31 December 2010

Goodnight 2010

Well, I still haven't quite found the words to describe things yet. There are quite a few unfinished drafts sitting in the publishing queue, so while we wait, I'll redo a New Year's tag. Here you go.

3 things I accomplished last year:
1. Paging at the Washington State Senate
2. Overcame my phobia of being touched
3. Received recording equipment!

3 things I plan to accomplish this year:
1. Get closer to NCFCA Nationals (if not actually to them)
2. Survive
3. learn guitar

3 embarrassing things that happened last year:
1.Crying in front of a stranger at debate camp (but it all worked out ;P )
2.Trust games in drama over the summer.They involved being held (like this, with less intent to snog and more stiffness), by my soon-to-be duo partner and dealing with my phobia of being touched.
3. Presuming friendship with someone who didn't want it.

3 life-changing things that happened last year:
1. Teaching Speech Camp and attending debate camp
2. A very unpleasant realization
3. Singing "I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen" the eve before my 17th birthday. The only time I sang it while 16.

3 things that happened last year that made me smile:
1. Being told I looked like an international jewel thief
2. Adopting a few new brothers - older and younger
3. Arguing with a debater from the National Forensics League about Communism

3 random things that I didn't do last year:
1. I didn't go to Hawaii
2. I didn't record an album
3.I didn't forget to water the orchid (at least, I didn't until it died.)

20 December 2010

Intruder Alert!

This isn't really a new post, despite appearances, as I've been busy lately and so this just feels too short to really count.

Thank you for holding. Please enjoy the music.

My Body Is A Cage

To be quite honest, I'm not quite sure what to think of this song. When I first listened to it, I thought it was beautifully, if pointlessly morbid, and had no resolution. It sounded like the dualists who believe that the physical world is entirely worthless, and that their bodies trap them in an existence that is nothing like what true reality is.

But the melody was catchy, so I looked up the lyrics and found Biblical allusions in the verses. So I'm in the strange position of loving the melody and verses, but can't quite decide whether to love or hate the chorus.

Have at it!

My Body Is A Cage, by Arcade Fire

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

I'm standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It's a hollow play
But they'll clap anyway

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key

I'm living in an age
That calls darkness light
Though my language is dead
Still the shapes fill my head

I'm living in an age
Whose name I don't know
Though the fear keeps me moving
Still my heart beats so slow

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key
My body is a

My body is a cage
We take what we're given
Just because you've forgotten
That don't mean you're forgiven

I'm living in an age
That screams my name at night
But when I get to the doorway
There's no one in sight

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key

Set my spirit free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free

18 December 2010


Dear readers, before you chastise me for a record-breaking delay on Music Monday, let me explain. This past week has been pretty stressful. What with the last week of classes, the reports due, Christmas next week, and an upcoming tournament to prepare for, I completely lost track of time. So today, Saturday, let me offer you a humble piece for your musical edification.

Low, by Coldplay, comes off one of my favorite albums: X&Y. While I admit that some of this album confounds my mind entirely, the theme is that of relationships. And if you can sense a theme here, you're a genius.

Anyways, I like Low because it seems to be talking about someone searching for perfect love but not finding it. It's interesting like that.

Ladies and gents,

Low, by Coldplay
You see the world in black and white
No colour or light
You think you'll never get it right
But you know you might

The sky could fall could fall on me
The parting of the seas
But you mean more, mean more to me
Than any color I can see

All you ever wanted was love
But you never looked hard enough
It's never gonna give itself up
All you ever wanted to be
Living in perfect symmetry
Nothing is as down or as up... as us

You see the world in black and white
Not painted right
You see no meaning to your life
Yes, you try
Yes, you try

And all you ever wanted it was love
But you never looked hard enough
It's never gonna give itself up

All you ever wanted to be
Living in perfect symmetry
Nothing is as down or as up

Don't you want to see it come soon
Floating in a big white balloon
Oh, given your own silver spoon

Don't you want to see it come down
There for throwing your arms around
an sayin "you're a moment too soon"

Cause I feel low
Cause I feel low
Oh oh oh oh oh
Yeah I feel low

08 December 2010

For A Friend Close To My Heart

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a sonnet for a British Literature class. Iambic pentameter, quatrains and couplets filled my head as I wrote. Because I spent so much time on this, I figured I'd post this. Not to continue a common theme or anything, of course.

My dearest friend for whom I’d give my life
Has killed my spirit to the core, for I
Have been a faithful friend. We had no strife
‘twixt us, yet still you cause my soul to die.
Our hearts did beat as one, did dream as one,
Inseparable were we. I gave no cause
To hurt me thus, yet hurt me you have done.
Never I have broken friendship’s true laws,
And yet you chastise me. But still I’d take
Great pain from you. For faithful friends are true
Through earthly woes and problems that you make ---
I’ll guard your back in all the things you do.
As David with Saul did not break nor sever
So will my faithfulness be yours forev’r.

07 December 2010

Friends, I appear to have relapsed. While I can't recall blogging about this previously, the pages of my journal from last year are filled this particular issue: my great social anxiety. Don't laugh. It's not funny.

I had thought that, only by God's grace, I had overcome that hurdle, but as I just said, I seem to have relapsed. Due to quite a few semi-related incidents in the past few weeks, I once again question and re-question every action's motivation.

It doesn't stop there. My motivations aren't the only victims. My tact. My approach. Other's interpretations. What my mother would say.

They've all returned in full force, bringing me back to the realization that a mountain top in the Himalayas doesn't look so bad after all.  My honeymoon with humanity appears to be over. It's back to business as usual: ie, psychotic Problematic.

What's more, Sylvia, my alter-ego, seems to have returned as well. Don't misinterpret this. I don't have fractured personalities. Rather, what I do have is a very dark sense of humor, irony, cynicism, and a generally morbid fascination with loneliness in pain, all of which I term "Sylvia" to distinguish them from who I consider myself to be.

Wait a second. I thought we were seeing the dark side of Problematic these past few months.

There is actually a difference, but it's a little hard to explain. Basically, Sylvia is an appreciation for the beauty in tragedy combined with a complete disdain for assumed pain. Sylvia is a stoic philosopher from the days of Greek philosophy. She's an aesthetic, if a cynical and calloused one.

While Sylvia was gone, I had more compassion for other teenagers going through their own trials. "It's possible," I told myself, "that their grief is just as real as mine."

But the return of double-think and Sylvia is making me wonder if all the angst of the past fall has been nothing but that: they type of dramatics I despise so much caused by nothing more than the racing of chemicals and hormones through my pubescent body. It need not be stated that this doubt extends to others, even the ones I love and trust.

The sum of all this is to say that yet another layer has been added to my melodrama. GK Chesterton once said "Always be comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?" and while I am having trouble following his advice, I agree, there's not much else you can do. Wait it out and laugh.

It's aggravating, really. I was close, ever so close to breaking out into full-fledged humanity. To be caught in old traps when freedom was close enough to smell is frustrating. I am impotent in my own snares.

Yes, they protect me, but at what cost? Is reality worth enough to open myself up to for more betrayals? What if they're self-inflicted injuries? What price am I willing to pay to be secure in the knowledge that no one else will hurt me? Should I prefer the injuries of a friend to ones of my own devising?

Friends, if you think of it, please include me in your prayers. Because that mountain top has never looked so appealing.


Stand My Ground

Stand My Ground, by Within Temptation is yet another favorite of mine. I enjoy exercising to it because of it's driving beat and resolved lyrics. It's quite pretty.

Stand My Ground

I can see
when you stay low nothing happens
Does it feel right?

Late at night
things I thought I'd put behind me
haunt my mind

I just know there's no escape now
once it's set its eyes on you
but I won't run, have to stare it in the eye

Stand my ground, I won't give in
No more denying, I gotta face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will
Stand My Ground

It's all around
getting stronger, coming closer
into my world

I can feel
that it's time for me to face it
can I take it?

