jackofallgeeks: (Bashful)
So just to make sure I have all my bases covered, LJ post!

So as some of you may be aware, I started seeing a girl a little while ago, Meghan Donahoe. I'd met her about four years ago when I was taking dance lessons at Gene's school, Christendom College. We got along well from the start, but between my Master's program sending me to California and her own ordeal with school (she transferred a few times and ended up at Steubenville in Ohio, with Josh), we never got a chance to develop our relationship. Since I graduated a year ago and moved back into the area, we finally got and took that chance.

That's not the announcement, though. The announcement is that over the weekend I asked Meghan to marry me and she said "yes." So, we're engaged. I'm a simple man and never really had any elaborate plans for proposing -- no fancy restaurant or candle-lit courtyards or banners or anything. I didn't even really plan a "when." The only thing I knew I wanted was to proposed at her parents' house, preferably at the little gazebo they have by the pond by their house. And on Friday, with a light rain and a gentle breeze, that's what I did. It was a lot more never-wracking than I'd expected, considering I knew she was going to say yes.

We don't have a date yet, though we're thinking probably sometime next Summer (she's graduating from college in the Spring), and we're looking to get married out at her home parish in Front Royal, Virginia. But I wanted to write and let you all know what's what. I'm kind of excited.

Now, most of the preamble there shouldn't be news to anyone here, but if this is the first time you're hearing about the actual proposal and engagement that means (1) you don't have Facebook and/or we aren't friends there, and (2) I don't have your email address. I'd love to rectify either or both of those -- you can leave details in the comments, as I'll be keeping them screened.
jackofallgeeks: (Euphoria)
So, Meghan.

As a little background, she and I were involved a little over three years ago; my Senior year, her Freshman year. We weren't dating, mostly because of me -- I was still enamoured with Suzannah at the time. I met Meghan at Contra (which I'd been going to in order to see Suzannah), and I asked her to dance because she was being quiet off to one side and, after being in the group for most of a year, I felt pretty comfortable there and wanted to get new people to enjoy it as well. Since Suzannah was, in retrospect, trying to see less and less of me, Meghan and I spent more and more time together, dancing and talking afterward and stuff.

Fast forward a bit, Suzannah's out of the picture, I know I'm going away to school in California, and Meghan's been fairly open about wanting to date me. This puts me in a rather awkward spot, as I'm not over Suzannah (despite my mistreatment; comparing me to a dog isn't far off the mark, really) and past experience has given me misgivings about long-distance relationships (in my mind if not in truth, my summer in California contributed to the disintegration of my relationship with Claire). And, as I told her and myself, I had misgivings about being her first relationship, because experience had taught me that first-time romances never work out. (And she'd never been in a relationship before.) So I hemmed and hawed and pulled back, and then I was in California. (Just before my leaving, she and I went out to dinner together; it was a rather emotional parting, and we both left in tears because we weren't to see each other for a long time -- at least, that's why I was crying.)

When I was out in California, we still talked. She still wanted a relationship, I was still reluctant. As Christmas break drew near, she suggested that we at least "give it a try" while I was home for the holiday. That seemed a bit absurd to me, especially since I only got two weeks which is hardly enough time to see each other let alone "try out" a relationship, but I relented and said, yeah, we could see how things were over break. Then we had a fight.

There's a lot that could be said about the wheres and whys and whats of the fight, but it pretty much came down to the fact that she wasn't comfortable with me having close lady friends. As anyone knows, 90% or more of my friends are girls, several of them I'm very close with and a few I've dated before. I imagine it was one part feeling threatened and one part her up-bringing (I'm pretty sure her parents don't think boys and girls can be friends; as Harry said, the sex always gets in the way), but the bottom line is she wasn't comfortable with my friends, and I wasn't about to give up my friends for a romance, so... Very shortly after our fight, she started seeing this guy Patrick, and we didn't even see each other over Christmas, let alone "try things out." (Unless we did, and I just forgot, which is possible, but I don't think it happened.)

Patrick didn't like me one bit, which is perfectly reasonable considering that (1) Meghan had liked me, and (2) I'd hurt her. I'm pretty sure most of Meghan's friends didn't like me very much right about here, but I can't really say, I never knew them. I can't remember the hows or whys, but for some reason I tried to reconcile myself with Patrick and he'd have nothing of it; I never so much as spoke to the guy, but he really disliked me. I'm not presenting this bit very well, Meghan or Laurel might be able to explain it better. Patrick didn't want Meghan to talk to me any more, didn't want us to be friends, and I really don't understand not-being-friends. Meghan and I did stop talking at one point, I think, then she started up communication again. She had less-than-great stories which basically said to me that he was a jealous, controlling jerk and his family hated Meghan, which I said was more than enough reason for her to not be seeing him. But she apologized for him... There was later a story about Meghan getting fed up with him and asserting herself (which I found odd, because I'd known Meghan to be fairly assertive; she's an Irish Woman, for crying out loud), and after that he allegedly started behaving better and treating her like a person. This whole section is rather fuzzy for me, though.

