Monday, July 03, 2006

My exams will be next Thurday. That, not tomorrow, will be my Independence Day.

On a side note, I think there must be a class for the people in Chicago who stand around selling copies of Streetwise, a magazine published to benefit the local homeless. They all say it precisely the same way.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I'm going down to the Point this morning. It's been so long since I've seen the sun come up over the water. It's time to think of new beginnings, of new days, and magnificent dawns.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We talked this morning. She sent me a brief e-mail, and, after these long days of not speaking to her, I called her not long after in order to see how she had been doing. It was a nice conversation, and while the mood was a little subdued, it was refreshing to realize that there was still friendship between us.

I still think there is hope. She told me that she missed me, and that she often thinks about me. And indeed, in one brief sentence she expressed something of a hope of getting back together, but I do not know when or if it will be realized. All in all, it was good to hear her voice again.

I suppose I don't have it as bad as some: I was writing to one of my friends in Germany via AIM and he told me about this girl who came up and flirted with him at a train station. I asked if he said some nice things and got her number, but he said that he couldn't summon the courage. I know I used to be that way, but as I take the first steps into my 27th year, I've become all too aware that the time when I could afford to have such little moments of cowardice have passed. It's time to start living life for all it's worth. He's a good guy, a smart guy. I hope the next time a similar opportunity arises that he takes a hold of the reins of his own destiny.

On a side note: my bicycle is missing, which is another thing in a long list of crap that I didn't need. As I said in an e-mail to one of my advisers last week--when it rains, it pours.

Double Your Dating? What About Keeping Her?

In the wake of my breakup, a friend recommended David DeAngelo's dating series, which I've already read, agreed with and, for the most part, took to heart prior to even meeting her. If there's anyone out there who's having a problem getting women to date, I highly recommend his work. The problem, as I told my friend, is remaining true to this teaching after you've been going steady with a person for a while, or, more importantly, if you've found the person who you think is the mythical "one". Then there's the point where you see if you've actually learned anything. Because so many of us, when we see the warning signs, don't do Mr. DeAngelo's "counter-intuitive" actions, but instead struggle to keep the women we love. This is foolish, and is indeed at the basis of all of his teaching: Be cocky, be funny, and most importantly, don't be a doormat. He has a free newsletter as well.

Doc Love
over at also has some good stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2006

“And how does the story end?” I once asked her during a phone conversation that now seems to have been taking place years ago. She told me that she wasn’t sure what would happen to the bright design stuident who had had a troubled life but had at last found her soul mate. There must be more to the story. Unfortunately, perhaps now we’ll never know. For even though I’m not sure it’s entirely over, I am here to tell you how the story ends.

Lately I’ve been thinking rather deeply about what my life would sound like if it had a soundtack. Currently, as I sit here on the Metra as it chugs home to Hyde Park, I think it would be Josh Rouse’s "Rise". Listen carefully to the lyrics of that song and you’ll have some idea of what happened after I wrote that optimistic passage in my last entry. Perhaps in the comtemplation of that song we encounter the important lesson to learn from all this: no matter how singular we believe our experiences to be, there’s always some beautiful archetype of the event somewhere out there. In some senses this is a comforting notion: we have not been alone in our grief.

The train is coming to my stop. I don’t know when I’ll at last post the story of how it ended, but post I will. I am still not entirely sure that it is over, but I am trying to face the future with the belief that I will find someone else as wonderful as she.

I am trying very hard.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

So here I am on the South Shore line to South Bend, Indiana, compelled by some sort of romantic notion that evcrything can be saved if I just undertake this trip. You see, she wrote me a text message this morning in which she expressed concern for me. For a few hectic minutes, I paced around the apartment, wondering if I should take the plunge and respond to her. At last I did. And I called her. What followed was an hour-long conversation that left me with hope. Sweet hope.

The day was beautiful and cool, such a switch from the hot, boiling, humid and dreary days that followed our argument. She sent me text messages in the afternoon, commenting on the weather, and we talked. And it seemed as thought things would be OK. On the way home, I stopped by Hutch Commons, where a student was watching Good Will Hunting on his laptop. I watched, and I almost slipped into tears. And I sent her a message that said, “I’m coming in. I was just watching Good Will Hunting on someone else’s comp. So much of that story is like us…And indeed…I have to go see about a girl.” This is either one of the craziest or one of the wisest things I’ve ever done in my life. Which it is, the next few hours may reveal.

But for now I have hope. Everything’s going to be all right.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Well, presumably as a result of a conversation she had with her friend last night, she wrote me this morning and essentially called it off. A part of me knew it was coming, but that doesn't lessen the pain. To go into the details would take a long time, so I shall refrain. I called her this morning and spoke to her for a few minutes, and even though I think I knew even then what was coming, it was everything in the world to me just to hear her sleepy voice and the sound of her body as it moved in the sheets.

