The Inevitable Book

Throughout the month of August, I'm aiming to write 25 blog posts. This is post #5 of 25. Find them all in the "blogathon 2014" category.

There aren’t many things in life I’m sure of, and about my future, even fewer. I lack a developed sense of ambition or faith; when faced with the daunting unknown, I’m far more likely to cautiously inspect it and slowly sketch a map than confidently plunge ahead into uncharted territory. Until very recently, if you asked me, a college graduate, what I wanted to do with my life, I would have shrugged, listed a few half-baked ideas, and ultimately iterated that I just didn’t know.[ref]Even now that I have some idea of a career I want to pursue, I’m still don’t have many powerful aspirations for other parts of my life. Like I said, ambition’s not my thing.[/ref] But despite my general milquetoastiness about the future, there’s on thing that I’ve simply accepted as a matter of fact:

One day, I’ll write a book. Continue reading

Five in the morning is in that span of time I typically think of as “oh fuck no it’s early,” yet this morning, against all odds, I started stirring around 5:10. Rachel had a flight to catch, and was going to be waking up and getting out of bed in five minutes, but for those five minutes, I was awake by myself, in the stillness of the morning.

I love summer mornings. Summer nights are hot and muggy, leading you to throw windows open and blankets off, but at five in the morning, the air breezing through your window is refreshingly brisk. The oppressive heat pauses, and the whole world takes a breath. Though the window’s open, there’s hardly any sound of traffic or human activity, just the songs of waking birds far in the distance.
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I sat down at my desk this afternoon and noticed that something looked out of place.A new book on my shelfWell, that’s odd. I don’t remember having a copy of a fundamentalist Christian novel on my shelf. Let’s take a closer look…

Opening a copy of Left BehindThat’s funny, it doesn’t seem to close all the way. It feels kind of heavy, too… I wonder what’s going on here.

A hollowed-out book filled with salt-water taffyThe taffy!?! I’ve been had!

Well played, Mom and Dad. Well played indeed.

Exclamation point

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

There have been a number of minor thoughts buzzing around my head like gnats lately. They are bothersome and they take up otherwise useful space in my brain, so as an attempt to reclaim some territory, here are some minor thoughts from my head, in no particular order:

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Making Comics

What’s Spencer currently thinking about?

The Art of Comics

I was never a comic book kid. When I was growing up, I read the funnies in the newspaper, and for a short time, a little of Ranma ½. I would pore over anthologies of newspaper funnies, but without too much refinement of taste; at the time, I loved the beautiful Calvin and Hobbes just as much as I loved stale old Garfield. That was the extent of my exposure to comics, though. I never peeled open a Batman or a Superman story, and didn’t really give professional comics much thought. Continue reading

Classes have started!

My schedule’s a pretty nice one– I’m taking Elementary Japanese, Encounters (the mandatory first-year humanities course), Social Problems (a sociology class), and Intro to Visual Arts Practices. I’m happy to point out that there are absolutely no math classes in this semester’s lineup. After Calculus II last semester, I’m rather burnt out on math. I’m not sure if I’m done for good, since that depends on both my future whims and the requirements of whatever major I settle on, but I’m done for right now, which is a relief. I’m also fairly lucky with regards to how the week pans out: three days a week, I only have two classes, and am out by noon! Of course, the tradeoff here is that on Wednesdays, all four of my classes meet… but I think I can manage that. All of these courses seem really interesting.

Today I had two classes: Japanese and Social Problems. Japanese was great, as always–Professor Takemoto is an animated and engaging professor, and he helped us brush the dust off, as it were, and start speaking the language again. He also distributed the packet of kanji characters we’ll be learning this semester, which contained quite a few beautiful characters containing strokes and radicals I’ve never seen before. We’re also, unexpectedly enough, reading a 2006 novel in class this semester. It’s an English novel, but it’s by a Japanese-American author, and it has a lot to do with Japanese culture. All in all, I’m looking forward to getting back into the Japanese groove.

