December 23, 2004

the only gift that i need

Merry Christmas Eve Eve(tm)! Four years ago Mike O'Malley had a bunch of people over to his house to hang out in his basement on the 23rd of December. It started out as just an ordinary night, which is why Dave stayed home and played with his Dremel. But by the end of the night, it had been dubbed "Mike O'Malley's Christmas Eve Eve Party" and became an annual tradition. The next two years also took place in the basement of Mr. O'Malley. Last year the venue changed to the basement of Mr. Ryan Holler. Last year we watched the Illini squeeze out a one point victory against Mizzou and listened to Jon recount his semester in County Cork. Tonight we will return to the basement of Holler for The Fifth Annual Mike O'Malley's Christmas Eve Eve Party.

I've watched a ton of movies in the last few days and they were all pretty good. About a Boy was another good film adaptation of a Nick Hornby book. Hugh Grant gave a very strong performance I thought. Ocean's 12 was one of the most purely entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. I love the heist genre but this wasn't exactly a heist movie. What made it so enjoyable was the on screen chemistry between all the actors in the cast. Closer which was directed by Mike Nichols who directed The Graduate. It was a very intense and graphic movie but all four of the main actors delivered very strong performances. With all his strong performances this year, Jude Law is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. And you've gotta love Natalie Portman. Probably my favorite actress currently. I'm in love. There was one scene in particular between Julie Roberts and Clive Owen that was outstanding. I caught most of Shattered Glass on HBO yesterday and was really impressed. It was a very interesting story especially if you have any interest in journalism. Last night I went and saw Phantom of the Opera and was pretty impressed. I've never seen the stage show but I thought the film was a lot of fun. The actress who played Christine is GORGEOUS.

Today was the last day for the Schlotzsky's Deli I spent three years working and hanging out at during high school. As much as I complained about the job while I had it, it was pretty great. Working with Mike and Phil was always a blast and I loved it as our rallying point on Friday nights during high school. There were a lot of good memories there and I'll miss it. Not to mention missing the food. I wonder what life has in store now for Randy A. Putz.

This will probably be my last entry before Christmas, so Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Vision - Pedalboy

Seriously, good stuff. Download it and check it out right now.

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December 17, 2004

don't it feel like sunshine after all

I'm done. What has been probably my worst academic semester so far in my college career is finally done and I couldn't be happier. It's not that I had tough classes. I just neglected them. I dropped a class the day of the midterm because I was unprepared. I am so glad this is all over. Next semester will be tough but I think I'll be able to achieve a better balance.

So it seems like everyone else tends to be pretty funny in their blogs and I have a tendency to be...I dunno, dull, boring, whatever. That sucks. I don't think of myself as an unfunny person. In fact, I've been called witty a time or two in my life. That making it to the page doesn't seem to happen for me very much though. Maybe I need to do more drugs.

Tomorrow I am going to make egg nog for our little BFH Christmas gathering. Here are the ingridients according to my mother's uncle's recipe:

6 eggs
2 quarts half and half
2 oz. dark Jamaican Rum
1/2 quart booze

Yes, the recipe says booze. Nothing more specific than that. Is it a surprise that there's a history of alcoholism in my family? I think not. Anyway, my brother says I should use Makers Mark, so that's what I'm gonna do. After that we're going to a Festivus party I guess. It should be good. Hopefully I'll get to air some grievances because there are a lot of people who have disappointed me this year. Perhaps I'll do it here if I don't get to at the party. Be warned. On the subject of Christmas, it's sneaking up on me super fast. That sucks. I remember when I was a little and I started getting excited for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe this has something to go with the fact that I don't have any Christmas music here with me at school. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I've been too busy with finals and stories and papers to think much about it. Maybe it's just not as exciting now that there aren't Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles waiting for me under the tree anymore.

Anyway, I'm going to forgoe the song of the moment and give you the track listing of my latest mix so you can bask in its glory:

1. Tonight I'll Take What I Can Get - Dashboard Confessional
2. Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner - Fall Out Boy
3. I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You - Colin Hay
4. Halloween - Alkaline Trio
5. Existentialism on Prom Night - Straylight Run
6. Vocoder - Emotional Rec Club
7. Come Down - Toad the Wet Sprocket
8. Moondance - Van Morrison
9. Passing Afternoon - Iron & Wine
10. King's Crossing - Elliott Smith
11. (This is) the Dream of Evan and Chan - Dntel (featuring Ben Gibbard)
12. The World You Love - Jimmy Eat World
13. Medecine and Gasoline - Lucky Boys Confusion
14. I Know, and I Said Forget It - Mates of State
15. Expo '86 - Death Cab for Cutie
16. Which Will - Nick Drake
17. Progress - Pedro the Lion
18. Fooling Me (Pull Yourself Together) - Pedal Boy
19. Lonely Day - Phantom Planet

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December 15, 2004

because a vision softly creeping, left it's seeds while i was sleeping

I want to begin this entry with an admission. I am a prideful person. I am, at times, arrogant, self-centered, and bull-headed. (And I don't mean I have big horns.) I have a tendency to contextualize many of the things that happen around me in terms of how they relate to me. In other words, I often time, it seems, want to make everything be about me.

