Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The End of the War

Every War Has an End

It's true. Even the wars that devastate our land and leave our most glorious cities as nothing more than heaps of ash-stained concrete have an end.

The wars that pock the fields with black craters can't go on forever, nor can the ones that fill those craters with mutilated bodies.

Every war has an end.

Even the war that turned me into a sobbing child, that exacted a toll so hard it knocked me to within the gray grip of death, even that war had to end.

Cherry Blossoms Touch the Sky

I burned. I wept. I screamed. In my worst moments, I even begged.

I watched as the palaces were looted, saw as the fine institutions of learning were razed to the ground, the pages of their ancient books flickering in the wind like so many fireflies, a thousand years of wisdom and understanding put to the torch.

Every single temple in that land, every last one, was destroyed. They shrieked and no god answered, and then they died in their wretched millions.

I cried tears for them, until the shock robbed me of even that solace. Bombs fell from the sky, one atrocity after another.

Everything was gone.

Standing Stalks in the Sun

But all wars have an end.

Now they fly scarlet-gold banners and resurrect desecrated buildings on legs of marble. They rewrite the books, they swarm upon the hills, they make themselves into a monument of justice and peace.

This is the most beautiful place in the world, all the more splendid because of the ruin from which it has risen.

The war is over.

And as my personal holocaust fades into history, flowers bloom.

Campus Flowers

Monday, March 30, 2009


I wrote this poem during my Freshman Year of college. I found it the other day going through a bin of old things.

Brought to his knees
Down on a slab
Bound in a sea
Of waves gray and drab

Chained to a rock
Of crumbling concrete
The tick of the clock
A knife in his cheek

The blade scrapes his teeth
Rust lashes his tongue
From a mouth once so glee
The blood freely runs

It drips its way down
An ivory neck
A collar it crowns
With rosy aspect

Blood there can't remain
No, not for a breath
For red denotes beauty
Which Fate marked for theft

The waves reach up high
They sweep it away
Beneath violet hide
Is salty decay

This is actually less than half of the original poem, but I feel that this first page is more effective than the whole of it would be.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hair Update

Tonight I will do something I haven't done in a while. It is time for a hair update.

I first started growing my hair out in May of 2002, when I was in eighth grade, and didn't cut it until my Freshman Year of college, when in October of 2006 I shaved my head.

Immediately afterward I began growing it again, going more than a year without so much as a trim.

I got one maintenance cut in November of 2007 and intended to wait another year, but by the summer of 2008 the split ends were adding up, and the bottom two to three inches of my hair looked fried.

In August of 2008 I bit the bullet and lopped off a good three to four inches of hair, turning the deadened tangles into soft blonde locks at a reasonable cost.

It was just after this haircut that it dawned on me I should probably keep track of my progress. I started taking pictures once a month, but the last I posted them here was in October of 2008, in the much-lauded "Hair Update and the Wrath of Darth Pieisus" post.

So, for everyone out there who's cheered me on about my hair (Jo(e) and Electronic Goose come to mind), here's how it has grown since August, up to this month.


September, 2008:

BB Gets a Haircut

Shortened Ponytail

Right after the haircut, my hair was very short and looked ridiculous when not tied back.

October, 2008:

One Month After Haircut

Short Ponytail

In one month, my hair grew a lot.

November, 2008:



Right around Thanksgiving, my hair was just starting to touch my shoulders.

December, 2008:

My Ponytail

Just a ponytail picture for this month. I was starting to get split ends again.

January, 2009:

Hair Let Down


My hair was definitely touching my shoulders here. And look, it's shiny!

February, 2009:

Before the Straightening

Ponytail Before

I got a trim of about one inch pretty much right after these pictures were taken. My next haircut will be in August.

March, 2009:

My Hair


This month. My hair's starting to get longer, and I'm so happy for that. I can't wait for the summer, when it's sure to be well past my shoulders. Plus, since I've been getting regular trims, I won't have to have a ton of length taken off the next time I go to a stylist.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Dawn of Spring

Streaming Sunlight

Some things have been changing around Southern State.

As recently as two weeks ago, our landscape was a cold, wind-whipped one, covered with snow and locked in ice. Yesterday, though, the only traces of white were the ones in the sky, soft fizzy clouds that floated around in warm blue.


After the Snow Vanishes

As I've already established, the cold makes me miserable, and around here from December to early March you couldn't leave the house without wrapping yourself in layers of heavy clothing.

I hate stepping outside and feeling immediate pain. The air shouldn't be vicious, shouldn't sear you the moment you've left the protective walls of your home. Instead, it should caress you. It should embrace you. It should make you want to fly off into the sun and become a part of it.

It is because this need has been so badly satisfied during the long winter that Wednesday came as such a blessing. Temperatures here soared to 70F, and on the campus of Major University light jackets, jeans, and, for a few, tee-shirts, replaced the bulky coats that have dominated the student landscape since the end of last semester.

I drove home with my car windows down, savoring the heat as I sped down the highway toward Mountain Town.

The first thing I heard upon getting out of my car in front of my house was the sound of children's laughter.

Walking around to my back yard, I found Thomas, Pie, and a friend jumping on the trampoline.

Thomas, Pie, and a Friend on the Trampoline

After speaking with them for a bit, I headed back around to the front yard, where I noticed our magnolia bushes extending their thick, glossy leaves into the warm rays of sunshine, much the way a person would extend their arms toward the sky in summer to absorb as much heat as humanly possible.

Winter has breathed his last in this part of the country. He may resurface briefly, may plague us with a cold day between now and the blazing suns of June, but he will always appear from here on out as a shadow of his former self.

He's fallen from his peak; the spectacular frigidness and powerful ice showers of months past are a mere memory.

It is now that the maiden of Summer approaches young womanhood. I found bits of her surfacing as I walked around our neighborhood the other night, in saplings sprouting pink buds and green grass littered with flower petals that seemed to have materialized from the very ground itself.

Altar of Spring

As the sun rises through the sky, my family has entered its own spring as well.

Following the collapse of Solar Explosion Company, the business in whose employ my father made a six-figure salary from 2006-2008, our family's financial situation followed that of the country on a southward tailspin.

The loss of half our household income coincided, devastatingly, with the loss of half of our net worth, hemorrhaged away in the stock market crash last Fall.

My parents, always frugal, cut back on everything. Last September, with my mother facing the possibility of losing her job as well, they began to make plans for the unimaginable scenario of foreclosure.

"I will not deplete my savings for this house," my mother said at the time. "We'll walk away from it."

When my mother was retained by Major Pharmaceutical Company, we breathed a sigh of relief, but the knife was still tight against us.

In January, after months jumping from place to place, my father found work with Outside Getaways, a company marketing the same luxury decks that Solar Explosion had sold so well before coming under bad management.

While things were initially slow in that seasonal market, my father's new employers have stuck to a time-tested and effective formula: targeting wealthy clientele with salesmen who are given a wide breadth of self-autonomy. My father is excellent at what he does, and his bosses' good sense has paid off.

By specifically marketing their product to the kind of people who can afford to spend even in a deep recession, Outside Getaways has tapped a lucrative demographic.

As the weather improves, my father has begun to sell jobs. Last month, it was a few stretched across several weeks. This month, the number has increased to one or two a week and sometimes more than that. He's always busy now, always on estimates or the phone, and this pace will only accelerate as time goes on, reaching its peak in June or July.

This was the pattern he followed with Solar Explosion; in the spring and summer he'd sell at a very high volume, making so great an amount of money between March and August that for the remainder of the year, when the market slumped, there was no reason for him to work.

There have been several positive consequences of this new job.

First of all, it has made my father feel better about himself as a person. Some of my longtime readers will remember one of my first-ever posts in April of 2008, when I wrote of learning that he had become suicidal. Without gainful employment and with our family's situation growing worse and worse with each passing day, he felt like a failure as a husband, a father, and a man.

Now, he's filling the social role that he feels is required of him. He's still not making as much as he did before, but that could very likely change. What he is bringing in, however, has greatly altered our family's financial outlook for the coming year.

