Archive for October, 2005

Happy Friday!

October 21, 2005

Well, it’s the end of the week once again. Time to figure out how to leave work early and head to the nearest bar. I personally am enjoying a much needed day off after surviving yesterday’s two midterms and an Industrial Advisory Board Luncheon where me and one other student were put on the spot for an hour and a half. The engineers present decided they would ask us our life stories and about all things college, which would have been fine with a little warning. On a brighter note, one of the gentlemen present did compliment us by saying we were the most articulate engineering students he had met. I will be emailing him Monday about a job.

Anyhow, some stories. First, I went to the College Republians weekly meeting wearing my “Last time someone listened to a Bush, folks wandered the desert for 40 years” shirt. I did manage to get under some folks skin about the Miers nomination.

And never ones to miss the chance to express their ignorance, they started making fun of the Reclaim the Night event that is going to be held on campus. One of them, a woman no less, said they should hide out and beat up the women after the event, when the women reclaim the night by walking across campus. Seriously twisted.

Also, talk came up about the proposed state constituional ammendment to ban gay marriage and any form of civil unions. After voicing my opinion, one young lady handed me a copy of “Getting It Straight”, which is put out by the Family Research Council. I told her I knew about the group and their psuedo-science already, but she swore to me that the FRC is non-bias. O-k.

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One thing I’ve realized lately is that I find my self spending more time around those I disagree with. But I don’t go to fight persay; I get in there, be truthful about my beliefs, and engage them in conversation. I don’t lie or hold back, I just use tact. This gives me access to information about the interworkings of their group, and a heads up as to when they are planning events.

Plus, I have gotten more than one of them to admit they aren’t happy with how things are going. And by giving them a chance to vocalize their distaste, I help make it a little more solid. Maybe once they hear themselves say it out loud, it grows.

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Second story. After the luncheon of doom, I had my second midterm of the day. So I found myself sitting on the front row, listening to the roar of all the other folks in the room stressing over the exam. And I realized that I wasn’t stressed at all. In fact, I felt rather giddy. This is my last semester, only eight weeks left. I have taken a thousand exams, and survived every one. Instead of stress, I felt joy at being so close to finally accomplishing something I have been working at for over 13 years.

I know I have bitched about getting an engineering degree in the recent past. But something has changed inside me, something that has helped me realize the magnitude of this accomplishment in my life. I have done something a lot of people haven’t, and I did it my way. I have milked college for all its worth and got others to pay for the whole experience. I am an honors student and a leader on campus. But most importantly, I have come to realize that an engineering degree can open so many doors for me, that I have many more options now.

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There is of course some drama attached to my graduation. Family issues have arisen, mainly involving money and tickets to the event. As far as I am concerned, I don’t care if I have stoles, a ring, or a party. And I don’t care if anyone shows up. All I care about in this is the sense of accomplishment I will feel walking across that stage. Everything else is just mundane reality.

I went to college to be able to better provide for my family. But this one moment, this one experience walking that stage, is completely mine. And I will not let any drama interfere with it. I don’t need stuff, I need the feeling that its over, that I made it. That is all I am asking for.

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Final story for the day. I’ve taken to complimenting people more. People seem to love to point out each others faults. And they have no problem going off on someone for shit the person has no control over. Wednesday me and the wife were at a fast food joint picking up some good old greasy dinner. The girl at the register was having trouble punching in the order, and said she was sorry but she was new. Me and the wife made a few jokes about registers and what not, and let her know it was ok, that everyone has been there. This really seemed to brighten the young lady’s mood, because several people had bitched at her that day.

On Thursday, I was sitting in the organization office at school, talking with the young lady who became president after me. I told her that for what it was worth, I am proud of her. When she joined the organization, she was terrified of being a leader, of having to talk to people. And she was still very much in high-school drama mode. But over the past 3 years she has grown as a person. I told her she had come quite far, and that she will succeed in life because she has taken control. Being older makes me feel like a big brother at school to all these folks. I just want them to know that their hard work is worth it.

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Well, if you made it this far, I commend you. Tomorrow I am going with a friend to hear Dr. Wayne Dyer speak. I have seen him doing PBS fundraising and heard a couple of his cds. I don’t normally like these type of events, but the guy seems to get it. We shall see.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Remember to stop and enjoy it.

Cross-posted at annatopia.com

Feelings

October 18, 2005

I haven’t posted since I returned from Ohio because I needed time to think. I am about to graduate college and move into a new phase in my life. This semester is the hardest because I want to be done. I need to find a job, a real, good paying job. And I need to let go of the things in my past that could hold me back.