Relatively recently (in the last year or so?), I asked her why she'd been avoiding me and she said she wasn't avoiding me, but it was maybe best that we weren't friends any more. Which hurt me a lot, not least because it was essentially the same thing Suzannah had said to me. A while after that, I let her know that I was still angry about her calling off of our friendship. She apologized for it (for what that's worth) and said vaguely that maybe we could be friends again If, but she couldn't say more than that. (I surmised that the If indicated she was having troubles with Patrick, but didn't get confirmation.) this is putting her in a worse light than it should be, I think: I'm afraid as it is that all my friends are biased against Meghan. (And it's not like they don't have reason to be.)

Through all that, Meghan had transferred from Christendom to Steubenville (though I can't remember if it was before or after getting together with Patrick, who himself was at Steubenville, I think). Amusingly, she got to be friends with my brother Josh's circle, at least in part because her childhood friend Tahlia was in that crowd (and, coincidentally, one of my brother's ex-girlfriends). I saw Meghan a few times when I was visiting Josh, though the timing gets confused.

This is all important, though, because Elizabeth (another of the group, and also one of Josh's exes) was having a cook-out on the 5th (last Saturday). I really like Josh's Steubenville friends, and I like seeing people, so of course I wasn't going to miss it. A few days prior, though, updates on Facebook let me know that Tahlia was making arrangements with Meghan to get a ride to the cook-out. Which means Meghan was going to be there, which only makes sense because she is part of that crowd now. But I was rather conflicted on the point, because while part of me wanted to see her (the fact that I still carry a torch for her had recently come up in a conversation with Leslie, though I don't remember how), most of me was still hurt and angry and didn't really want to see her. But I resolved to just play it off and not make a big deal about it, and even if I was angry I could be civil.

The cook-out came, Meghan arrived, we got along well. We got along really well, actually. The whole night was really good, with Elizabeth's College friends meeting her High School friends, and lots of laughing and joking around and watching Clue. (I'm pretty sure at some point the potential for Leslie putting me in a bridesmaid's dress for her hypothetical wedding came up.) As we were leaving, Meghan told me that it was good seeing me, she'd really missed me, and we should talk more. I agreed, we should. And it really reminded me of how things felt between us that night before I left for California.

She's said a couple more times that she's really missed me, and we've started catching each other up on our lives through Facebook messages. And I've missed her, too. So, that's what's going on with Meghan -- in short, I have no idea. But, when I logged into Facebook today (how juvenile can we get?), I got notice that she was no longer listing herself as "in a relationship."

And now I'ma shut up.
jackofallgeeks: (Nevermore)
For those of you just joining us, and maybe a refresher for those who have come before (myself included...):

I met Suzannah in the fall of 2003; I was out at Christendom College in northern Virginia waiting for my brother, who was a new freshman there. She mistook me for my brother and, feeling it was her duty to welcome the new students, introduced herself. We established that I wasn't my brother, and got to talking for a bit and struck up the beginnings of a friendship. Unsurprisingly, I was enamoured with her from the start. I went out to see her a few more time, we went on some evening walks around her campus, and I asked her to a dance at my school in DC. We both thought it was a rather miserable dance (horrid music), but at one point she took me aside and taught me how to waltz, and then invited me to the dancing club they had at her school. I went there when I could (for a while it wasn't possible because of my class schedule), partly to see her and partly to dance. It was also lots of fun meeting the other people out there. Over the summer, I saw her out in Front Royal (where she'd stayed on campus to work) and later in Maryland after she had a riding accident and had to go home.

At some point I told her I was interested in her, and she said thanks but with school and everything she wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship. I told myself that was alright, and we continued to see each other; in retrospect I don't think I was really OK with that, and that not-being-OK led to problems. In the fall of 2004 I started to see less of her, through a combination of her being busy and sick, and began to feel slighted. Eventually I imagine she was actively avoiding me, but there's no proof. (This is the time I met Meghan, and in part this is why Meghan and I had a rocky relationship, at least in the beginning.) I got to be anxious and awkward when I did see Suzannah, which didn't help anything.

I graduated in the Spring of 2005 (three years ago today; more than turned 25, buying a house, or my sister having her 5th kid, being 3 years out of college makes me feel old). I saw her once or twice over the summer. Just before I was to move to California -- leaving all my friends and family behind -- she ended our relationship. By email. She acknowledged that it probably seemed sudden to me (which it did), but she said that she didn't know what our relationship was and that whatever it was it made her uncomfortable. So if I would be kind enough to not contact her again, she would appreciate it. (Her words were a little different, but not by much.)

I... don't think I reacted well. At first I was crushed, and replied with a defeated, "if that's what you want." Then I got angry and defiant, and wrote that it wasn't fair the way she was treating me like this. Finally I conceded, wished her well, and said I'd abide by her request. That email from her, ending our relationship, was the last I'd heard from her.

I actually have quite a bit to thank her for, in an odd way: if not for her, I probably wouldn't have met Laurel (My Only Friend in Monterey), and that would have been devastating -- I wouldn't have made it out there at all if not for Laurel.

So, no she's not an ex, but yeah we were kind of dating. That dating/not dating thing is, I think, most of what contributed to my awkwardness and her discomfort. I could blame a lot of things for causing that disconnect, but it doesn't matter much. She hurt me, a lot, but at worst she can be accused of handling poorly a situation she didn't understand. She may have mistreated me, but not out of malice and I think I'm as much to blame as she is.

