Saturday, June 28, 2008

Just a little bit dreary.

Do I want to be in agony or sedated? This is the dilemma that I have wrestled with all day. The day from hell. Now I sit at home in the silence, and the pain only gets worse. All I wanted two months ago was a little time to myself. Now I am at home, on the couch, alone, and I just wish that there was someone here with me. Why is it that I always want what I can't have?

I guess it is not exactly that I want what I can't have, but I want something in the middle, and I keep getting extremes. No privacy vs. being alone all the time. New York vs. Ventucky, I guess. the pain in my jaw won't go away and it won't let me concentrate. The noise and the pictures from the television focuses me on something else. I hate television. But I can't read, the pain just gets worse.

I am trying so hard to stop complaining. I finally got on my bike today. Yesterday was the trainer, today I graduated to real road under my tires. Until I got a flat and my tires became my mom's tires. But the beach was perfect. It was overcast, but not overly cold or windy. After my ride I was sitting in my car up on the overlook over Emma Wood watching the surfers when I realized that it was my perfect beach day. The sunset was peeking through the clouds on the horizon, but the majority of the sky was gray. It was just a little bit dreary, but that's Ventura. A sunny, crowded beach isn't home. That's the movies.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rant against the throbbing.

Ugh. Why does this have to be the worst at night? Sitting alone in my room, staring up at my ceiling, listening to the left side of my jaw throbbing. I am determined to wean myself off of pain killers, but I just would love for the deep tissue throbbing to stop for a while. This is the worst it has been all day, the day without vicodin (the day without vomit), but as the numbers on my clock reveal a new day, the pain only gets worse.

At least my typing is back to normal. I no longer am typing like I am drunk, meaning I am probably not high on opiates anymore. Hopefully that means that I am good to go for tomorrow: driving and riding and living like a half-normal person. All this home alone business has been getting under my skin. Not only home alone, but home alone in a sedated state, not really able to concentrate on much, worthless trying to read, vegged out in front of a computer or television, if not fast asleep.

Why is the throbbing getting worse? Can this really be from the five minutes I tried to pretend it was going to be okay for me to sleep on my side like normal tonight? True, it is better than last night, but still. Advil....start working!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A day's ride in pictures

Bitches and hos. Surgery. The worst part of it is (well, besides not being able to go riding for ANOTHER three to five days) that I don't even have a good story. I got my wisdom teeth out, big deal. The last couple of times that I have had to deal with copious bleeding I at least had a good story to tell. Like when I had minor oral surgery on the inside of my lip, itself not exciting, but I did refuse to be put out and watched a scalpel come right for my eyes and root around in my mouth for twenty minutes.

And the time before that, I got to get staples in my head for the benefit of amusing Mr. Gray while he was enduring a much worse hospital experience.

Now all I've got is the fact that the nurse who called to check up on me was confused by my female voice and asked if Shane Ferro was there and how he was doing. Since I didn't correct her, it took her a while to get it. Fun stuff.

In other news, I made sure to celebrate my one good day of cycling for the week by taking some pictures along my ride. I was planning some awesome shots at Emma Wood and maybe even some out past Solimar, but unfortunately I got a flat right before getting to PCH, mile 32 at that point, and packed it in once I got dirty after changing the tube.

An oak tree just before Foster Park. The place where you do all of your breathing through your mouth because of the horses and the manure, but then you regret it because of all the flies. So then you just go faster.

Lake Casitas, where you stop to rest for a second if you feel like you are going to die after making it up the hill. Or you take some water and push on to the downhill.

The opposite side of the river bed from the lake, the view of Oak View back country from the Trail.

Looks like a bombed out Star Wars set to me. The beginning of the oil fields, and the Avenue ghetto tagging.

My beach picture when I got my flat and decided the actual beach pictures just weren't going to happen. I went back to the car, changed my shoes, and ran some jetties on the beach instead.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scenes from New Orleans

It's got to be a mint julep in the South. In honor of Faulkner, of course.

Kens in drag. The way I like my Ken dolls.

Hard at work with power tools.
We built that porch with nothing but labor, lumber, and a few power tools.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thoughts on bitchiness

This whole thing is really getting to me. I am putting way too much pressure on myself. I came a couple of realizations this morning. One is that I am not responding well to pressure right now, physical or emotional. Two is that when I can't figure out what is bothering me and I am going through things in my head and I hit a word and then I feel like I want to burst into tears, that is probably what is bothering me.

Even when I was at home "relaxing" I felt like I was under pressure. Pressure to be the perfect daughter, pressure to find something to do, pressure to find people to do it with. Then came the hard reality that very few people actually wanted to do anything with me. I got blown off six times in six days, once so somebody could go get arrested. No one came to Piesta. And now I feel like a bitch for thinking all of these things. Someone did want to hang out with me all the time last week. That's not fair. Why am I so focused on the negative rather than the positive? Because the negative is easier to write about, I guess. And I don't need word therapy for the positive.

