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People who start words with contradictions (sans pictures)

Posted by james on June 3, 2001

The pictures are gone. A friend called me on it and I realized that while they add to the rants, they aren't right. So they're gone.

The thoughts from the DR are still stewing in my mind, but it's not time to write those out yet. So for now, I'll write on a few less significant thoughts that otherwise will soon be lost from my mind.

One thing I was thinking about lately was people who start their words with contradictions. The phrase that sparked my thought was "I don't want to break the mood, but..." Now here's a contradiction; the speaker does not want to break the mood but still wants to say the following thing that he knows (or believes) will break the mood. The only way this isn't a contradiction is if he actually has to say thing that follows. What he's implying is "I don't want to break the mood, but I have to (am forced to) say this: ..." Then it makes sense. But usually the thing that he says really doesn't need to be said. So it becomes a cheat. People use the phrase to couch the effects of what they're about to say. They might be breaking the mood and ruining something, but in our minds (as listeners) we'll forgive... after all, he apologized beforehand. But in reality, if I (as a speaker) really didn't want to break the mood, I simply wouldn't say whatever it was I had planned to. Whatever I had to say could wait. If I had something that absolutely had to be said, then it'd be an appropriate time for me to say "I don't want to break the mood but..."

I guess what I'm trying to point out is how the phrase is abused, and consequently loses it's meaning. Sometimes I wouldn't mind what the person is going to say and the phrase passes by me. But the time I heard it used last was when I was in a sunday morning church service. I was out of my element, but I was trying to pray and commune with God and it was at the end of the service. And right in the middle of that, the person on the mic said those words... "I don't want to ruin the mood, but..." and proceeded to try to sell something. Literally. It wasn't as evil as trying to sell pardons for sins, or doves for sacrifice, but all the same it was a little distasteful. And that's when the thought stuck in my mind; if he really didn't want to break the mood, he shouldn't have talked for five minutes about the thing he's trying to sell. It really didn't need to be said (it could have waited until after). So the truth... "I regret ruining the mood, but I think the importance of what I have to say justifies the disruption this will cause..." And I don't think he would have said that, because put as plainly as that not many people would continue talking.

So that's where I'm at. Not a literal meaning nazi... I don't need people to always use the exact phrases they mean and never say something that isn't completely, literally true. But I would like that people realize the true nature of what they're doing (saying), and not allow couch phrases to justify in their minds things that otherwise (with a little thought) they wouldn't feel were justified.

Back from the DR

Posted by james on May 31, 2001

It feels almost ridiculous to write anything here...

I just got back from the Dominican Republic on saturday. It was only a two week trip, and now I don't even know how to begin describing it. While I was there I had plans on writing about a whole bunch of topics, like a series. There's so much I learned there I wouldn't be able to fit it into any number of rants. But now I don't even know... it's all too fresh in my mind to write out yet.

Only two weeks... and I've gone on two week trips before, doing the same kind of thing in a similiar environment. But this is the first time I knew that if I was given the choice to come back home or stay there, I would have stayed there. I don't know how long, but I know there's more waiting for me there and I wish I could only be there to see it and learn more.

It's some combination of things over there... the culture that I saw and learned about, the language that I almost understood somehow, and the amazing people I met that I miss already. But coming back into my life here is like putting on clothes that once fit perfectly, and now are awkward and constricting. I don't know what happen in such a short period of time, but I don't fit here anymore. The normal things seem somehow off, and I long to be back in the DR to see the things I'm missing right now.

This will wear off, I've been told. But I know there has been a difference in my life, and I'll have to see how things play out to see what effect is has on my life in the future. But somehow I am changed, even if it only becomes a small part of me later.

And I miss ___ now.

(no title)

Posted by james on May 9, 2001

I don't use this word often, and I've tried not to. But it just seems the only word to use...

I suck at keeping friendships. I just spent an evening (morning?) with a good friend until 6 in the morning, and all I'm left with is the feeling that I really enjoy this, so why do I never call her? Why do I always wait until people ask me to hang out before I do anything? A bunch of people around me having been asking themselves the same question (about me), and some have been asking me.

I heard an idea at some meeting or other, proposed by someone who moved around a lot their whole life. If you never spend much time in any area you learn how to make friends quickly, but you don't get the chance to work on keeping friends. It seems to make sense, the similarities are there. .. but it seems like a cop-out for me.

What do I do? I'm very accepting towards new people, and I want them to feel comfortable. I hang out with people a lot in group situations. I go out with people who want me to go out with them. I don't take a proactive stance and call people to go out, or find ways to see other people. Maybe it's the place I live in.

I live in a house with revolving doors. The doors are always moving, and people are always coming in and out. In the past week there's been someone over until at least 2 am every night. People know this is a place to come to hang out, see other people, do fun stuff. And that's perfect, that was the goal of this house. But that means that I have people around a lot.

And maybe that's what the downfall is of my relationships... they're too convenient. It seems like my friendships should take a turn for the worse if it gets less convenient to see my friends. I should have some kind of motivation to find ways to meet them, because I miss seeing them. But somehow I seem to lack that part of me. Maybe it's broken.

I'm also an introvert. I've asked many people what it means, and have tried to coble together some sort of definition I can understand. And this is what Princeton University thinks it is: "a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts." The fact that I'm sitting here at 6:00 am seems to corroborate this. But if I am an introvert, with a tendency to be alone a lot, then I'd find myself overwhelmed by this house. I've got a certain amount of energy for seeking out other people. If there's always people nearby, right in my own home, that I can interact with and see regularly, do I just get lazy about spending the energy to find anyone outside that small group?

I think I do. I think I get satiated in just spending time with people, and forget that I haven't spent time with certain people because I've spend my energy for the day. I've gone out, I've had fun. I've talked to three different people about the rights and wrongs of th world, the state of music today, and why we can't look through dumpsters at night<font color="red">*</font>. Why would I then turn around and look for more people to talk to? I've had my fill for the day, ready to spend a nice few hours at home alone doing whatever I want to... alone.

Or maybe I'm just a forgetful, thoughtless, and lazy person. It's very possible, and everyonce in a while it looks very true. I've been trying, with certain people, to turn this around and make a point of not acting the way I normally do. But I find I'm back at the start... why didn't I call them? Why don't I try to bring them into my world, instead of simply waiting for them to show up in mine?

I still don't know. There are thoughts I haven't put up here, other ways the puzzle pieces that are my actions might fit together. Maybe I'm missing some pieces, maybe I've got others wrong. I don't know yet. But all things told, I'd rather forget about all this physicological crap and simply try to start hanging out with my friends more.

<font size="-1"><i><font color="red">*</font> it's because anything in the dumpster belongs to the dumpster people. And we're actually stealing their stuff by taking trash out. I think if I saw someone walking away from the dump with a candy wrapper I knew had come from my house, and some guy walking away from my house with a candy bar in hand, I'd be more pissed at the second guy. But hey, apparently it's the same offense.</i></font>

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