Poor Poetry Attempt
helholzen
ganryu
May your limbs entwine and entangle me.
May they envelope and engulf me ever closer to you
May I get ensnared and incised by your thorns
May the light of your eyes inspire and enchant me
May the last inch of my skin replenish you
May the last drop of my blood revive you
May the last ounce of my soul resurrect you
Dying in your arms would not be death to me.

(no subject)
helholzen
ganryu
First hard exam filled week of the semester has come and gone. Thank god all of it is over, the exams the stress and what not. After that the semester always feels settled into as if nothing too terrible is on the horizon for the future. Exams were challenging as always but not so terrible as to make you step up your game for classes, sometimes I like when they are so you put your best foot forward for the rest of the semester. I don't think I am going to make it through physics with 100% on everything exam I take other than the final but I should still do okay. Reading the text was a big plus as it always is for me. Did it a little too late for comfort but that can be remedied.

Went to a semi-rave this weekend. Too many guys compared to girls but welcome to HS-C lifestyle as is. Was a reasonably good time though. A few kegs, bonfire and a pretty legit DJ. All that was nice enough, last night was quiet with no real excitement going on. Next weekend should be a little more entertaining, we will have to see though. Nothing wrong than a night of great promise that turns into something completely lackluster.

Still waiting on getting my cell phone fixed which is a good thing as I like the quiet, but a bad thing as people I enjoy or want to get in touch with or for this time unreachable. Oh well it will get there at some point and be alright. People will just get over it anyhow. It is nice to be somewhat out of contact with the rest of the world but I am sure people like my parents will prefer that I had a line of contact other than the internet available. Strange but how do you explain to them that it is nice to have a disconnect from most everyone.

So looking forward to a semi-easy week of learning and what not. Really looking forward to visiting Jenna in Portland over spring break. That seems a way off still but is only really two full weeks away. Hopefully it comes quicker than expected.

...if I only i had thought of something charming to say
helholzen
ganryu
Back to another semester of school work. These first days are always a mix of awkward and really rewarding. Christmas break always ends up feeling too long and by the end of it I just have an overwhelming desire to get back and into the "swing of things." The problem right now is that over break I am in the swing of nothing, sleeping too long and not really challening myself in any meaningful way. Not that it is as bad as recently post high school but that seven a.m. wake up always comes more quickly than you thought and it is amazing at how tired really learning something is. I think most people out of school forget this fact all too quickly, college is good for its seeming lack of structure and class time at the same moment it is really burdensome in its mental gymnastics. After three classes a day I am almost ready for a mid afternoon nap before starting to actually read assigned reading or additional challenging work. Any job I have had while being stressful for the time commitment or odd demands has ever been to me nearly as mentally draining as this college atmosphere.

The thing is that for most people there is very little changing mental challenge in the job, for the most part it is a slight modificaiton on a repetitive task. We do relatively the same thing and get very good at it, that if we have to change after a while it sometimes feels overwhelming. Changes implemented often aren't that difficult but are in the sense that we haven't been really asked to change our thinking about how we are doing very often. In fact bringing a fresh perspective or a skeptical eye to our assigned task is usually met with more questioning and trying to get you to fit a mold than take your different views as possibly better or even worthwhile. That's unfortunate as I feel simply turning employees into automatons that can be interchanged with similar workers at different locatiions is not really beneficial to the system. As much as we want to believe economic specialization allows us to produce the most, does it really feel like the most rewarding? In a culture where we worship products and their accumulation does anyone feel satisfied because we are in a system that allows us to get so many of them at an affordable price? Of course there are those initial moments of happiness at obtaining a new shiny thing, but I don't think many people will write novels or biographies about how the first flat screen television or iPhone really changed their life or made them see the world differently. Perhaps the designers of those products came claim those things but I don't think that your average consumer can.

So where does college fit in? For a lot of people it is a ground to manufacture their mind into becoming a really specialized cog, one capable of a specific high level task that will reward them with more products. Instead of becoming free thinkers they see college as becoming completely controlled thinkers. I don't think it is the best use of time but after the demanding time of learning and mental stress, who wouldn't want an easy(ish) reward for their mental gymnastics? Who wouldn't want to sell out to such a job? I think working pre college made me skeptical of studying for a career though I am also not 100% sure that studying for a career is really as worthwhile as people say it can be. The goal for me is building or creating then not trying to maximize value in a system but to build something that could benefit the system in one way or another. The hard part now is deciding where those talents can be best applied for people: medicine, engineering, design, art, chemistry, electronics? All allow for the improving of the human condition and for creation. I think the key is a human need for creation and creating and most people have simply confused the accumulation of goods as creation and it just is not the same. Building a house is not buying one, though one allows for the creation of other goods. People just have to realize with so many things easily available we have to continue to look for things to create. In the words of a student here we all have to build.

The Ease of Failure
helholzen
ganryu
Recently had a conversation with a friend from school about the ease of failure. It's an odd concept when you consider it. I often feel bad for people for not "reaching their potential", he a younger person pointed out the problem that comes with getting to close to many people and the problems that can cause. I do not think that it is necessarily good or bad to stay close or far away to people regarding their success in the world; I have even done enough on my own that has not helped others in making success easy. As I get older though, I hope that many of my friends or at least people I value have or take a chance at success, which I believe for them would not necessarily be difficult to do if they chose. My younger friend pointed out that failing or mediocrity if that is what you end up doing is just even easier to do and involves almost no decision making. This is worrisome to me that people perfectly capable of succeeding or at least doing significiantly better than they are would chose to not try at all rather than chose to try a little harder than before. Not even significantly harder, just something more substantial than they have put forth so far.

I am hopeful that there is a group of people out there that share interests with me that is slightly larger than my current group of friends who want to put forth enough effort to improve if not the world, then at least themselves. We all need to evolve all the time.

openSUSE
helholzen
ganryu
Playing with openSUSE today on the Lenovo X220. Really enjoying it so far, still running it off USB drive for a while. Don't want to get rid of Arch as the main OS yet, but 12.1 openSUSE does well. It was one of the first distros that I ran with a laptop that hasn't had any issues with webcams, wifi, and other usual hangups when it comes to Linux distros out of the box. I feel like most of this is due to the use of the 3.1 kernel which has been doing great with hardware integration at least for me. KDE is a pleasure to use and nice and snappy and probably comparable to how well I was able to integrate it with Arch after a number of months of downloading packages and finding out what I need.

SUSE comes pre-installed with a lot of real nice standard software. GIMP, Firefox, Chat, LibreOffice and a few games.

Haven't really played with the package management system, which will really be the defining feature of whether I switch over to this as a main OS or just leave it as a secondary option behind an ArchLinux or Windows system. The smoothness and speed of upgrades in Arch is just really good. I have yet to have a problem with dependencies yet that wasn't easily solvable and would hope that SUSE can be just as fast and not be too overwhelming with giant distribution changes which are solved by the nice rolling release ability of Arch. I would hope that updates in SUSE won't take the whole week of back ups and then updates that I used to find when playing around with Ubuntu upgrades 6 or 7 years ago before just settling on a LTS and sticking with it.

Overall I am at least going to give it a few more runs off the USB drive before possibly setting it up an off PC. Will keep updates on this if I chose to pursue it.

To Sony
helholzen
ganryu
Okay Sony, Apple may be ahead but let's refocus:

1. Hardware - In general you were the Asian hardware electronic hardware company of the last thirty years. You are losing ground to others but its not too bad. Lets focus on creating A few really well designed products across every category. Bring Standard design cues to your televisions, game systems, dvd players, audio receivers and speakers. Let them all integrate and don't really worry terribly on the software side Google is doing a lot of the work for you.

