The story of a man and his search to avoid joining the real world at all costs. Mostly tongue-in-cheek, I think.


Where Does it All Get You?

I've been contemplative lately. My new job is boring so far, since they are still teaching me a lot of stuff, and I'm not comfortable openly surfing the web for long stretches, so I've had plenty of time to think. I've been thinking about my future, where it will take me, etc. And I wonder if it's all worth it.

Why, exactly, is ambition a natural instinct? What causes a person to naturally strive to succeed, whether it be in work, school, relationships, etc? For example, I will be enrolling in a very highly-regarded master's program in the fall. This will, ostensibly, enable me to get a good job that allows me to make a substantive impact on society, and possibly make some good coin along the way. But what's the point? It's not like I sat back and made a conscious decision to better my life. I just did it. I never really considered that there could be an alternative.

Why did I never consider that there's nothing wrong with getting any old job that pays the bills, living check-to-check, just enjoying my free time and not worrying about breaking the bank, gaining esteem, and striving to improve my life and the lives of others? Surely there's nothing wrong with that. I could still seek out knowledge through alternate means, couldn't I?

I think it's the old "nature vs. nurture" argument. I haven't always been the most ambitious person (as if being unemployed for the duration of the human gestation process wasn't evidence of that). But I always had some sort of ideals, and goals. Lately, I've sought to replace talk with action, with mixed results. But that ambition, at some level, has always been there. Where did it come from?

As for the "nature" argument, like I mentioned before, it's always seemed inherent. It seems just about everyone wants to improve their lives on one level or another. But then there are the folks who fall through the cracks, either due to bad luck, bad circumstances, and so on, and essentially have given up on life.

I think there's some validity to the "nurture" argument as well. I'm the son of parents who immigrated to the US about 35 years ago. They came over here in search of the old cliches: Opportunity, a better life for my brothers and I, you know, the whole American Dream. As a result, they instilled a sense of purpose in us. But then, other folks were in similar situations as mine, and may not have the same "instincts." So there are pros and cons to each argument.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know why I do the things I do, such as why I'm trying to leave such a good impression on an employer I'll be leaving in a couple of months, or why we care about people we'll never meet in parts of the world we'll never visit. My gut tells me it's a sign of our humanity. But likewise, the fact that we don't know for sure is an even better sign of our humanity.


Work . . . It Ain't That Bad, I guess.

So, I went to work today, for the first time since July 13, 2004. Getting up at 6:30 was a bitch, to say the least. Had to go to orientation, they discussed benefits and such of course. Then went to work. Things were slooooow. Didn't do a whole lot. The manager said, "Well, when it's slow, just surf on the internet or something." Not bad!

So, I'm thinking this could be a good deal for about 10 weeks or so. But it was funny, I was just out in the garage, smoking a cigarette, when it occurred to me: "Damn, I have to go again tomorrow."

But it could be worse. I could be an EXPLODING TOAD.


The 40 Week Itch Comes to an End

So, this is the last day of my vacation. Most folks are lucky to get 3 weeks, and I got 40. Not too shabby.

So I guess this is the best time to take stock of things, and determine what I accomplished (and failed to accomplish).

I will finish school. Not too bad I guess, it was about damn time, but I got it done. There was a point where I thought I'd never finish.

I'm going to start hitting the gym. Ummm, not quite. I think I was drunk when I made this vow, so that sorta goes out the window.

I'm going to apply for, and hopefully get into, a good grad school. Hell yes. Got into a good program, on a full scholarship (which I totally didn't expect). Things are definitely looking good for the future.

I will keep busy by reading a lot, taking in some culture, and finding out about myself. Not even close. I surfed the web, played video games, and often drank in the afternoon.

All told, a mixed bag for sure. But that's par for the course for me. I've long been a "lots of talk, no action" kinda guy. So for me to actually get some stuff done is a step in the right direction.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some cocktails to fix.


According to a Published Study . . . You're a Moron

I was just watching the news (WARNING: This is from the local FOX affiliate), and they had a report on a study that was recently published. The main supposition of the study is that people who are happier live longer. Well, no shit. Besides the fact that stress has negative effects on your health, they didn't discuss WHY these people aren't happy.

For example, despite what the songs and the movies say, people who are financially stable are, in general, less stressed out, and thereby happier, than those who aren't. And those who have money troubles are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and (in the US) are less likely to have sufficient health care. Of course, the study doesn't go into that.

Recently, the free-speech hating douchebags at the Parents Television Council have hailed a study citing that children who watch more TV are more likely to become bullies. Of course, the PTC uses this as evidence that violent TV programming creates violent children. They fail to add 2 and 2 and deduce that perhaps kids who watch a lot of TV aren't getting the emotional support that they need from THEIR PARENTS! Of course, these folks would far rather place the blame on Hollywood than take responsibility for their own kids. It takes a lot less time, and is far more self-affirming to rely on someone else to raise your kids, of course.

Never Quite Comfortable

Things are going pretty well for me right now. I'm starting grad school in a very well-regarded problem, and don't have to pay a penny for tuition. I got a job for the next couple of months so I can save up a little cash before I move. I'm relatively healthy, have a great family, and good friends. So why am I always so nervous and worried about things?

I can't remember the last time I was completely content with my present and future state of affairs. It probably goes back to elementary school, when I didn't have a care in the world. And I can't quite put my finger on why that is.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not upset or depressed or anything. I've just never felt really comfortable with the way things are going. And by all accounts, I should be. I've set myself up in a manner that I should be able to get a good job in something that interests me, or go for a PhD, or take one of any number of paths. But for some reason, the uncertainty, nervousness, and worry lingers. And often, I wonder if/when I'll ever be entirely comfortable with things.


I Work Hard for the Money

So I have a job.

I wil being my employment for a prominent bank/custodian on the 25th. I needed the work badly. It'll be for 3 months, so I'm going to enjoy it. Should be interesting.

Getting back to the working world will certainly be a transition after about 9 months. The whole "waking up in the AM" part will be the toughest. But whatever, I'll be able to save up some cash for when I move. Things are looking up for me.


Extravagant Traveler

Well, I went to Pittsburgh this weekend to visit CMU. It was pretty cool. The program is different from what I had envisioned; it focused far more on practical applications and analysis than I had envisioned, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but different. I think that more of my classes will be less interesting, and perhaps more difficult, but at the same time I think it will better prepare me for a career (and isn't that the whole point?). Didn't have a whole lot of time to see the city. The parts surrounding campus are pretty nice, but I'll have to head out there in June to find an apartment.

By the way, I sent in my deposit and signed my promissory note for the student loan, so it's a done deal. I have a felling that part of me will be asking "what if," but I think this was the best decision for me. It was the more practical, less impulsive move. Ordinarily, I would do the impulsive, exciting thing, and to be honest, it hasn't worked out too well for me in the past, so I'm thinking that a change of course is the thing to do.