Though this might just be the ending
of the life I held so dear
but I won't run, there's no turning back from here

Stand my ground, I won't give in
No more denying, I gotta face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will
Stand My Ground

All I know for sure is I'm trying
I will always stand my ground

Stand my ground, I won't give in (I won't give in)
I won't give up (I won't give up)
no more denying, I got to face it
won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
if I don't make it, someone else will

Stand my ground, I won't give in
No more denying, I gotta face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will
Stand My Ground.

30 November 2010

The Legionnaire's Lament

Well, I'd better 'fess up. I've been on a binge of The Decemberists. At the moment, they're the only band I want to listen to. It's no small surprise, therefore, to find myself introducing you to a song from, you guessed it, The Decemberists. It's called the Legionnaire's Lament. The thing I like about this particular song is that it is set in a historical era - the French Legion. Not only that, but the images it captures are so vivid, and the language used is just perfect. But enough about the mechanics. You should experience it for yourselves.

The Legionnaire's Lament, by The Decemberists

I'm a legionnaire
Camel in disrepair
Hoping for a frigidaire to come passing by
I am on reprieve
Lacking my joie de vive
Missing my gay paris
In this desert dry

And I wrote my girl
Told her I would not return
Terribly taken a turn
For the worse now I fear

It's been a year or more
Since they shipped me to this foreign shore
Fighting in a foreign war
So far away from my home

If only summer rain would fall
On the houses and the boulevards
And the side walk bagatelles it's like a dream
With the roar of cars
And the lulling of the cafe bars,
The sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine.
Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again.

La la la la dam
La la la low

Medicating in the sun
Pinched doses of laudanum
Longing for the old fecundity of my homeland
Curses to this mirage!
A bottle of ancient Chiraz
A smattering of distant applause
Is ringing in my poor ears

On the old left bank
My baby in a charabanc
Riding up the width and length
Of the Champs Elysees

If only summer rain would fall
On the houses and the boulevard
And the side walk bagatelles it's like a dream
With the roar of cars
And the lulling of the cafe bars
The sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine
Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again

If only summer rain would fall
On the houses and the boulevard
And the side walk bagatelles its like a dream
With the roar of cars
And the lulling of the cafe bars
The sweetly sleeping sweeping of the Seine
Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again...

Be back again,
Be back again,
I'll be back again


27 November 2010

Fly, you fools

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving,the holiday where we eat lots of food and show off our philosophical sides by musing aloud for the gathered company on things we're thankful for. Don't imagine that my cynicism dulls my enjoyment of this holiday. In fact, it is my favorite of them all. Because it is a National Holiday, schools from kindergarten to post-graduate take two days off. Thus I find myself this weekend with the friends I so dearly missed coming back to Washington.

For the majority of these partially-digested college friends, such is no longer the case. Perhaps it was the antagonistic room-mates. Perhaps, it was because I wasn't as good friends with them as I deluded myself. Maybe the High-School switch was permanently welded into the "off" position their first week of college. It could be all three.

Whatever the case, I found myself in the awkward position of pretending to be the person I was six months ago- the last time anyone noticed who I am.

Let me tell you, it's not pleasant. Trying to remember and approximate who one's been is a difficult task in the privacy of one's bedroom. But to pull off a perfect performance in front of those who knew one and expect one to both remain in the same static stasis and respect the new people they've become is a Herculean task.

I spent the precious time I had with these Once-Friends screaming in my mind.

People change, sweetheart. You've changed while you were at college? That's great, so have I.

I guess they just can't hear,not when it's spoken through non- telepathicmeans. Plain language, straight talking, they are senseless.

From my boat out at sea, I thought I'd seen boats coming over the horizon. Trick of the light, I suppose. Happens that way some times.

All that's left is to mourn the loss of those friends. Don't get me wrong. I discovered this weekend that they couldn't begin to scratch the surface of the plexiglass even if they tried, but this no longer bothers me. They no longer touch me, but I'm still fond of them. The same way you're fond of a particular sportsman or actor with whom you share nothing in common.

So while I mourn, it is not for what is or what could have been. I weep for what was, what has been back when I still cared.

Requiescat in pace, meae amicae.

21 November 2010


I am once again reminded of the folly of my ways. This is what happened:

Yesterday was the first speech Round Robin of the year, and as always, I had some interesting conversations with fellow competitors. This year was unique, thought. I had a very intriguing conversation with a couple of friends I had passed judgment on as nice, if clueless, guys. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true.

What I discovered yesterday was so "coincidental" it could be nothing short of Divine guidance. Because you see, I found two people who claim to have shared the same malady as me, and what's more, their opinions on this malady were also similar. It was incredible, and entirely unstaged.

Of course, this leads me to wonder if these two young men actually experience the same as I, or if they merely said it to conform to the drift of the conversation. What's more,  it is an interesting thought to wonder if they now express doubts about the authenticity of my "confession" as motivated by a desire to fit in with the expressed standard. I will never know, as this topic of conversation will most likely never occur again with my conversation partners. I will not force the issue, and while I cannot tell them this personally, I hope they know their confidence is in safe hands.

Thinking back on this conversation, I become a little embarrassed. Did I reveal too much? Did I say what I said from a desire to impress, blend in? Not to add to the conversation? I don't know, really.

However these two friends came away from the conversation, I can only hope they realize how much harm they could do should they choose. But even with these bitter thoughts, I am elated and chastised.

To have written them off as a silly and stupid guys without even wondering if we had commonalities was a gross error. This lesson won't stick for long, but I hope that maybe, just maybe it will last long enough.

Nothing's really going to change as a result of yesterday's conversation. Being a secret-keeper doesn't automatically grant some special friendship upon the two parties. But I will guard their secrets as my own, because in a way, they are my secrets, too. And if that doesn't make sense, you haven't begun to understand me.


17 November 2010

Small Rebellions

Last evening, I wore one of my suits to speech club. It's not a suit I've worn in competition before, seeing that all my suits don't quite fit anymore (they're too big), so I improvised and took a knee-length skirt, a nice blouse, and a suit jacket to get an almost-suit that would pass in a pinch. The ruffles at the bottom of the pencil skirt make it look shorter than it really is, but I figured that since I was wearing dark hose, it wouldn't matter.

Wrong. A new mom in club told me in front of the small group that if she didn't know me, she'd think I was rebelling against the dress code. It was very embarrassing to be told off concerning my clothing in mixed company, especially considering the members of the opposite sex who were listening in. It's a good correction, and I appreciate it, but since I don't plan on using this suit in competition, it was mostly embarrassing/annoying and less helpful.

But it raised an interesting point. If she didn't know me better, she'd have thought I was rebelling.

If she didn't know better, she'd have thought I was rebelling.  Think about that for a second.

Well, maybe that doesn't strike you as odd, but it does me. I've always thought of myself as a rebel. As one who goes against the current. As one who doesn't compromise with the status quo. But apparently, I don't act it. Because if this mom didn't know me better, the length of my skirt would look rebellious.

Huh. Do I just tell myself I'm rebellious, unique, strong, to make me feel better for floating downstream with the current? Only dead fish go with the flow, so is this my attempt to justify my lack of action? Do I keep this blog full of dark thoughts to make up for the typical homeschooled Christian girl that I act?

Because regardless of what I tell myself, I'm certainly coming across as nothing less than a dutiful homeschooled kid. Nothing I think will change my actions. But my actions can't deny the things I think. I don't think like your typical homeschooler, not even the ones trying to be different.

Just a quick note before proceeding: In this usage, I do not use "rebellious" with the normal negative connotations.

This leads me to wonder: Am I rebellious by not acting the way I think? Or by not thinking the way I act?

If I acted the way I thought, in real life I'd resemble more closely my current profile picture - romantic and moody clothing with soft lens-flares and all. But I don't dress like that, and I don't act like that ... much.

If I thought the way I acted, I'd be spouting the same goody-two-shoes drivel of my peers that I so despise. I'd be mindless, repeating lessons I learned in Sunday School without thinking about these Truths for myself. I don't do that, either.