On New Year's Eve, I wrote that I thought 2009 would be a good year for our family but a bad year for the country, and so far that seems to be playing out.

As most Americans hunker down, many wondering how they will make it through the recession with even their homes, we have begun to ponder what we might do to entertain ourselves.

Last week, my father took Pie out to a fair and returned home with a go-cart that likely cost him several hundred dollars.

Pie on the Go-Cart

Several hundred dollars may not seem like a lot of money, but you must understand something about my parents: they are two of the tightest people I know, the type of couple who don't spend a penny they don't have. During my childhood, when we had little, they saved for months to purchase a $400.00 set of bunk-beds for Powell and I.

So when my father casually drops $500.00 on an unnecessary purchase, I take notice.

And with the amount of money they've been spending lately, it's obvious that some dynamic of our financial situation has been dramatically changed.

Last week was the go-cart. Earlier this month, they bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to replace the one sold when we began our monetary descent last year.
Today, I caught them looking at a pool catalogue.

"Are we getting a pool?" I asked in surprise.

The answer: if we can legally install it, it's going in.

Then there's the matter of miscellaneous travel.

Last September, they were to fly to Pacific Paradise State for their fifteenth wedding anniversary, a trip they canceled due to our family's fiscal situation. In order to make up for this missed experience, they're leaving next week for Cancun, Mexico, a trip that I tried to talk them out of in light of the recent violence south of the border. They're going anyway, for four days, but have promised not to leave their resort.

That's not the only vacation planned, though.

This summer, our family will stay for an entire week at Incredible Water Park Resort, a legendary place that I've never seen but have heard fabulous tales of from Thomas.

Better than any of the material avenues opened to us, though, is the sense of security we're finding again. When my father was unemployed, our house felt like a balloon inflated to its greatest extent, its plastic stretched so tight against the helium that it could pop at any second.

Now, it's as if the explosion has occurred, and all of the worry and tension held within has been released, left to float away on the air.
Then, of course, there's my own personal spring.

My 21st birthday is in less than a month, and for that iconic occasion I have three separate parties planned, at least one of which is ditch-proof because friends have already taken off of work to go.

You have no idea what this means to me. For someone who didn't have a single friend-attended birthday party as a teenager, who spent his nineteenth and twentieth birthdays utterly alone, who longed on those bitter April 10ths for a single friend who would remember or even take a walk with him, this is incredible.

Watching other young people's birthdays used to break my heart. I avoided Facebook, because the jubilant pictures from bars, restaurants, and dorm rooms of a single person surrounded by smiling friends filled me with the combined hatred and sadness of those who have nothing but are submerged in plenty.

I believed at that time that I would be forever alone, never loved. At both 19 and 20, I wondered how many more birthdays I would live to see before the weight of my despair became too much and I finally ended the pain.

On Friday, April 10th, I will go out with Black Dress Girl, Mature Girl, Friendly Boy, Peruvian Girl, and Sacagawea to a restaurant in Mountain Town. After that, those of us who are eighteen or older (everyone but Mature Girl) will leave for a strip club, my first time ever going to one.

Normally I wouldn't do something like this. It doesn't sit well with me, both because of personal discomfort (I'm gay) and because the institution of the strip club symbolizes subjugation of women. However, everyone should do something really crazy when they turn 21, so I am.

I recently learned that Black Dress Girl plans to buy me a private lap dance.

"Oh, God," I said, covering my face as she and Assistant Manager laughed connivingly.

The next day, a Saturday, I'll head for Major University, where a small group of us will go to a bar in Central Town. After I drive home Sunday morning, I'll have dinner with my parents.

I don't even like to talk about this, because I'm worried it will be taken away. Having experienced all I did, none of this has progressed beyond the surreal stage for me, and acknowledging that I could possibly have so much happiness seems the surest way to kill it. Could it be? Could it really be true?

One more thing.

Last night, I got a call from Sacagawea, the ex-girlfriend who I came out to over Spring Break.

Weeks ago, she spoke to me of a twenty-year-old who lives in Mountain Town but attends a university several hours away. During the coming-out talk we had, she showed me his pictures on Facebook, and I told her I thought the thin, long-haired youth was good looking.

When my phone rang at 11:30p.m. last night, I was in a movie with Peruvian Girl, and didn't recognize the number that showed up on my screen.

I called back, and Sacagawea, whose voice I didn't place right away, apologized for not giving me her new cell phone number.

She just wanted to tell me that she'd told her friend about me, and that he, seeing my pictures, thought I was "cute."

He's coming here after the school year ends, and she'd like to introduce us.

Naturally, I'm nervous about this, but, as I told her, we wouldn't necessarily have to hook up or anything.

"Even if we were just friends," I said. "It would be so nice to have another gay guy to talk to, to ask questions, to ask, 'How do you do this? How do you meet people? Where do you go?' I'm just going through it alone."

I'm so excited and so scared. I'm about as inexperienced as it's possible to be, what Peruvian Girl calls "innocent," and I hunger for something more.

It's going to be a hot summer.

Glorious Spring

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coversation With Thomas

This is the dialogue that Thomas and I had today in my car:

Thomas: "The other day I tried the third hottest pepper in the world."

Me: "How'd that work out for you?"

Thomas: "I cried."

Me: "Ha, ha."

Thomas: "This kid brought them in, and they were literally burning his leg through his pocket. He was like, 'Do you want to try these?' and I was like, 'Sure.' I bit into one, and tears just started coming down my face. It was so hot that later on my poop hurt."

Me (laughing): "'It was so hot that later on my poop hurt.' Wow. That's going on the blog."

Thomas: "Quote of the day?"

Me: "Something like that."

Thomas: "No, I mean, 'Quote of the Day.' Do I get it?"

Me: "Oh, yeah, you get it."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selected Entries: April, 2003

I have decided to start a new blogging tradition. Because my Journals Sections are usually so long, the majority of my readers aren't able to wade through the whole mass of fluff to the few gems actually contained within.

With that in mind, I will devote a separate section to the most important parts of each Journals Section, or perhaps the parts that inspire the fondest memories for me.

This week's Selected Entries choice is from April 10, 2003, my fifteenth birthday. At the time, I was rather amazed with how old I was:

April 10, 2003
Today is my fifteenth birthday. I am fifteen years old. Somehow that doesn’t seem right. Fourteen seems me. But although fifteen doesn’t feel completely natural yet, the age fifteen seems older, sophisticated, and wild, like anything can happen. To quickly conclude with yesterday, while the Neighbors are like the equivalent of a democratic republic or a limited monarchy, our family here, I believe, is closer to the equivalent of the Stalinist regime over the USSR. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Now, on with my birthday. Last year, on a paper in science class, I wrote “BlackenedBoy, Born: April 10, 1988, Conceived: July 4, 1987.” My friend Beautiful Girl saw and she is in Chemistry class with me this year. She said, “Hey, BB, are you going to put the date that you were conceived again?” We laughed. Earlier in the day, I left the house before anyone had really stayed out of bed. I’ve started getting up at about 5:30a.m. now, although I still leave around 6:55a.m. During first mod, which is Drama, we had to take extensive notes on Ancient Greek Theater. In the middle of the mod I had to leave for Red Cross Club. I am to be Secretary on the Executive Board next year.

A Note to Readers

As I have said when posting previous Journals Sections, I do not expect anyone to actually read my entire month's worth of diary entries. At that point in my life I was very verbose, but I can promise you that as the journal entries go on they become more compelling and more concise.

Journals Section: April, 2003

April 2, 2003

The war seems distant, and its success is debatable. I read an article that made me really think about our entire country in general. The article addressed whether or not the American people would tolerate another large war. The answer reached was a decided no. It made me wonder, though, whether the United States could successfully fight another large-scale war. In both world wars we prevailed as the triumphant defenders of justice. However, although we have since had long wars, we have never again had any on such a large, horrifying scale. Although there have been some close calls, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Since, our wars have never been large. Even Vietnam, which left millions dead, was not fought in the same fashion as the two world wars that had devastated Europe. In both world wars, powerful empires (World War I: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire/World War II: Germany, Italy, Japan) rose to threaten the world, not Third World countries in poverty. We have been lulled into false security, which was furthered by what I was alive to see, but do not remember doing so: the horrendous collapse of the USSR in 1991, hailed by many in the West as a huge victory for democracy. I mourn the loss of the mammoth, 8,000,000-square-mile (eight million sq mile) USSR, every day. This country of enormous size and power kept the world balanced. The Soviet Union stopped the world from being dominated by one country, the United States. However, only the existence of at least two superpowers can balance the world, and the 1991 collapse of the USSR swayed the world one way: the American way. I would recreate the Soviet Union in an instant if given the chance. Then again, would I ever have seen the Russian Empire perish? I don’t know. Recently I’ve been pondering what the ideal nation would be like.