There are many things I want in my life. Above all I think that one of them is to see my friends and family have the very best in life and be happy. I try to be the best friend, son, brother, grandson, nephew that I know how. I try to make myself as available to people as I can, emotionally and otherwise. I try to be as generous as I can afford (and sometimes moreso) with my time and money. My friends are what keep me going in life and I want to make sure that they realize that.

Sometimes I fall down. Sometimes, maybe more often than I realize, I put myself before other people. I have a problem when it comes to seeing other people's successes. This might be odd considering what I just said above here. My problem comes from seeing other people succeed in areas where I feel like I am not doing so well. I am at the same time happy for their success but down on myself for not doing as well. It's a complex. Call it measure-upitis or whatever you want. It stems from my being at the same time a very ego-driven person and a fairly insecure person. I have a lot of confidence in my skill as a writer, perhaps because I've been told I'm good at it for a while now, but I also have a feeling that the greatest place it will ever take me is to the editorship of a weekly local like the Lombardian. I have confidence in my ability but very little in the chances of me doing anything spectacular in life. That pretty much sums up a big part of my attitude about myself. Yeah, so that was some fun psychoanalysis.


I am a Rock - Simon and Garfunkel

A winter's day in a deep and dark December-
I am alone, gazing from my window to the streets below
on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow, I am a rock, I am an island.

I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain, I am a rock, I am an island.

Don't talk of love- well, I've heard the word before, it's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died,
if I never loved I never would have cried, I am a rock, I am an island.

I have my books and my poetry to protect me. I am shielded in my armor.
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain and an island never cries.

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December 14, 2004

and a falling star is a star that lost its love

I am almost done with this semester. In fact there is only one thing standing between me and sheer Christmas Break bliss. And that is a 5-7 page paper for my Engl 250 class. The only problem with this situation is that being done with everything else for the semester leaves me very little motivation to finish this last thing. I've already taken the final for cripessake. (What's a cripe?) This paper was supposed to be due last friday. I'm glad it wasn't. I would have died. But I'm also starting to think I might have lost it in the blur of all the other stuff I had to do last week. But anyway, it will get done. Probably mostly during the day on Friday.

Last night I went out to Murphy's after my final (I recommend the beer cheese soup) to send off a fraternity brother, Ben, who is leaving the university at the end of this semester. He's done with his coursework and taking a semester off before student teaching. It was a fun time. He's a good guy that I wish I'd gotten the chance to spend more time with. My friend Chris Owen had random people come up to him and compliment him on the selections he made in the jukebox. That was, in his terms, bombass! I talked with a kid named Seth who worked with Ben at Follett about some books and poetry and stuff. It had been a while since I'd had a good conversation like that. I also talked to a girl from my poetry workshop last semester, which was nice. I sent her a message on facebook when I got home, which is slightly stalkerish. Oops. I'd drank an entire pitcher of Old Style and then some. Give me a break. Recommendation: when you're out and low on funds, the slims at Jimmy John's are a good deal.

So coming to the end of the semester always makes me reminiscent of the past and speculative about the future. I've had a blast this semester, sometimes at the expense of school work and other obligations, but what are you gonna do? It's been almost 4 months to the day since I moved into the BFH. I came down early to look for another job, but that never panned out. Whatever. This semester has been incredible. The parties, the bars, the hook ups and the drama, the broken cell phones, the drinking tickets, the sleepovers, the 21st birthday celebration, the alternate personalities, the roadtrips to party at other schools (and meet kanye), watching the sunrise from simon's, the niro's, the bobo, the asians, the politically incorrect insults, the kick ass halloween costumes, the crazy schemes that never happened, the crazy ones that did, the tuesday night gatherings for scrubs and trashy tv. This is the stuff that made getting up and going to class and work everyday (or at least most days) bearable. What I'm speculative about is whether or not it will continue, now that Carrie is moving into AOII and won't be at Newman anymore, and Jodi has her new friend-boy, and I'm taking on a much harder and heavier courseload, and Mike and Holller are running off to Vermont to finally profess their undying love. Or kill each other. Or whatever. Anyway, I just want people to know that I think I might be the happiest and most content that I've been in a long time and I think all the good times we've had this semester have a lot to do with that. So yeah. Here's a song of the moment that has nothing to do with any of that.


Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy

These are your good years
don't take my advice
you never wanted the nice boys anyway
and I'm of good cheer
cause I've been checking my list
the gifts you're receiving from me
will be

one awkward silence
and two hopes you cry yourself to sleep
staying up, waiting by the phone
and all I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breathe to me
before you bury yourself alive

don't come home for Christmas
you're the last thing I wanna see
underneath the tree
merry Christmas, I could care less

happy new years baby
you owe me
the best gift I will ever ask for
don't call me up, when the snow comes down
its the only thing I want this year

one awkward silence
and two hopes you cry yourself to sleep
staying up, waiting by the phone
all I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breathe to me
before you bury yourself alive

don't come home for Christmas
you're the last thing I wanna see
underneath the tree
merry Christmas, I could care less

don't come home for Christmas
you're the last thing I wanna see
underneath the tree (don't come home for Christmas)
merry Christmas, I could care less

don't come home for Christmas
you're the last thing I wanna see
underneath the tree (don't come home for Christmas)
merry Christmas, I could care less

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December 9, 2004

I'm your only friend, I'm not your only friend, but I'm a little glowing friend

I'm still alive mofos!!!

I know that might be a disappointment to some, but deal. This week has been by far one of the busiest and most stressful that I have had during my college career. If you read the last entry you know what I'm talking about. I'm not gonna bitch about the stuff I had to do, because that's kind of annoying. We're all in school. We all know how much work we have. All I have to say is thank God I don't have another paper due tomorrow. I think my head head would asplode. But I've learned a few things over the course of this week.

We've all heard that any job worth doing is worth doing well. I don't necessarily agree with that. Some jobs are just worth doing well enough on to get by. The ones you really care about though are the ones that are worth doing to the best of your ability. This is something I think I forget a lot of times. There are things that really matter to me that I still only do a half-assed job at. I often don't put forth the effort I should when it comes to writing. It's the thing that involves any sort of work that I enjoy more than anything else in the world. I want it to be my living. I want to become really good at it. Yet, I have this tendency to just rip off stories the day before they're due or even a few days late. The same applies to the work I've done for my fraternity. I love Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. I was very excited when I took the position of Fraternity Education Officer last semester. This would be my chance to pass my knowledge and love of the fraternity on to new members. Over the next year, I proceeded to do the bare minimum that the position required. This is why when I ran and lost for Vice President, it didn't come as much of a shock to me. This is something I really need to work on.

Another conclusion that I came to this week is that I really enjoy what I'm doing here at school. I watch so many people drudge through their week and seem constantly annoyed by the work they have to do. I wonder what keeps them going. What keeps me going is a love of the written word. I love reading it. I love attempting to craft it. It is a constant process of discovery. I even learned this week that I enjoy interviewing. I always thought this was something about the reporting process that would constantly be a nuisance. After doing some interviews this week I realized that it can be really fun now that I know what I'm going a little better. I'm really happy with the path I've chosen for myself. I don't really know where it's leading me yet, but don't pressure me. I don't pressure you. Even when I was up till 4 o'clock in the morning when I had a final the next day at 8, I enjoyed the process of what I was doing.

One more thing I learned is something I actually had a hard time explaining to some people, but I still believe it. When we make decisions in love, we usually assume that they are for the best or at least for the better. But I think sometimes we can make decisions that are just necessary. We don't make them because we expect anything better to be the guranteed consequence. Sometimes you just know that you need to change something about your life and accept that it doesn't necessarily mean an improvement. That's what I think at least.

Anyway, Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. I'm done with all my classes for the semester except English 250. So there's that.


The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie

I've got a hunger
Twisting my stomach into knots
That my tongue was tied off

My brain's repeating
"if you've got an impulse let it out"
But they never make it past my mouth.

Baa bah, this is the sound of settling
Baa bah, baa bah

Our youth is fleeting
Old age is just around the bend
And i can't wait to go grey

And i'll sit and wonder
Of every love that could've been
If i'd only thought of something charming to say.

Baa bah, this is the sound of settling
Baa bah, baa bah

I've got a hunger twisting my stomach into knots.

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December 6, 2004

Haven't been this happy in minutes

I would like to start off by saying that my fraternity just intiated four awesome new members last night. I'm very proud to call these men my brothers.

Today I realized that there are three qualities in people that really bother me. There are probably more but for some reason these three occurred to me today while I was thinking about some stuff. They are: vanity, dishonesty, and shallowness.