Why do I want to get back in touch with her now? That's not something I've given much thought to, actually. It's been three years, I'm not who I was then and my situation isn't the same as it was. Maybe too much damage was done in our break-up, and maybe she won't have any interest in getting back in touch with me. But I don't see the harm in giving it a shot. (In part because I don't trust myself to anticipate the consequences of if we DID get back in touch.)

I think a lot of my friends have a negative opinion of her because of the pain I went through after the fact: friends don't like seeing friends get hurt. But aside from the fact that she ended our relationship the way she did, she didn't do anything wrong.
jackofallgeeks: (Point)
My Realtor is writing up the paperwork for my offer on a house I saw this weekend. God willing, the seller will take the offer, or at least our negotiations won't be too bad. If everything goes well, I could have my own place by Christmas.
jackofallgeeks: (Seriously Though)
I haven't posted much at all lately. Not that I haven't had anything to post about, quite the opposite. I just haven't taken the time to sit and write anything.

It's been so busy. I'm back home, in Maryland. It's great to be back; the trees make me happy, which probably sounds like a really strange thing to say. It's true, though. I've seen friends and family, though not as much as I'd like. Maybe once I get settled in and start getting paid again I'll be able to plan that sort of thing.

I started work last Monday. A week or orientation and paperwork, and now a week of meetings and presentations. Next week I start my first 'assignment,' 90 days or so in the lab getting a feel for what's going on back there. After that I'm told I'll be moving more into my 'real' job, which is applying what happens in the lab to real-world projects that we get called in on. I'm looking forward to it all. I like where I'm at.

I'm buying a house. And by "buying a house," I still mean looking at properties and nailing down financial paperwork. But everything's moving well. There's a townhouse in Annapolis I like, but on Wednesday I'm going out to look at places in Laurel and Glen Burnie, which are more-local and would cut my commuting time down significantly. (Plus put me just down the street from my cousins Christina, Lisa, and Molly.) Whenever I think about it I get lightheaded, but I'm really excited about getting my own place.

Trevor and Rose got married this weekend; I was one of the groomsmen. It was actually really awesome, lots of fun, and I was really happy for them. I'm glad they 'made it' (despite their on-again/off-again history), and I hope they have a long, happy life together.

I should write a whole post on the wedding, and I'd like to (it was great), but lest I simply not say anything at all... I caught the garter. It's even funnier than that, though. There were, oh, 6 to 12 single ladies who fought for the bouquet (some more than others). There were around 24 or so single guys. Trevor threw the garter and, as one, the other 23 guys pushed me forward. -smirk-

I guess that pretty much covers all the news points. I feel... hazy, in a way. I feel like I missed the last two years of life, what with my cousins going off to college, and my little cousins all in high school and getting boyfriends and stuff. And now I'm here and I'm getting my own place, and I'm living life. It's still all rather unreal. But I'm liking it. I'm happy.
jackofallgeeks: (Deep)
So, I just got back from Trevor's Bachelor party. We went to dinner and then to a bar, and finished up early in the morning at a strip club. Full nudity. My first time.

I won't say I didn't like it, in a sense. I did. The girls were pretty and I can't say I don't like looking at pretty girls. We also had a few decent conversations with a couple of the girls -- we tried to emphasize that we were just young guys and not like some of the dirty old men who usually came.

At the same time, a big part of me wished the girls there weren't doing what they were doing. Weren't dancing naked in front of men to make money. It was obvious they got good tips, but some of the looks they got (from said dirty old men) made me feel uncomfortable. I wish they could be happy and successful without selling themselves like that.

I imagine most girls think very little of strippers. It's one step above whoring oneself, right? (And from stories I've heard, that one step can be very small indeed in some of the sleazier bars.) I think, though, that the girls -- or more specifically, the bars they work for -- are taking advantage of us guys, in a way, too. Men, I think, tend to very quickly develop a kind of attachment to a girl who draws his attention, and this whole market is built upon attracting a man's attention and then making him pay a few dollars her and a few dollars there to sate himself. They certainly aren't as attached to us as we are to them.

I don't like it, strictly speaking. I think I'm a worse person for participating. But it was fun, and we did treat the girls as real people (despite the flavor of entertainment they were providing). It was an experience.
jackofallgeeks: (Contemplative)
I am going to miss it here.
I'm going to miss Laurel and Tom and Jonathan and Chris and Bruce.
I'm going to miss Brent and Haven and the Game Habitat and the weather.
I'm going to miss my housemates, who I really like even if I never get to hang out with them.
There's a lot that I'm going to miss when I get out of here.

But the thought of being able to go home is so great that it makes me want to cry.
jackofallgeeks: (Hat!)
So, right now I'm trying to find words to express myself. This time it's a good kind of thing, though; joy, not rage, confounds my tongue. Er, fingers. If I were to post right now, it would look something like:
i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job i got the job

And so on. That's just rather childish. So until I can come up with a more cultured way of expressing myself, suffice it to say: I got the job. I'm coming home. I'm happy beyond words.
jackofallgeeks: (Wrath)
Dr. [Adviser], [Co-Adviser],

There were a number of things not brought up at our meeting, partly because you both had another meeting to go to, and partly because I was completely blind-sided by much of what was said and had to collect my thoughts.