I love her. This is the hardest thing in my life to turn away from. And this day has been hell. Perhaps one day she'll come back; perhaps one day she'll realize what we had and show up and ask for it again. And it frightens me to think that I may just drop everything if that possibility arises.
Instead of coming to see me or even wishing me goodnight on the night of my birthday, she goes out with her friends to the local pub. What am I to think of that?

I've made a decision. A part of me thinks I should just keep my distance, but another part of me believes that I need to seize the opportunity while it exists. Tomorrow, I'm going to go to her apartment (which is in another city in another state), and bring her flowers and a book she wanted. I'm going to write her a handwritten letter, maybe even a poem. I'm going to take one of the early trains so I'll have no problems getting back if I need to. And I'm going to take my bags just in case.

Carpe diem, we used to say. And I plan to. Will she feel the same way?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I almost lost someone very dear to me. More dear to me than anything in my life. And this before my birthday.

May God, if there is one, forgive me for my insecurities and rid me of them.

I can only hope that what damage was done may be repaired.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Return

It's tempting to fall into the end-of-quarter release that always happen after the stress of exams has passed, the campus has emptied, and coffee-shop conversations, even at this unassailable bastion of intellectualism, turn briefly to the mundane topics of the world. It is an experience akin to pillow talk after a long night of intercourse.

Unfortunately, I remain one of the stressed. Even though I received the good news that I will receive funding for next year, due to complications that I will not elaborate upon at this moment, I still am not able to take to my exams. Indeed, after all these months of mental anguish, my term has been extended.

And with that, I leave you, faithful readers, if indeed there are still any of you left. I hope that I may someday soon enjoy my own mundane conversations with you once again.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


She asked me last night if I still listened to classical with the same fervor that I used to. In truth, I hesitated and said no. It had, in fact, been so long since I had scrolled my iPod's clicker to that category--so long, when once a composer was all in the world I wished to be--to develop my family's talent for music through the page. My mother was gifted with the voice; I was gifted with the ear. And how I have wasted it.

And tonight, scrambling down the tenebrous streets of the city, I clicked away from the ephemeral guitars and drums that have been my fare for so long, clicked again and found my old love. There is something about classical music that suits the solitary: immerse yourself in it, feel it, and it becomes something like communion with the divine. Perhaps it is the lack of words that produces this feeling: words and voices remind the soul of other people, and while you listen to music with these elements, it is in general other people that you notice and turn your thoughts towards. Perhaps this is why so many songs are about love. But as I walked down among the shadows of 56th Street to the hushed strings of Corelli, I noticed things that have largely slipped my notice: the leaves as they squeeze out from the buds after their long slumber, the rabbits and raccoons that oddly make their home in this most urban of places, and the faint glimmer of the stars that wrestle with the glare of the city for attention. For the first time in so long, the people faded, and nature was again revealed.

Where have I been? What have I been doing for, what has this been, three years? Is this why I've slacked in my studies? Is this why I've abandoned the pen and sought comfort instead in the shallow affections of other people? A simple neglect of the music that has always stirred me the most? Rediscovering it is almost akin to hearing a mother's voice and recognizing it after she has long been lost.

Spring has begun. I feel it now; it is not merely enough to see it. I wish to become who I once was again. To struggle with the stars, to drink in the beauty of life, and to strive for what lies beyond the horizon. Let this be my spring. And may there never be another winter.

It has been so long since I have felt alive.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My absentee adviser is going to call me this morning from London. I'm so tired right now that I don't even feel like making an effort to cram before she calls.
I've been slacking on this lately, I know. I was planning a date this weekend with an interesting girl from UI-Chicago, but I received a e-mail yesterday saying that she's too swamped and stressed from her work and her studies and that she simply doesn't think that now would be a good time to meet. In some cases, this would be a veiled write-off, but knowing her, I actually believe her. I still haven't written anything back. I want to say that I must be every bit as stressed as she is and that we both could use the time off, but that has something of desperation in it. Last weekend, I went out on another date to see Neko Case with someone. This girl was amazing, and everything I've been looking for. She likes photography, French poetry, and Italy. But alas, she's one inch taller than I am. This doesn't bother me, but maybe it bothers her (no, she gave no indication that it does). Sigh. I find this particularly amusing since it's a question that has come to mind in another relationship I'm involved in.

Partially because I was bored and partially because I wanted to mope (I can be honest!), I played World of Warcraft like I haven't in a while and went on my guild's Blackwing Lair run. After clearing the joint in a couple of hours, I was dismayed to find that my staff that I've been wanting didn't drop. Such a waste of time.

