I feel like a dull knife. Like I’m no longer sharp. I’ve exhausted it all on projects that don’t really reward me with much other than my satisfaction that they’re done.

Chuck decided that my metamorphosis project, of a worried looking man in a cubicle turning into a hamburger, isn’t good enough to place in the display with a good number of other metamorphosis projects. It’s cool, I guess.

This brings me to why, because that’s the real question, isn’t it? Why do I do these things? Why do I write poetry and post it online? Why do I show my art to anyone? What is my real motivation?

Well, I should be doing all these things for myself, but I’m afraid that’s not the case. I feed off approval. Not just approval, but something more. I want everyone to like me, and like what I do.

Perhaps this isn’t a healthy way to act, but it’s gotten me this far. I’ve had to change myself quite a bit several times in order to be the person I am today. It’s kept me alive, and I’m quite proud of myself (maybe that’s a problem too), but Chuck bothers me nevertheless. I haven’t had many problems with him… In fact, I know I make him sound like a much worse person than he is, however I’m making sure I have lab next quarter with the other teacher.

But I’m just too damned tired.

Nothing ever stops, does it? There’s never any moment when any of us can sit down and say “Life is good. I can stop now, and take a break. There is nothing else on my platter at the moment, no bills to pay, no art project to work on for 10 hours, no argument to have with anyone or anything. I am at peace. I am a static individual for just one minute. I am happy with what I’ve done in my life.”

Truth is, whenever I approach that kind of time, as I’m alone in the night, laying in bed unable to sleep, it’s not extremely restful. I tend to think too much about all the things I should have done that I never did. The things I should have said to people several years ago. The people that I fear I may have offended throughout my life. The pain I might have caused unknowingly. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’ve had these regrets throughout my life, and they only hit me when I’m alone. It doesn’t just happen when I’m in bed about to sleep, it also attacks when I’m on my bike, when I’m using the restroom, when I’m walking to school with nothing else to wrap my mind around other than regret.

It’s sad, I suppose. But like I said, it’s gotten me this far. I guess it shows I really care.

The biggest problem I have with people my age is that many of them no longer care. That’s probably the root of all the problems I think they have. They don’t regret things, and they don’t care about what kind of problems they dump on other people with their foolishness.

Problem is: I have just as much foolishness. Whether I’m aware of it five years from now or not.

What a damned fool I am.

It seems the fire has been following me.

I was in Los Angeles and Irvine this weekend, and I was… privileged to see the effects of four separate fires throwing smoke and ash from Irvine to Oxnard… It was creepy, watching orange light filter through car windows on the 405.

Yesterday, as Sarah and I were driving back, I heard about the San Diego county fires, about how the 15, the 163, and the 125 were all closed because of them.

My brother is on the search and rescue team in San Diego, and supposedly, while he was out doing his job, his wife Chiara got the call to evacuate their home in Poway. I talked with my brother’s mom last night, and they’re on the edge of a canyon overlooking the 8… They’re really hoping that the fire doesn’t spread up the hillside. Still, they’re hosing down as much plantlife as they can, as a precaution.

This morning another fire broke out on the top of Cuesta ridge, which is two miles from Cal Poly. I could see it from Dexter lawn as I walked out of my Art 131 class.

I really think the fire is stalking me.

———————————————

As time goes by, more and more I’ve realized I dislike people. At the very least, I dislike a good number of people in college, who believe that heavy partying is a lifestyle that everyone enjoys. There were about 200 or so of those people just outside of Andrea’s apartment on Friday night.

Sherry and I stayed at Andrea’s place that night. I managed to surprise myself and actually take two shots of Bacardi rum. Luckily, I had observed Stanley’s roommate Ethan (Mr. Packing-Peanut himself… it’s an inside joke) take a couple of really bad shots, and so I knew what not to do.

It wasn’t all that special. I didn’t feel it. Perhaps I felt the two Smirnoff Ice’s that Sarah had given me on her 21st birthday more.

Gosh, I’m making it sound like I’m a wino. Which I’m not. Seriously.

In fact, I have to say I really dislike the taste of alcohol. These experiences I’ve had are merely an attempt by my friends to get me to fear alcohol a little less. And perhaps they’re working.