2. Portable electronics - set three phones out and update them yearly or bi yearly. Here they are: first, gaming phone: just get rid of the vita. It's great hardware but you'd do just as well as selling these cheaper and focusing this as an entry device. You make great hardware but realistically make it an option that kids can afford and parents don't mind paying for. Sell it cheap enough and make the phone part optional. It could integrate to pre bought games and you could sell and create games over a network and have them be downloaded rather than use a cartridge or mini cd. Second, fashion phone: Make it slim and stylish like the arc. Put cheaper hardware in it and keep some standard "sony design cues." Should be your most popular model and have a great camera option. This will appeal to standard buyers who see the iphone as much as a great camera as a great phone. Third, high end phone: best tech one standard design. Easy to do just stay up with what current forum geeks are ultra excited about quad core, hd phones etc. Finally standardize all these and focus on updating internals and smoothing out software for each phone.

Give all of these the same input, put it at the bottom of the phone and match that with your walkman mp3 players. Start creating your docks and other audio components easily syncable with these so you can have another selling point for your products.

Third - Let Google handle all of your software and just smooth out the UI to integrate with your other products. Let your phones and tablets be able to send stuff to your TV and vice versa. Put Google on your t.v. and integrate with playstation the way microsoft does with their XBox.

Overall you are more than capable of handling this and getting back on top. You have a rich history of great product design just make sensible choices going forward and really study what is going on in the market. There is no reason you shouldn't be using google and android software to recreate how people experience media across their lives. Talk to doing this with computer hardware so that your awesome computer hardware can cross integrate with the rest of your systems. I am sure Google would not be opposed to having someone work on this. You can easily overtake Apple backed by Google software.

Thanks for considering this, though I doubt you will.

webOS open source!
helholzen
ganryu
I am really excited about webOS becoming open source. It's time like these that I really wish I could program or do some coding work to make it useful on a variety of hardware solutions. It is too bad that some operating systems just aren't given a better chance. To quickly are companies deciding on an operating system based on profitiability than doing something the "correct way".

It is a really sad business situation that innovators can be when dollar and cents are given more priority than a belief for why they are making such a decision. If HP really believed in webOS as the solution of the future they should have actually put some money behind this and not just released two products and let it flop. At least open source will allow programmers who see it as a unique opportunity or a really useful piece of code will let it continue on. That is one of the great things about the open source community is that it is supported by people who just believe that it is the way things should be done not because it will ever be seen as profitiable option.

One company who I think has done a reasonably good job at capturing a part of a brand well is Lenovo. After buying IBM Thinkpad's line, they continued to make thinkpad laptops. It would have been easy of them to rest of the brand's laurels alone and put out all sorts of crazy computers with the thinkpad name on it really devaluing the brand. Instead, Lenovo continues to make Lenovo laptops as the top of the line mobile computer. The keyboard on my lenovo laptop is just as pleasant to type on as any IBM thinkpad I used and that is one of the defining parts of a thinkpad PC. I believe they do this with the Thinkstation line of desktop computers as well, but I don't own them so don't want to simpy assume this. At least Lenovo seems to have bought the Thinkpad brand because it seemed to them the right way to make a p.c. and they continue to follow that in the Thinkpad brand going forward.

I am excited to see what can be done with webOS done by the open source community, it would be too bad to see another OS perish due to lack of programmer and engineer support.

Funny enough I am trying to put beOS on my netbook which hasn't been too smooth so far. For something that came out at the same time as windows 95, it is really sad that it was unable to catch on. Haiku has done a good job keeping it feeling modern though it is a quite old platform at this point. If I can get the wireless card to work okay I may keep it on netbook for the time being. Always fun to try and deal with driver issues. If there is one thing nice about Linux is it support for most modern drivers.

Semester's End
helholzen
ganryu
I never really get what is going on with the end of semester. Thanksgiving break is really screwy in that we come back and have just one week of classes before exams start. You really cannot learn anything new as it takes at least a class period to get back into the habit of studying and reviewing the last topics you touched on the week before. Professors then find it fun to try and give one / two new topics which will not be tested on save for the final exam. I am not sure why they all want to do this, students aren't focused, most of them in fact just are ready to go home and start exams. We should come back to maybe two classes of reviews, two reading days and then the start of exams. We could all get out a week earlier and just start our break. If it doesn't happen this way we should add another week or two of classes we can actually sit down and learn the last few topics discussed and we can just get out closer to Christmas which is fine as well. The one week of classes is just kind of half ass and not worth it. Fix this schools.

The rest of semester I don't really mind. The hectic work schedule and collection of final projects really makes it feels like you have accomplished something throughout the semester. It is more of a reward and hopefully a collection of really good work that shows where you have come throughout the semester. Or at least a semester of pretty good work in some classes. At least it really makes me feel that I have learned something and the last big projects and test are just a reflection of how much you have gotten out of four months of work in a variety of topics. I just really like to have those last "rewards" which show you that these months weren't in vain and you are further along in your academic development than you were before. Oh well, time to get back to work on these last few projects and wrap up some grading. Should be some good fun, will be nice to have a nice long break to refresh and recharge before starting spring semester fun.

And we're back
helholzen
ganryu
After a good six days at home, back in Virginia for all sorts of fun, not really though. There is just over a week of classes left then two reading days and exam period begins. I should map out my actual exam schedule, something I never do until exams are right on top of me and I have to study or prepare to grade during that period, both of which will end up overlapping in the most unhelpful way if Murphy's law holds true for this semester.

Nothing else much important going on. Not into the holiday spirit and never will be until I have real holiday shopping to do (ie a child or spouse) or school is out for the holiday. I really cannot stand the month long Christmas music / holiday specials that always dominate the next month and a half of media time. Combined with the fact that it is very warm in Virginia it just doesn't feel at all like Christmas / December until I get home for the holidays.

Was nice to see everyone or at least everyone I could see over break. Wish there was more time for some good one on conversations but those are always hard. Maybe more towards Christmas those will arise. Talked with my parents about feeling distant from all the old guys back home which will happen as I am not really home for a good three months of the year and won't be home for more than that for quite some time if ever again. It is just sad as they all share intricate parts of your life and your past which no one else will. It is hard to build and rebuild those type of strong / intense friendships again. Jenna and I have talked about it more than once at how challenging that can be. It is a challenge to work at both trying to create more of them and preserve the ones that you have. Something to keep working on as I keep going forward.

Alright time to get to some homework for tonight. Just waiting for the semester to be over. Just too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all in unfortunately.

Thanksgiving
Lestat
ganryu
So excited for Thanksgiving coming up. Not that this semester has not been great, but as it is winding down, I am really excited to visit with friends and family. It will be nice to have a couple of home cooked meals as well as some fun dinners out. Definitely looking forward to a good sandwich from J's Deli and one from Kay's as well. It will be nice to rehear the old stories and what new trouble that people have gotten into. It will be nice to tell them mine. There is something special about homecomings in that way. These are the people who knew you before and share secrets that no one else likely ever will. People who have seen you truly develop and change infront of them some in your mind for better or worse. It is hard how to value how people change but those from your home can clearly see it more than any other and it makes a relationship with them really special. It's interesting how in some ways we change back into an older version of ourself to interact with your friends from home. There is something magical about those old relationships but there is something tiring about it as well.