So is my little rebellion one of action, or thought? One of contrariness, or deception? If I had to choose, I'd say I rebel by not acting the way a person with similar ideas would. But is that necessarily true? No. Personal preference doesn't change anything.

Whatever the case, my thoughts and actions don't match up. I'm not a hypocrite - a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings (Merriam-Webster's) - because I haven't stated all my beliefs and feelings. It does, however, make me an imposter. 

But still the question remains. Am I an imposter in thought, or deed? 


15 November 2010

The Green Fields of France

My words cannot properly express the emotion inherent in this song. Just listen to it and let the song move itself.

The Green Fields of France, by the Dropkick Murphies.

Oh how do you do, young Willy McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for a while in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done
And I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the great fallen in 1916
Well I hope you died quick
And I hope you died clean
Or Willy McBride, was is it slow and obscene

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined
And though you died back in 1916
To that loyal heart you're forever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

The sun shining down on these green fields of France
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished long under the plow
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard that's still no mans land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation were butchered and damned

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Did they beat the drums slowly
Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
Did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest


08 November 2010

Johari, again

Longtime readers of my blog may remember this link coming up in the past. If you've already done it, my apologies, and please skip this post.

However, I've gained quite a few followers since then. The link I am about to share with you is intriguing. It asks you to pick 5-6 adjectives to describe me, and then compares it with adjectives I chose to describe myself.

Care to give it a spin?


Thanks a ton,


I admit it. I don't like Christian radio. Guilty as charged. But reaaalllyyy early on Saturday, I tuned in to the local station as I rode down to a church work day. Imagine my surprise when the first new song to come up (amidst a generous scattering of the Newsboys and BarlowGirl (blech blech blech) ) was actually decent. More than decent. Good.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to a new favorite of mine: Beautiful, by MercyMe. I can't really explain why I like it: Once again, I've run out of words. So my advice? Enjoy the song.

Beautiful, by MercyMe

The days will come when you don't have the strength
When all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart they'd see too much

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His
You're beautiful

And praying that you have the heart to find
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His
You're beautiful

04 November 2010

Oh My God

Due to a variety of reasons, including a bad cold and plenty of homework, I forgot that Monday was Monday until today, Thursday. Yes, Music Monday is late. Again.

I didn't quite know what song to use this week: there were too many options to have a definite choice. I ended up on Oh My God, by Jars of Clay. A few years ago, my uncle, who recently died of pancreatic cancer, gave me the Good Monsters album by Jars of Clay. It was Christmas 2008, the year his cancer was discovered, and at the time, I was too immature to truly appreciate the album. In fact, I was afraid to listen to Oh My God because the lyrics seemed so sacrilegious to me. I listened to the flashier songs without even understanding the lyrics.

I've been increasingly frustrated with CCM recently because of its complete inability to face the brokenness that's inherent in this world. But this album is ... different. And I can't explain it. Just go listen to it, and you can start with

Oh My God, by Jars of Clay

 Oh my God, look around this place,
Your fingers reach around the bone,
you set the break and set the tone
For flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain all fools say, "Oh my God."

Oh my God, why are we so afraid?
we make it worse when we don't bleed,
there is no cure for our disease.
Turn a phrase and rise again,
or fake your death and only tell your closest friends,
Oh My God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief.
Weddings, boats, and alibis,
All drift away, and a mother cries...

Liars and fools, sons and failures, theives will always say..
Lost and found, ailing wanderers, healers always say..
Whores and angels, men with problems, leavers always say..
Broken hearted, separated, orphans always say..
War creators, racial haters, preachers always say..
Distant fathers, fallen warriors, givers always say..
Pilgrim saints, lonely widows, users always say..
Fearful mothers, watchful doubters, Saviors always say..

Sometimes I can not forgive
and these days mercy cuts so deep,
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep.
While I lay, I'd dream we're better, scales were gone and faces lighter,
When we wake we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other,
Sometimes I can close my eyes and all the fear the keeps me silent,
Falls below my heavy breathing, what makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder, we all have the need for wonder.
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the plunder.

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven,
All the times I thought to reach up, all the times I had to give up.
Babies underneath their beds, in hospitals that cannot treat them.
All the wounds that money causes, all the comforts of cathedrals,
All the cries of thirsty children, this is our inheritance,
All the rage of watching mothers, this is our greatest offense
Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.

25 October 2010

Prelude 12/21

This week's is brought to you by my growing frustration. I've chosen Prelude 12/21 by AFI because it really does express some of my feelings recently. Especially the last verse, but that's a matter for my journal, not my blog. ;)

Besides being expressive of my current mood, Prelude 12/21 also has some pretty iconic melody lines. Every once in a while, there's a song that just captures something in the melody, and it seems as if you've heard the song before. That's how it is with this song.

Prelude 12/21, by AFI

This is what I brought you, this you can keep.
This is what I brought, you may forget me.
I promise to depart, just promise one thing.
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.

This is what I brought you, this you can keep.
This is what I brought, you may forget me.
I promise you my heart just promise to sing.
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.

Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.

This is what I thought, I thought you’d need me.
This is what I thought, so think me naive
I'd promised you a heart, you'd promise to keep.
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.

`Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.`

24 October 2010

In Denial

I was talking with a friend the other day about another friend. You could call it gossip, but I wouldn't for two simple reasons. First, we were talking about how my friend interacts with her friend, and second, it wasn't in any way negative about the friend's friend.

If you understand that, good for you. I'm not sure if I do myself.

Anyways, we were talking, and the subject of denial was brought up. Maybe it's because I've been in denial myself recently, or maybe because we were talking about it so recently, but I've been thinking about denial a lot.

This is how I figure it. Denial is not acknowledging that a problem exists, but in order for someone to be in denial, there needs to be a problem. It can be one you've observed for yourself, or it could be brought to your attention by someone else. But it has to exist, and the issue has to have been raised for denial to occur. Otherwise, it's just oblivion.

Did that make sense? I'll try it again.

Say someone has the problem of being an obsessive, compulsive neat freak, to the point of alienating others. Oblivion is when this OCD person doesn't realize that the neat freakiness of his or her personality is driving others away. Denial is when the person has realized for themselves or had it presented to them as the reason they have no friends. Capische?

Denial doesn't say "there is no problem." Denial says "this may be a problem, but I really don't want it to be." It's cowardly, in a way. Rather than confronting issues and challenges head-on, a person in denial subscribes to the ostriches' philosophy: If I don't see it, it doesn't exist. Denial is complacency, comfortableness with the status quo.

Well, sticking your head in the ground doesn't solve anything. And to be quite frank, the world is changing every second. The Future is being converted into the Past as the present rips away Now before we know it. Peter Pan is the hero most to be pitied, for he can never change who he is. And denying that a problem exist denies changes which are omnipresent.

Denial isn't oblivion. It's a choice; a conscious, active choice to ignore the state of the world around you. And if I indulge that decision, I'm no better than a traitor to reality.


20 October 2010

Dreams, by EA Poe

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
'Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be- that dream eternally
Continuing- as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,
'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright
I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light
And loveliness,- have left my very heart
In climes of my imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?
'Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass- some power
Or spell had bound me- 'twas the chilly wind
Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit- or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly- or the stars- howe'er it was
That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.

I have been happy, tho' in a dream.
I have been happy- and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality, which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

18 October 2010

I can assure this was going to be a scintillating look into my psyche. But it won't come out. I've run out of words to describe things now. So you'll have to bear with me as I bang on this keyboard, trying to make sense of it all.

First of, I should apologize to you, my reader, for turning this blog into little more than a vaguely worded personal journal. That was not my intent. When you have something you want to tell someone but cannot tell anyone, everyone is forced to deal with it. You've been subjected to far more navel-gazing than ever permissible. And if you've stuck through it, I am both humbled and penitent.