Seeing my grandfather lying there in the casket made me stop and think. How well do I know myself? What are my dreams for today and tomorrow?

Now, don’t think I’m going to go mushy on you, cause I’m not. I suppose every person gets those mortality thoughts at funerals. Its just interesting that death makes us review our lives to see if we are happy. And for the most part I am, because even in the worst times I am still experiencing life.

I am about to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Me, the kid who had to make a bet with the Vice-Principal to graduate highschool. And I did have some pretty good times in my 20’s. But now I want to move on.

My life has been, and is, full of blessings. I have called many interesting and intelligent people friend. I have experienced the best and worst life has to offer, seen the other side of the planet, and known true love.

I have been blessed with a wonderful marriage to an amazing woman. Making a home with someone you love is a powerful, liberating event.

Its just that I am ready to move on with my life, to let go of much of the anger I have carried for too long, to embrace my new role as a productive person. I want to work hard, build a good life and be kind to those around me. Because in the end I want a mind full of good memories.

Now, any reader of this site knows that I am not particularly religious. I don’t believe that my grandfather is sitting on a cloud watching over me. But that isn’t what matters. Its what he did in life that is important. That is what I came to discover this past week. Life is not about the beginning or end, its about what you do in the middle that matters.

At the funeral mass one of my uncles read a remembrance about my grandfather. Listening to it I learned a great deal I had never known about the man. The one thing that stuck in my head is that he was a humble man who showed his love for life in his actions. He never asked for anything in return because his reward was the act of doing for others. He always held true to his convictions, never spoke ill of people, and spent his time in the service of others.

In this day and age those are rare characteristics. Our world is so hectic, our minds muddled with too much information, and our emotions overrun with stress. Everything seems to change so rapidly its hard to know where we stand on a given day. And a person’s word is worth almost nothing.

Why? What is it we are clamoring for? More money, more power, more things; yet we never have enough. There in lies the problem. The fulfillment we seek is not in things but in each other. Objects cannot share joy or pain with us, money cannot buy happiness and power over others is nothing compared to the power of love.

Happiness is always at our finger tips, waiting for us to embrace it. We choose how we react to life’s bumps. I have seen too many people fall down and never get back up. And I have been angry too often, yelled too much, and forgot to stop and enjoy the moment too many times. Its time for a change; I want to be a positive influence on those around me.

Aside from working, I want to spend more time focusing on developing my thoughts on life and writing them down. I have done some of that here on this blog, but there is still so much I haven’t even touched. And I want to leave a little peice of me out there, something one day someone somewhere might read and gain insight into their own life, if only for a second.

My grandfather lived through his actions, I want to live through my words. I want to write a book. Hell, I want to write a whole bunch of books. Books about life, about the wonderful gifts we all take for granted. And I want to write about love, because nothing, and I mean nothing, is more powerful, more freeing, than love.

And love is one of those things you can only experience through living.

I’m Home

October 14, 2005

Just wanted to say hello and that I made it home safely. It was a beautiful service. And I had the chance to catch up with a lot of relatives.

Anyhow, I am beat, so tomorrow swing by for some serious posting. In the mean time, as I like to say:

Put on your favorite music, stand in front of the mirror naked and dance.

Out For A Few

October 7, 2005

I will not be posting for a while as my grandfather just passed away and I have a lot of work to get done before the funeral. Also, I have closed all comments due to spam attacks.

Please check back in a week.

The Next Election Draws Near

October 6, 2005

So the 2006 mid-term elections are creeping up on us. The initial jostling of potential candidates seems over, and the real battles are just beginning. Websites are coming online, and soon fundraising and hand shaking will be the order of the day.

It is at this point that those of us not running for office must decide if we want to work, volunteer or sit this one out. The candidates are in for the long haul, and this election cycle looks to be a bloody one.

But it is here, at this moment of decision, that I find myself the most torn. Do I merely sit back, bitch about everything, and be part of the problem? Or do I join in the orgy of the political landscape and help prop up a corrupt and pointless system?

I am not sure which is better; participate and hold up the system that I feel strangles our country, or sit it out and let others run our world. If there was a clear alternative to either, I would jump on the bandwagon in a heartbeat. But in this election cycle, this battle, there are only two distinct and viable choices; the Democrats or the Republicans.

Even though I lean heavier toward the Dems, I see them as equally complacent in the corrupt culture of Washington. And even though there are no doubt some good people running for just reasons, the idea of joining in the great circle jerk that is our political system leaves me feeling dirty and tainted.