Anyhow, back to disliking people. Before the cops came to break up the party (it was around midnight then) I realized I had never felt more alone than when I was running through a large group of strangers, following my friends who were much more in their element than I.

That’s not true: I have felt much more alone. But not lately.

And around 4:30 am, some brilliant person (probably wanting some post-party happiness) decided to set off a series of firecrackers right outside Andrea’s door. As I was laying on the futon in her living room, thinking that any second now bullets would come crashing through the window, I failed to see the humor in their joke. Well… what do I know about humor? Nothing, I guess, when it comes to the “brilliance” of some people who I feel ashamed to be in the same age group as.

Saturday came around, and Sarah’s parents recommended that I spend the night at their place. This is a tremendously strange move given that

1) I could have sworn that they didn’t like me.
and
2) … well number 1 pretty much speaks for itself.

And staying there went well. It could’ve gone much worse. Much much worse.

Thank you for reading to the end of this very lengthy post. I hope that you didn’t feel it was all for naught. Come again.

The wind was extreme this morning. I don’t know what kind of extreme — whether it was gnarly extreme or simply ordinarily extreme — but it was extreme.

Extreme in the way it throws debris in my path on my bike ride to school. Extreme in the way it makes me stop riding at several points, as if it were whispering in my ear “What fun is there in a tail wind?” with a hollow cackle.

I know I’m a wimp, but 4-6 hours a night of sleep for a week really is killing me. Yesterday, I could have bled coffee. And it would have felt good.

Below the Cellar of the Yellow House There is Another Set of Stairs
by Robin Behn

You are not a drill or a mole or at a film.
Not that meteor destined for earth’s tomb.
Your thighs bear no message from the yellow pollen surface.
Hell is somewhere else and you’ve already been to the womb.

You will need these stairs.

You are not blind cave-fish, not deep,
translucent crab, not scuttle, not squirm.
Not time enough in your life to adapt.
And you are not just mind, not just a bunch of words.

You will need these stairs.

So here’s your coat of sprightly arms,
and here’s your staff, a little worn.
And you will need this mantle, as earth needs its mantle
to cool itself as inner and outer are re-formed.

And you will need these stairs.

You can have this mask, this set
of masks, soft on the face-side.
And here is a bun in the shape of a storm,
according to your hunger and your sighs.

You will need these stairs.

Did we mention how the landings are ivory
as horses’ teeth if you get down that far?
How, willingly, not wavering,
with their long velvet jaws ajar…

So you must take these stairs,

jagged as your heart. Because the Other vanished.
Because it is the nature of sweet hovering to elapse.
And stay in you, small wind, rough pearl. The silver sound
of blood-borne starts, collapsed.

You will need these stairs.

For some reason, I’ve had a bunch of problems with my cell phone bill since I bought my plan. I don’t really understand it… Of course, I don’t really understand a bunch of things about my cell phone. It’s a modern miracle, a device smaller than a calculator with which I can call anyone in the world.

So, last month, when I received a bill for $150 some dollars, I was a little shocked. I had fears of going over my minutes for my plan, which ordinarily only costs about forty bucks a month… but $150 was a bit much. And I freaked out.

Sarah came over, and after examining my bill for a couple of minutes, she realized that they billed me for a completely different plan than the one I was on. They gave me a Mobile to Mobile plan, when I chose a Nights and Weekends plan, and so all of the times I had called regular phones, I got billed for it.

So we talked to them about it, and I thought we had it fixed. That is, until I got another bill for $150 on Friday. Same problem. Same solution. Walked into the same store with the same employees and told the same story, which thankfully they remembered.

And now, the problem is really fixed. Really. And in order to make up for it, they’re giving me an extra hundred minutes a month for the next six months. And my next bill should reflect the fact that my plan is only $40.

The biggest problem, and the reason that they gave me the extra minutes, is that since these problems have been happening, they haven’t been giving me the rollover minutes I so justly deserve.

But all that has been fixed, because now I have 700 anytime minutes a month, and I’m only paying for a 600 anytime minutes plan.

Rock on.

Wednesday night was a shocker.

