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-James

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I just did my homework (*snicker*)

Posted by james on Sept. 27, 2001

I just did my homework today. I did two assignments for groups I'm in, and revised (twice over) a paper I had already written a rough draft for. Let me tell you, it's quite a different experience for me.

My friends know my work habits. I'm not particularly fond of any work, especially homework. I usually don't have things done on time (or at all), never study, don't feel the overwhelming pressure to attend all my classes or arrive on time (which are simply social rules and constructs in place only because all the people at the top are time-oriented... all the other people who wouldn't have cared as much about time didn't care enough to get those jobs). But this semester (the past few weeks anyway) I've decided to try out this work thing. It feels funny every time to say that I've stayed up late to do homework. Not that I've stayed up late because I lounged around all day and this is the last day to do it, but that I've stayed up late to do my homework on time and do it well.

It's a great feeling to know that I've written a rough-draft, come back to it days later and rewritten it, gone over it a third time to polish it off, and turned in something I know I really worked on. This is a little different from writing a paper quickly on a subject I know nothing about (read: unprepared) at the last possible moment (read: five minutes late to class in the morning because I had to spend those minutes figuring out what the last paragraph should be). So this is that work thing that everyone else has been telling me about all this time. Not too bad. I guess this is something I could do for a while. Plus, it makes me feel all good as a person when I'm doing what I know I should (note: not what other people think I should, but what I know I should).

So maybe this'll be the start of a change that might overflow into other areas of my life, like sleeping (at least some every night), friends, and God. But for now, I think I'm getting a good start on the school work for this semester. It's alright... and hey, it sure beats other work like washing dishes.

turning 21

Posted by james on Aug. 28, 2001

My birthday this year was the best ever. The thought I had as I went through my parties was "this is exactly what I wanted to do on my birthday."

What I wanted for my birthday was to hang out and do something simple with a few people on my birthday day (tuesday), then have a bunch of people over on saturday for a party. And that's exactly what happened. Things like this make me happy, because there's not much else you can ask for. It made me content to know that I spent my birthday with friends. At one point on saturday I sat back and looked at what was going on, and it just seemed so good. So many different people from different groups just hanging out and doing crazy stuff together. There were the smart kids, talking about big important things and laughing at the kids that were burning plates and plants on the citronella torch. There were the typical guys that couldn't figure out between the 3 of them exactly how the hamburgers and sausages should be flipped on the barbeque (actually, they all knew... that was the problem). There were the people I haven't seen in months that just showed up randomly about half way through to wish me happy birthday, and the late-nighters that stayed for the whole movie after the outside fun was over. Something about having all these people over and having fun with each other just made me happy.

There were a bunch of things to decide, since I turned 21 this year, including the big question of alcohol. The only alcohol I've had until I turned 21 was (literally) sips from my parent's drinks. I don't like the taste or smell of alcohol, and never really felt pressure to drink. But I also decided not to drink after I turned 21. I talked to a few people as I was trying to figure out if I wanted to drink once I turned 21, and the one reaction I got that stuck out in my mind was this: I have no right to denounce drinking unless I've tried it. This is the most ass-backwards reasoning I've ever heard. Their reasoning was that unless I've tried drinking, I have no right to really say it's good or bad. And therefore, I really can't say that "drinking is not for me" because I don't know. Since when was the experience of any one thing the <u>only</u> factor for knowing whether or not you wanted to do it or not? And extreme comparison would be to say that I (and everyone else) do not have the right to say that crack cocaine (the powder kind) is not for me unless I've tried it. This argument breaks down because it assumes that the exerience is the only factor in deciding if you want to do it or not. I don't have to experience crack to know that I don't want it. I don't want the addiction, I don't want the health hazards, I don't want to spend my money on it. I don't believe that alcohol is evil, or that I'll become an alcoholic if I start drinking, or that it'll ruin my body any more than my diet does now. But I do know this: I've seen the affects that alcohol <b>can</b> have. I've seen people abuse it and seen what alcohol can do to their lives once they let it take over... even for a small period of time.

My decision is not based on the fact that abstaining will actually prevent all these things... the best analogy I can make is to that red ribbon worn on a shirt. Wearing a red ribbon on your shirt doesn't actually prevent AIDS from spreading, nor does putting a blue ribbon on your website actually protect free speach. But it's a symbol, a way for someone to show others (or to themselves) an ideal they think is important. That is my decision.

Last, the fact that my family was gone made this year seem significant. Like this birthday was mine because I didn't have their safety net here. Another step away from the nest, of being more independent and being ok with that. Growing as a person and all... it's deep. Thanks guys.

Phosphorescence

Posted by james on Aug. 21, 2001

Last night I saw the neatest thing I've ever seen in real life. I went to a friend's house and we went swimming in the ocean at night. It was dark and a little cloudy, but there was some light to see by. And once we got out further into the water, we could see the phosphorescence in the water. Every movement we made looked like we had sparks flying from our skin. It glowed green like fireflies, and there were so many particles around us that any move set off a shower of sparks. I spent the whole time watching my hands, seeing how it behaved and what it looked like when I brought my hands out of the water.

It's amazing to believe that something like that is real, and that you can see and play so freely. It seems like it should be harder to find, if it's such a treasure.


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