April 4, 2003

Well, if the progress of the war was in doubt two days ago, its current success is indisputable. American, I mean, coalition (but mostly American) forces marched swiftly on Baghdad, accepting about 2,500 surrenders and devastating any who stood to oppose them. Hundreds of Iraqis and a few Americans were killed in the fighting. We have captured the former Saddam Hussein International Airport, now Baghdad International Airport. The airport is actually labeled “Saddam Hussein International Airport” in English. I wonder why so many places around the world also label in English; I do not believe that it is the world’s dominant language. Taking my mind off of the war, I saw a play tonight, called “Anything Goes.” It was quite good. I particularly admired the singing of one of the main actresses. One of the boys sang too lightly and the other often dwindled into such a deep monotone that you could barely hear him, but this one actress’s voice rose up, rich, illustrious, and grand above all the rest. I practically begged Powell to go with me, but he refused for the second time. Last time I went to see “Lend Me a Tenor.” That one was actually much funnier than this one, although this one obviously incorporated much more time and effort into the production. Pretty Girl, a very pretentious girl who sits in front of me in Spanish class, had a minor role in the play. Pretty Girl can be very nice, but I believe that much of it is pretense, and she can actually be quite shallow. Today, I took the first chance that Pretty Girl gave me to devastate her. Now, by first chance, I do not mean the first opportunity to make fun of her, I mean the first time that she made an attack on me. The instant that she made her first minute blow, I laughed, and, in a tone suggestive of my superiority, such as one might use when speaking to someone of lower intellect than oneself, I said, “Oh, Pretty Girl, in a world so full of complexities, it’s nice to spend ninety minutes with someone who’s so simple.” Pretty Girl did not take very kindly to this, and accused me, charging that I had called her stupid, which, of course, I had implied. Now, I don’t really believe that Pretty Girl is stupid; it’s quite the contrary in fact. Pretty Girl is beautiful, funny, and very intelligent. However, there are too many aspects of Pretty Girl that are fake. I really think that despite a bit of a gossipy, pretentious quip now and then, Pretty Girl really is a very wonderful person. She does not evoke much thought, though. Anyway, the play was great. I saw many of my friends there. I sat by myself, as I entered the theater about a minute or two late. If the truth be told, I did this purposely. On the way to the school to see the play, I got an anxiety attack. It was so intense that I almost began to cry. These attacks are recurring and have been so for quite some time, however, if I am as deceptive as I imagine myself to be, I am the only one who knows of their existence. I am almost certain that they are caused by a general fear of social interaction. Years of degradation, the scars of which I will carry forever, have taught my self-conscious that social interaction is synonymous with devastating reaction. I went straight for a bathroom and locked myself in a stall for twenty minutes. Actually, probably closer to thirty minutes. I deliberately waited until the show had started, when I knew that most people would be in the theater and I could make a quiet entrance. I slipped in through a door, took my ticket stub, and subtly found a seat in the back. I was recognized by only several people. Intermission, obviously, was a bit awkward and uncomfortable for me. You know, given our language’s illogical grammatical structure, the word “awkward” is oddly phonetic. After the play, I left the theater, attempting to use a public telephone. For some reason, they didn’t seem to be working, so I went back into the theater to an administrator who gave me access to an office to call for my ride. I had to call the house about three or four times before someone answered. Powell finally did, only to tell me that Mom and Dad (whom we always affectionately call Mama Bear and Papa Bear) left five minutes prior to Powell receiving my telephone call. I went outside and waited. I was amazed and angered when they still managed to be some of the last ones to arrive there. I didn’t say anything about it, though, contrary to my original plan, because they were being so nice. One year ago the Imperial Empire was just recovering from two events, one major one and one lesser one. First, on March 27, 2002, Atricia, Andrea, and Tylendaria seceded the Imperial Empire. The last civil war had just ended six days earlier. On March 20, 2002, Atricia and Andrea had seceded. On March 21, 2002, Andrea rejoined the Imperial Empire, and the Atrician surrender came that night. The Andreans, Tylendarians, and national forces were joined by Gorgan troops in fighting the Atricians. Then came the 27th. Atricia, Tylendaria, Andrea, and, possibly, Cristalia, Nicholia, and Angela were pitted against Renaldi, the Decaying State Territory, the Lobster State Territory, Pheliphias, and the Movie State Territory. The I.E. came its closest ever to cybrogenetic war. The czar accepted constitutional limitations and on March 28, or on the 29, 2002, the conflict was quelled. What could have been a major civil war ended peacefully. The night of the 29th, Gorgan forces marched into Philadelphia, Andrea, and opened fire on Philadelphia Military Base/Natioal Rights Organization. They then marched into Capital City, I.R.R.D., the nation’s capital city, and attacked the Imperial Palace, known as the White House, itself. The I.E. declared war and ferociously attacked the Gorgans, driving them back through San Francisco and into a small strip of Gorgan territory. The Gorgans surrendered, calling the attack a tragic accident and mistake. The I.E. won. Oh, and, just as Tylendaria rejoined the I.E., a small country called Beryllium formed with Imperial consent out of part of Andrea. Beryllium collapsed in early April. Because the Rebel Empire had collapsed on February 12, 2002, ending Renaldi’s siege, World War I finally ended with Beryllium’s collapse in April. I think that it’s funny that the R.E. never existed, because stories of this imaginary entity’s existence caused enormous economic suffering throughout the rest of the nation. Only the Royal family ever knew the truth. Also one year ago today, my fourteenth birthday was rapidly approaching. My birthday is this Thursday. On Friday night we will go out for sushi with family. Next Friday is also the night of the benefit basketball game for Burned Boy, an acquaintance of mine who was severely injured in a fire. I’m going to give my teacher the money for a ticket. Also a year ago my hair was cur short. It had only been about four inches long, and the front had been even shorter than that. Now, I just decided to let all of my hair grow out. I look far too ugly with it short.

April 5, 2003

We are in Baghdad. Not “we,” as in we ourselves personally, but our forces. Today was pleasant. I went to bed around four-thirty this morning and awoke at 7:21a.m. I wasn’t even really that tired. I was weirdly alive and awake all day today. Mom and I briefly clashed this morning when she came into my room for reasons I don’t remember. Oh, wait, it was to put a sheet on my bed. I was having difficulty doing it by myself. That must sound terrible and pathetic, but we’ve always had our parents or maids to do things like that, so, besides the absolute basics, how are we supposed to know how to clean? My mother purposely creates disarray (almost always successfully) in my room with maddening frequency. Today she decided that she needed more room so she wrecked what I consider to be one of my favorite things. She crashed through a scale puzzle of the United States. I am still not quite sure what is wrong with her, but something is certainly not right, not as it should be. I am not referring to possible hormonal activity due to her pregnancy, I mean her entire mental state in general. She openly discriminates between her child and her marital inheritance, and she has already started distinctions between Powell, Pie, and I. She vehemently denies this, of course. She told Powell that if he doesn’t desist in his disquieting antics that she will take her “son and daughter and leave.” She has threatened this with recurring frequency, once about every month or so, maybe a little bit more, for about the last two months.

April 6, 2003

Mr. Crazy Old Fat Guy had a heart attack today. I’ll go into more detail tomorrow.