As for the reasons behind all this frustration and angst, I can't go into that. You're probably thinking something about the state of my sanity, and whatever it is, I'd probably agree.

Gah. I don't know.

I just don't have the words. They've gone. Shriveled. Disappeared. And with it, any hope of mine to explain to anyone anything that's going on with me. There's so much I could say, but won't. And that leaves very little of anything else.

Worse still, I owe it to a few people to tell them something inexpressible. What do I do? Walk up and drown these acquaintances with a torrent of words, emotions and problems they could care less about? That's not going to happen. Even if I were a thousand times worse, I wouldn't forget that other people exist and have their own problems.

The question still remains. What can I do about it? Nothing. All I can do is hope to weather this, that this too shall pass, and that I'll last longer than the ones I need to be strong for.

And if this post lasts past tomorrow, I shall be most surprised.
B, wordless


 After much rumination, the song I've chosen today is Winterborn, by the Cruxshadows. I've been reading Beowulf
recently, and this song reminds me a whole lot of Beowulf's final battle. A dragon starts ravaging 
Beowulf's land, so he and his soldiers go to stop it. Beowulf is fatally injured, his soldiers run away, and 
finally there is one young man left to help him slay the dragon. After the dragon dies, so does Beowulf. 
Don't ask me how that applies to this song. But it makes sense to me. Actually, wait. I think I know the 
connection now. It's because both Beowulf's death and this song outline classic ideals of heroism. 
But without further ado,
Winterborn, by the Cruxshadows
Dry your eyes and quietly bear this pain with pride
For heaven shall remember the silent and the brave
And promise me they will never see, the fear within our eyes
(my eyes are closed)
We will give strength to those who still remain

So bury fear, for fate draws near
And hide the signs of pain
With noble acts, the bravest souls
Endure the heart's remains
Discard regret, that in this debt
A better world is made
That children of a newer day might remember
And avoid our fate

(I've waited all day in the pouring rain, but nobody came, no, nobody came)

And in the fury of this darkest hour
We will be your light
You've asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winter born
Without denying, a faith is come
That I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
And I am Winter born

Hold your head up high-for there is no greater love
Think of the faces of the people you defend
(you defend)
And promise me, they will never see the tears within our eyes
(my eyes are closed)
Although we are men, with mortal sins, angels never cry

So bury fear, for fate draws near
And hide the signs of pain
With noble acts, the bravest souls
Endure the heart's remains
Discard regret, that in this debt
A better world is made
That children of a newer day might remember
And avoid our fate

And in the fury of this darkest hour
We will be your light
You've asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winter born
Without denying, a faith in God
That I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
And I am Winter born

And in the fury of this darkest hour
I will be your light
A lifetime for this destiny
For I am Winter born
And in this moment..I will not run
It is my place to stand
We few shall carry hope
Within our bloodied hands
(bloodied hands)
And in our Dying, we're more alive-than we have ever been
I've lived for these few seconds
For I am Winter born

And in the fury of this darkest hour
We will be the light
You've asked me for my sacrifice
And I am Winter born
Without denying, a faith in man
That I have never known
I hear the angels call my name
And I am Winter born

Within this moment now
I am for you, though better men have failed
I will give my life for love
For I am Winter born
And in my dying
I'm more alive, than I have ever been
I will make this sacrifice
For I am Winter born
B, who apologizes for the wonky formatting 

13 October 2010


I like it when a lot of my friends are green on gmail chat, not because I can talk to them, but because the green light reminds me that they exist.

11 October 2010

If I Ever Leave This World Alive

Well, I was looking through my archives of Music Mondays, and realized I hadn't introduced Flogging Molly, one of my favorite bands of all time. The only way to describe Flogging Molly is as an Irish-American Celtic punk band. They're brilliant.

So today, let me tell you about If I Ever Leave This World Alive, by Flogging Molly. Yes, the video is a Dr. Who fan vid. Deal with it.

*ahem* Well, If I Ever Leave This World Alive follows in the vein of a previous song, I Am Stretched On Your Grave. It's sweet, slightly morbid, and definitely something I want played at my funeral. It's also upbeat, pretty hopeful, and has a delicious little non-sequitur involved.

So without further ado,
If I Ever Leave This World Alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I'll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you'll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don't shed a tear
I'll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane
If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right
Yeah should be alright

09 October 2010

painted ship upon a painted ocean

I feel like the Ancient Mariner. I'm on a ship, drifting in the doldrums with no crew but the dead bodies of my compatriots, no water, no food, and no hope of salvation in sight. Water like witch's oil, slimy creatures crawling with slimy legs upon the slimy sea, and no other souls in the area. Just me and God.

When I was little, my favorite book began: "I see the moon, and the moon sees me. Does anyone know I'm alone here at sea?" The clues are all there, if one cared to look. But no one has, and I don't blame them. It's easier to mind your own business than to be caught up in what is not your concern. Everyone has a clue, but no one has cared to put them together.

Tomorrow, my friend Toothpick is getting married. A lot of her bridesmaids are my good friends, back from college, and naively, I thought things would be the same. Wrong. They've moved on to quarters and classes and roommates and floor parties and crazy professors, and I've been left behind. Granted, I did see this coming, but "I told you so" never solved anything. The same feeling of shyness and aloneness has invaded the relationships I have with the few people I trust. No, I'd never bring up confidences in the middle of Toothpick's bachelorette party, but I had hoped that I'd see something, anything, that would show that the friendship is not just withering. Wrong again.

The same feeling of aloneness, shyness, quiet resignation from my stranger-friends is also found around the people I'd previously called mates. Now I'm just confused, and I don't know exactly what to do. I've told these friends things I wouldn't have had I known they'd moved on this much. My fault, not theirs. I don't blame them. I guess the only thing to do is not trust them with more confidences. I don't know. 

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I."


07 October 2010


For a couple weeks, I've been a little concerned about friendships. More specificially, how I feel around my friends.

I'm the type of person who questions everything - and I mean everything - before doing anything. Before saying anything. I examine my motives, my opinions, my hopes, anything that could affect my decision very closely before taking action.

Imagine my surprise and discomfort, then, when I discovered the following fact: I was feeling oddly around my guy-friends, and whatever this unidentified feeling was, it was strongly influencing my actions. Now that's an embarrassing realization.

Let me explain why: I don't take actions without knowing why I'm doing them. Now, I've got an emotional memory going back to 2005, when I was 12. By emotional memory, I mean, I can recognize emotions I've had since that time.

I haven't felt whatever it is I'm feeling for as long as I can remember.  For a while, my working theory was that it was what people commonly call "a crush." Problem being, I haven't had a crush since my *ahem* boy-crazy days (circa 2003-2004), so I wouldn't know one if it introduced itself with a handshake. I hoped it wasn't, but I couldn't know.  "Crush" seemed the only option.

That is, until I realized that I felt the same way around pretty much all my friends left here in Washington. Including the gal-friends. If the feeling is a "crush," I really don't like the implication.

So it can't be a crush. I won't allow it. Then I got to thinking. This feeling is remarkably similar to my first day of co-op, my first day of choir, my first day of speech club. In other words, the closest match I have is shyness.

This new implication, while still upsetting, is nonetheless less disturbing  than being attracted to all my friends.


But still. Shyness? really? I'm shy around the only people I can call friends who I still physically interact with every week? I'm shy around the two guys I spent over 70 hours with this summer? I'm shy around my duo-partner, Calvin? Around girls I paged with? Around people I call my friends?

And yet, I still treat them as strangers. Are they friends of necessity?

How can I call people my friends if they don't know me, and I don't know them?

I don't know. I just really, don't know.


29 September 2010


***PARADOX: Bad people do good things***

If any of you are like me, you've heard words to this effect in the past. Or at least, heard statements that, when added together, form this conclusion.

But if you are like me, then you probably haven't thought about it too much. Well, I didn't, until the past couple of days.

So here's the thing: Us humans love categorizing each other.