You want to show people how you've changed or that you have, but in truth you are forced to see them as not completely changed but just a modified version of what we used to be. Someone who is not that far removed from where they had came from. Its hard to say if we have moved forward or around those friends if we will always be who we were the last time we saw them. My growth away from home has not been with them and our relationships haven't grown over time but most have decayed and suffered from neglect. Distance plays a large part in this and it is tough to grow or relate what we now fear or dream of to those that are thousands of miles away. It is tough to jump into telling them that we used to think or fear is no longer a focus but instead we are curious about quite a bit more. I love and hate it sometime, how hard it is to explain how hard you've changed or with them have not changed because of lack of growth together.

I often worry about how they grow. Is it in a direction they want? Are they settling? Is it worth for me to be here doing what I am doing? I don't know there are no real answers. I feel often that they are growing away from me and that makes me sad. I wish I could grow more with some of them to pull them and have them push me forward but we cannot hope for that anymore. There are others who have taken their place here for me in some wayse and other times it is no one but myself who pushes for more. I hope everyone is doing what will make them most happy. I hope that I am too.

Overall it will be good, it is fun to see these people and not too overwhelming or disappointing when it is not necessarily as magical as you hoped it would be. I hope I can be happy with the choices they've made and the choices I've made and we can work harder to influence and grow together like we once did. Either way the food will be good and so will the drinks and the memories will flow and taste as sweet if not sweeter when they first came to fruition. All memory seems to sweeten in that way take on a more pleasing taste the bad ones are let go and we come to embrace the good times, the fun ones and we can laugh at the bad times and smile about the good. Hopefully we can build more with each other as we grow older as well.

Technology Entry
helholzen
ganryu
I am getting every closer to buying a tablet. It is an intersting form factor to me and would work well with such things as travel and media view. For all intensive purposes it would be a less powerful laptop and would only need to exist for certain opportunities. It would be more space saving for traavel but still seems to have a good number of setbacks. Overall the iPad is the most complete device and closest to really be worth buying. Its biggest drawback to me is its lack support for any dependent file-system its use of strictly proprietary plugs. Android tablets seem mostly incomplete for one way or another, most don't feature any true design to them and many of them have the same drawbacks of iOS without any real benefit to me other than it was not an Apple product. So where does this leave me?

I consider most of these tablets simply as media viewers and there lack of being able to plug into am external hard drive is rather obnoxious. The higher end versions all have webcams which enable them to be fancy video chat devices, again though my laptop can do that well if necessary. So what is my driving factor of getting these, the small portability and ease to media. This really makes me interested in the Amazon Fire. Here we have a device that has an access to a great media library which is where the profit for Amazon would come in. As I have digitized most of my media this isn't too interesting to me, instead what is the driving factor is the 199$ price. It can work as a quick and dirty larger screen phone functions when I tether them to the internet through my phone. It has limited space which is annoying, but the cost alone makes it tempting.

It will take a while to see how this market develops. For once in a longtime I am looking forward to the software that Redmond is putting out. Windows 8 if done well could answer most of my complaints about the tablet market. There is also the hope of a non-Android Linux OS entering the fold. Gnome3 as a desktop environment and Ubuntu Unity seem like the most likely candidates at this stage. Both Windows 8 and a full Linux OS should have the power to access external hard drives as well as hopefully have full size usb ports or the like to use as a charging port and data port. Hopefully Google decides to do the same with the AndroidOS as well at some point as apple with iOS. Here is one of the great difficulties between moving from an OS designed strictly for a phone to one meant for a tablet.

Perhaps the holida season will see me coming into the tablet space for the first time. Though it is rapidly expanding similarly to the phone market, it seems like most computing options there will always be newer and better options just around the corner. While the Kindle Fire at such a price would be my first choice, the lack of front facing camera destroys one of the only purposes I would store a tablet for. Until the market develops a little further, I will just need to embrace that I am going to continue to carry a laptop as my mobile device of choice rather than hope for a slimmer more portable option. Also OEMs please consider making a dual screen tablet each with worth while resolutions. Think two 7 inch screens with 1280x800 displays, thin bezels, a way to have the tablet completely fold over to use a single screen device or a dual screen device if folded like a laptop. Over all it is an exciting product space and will be interesting to see what people do as the market continues to grow. Lenovo please do this as a thinkpad tablet line or it would be nice to see Sony do something like that, as they actually have some product design past typical thin slate. I don't know if Lenovo or Sony would consider another OS that was not so established, so I am imagining that the continued growth of Android or that of Windows 8 will be the most likely solution.

gah.
helholzen
ganryu
This infuriates me about our college scheduling to no end. Every semester, every course somehow plans to have a test or major project due within a half week time frame of each other. I don't mind doing the work to memorize certain modes and formulas to be prepared for all of these things, in fact I agree I should be tested on them, I would just like some decompression time. I guess this is somehow preparing me for the real world of due dates and finality. Having worked in the real world it is more like taking one class at a time with a mix of daily testing and the occassional big project that either requires a good amount of overtime if not prepared for or a little extra work each week or day. Nevertheless I will continue to focus through the beginning half of this week so I can decompress in the latter half.

The extra hour of sleep was nice going into today. Unfortunately it is time to wipe away the cobwebs and take on today with a deliberate focus. The semester is fast winding down and that is always somewhat surprising to me. It is only two more weeks before Thanksgiving break and after that Finals will be starting up again. Grades and grading will surely be busy but not overwhelming. Looking forward to being home and seeing the old gang again during Winter break. All this always seems to go by much too quickly sometimes. I enjoy those times when you can take a step back and reflect about whats been accomplished in this period and how it truly is quite a lot. Completely losing yourself in the day to day makes you forget both the good things you have accomplished as well as forgetting where you are going. It is nice to be able to write here and reflect on both. It is like getting a good battery recharge. Updating the mp3 player today with some Beatles and Dylan, definitely brought on by the Job's autobiography.

If you get a chance it was worth reading, even if you aren't the biggest apple fan, and most of you know that I most certainly am not. Definitely a man with a style and a belief that followed it whole heartedly and that is something that is something that is worth reading about in my mind. So easy for politicans to say that we need more people with that kind of creativity and drive in modern business, I don't think Steve saw himself as overly political nor do I think most business people do. They are just trying to create something awesome that they see a need for in humanity. Being a creator is empowering as much as it seems terrifying to me. We will have to see what happens in the future.

