to the Espresso Royal later on in the day.

Admittedly, I am not proud of this. My body aches for sleep, which I don't fully understand since I have been getting anywhere from 7-9 hrs of it per night (much better than last semester). My mental acuity is really suffering; in fact, I'm struggling to even formulate these sentences right now. I'm so tired that, even after having ingested those six cups of coffee, I could still go back to bed and sleep till noon with little problem.

ASHHHSOAIFAOSIJD. Does anybody have some insight?

08 February 2010

Not doing so well on updates, am I?

After pledging that I would keep this blog up-to-date, life got the better of me, and my posts tapered off. But alas! One should not fear-- I'll be posting on here whether anyone reads it or not! (Wait... that doesn't sound very appealing.)

This past weekend was Intervarsity's Winter Retreat. I had an amazing time, and it was a privilege to serve on the worship team (felt like old times, actually)! I have been completely stunned by everyone's kindness to me. They have accepted me into the fold to the point that I feel I have known many of them for much longer than I actually have. I deeply respect the Illinois chapter of IV for truly living out their faith, lending practical application to something that can often exist solely as a closed social club for Jesus.

Also, the Saints first Super Bowl victory was much deserved. I felt sad for Peyton Manning, but he'll get another turn next year, as he always does. Plus, the Saints played a great game-- nothing was handed to them-- and for all that they represent for the city of New Orleans, it was a victory that meant so much more than a shiny trophy and a trip to Disney World. Geaux Saints.

And finally, my Fighting Illini pulled off a spectacular win against Michigan State on Saturday. ESPN Gameday was on hand, the country was watching, and (for the first time in my short career here) we did not disappoint! GO ILLINI.

26 January 2010

My spin.

Not that any of you (provided a "you" even exists) actually read the article that I posted in my last entry; however, here is my abbreviated opinion on it.

I resent the proclamation of "death" attributed to the Humanities for this reason: it shows an ignorance and apathy that reaches beyond the pathetic and into the ridiculous. Just because a particular thing is in the decline does not mean it is "dying." The idea of "death" implies a complete and definite end to the subject-- when a person is dying, it means that he or she is on the verge of ceasing to live. So, does this mean that the Humanities find themselves on the threshold of complete dissolution? Of course not. To say that the Humanities lie on the verge of ceasing to exist would be to say that thousands of years of history, literature, and philosophy are all completely irrelevant and hold no bearing on today's world. Could it be that, instead of "dying," the humanities have simply assumed a different place in society? Admittedly, we were never in the majority, and perhaps have now reached a point at which things begin to level out. It is important then that we adapt rather than throw our hands up and herald the passing of such a noble pursuit.

And that brings me to my second thought: we must once again make the Humanities a noble pursuit. From my experience at the U of I, not much has been done to establish the Humanities' place in a modern world. Little is made of the valuable skills that can be gained from studying the thoughts and lives of those who came before us. Instead of an asset, a liberal arts degree has come (at least in some circles) to mean a degree in the esoteric, something with no material benefit. We can not assume this notion if the Humanities are to remain in the university (particularly in public universities.) I'm growing tired of blaming things on the Morrill Act, the lack of funding, etc., when there are things to be done.

If nothing else, the Liberal Arts major learns something that is (apparently) not taught elsewhere in the university-- the ability to write in a manner that is clear, timeless, and jargon-free. Two days a week, my Latin class meets in one of the business buildings. Outside our classroom, there is a poster sponsored by the Marketing something-or-other that advertises a mentoring program for Marketing students. I'm going to take a picture of it and post it on here. The writing is so atrocious that it made me cringe. I hold the opinion that, until Business majors know how to write effectively and spell correctly, there will be a place for the humanities on campus, and that our relevance should not be contested.

21 January 2010

Right out of my mouth.

Why write a series of posts when my words have already been said? I know it's long, but we really should less impatient, anyway. Click HERE.

20 January 2010

All things considered. (Not the NPR news broadcast).

I promised that I would update with news of progress on my novel (which we'll call Tales for short) and with anecdotes from everyday life. As for the first, I am into chapter four, around page 50. Though I haven't had the opportunity to write since coming down to Champaign, I hope to form a more regimented schedule once I get a feel for my classes' workloads.

As for the second, I have this to share: I have not showered today. Mind you, this is not by choice; rather, I have been forced into it because of an unspecified "work" being done to the pipes in my building. And though the water was supposed to be usable this morning, when I turned on my shower, I was greeted with the heavy smell of dirt and sawdust and small brown chunks came out of the faucet. Thankfully, it's a rainy day. This means that no one will notice I look awful because everyone will look awful. It's what traipsing about to class in soggy jeans will do to you.

I must admit, however, that the thing most dominant in my mind at present has little to do with my writing or my faulty shower-faucet: it has to do with my life's vocational ambition. Forever a lover of the Humanities, I hoped to one day teach them-- to be an arbiter of information, impressing on younger generations the need to know the accomplishments and horrors of those who came before us. Yet I have been deterred in this pursuit by the very people who should champion it: my professors. In the three English classes I have taken at the U of I, all three professors have made statements to the effect of "The study of literature (or the humanities) is a dying field. There is no hope for it." This disquiets me for a number of reasons, which I will post in a (hopefully) synoptic form on this blog in the coming days. Until then...

16 January 2010

I don't watch movies all that often.

Last night, because my sister took over the basement (meaning I couldn't continue my Xbox marathon), I decided to watch a movie with my parents. After combing through our On-Demand choices, we landed on two very disparate options: Public Enemies and Julie and Julia. I don't fully understand how we came to pit those two movies against one another, but in the end the victor was Julie and Julia, and so I pressed "Order Movie" and we were on our way.

I actually liked the movie. Meryl Streep (as always) was fantastic as Julia Child; I almost felt at parts that the movie should have just followed her storyline and eschewed the Amy Adams (Julie) one altogether. But this post isn't about the movie. It's about blogging. I remembered while watching the movie that I actually have one (a blog, that is), and have neglected to update in some time. For those who have not seen Julie and Julia, the plot revolves around Julie's blog as she attempts to cook her way through Julia Child's famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and is splashed throughout with vignettes of both women and their intertwining stories. See, the blog thing wasn't too far off, was it?

I also realized that my posts are grotesquely uninteresting. Unlike Julie's journey through Julia Child's cookbook, my blogs lack cohesion (as they always have) and convey neither opinion or information. Mostly, one can tell my blogs apart simply because they say very well very little; that is, they lack substance though they always display care for grammar and style. Thus, it dawned on me that I need a journey to chronicle here, much like the one that Julie had.

While I don't intend to wade through Emeril's New Orleans Cooking or anything of that sort, there are a few long term projects/goals that I continue to work on. Of these, the two most compelling are perhaps my novel and my attempt to live on my own (which, as I discovered last semester, brings its own interesting challenges.) From now on, I promise to update on these aspects of my life, rather than focus on my confusion or lack of energy or blah-blah-blah...

We'll see how it goes.