Us and Them
Normal and Different
Introvert and Extrovert

Well, you get the idea. We classify each other. And one of the most time-honored labels is the moral label: Good People vs. Bad People.

We see it all the way into the dawn of history - the people we like are "good," the people we don't are "bad." And with the bad ones, we have nothing in common. Nothing they do are things we approve of.

Now, I'm all for a black and white view of morality: Some actions are inherently good, some actions are inherently evil. But things get a little grey when we get to classifying people as "good" and "evil."  It's the human element.

See, I believe that people are inherently bad. If given a choice of admitting you broke the lamp or denying all knowledge of the lamp's existence, a person in their natural, non-religious, non-moral state will deny the lamp's very existence.

We're all bad. Even Ghandi. Even Mother Theresa. Especially Barack Obama.

*ahem* This is Problematic's editor. The political opinions expressed in this blog post are the sole opinions of Problematic's, not the publishing staff. This includes but is not limited to the fingers, the keyboard, the eyes, and lastly, the editor.

Like I said. Every single person on this earth is naturally going to choose to do the wrong thing. This is where it gets interesting. See, humans don't exist alone without any sort of morality. Look around your world. Churchs, synagogues, mosques, kingdom halls, meditation centers - they all jostle for position in the minds of the pious.

Humans are moral creatures. With the exception of a few atheists who don't believe in them (but still act on them), we can see those inherent morals. What are they? As a Christian, I believe God gave me and you a conscience, to remind us of what is right and what is wrong. But we can argue about that later.

The point is, religions have sprouted throughout the world, teaching of right thought, of right living as they go. And with religion comes the distinctions.

Us and Them
Enlightened and Pagan
Right and Wrong
Good and Bad

Anyone who thinks differently than me is automatically branded with those labels: Different, Pagan, Wrong, Bad - specific words don't matter but the sentiment that remains is the same. He's not One Of Us. Because someone who is One Of Us is good. They think like us, they believe like us.

But that doesn't make us More Good. We're all such awful, stinking, disgusting, slimy, gross, disturbing examples of humanity that a little religion isn't going to do anything about it.

Even Christians. Our "religion" won't save us. Just because we don't drink alcohol or date or chew tobacco or follow any of the legalistic trappings the church has put on us as a prerequisite for knowing God doesn't make us more holy, more justified, More Good than anyone else. We're all in for it, and being a Lutheran or a Seventh-Day Adventist won't save you.

So how does this fit in with the paradox?

***PARADOX: Bad people do good things***

Let's take an example. Say, one of the terrorists who helped fly a plane into the World Trade Centers on 11 September, 2001. (Yes, yes, terribly American-centric, but tough. I live in America.)

Now, what he did was wrong, evil. Taking the lives of almost 3,000 people is completely evil. And the man himself, he was evil.

Just like me. Just like you.

But that doesn't mean every action he took was evil. His family - he may have loved them dearly. He gave alms to the poor. He did good things, but his final act was an act of evil. This is an extreme example, I know. But it applies to many, many more people than we feel comfortable admitting.

And this is where things get sticky. These labels that we arbitrarily stick on others, they don't like shades of grey. Either you're one of Us, or you're one of Them. With us or Against us.

But as beings with great capacity for evil, we also have capacity for good. We have shades of grey.

***PARADOX: Bad people do good things.***

You will not live a perfect life. You'll never even come close. One good action may not make you a good person, but it is good, it is right, it is noble, honorable, self-sacrificial, nonetheless.

Think on that one for a while.

27 September 2010

Jar of Hearts

It's high time I started doing these again. They're enjoyable for me: I do not know, nor care if my beloved readers could care less.

Let me introduce you to this song called Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. The lovely Grey and delightful Ophelia introduced me to this song last week, and I have highly enjoyed it. Although, I have a confession to make: when I first heard that song, I immediately thought of one of my friends who is a guy. My second thought was "Problematic, don't be so uncharitable."

I really enjoy this song because of the resolve evident in the lyrics. In a lot of songs about failed romance, the lyrics are sappy, come to no conclusion, and waffle about the singer's love like a girl picking petals off of a daisy. Not so with Jar of Hearts. The speaker concludes "so don't come back for me. Don't come back at all" without sounding mad or extremely grumpy. It's resolved.

The second, greater reason I like this song is because the lyrics are superbly written. I won't spoil it for you, but the images and ideas that Perri conjures up in just a few words are brilliant.  If I could be half of a songwriter as she, I would count myself lucky.

Ladies and Gents, without further ado:

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

No I can’t take one more step towards you
Cause all that’s waiting is regret
And don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are

I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are

And it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I would have missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises
And now you're back
You don’t get to get me back

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

Who do you think you are
Who do you think you are
Who do you think you are

16 September 2010

In Which Problematic Rambles On and On

Well, that's it, folks. School has officially started as of yesterday.  I was wandering around the halls of Coop B, looking for my mates, only to have the realization hit home that they were all at college.

***Important Definition***
"Mates" = close friends, those with whom you can simply exist. No pretense, no masquerade. Just existence.

Now, I know plenty of people there. I know names, I could probably list faces, but they're no one I'm terribly comfortable around. Joining a conversation is awkward: it's filled with jokes I don't get, or silence that continues until I leave. These acquaintances are quite free with their hugs and physical signs of affection, but skin deep is all they ever get. The masquerade continues. 

Yesterday, I felt the need to talk to someone, but no mates presented themselves. I can see an awful lot of people with potential to be mates, but they're still quite distant. They're barely in town, let alone the keep. Some of them even have shrugged me off. Now, don't think this I've got a "poor me" attitude.

I've come to an unfortunate conclusion. Not merely based on yesterday's disappointment, not based merely on my dislike of Coop B. Rather, this particular conclusion has been ruminating for a while.

The conclusion: I can never be as important to other people as they are to me. Maybe I'm clutching them too tightly, but mates make such a difference to me, I cannot fully explain it. I savor every moment when
I'm with them. And they've all moved on.

This conclusion is a not something I've really wanted to accept for a while. I reject your reality and substitute my own.

Except it doesn't work that way. It's painful. Not sharp, just aching. And it's made worse by seeing my close acquaintances completely oblivious. Granted, the oblivion is just another piece in my self-made cage, but the cage is harder to break than you'd think. ... Though, the fact that I'm writing this now is a sign that there are some weaknesses.

It's the oblivion that aches like a puzzle without a piece. And try though I may, nothing I can say or do will change that. Believe me, I've tried. But this isolation, this loneliness, this emptiness is not going away anytime in the forseeable future.

How can I know so much about them, but they know so little about me? I can even fake bad moods to keep them on the wrong track.

I've considered the unthinkable - telling some of these not-strangers what probably counts as my most secret secret. All for the sake of a few mates. But I know how the strangers would react: and so I'm left nursing my secret and my achy heart. I can hear you now: Oh, your poor, bleeding heart! But it's not melodrama, not this time.

So what are you going to do? Well, I go back to staring at happy people through the Plexiglass of my self-made cage, and wait for the air to run out, I guess. The glass is thinner than it used to be, but not enough. Not air, not light, not words, not love can get through.


02 September 2010

Openness Review

So there you have it. 40 of my secrets are now published on the web for the world to view. If they even notice. It leads me to wonder if I shouldn't call them something other than "secret."

Anyways, we've seen that I'm pretty insecure about friends, and that I have some weird quirks and habits. Normally scheduled Music Mondays will restart next week.

01 September 2010

Secret 40

You can usually find me in the shadow of other people's spotlights.

30 August 2010

Secret 38

I question my motives for doing things over and over again, but half the time, I end up not doing anything.

29 August 2010

Secret 37

Sometimes I wonder if my emotions are really mine, or if they're just imitations of what other people feel.

28 August 2010

27 August 2010

Secret 35

I'm not actually shy, just introverted. I'm not afraid of crowds, I just don't like them.

26 August 2010

24 August 2010

23 August 2010

22 August 2010

21 August 2010


A week ago, my grandfather died.  He was a classic Southern gentleman, though like us all, he had his faults.