On Heroics
helholzen
ganryu
Human beings have been guided by many different forces throughout time. Different cultures have had a large collections of ways to assign value to society. In early Western culture, the Greeks strove for a goal of masculine ideals and rationality to shape the world around them. The core of this classical tradition was that there was a hidden ideal and form that men should strive for in this world. The Christian view, that followed, spoke to ideals of hard work and a better life awaited those who followed the tenets of the Christian faith. Again, this view holds that men should strive for an unknown paradise or ideal through their Earthly actions. Enlightened thinkers repackaged rational and scientific thinking as a the meaning of life. These thinkers also hoped to find an ultimate truth, that had long ago been described by Socrates. Rational thought lead to the idealism of Marx to create a world wide “communist utopia”, while Freud saw a collection of men that would never be happy unable to balance their “animal instinct” with “societal pressures”. Nietzsche comes along with a different approach to the seemingly eternal mindset of idealism or perfection in society. Nietzsche writes a short tome, Twilight of the Idols, where he strongly criticizes the western practice of idealism and its problematic nature in humanity. In his new world view, men of substance no longer should need the idols and ideals of the old to support them and through their own thought should come to stand and shape the world around them.
While it seems that Nietzsche in doing this is creating a new ideal through his description of the “uber-man” in some of his texts, careful reading would see this as untrue. Nietzsche speaks for the strength of every man to be able think critically about the stimulus around him and make a human choice that is best for him. In his Epigrams and Arrows section, Nietzsche admits that while a man may make a mistake in his choice that it should not be seen as a negative. Epigram 8 states “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” (6). While a person tries to make the best choice, inevitably a poor choice will be made and one should not be discouraged from this but instead learn and grow from it. Not by reaching for greatness and ideals do humans become better, but by being human and making mistakes. Nietzsche has resolved to not believe in an ideal, instead seeing human beings as having an infinite amount of progression that they are capable of. While this must force each person to realize they are at all times imperfect, each person also is granted the unique knowledge that he or she can grow in ways completely unimaginable to anyone else on the planet if he or she so chooses to. An ideal, unfortunately cannot achieve what person who does not have any ideals is capable of.
Readers vilify Nietzsche for the fact that Hitler used him as a source for such projects as the eradication of six millions Jew and the hopeful creation of an Aryan race, a careful reading of Nietzsche does not suggest either of these things. While Nietzsche does believe in the improvement of the human race, he does not believe in the destruction of others as the cause. Epigram 19 reads “How’s that? You’ve chosen virtue and the puffed up-chest, but at the same time you look askance at the advantages of those who have no scruples?-But when one embraces virtue, one renounces “advantages” … (7). This was posted on an anti-Semite’s front door challenging the man who has chosen virtue to rise above the “advantages” of others. The true heroic man in Nietzsche’s mind rises above the disadvantages and learns from their mistakes. The man rises above and leads not by putting other men down and blaming others for the problems surrounding the world but instead simply goes about solving the problems that are around them. While even effective and inventive men may have difficulty in solving some of the problems, the solutions to them will never be found in complaining about how unfair life is.
Nietzsche also does an excellent job at grounding human thought. Nietzsche targets Socrates as lifting human thought into the theoretical realm and sees this as extremely problematic. “[Socrates] discovered a new kind of contests, that in this contest he served as the first fencing master” (15). The fencing contest described by Nietzsche is a rhetoric fencing contest, where a man who used words and ideas well could make the works of someone who created or even attempted to build seem stupid. This power when misplaced or misused can cause the efforts of humanity to stall while each person bickers about the ineffectiveness and unimportance of those around them. Socrates made a practice of this in Athens, showing the rhetorically how foolish those around him were. Socrates wins many arguments by merely pointing out an incomplete knowledge in the men that he questions. Nietzsche accepts and expects this incompleteness but he believes that some men have the ability to rise above this and learn to chart a new course and that men like Socrates act simply as a stall of people becoming successful or at least improving. To Nietzsche the true strength of men is his ability to thoughtfully approach the world around him. Ideals and virtues will need to change and be constantly rethought for the time and place and will never be absolute.
Nietzsche writes on the importance of making thoughtful interactions to the world around them. “To learn to see - to accustom the eye to composure, to patience, to letting things come to it; to put off judgment, to learn to walk around all sides of the individual case and comprehend it from all sides” (48). Nietzsche goes on to say this seeing and patience is the important part to willing a change in the environment. All too often, men react to something, rush to make a decision on something that can not be solved or fixed by a gut reaction. Difficult questions about the direction of humanity and even the directions that an individual should chose to pursue should not be decided rashly and rushed into. “One rarely commits only one overhasty act. With the first one always does too much, For this very reason, one usually commits still another - and this time, one does too little” (9). Often a person will overcompensate to the previous situation in an effort to solve the problem rather than seeming to have a really thought out plan, that could solve a difficult dilemma. Overhasty acts coming from a plea that any action is better than none is ultimately untrue and can cause a person to get into an even more difficult situation. This again warns humanity against making quick “ideal” actions because in solving thoughtful problems dealing with people rarely is the situation ideal for one course of action.
Nietzsche imparts a new way for human beings to look at happiness: “a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal” (11). Interesting that Nietzsche does not want men to seek an unrealistic ideal but an actual set goal or an accomplishment. Happiness for human beings does not come from an absolute but in Earthly accomplishments. Each person should set out what they would like to achieve in a thoughtful way and go out and do it, the more specific, the better. Humanity can falter only for reaching for unreal ideals that it will never reach instead of goals that are reasonably solvable. Working to solve homelessness or unemployment can be done in many ways but “making heaven on Earth” will never occur, in Nietzsche’s mind. No matter if we become a happy communist collective in economic thought or if everyone manages to master our competing ego and id, in a psychological thought, humanity will do far better if each person pursues an achievable goal. The “great human beings” to Nietzsche are not the ones that possesses ideals that they seek to emulate but instead pursue goals. Those goals can be ways to improve things but they should be definite goals. The goal of Jesus Christ to teach people to love and respect their fellow men has infinite more value than the goal of a person to one day be saved and go to heaven by. Jesus had a goal, the latter simply an ideal. Jesus was able to change the world through an ideal, there are million of people who reached for the ideal of heaven. Nietzsche likely would not appreciate the Christian example but it demonstrates the difference between a man with goals and one with ideals.
Nietzsche tried to push forth an idea that men no longer needed the virtues or ideals they once relied on as sign posts or guides to how to behave. He reminds us that man as creature is not perfect, but it is his imperfection that gives strength and an infinite ability to grow, evolve and improve. Through careful analysis of situations and of events each person can react to events standing in front of them and overcome the “advantages” of other or the “disadvantages” of their situation to become truly great human beings. Unfortunately this often was not read carefully and people believed that he supported nothing more than the ruthless take over of a dominate people by another. Nietzsche believed in the accomplishment of one person did not mean the domination of another. As modern technological leaders Steve Jobs and Bill Gates proved their are often two very different ways to create a product or have a goal. Both men proved, if the goal was accomplished, the goals are not mutually exclusive of each other, but instead cause continued growth and innovation in the field. Neither product will ever be perfect but each will always get better and everyone should be happy about that.

Happy Birthday
Spike
ganryu
So today I turn 27, oh how time flies. I have been now updating this for ten years, which is pretty crazy. While there is an urge to go back and see where I was before in life, looking forward to the future is the plan. So far spending the day at my Sister's place in Hickory just looking forward to drinking some red wine and eating some pizza and enjoy the wastefulness of this Jersey Shore marathon. Also checking out a little physics homework and a little organic chemistry which should be fun. Just nice to be not in a dorm room for a while and sleep on an air mattress that I can completely roll over on again. So thats the goal for the rest of the day.

School has just been going really well this semester. Just has been a fun couple of months of learning and exploring the world around me and really changing the lens that you view the world in. It is really just amazing when you realize that we can not really sense so much stuff that is going on around us as far as wave systems and molecules go. Really interesting to see if we can build systems to affordably start to understand these things and our observations of these systems will really help us understand what is going on in the world. Science is really awesome in that way, there is just so many avenues to explore and attempt to understand.

After this nice relaxing day of battery recharging it will be fun to go back and really put in an intense week of work as it is a short time now between this weekend and Thanksgiving and much shorter between Thanksgiving break and finals. I just am so pumped to keep going forward with all of this in the next year or two. Just excited, I am glad that as I get older I am so excited about what is possible for the future. Here's hoping for another great year and a lot of great stuff to come.