While I am here, all I can think about is how spoiled I am. It makes me feel like kind of a bitch, and that just makes me bitchy to the people that I am around.

I am going to try harder today. To be nice, that is.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tales from the bayou

After five days in Louisiana and 2 volunteering with Habitat, I am beat, sunburnt, and maybe a little bit better person. Maybe. Le Vieux Carré is almost the same as I remember it. The first night that I was here I reveled in the literary beauty of the Quarter, and while in the Jazz Emporium opted for a mint julep to bring me that much closer to Faulkner. Eventually, I bought As I Lay Dying from the Faulkner House Bookstore, just because that is what you have to do when you are in New Orleans. I also had to partake in a café au lait per day, or two per day, as it happened, from Café du Monde.

Thinking back on that bit of wild fun, I almost forget the last two days, which have been hours and hours of dirt and sweat. We are out in the St. Bernard parish, about half hour outside of the city, at Camp Hope. A converted middle school, Camp Hope is home base for Habitat for Humanity and Americorps volunteers post Katrina. Yesterday was 8 hours of house painting in 100 degree, 60% humidity weather. Today, bestie Hillary and I built a porch. Actually, we built major parts of two different porches. I am not a contstruction-type person. I am not a heat-type person. I would almost prefer to be taking finals.

Does this make me selfish? Half of me is really proud of myself, and I really want to help the people here. Driving through the deserted towns is worse than looking out the back of the car when I was in Nicaragua. At least there was some shoddy bit of an eonomy in Nicaragua. Here, there is nothing. Nothing but people living in a food/retail desert without half of their homes or their neighbors. I want to help them. I want to make this look like America again.

But I hate construction.

Maybe I should take over FEMA, so should something like this happen in the future, so many volunteers won’t be needed three years later.

I am a terrible person. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t finish Miss Edna’s porch.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dear God, It's Me, Shane

I am slowly proceeding through the ten steps of readjusting to suburban life. First, there was relief to be home and sleep in my own room and make myself a salad. Then there was appreciation for the conveniences of life here. Then came annoyance, boredom, frustration, depression, and I am now back at appreciation. If I didn't cringe at the thought of life here, I could never love New York. And if there weren't a few things to come back to (the beach, my family), then I would be stuck in New York indefinitely without perspective. I am glad to be in Ventura for a while. And I am glad that I am leaving.

During my frustration period a couple of days ago, I sat at Peet's and composed a short list of some of the things that I despise most about living in the suburbs. It is far from finished, but I hope to begin to make the case from which I put myself on my little metropolitan pedestal.

Did my hatred of the suburbs spawn my love of the city, or does my love for the city create my abhorrence for the suburbs? It is hard to tell. The major problems I have with the suburbs are as follows:

  • There are no public gathering places. Sure there are a few parks, but the lack of walkability to the parks means that people must go out of their way to go there, therefore needing a specific reason to make their way there. There is no reason to just wander into a park in the suburbs, and if you do, there is not much taking place, because wandering there is not common among people.
  • There are too many cars. People drive everywhere because of urban sprawl creating traffic and congestion. As a form of transportation, cars are the least social, most polluting. With everyone in their own cars, not only are there more emissions, but the community doesn't have a shared sense of space. Everyone has their own space in their own cars with no necessary reason to get along. Even though people don't talk in the subway, and barely even look at each other, there is the sense that everyone has to share the same space, the same air. For the few minutes that you are underground, you have to get along with the people around you, even if you don't become best friends.
  • The suburbs do not promote a healthy lifestyle for young adults. The biggest complaint among my peer group is that there is nothing to do. After the sun goes down there is absolutely nothing to do. This goes back to both public space and transportation issues, but the basic consequence of the matter is that it promotes finding places to experiment with illicit substances. It is not that people in the city don't do it too, but the more distractions there are the less it gets done. Bars promote drinking, but paying $5 a drink significantly lessens the volume of alcohol consumed, compared to the suburban house party, which usually costs and attendant nothing to get completely wasted. The social aspect of the suburbs promotes major over consumption.
  • Have I mentioned that there is nothing to do in the suburbs?
  • The suburbs promote a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. People go from sitting at the office to sitting in their cars to sitting on the couch, get up, and do it again the next day. Additionally, air quality is not always the best in the suburbs, either. Pollution may come from the city, but what happens when the wind blows? The smog travels from the city to the outlying suburbs.
  • Driving and finding something to do promotes getting a DUI

Although, I have to say, this view isn't bad, either...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Invocation of the Muses

I went to the Getty Villa today. I have wanted to go forever (theoretically) and have just never gotten around to it. I am glad that I waited--Lit Hum made the experience so awesome. There was a whole room dedicated to ancient Greeks mythology, mostly the Iliad and the Odyssey(!!!). The room actually had copies of the epics there for you to read before viewing the stories portrayed in art. I got so excited when I walked into the room that I almost crashed into the WT (white trash) lady telling her fake blonde/boobed friend how the movie was great, and just so much better than trying the books (which are so...long). I thought that my head was going to explode. This was the point at which I made a very dramatic leap towards the copy of the Iliad sitting on the bench and proceeded to thumb my way through the entire first book before deciding my time might be better spent looking at the art that couldn't be found in any bookstore in the western world as the Iliad most likely can be.