I only met him once, but I liked him a lot; I felt a kinship with the gruff man I first saw in California.I can recognize his humor, his mannerisms, even some of his expressions in Dad and me. And now he's gone.

Grandad was an officer in the United States Armed Forces. He was involved in the NIKE missile defense systems during the Cold War - he had fantastic aim. But he ended up alienating many people during his career.

Now that he's died, people who avoided him for years have come out of the woodwork. Not out of sentimentality. Not because they liked him, or he liked them. No. Because he had stuff.

Who gets his truck? Where's the will? What about that bank account? The trailer? His guns? Whose the inheritor?

I get that they're family. I get that his daughter should be provided for. I even get that his wife is still legally married to him, and thus should benefit from his death.

But it's disgraceful, dishonorable, wrong. Bickering over the effects of a dead man the way vultures might fight over a piece of carrion is shameful, vulgar, contemptible. Like magpies jousting over a piece of dirty aluminum foil.

To see my relatives care more about the physical objects Grandad left behind rather than the man himself makes me cringe. I loved my Grandad, and to see him diminished to the value of a trailer full of stuff breaks my heart. And I hate it.


Secret 29

It means more than you'll ever know to be included in a group.

19 August 2010

Secret 27

I'm afraid my insecurities will frighten away potential friends.

(insecurity alert)

18 August 2010

14 August 2010

Secret 22

I don't want to grow up because adults seem to have lost all their creativity. They've become brittle, unchangeable, not malleable, and stagnant.

13 August 2010

12 August 2010

Secret 20

I'm cynical because if I can believe other people aren't what they seem to be, I don't feel so bad.

09 August 2010

08 August 2010

04 August 2010

Secret 12

I don't talk to you as often as I want because I don't want to frighten you away.

03 August 2010

Secret 11

I'm scared no one would be friends with me if I let my guard down.

01 August 2010

Secret 10

Sometimes, the only lights at the end of the tunnel I can see are oncoming trains.

31 July 2010

29 July 2010

Secret 7

Telling people things about me makes me feel self centered, fishing for attention, and generally being awful in conversations.

26 July 2010

Secret 4

When I say I'm being "entirely truthful" I'm really understating my emotions.

25 July 2010

Secret 3

If I say something and no one listens, I'll keep talking as if I hadn't meant anyone to hear.

24 July 2010

Secret 2

I can't fall asleep without blankets because I don't like feeling exposed.

23 July 2010

The Openness Project

This past spring and summer, I've been doing some thinking. A dangerous past time, I know.

... Ahem. Brownie points, by the way, if you get the reference.

Anyways, I've been doing some thinking about how I interact with people, and have come to the conclusion that I'm keeping pretty much everyone outside of my nice, sterile, plexiglass enclosure. It's actually rather lonely in here. Amidst all this thought, I decided that there are a lot of things that I don't tell people, but probably should.

Thus was this next series of posts born. I will be posting 40 things I should say but don't over the next 40 days.

Just some things before I get started. Please, do not comment encouragingly on posts about personal insecurities, it's not going to help. If you're going to comment, comment about your own insecurity, or something else. And finally, I'd greatly appreciate it if you did not read too much into these posts. This means you, Qwip.

And finally, when the word "you" is used, it refers to people in general, not a particular person.

So here's the first one:

Secret 1: I'm scared people will read these posts and pay attention.

14 July 2010


While it may appear that I have disappeared completely from off the face of this planet, let me assure you, I'm still alive.

That is all.

24 June 2010

Candid Room

So I was tagged by Chris at My Ink Spot to take a picture of my room without cleaning it at all.

This first one is from the door of my room. You can see my iron horse by the window (Thursday gave it to me for my 15th birthday), and my small book shelf, bean bag chair, and three book baskets in the corner. My bed is that mess on the right hand side of the picture, and you can catch some new yarn I bought yesterday for Unexpected Song's gloves.

The other side of my room has my armoire and closet. On top of my armoire you'll notice a rather large collection of dolls. You can see the head of my Twinn doll peeking out behind the green bunny ears on the left. There's also a china bride doll, a Russian figure skater, Samantha from the American Girl series, a ballerina doll, and a few others. I'm not really attached to most of them, but a lot of them were gifts or were really important to me before I hit the double digits. Also, there's more random hair products lying on the floor next to my towel.

This is the other part of the other side of my room. You can see my suits and shirts in the closet, my math homework on the floor (next to the towel), and my vanity. Yes, that wood desk cluttered with hairspray, hair gel, jewelry, yarn, and books is the actual representation of my pride. Actually, no. A vanity is the official name for those desk/chest of drawers that glamorous women do their makeup at in the movies. There's a pile of sweaters on the chair that goes in front of it.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I've been hanging up my hat collection where it won't get squished and soiled. On the far right is a burgundy hat in '40s style. Then comes my brown fedora, complete with lavender sprigs. The bright pink one is my first hat. Dad gave it to me for Christmas many years ago, and it's been a joke that I'll wear it to the Kentucky Derby "when Dad takes me." The big black circle next to the Derby hat is my evil 1800s hat. It's got a big velvet band around the rim, tied in a bow on the side, and I can look really creepy in it. Missing are my Greek fisherman's hat, my purple cloche, the blue soft-brimmed hat, and the straw sun hat, and others which should not be named.

So there you have it. If you're reading this, I tag you to do the same.


22 June 2010

Rhyme and Reason

This one's been fermenting in my head for quite some time now, so hopefully it's fully mature.

I'm sure you've read my musings on classical music before. If not, then here's where to find the best one.

Upon further thought, it seems to me that there are two distinct types of artists. And for lack of better descriptions, there are artists who follow Rhyme, and those who follow Reason.

A Reason artist is one who takes a concept, piece of art, or music, studies it intensively, and then tries to imitate the piece as closely as possible. They focus is on creating a perfect replica, and the problem with this is that in the course of studying the subject, the Reasoner isolates, sterilizes, and then eventually kills the life inherent in the art.

On the other side is the Rhymer. An artist who follows Rhyme looks at the subject, and tries to capture the life essence of the art. A Rhymer doesn't care so much if some of the outward appearances differ from the original, and here comes the problem with Rhyme: in the pursuit of the driving forces and emotions of a piece, they can drastically change it into something it isn't.

I think it's rather interesting. In organized music, I've discovered a majority of Reasoners, while in drama, I've seen a majority of Rhymers. Thus, the first time I tried to describe the dichotomy to a friend (Lady Specs, to be precise) I had people labeled as "musician hearts" and "actor hearts." However, I've noticed it's entirely possible for a Reasoner to be in drama and a Rhymer to be in music. My second violin teacher is definitely a Rhymer, and there are a few actors in Much Ado who appear to follow Reason.

Something needing to be made clear here is that both sides have good aspects - Reason looks to the outside, and Rhyme looks to the inside of the piece. The danger is that an artist will sway too far to one side or the other.

Oh, and also... This is only talking about true artists. There are some people in the arts who are not artists at all, but they camouflage well with extreme Reasoners.

So I'm not sure where I was going with all this. It's just been something knocking around in my head for a while.


21 June 2010

There is a River

Sorry about all these lapses in posting recently. I've been in a drama production the past three weeks, and what with rehearsals combined with lots of math homework, I've been lacking the proper words to express any of my more interesting thoughts.

It's ironic - even though I'm seeing Specs, Escapist, and Calvin pretty much every weekday, I still feel really lonely, so I've been listening to this week's song a lot. It's called There Is A River by Jars of Clay. I love this song because it's a reminder that I don't have to try and do everything for myself. :P Yeah, it's gotten that bad. But anyways, it comes off of one of my favorite Jars of Clay albums - Good Monsters. You should go check it out if you're in the mood for some light Christian rock.