Pre-Birthday
helholzen
ganryu
As we all get older, I often hear people talk about how birthdays are unimportant or forgettable. This is not at all the case for me. I look forward to my birthday all year. Not that the presents or parties are likely to be as memorable as some of the ones in years past every once in a while either of those creates really memorable experiences. Even over the last two years where I am away from my friends and families there is still quite no outpowering of love that you get as when its your birthday. This is captured really awesomely by Facebook where you see people receive comments in the hundreds wishing them a happy birthday and a good year. While I am still absent from Facebook the simple letters, emails and text messages are just as good to me. Maybe there is less volume in them but they are all more heartfelt and took a little effort to make.

What I do have trouble with these days, which I blame school for, is keeping track of which week of the month it is so I will have any real idea when my Birthday is going to happen. I really thought we had a whole other week of October to enjoy before we reached the last week but here it is already. I guess time just flies when you do not have a calendar to look at. As for birthdays though while they may not signal a rite of passage anymore for us over 21, it does show how much we have been able to affect the people around us. If nothing else each birthday is a reminder that we only have so much time left to do something awesome and we should all be trying to do something awesome. If I ever run for anything that is going to be my slogan "...because we all should do something awesome." I don't know if giving me power is anything awesome though but I would push for the ideal world I dream of and I think others should go for that as well.

Also what the hell happened to rock and roll music circa 2011? Do we still make it anymore. Sorry "Pumped up Kicks" just doesn't cut it to me. Where are the Springstein's of our generation? I don't know I am sure it will come back, there are a lot more birthdays to be had an reflect on things like how music was never better than when I was sixteen, which is untrue, but why not?

Those were the best days of my life? Nah the best are always ahead of me.

Sigh No More
helholzen
ganryu
Song of the week - Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More" I have enjoyed this song for a while but it has taken over my playlist this week in an awesome way. If you haven't listened to this song, download it, stream it, whatever is necessary., it will not be a waste of your time I promise. Though it starts of kind of focusy and harmonizing the song really comes into its own in the repetitive building of the chorus. As the volume increases and additional instruments are added to the mix you cannot help but feel the urge to sing along, clap your hands and dance a little. At least I do, which I am sure has resulted in a few odd looks as I walked around these last couple of beautiful fall days. Who doesn't want to believe that "love will not betray, dismay, or enslave you; but will set you free make you more like the man you are made to be." It captures a hopefullness and a promise that something great can come out of love and life and there will bei mprovement.

Simply listen to it, the whole album is good and requires few if any skips. Not all songs are as upbeat and sing-alongy but it definitely is worth at least one sitting of your time.

Emotional Cutting
helholzen
ganryu
Do people ever love in that crazy, immature, teenage way that we do the first time. Is a later love ever as great as that first one? Yeah, fuck yeah it is. We might have trouble getting in the mood for it but yeah of course. People just have to stop thinking about everything in that superficial mature way. Oh I am afraid to be hurt to love like like that again, we all do it. Whether you worry about making ass of yourself or getting hurt, that is the stupid stuff that stops you from feeling, from falling head over heels. For making some magical mind blowing connection with someone. Even our basic friendship connections, how often as we have all aged do we really share some small special and hidden part of ourselves. I hide all of those, what secrets can someone keep buried, almost all of them if you want too.

Maybe its being afraid of our childish ways, maybe its something you would rather have forgotten but its part of what made you who you are. It has helped you get to being who you are. Those thing will shape you in the future one way or another. Bad past doesn't guarantee bad future and vice versa. We learn and adapt and change, we always change and we often forget it. Whether we change our surroundings, our hair, our attitudes we all shift. We aren't the same cells we were born with and different synapses have been made and disconnected and that is all really powerful stuff. Lets keep the good stuff and try to get rid of the bad and make something beautiful of it all.

I sometimes don't know what the fuck I am doing here, what I am creating, what I am being led by and its okay I am going to keep going and I will change my world and maybe your world and it will be for the better. You may change mine too and it will be for the better and if we all push together we can make something beautiful and new.

So let's go, heroes!

(no subject)
helholzen
ganryu
For a long time I really disliked the Beatles, no particular reason just I don't know they were the Beatles, you are supposed to like them. Anyone who reads this will get that is exactly why I wouldn't even bother with the Beatles. Turns out that was really dumb. The Beatles are awesome in a lot of ways. For a band who was only out ten years they were pretty awesome. Not the best song writers even if you combine the talents of McCartney / Lennon / Harrison they still aren't Dylan to me but yeah they can sing and have much more complex musicality behind them which is worth points in general listenability. They also lack the stage presence of say Queen's Freddy Mercury who along with Jagger really set the stages for live stage performance / audience connectability. I mean you can watch a video of Mercury and still be like I will stand up because you signaled me to stand up. But the Beatles man shit they are great, someone should have beat me over the head with this stuff earlier. I didn't even realize how many Beatles songs I liked because some of their stuff sounds so crazy different that the others.

Alright off the Beatles rant, turns out I love Chemistry or at least I am good enough to enjoy studying it now for two years. Crazy this isn't the awesome-ness of Physical Chemistry just Organic Chemistry but of course I expect them all to be reasonably good. I have now acquired a good deal of cyclohexane models and am slowly building a crystalline structure. A true crystal I think needs a minimum of 52 carbons which I think they will realize I have taken them all before I get to that point unfortunately. I am trying to enlist the other ChemKids to donate their cycolohexane models to me. They all think they are going to have some actual use in seeing molecules or some such I don't know if that is really the case but its a cute thought. Also taking physics which is surprisingly easier than I remember H.S. physics to be which is either I am better at doing the work for it or I was well prepared, either way I will take it and enjoy it.

All this doesn't help me at all decide at what I should do with my life, which I am really isn't really important. Not that I can't do something awesome with what I do decide to do but there is a lot of stuff to work on that is cool and worth putting time into. Yay learning and stuff. Oh, saw Richard Dawkins speak at Lynchburg which was fun. Not as awesome as some of his TED talks which if anyone reads this (probably, not) should totally be looked at if you haven't yet.

Computer information for Fall 2012:
1. I am capable of building my own computer completely from scratch; which I always assumed was doable but no I have empirical evidence to support this.
2. If you have the processing power and RAM; KDE is worth running. It is very pretty in all of it's Linux goodness.
3. The speed of SSD's are crazy and very noticeable in relation to HDD. I read this many times in tech journals but until you have one you don't really understand.
4. I really need some good CPU speakers and a webcam which will take some time to fine but not too much I am sure.

Reading update Fall 2012:
1. Lots of low class reading - Grossman's Magician King Carey's Naamah's Blessing. Neither of which should qualify for any literary awards anytime soon but aren't bad time wasters.
2. Reading for intellectual exploration - some Rand, Freud, Goethe, Marx. All over the place have some Nietchze again on the horizon.
3. Received probably 20 history books from my Grandfather which I should make a dent on at some point, but won't for years in all probability. Politicians while occassionaly world shaping aren't always that awesome.

Alright now I guess it's 2am I have to be up at 8am for breakfast at 8:30 then prepping a Physics practical. Then trying to hold back the craziness of O. Chem study session and having a sometime conversation with Jenna on G-Chat probably. Then fall break and seeing my parents for the first time in three months.

Yup
helholzen
ganryu
There is a lot of stuff going on, for everyone all the time. Tonight was one of those glorious nights of worrying about the past, the future, everything in between. It sometimes feel like nothing is going fast enough forward and the amount of time to get it done is too quickly going away which is true. We will all die, there is no over looking it unfortunately no spell to save us, no eternal life but it isn't that bad. All that stupid worriment makes me forget all the good stuff going on right at this moment that I should be doing / enjoying / basking in. It is easy to worry it just happens most of the time, especially with the threat of life constantly looming. I am sad that I often don't take a few seconds every day and refocus my vision to what I can control, can do and can make happen to get me where I want to be or at least one step forward in where I am going.