I do not believe that I can complete the tasks you are asking of me. This has nothing to do with being unwilling to do the work; if the list of "To Do" items that Dr. [Adviser] had sent to me on Wednesday were accurate I would agree that it wasn't that much additional work on top of what I was already doing and it could have been managed with effort. In light of the options I was presented with at the end of our meeting, I don't believe that list was accurate and what's more I don't have the skills necessary to accomplish what you're asking. Specifically, I can not program extensively in C. It was not a requisite for entering the program, it has not been required for any of my classes throughout my time here at NPS, and until this morning there was no mention of writing code in C. I can write scripts, I can code in Java with fair ability, and I understand C enough to make sense of what someone else has already written, but I can not write up my own extensive applications, certainly not with complex system calls.

You presented two options. The first, and the one I imagine you prefer, is for me to write up compiled code to run inside of the XTS machine. You say that there would be a learning curve as far as writing code for the machine, but note that I would only have to produce code for the FA component and our DBPS. Alternatively, I could stick with the 'original scope' and write compiled code on Linux to mimic the XTS functions of the SSS, Apache, TRSS, plus the FA and the DBPS. I think the amount of work is unfairly stacked against keeping the "original scope". I also reiterate that in none of our discussions was compiled code brought up. We spoke about scripts and databases and architectures. I have presented you with two schedules now, neither of which included "write and test compiled code" and no comments were made until now. In fact when I presented my most recent schedule, solely concerned with finishing the written thesis, Dr. [Adviser] simply said she would hold me to it. It wasn't until a day after, when I asked for assistance on the presentation of Chapter 3, that any additional work was brought up. You present it as an option between keeping the project we began with or moving the scope into the 'more practical' XTS code, but neither of the options you give represent what I've understood our project to be for the last seven months.

Just as I am not averse to doing work, I also haven't been shirking my duties. I have been working consistently for the last seven months on what I've understood the project to be, an architectural analysis. It wasn't until this past month that it was presented to me as specifically intended to deal with MYSEA, and it wasn't until this week that coding of any sort beyond scripting was discussed. If I've misunderstood the point of this project it's because I haven't been given clear guidance and defined goals to work with. If I had, if writing compiled code to run on MYSEA had been presented as the actual goal of this project, either I would have picked a project more in line with my own abilities or I would have taken time in the last seven months to learn what I would need to complete the code. I reiterate, I can not write extensive C applications.

I have approximately one month before graduation. I do not have time between now and then to learn the C that would be required to write code on the XTS machine, nor to mimic the MYSEA structure in Linux. Even if I were to try and complete this project in Java, the language I do know, I don't believe one month is enough to translate the functionality of MYSEA modules that were the topic of two or more other complete theses from C into Java. These requirements are all news to me and I can not accomplish them, not because I'm unwilling to put forth effort but because I lack the necessary time and skill.

I have effectively completed my Master's Program here at NPS; all that remains is this thesis and the couple of relatively-simple courses I'm taking now. Not graduating is not an option for me, as you're both aware of the consequences that would inflict upon me. There must be some middle ground we can come to whereby I complete my thesis and graduate on time and you get some amount of useful result from the work I've done, but I can not do what you're asking of me.

-Andrew
jackofallgeeks: (chixor)
So, as Dawn noted, it's been over a week now since I mentioned meeting and kinda falling for a girl named Ashley, and inquiring minds want to know. What it is, exactly, that they want to know I haven't the foggiest idea, but I've been meaning to say more on the topic anyways. So, here goes.

I guess the first thing I should set down is that her name, not-contrary to popular belief, is Kira. I say not-contrary because her name is Ashley, too. Without going into all the details, Kira is her middle name, but she's hopped back and forth between being Ashley and being Kira; in fact, on the site she named herself as Ashley Kira. i asked her, though, what she uses when she thinks of herself -- much as how I'll answer to many names, but when I think of me I think 'Andrew.' She said she thinks of herself as Kira, and so she shall be.

Cut so that I can leave this half-finished and no one will know. )
jackofallgeeks: (Tears)
I lost a friend to suicide when I was 23.

We met back when I was dating his cousin -- I think even before she and I admitted we were dating. As with her, I met him at an Anime Convention. He was a tall, lively sort of guy who seemed to have a way of meeting and interacting with people that I wish I had. He was also sad and lonely, and I think that's most of why he went to Conventions. The atmosphere in that sort of place is charged with a certain energy, and not only can you walk around with a sign that says 'hug-me' and actually get hugs, but many people do just that.

I didn't see a lot of him when we first met. I was still into Anime myself at the time and occupied with his cousin. I'm not sure how it happened, but some in our group bet him money that he couldn't make it through the convention by saying nothing other than 'skullfuck' pokemon-style. Armed with a roll of duct tape and a pen he did just that, and managed to somehow woo a young lady in the process. I don't think he ever got all the money he was promised, but it was an amusing testament to the sort of guy he was all the same -- goofy, charismatic, a little bit vulgar.

I ran into him a while later at another Anime Con, closer to when I got out of the scene altogether. The animation was losing it's novelty, the girls were all too young, and if I wanted to see my friends we could just spend $30 a piece and have a barbecue or dinner instead. But it was good to see him. He was only there for a few minutes before he left, just enough time to introduce me to Jenny, who's always been younger than I thought she was and at the time that was dangerous. Jenny and I have grown to be good friends, and I would never have known her without Ben.