So now I'm sitting here waiting for the sun to come up. I think I'll head down to Walgreen's and do something shamelessly indulgent like grabbing a Fifth Avenue bar to eat. That's one thing I love about Chicago: the Fifth Avenue bars. When I went home to Texas, I scrounged around in convenience stores from Tivoli to Austin and couldn't find one.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Random Thought

It always seems that the moment of losing something incomparably beautiful, even though you knew that it probably couldn't last, always comes at the time when you need that thing the most. In despondency, you reach out for it and find it isn't there. I guess the experience is akin to visiting a cherished garden in winter: only the memory suffices to fill the absence of the blossoms and to breathe color into something dead. We tell ourselves that the memory is enough, but what a delusion this can be!

"This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper," Eliot said, and again I am reminded of how ineffably more tragic that ending truly is.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The 25th. And 4 a.m. I can't believe how close I am to going back. I'm currently on Spring Break and I'm becoming all too aware of how close I am to returning to my university. This week has been good for me, and I wish I could have another.

While I work on these taxes (I'm finally on September!),--as I said--I've been watching movies. I've now gone through Batman Begins, The Polar Express, The Godfather, and now I'm on Matrix Revolutions. The Polar Express was a special treat since I'd never seen it before. I'd stayed away from it largely as a result of reviews such as this one from the New York Times. Here's a little excerpt if you don't feel like checking the page:
Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum.
Harsh. And after watching the movie, I think overly so. (Reading reviews about bad movies is something of a hobby of mine, though--often they crack me up--it's one of my quirks.) Yes, I agree with some of the things I have read that there was something about the eyes of the characters that bordered on the freaky, but it wasn't really enough to take away from the magic of the movie, which was exceptional enough that I found myself grinning like a little boy by the end of the movie (how Dana would have loved to have seen that, I bet), even though I had guessed the ending before I saw it. If you haven't seen it, and have been wanting to see a warm Christmas movie instead of the trash that has been produced in recent years, I certainly recommend it.

Ah well, back to work. The famous Neo vs. a billion Agent Smiths is on and that just can't be missed! Hopefully I'll finish before dawn. I'll probably pop in Spiderman II after this.

Also, has anyone ever noticed how some of the music in the Matrix seems to have been inspired by Phillip Glass' work in Koyaanisqatsi?

Friday, March 24, 2006


So here I am at my laptop, but no, I'm not studying. Instead, I'm sitting here with a check register clipped to my screen at a TV tray, watching Batman Begins over the top on a new Sony television that I recently helped my parents purchase. Indeed, that's why I'm doing this: tax time is coming up and my parents have an entire year of bookwork that I need to go through and organize...tonight. They don't know how to use QuickBooks and refuse to learn, and this has been a job of mine when I come home for several years now. Unfortunately, this year, this is a distraction I didn't need, but I see no other way around it. My only hope is to get it done soon enough that I can focus on my other work before going to bed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A New Beginning

So here I am, starting a new blog apart from my old, rather notable one that has been dead for going on a year. In part, I intend for this to be a type of therapy: I am a 26 year old PhD student at a prestigious university on the eve of completing my oral examinations, after which I am clear to finish my working on my specializations with a clear mind. Since I now see this as such a trying time in my life, I have a desire to record my thoughts during these last few days for posterity. I offer this blog to the world both to share and simply to find any kind of advice.

The main question that comes to mind: is this what I'm supposed to be doing? I am good at what I do--I wouldn't be here were I not. But now, after six years at university, after quarters and semesters and reading until my head hurts, I find myself unable to give my work the attention I should. In fact, I find myself spending time with people beyond the academic circle in much the same way as I used to (or perhaps even more) before I settled down into this life. I find myself taking joy in the world again, and relishing the beauty of women and nature in general. My life has (unfortunately?) taken on this carpe diem ambience, which is all the more unfortunate because I seem not to have the desire to seize the rare opportunity that has been presented before me.

I visited my old university today--such trips are good for me since they force me to remember how far I've gone in life and why I should be proud of where I am and why I should be fighting to hold this position. They are also good because I encounter the people who help mold me into the person I am today, and I thereby gain encouragement from their naked admiration and, one might even say, envy.

But after all that, after shuffling among the bookstacks that were my haunt years ago, I met someone and took her out to lunch and, while I did not spend an inordinate amount of time with her, I found myself feeling much more happy in her presence than I did among my studies. We met later in the evening as well.

On top of this, I've--to put it as obliquely as I can--met someone who has affected me like no other person in a while has affected me, although, to my great sadness, what we have discovered together probably will never come to anything tangible. There are a myriad of reasons for this, which I will not cover here. But knowing that someone like her is out there makes me a bit sad--this girl I met today, while undeniably cute and intelligent--for whatever reason does not affect me the way the other woman does.

Bah, all this talk is making me feel old. I just arrived home from the city of my old university, and I need to get back to work. But I'll keep this one updated.

I promise.