Sometimes I hate looking back at what I was like. I don't always know if I have gotten any better though it feels like I have. At other points the vivacity and overly emotional outlook I had on everything a head of me really makes me smile. Tonight reading this really made me smile in the same way it often makes me cry. I have come to terms with it, sad for what I have lost but happy for where the journey has taken me. It is nice to have this available to bring back some of that happiness and yearning for adventures.

Like many foolish young men, who buried his head in a book, desires for my life to be as exciting and magical as the stories that jump off the page into your mind. While real life can not always compare favorably to fantasy or science fiction it has its own luster and glow that can not be overlooked or under cherished. That beautiful luster now lights up the room and the world for a few magical moments as I type through this entry. All and all I am happy that I chose to keep this old thing active even with all the sad memories it awakes and stupid, self centered actions of my past; this continues to remind me that I am a different person living an epic story of my own, which I would do well to write more on when I have the time available to do so.

Driving Music
Spike
ganryu
If there is anything that I really consider I spend a lot of time thinking about it is music. Not in any superior technical way, mostly just in the way people of the last lets say sixty years have. I wouldn't say I have the best ear or my opinions any better than most peoples but I definitely know something good in most genres of music. You know that song that just blows your hair back and you need to know the artists right away. I pick out that music very well on first listen. It is something that is magical and maybe it can even semi transform you.

There is a lot written on the subject, how music predates languages and how the first languages were likely sung not spoken so clearly there is something primal about music to our species. In the last sixty years or probably the last thirty to forty years, music has become linked with driving for most people I think. No one sits around and listens to records anymore which is semi-escapist in its own way but it expects a level of thought. I mean our minds don't shut off in the same way. Sitting in a room and listening to music is a lost art, listening to anything really is but lets stay on music for the time being.

I always find it odd that baby-boomers in general complain about our music lacking substance. I mean we just don't intake it in the same way they did so we don't demand the same things out of it. We don't sit and listen to music as an experience or a teaching tool or a search for truth. We don't take many musical artists as philosophers or even deep thinkers these days. How many of them write their own music anyhow? I mean lets not get too heavy into how bad pop lyrics are they always have been bad, but the song-writers of today are still there and they are good just different.

Most were raised with music as background noise and to an extent it is. It is a gentle sway or force on our lives sometimes taking over when that song comes on the radio and wraps you into it an your body innately responds. Whether you dance, sing-along, jam down the gas petal, or just allow the music to take over that main receptor channel of sensory intake its magical. The reason why we don't have meaningful lyrics is that it isn't enough. As much as I love Dylan, guy can't sing and most of the music is eh. The Beatles, arguably the greatest band of all time, captured great lyrics with good music that wrapped you up and made you listen to the lyrics. Few songs do that today, capture your ear or mind and make you listen to the words. Half the times the words are escapist in themselves asking you to just tune into the beat and dance, sway, forget. Music does a great job at making us forget the shit times things are and at least asks us to look at the good things.

We as a generation are often so beat down that is all we want to know that there is some good and our artists, writers, and musicians provide that. I am talking about the people that write songs not mega label production artists. I don't have the energy for world peace, sometimes I barely have the energy to get out of bed. The world seems to being going to shit around my generation: debt crisis, unemployment, global warming, political strife (in so many ways); all i want is to realize there is something good, that love exists for some people (maybe someday for me), that tomorrow has the potential to be better.

I no doubt want to solve those things or at least contribute to the best of my ability. Just don't shit on us and our music because your music which called for an end to famine, materialism, inequality, war, and injustice which you a generation seemed to want very badly in the late 1960s fell through the cracks and is leaving my age group with a larger mess. At this point I just want hope that it will be better. That there is something to dance for sometimes and if I work very hard enough anyone who wants can spend their life together, we can save as many animal species as we want, and tomorrow can be better. I have lost my dreams of doing something magical and revolutionary but I have not abandoned my hope of leaving something better than was left for me.

Old Poetry
helholzen
ganryu
Dark and Somber autumn eves
From the trees fall, dying leaves
Which is springtime had so nicely bloomed
yet only reaching their fated doomed

As the months get colder still
Most of the leaves have lost their will
Down to the ground they gently descend
With nothing time nor space can now amend
to put them back on barren branches
to give them back those desperate chances
of lost life & fair lover's glances

Passing by a springtime morning
Surely now in autumn lover's are not mourning
For true love's fate surpasses time or space
Captured solely on a fair lover's face
Never to wither as like the dying leave
So for dead love one should never grieve
For does love have possibility to perish
Not when forever there be hearts to cherish
Those lover's time that was spent together
Those lover's words of such forever
Not bound by death, fate or plan
Now love isn't in control of mortal man
Or divine beings of any plane
Can not make true loves feelings wane
Like changing moon or passing season
True love surpasses both rhyme and reason

Such is how I feel for you
Starting upon the autumns changing hue
And even though beautiful leaves may decease
Love for you doth not but increase
As time of distance may draw us "apart"
You'll forever remain inside my heart
Loved purely as the day love was conceived
ever shall for my love I'll ever grieve
Yet for beauty not able for my eyes to behold
And tales of your magnificence that shall be foretold
Such pains me now so to miss such things
Wishing forever that I'd have wings
So to fly and gaze upon your splendid being
Where only perfection are my eyes are seeing
Venus doth not compare with thee
or any flower in ground or on tree
To compare your eyes with beautiful gems and stones
Would be to little credit of your eyes own
For fairer such is but your face
Than anything I've seen in any place
To speak about your body though
Is a tale that but few know
And being such of those lucky few
I shall spare but a verse or two
To speak of fair body's magic
Which away from my eyes is nothing less than tragic
Skin that is so tender and fair
Rays of sunshine compete for her hair
Succulent breasts with tender skin
Which house that beautiful heart within

I wrote this probably back in 2002 / 2003 and was part of a rather large collection of poetry. Sadly most of this got lost and destroyed. So in efforts to keep one of those moments saved and alive, I will keep this here in hope that it will be alive forever on the web in one way or another and capture a part of me that though makes me uncomfortable at points definitely is a part of me. Some days I am upset that I got rid of all those poems, but at the same time you cannot regret it too much. Hopefully I can continue and write poems that I really like in the future.

Nothing of note at the moment, choosing classes for the Fall tomorrow or later this morning if you want to look at it that way. It is time for bed at this point though and I better be getting there. Also hoping to pick up a Barbour jacket this spring / summer for next fall / winter / early spring. Still looking around for another camera for the beginning of next year or the beginning of the school year next year. Looking at an iteration of the Canon 5d or the Nikon D700. Will likely depend on pricing more than anything as I cannot find any great reason to lean on one system over the other.

Silly Poetry
helholzen
ganryu
What we see beyond the moon,
Shimmers through the dark and guides us forth
Parting the veils of our world
Guiding us to places of worth

And on that moonlit path
I stumbled into a phantom of my love
Was she shadow or something more
Could I trust the lights from the moon above

Yet she danced upon my path
And so I trailed after her smiling face
Until she darted into the darkness
She seemed to vanish without a trace

Was I to stray from my enchanted lane
To chase something that I had just imagined
Or should I trust the light ahead of me
The choice stole from me all reason
But cannot there be someone else I love ahead of me
Are we to believe that love and hearts split so
So I followed my elder love into the land of faerie
This world of reason I shall never again know

There is nothing I enjoy more at four in the morning than writing poetry and during my stay at Northeastern my late nights were filled with poetry between epic nights of playing warcraft. I may have even been pretty good at it at one time or another so I probably should look to work on that again as there is really no reason to avoid doing so other than my fair that it is completely crap, which maybe true. No reason to not love it at this stage in my life and see what I can do by playing with it and really taking a chance. Hope everyone in livejournal land is doing well, I am studying for a number of things tomorrow after finishing a paper and a take home exam for etymology. It has been a busy day and will continue to be a busy semester. I will try to avoid this credit overload crap in the future. It seems to make sense that I do. Even I am willing ot admit that I am getting much to old for this.