We hadn't talked for a while, Ben and I, because life does that. I had graduation and my Master's Program and most recently an Internship. I called Ben on New Year's and his birthday, I think. I found him on MySpace and Facebook and OKCupid. He seemed happy, he had a computer business of sorts going on. He'd gown a bit, matured some, developed a goatee which really worked well for him, I think.

I know he'd had troubles at home. I think his parents were divorced, and there's the standard longing a young man goes through with dating and girls and everything. And Ben had always been looking for something to fill some space inside of him. He met a lot of people and made friends with them -- like I said, he had a way about him that I admired. I guess there was just too much missing, though. Too much he couldn't handle.

He left without saying goodbye.

I heard through MySpace. Someone posted in his blog that he'd killed himself and, later, that the funeral would be Sunday. At first I thought it was some kind of sick joke. But there were too many people involved, and it went on too long. I tried calling his cousin to see if she knew anything but couldn't get through. I finally called his cellphone. I didn't want to. Ben didn't answer. I got the address for the funeral.

It filled me with a pain I've only felt two other times in my life. A searing bone-deep pain of loss that I can't even express in words. I liked Ben; really admired him. No, he wasn't a constant fixture in my life but I was always glad to see him and hear from him, and I would have jumped at an opportunity to get together with him.

And this is to all of you: I will never be able to tell you how much I love you and admire you and how dear you are to me. Part of it is a lack of time, part of it a lack of words, and part of it is a little bit of fear on my part. Fear of admitting such investment in another person, and fear of admitting more than you want to hear. But the fact remains that I do love you and admire you and hold you dear. Even if we haven't talked in a long while, even if we never see each other, even if we've had a fight or you've hurt me, I don't know anyone that I wouldn't be glad to hear from. There's no one I can think of I wouldn't be happy to see. You mean more to people than you can ever know, and you affect people more than you will ever know.

I'm going to miss you, Ben.
jackofallgeeks: (Seriously Though)
Tonight was so incredibly awesome.
Let Me Tell You Why. )
jackofallgeeks: (Tears)
So, I'm feeling a sad kind of contented-happy right now. I just watched "Groundhog Day." I think I really liked it. I also got my birthday gift from my mom, a nice silver wristwatch. I haven't had a nice watch (or any watch, really) for a few years, now. I think this is all contributing to my current mood. So is the glass of wine I had with dinner -- rare london broil and a small salad with thousand island dressing. I kind of want to make up some more tea, as I really like tea, but that means getting up out of my room, and sometimes I like to forget that there is an "out of my room."

I've learned a great deal in the last few months. Most of it has nothing to do with the classes I'm taking; in fact, I'd be hard pressed to say I've learned very much of anything from my classes so far, which is a little disconcerting when I think that I'm now about half-way through my program.

Some of the things I've learned are small and rather insignificant. Cheese is good on hamburgers. Mayonnaise actually does make sandwiches taste significantly better. Lunchmeat is really worth the effort. Eggs are good, period, be they fried, scrambled, deviled, poached, or omlette'd. Some things are a bit more important, but also things that should have been plainly obvious to me. I really like people. So long as someone is generally a decent human being, I tolerate a lot of little flaws, though I may complain now and again. People with bad attitudes turn me off immediately. I don't like having a bad attitude; I'm happier when I'm a nice person. Sometimes I like having alone time, but more often then not I'd rather have a good friend with me. There's a part of me that likes being sad, but I think it's because it remembers what happy is like. I love my family more than anything else, and when I say 'family' I count certain of my good friends there, too. -smirk- Which is more appropriate for some than for others, but...

Right now, I'm sad. I'm lonely, and I'm scared, and I really don't know where I'm going to be for the next three months; I haven't heard anything about my Internship lately, and time is running low. I don't have a firm grasp on my thesis topic, I have two weeks of classes before exams, and I'm afraid that I'm going to do poorly with the job interview I have on June 8th and 9th. I have a few friends out here, but a good number of them I only see on Friday nights, and a good number of them are leaving before the end of June; some left this past weekend. Strictly speaking, I don't have a girlfriend and I can't really see any prospects on the horizon; I'm near-sighted in more than one way.

All that being said, I'm doing alright. I want to cry, but I'm alright. And I don't know if it's the movie, or the wine, or maybe just the breaking point after all this stress, but... I used to believe everything happened for a reason. A part of me still does, I think, and recognizes all the 'coincidences' that had to happen to get me where I am, and still doesn't believe in coincidences. I've been trying to believe that again. It's struck me as an odd incongruity that I, the boy who's somewhat known for his religion, who's actually been called "the Catholic" in more than one circle, has such trouble with faith. And I do. I have a lot of trouble with faith. It's one thing to say that there's a God, that He created the world, that we messed it up, but that He forgives us and loves us and has a plan for us. And maybe it's not really a whole 'nother thing to say that on a day-to-day basis He has our best in mind and actively works to see us through, but it certainly seems like a big pill to swallow for me. I've heard "just let go and let God," more often than I'd care to count, but I won't. "God helps those who help themselves," and I can't let go and just trust that everything is going to be alright. Because if I don't do it, it's not going to get done. No one is going to see to my happiness for me. My trouble is that I feel I'm the only one responsible for my life, for good or for ill, and I can't see how that could be otherwise. And I can't trust that "it'll be alright," because sometimes it's not. There's a lot of pain and suffering and misery in the world, some people are really unhappy, and I don't see why I should necessarily be spared that. I don't see why it's so infeasible that I could be miserable and unhappy. Some people don't get what they want. And sometimes I get scared that I won't get what I want, either.