There is a River

There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, although not your own,
For all of your tears, are the wages for things you have done

And all of those nights
Spent alone in the darkness of your mind
Give it up, Let go
These are things you were never meant to shoulder

There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, although not your own
For all of those tears, love will atone

So, give up the right
To control the waves that empty out your life
Above wild skies
Are the rays that break the shadows we design

Give it up, let go
These are things you were never meant to shoulder
Give it up, let go

There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, although not your own
For all of those things, love will atone

I know the world can turn in different ways
Most of the time, we're simply hanging on
And under the signs of how we all behave
We might find the place that we belong

There is a river that washes you clean
There is a tree that marks the places you've been
Blood that was spilled, although not your own
For all of these things, love will atone

For all of those nights, that you cried all alone
All of your tears, love will atone

p.s. I should have a post out tomorrow or the day after - another arts-related philosophical musing. Yay!

08 June 2010

What is Eternal?

Let me introduce you to a completely amazing rock opera called Beethoven's Last Night, by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's pretty much what it sounds like: Beethoven has finished writing his 10th Symphony, and is starting to die.

What is Eternal? by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes right when Beethoven is contemplating if his life's work is worth the damnation of his soul.

Ladies and Gents, I give you What is Eternal?

And here in the night
As I feel the Inferno
I stare in the dark
Thinking what is eternal

The man or the moment?
The act, or the reason?
These thoughts fill my head
As I contemplate treason.

Of dreams I have had
And dreams I have pondered
When late in the night
My mind it would wander

To things I have done
And then quickly regretted
While denying vices
My life had selected...

And I think what I've done
Or have yet to begin
And the man I've become
And the man that I've been

Now caught in a waltz
With the Eternal Dancer
I'm courted by Death
But Death isn't the answer
I say.

All I was
Meant to be
Could I
Just decide
Not a thought
Would survive?
Could it be
My life's worth
Ended there
With my birth?

If I could see someone
Who's been there before me
And traded his soul
For a moment of Glory

His penance or mercy
By spirits debated
While judged on a scale
That's been heavily weighted.

And what have I done?
Could there be such a sin
In this man I've become?
In this man that I've been?

Now calling to God
From this pit's very bottom
I pray He forgives
Every sin I've forgotten
This day!

And who would have thought
That my fate it would conjure
This twist in the road
On which I have wandered?

Each vision and dream now
Completely dismembered
To give one's whole life
And find nothing's

And what good is a life
That leaves nothing behind
Not a thought or a dream
That might echo in Time.

The years and the hours
The seconds and minutes
And everything that
My life has placed in it

The things I have done
The places I've been
The cost of my dreams

The weight of my sins

And everything that
I've gathered in life
Could it be lost?
Could it be lost in this
Could it be lost in this

I heartily recommend the entire album. It's pure genius.


06 June 2010

Grab Bag 3

Okay. Now this is, frankly, unacceptable. Apart from being down in the dumps and incredibly busy, I've got no excuse this time.

Before I write about what I actually want to write about, I'll update you a bit.

First of all, my Dad gets a new job on Monday. He had his last day on Friday, and we celebrated by having Vietnamese food at his old office. Interesting stuff, that food. I'm not sure if I like it or not, but it certainly tasted interesting.

Rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing started last week, and the second rehearsal, I ended up walking to, for about a mile. There had been a major accident on an arterial near the rehearsal site, and traffic had been rerouted through the only street you could get to rehearsals on. It was crazy - every 15 minutes, we'd move a couple more car lengths and then sit for a while. So that was interesting.

Rehearsals have been kind of funny. Some of the cast are going to be singing madrigals throughout the play, yours truly included. So we were rehearsing these things last week.  I don't know if you know this, but I was in a choir for five years, etc. etc. etc. If you gave the madrigals we were working on to my choir, we could have sight-read them just fine. But in the first rehearsal, it took an hour and a half to put together one song. Part of the problem could be that all the other fine singers are Broadway style singers. In other words, they don't sing well with others. :D

Yeah, that's about all that's going on in Problematic's world.


31 May 2010

The Mansions of the Lord

In honor of Memorial Day, here's one of my favorite hymns: The Mansions of the Lord. It was written in honor of the soldiers who died in Vietnam, but it applies to all wars. Inspired by John 14:2.

Ach, it's an incredible song. I start tearing up just listening to it. :)

The Mansions of the Lord

To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord

No more weeping,
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Divine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord

25 May 2010

The choices, the choices

I've got so many different Music Monday songs I'd like to do, it took until Tuesday to decide!

Right. You're not buying that.

Ahem. Anyways. This week, I've decided to share one of my favoritest (is that a word?) pieces of classical music: Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. Isn't "Modest" an amazing first name?

He's got such a range of emotions in this piece - from quiet to show-stopping. Good stuff. Enjoy!


23 May 2010


Aaah. It feels good to be this close to home... Even though home is still 600 miles away.

Just saying.


20 May 2010


Well, the funeral was today.

Wait a second, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last night, there was a visitation for friends and family (and whatever morbid members of the public who read the obituary). The first hour was only for relatives and my Uncle's closest friends, and it was open casket. It was pretty disturbing to see him in the casket. The funeral home had dyed his hair red and put makeup on him to hide his dead complexion. His little girl had put Lammy, her favorite stuffed animal, in the casket with a drawing of her and her Dad. Barry didn't look anything like he used to - more like a sculpture from a second-rate wax museum than the body of my Uncle.

The funeral was today. My other uncle is in the Minnesota Police Pipe Band (yes, he plays the bagpipes. He's awesome like that) and he got the pipe band to come and play for the funeral. It was held in a scale model of the Hagia Sophia, and while the 'scale model' part sounds cheesy, it was actually quite beautiful, visually and acoustically.

My aunt Nancy asked me to read in the service, which I did - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, the "there is a time for everything" passage.

After the service, Barry's casket was escorted out of the chapel to the pipe band, and everyone drove to his burial plot. It's beautiful, sitting in the shade of some big shade trees on a sunny hill beneath a mausoleum. Everyone else was so sad and hurting so much that I started crying, which was embarrassing because right around then, people started meeting and greeting each other. Bah. Don't get me wrong - I love my Uncle dearly, and I do miss him, but it's not very pleasant to meet some awesome cousins with tears and mucus running down your face. >:(

The cemetery staff shooed everyone away, and we drove to a loft to have lunch and talk. I was whisked into a whirlwind of meeting obscure relatives whose names I've forgotten.

Now, throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking that the funeral and the pomp going into it was far too serious for my Uncle. After all, he was the type who would try to outrace the mosquitoes on his boat rather than wait for them to fly off (true story, we did that once. He wasn't touched, but I got a couple hundred bites. Yes, I counted). No, Uncle Barry would be wanting a wake, in the true Irish style, Guinness and all. He got one, actually. After the official lunch, Aunt Nancy and her close family and Barry's friends headed off to a pub.

There are far too many songs to express how I'm feeling, so I'll leave that to tomorrow's post. So, instead, I'll go crash on the couch and watch a documentary about people dying in World War 1.

Also, I'm in no mood to talk with people, so emails, chats, anything will be deleted if they arrive tonight.

18 May 2010


I've heard it said about extended family that if you don't know where you've been, you don't know where you're going. I'd prefer it be said that if you don't know where you've been, there's no way you can get away from there.

I've never really liked visiting my relatives here in Minnesota. It's unpleasant coming into the middle of a family disfunction that's been in existence for the past 50 years. There are members of my extended family that are all right by themselves, but once you get them in a group, boy, do things heat up quickly. Usually, this isn't too bad, because we come around Christmas or in the summer, and the family only gathers for a couple hours one day of the visit.

However, because this visit is occasioned by a funeral, I'll be in close contact with my relatives for this entire week. Not only that, but with Uncle Barry's death, tensions are even higher than they are usually, and a lot of family are coming in from out of town.

If I knew people out here besides my relatives, it might be better, but the fact is, these adults with all their dramas and woes are the only people I know, and they dominate life even when they're not around. When I'm in the house, they're there, and when our family is elsewhere, that's all we talk about. It's really stressful.