April 7, 2003

Yesterday was very eventful. There is an immensely fat man named Crazy Old Fat Guy who lives in the expensive townhouses down the street from us. He called me yesterday while I was on the telephone with my grandmother. I call her periodically. I find her intelligent and poignant. She has vast amounts of knowledge in her mind, both literary knowledge and “street smarts” knowledge, gained from watching the collapse of her family’s ancient fortune in 1929 as a result of the stock market crash. She grew up in poverty as a result while her cousins, the children of her father’s more conservative brother, still lived in wealth and luxury. She also watched her parents try to cope with poverty, something that she says that they (and especially her mother) never fully adjusted to. Anyway, as I spoke with her, the telephone emitted a signal, alerting me that someone on the other line wished to speak with me. I pressed the button. It was Mr. Crazy Old Fat Guy. I thought that he was calling about something trivial, as he often does. I told him that no, my father wasn’t there, and I also informed him that I was on the other line of the telephone with someone else. He asked if my mother was there. I said no. He said, “Come on, kid, I wouldn’t bother you unless I needed it.” I told him alright, and I asked, “Mr. Crazy Old Fat Guy, are you okay?” He answered me in a tragic, purely anguished and horrifying tone, free of any trace of melodrama, “No.” I told him to hold on. I told my grandmother that I had to go, that something had come up.

April 8, 2003

I gave the telephone to Dad, who rushed down to Mr. Crazy Old Fat Guy’s house. My father alerted a neighbor when he had trouble gaining access to the house, and the neighbor dialed 911. Then, ten minutes later, as the children watched, awestruck, an ambulance, emergency response unit, and a fire truck rumbled loudly down through our exclusive (for the area) neighborhood and into the townhouse section. Had it been anything but an absolute emergency, Ms. Meddlesome Housewife, one of the annoying housewives who lives in this community, would have had a fit. I can’t believe that she didn’t pop another baby out just hearing the sirens. Mr. Crazy Old Fat Guy had a heart attack. He’s in the hospital today, and describes himself as bored. He is a strong, spirited, funny, fiery man. I hope that God loves, protects, and blesses him and his family plentifully. We also purchased a basketball net for $200.00. We had meant to split the cost of the net with the Neighbor family, our next-door neighbors. We play with their children, Short Boy and Lanky Girl. As a matter of fact, Short Boy was King of Andrea and Lanky Girl was his queen. However, the Neighbors purposely delayed the advance of this purchase, essentially sending a staunch resistance and opposition message to my mother’s attempts to reconcile peace. Our families have been feuding for months. I’ll go into detail tomorrow. By the way, it was snowing and hailing yesterday! I would write more but it’s after ten o’clock on a school night and I should really be getting to bed now.

April 9, 2003

I thought that this was fascinating and amusing that this rift surfaced as an eventuality. Our next-door neighbors the Neighbors operate in a completely different fashion from us. Their home is slightly (by a few square feet) smaller, but their actual property slightly larger. They are very liberal with their children, and have never grounded them for more than a few hours. They are strong opponents of corporal punishment (and are perfectly horrified that my parents implement it), they prefer talking to any type of punishment, and their technique works. I have always thought that such a technique would work. I have preached to my parents to make some concessions, but I would never dream to be as liberal as that. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live like that, even if I try. They buy expensive and lavish gifts for their children. Lanky Girl is quite possibly, in the modern world, one of the closest things to a model daughter. Short Boy, however, is the exception to the rule. He should be dealt with with harsher, more restrictive methods, such as extensive grounding and revoking of many activities. He doesn’t respond well to the liberal methods of connection, rather he uses them not to get caught again. If he does, when action should be taken, he doesn’t listen, and his parents don’t enforce their decrees. There they have gone beyond liberalism to radical anarchy. However, I still scream out passionately against corporal punishment unless as a tool of absolute self-defense. Short Boy and Lanky Girl are almost entirely unrestricted in their freedom of speech. Short Boy even curses in the presence of his mother, and he is only in fifth grade. I think that this does go too far. Here, on the other side of the fence, things are different. My parents consider corporal punishment a perfectly-acceptable form of discipline. We are punished often, most of the time when no wrong has been done or it is vastly less drastic than the punishment. When we are grounded, it is usually for something that doesn’t warrant such a punishment, or, even if it did warrant it, the grounding period far outstretches the severity of the crime. Sometimes these extensive periods of punishment are for everyday things. Powell was once punished for an entire day last summer for using a “tone” that my father didn’t like. I went through a week-long ordeal last year for telling my mother “no.” My father wanted me to write about five hundred sentences saying “My parents make the rules and I will obey them.” I refused. He threatened me. So, I dragged the process out for as long as I possibly could, always claiming to have an excessive amount of homework or something like that. We both knew what I was doing, but he couldn’t prove it. Although, that didn’t usually stop him. I was secretly doing it on my computer, using cut and paste. When I told them this, they didn’t want to accept it. I balked. At the end of the week my father was so exhausted by the struggle that he decided to excuse me. He dropped my punishments. That was only one win, though. He has gotten rough with Powell, Thomas, and I on more than one occasion. Once, I vividly remember, I asked him to please be quiet. He marched across the kitchen, seized me by my throat, and threw me onto the countertop. He screamed at me and kept his fists around my neck as my mother tried desperately to intervene. I tried to push her out of the way; in a way, I had wanted this. I had wanted an excuse to hit him back for a long time. I screamed in rage and started punching wildly. The fact that I was in such a frenzy prevented me from landing any successful blows, although considering the retaliation if I had, this was probably a good thing. Somehow I wasn’t scared as it was actually happening.

April 10, 2003

Today is my fifteenth birthday. I am fifteen years old. Somehow that doesn’t seem right. Fourteen seems me. But although fifteen doesn’t feel completely natural yet, the age fifteen seems older, sophisticated, and wild, like anything can happen. To quickly conclude with yesterday, while the Neighbors are like the equivalent of a democratic republic or a limited monarchy, our family here, I believe, is closer to the equivalent of the Stalinist regime over the USSR. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Now, on with my birthday. Last year, on a paper in science class, I wrote “BlackenedBoy, Born: April 10, 1988, Conceived: July 4, 1987.” My friend Beautiful Girl saw and she is in Chemistry class with me this year. She said, “Hey, BB, are you going to put the date that you were conceived again?” We laughed. Earlier in the day, I left the house before anyone had really stayed out of bed. I’ve started getting up at about 5:30a.m. now, although I still leave around 6:55a.m. During first mod, which is Drama, we had to take extensive notes on Ancient Greek Theater. In the middle of the mod I had to leave for Red Cross Club. I am to be Secretary on the Executive Board next year.

April 13, 2003

To continue: no one was at the Red Cross Club meeting, though. There were only about twelve of us there. I was surprised when even the current president didn’t show up. So we were sent back to class early, but not before I agreed to take the position of secretary over the position of vice president, the one that I had originally agreed to. I did this because the president’s best friend wouldn’t stop bothering me about it, and, secretary is a much easier position. Plus, I am relieved of a serious pressure; I no longer have to worry about thinking up all of our projects. Hopefully it won’t matter in a few months anyway. So, I went back to drama, where I collected the rest of the Ancient Greek Theatre notes from the girl who sits behind me. Her spelling was atrocious. But I made due with it, and it was very nice of her to let me use her notes. In second mod we had a difficult test, which I managed a B- on. I was stunned to find out at the end of the Algebra mod that I will be receiving a 91% on this quarter’s report card. Although it is true that I worked very hard in that class, I was sure I hadn’t gotten an A. Chemistry angers me. Had it gone on just a little while longer I would have had a B and a 4.0 GPA, but right now (well, for the report card (and actually, because now we’re in a different quarter)) it’s a 76% and I have a 3.75 GPA. I suppose that a 3.75 isn’t that bad. But it’s not perfect. I could’ve gotten that perfect if only I’d pushed myself harder in Chemistry. Third mod was Spanish. It became just a bit more difficult on Thursday when we had some new vocabulary thrown at us, but once I memorize it things should return to normal. Spanish is always east. Fourth mod, Chemistry, was actually fun; by coating pennies with Zinc, we created the illusion that we had transmuted them to silver. Then, by dropping these Zinc-coated pennies onto the hotplates, we created “gold” pennies. Mom made me the most delicious spaghetti. It was so fulfilling. On Friday night I was very happy. Grand Ma and Grand Pa Normal Family came up and our whole family went out to dinner. Dad, Powell, and I ordered a bit more sushi than usual. I was very happy. I found out on Friday that on this coming Friday, when schools will release three hours (three hours!!!) early, I will be going to my grandparents’ house for the weekend while Powell, Blonde Cousin, Pretty Hair, my mother, my Aunt Ostentatious, and a neighbor girl go to Hick State. Yesterday was fun, too; it was upwards of sixty degrees yesterday, and I was outside a lot. I even tried my hand at shooting some lacrosse. I managed to catch the ball a good number of times, and I scored about three times, despite Lacrosse Boy’s attempts (the majority of which were successful) to stop me. I wrote up a piece of paper on my computer addressed to myself, in which I was referred to as Etienne. This informing letter was supposed to have been sent to me by a secret government agency. I think that it is a great story. Two agents, no more than two agents are referred to. L’Equipe and Mademoiselle are said to be in Washington, D.C., while Monsieur Jacques is here in Beautiful Town. Monsieur Jacques is actually a female agent, so she would be referred to as Mademoiselle Jacqueline, but I actually know a Jacqueline, and I call her Jackie. It was decided that that would complicate things, so I was given the name Monsieur Jacques rather than Mademoiselle Jacqueline to ponder over. Powell is given the name Renee. In the story, there is a radical left-wing secret organization threatening to assassinate President Bush this coming Saturday. Then, when Vice President Cheney take the presidency, a machine emitting a high-powered electronic pulse will disable his pacemaker, killing him instantly. Or, at least within minutes.