Social Problems was interesting as well; the class is large, but there are a lot of people I know on the roster[ref]Large by Whitman standards, that is. It’s about 30, 35 people. I love small schools.[/ref]. We started by discussing what constituted a social problem, and whether or not cultural/demographic perspective had anything to do with what we classified as social problems. Our first text is entitled Gang Leader for a Day, and it follows a young sociologist as he integrates himself within and observes a Chicago crack gang. We’re also reading texts on the criminal justice system, inner-city poverty and crime, and juvenile crime. Looks like there’s a common theme here, but I don’t mind. All the texts sound fascinating. Also, oddly enough, the class isn’t going to meet this Thursday because the professor will be out of town, so I’ll have only one class that day. Awesome!

Other parts of campus life have been similarly easy and enjoyable to readopt, such as living in the dorms. My section met last night, and our new RAs introduced themselves. Although they might not have quite the charisma as last semester’s beloved Daichi, Hayley and Bailey seem to be a couple of pretty cool characters. Bailey also mentioned, as he spoke to us, that while sections usually get smaller at semester breaks, as students change their housing situations, 4-West actually got bigger–so big, in fact, that his room is actually in 4-East, the neighboring section. Like I mentioned before, I’m really proud to be part of a section that’s got such a strong family vibe.

I’ll write some more about school when something more interesting happens here.

What an interesting few weeks it has been.

I haven’t been able to blog lately due to some connectivity issues– when I’m on my local network, I can’t, for some reason, access the blog. Right now I’m leeching connection from my neighbor, which is why I can post. I’d love to get this fixed, but it may require a new URL for the blog. I’ll keep you posted.

Unfortunately, since it’s 12:37 on a school night, I don’t have time to write about everything that’s happened. I had an amazing but unorthodox Christmas and New Year’s, we got tons of snow, and– oh yeah– I got accepted to Whitman College, my top choice for schools. I’m psyched.

Also, in a slightly more materialistic vein, I received tons of awesome presents for Christmas. Individual thank-yous will come later, but I want to thank everyone who gave me such thoughtful, exciting gifts. From what I’ve seen amongst family and friends, it seemed like everyone gave good gifts this year, coincidentally enough. I’m fairly certain I made a good few people happy with my gifts, which is a wonderful feeling. It was also great just to bond and hang out with family and friends. Thanks, everyone.

Since I had a great Christmas, I don’t want to add too much to my birthday wishlist (oh, by the way, I magically become an adult in less than three weeks), but every so often, something strikes me that I’d simply adore to receive.[ref]insert obligatory apologetic statement here about not wanting to be greedy or ungrateful. I don’t want to be that way at all– but I also realize that I probably apologize way too much for things that aren’t even problems except in my own crazy mind. If the addition to my wishlist offends you, please consider this apology.[/ref] Right now, that thing is Doctor Horrible merchandise– specifically, the DVD and the soundtrack. If you haven’t checked it out, take 45 minutes out and watch it. It’s a short musical-comedy-tragedy that was written during the writer’s strike by Joss Whedon, writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and stars Neil Patrick Harris as a low-rent supervillain who’s trying to make his way up (down?) in the world, but also wants to win the attention of the girl of his dreams. It’s fantastically witty, very catchy, and moving (at least for me) at the end. It’s not a paragon of excellence that will set the bar for generations to come, but it’s damn good entertainment for 45 minutes. Check it out.

Anyway. I’ll try to blog more this year, as life is about to get very interesting, and I’m sure that the Internet wants to hear about nothing more than it does my life.

I’ve just got to get this connection thing fixed first.

Exclamation point

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

You see, the funny thing about other people is that they’re human.

Everyone messes up. Everyone has faults; everyone makes mistakes. And when they do, they often inadvertently end up causing someone else grief. It will be you at some point in your life. It may be you often in your life, if that way land the dice.

We get frustrated with the things other people do. We look at them and say “Oh my God, why can’t you just X?” or “Jeez, why do you Y?” But how many times have you been on the other side? How many times have you used the defense, in your own head or out loud, that you’re only human, or something to that extent? The fact of the matter is that sometimes people mess up. Continue reading