-smirk- I guess that sounds less "alright" than I first said I was. It was a tangent. I'm actually better tonight than I've been in a while. I almost really do believe that these coincidences aren't just chance; just for an example, I can't imagine what it would have been like if I hadn't met Laurel. I really don't think I'd have made it out here. It would have been my own personal Beppu hell. And I really don't understand why or how things played out the way they did, but I'm glad they did, and... -shrugs- That's something to be grateful for, anyways. And I'm happy that my friends are happy, and I'm happy that sometimes I can give them a hand, and that sometimes I make a difference, even in a small way. It reminds me that I'm a good person, a like-able person, a worthwhile person, and that I have a met-positive effect in the world.

I have mixed feelings on tea these days. I really like it. My mom attributed it once to our trip to Europe in 1999, and I think she's right in that that's where it started. Tea with breakfast every day, and it was just nice. And I like the image of tea, of sitting in a cozy fire-warm room at home with a book and tea, reading quietly as the rain patters against the windows. Tea also reminds me of Christendom, and of Suzannah, and over everything that goes along with that; it's bittersweet memories that leave a sliver in my heart still. But I do like tea.

Sometimes it's good to cry.
jackofallgeeks: (Tears)
I'm feeling again that I don't want to go to sleep. Last night I stayed up until 5am. I'm not sure exactly what the reasoning is; I'm tired, and I should get some sleep if I was to get up tomorrow morning. Which I do. But when I think I turning off the lights and getting in bed... It just seems like such a waste. Like I could be doing something better with my time. Or that there's something about sleep I just don't want to deal with.

I don't dream. Not and remember doing so, at least. Not usually. The last dream I remembered was several months ago, and I can't say now what it was about, just that I remembered it. Unless there's something strong on my mind, I go to sleep and wake up with nothing in between save darkness. And it's not even every time I have something on my mind, either.

I've things on my mind now. Things I don't really want to think about, I guess, though I can only assume so because it's hard to think about them; it takes effort. If you asked me what's wrong I'd say I don't know, but if I sit and think about it, I can probably come up with a few things. And if there's anything history teaches us, those "few things" are almost assuredly girl-related. School and work and bureaucracy are bugging me, but those are conscious worries.

I talked to Anastasiya tonight, and off-handedly mentioned how I haven't been inclined to sleep lately. She half-jokingly said I just need a nice girl to curl up with. While I'm not sure that would help me get very much more sleep, it would make me feel better. Which sounds shallow and pathetic in my ears, but... -shrugs- I'm lonely. We know this. I've never wanted anything aside from a family, and there's no hope of that anytime in the foreseeable future, near as I can tell. And that depresses me. It's a bitter pill, really; I'm in a really great spot if you look at things from one angle. I'm well-paid and on my way to a lucrative career as a highly-skilled blah, blah, blah. -shrugs- That's nice, it really is, and it gives me the financial ability to live my life as I like. But it's a secondary thing to me. I'd take a corporate-drone job if it meant I could have a family.

I was looking at pictures of my old friend Jean tonight. It made me sad, and there's a lot that goes into that that I don't feel like going into right now. I had a crush on her since 6th grade. I... really don't know if we were ever close friends, I really don't know that I ever knew her. We have each other's cell numbers and AIMs and email addresses, but we don't talk. Even if I was ever a part of her life, I'm surely not now. And that makes me sad.

Laurel and I went out a few nights ago... maybe it was Sunday, maybe it was more recent, I can't recall. I think maybe it was Wednesday, because I was feeling down and just needed to get out of the house; just to be somewhere else. Laurel's a really good friend; I wouldn't be able to stand it out here if not for her, and so I'm a bit amused by how we met. Through OKCupid. She thought I was cute, and we had something like a 47% match, which was high from her experience (alternatively, my experience said anything below an 87% was hardly worth browsing since there were so many others above that level). We went on a date, dinner and then a walk on the beach and hours and hours of talking. It was nice, but I wasn't attracted to her. And she figured," well, that's not going to happen" and deleted me from her address books and such. I was oblivious to this, and several weeks later asked her if she wanted to go see Mirrormask. I can't say why she decided to waste more time with me after deleting my information, but I'm glad she did.

She and I spend a lot of time together. I try to get her to go to mass (at the very least because it's poor form for a Catholic School teach to not attend, but that's just what I say so I don't sound like a religious nut), and we get together for dinner or brunch or stuff. She's taken me to the grocery store several times since I don't have a car, and I've started teaching her to play Magic: the Gathering. So anyways, we went out a few nights ago and as we chatted, it came up that we were both thinking along the same lines: for most intents and purposes, she and I are dating.