April 16, 2003

Then, when the President of the Senate (or whoever is next in line for the presidency) [is sworn in], the leaders of the communist revolution will begin to take over the country by force, not bothering with covert assassinations. Two of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are allied with the communists, and we don’t know which. We cannot arrest them, because the communists will initiate ruthless weaponry attacks. We have until Saturday, the 19th of April, 2003. We must place coded papers in our schools’ public bathrooms, which should disable enemy satellite interception jammer technology. A student is suspected of being an enemy agent. On Saturday we played dodge ball. Lacrosse Boy almost spent the night, but then couldn’t. First Twin told me that Pothead Boy had to cut his ‘fro off. His boss made him. Pothead Boy tried to gel it back, but, quite simply, it was too big. It was long, too. Not as long as mine, but still, he’d been growing it since last August. My hair is 7.25-7.50 inches long. I’ve been growing it for about nine months. Sunday was also nice. About a year ago today, plans for a new Capitol were promptly defeated by Dowager Royalty. There had been a plan for a building in the Imperial District of Philadelphia. Also, on April 10th (my birthday), the Imperial Empire was reorganized into Aria. I had too much homework Monday night. Yesterday was a great disappointment. I was to have my first vocal lesson, but the doctor had to go pick up his son. He has yet to call back. I’ve been told to be as prepared as possible for this July. I’ve started writing my first song for the CD (first verse and chorus completed). I have a lot of homework tonight. I’m trying to convince Dad to let me stay home on Friday, as it’s Good Friday. I truly believe that it should be honored. Plus, almost no one will be in school tomorrow or Friday.

April 18, 2003

Well, I went to school yesterday, I mean, today, and to tell you the truth, I’m rather glad that I did. School only lasted until 11:30a.m. As a result, classes were rather short. The longest one (mod three, which, for some reason, always seems to be the longest one when we have early dismissal) was only about an hour long. In Drama, we watched “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” It got laughs out of at least most of us (not that there were that many people there, anyway), including myself. Homeroom was fast. Second mod seemed to go by in five minutes (odd, given that it was Algebra). The only work that we did was reviewing how to operate calculators so as to get them to properly perform a function. Third mod (Spanish), was by far the funniest of all of them. Our Spanish substitute was one of the best that we have ever had. He was only about twenty-three, having graduated from Beautiful Town High School in 1998. That seems, when thought in terms of years now that I’m in high school (where they seem to pass rather quickly) not too long ago. But when I think back to myself in 1998, before the Eve of the Millennium, before 2000, before the 21st Century, it seems eons ago. On this date in 1998 (which would have been about two months before his graduation), I was in fourth grade and I was ten years old. I had dreams that never materialized and I made promises of good grades that never came true. I writhed in frustration for lack of an outlet to get into the acting business, acting being what I considered to be perhaps my greatest talent. I had not discovered singing yet, although my choice of volume when I spoke should have been somewhat of a prelude to that. How things have changed in the five years since then. Now I get to make a CD this summer, my grades are excellent, and I am finally beginning pursue things I like, not just dream about doing it. It’s so exciting to think I’ll get to be in a recording studio this summer. I’ll have to get someone else to do my vocal lessons. Dr. Vocal Coach, the former spouse of my homeroom teacher Ms. 9th Grade Homeroom Teacher, was scheduled to teach me but now hasn’t got the time. So now I’m going to Beautiful County Community College. I have to call the college on Tuesday to arrange the lessons, which my father has agreed to pay for entirely. Anyway, back to today. This teacher told us of how, once at a party, the principal’s daughter became incredibly drunk (I suppose that I should use the terminology “intoxicated”) and fell unconscious. This substitute of ours took pictures of the unconscious girl, pictures which, incidentally, would end up on the principal’s desk. He told us to keep that to ourselves. He also told us of his days as a hippie, sporadically traveling to and living in for extemporaneous time periods places from Lobster State to Deep South State to Movie State. He came back to the East Coast, and, I was amazed, to Native State, to finish college. I was amazed that he stopped going to different parts of the country to go to college, and that he chose to come back here, to Native State, one of the most boring states in the Union. I’d rather even live in Southern State and Decaying State than in Native State. Decaying State has Independence City, and, of course, Southern State has [a number of things that can’t be mentioned without betraying the pseudonym]. There has been much speculation that the United States may now invade Syria. It is my opinion that such an invasion would be completely unnecessary and would only serve to wreak complete havoc on Middle Eastern and possibly even global stability. Many people believe (and I am one of them) that if we continue our present course as conquerors that many nations will rise up against us. Although we laugh at countries like France and Germany when they are by themselves, if they were all to unite against American imperialism, we could be in for some major trouble. Every civilization that has done what we are now doing has collapsed. The Roman Empire, ruler of Europe, degenerated into chaos. The Bourbon reign of Imperial France under the Bourbons was overthrown. Napoleonic France, after the devastating Napoleonic Wars, was destroyed. This led to the eventual establishment of the modern, docile Republique Francaise. Imperial Russia fell with the tragic 1917 Revolution. The German and Austrian, as well as the Ottoman empires, all fell. The USSR, Nazi Germany, East Germany, Yugoslavia and the former communist governments of Romania, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia from Czechoslovakia), not to mention that of Poland, fell. The one thing that they had in common: they all tried to dominate. Countries like Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania, who kept this domination within their borders, lost their governments, although their nations remained intact. Nations like Rome and the USSR, however, who tried to push domination into foreign countries (Rome; England, Egypt, France, etc/USSR; Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, etc.) eventually crumbled completely, their borders redrawn. Aria would be a more recent example, whose July 2, 2002 Revolution would overthrow their Czar and entire Imperial government. Aria thrashed in its death throes for about a month, though, not completely collapsing until about August 25, 2002. That wiped out one of the greatest and most accomplished civilizations in the world, great and accomplished in that Aria had been a child nation, not an adult one, as most are. Aria, although it mainly kept its dominance to Aria itself, did lose its extensive borders, which covered more than two million square miles. Anyway, third mod was awesome. During lunch (or “brunch,” as it was called today), a large African-American boy jumped onto one of the tables to strip. An administrator quickly yelled at him, “Off of the table!” She then smiled and said, “On the chair.” The crowd hooted with delight, cheered, and laughed as the boy got up onto the table and danced, his jellyrolls bouncing. The crowd laughed hysterically. In fourth mod we listened to the radio and worked on our atom newspaper projects, but we basically had it made. I loved school today. Our Chemistry teacher told us a joke today that went like, “You know that America is going down the tubes when the best rapper is white, the best golfer is black, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the French are calling us arrogant, Switzerland holds the American Cup, and the three most powerful guys in America are named Bush, Colin, and Dick.” I thought that this was pretty funny, although, much to my amusement, I didn’t get the Bush part of the joke until about an hour later. And to think, I had been about to ask my teacher! It certainly is a good thing that I forgot. I asked Stoner Boy how much money it would take him to get a crewcut, or, in other words, to shave his head, He said that he just wouldn’t do it. This boy’s hair is incredibly long (probably down to his elbows if you stretch it out) and monstrously curly, creating a giant afro. He said that he’d do it for one million dollars. After school I bid Lacrosse Boy have a nice weekend and I went home. Grand Pa arrived shortly thereafter. I have (much to my own dismay, although that compared to what Jesus did it’s a small sacrifice) given up listening music until Sunday. Powell, Thomas, Mom, and the others left for Hick State around the same time that Grand Pa and I left for my grandparents’ house. Tomorrow we are scheduled to go out to dinner with Cool Cousin. And also, Literary Cousin, Aunt Crazy, and Uncle Responsible should be there.