Weekends...
Balflear
ganryu
these last two weekends have been generally odd for me. Both on me looking back on life back to the last time I may have considered myself completely happy senior year of high school and the summer before. It is interesting to read those all journal entries and those thoughts. How self centered a kid I was but I think about how happy that first relationship was. So interesting to think about because parts of that relationship were very draining / miserable and stress filled and turned me into a jerk to most of the people in my life. Not everyone but I definitely made me a focus in a really over the top way. Am I better on that yet? I don't think so completely but I am getting there. It is just an interesting thing to do it feels like a life time ago as I have rode a ride of crazy emotions over the past years going from really highs to lows in that period telling everything to fuck off to missing them all like crazy. Obviously some people more than others but sometimes it feels like those early connections rooted themselves much deeper. There was nothing blocking people for digging deep roots to your heart, soul and your dreams.

Now I feel like I have salted the earth of my soul and look at most people especially new people in a very skeptical way. That barrier seems to take forever to break to share those secrets to say something real or meaningful about myself. I feel like I can put on a enough of an I don't care face to get through most people and the people that get through that I can manage to stay on the surface for for years no matter how they may dig to reach any deeper. What is interesting being here are the people who are willing to talk to you, who are young and open and have yet to been jaded by a long time of failed romances and dropped opportunities. There is something refreshing about the hopefulness the belief in the infinite possibility to succeed in all things with little to no sacrifice. Maybe that is the case, maybe it isn't. Either way here is looking to incorporate more hope for the future in the day to day and maybe remove some of that salt and open up to people.

Sentimental
Spike
ganryu
I always find a way to stumble back on this when I am in a sentimental enough mood of my late high school life. It is one of the only times I start to look back on what I am now as old or at least has had a good amount of life experience. Obviously there is still a lot of it left to go but it is always a quick snap back to the past. When you re-read what you wrote it reminds me how far I have come at least as a writer, if not as an emotional being in general. How overly hormonal and overly emotional do those old entries seem, filled with feelings, yearnings and passions that swallowed me whole. There are times when I wish to be so over filled with feelings again, but at the same time I do my best to protect myself from such moments so it seems unlikely.

School in Virginia is well school and as I am treating it more like a job, the more it gets done successfully and probably for once in a really thorough and growing way. It is at those times when I feel like an adult truly that I can grow in a controlled and planned way and take in what I need to get where I am going. I am glad to see like most online journaling medium hasn't completely gone away as I have seen the end of way too many social media already, this being one of the most intimate that I have always liked the most, for its perceived intimacy, but being the intimate it isn't really is it.

Oh well, time to really begin the day and stop dwelling in past memories and past times which must be acknowledged but not allowed to be overwhelming. Hope everyone is doing well out there if there are people who still read these things.

On Vox: le Carre novels
helholzen
ganryu

I just finished "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" by John le Carre, one of the best spy novelists of the English language.  One of the top rated novels by both the Telegram and the Guardian, it is not hard to see why after reading it.  The complexities and the varied points of few throughout the story are similar to the prose style that le Carre uses in his other novels and it keeps the suspense high as you get closer to the climax.  It has no trouble gripping you from the opening pages as you see the novel slowly unfold and build a history of the British Secret Service and the history of cold war espionage.  It keeps a very realistic and dirty few as compared to the novels of Fleming, one of the other masters of spy novels in recent history. 

The most interesting thing of le Carre is what he does not say but leaves to your imagination.  The use of silence is hard to put into print and le Carre makes silence a very strong part of his novel.  He gives you multiple point of views and yet the story and the central mystery remain mostly hidden to you throughout the novel though the hints are presented to you.  This use of conveying the knowledge of the characters firmly to you as it would be presented to them forces you into their skin and it is that element that makes the novels so enrapturing.  It is as if you are yourself pulling at the shoestrings and the means of state and trade craft are at your fingertips the whole time. 

The ability to transport you into that world has always been one of the most special things that novels have ever done for me.  To be able to escape into another world and see things different for a while is the magical feature of novels that always happens to some extent in all great forms of art, whether music, art, or writing.  le Carre does it masterfully and it shows in the praise of his works as it does for a composer whose work is universally admired through both popular and critical society.  Up next on the list of reading is Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady" a much older character study of the difference between European and American culture of the last century which is a popular thread in all of James' novel, though this will be the first one I've read with a female protagonist.  Which always goes differently for me as I am not always a huge fan of female protagonist but lets hope that this one will be a worthy character of which to read about. 

Music - Jay Z - The Blueprint Volume Three.    

Originally posted on tjduhamel.vox.com


On Vox: Konstantine
helholzen
ganryu

I really don't like the band Something Corporate all too much, on the other hand, I really love their song Konstantine.  I don't even know what it is about, someone told me recently it was a suicide track, doesn't matter.  Its long and dramatic and grand in all the right way.  The song crescendos throughout and just gets even more sing along like as it nears the climax with a slight diminuendo towards the end of the track.  It just reminds you of youth and the desperation of love then.  "Then you bring me home, afraid to found out that we're alone", how every one is afraid to find out that even when you are at your happiest together you are ultimately alone.  How scary it all seems and vaguely insightful for a teenage sob song. 

Overall I really appreciate the art of writing a good song for teenagers, as I think they are much more complex than anyone gives them credit for.  Of course they are more aptly termed young adults because they are adults that are still trying decide the right way for them to act and you will not ever get the same reaction in every situation from two of them no matter how similar they are.  The desperation of Konstantine triggers that for me, to me its glamorous and sad and if it is about suicide or death together or death alone its big over the top and glamorous not sad or anything to be depressed about.  Maybe their is something glamorous in the dark and morbid that we are seeing in society these days with our recent fascination of the undead whether in vampires, werewolves or zombies.  There is beauty in the dark, but it is still frightening.  In a time where any information is available to most of the western world through the internet we welcome to the surrender to the dark nature to unknown of the night.  Perhaps we are to see a new romaticism flow through as we come to realize that we crave some isolation and detachment from the instant communication of cell phones, the internet and people around us.  Do we long for wide open spaces to think or crowded streets were we aren't even noticed.  All alone together or longing for space to enjoy the introverted thought granted by solitude.  Perhaps we are at the precipice of something grand, perhaps not.   

Originally posted on tjduhamel.vox.com


On Vox: Macallan 12
helholzen
ganryu

Today I take my last pour of Macallan 12 year old scotch.  It was the first single malt I ever had and I to be honest I probably didn't really start to appreciate it until half way through the bottle and the sampling of more whisky.  It follows to me a similar taste to bourbons in that it is more mellow than the Islay or other island scotches which seem unrefined and brash and hit your nose way over the bottle.  The 12 year old is more mellow, reminding me vaguely of a higher end single batch bourbon, maybe a Baker's or Knob Creek.  Before I don't know if I could pick out the sweetness of this, the faint hint of apples and honey on the nose and its more mellowness.  It isn't so much a punch in the mouth scotches which I prefer but I now appreciate the difference. 