This is the explanation for the last quote of Dad's in my last post. The influence of my relatives is great enough that it affects my mood. I've been listening constantly to Coldplay - that's how bad it's gotten. :P

In 50% unrelated news, my Uncle's wife asked me to read a Bible passage at his funeral this Thursday. It doesn't seem like very long ago that I participated in their wedding. So, yeah, I'm in a rather dark mood right now.  The sooner I can get out of Minnesota, the better.

The only good thing I can get out of this is that because I've seen this so many times, I'll be slightly more able to avoid repeating family history in the future.

Well, I've got other business to attend to...


Well, I'm in Minneapolis right now. We arrived yesterday afternoon, aroud 4:30. I got really loony the last hour of the trip - I was cycling through being Igor, Bob and Cassidy, and Yours Truly  rather quickly.

Before I go on, here are the memorable quotes from yesterday and today.

Dad: "I hate to inform you, but you married an opinion."

Dad: "Hey, Problematic - they've got a sushi place here. Too bad we just ate. It's called North Side Bait and Tackle."

Dad: "You look really emo, there, kiddo."
Me: "Yeah, I'm totally rockingt he invisible fringe."

The last exchange was actually from this morning, which I'll explain in my next post.


16 May 2010

Road Trip

So, yesterday, after callbacks, my family left for Minnesota for my uncle's impending funeral. Well, early this morning, 1:54 AM Central time, Barry Hendrickson met his Maker, face to face. We all pray it was in love, not fear.

Today was particularly boring - ten hours of driving through Montana. I figured I'd entertain you with some of the memorable excerpts of the countless conversations.

Mpm: "Look at that! They're vertical rainbow clouds! Pretty! Hey, are you guys seeing that? Hmph. You have no appreciation of beauty. Look at those vertical clouds!"

Me: "This is the most exciting thing to happen to me today! We've finally reached North Dakota!"

Me: "Montana is bigger on the inside."

Me: "Wow, that looks kind of like the Grand Canyon, only with more bumps and less canyon!"

Mom: "Aww, it was prettier back there..."
Me: "You mean back at the Grand Not Canyon?"

Mom: "There's not many animals. I guess it's bring your own wildlife. Oh wait. We are the wildlife."

Mom: "My lip is spasming!"
Dad: "It's because it's North Dakota."

Me: "It's like, you cross into North Dakota, and cars appear. It's like, North Dakota magic or something. Oh wait, cars all gone now."

And my favorite...

Me: "The point is that I'm not causing nearly enough mayhem and slaughter! This is clearly a problem!"

Also along the way, Dad and I got into a nice, deep conversation as to whether love is an emotion or a commitment - and we're still at odds. The funny thing is, our arguments were the same, but they had different focuses.

Also, I got into Much Ado About Nothing. Glee!

Well, I've got to go to bed. It's late here in Bismark.


Bismark. Isn't that an incredibly depressing name?

14 May 2010


Alright, so tomorrow are the callbacks for Much Ado About Nothing. I'm a little nervous about it, suffice to say. I've been called back as Hero, Ursula, and a member of the Watch. Well, it should be interesting.

Currently, I'm at Unexpected Song's house blowing off a little steam and watching the Harry Potter movies. There are some really good lines that have been cracking me up.

Ron: "Ahh... Spiders... the spiders are wanting me to tapdance... I don't want to dance..."
Harry: "You tell those spiders, Ron."
Ron: "Yeah... yeah..." >falls back asleep<

Yes. It's quite relaxing. Also auditioning with me tomorrow will be Lady Specs, Calvin, and Escapist. But anyways, if y'all could keep callbacks in your prayers, I'd greatly appreciate it.


13 May 2010

Call the Lie

This whole week, I've been pretty down. Those normal exchanges of "Hey, how are you? I'm fine, thanks!" have been pretty awful to carry out, because, well, I haven't been fine and there's no chance I will be fine in the near future. It led me to post something I'd never consider posting under normal circumstances in my Buzz account - "Problematic needs someone to call the lie."

That's not actually the point of this post, by the way. But I'm getting there.

See, even though I wasn't feeling very good about things, I still went on trying to pretend that I was more or less okay. I kept lying and saying I was 'okay'. Why? Because I knew no one wanted to know what was really bothering me. News about my Uncle, they could handle, but not really about me. Which works, I guess. It wasn't anything I really wanted to talk about.

Some days, I get fed up with our society. It's just so very shallow. People don't speak what they think, or when they do, it's in a way no one wants to hear. There's all sorts of polite posturing - "Why thank you, you look lovely yourself" and "No thank you, I'm dieting" fill in the place of real conversations, real discussions, real interests.

Some days, that's what's wrong with the world. We're too busy to stop, too busy to think, too busy to care. How many times have I passed a friend I know is down and walked by without calling their lie? When have I cared enough to how they are, really?  It's a troubling thought, that our society is exchanging niceties for actual connections. As long as you pay your social dues, say your please and thank yous, and don't hang out at the snack table all evening, it doesn't matter if you're lonely, if you're sad, if you're jubilant - just don't bother us about it.

We're becoming increasingly private. A central part of Western philosophy is freedom, which goes hand in hand with forming few, intimate connections. But what is happening today isn't just "being private" - it's "being quiet." We don't want to hear your problems, we don't want to know they exist. We want you to act exactly as you always do, where there is no emotional highs or lows. It all becomes balanced in the monotony of "I'm fine, and you?"

We're too busy. Other people's worries bother us, distract us, take up too much time. And that's why we need to be calling other people' lies. Lives without connections are not worth living - no one can exist by themselves. And the social desert we enforce now is doing just that - isolating us by putting up walls of courtesy to others. I can't tell you how I really am because that would take up too much of your valuable time. So we just glide past, smiling, nodding, and drowning on the inside.

It's sobering, isn't it?

11 May 2010

Prayer Request 2

Well, I'm afraid I must trouble you all with another prayer request. You may remember that in the last one, Mom had flown out to Minnesota to be with her brother as he is dying of pancreatic cancer.

This morning we got the news that Uncle Barry has declined even more. My Aunt Nancy stayed up with him all night last night, but he was unable to talk in a coherent way. He was unable to swallow pills or solid food, and has been reduced to sipping at liquids and the like.

My aunts, uncles, and Grandma met with the hospice social worker at noon about what to do with Uncle Barry. After a few efforts, it was understood that he did not want to move to a hospital because he didn't want to see his house "for the last time." The Hospice care has said he might die as early as today or tomorrow, but they can't really say. They also say that Aunt Nancy needs someone to stay with her overnight every night as she attends to Barry.

I'm sure you can imagine how stressful this is for my Mom. She hasn't said this, but I think she feels a little helpless here in Washington when Barry's dying in Minnesota.

Please, pray for my uncle's redemption before he passes, and peace of mind for his relatives.


Update 13/5/2010 : My uncle has slipped into a coma

Running Up That Hill

For reasons I'll explain in my next post (which shall be up shortly after this), I didn't get a chance to post my Music Monday post. So it's a day late.

Anyways, this week, I'd like to introduce you to Running Up That Hill, as covered by Placebo. There have been (I think) 3 versions of this song, but of all of them, including the original, I prefer Placebo's. It's a very muted song - understated melody and harmonies. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of a post-apocalyptic setting - the world burned by nuclear winter, and the singer of this song and his friend are the only ones left.  I think that's why I like it so much. It's perfect mood music.


Running Up That Hill
It doesn't hurt me.
You wanna feel how it feels?
You wanna know, know that it doesn't hurt me?
You wanna hear about the deal I'm making?
You be running up that hill
You and me be running up that hill

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't wanna hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware that I'm tearing you asunder.
There's a thunder in our hearts, baby.
So much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?

You, be running up that hill
You and me, be running up that hill
You and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
If I only could, oh...

C'mon, baby, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh...'

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems [x2]

'If I only could, be running up that hill.' [x7]