For those of you who don’t know, my Wednesdays are punctuated with class nonstop from 8am-6pm, and then it’s followed by my 8-10pm block which is where I contain my television indulgences with Enterprise and West Wing.

So, shocking was that I haven’t seen an episode of Enterprise that was nearly as bad as this Wednesday’s “Exile” in a very long time (since probably “Precious Cargo” or “Vanishing Point” in season two). This was particularly hurtful, because this season has been VERY GOOD, especially with last week’s “Impulse”, which many have dubbed the “28 days later in space”. Well, this week’s “Beauty and the Beast in space” was kinda disappointing. Maybe it was the fact I was tired. Maybe I had some kind of device strapped to my head that I wasn’t aware of that fed me lines and images of a crappy episode as I was watching it, and the episode is actually good.

Geez. Rick Berman: stick with the cool special effects. Do something with the characters. Get some movement going here, like you have been this season. Don’t skimp out on things. Don’t use slapstick funny unless you are really trying to be comical.

Further shocking was the fact that next week is a repeat of “The Xindi”, the phenomenal first episode of the season, especially since I had read that they weren’t going to do any repeats until December, in order to compete with Smallville.

And then, after the horror was over, we turned the channel to West Wing, only to find it wasn’t on. Evidently they decided to air two repeats of Law and Order back to back and forgo the new episode of West Wing because of some baseball game. Funny, last week, they had previews for “this week’s” new episode.

So, I went home from Devon’s house feeling numb.

Not.

I’m sick. I have bug bites all over me from trying to sleep last night. The internet is down at my house.

On top of all that, because I was sick, I went home after bowling and decided to take a nap. After I awoke, I realized that I had missed my GrC 203 lab. I had originally thought that today was Thursday, and that I had work instead of the lab. It kinda makes more sense now that my boss had a confused look on her face today when I told her I wouldn’t be coming in to IEP today.

And I can hear Chuck Jennings in the background, saying “sucks to be you.” I still want to punch you, Chuck.

The internet has been down at my house for several days now, and I’m starting to get worried. Especially since our account is kind of… free… probably because we’re overlooked somewhere at Charter.

I suppose it’s for the better. It helped me to stay on task last night as I stayed up till 1:30 am trying to finish three different projects for my art class that were all due today. Turns out that I couldn’t finish them, because I needed use of roommate Jim’s printer, and he’d gone to bed. So I resolved to wake up at 7:30 and try to print a couple of things off then, and then attach them to my projects with glue.

So I go to bed. And I toss and turn for an hour. 5 hours of fitful sleep and a few nightmares later, it’s 7:30. Start my day, and Jim doesn’t get up until 8:15. Which is okay, seeing as he didn’t know that I needed to use his printer. So I print off my stuff and run out the door because I have 9 o’clock class and I can’t bike there because I am carrying all my art supplies and my arms are tired and it’s tremendously warm this morning and … oh my gosh. I need to stop complaining.

Maybe after this story is finished.

So, I go to my 9 am class which ended up being useless and tremendously futile. At 10, I get to my art lab and I start getting out my art supplies to do the gluing I had been meaning to do.

Chuck (my art professor) looks at me, and then tells the class “It’s due now, don’t try to finish it up, because if it ain’t done already, then it’s late.” A few seconds later, he mumbles under his breath “life’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

According to the late policy of my art class, any project that is late is docked a full letter grade. After that, though, we have until the end of the quarter to turn in late projects without any further penalty.

I could’ve done a few things better:
1) I could have not gone to my 9 am class this morning, and spent an extra ten minutes pasting things.
2) I could have went to bed earlier last night, and then I wouldn’t be so irritable right now.
3) I could have punched Chuck in the nose.

Option 3 sounds pretty tempting right now.

And so, I was actually able to hook up my computer to the television in the living room last night.

Then, in the middle of the night, I got a strange urge to actually use AIM. I haven’t had this urge in a long time. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Instant Messengers, it’s just that I don’t spend a lot of time in front of a computer any more, and when I do, I’m typically doing something that wouldn’t be done as well if I was on AIM, such as working on art, or playing a full screen video game.

So, I had this urge, but no working ethernet cable in the living room. Go figure.