No one would appreciate the strength, smoke and peat found in Ardbeg, Laphroaig or Lagavulin.  For a starter scotch it was a gentle caress into what could have been something that turned me off right away had I ventured right into the deep end.  I am sad to see it and go and will surely enjoy this last pour as slowly as I can, perhaps moving up to the Macallan Fine Oak series or into the higher aged regular barrels.  Even though it will not be my scotch of choice I have come to realize that there is a certainly a time and place where the gentle warmth and mellowness is what I need. 

Originally posted on tjduhamel.vox.com


V for Vendetta and other things...
Sakurazukamori
ganryu
Last night, I finally got to go see V for Vendetta. I know I'm about two months late on that one but I do tend to be rather busy and going to see movies is sadly put on the back burner. I really enjoyed the movie, it was one of my favorites ever done where the plot was taken mostly from comic book. The movie was just beautiful to watch and the fight scenes, especially the final one was one of the best since the first Matrix movie. The plot itself I believe as most things I am sure can be interrupted in many different ways, but I took it in the sense that one should question and come to their own conclusions about the issues presented to them. I so it as rather hopeful that though the media presented the public with a bunch of cover-ups and hoaxes throughout the film that they were rarely swayed or interested in what the government wanted them to believe.

Now reading this, I feel like if anything this cynicism and distrust for authority that you often hear isn't ruining this country. While I don't believe that ignoring the system and just letting it happen should be the order of our time, the fact that you live in a red or blue state shouldn't stop your participation either way. A concerned citizen searching for the truth in the facts that they are presented or at least the truth as they most feel or understand for to really know the truth in every situation is undoubtedly impossible. I'm rambling to an extent now, but the general point of this little tangent was something in the line that participation in the system is as necessary to make a change as is the fact that you don't like or agree with whomever has been elected. It does no good to say the current government is screwing up if you aren't even going to vote on replacing some of their members.

I really also enjoyed V for Vendetta's constant allusions to various works from sections of the arts. Whether in the form of the Shakespeare quotations, the various films that had in the movie been banned, as well as various forms of music that they were blacklisting. The amount of beautiful artwork shown that was stolen from musuem archives where it was hidden from the rest of the world was completely breathless in the first shots you have while Natalie Portman walks through V's apartment for the first time. It's always breathtaking to see a piece of art outside of the strict museum context so you don't have to deal with the whole musuem atmosphere. Just having them altogether in one place spread out with very little purpose in correct or necessary positioning and the filming over each of them just to let you see for a second how many masterpieces that even someone who knows very little of art has surely seen a view of those pictured. If life was devoid of such various pleasure to the sense, whether in art, music, film or even in food where they had taken away butter from society, it would be a world that was devoid of a lot of beauty.

Other than watching V for Vendetta, I myself have done some things since the last time I posted so I'll try and give you a more brief life synopose of me at the moment. I got into Bryant and am starting in the Fall and should finish in Spring of '08 with hopefully a dual degree in Finance and Economics. My fall schedule itself is rather wortheless in that I have class at 8am every morning but at least I am out by 1pm on most days. I am taking my last two classes at RIC right now, one in Calculus III and the other in East Asian Philosophy. I'm probably making a trip with Jenna out to Westport to see her friends, and maybe one other trip with her in August. I really want to go to Boston one day too hopefully to run into Joel if he's not too busy with work and all that jazz.

Still trying to decide on getting a custom suit before the year is out but haven't come into any definite decisions. I really need to get to Boston to ask prices of the people at Saks but really no other shopping plans for this year as I've amassed a collection of clothes which now only needs basic replacement as things wear out, pending of course anything that I fall in love with and still have space I can squeeze into my closet. Guess that's all I want to write for right now. I should go work out, eat and do some more calculus homework before I fall hopelessly behind in it.


-Tom

Spring 05 = done
Sakurazukamori
ganryu
Principles of Acct II B-
Econ of Deveoloping Countries B+
Calculus II B
Managerial Finance and Control B

Semester GPA 3.0 Total Credit Hours 17


Not bad overall though I should have been able to get a B+ in Calc II and Acct II if I would have tried harder and probably an A in Managerial Finance. Oh well this summer should be better for classes at least and only two more years until graduation. I am faxing over the grades this afternoon and have already told RIC to forward along my transcript to Bryant so it will be nice to hear from them and plan out the next years there which there should be two of.

For summer classes this year I am doing

Calculus III M-Th 10:00am - 12:00pm (first session)
Heritage of Asian Philosophy M-Th 04:00pm - 06:00pm (second session)

After that the Bryant years will hopefully begin. Kind of anxious to hear back from the transfer admissions people and then start planning out hopeful internships for the summer of 2007 so at least I have some experience going into the job force in 2008.

Summer will be regretably filled with two many courses though I will be trying to play golf every friday with my grandfather as we have been playing on thursday as it was my only day off. Other than that no good summer plans. Maybe take a small road trip at the end of the summer with Jen. I am heading to NYC this saturday for some shopping and to see Lestat the musical which has gotten terrible reviews but oh well at least it will be a good two days off from work. I also have a massage scheduled tomorrow am at 11. Maybe make a trip up to Boston on Thursday afternoon as well if my mother is up for it and its not raining again.

Congrats all NEU kids for graduating!


Tom

New Music
Sakurazukamori
ganryu
Recently been listening to Artic Monkey and The Automatic, both British brash guitar / dance rock.

School is going well(ish) have two exams next week seem like I can't have just one exam one week and one exam the next instead I am faced with this horrible set-up where I have to spend time studying for one only to have to jumping completely into reviewing for the other which has already happenned once this quarter with my midterms being on a M,T,W and me working both on Sunday and Monday night made those more studying than they were worth.

I should not worry really at least not too much for this first one I have been slowly recopying notes and reviewing the text for the last two - three days doing a little bit at a time and am currently just re-reading the notes I have and will maybe go back and check out a couple specific things in the text if I feel like I have to go into anymore depth on any of these topics. My other exam which I have done problems for is in Finance on Friday which I've done problems for but really have to sit and do a lot of problems for and make sure its all second nature, you know no hesitation this is bond valuation, stock valuation problem quicker recognition. I will try not to forget my calculator either which wasn't all too fun for my last exam in that class. I should also read the chapters which I haven't yet for that class.

I've read two books this week, Freakonomics and The Bonfire of the Vanities. The latter I had started late last week actually so it wasn't like I did both books in one week or anything. I don't know why it matters if you are reading this you know I am at least a little dorky. Both were good, I like reading and wish I had more time for it because I think it helps me do better in the rest of my life much like weight lifting does. Improves your capacity for other functions I guess though I don't know how exactly that works it just seems I can concentrate more on other things after accomplishing something like Jenna mentions with accomplishing little things on a list makes you feel like you've got work done and then can work on bigger / more challenging projects.

Thinking about taking a trip all buy myself to somewhere a lone and quiet this summer as Jenna is going away. Maybe just like two or three days alone somewhere with no human noise around me. I just read an article about some guy kayaking down rivers in France then camping on the banks just to be alone maybe I'll go driving somewhere and just stay a night or two in some cheap motel just letting go for a little while and enjoying what's around rather than worrying about school, future, work any other concerns that are shoved on us in our lives. I'd actually really like to go back to Otakon this year.

Alright going to work out then shower / shave and then finishing studying this stuff so I can ace this exam and what not because I am sick of being afraid of it anymore so I am just not going to be.

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