April 19, 2003

We have to leave within an hour or so. I’m still not sure where we’ll going, although I believe that we’ll be eating crabs. I especially can’t wait to meet with Cool Cousin again, who I haven’t seen for some time. None of my recent e-mails have been answered and I soon discovered that I was not alone. When I sent an e-mail to her, I believe on Friday, a message on my screen said that Cool Cousin’s e-mail storage space was 100% full. So she hasn’t been answering any of her e-mails. This means that I will have so much to tell!

April 20, 2003

It’s very early in the morning. It’s around three o’clock. And it’s now officially Easter Sunday. I want to pray; I am, if truth be told, quite eager to do so. Today, April 20th, is a day of contrasts. The acts of God made evident on this day transcend centuries with their glory. As they should. The actions of some humans on this day, though, transcend years with their horror. Jesus Christ rose from the dead this day, after being crucified by the Romans. He is truly our hero, that He died so horribly to save and spare us. Also today is Hitler’s birthday. Adolph Hitler would murder about twelve million people. Also today, two boys at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, massacred some twelve people. Oddly enough, as today is Easter, two of the girls that were murdered were asked if they believed in God. When they said yes, they were executed. I thank God for His Sacrifice on this day, which brings happiness on what I consider (April 20th) to be a usually somber and sorrowful occasion. I love God and Jesus Christ. My gratitude extends beyond words. Thank God. Thank Jesus Christ.

April 22, 2003

Okay, I’ll admit it, because there’s no way around it. Today and yesterday just sucked. They were slightly reminiscent of my first miserable weeks (months, really) at Beautiful Town Middle School. I do, of course, realize that I’ve allowed a few small events to move my emotions. For example, I walked into Algebra late today from seeing my stock broker (more on that later), and White Trash Boy, a trashy, what most would call “sleazy” boy, said something like, “Oh, no.” My entire day was ruined instantly. For the whole day, I felt terrible. This boy who brags about being “dark” all year round (red, actually, he is red-skinned all the time; one of the many marks of the poor) had ruined my day. At the moment, I couldn’t think of anything to say. However, even if I could have, I probably wouldn’t have. It amazes me that I’m less frightened of a physical confrontation with my father than with this immensely stupid oaf. It’s the law of the jungle. The large and physically strong rule. Well, I won’t take that anymore. I am an American citizen. I live in the United States of America, and I refuse to sacrifice my freedom of speech in this country. I am afraid, but it makes me angry. Why should I have to be? There is no Secret Police, there is no KGB here. And I’m letting a few stupid people have an edge over me because of size? No. Not here. On top of that, I would be devastated if I had to go through another Dirty Town. Or another sixth grade. Dirty County holds innumerable, terrible memories. It’s a trash heap, it’s a cesspool of poverty and destruction of innocence and rape of childhood.

April 23, 2003

A year ago today what we called (or what I called) Our Family Branch Dowager Royalty overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would have allowed for a new Capitol Building to be constructed in the Imperial District of Philadelphia. Then, though, the Neighbors Branch approved the same measure. This didn’t cause any conflict between the two branches, unlike other issues that would come up even after the Revolution. The measure would ultimately be defeated anyway. In just ten days (about), the country had something more pressing to worry about. The anniversary of May 1st is rapidly approaching. I still find it interesting that the core of this event (so monumental in Arian history), the Rebel and Castalian attacks on Olympia, Anne’s Town Military Base, San Antonio, Santa Abuela Dominica Lucia, and Nikolai Palace in Gudalajara, as well as the attempted attack in Athens, never actually took place. It is now the reaction that ensued when this false information was delivered, that chaos, that stands out more distinctly in the minds of we who know the truth. When we delivered the news (meant to boost the economy), things here spiraled out of control. The majority of our large cities were evacuated. This included the entire region’s two super cities, San Francisco and Philadelphia. As a result, almost the entire population of this Cluster fled across the border into what I told them was safety; the collapsed nation of Beryllium. Even the Atrician rulers crossed the border. Beryllium had collapsed some time back. It had gained its independence in the aftermath of the Gorgan Revolution. Unlike Gorgan, however, Beryllium would not survive. Beryllium, through collapse, came to us. Gorgan submitted to our rule due to economic purposes. We annexed both just about an hour before “news” of the “attacks” was released. People fled to Beryllium in particular, I suppose because it had been a separate nation such a short time ago, and probably wouldn’t be targeted. The sudden surge of panic was incredible. May 1st was one of economic heights. Just two months later, two months and one day later, the Revolution came crashing down on our precious Empire. Our own country’s more dramatic collapse came on August 24, 2002. Today was a good day. I just thought about all of the social cliques and divisions and the etiquette. In a glorious moment of realization I suddenly understood that all of their name-calling and teasing was all just a bunch of thoughts. It occurred to me finally, that what they said didn’t matter. It’s all just the opinions of a bunch of ignorant children. I thought, “It’s just what they think.” And I also thought, “It doesn’t matter what they think, because it’s all just their opinions.” And what does that matter? What can that do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, if you don’t let it. With this attitude (and a little bit of prayer) I had a much better day than my previous two. I am using my friend’s pen. I accidentally left mine in Spanish (like so many other things) class. I am now angry, because that’s a nice pen, and it’s just now occurring to me that someone might take it. I’ll have to get there early in the morning to retrieve it. I hate to think of someone taking something I’ve had in my house, that I’ve used, that I’ve touched. It infuriates me, and I feel violated. It’s as if they’ve stolen a little piece of my home. My stupid computer is slow. The printer will not print, no matter how I appease it. It’s been on the same screen for nearly an hour now. I have Algebra homework that I must do, so I’ll get to it. We presented our atom newspapers today in Chemistry. My personal presentation got many laughs. I did an ad about romance. It’s for those who can’t find romance in the traditional sense. Anyway, I’ll go into it later. I have homework to do.

April 24, 2003

I have returned my friend’s pen to her. One year ago today, as part of the Czar’s overhaul of the Imperial government, a new department was created. It was the National General Organization Department, and was to make sure that all other Departments, all royal functions, in fact, everything to do with the Imperial (I should now say Arian) government ran smoothly. Like many Arian outlets, it would eventually fail and bring blow after blow slamming down on our huge country. I suppose that I should say our doomed country. This Department (NGOD (I don’t think that anyone in Aria ever actually used the abbreviation “NGOD” to describe said department)) had its Base 1 at the White House and Base 2 at Border House Military Base, San Diego, Atricia-Andrea. Border House sat on the border of two provinces, hence, “Border House.” I can remember that it was an immensely important government building. Aside from Base 2 of the NGOD, it also housed the IBI, the National Defense Department, the National Military Organization Department, and probably numerous other government institutions, too. Oh, yes, Border House was the Imperial prison. It was barely ever used, and most people mistake it with the Imperial Chain Court Islands, where trials (officially) actually took place. An Atrician baron administered the department alongside the Czarevitch Crown Prince. I had a good day today, although this evening I fought with my friend Gothic Girl and my mother. We’ll all get over our separate conflicts. I’m going to bed now. Tomorrow is Friday, thank God.