That's something of a misleading thing to say, though, I think. I don't know. I'm not 'Interested' in her, though again it's a case where things would be easier if I were. The whys and wherefores of that aren't really what I want to talk about, though. But we spend a lot of time together, and there's no one out here who I'm closer to, and she rivals good friends of mine back East; on par with such personal giants as Anastasiya, Leslie, and Rachel at times. And we have a good friendship, which is exactly -- exactly -- what I was in a girlfriend. The thing is, this just further confuses me on exactly what the difference between dating and not-dating is. Intent? Am I a fool for missing the difference? Because if so, that seems to imply that I should be less-open about myself, or, I don't know, less-involved (for lack of a better term) with my friends, both of which seems utterly foolish to me. Fact is, though, that some people have pretty much said just that -- that I really should keep more of me to myself, presumably so I have "something to give" to differentiate my girlfriend.

But like I said, that seems foolish. At the very least, what of friends like Anastasiya, who I have dated? Am I supposed to close myself off to her once we break up? Why does that make any sense? -shrugs- I'm rambling now. I think I've been rambling for a while.

We don't kiss. Laurel and I. We hug, sometimes. Often, actually, as we both seem to agree it's a decent and rather necessary thing. I haven't had hugs the way I need them, really, since high school. Youth Group was good for that. I bring this up because that seems to be a difference. I've always been of the opinion that friends should be 'allowed' to kiss, because it's just a pleasant thing to do. But they don't. And I've came to realize that whatever I say, I can't do that myself. It means too much to me; I can't kiss casually.

Rambling some more. I'm just trying to put off sleep. I'm actually seriously considering just keeping busy all night and skipping sleep altogether. "You'll sleep better tomorrow night," a part of me says, "since your sleep schedule's messed up as it is." I don't know. I'm not sure I could find enough things to occupy me.
jackofallgeeks: (Enamoured)
Through no fault of my own, this was probably the best birthday I've had in a long while. Granted, I haven't the memory to recall very many birthdays before, but in the five years that I've had LiveJournal I've never posted about one so I think that says something.

Aside from all the comments I got here today, I also got a load of text-messages from my brothers and Meghan and such; and several notes on Facebook and MySpace; and a couple phone calls, including a message from my sister saying "I'm not going to sing for you, even though you sang for me; I'm just not that confident" and this conversation with my friend Jenny Parks:

Jenny: Hey, just calling to say 'Happy Birthday.'
Me: Why, thank you.
Jenny: OK, we're done here. I'll see you in a month.

-giggles- Jenny's generally not one to chat on the phone. -smiles-

But the best was my gift from Laurel, My Only Friend In Monterey:
This is what Laurel did for me )
And this is what I did for me. )

So, yes. it's been a great day. I only had a couple classes, and the weather was sunny and beautiful, and I went out for a steak dinner which was grand, and i was loved and happy and...
Thank you all. Very much.
-smiles- I'm shutting up now.
jackofallgeeks: (Integrity)
Tonight, Laurel abducted me after having a crappy day at work. She took me back to her place, made pizza, and made me to eat it.
I wasn't in a position to say no.

Previously in the day, I decided that I would take Miriam out to the nearby park I love so much (I'll get pictures on day) and get some reading and writing done (and actually ended up getting my Math Test done, too, so there's the arithmetic). This was done mostly because it was so pretty outside today, and I've been so wrapped in gloom lately that I'd forgotten what I think most everyone forgets: the world is beautiful.

Getting out of my room, onto my bike, out in the sun, and being honestly, creatively productive was probably the best thing I've done all year.

After dinner at Laurel's, we decided to pull out one of her DVDs and watch a movie, but we couldn't decide on which. I was just about to grab "Love Actually" (which I really like, and have wanted to watch lately) when she asked if I'd ever seen "Saved." I said no, but I'd been told I should see it. So we watched that.

I loved it.
It actually made me think of Rachel, not for the content of the movie, but because the situation reminded me of how I'd ended up watching "Dogma."
Mind, much like "Dogma" I had a few quibbles with "Saved," but I loved it. It's now on my Amazon.com wishlist.

Today was possibly the best day I've had since getting back from Home over Christmas.

And because of thins, I'm going to try and renew my efforts to get up earlier in the day. I've been meaning to get up early so I can get showered and dressed and make it to Morning Mass every day before classes, but I haven't been able to wake that early. Since Laurel needs to be up for work anyways, she's going to give me wake-up calls. And I really think this will make me happier, both because I'll be getting up and riding my bike daily, and because I think getting back in touch with spiritual reality will be a good thing for me.

So, yes, a good day indeed.
jackofallgeeks: (Integrity)
I just did what my college room mates almost never did.
I walked a few miles to Safeway, bought my groceries, and walked back.
It was actually pretty exhilarating, in a way. It cost me about $85.
And $10 of that was to a fat man on the side of the road, presumably homeless.

This is notable because I don't usually give money to panhandlers. Mostly because I'm a Heartless Conservative (card-carrying since '01). It seems to me that one should be able to provide for oneself and, all else aside, sitting on your butt or standing on the corner isn't very productive, even if you do hit a tender cord with people and they give you money. Not to mention that there are stories of people being reasonably well-off and panhandling because it's easier than a job. And, in particular here, there's something that seems incongruous about a fat homeless man.

But, I gave him the money. I don't usually carry cash, and the $10 was all I had. I'm sure, if I'd unslung the very heavy pack I was carrying (full of groceries I'd bought with my $2000+/month paycheck), I could have found some pocket change, but my phrasing here should explain why I didn't. And even if he is a scam artist, or takes my money to drink himself into a stupor, my trying to help a person in apparent need makes me a better person, doesn't it?