It was then I thought, what movie could she possibly be talking about? Troy presumably, but there are so many things wrong with that movie that had I heard the entire conversation I probably would have actually bitten her head off after that comment (like a Scylla).

Other highlights of the museum included the basilica room holding five different Muse statues ("Tell me, Muse..." I thought to myself), numerous phalli in the Theater collection, where i hearkened back to Aristophanes, and the statue of Leda, who was raped by Zeus when he turned into a swan, which produced Helen, who was the woman that launched a thousand ships, beginning the Trojan war.

It's nice to know that the Columbia bill has at least instilled in me self-worth for a few secluded hours in a fancy museum at the base of the hill in Malibu, and an entire car-ride worth of thoughts for the way home.

I bought a copy of the History of the Peloponnesian War for myself, since I either left mine in New York or I sold it back for a whole $.05. Is it sad that the one book that I feel that I can't live without is Thucydides? What if I am in dire need of conquering someone in the next month or so? It may be sad, but I read "Pericles Funeral Oration" on the way home, and I remembered why I liked reading this so much last semester, when everyone else hated it, save a few hardcore Poli Sci nerds like me.

Other than the fact that I don't think that our President's speech writers are this good, I wouldn't be surprised if I got a copy of the speech and was told it came from some sort of political or military rally in the United States within the last 5 years. There are so many freedom and security- based talking points that could be applied to the United States' current situation that I am moved, even though I don't necessarily agree with the politics. My appreciation for Thucydides definitely springs from the American Foreign Policy class that I took. I am in awe of the pure realism of the Greek generals, and the incredible rhetoric that Thucydides employs to sway his audience.

"The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.
" I like this quote for its simplicity, even though it scares the shit out of me. I have this little monster inside of me debating between realism and liberalism. I would like to be an idealist. I love the idea of the United Nations, but I fear that states are driven by power, and that international cooperation is going to be fine and dandy until somebody either accidentally or accidentally-on-purpose hits the red button, a nuke goes flying, and all hell breaks loose. Or until oil really becomes a problem, and we don't have a solution except for more anger at the Middle East.

These are the things that I am afraid of. I am afraid of ignorance in the world, I am afraid of the shifting balance of power, I am afraid of stagflation and a crumbling economy because of fuel prices. I am afraid of a global food crisis, mass famine, drought, and war and disease because of it. I am afraid that these things are all going to happen in my lifetime--and yet, I am also excited because if they do happen in my lifetime, they are my problems to fix. It is somewhat exciting to think of how my generation is going to rise to the occasion, what we are going to come up with, what frontiers we are going to break through. What I do know is that I will not sit on the sidelines. I'll do what I have the power to do. And I will do it well.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Intellectual and emotional frustrations taken out in meanacing diction

Grrr. I am pissed at life. I am pissed at the suburbs and living in the middle of nowhere and stagflation caused by rising oil prices. I want to be able to step outside my doorstep and take a walk down a busy street, people watch, and generally entertain myself rather than sitting on my ass, bored, not wanting to drive anywhere, hating myself for my ridiculous fear of the phone.

I am tired of people flaking on me. I feel like I have no friends since I got home; at least none that can actually do anything. I am a little bit of a hypocrite on that front, but still it empties my bucket when everyone has something to do and I don't. So I end up doing nothing but errands for other people. This is leaving out the numerous hours of bike riding that I have been doing--but still, the rest of my day seems so mindless.

Two days ago I still wasn't quite bored. I was still relishing the wonderful idea of not having to do much. Now I am bored. I wish I had a job, or a purpose. It is not like it was last summer. Everyone has dispersed, or just plain ditched me for younger, hotter, easier girls.

I miss having someone to talk to (surprise?). I miss Diana. I miss not having any time to watch television. I miss the subway and new streets to explore and new people to meet.

I am so cynical. I know as soon as I go to New York I am going to miss my family and my house and be tired of working all the time with no time to ride my bike. But right now I just want a schedule. I miss my Google calendar, and actually having to look at it to remember all of the things that I had to get done.

God, I am so awkward. Hawkward. Awkward fucking terradactyl.