Monday, February 28, 2011

the point (radio version).

"it is easy to answer the ultimate questions - it saves you bothering with the immediate ones."
--john osborne

i just wrote about two pages worth of fury notes animating my feelings toward math, the math department, and the remarkably frustrating feeling of your effort having no bearing on your grade.

after writing this, though, i realized that it would be of little interest to you, my two readers, so instead of posting it, i did as i have in the past--i e-mailed it to myself for keeping and am replacing the post with a brief description of what the original said, along with something that i found to cheer me up and hopefully brighten your day, if only just a little.

and what brightened my day? shaolin monks, of course! here's a taste of what i'm watching, but youtube is stuffed with other clips. what a time.

hope it buoys up your day like it did mine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

tuesdays with little trace.

 "when i get a job, i'm not going to be a suit. i'm going to play drums in a punk band and rock 'til i die on stage."
--little trace.

there are times i look at my life, goals, etc., and wonder to myself what little trace would think them. would my high school self be pleased with my college self? in some cases i'm thrilled when my current track matches what little trace would have hoped for and saddened when the two diverge. other times, i'm extremely grateful when they are different and a little saddened when they're one in the same.

this year, though, i've been looking a bit more to my high school self for wisdom that i may have lost since i stopped putting elmer's glue in my hair. my priorities have undergone some substantial reevaluation and plans i've taken for granted a good portion of my college career i've been inclined to reconsider. this is no small part thanks to some recent reminiscing as i went through old junk and yearbooks, as well as taking the time remember back to what i wanted from life when i was sixteen.

some goals of little trace, ranging from childhood through adolescence*:
  • speak a foreign language (several if possible).
  • live overseas.
  • play music beyond drumming along with my cd collection.
  • study something when i get to college that was as much about being cool as paying the bills. 
  • learn some sort of martial art.
  • wear glasses.
  • be famous in a way that meant i could see my name in the news without seeing my picture.
  • be just like my older brother.
  • never admit to the last point.
  • consistently stick it to the man.
  • get rich and donate a large chunk of my wealth to a worthwhile cause. 
  • eat a lot of foreign food that looks or smells disgusting.
  • finish with school quickly so i can get on with my life.
  • go vegan.
  • go bald.
  • shave my head once i go bald.
  • learn to juggle pins.
  • get a bunch of tattoos.
  • have a job where i worked with people rather than papers. 
  • have a family. 
  • have a dog.
  • live punk rock til the day i die.
now. some of these things make lots of sense. i've wanted to learn karate or some other martial art since i saw 3 ninjas as a child and the vegan ideology was big with a lot of the bands i listened to. others, such as "go bald," i have to question--especially as they seem to be coming to fruition with or without my wanting them to. either way, as i've reviewed these priorities and others i've made some changes and undertaken some new efforts. this is because, in some (but not all) ways, little trace was much wiser than balding trace (also known as current trace). 

since i abandoned my plan for med school back in the day, i've run with the assumption that i'd be going to school until i got a phd in some field of psychology. why? a few reasons: i didn't want to feel like i failed in not going to med school, and a phd in some branch of psychology, i felt, would prove that i hadn't; i love psychology and figured more of it would be all the better; and i had no idea what else i'd do if i didn't go to grad school. so why am i no longer feeling this way? first and foremost, because i hate school. i love learning, i love research, i love reading, i love many of the people i've been able to work with, and so much more. what have i hated? the school portion of my learning. i can spend hours on the random article generator of wikipedia and on link connections (which, to my discredit, happens more than i'd like to admit) but i genuinely struggle at times with reading ten pages of a text book. however, more than this (somewhat sad) reason, are reasons number two and three.

reason two: somewhere in my academic progression i forgot that i wanted to work with people and not paper--which is exactly the opposite of what i started planning to do as of a year and a half ago. as i reviewed the goals of traces past, this came to my attention, and it sincerely shook me. i've since began making plans for how i can work with people as i wanted to for the majority of my life. what does that mean? well, hopefully it means that i'll be able to work with the people of other countries in developing programs and establishments that are needed. whether or not this particular career path is what i end up in, it's far closer to what i really want to do than anything i've planned on in the last few years. 

reason three: i want to start doing things instead of studying for the next four to five years because i can't think of anything else to do. that was an extremely stupid reason for wanting to go to grad school, and i'm a little embarrassed to admit that it was a key reason to my wanting to go to grad school. i don't know what i'll be able to do when i graduate, and i very well may wind up furthering my education in a formal university setting sometime in the future, but not now.

this has been the major change (or collection of changes) that's come from my re-acquaintance with little trace, but others are also present. i've signed up for a basic martial arts course after approximately eighteen years of wanting to do so (bringing me one step closer to my dream of competing in a fighting tournament ala bloodsport), i've started downloading french webcasts to listen to in a baby-steps effort to learn french, and i've started undertaking other efforts that i feel my little self would be pleased to learn of. 

at the end of the day, i've been reminded of what i really wanted to do and be by what i use to do and be. 

to my dear, unpleasant, punk rocking sixteen year old trace, i give my sincere thanks and apologies for not getting in touch with you sooner. i also apologize for not living up to some of your goals and aspirations that i won't be returning to--you'll understand why when you get to the point where you write this blog.

best wishes,
bigger little trace.

*some goals from earlier childhood were initially included, but ultimately omitted from the main list to avoid confusion. they were: live on an island with monkeys, marry megan c. from my fourth grade class, own a racing motorcycle, and play for the utah jazz or be an astronaut if i didn't make the team.