If I believed that the Dems would be more open to Third Party participation, I would be more inclined to help them. But the Dems stand to lose power as much as the Repubs in such a senario, and therefore are not likely to see Third Parties as a good idea. Maybe if control of the FEC was wrestled from the parties in power we could have a truer representation of the political spectrum; or at least we might have real debates.

So again, what to do? The left likes to call the right Kool-Aid drinkers, but I think the same can be said in reverse. And having read through the vastness of the blogosphere, I can say that any Dem candidate that does not fit every single person’s preconceived notions will be attacked by the left. This will weaken the left’s chances of getting in power and give the right plenty of ammunition.

The Democratic leadership seems ready to lose. They will no doubt continue to make the same mistakes of the last election cycle; ignore the grassroots (except when taking their cash), refuse to call the right out on their bullshit, and simply work to ensure their own seats at the table.

The right, which may get wounded by the current scandles, will rap itself in the flag, 9/11, and the War on Terror. How this will fly with the general public remains to be seen, though there does appear to be signs of of the people getting tired of this symbolism. Another war is unlikely, but never rule one out.

And even if the Dems get control of the House or Senate, what will they do differently? The Supreme Court is fucked, the President isn’t running for re-election (no impeachment charges), and unless the Dems get both (highly unlikely), at most they will halt the Republican machine. An entrenched attitude will set in; in the stagnation nothing will move in Washington. And again, even if the Dems win both, what will they do with the chance? If the blogosphere is any indicator of the the policies of the Democratic Party, the Dems can’t even agree to disagree, much less create a platform with which to run elections, or a country, on.

What to do. I suppose I should resign myself to volunteering for a Dem, write about how much better the Dems will make the world and drink up. Because until the Two-Party lock on Washington is picked, the politics of “the lesser of two evils” will continue.

Whoop-fucking-y.

Bunch of Bitches

October 3, 2005

Ok, I am feeling confused today.

Back in August of 2003, I restarted the University Democrats at my school because the group had vanished after the 2002 elections. I was soon voted out of office (I was president) for being too loud and offensive. Two presidents later I am still trying to be a productive member. However, despite my best efforts, despite several times voluteering my time, my house, my resources, I am ignored by the UD’s.

So today, partly out of boredom, I went to a College Republican meeting. I did my best to heckle them, to get myself thrown out. And you know what? They talked to me, let me rant, and the president and a couple of others sat with me afterwards and talked.

We disagreed a lot, didn’t once or twice, but in the end I found them more open to talking to me than the Dems. What the fuck?

I was trying to be an ass. I called Roberts a racist. I mocked them openly, and they never got mad, never blew me off. I strangely felt more comfortable there then I did at the last Dems meeting.

I am confused. I support the Dems, they ignore me. I piss on the Repubs, they hang out and talk.

What the fuck is the world coming to? The Repubs know I go to their meetings to get the inside scoop on their activities. They know me; I have held a couple of one man protests at their events. But do they hide from me, do they scorn me? No, they talked with me. The fucking Dems, who are afraid to offend anyone, ignore me like the plague.

One Repub, who apparently is riding the fence in 2006, even asked me what my thoughts were are starting a third group on campus, one that exists outside of the two party system. One that would focus on the truth, on what is really going on in Washington. Never heard that from a Dem.

Strangely, I got a better reception from the group I hate. I even had a few want to form a new group to show the problems with both groups.

Go figure.

On Iran

October 1, 2005

Scott Ritter has another excellent opinion piece on Aljazeera about the US government’s plans for the war with Iran. A snipit:

In the complicated world of international diplomacy surrounding the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, there is but one thing that the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the so-called EU-3 (Germany, France and Great Britain) and Iran can all agree upon.

And that is: Iran has resumed operations of facilities designed to convert uranium into a product usable in enrichment processes. From that point forward consensus on just about anything begins to fall apart.

………………………………………………….

The real purpose of the EU-3 intervention – to prevent the United States from using Iran’s nuclear ambition as an excuse for military intervention – is never discussed in public.

The EU-3 would rather continue to participate in fraudulent diplomacy rather than confront the hard truth – that it is the US, and not Iran, that is operating outside international law when it comes to the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme.

In doing so, the EU-3, and to a lesser extent the IAEA, have fallen into a trap deliberately set by the Bush administration designed to use the EU-3 diplomatic initiative as a springboard for war with Iran.

Craptacular.