It occurred to me, on my way home, that I want to rekindle my faith. Faith in God, in humanity, in myself, in love -- faith in anything more than suffering. I just feel so spiritually dead sometimes.

Mass tonight at 5:00. I really don't like evening masses, but I didn't get up to go this morning, and I haven't missed mass (unduly), so I'm not going to start now. I likely would have completely lost myself by now if I had. I've been meaning to start going to daily mass, but circumstances conspire against me -- like having class every day at Noon, which is when the chapel on campus has daily mass. I'm going to try getting up early and riding over to Church for the early 8am mass before my 9am classes, but that means getting up early, which I've been having trouble with.

In a not-completely-unrelated note, I participated in this Book Exchange thing, whereby my buddy, Daniel, sends me a book and I do likewise for a buddy of mine, and he likewise for his buddy, and so on. I still haven't gotten my buddy's book out yet, but I got Daniel's a couple days ago. And part of the deal was to read it and post what my thoughts were.

Well, I devoured the book. it was, in fact, more of a graphic novel (read: glorified comic book), but I'm not splitting hairs. It was a collection of Nightcrawler comics! Daniel enclosed a little note saying that he hadn't read the book himself, but that he knew that Nightcrawler had a bit about being a devout Catholic (according to said book, he was once studying to be a priest), and he figured he couldn't pass up going for a Catholicism-meets-City-of-Heroes book for me. I'm not sure if he knew it, but Nightcrawler is possibly my favorite Marvel character (running close with Spider Man, with Batman being the all-time top superhero), and for exactly the reasons he noted.

So, I loved it. The book says it's a collection of six Nightcrawler comics, spanning two connected story lines, the first dealing with a coven of demon-worshiper sorts and the second dealing with ghosts. I only have one complaint in that it wasn't long enough -- I devoured it in two nights, which is really saying something for me. Actually, though, I do have another complaint, though this really just generalizes to comic culture in general; and that is, in each story, Nightcrawler and others involved were *surprised* that there were ghosts and demons and such, even though they're mutants, and they're on a first-name basis with guys like Dr. Strange and Professor X. I mean, after a while, wouldn't it get to a point where it's hard to surprise these guys with anything? "Oh, so, you're my daughter from the future, come back to the past to stop a vicious plague, and inadvertently possessed by the demon that held sway over my girlfriend last year... Ok, I'll buy that."

For the last half-hour, I was inexplicably under the impression that it was the year 2003. That was odd.
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
I've altered the Look and Feel of my Journal. Sometimes change can be good. Still playing with some of the little details, like link colors and text wording, but I think I like it.

The new style shows Friends colors on my Friends' Page, which is not a feature I've had in a very long time. Most of my "friends' colors" are just white, which is pretty boring. I'll have to fix that. If you'd like to help me out and suggest a color for yourself it'd be greatly appreciated, and you can comment here or email me at jackofallgeeks @ livejournal.com

Have I mentioned before how I love the title 'do_While(True)'?

I still haven't taken a nap...
jackofallgeeks: (Nevermore)
I keep wanting to post something, but every time I get around to it, I either find I have nothing to say, or I have no motivation to say it.

Tonight is kind of a combination of both.

So, right. Life has been moving along since the last time I posted anything of substance. When was that? It looks like October 2nd, which I guess isn't that long ago, but it feels like an eternity.

I got Miriam fixed. I love Miriam. )
I had a bet with one of my friends, who said I would most assuredly name my bike. She knew me well, and I knew even then that I'd lose the bet. If we were still speaking, I'd owe her a batch of cookies...

I found a place to play Magic out here; I'm glad I did. )

About half-way through the summer, I started a World of Darkness project. )It was going to be great. )But it's dying now, if not dead. )
I hate feeling like all my best ideas are being wasted.

Which brings me to NanoWrimo. I don't know what I'm doing. )

Tangentially, there's a lot of grumbling going on around CoH these days, with murmurs of a Great Exodus when City of Villains comes out -- and not to CoV, either, but away from Paragon entirely. people say there's a Great Change coming with the expansion, which will be the cause of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And it makes me sad, because... Well, I don't know anyone who plays CoH. My brothers used to, but when they did we were all on different servers (none of them have ever played with Bethan), and we've never really been able to play together much, even irregularly. No one I know plays the game, and I haven't been able to make friends there the way that Josh did, and... I love the game, but every night I get on to just wander around for half an hour before getting off because there's no one to play with (and the game isn't nearly as fun playing solo, I think)... Well, it makes me sad, is all.

And I joined an online dating site specifically for Catholics, which is full of nice, pretty girls I'd actually date (unlike OKCupid), but I've had to reject two girls already (which is really hard for me; there's history to that), and I've met a girl who I think I kinda like (her name's Tessa and we've been talking for about a week now) but who I'm afraid doesn't think much of me (mostly, I think this just because I can be really negative sometimes, especially when Good Things could happen, as a self-defense against disappointment), and on top of that I'm juggling things with my friend Meghan, who likes me (and I kinda like her) but I don't feel comfortable with anything more than friends, and it all seems so very delicate.

The end.

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John Noble

August 2012

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