Wednesday, September 29, 2004

well, its been a week

since my plane touched down in Gatwick International, and i've gotta say that my experiences since have been the most entertaining in quite a while. I haven't actually done anything noteworthy--got settled into my cute townhouse, went to bars, got a mobile, and puttered around campus and Canterbury--but the people have been so welcoming and excited to meet me that i've felt good about myself for the first time in another good while. I've made more friends than you can shake a stick at. And most of them have fairly nice teeth. Stereotypes hurt people--particularly me. My mild southern accent has gotten me more hell because i'm *obviously* a closed-minded Bush supporter who loves attacking other countries without reason. I didn't realize that i sounded like him at all, but apparantly a mild South Carolina twang is exactly the same as a Texan drawl to these folks. Not that i blame them for not being able to tell the difference--apparantly there's a notable variation between Essex and Sussex accents, and Manchester and Wales do not sound the same, but they all kinda sound British to my untrained ears. Oh well. I'm here to learn. But very nice folks abound in general and the State-Haters are fewer than I expected. I'm not homesick yet, though I've rarely gone this long without talking to ol' Skippyhat. I hope he's getting a life in my absence. Hmm... I still can't figure out if i should treat this like a diary or a public-access site. I doubt many people will stumble across it. Whatever.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I'm leaving in 3 days but i'm already packed. 164 lbs of luggage total, according to my bathroom scale--a full 16 pounds under the limit. only qualm is i'm not sure if my backpack will fit under the chair in front of me--i hope the 27-lb bag counts as "laptop" or i'm screwed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

anybody out there want

a Gmail invitation? they keep piling up and glaring me in the face. I feel guilty not using them, as though I'm an employee not holding up the company motto. Share and Enjoy.

on laptops

I've been using a laptop for about a month now, and I've gotta say, though I'm not a huge Microsoft fan, I've begun to understand the appeal. With a proper ethernet card you can putz around all day, anywhere you choose to go--with No Wires. no wires. Sounds like no big deal, but its the difference between tripping and walking comfortably. I'm still getting used to the touch pad versus mouse ordeal, and the speakers are less than wonderful, but it does just about everything my iMac does with no wires. I never realized it would matter, but it does.

Monday, September 13, 2004

just occurred to me

Its really kind-of funny the way people write in journals. Typically, unless concocting poetry, one will write as though speaking to an audience who is hearing information for the first time. They describe the points they find important in much more detail than those which they don't, and may make identifying notes about certain people or events. For instance, it is not uncommon to see journal or diary entry phrases similar to "my ex-boyfriend, Josh" or "Blockbuster pavilion, this big ampitheater where I once saw Dave Matthews play" or "Billy, that whiny guy." Most of the time people add in these descriptive phrases to explain the pertinence of a person, place, or thing to the audience. However, when the audience is a blank piece of paper, one can be pretty sure that it doesn't care. And you already know who Billy is and where you saw Dave Matthews play and you should really keep a tally of your exes--so why bother?

Sunday, September 12, 2004

if i were any more negative

i would implode. Its true. I'm embarrassingly so. But I've reached a point where I'm actually more upbeat than my whiny self-flagellating companions and their complaining and sensitivity have driven me away. Over the past month I've whittled myself down to having .5 friends (one person who is genuinly a good friend but I treat him like crap) and have been spending more than a healthy amount of time alone. Convenient, I think, that I'm shortly leaving the country. Without constant reminders of how i've failed completely at friendship I can start over in a new, different environment. Oh I hope.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