April 25, 2003

The news of what happened yesterday seems to have taken the entire globe into a frenzied storm. Yesterday, in Pyongyang, North Korea, the North Korean representative in the recently trilateral talks between China, the United States, and North Korea, pulled the American representative aside at a formal gathering and told him that North Korea has at least one nuclear weapon. He then said, “Now what are you going to do about it?” Given the usual diplomatic rhetoric that most nations spew out, this is one of the most severe threats that I have ever learned of.

April 26, 2002

It is now Saturday, April 26, 2003, although just barely; it’s only been a few minutes. Last Friday was an excellent day as was this (well, I suppose I should say “yesterday”) one. Some incredible social shift may be taking place right in our midst. Mean Girl, the girl whom I dislike and who was so cruel to me, must find herself in a very precarious position this morning (if she’s awake, in which case she would, but if not, well, then she’d just be unconscious). He social position may possibly have started its decline. Numerous people (including myself) have spoken out against her. Several popular boys and girls are among these people. There is still a strong fear of her, and her name is often whispered, but the thoughts are still leaving people’s heads and being voiced, regardless of the secrecy around these transactions [probably meant to say “exchanges”]. I sensed a possible divide between Mean Girl and Ugly Girl when Ugly Girl began to be nice to Old-Looking Girl, a girl that the two publicly disliked, and whom Mean Girl still does. Ugly Girl then cut Mean Girl off in mid-sentence, boldly and viciously told her to shut up, and continued to talk to myself, another boy, and some other people. Mean Girl looked down at the ground and looked highly discouraged. Then tough Mean Girl, who constantly brags and boasts about how physically capable she is and who tries (unsuccessfully) to strut her dominance, turned away. When Mean Girl left the room, I asked Ugly Girl, “Are you and Mean Girl still tight?” Ugly Girl said, “I don’t know.” The teacher then bade us be silent, so I passed Ugly Girl a note inquiring of the situation that was unfolding. Ugly Girl’s answer was all the response that I needed for confirmation. If Ugly Girl had turned on her Mean Girl was in for trouble. This would, by the way, explain why their CD is currently on hold. What could possibly happen is very seldom attempted and almost never achieved: a populace of students could unite in opinion to throw off one of their highest clique leaders. I don’t know how she’s remained at what I would call an elevated high school social state for so long; almost everyone obviously hates her, and everyone I’ve talked to about this is glad that it’s happening. We went out to dinner “last” night. As you may already know, Dr. Vocal Coach officially can’t be my vocal teacher. Beautiful County Community College isn’t offering courses, but I got lucky and got into touch with a vocal coach of a friend of mine, who has time slots available. She’s also less economically demanding than either Beautiful County Community College or Dr. Vocal Coach; she only charges $17.50 a lesson, or $70.00 a month. I don’t have to pay any money at all for this, thanks to my rather generous father. All of this makes me so happy.

Around 11:22p.m.
I’ve been doing some reading about World War II. It makes me so sad. So much happened, too, so many brutalities. It was during this war that attacks on millions of civilians became acceptable to a conservative world. I think that the United States demonstrated this with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The almost complete annihilation of Hamburg also shows this. The German invasion of the USSR and the Germans’ conduct in Leningrad are perfect examples as well. I am terrified that attacks on civilians have become so acceptable that we could be publicly attacked by another nation, namely North Korea. I’m going to go downstairs and watch Saturday Night Live.

April 27, 2003

I spoke with my Uncle Liar earlier today. I told him that I had completed my first song. He said that that was great. When I told him that I was having some serious trouble coming up with a suitable melody, he said that we could choose from different options in the studio. I then introduced him to the second song I’ve been working on. I’ve crafted it, you see. I mean for it to be a type of rock song. According to Uncle Liar, the technique worked. He was absolutely in awe when I read him the song. I was delighted with his (I must admit) unexpected reaction. The song greatly pleases me. Uncle Liar was moved enough to tell me that he thought this demo would be “very successful.” I asked him if he meant that he thought it would be successful with the record companies. He told me not to worry about impressing the major labels. One thing that I was doing he was able to read like a book. He said that I was trying to project myself well. He was absolutely right. The thought of what my own image is hasn’t been far from my mind since all of this began, and today only enhanced the feeling. It is a rather fun thought to toy with. Especially now that I have a chance, now that I have a shot at it. I have my first vocal lesson on Tuesday.

April 30, 2003

Once again, another vocal lesson has been postponed. The teacher is taking a three-week trip to Europe. While there she will visit her niece at an air base in Germany and go to her husband’s family reunion in Luxembourg. Speaking of foreign countries, something very optimistic is going on in Israel. In the Palestinian territories, Mahmoud Abbas has become the first Palestinian premier, ascending to that office to counter the power of suspected pro-terrorism leader Yaseer Arafat. Yaseer is suspected of ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of the world’s more violent terrorist organizations. They have executed many attacks in particular in the Israeli cities of Netanya and Tel Aviv.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How I Spent My Spring Break

A Walk in Grand Ma's Neighborhood

From Mountain Town to my grandmother's house, it was fun and peaceful.

March 10, 2009

I am at Grand Ma Normal Family's house. Today is Tuesday, and I drove up to spend the better part of my Spring Break with her, per tradition dating back to my Freshman Year. I was very proud of myself for making it here; the one other occasion I drove the route, during Christmas Break of this year, I got lost after failing to properly merge onto a Native State highway. This time I disregarded the multiple errors on my Google directions and made the sole mistake of heading the wrong way on another Native State highway, a misstep I noticed immediately and rememdied by turning around in a Native and Marble International Airport parking lot and going in the right direction.

I had the most amazing weekend last weekend.

On Friday I didn't do much, but Saturday the weather was glorious (about 75F) , so I spent almost the entire day outside. In the early afternoon Thomas and I went on an extended walk, first visiting the Mulch Pile ( a secret place, known to area children, that Thomas showed me) before next exploring by the train tracks. I still love to do this even though I'm twenty and nearing twenty-one.

Sometimes I feel like such a kid inside.

After we got home, Manager called to tell me my hours had been cut, the second Saturday in a row this has happened.

Me and Friendly Boy at Work

Oh, my gosh, I have to go to bed. I'm so tired that I can literally feel my skin drooping, but I'll write tomorrow.

March 11, 2009

Grand Ma's Living Room

Today was an active and fun day, and tomorrow promises to be all the more so. I wish to write more about my amazing Saturday and my weekend in general, but alas, on Wednesday I have yet to get around to it. I will condense. After learning my hours had been cut, I played soccer with Powell, Pie, and the neighbor children in our front yard. Then Powell, Thomas, Thomas's friend, and I went to McDonald's in Powell's car. When we got back to the house I watched Pie and the neighbor children while our parents went on motorcycle rides together. On Sunday I took Peruvian Girl exploring behind the railroad tracks and invited her to go with me to the movies.

On Monday afternoon I went over to Sacagawea's house and there, while the two of us were alone, I came out to my ex-girlfriend.

Sacagawea Making Food

I'll be sure to write more about that event and that subject in general later.

She took it very well, though, and she understood.

On Tuesday morning I went to the mall with Peruvian Girl to pick up the new Kelly Clarkson CD (which is awesome), and then after dropping my friend off in Mountain Town I came here. Now I'm going to bed.

Grand Ma's Warm House

March 12, 2009

Today was another very nice day. I'm so glad I spent this holiday with Grand Ma every year; it's a lovely tradition. Today we slept in late, with me not rising until nearly noon.

Eggy the Triceratops

Grand Ma Cooking My Crab Cakes

Grand Ma Salutes

Crab Cakes Ready to Serve

After a very late breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese (which is standard morning fare here), we left around three to go make copies of pictures at Wal-Mart.

My first afternoon here Grand Ma and I went through old photographs, and from these I selected about a dozen that I really wanted to have duplicates of. Among these were hilarious baby pictures of Powell and I, images of our early childhood, and several photos of my father dating to the early 1980's. In the first of these, labeled 1981, he is a slender seventeen-year-old with an enormous blonde-brown afro whose unruliness put to shame the much tamer locks that gave him so much heart burn when I started growing them in 2002.