I also realized that I really have very little to be unhappy about in my life. Sure there are some things that I'd change, but fuck it. What would life be if things were exactly how we wanted them to be? Sure there are some people who I wish could see me in a different light. But whatever, fuck 'em. If they can't appreciate me why the hell should I waste my time? I'm sure there's someone who will and if I can't find them right now, it's really not a big deal. I'm having fun with my life, maybe too much sometimes.

Which leads me to saying that I really need to work a hell of a lot harder next semester. I'm really fearing my grades from this one.

Lastly, my schedule for the week:

Basketball game @ 7
Phi Mu Alpha meeting @ 10:15
Rest of the night: finish my story for Rhet and study for Journ 400 final if there's time.
8 a.m.: Journ 400 Final
11 a.m.: Rhet 404 (story due)
7:30 p.m: band concert at Krannert...come if you're not doing anything
rest of the day: study my ass off for Poli Sci 241 Final
11 a.m.: PS 241 final
12 p.m.: Lunch at Newman?
1 p.m.: Band
2 p.m.: Ditch english (third class in a row) to do interviews for my feature
3 p.m.: work, maybe.
rest of the day: write my feature
11 a.m.: Last 404 workshop
12:15ish: Lunch anyone?
1 p.m.: hand in feature story
rest of the die: sleep, drink eat, i don't care. Something not related to shool.

SONG OF THE MOMENT: (In honor of the #1 Fighting Illini)

Oskee Wow Wow - The University of Illinois Basketball Band

P.S.: Look for a new short story on the other blog.

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December 2, 2004

I've got soul but I'm not a soldier

I have a lot to write about. I think.

So I guess I'll start with talking about one of the most spectacular sporting events I have ever witnessed in my life. It occurred last night at Assembly Hall in Champaign, IL. The Illini played Wake Forest last night. I was really nervous about this game, a lot more than I let on to anyone I talked to about it. I was afraid that it might end up like that game at Wisconsin last year that I expected Illinois to win only to watch them come out flat and lose by 20 points. I had confidence that this years team was stronger and better but I thought this game against the top ranked team in the country would be a hard fought battle. I was very wrong. The Illini dominated the entire game and made me seriously question if there is a better team in college basketball. I highly doubt there is a better backcourt. If they're not number 1 come Monday, there is something seriously wrong with the ranking system.

I guess I'll talk a little bit about writing in this here paragraph. I've been really disappointed with myself lately when it comes to the writing I've been doing. Or the lack of it. I'm taking an advanced fiction workshop this semester and I think I'm doing the worst writing I've done the entire time I've been here. My first story was a decent start but I gave up early and turned in a fragment. The second story was actually pretty good even though Prof. Thompson didn't think it really had an ending. That's somewhere that I think my ideas about stories and hers drift apart. I don't think everything needs a neat little ending. But whatever. What was really disappointing was that I'd already written half of it freshmen year and I was too lazy to turn in a completely new story. I guess it's good to finish something I started a while ago though. My third story was the biggest let down. Not only did I turn it in incredibly late, but I wasn't even remotely pleased with what I handed in. I knew exactly what she was going to say about it. Too many characters. Not enough happens. Too flat. The thing is that it's intended to be the second section or a longer piece so I wasn't sure whether to write it that way or to make it work as a short story and then revise it later. That led to a lot of problems. So I have one more story to write for this class and I've got a couple goals for myself. 1.) Write something that isn't remotely based on anything that has ever happened to me. Or at least not something that's happened in the last two years. I've mined that material a lot and it's not going anywhere in short story form. 2.) Write something humorous. I've never attempted anything other than what I would, in my current, self-depricating state, call melodrama. I want to try my hand at making people laugh. 3.) Turn it in on time. I really need to work on my punctuality. I'm sure my grade this semester is suffering because of it.

I thought I had a bunch of other stuff to write about but I guess that's it for now.

SONG OF THE MOMENT: (with lyrics from now on...maybe)

Hold - Saves the Day

Oh well, you've got me under your spell
and I don't think that I'm kidding around.
I don't think I can forget you now.
I once sat up on my roof and examined the planning of my town.
I saw the structured grid and pavement cutting through grass
and I remembered the cold of winter running up the legs of my pants.
I picked the nicest lawn and imagined the two of us
rolling around down along the ground.
I saw myself touch your face and I noticed jets begin to race above our heads.
But I pinched my arm and remembered how much you hate me.
I remembered the fact that I can't see what you need
and I'm too stupid to be aware of the beauty that you give this place
and how shitty this town would seem without you in it.
When you aren't around I let the shades fall down to shut out
all the sun's light and make myself feel all right.
What am I doing with my life?
Remember that the only things we need sometimes
are chilly nights and warmer thighs, 'cause there's nothing like being held.

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