believe it or not, we're all repressed

There are two things in this world about which I am less enthused than football--NASCAR and bass fishing. I guess that makes me a tragic waste of a southern girl. But come on. I can almost see how men release their primal killing urges vicariously through big guys in shoulder pads on the telly, but can anyone explain not only why people would televise bass fishing, but actually hold globally-acclaimed contests for it? Its not a sport! Its a leisure activity, much like solitaire or recreational alcoholism.
About a month ago I happened to be spending a night as a counselor at my local summer camp on Lake Wylie. At six in the morning, as the world was gradually being filtered into Technicolor for the day, I happened to wake. I stood, groggily, with my sleeping bag still around my waist, and peered through half-closed eyes toward something sparkly. It slowly dawned on me that the sparkly thing was a neon-teal bass boat, motor off, drifting around a nearby inlet. Suddenly, the statuesque figure standing stock-still in that tiny oh-just-one-push-would-flip-you craft looked up and made contact with my eyes. At that time I knew, either by dumb luck or divine intervention, both the fisherman and I were simultaneously thinking, "what the hell are they doing there?"
And NASCAR. jeebus. lets sit in cars and drive as fast as we can bumper-to-bumper without causing wrecks. Yep. yep. I call that I-485 on Friday afternoon. I do that all the time, flipping the bird with one hand as i hold a gas station Big Gulp in the other. Who needs both hands on the wheel when you've got elbows? I mean, i applaud the people who make and drive stock cars. But the fact is, the people who drive those cars drive upwards of 200 miles per hour constantly and at least once a race one of those cars is completely annihilated in a fireball visible from space--and the driver walks away. These days you can't even tap another car without the alarm going off and some sort of insufferable lawsuit, complete with neck braces and mental trauma. Why do people pay to see others drive recklessly without being ticketed? I guess we're again living vicariously through others whom we've glorified. Wow, we say, Look at that guy. He caught a real big fish and got money for it. Look at him--he's seven and a half feet tall and just pile-drove that little wimpy guy into a heap. Whoa. That guy is driving 210 miles an hour and I see No blue lights. I wish i could be him. Argh!
What we need is a complete upheaval of these celebrities and televised events. We should be idolizing that little gray-haired fella eating caviar with a straight pin while we are out pummeling little guys into heaps. We ought to feel awe at the sight of a blue-haired granny going 25 in a 70 zone while we're driving 3,000mph in our car with heat-reactive tires and a cabin that's designed to crush accordion-style. But no. We PAY PEOPLE to do that for us. We pay others to be cool, to have fun, to be strong and pretty and go fishing while we sit in our little gray cubicles tapping away from 9 am until whenever our pointy-haired boss says we can leave on our ugly beige PCs. We pay people to live cool lives so we can dream of one day being them. I'm embarrassed to be human. We're such little Puritans with our panties in a wad, at heart.

y'know what

can anyone explain to me why galaxies look like hurricanes? And in a passage-of-time diagram, the Solar system looks just like an atomic energy level chart. I'm not making this up. It makes me pretty certain that that whole Adam and Eve story is pure bull, as there's clearly something much bigger than humans or even Earth going on here.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

making my exit

As no one should be expected to know, as nobody should know my name or really anything about me on this server (or really should have even read this), I will be leaving These Here United States in just under two weeks' time to spend a school year in England. I intend to use this webspace as a journal of my adventures and experiences in the UK and the rest of Europe. I figure its a great way to store my thoughts-there's no paper to get wet or torn, i never need to find a pencil, and it's hard to lose. And if anyone happens to read it besides me...well, oh well. Just hopefully my mother won't, as I at least hope that my experiences abroad will include a couple of non-G-rated scenes. But knowing my luck I'll come back in a habit, praying my rosary. In any case, this is my trip log. I hope it will be exciting. Or at least have some words in it by the time July rolls around.

Friday, September 03, 2004

By Law I'm a Moron

It sucks to be an American under age 21. I had forgotten that until I headed down to my local college town recently and was constantly under the scrutiny of the local police, who were asking my friends for ID and throwing them out of places where they're legally permitted. I'm not a kid, but I'm not an adult. In fact, I can get tossed into adult jail for participating in activities that are legal for adults. Chew on that one for a while. Heck, I've been told that I'm too stupid and immature to be responsible for my actions or pursue a lucrative career until I can no longer reliably bear healthy babies (average range of ages for women to neither incur injury during childbirth nor bear children with impariments or deformities: 15-28). At 18 I can buy guns, porno, explosives, tobacco, and poker chips AND I can pretend to contribute to the choosing of leaders, but I can't drink alcohol. Alcohol. The only "illicit" substance BLESSED BY THE CHRISTIAN GOD. In this nation where the Bible and Jaysus are used as reasons to lynch black people, repress women, terrorize people of different faiths, separate gays from basic human rights and tell kids that the instinctive procreative act known as SEX is BAD, you'd think we'd understand one of the Scripture's harder-to-rend verses such as "Jesus turned water into wine" to mean "wine isn't bad." Maybe I'm just a crazy liberal, but I can't figure out where we found notions like "prevent youths from doing what adults do on a regular basis so that they think activities such as drinking, sex, smoking, and guns are a lot cooler than they really are so that they abuse them when they finally are permitted to use them and wind up brain-damaged, pregnant, infected with STDs and possibly missing limbs before they've lived twenty-five years." Under a rock, maybe? Modern, Progressive thinking would rationalize that if you introduce activities such as these to kids when they're young and teach them the concept of moderation, we can have healthy, well-balanced, socially-productive people working and doing well for themselves as soon as they've gotten past puberty.
But until then, I'll drink and drive, have unprotected sex, and smoke until my lungs are black, then claim that I was simply too stupid to be expected to be responsible for my actions until I turned twenty-one.