The second photo, also taken in 1981, is my father's Senior portrait from high school. In it he is strangely pretty, with soft brown eyes; a well-defined, angular jaw; the faintest hint of a light-colored goatee; and feathery blonde hair. His nose is still the same, though, the beefy German nose of a man.

In the third picture, from 1983, he is nineteen years old and has assumed a guise that I like to call "the werewolf man." His hair by this point bore only faint highlights of blonde, and its bushiness combined with dark facial hair thicker than mine or Powell's made him look like a mountaineer.

We don't look alike at all.

I compared photos of us from when we were both seventeen and Seniors in high school, his from 1981 and mine from 2006, and there is no resemblance whatsoever. Neither Powell nor I inherited much from him in the way of physical features, though he and my nearest brother share much in the way of personality characteristics.

After Wal-Mart, Grand Ma and I went to Blockbuster, where we rented "The Secret" and "The Seeker," the first of which we watched immediately after getting home. Around six-thirty we left for the restaurant for my birthday dinner, where, contrary to my belief that this was impossible, I ordered so much sushi I couldn't finish it.

Dark Mirror

Then we came home and watched "The Seeker," a truly delightful fantasy movie.

I have to leave tomorrow, back to Southern State where a weekend of work awaits me. That is a good thing.

Hold Me


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Temporary Absence

I'm at my grandmother's house in Native State for the better part of this week. I got here yesterday and will leave on Friday.

During the intervening time we have a bunch of activities planned, including heading to the movies and going out to dinner for my birthday. I'll be sure to write when I get home.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Midterms Over and Spring Break Begins


Since I’ve been gone for over a week, this is going to serve as an all-purpose post. The reason for my absence was university life’s own particular version of March Madness: midterm exams.

This week I’ve had two actual midterm examinations, a feature story, and a quiz. In fact, I skipped school Tuesday to study for my Contemporary American Federalism test, and in the process of going over the entire semester’s reading (since I’d done almost none of it) managed to stay up until five o’clock in the morning.

My bedroom was dark when I stumbled through the doorway and fell into the blankets, but before sleep had overtaken me gray began to seep in through my window. Staying up until dawn is something I did routinely when I was on campus, and something I despised. It’s hard to fall asleep, it feels unnatural, and it assures that you’ll spend the entire day in bed. Some days last semester I didn’t wake up until the sun was going down.

Now, last year that wasn’t really my fault. Weird Roommate, with whom I normally got along, had a habit of staying up very late playing World of Warcraft on his computer, and in such close quarters the light from his monitor kept me up.

My distaste for attempting to lie down in the day acknowledged, there is something to be said for actually staying up until dawn. Remaining awake through the night and then walking in the day whose birth you’ve witnessed feels a bit like defying nature.

The one positive thing that can be said of my roommates Freshman Year is that they turned in pretty uniformly every night at twelve or one. That and that alone was nice.

Well, I’m off for Spring Break! When Peruvian Girl, who I am visiting tomorrow, asked me if I was going anywhere, I laughed and told her that I was planning a wild getaway to my grandmother’s house. It became a tradition during my first two years of college to see her at Spring Break, since my birthday and Easter typically fall around the same time that school dismisses for the holiday.

For the last two years in a row I’ve taken the train from Marble City to Native City, but this year I’ll just be driving. It makes me kind of sad; I really liked traveling by rail.

Next week, assuming the scheduling works out and she can host me, we’ll go out to dinner in honor of my upcoming 21st birthday on April 10th. I can’t believe it’s actually that close. Gosh, I feel old. Twenty-one seems like the real milestone of adulthood. Eighteen is advance notice, twenty is the alarm clock going off, and then twenty-one arrives and brings with it the genuine fact of being grown up.

In a month, I’ll be able to legally purchase alcohol, to walk into a bar and order a drink.

Not that you would know it or anything, but still. It’s pretty crazy.

Here are a couple of pictures from Western City Movie Theater so you can at last visualize some of my co-workers:

The Bosses

Manager on the left, Assistant Manager on the right.

Black Dress Girl

Black Dress Girl

I worked from six o’clock to ten o’clock Friday night, and then Saturday didn’t work at all. The worsening economy has been felt even at the movie theater, so that prices have gone up, districts have been merged, staff have been demoted, and hours have been cut. This Saturday I’ll work from 2:30p.m. to 10:00p.m., far less than my usual ten-hour shift, but something I don’t mind too much; it’s nice to have a Saturday to myself now and again, and working ten hours at a go really isn’t that fun.

Arriving for Dinner

On Sunday night, my family and I went over to Italian Family’s house to have some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted in my life.

Incredible Authentic Italian Food

One of our neighbors is a second or third generation Italian immigrant, and from her parents Italian-American Woman learned some incredible cooking skills.

It was so good. The night was momentarily marred when Italian-American Woman’s father asked me what grade I was in (“You’re kidding,” was his response when my father told him I was a year from graduating college), but the food more than made up for it.

“Why can’t we be Italian?” I asked Thomas while stuffing my mouth with meat balls.

“I know,” he answered through the home-made pasta he was shoveling past his lips.

My parents and I had a bizarre discussion tonight. Sorry, but I warned you that this post would be all over the place.

They’re going to Cancun in three weeks for some much-needed alone time, and in light of the recent drug violence there I’ve been actively lobbying them to choose a different location.

“Why not go to Florida or California?” I asked.

“Because, we want to go to Cancun,” my mother said.

This brought us around to what would happen should they die, a thought so horrible I don’t want to conceive it.

“I mean, would we just be screwed?” I asked. “Because it would be really bad if you died, but it would be even worse if you died and we were poor.”

“Thomas and Pie wouldn’t be,” my mother said. “But you and Powell are over eighteen.”

My father rolled his eyes.

“You and Powell would have money,” he said.

“How much would we get?” I questioned, unable to restrain my curiosity. I mean, I don’t want it to happen, but you can’t blame me for wondering.

“About a grand each,” my mother said, flashing me an evil smile.

My father rolled his eyes again and then told me the actual amount.

I was a bit surprised.

“For real?” I asked.

I was going to joke, “Maybe you should go to Mexico,” but decided against it.

The actual words out of my mouth were, “It wouldn’t be worth it. It wouldn’t be worth the money.”

I meant it. No amount of cash could make that loss okay.

Then my mother hit me with a bombshell.

“BB,” she said. “We haven’t updated our will since Pie was born.”

“Well, you should probably get around to that,” I said. “She’s kind of important.”

“Would you want custody of her?”

The question caught me completely off guard.

“Well, I mean, I wouldn’t have any resources to take care of her and Thomas,” I said.

“No, you’d have resources,” she said. “We’d make sure you had resources.”

I still couldn’t make myself tell her yes, and my own hesitance disconcerted me.

True, I might have the money to care for them, but if at the age of twenty I were suddenly landed with two children, both in need of a real parent figure however much they might love me, could I handle it?

My biggest concern wasn’t the responsibilities that would be imposed on me, but rather the prospect of failing in those responsibilities toward Thomas and Pie. If I don’t even have my own life figured out yet, how could I possibly run theirs?

I’m a virgin of indefinite career trajectory who can’t cook. I can’t even cook. What would they do, eat Oodles of Noodles every day?

On the other hand, could I really send them to live with someone else? My mother’s rationale was that she didn’t want us to be separated, and I wouldn’t want that either.

God willing, it will never happen. I mean, it’s one of the things I honestly think I’d rather die than see come to pass. If that situation were laid upon me, though, how would I react?

It was a discussion that really disturbed me.

This post, by the way, was longer than upcoming ones will be. It’s just that so much time has passed I really needed to catch everyone up.

Speaking of which, you should all know that Powell has moved out.

Powell Preparing to Leave

He left about a month or two ago to live with Anne, and while I won’t say too much because it’s going to be discussed in the next post, it’s worked out well for everyone.

Alright, I’m done for tonight. It’s off for a shower and then bed.