Archive for March, 2008

Spring Break

I went to London for spring break to visit my friends who are studying abroad. It was a great time, and I’ll edit this when I have the time to jot down everything we did before it fades away. I’ll also have lots of fun photos to post up, hopefully.

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance over the break as well. It’s still digesting and I’ll have to write something up about it when I feel more calm.

In related news, my last post wasn’t exactly accurate. Turns out I don’t care if a person gets piercings or tattoos only if I don’t care about the person. Why I don’t like them, I’m not sure. It’s still something I’m trying to figure out but it isn’t really fair to just blanketly hate them. Is it because I’m secretly obsessed with the way people look and not who they are? Does what other people think about them matter that much to me? Why can’t I just be happy for people that do what they want to their bodies?

In any case I feel furious inside. Irrationally furious. This also needs digestion so I’ll get back to this later too. Maybe I should just go live with the Amish. Maybe I’d be happier.


After some thought, and re-reading some things, and just thinking about it some more I’m less angry. It’s a good thing that I didn’t lash out or even talk to the person when I was angry. I’ve always misunderstood the advice not to act in anger and to instead step back and cool off to really mean don’t get angry. Not getting angry isn’t really an option so I usually just ignore the advice and say something stupid.

With this person, more often than not I’ll be angry at them and they’ll be upset: not a good combo. I feel the need to comfort them, but it’s hard to be earnestly comforting when you’re angry at them. It also doesn’t help that they don’t want to be comforted by me.

I’m pretty convinced they don’t want anything to do with me. I don’t know if they’d be upset or bothered if I never spoke to them again. They certainly wouldn’t speak to me first. I think that’s a big source of all my anger: that I mean nothing to them. Maybe it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does but I keep waiting for my feelings for them to pass and they just keep going. I still miss her.

It’s hard to accept. I realize I sound completely emo about all this. It isn’t as bad as I make it out to be and really I don’t know why I’m so hung up over her. Part of my anger comes from that too.

Hopefully I’ll stop thinking about her soon and move on.

“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations”
~ Elliott Larson


My body is a shell?

I was watching Ghost in the Shell while doing some programming. I decided I wanted to do work and watch something at the same time. Having something to glance at when I got bored with my work would help. I got the idea (although it wouldn’t be the first time I had done it) from Rands In Repose:

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, he describes how researchers for Sesame Street determined what parts and how much of the show were actually registering with five-year-old kids. What they discovered was that, when presented with toys and quality segments, these children were able to play with toys and remember content from the show just as well as kids who just watched the show.

I can’t really tell how it worked out for me because I didn’t have a deadline and the work was very casual. I’ll have to try it when I’m writing a paper and see if I get any more work done then.

As I was watching Ghost in the Shell (and apparently ignoring my work) I wondered why Motoko felt so comfortable naked. She didn’t seem to mind being seen by Batou after scuba diving nor did she seem particularly shy in general. And then I thought,”if I knew my body was just a shell, would I feel awkward about being naked? Would I really care about what happened to it or who saw it? Would I feel better about the way I looked? Or feel worse?” It was a deep moment for me.

I believe that I have a soul, so isn’t my body just a shell? Shouldn’t I already feel that way? I know that the body is sacred too (it’s in the Bible somewhere, someone else can find it) and therefore it has significance, but I was suddenly faced with w new set of moral questions about body augmentation. Having read Neuromancer I’ve wanted to be like Case. I wanted to be a console cowboy and have a ROM of my mentor that I could jack into and have conversations with. I wanted to float in cyberspace and be able to use my mind to control the computer. Now I wonder if I would really take the necessary steps to augment my body.

I don’t believe in tattoos or piercings on my body. I don’t mind if other people do it, in fact I think they’re pretty cool, they’re just not for me.  If I’m opposed to those simple body mods, would I let someone fiddle around in my brain and add some electronics? Would I abandon my body entirely for a cybernetic one? How much of me is really me? How much can I give up and still feel the same?

It turns out that those really are the themes in Ghost in the Shell. Underneath all the cyberpunk and hacking and destroying  of tanks, it’s a question about what makes us human. If nothing else, re-watching this movie has made it clear to me how insecure I am about my body. I should work on that.

Subway Face


That I have been looking
For you all my life
Does not matter to you.
You do not know.

You never knew.
Nor did I.
Now you take the Harlem train uptown;
I take a local down.

Langston Hughes



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