I thought I figured something out, but I probably didn’t

Ever have it where there’s a million things running around in your head, and you’re convinced you want to get them all written down, but then when you finally get the chance to write them, you realize those most profound ideas are little more than : “girls are pretty”, “beer is good”, and “I am a complete and utter moron sometimes”.. [the first being a lot more prevalent than the other two.] Anyway, I still feel like there’s something on my mind, so I’ll write until it comes out, or I fall asleep.

Before I begin, Go Cubs!. Sweetness.

Recapping the more important events of the past week. Wednesday was euchre and fast scrabble at Sven and Julie’s. How is that important? It’s not, really, but shut up. Thursday was work from home day, and I manages to wake up early, which was impressive. (early is 7 am on Thursday.. I usually shoot for 8.) The plan was to get work done early, so I could blow the rest of the day on Zelda. So I got my work done, played some Zelda, but my POD came Thursday as well, and that thing is lovely. When it came, I felt the need to fix one of my older guitars that was more or less dead. Some electrical tape, some earphones wire, and a lot of “questionable wiring” later, I’ve got myself another working guitar. The POD is a slick distortion box thinger that Jay introduced me to, and it is really nice.

Ended up at Max and Ermas twice on Thursday, with Mindy and her friend for lunch, then Josh, Robb, Mike, and Dusty for dinner. More card games that evening. Played some Zelda, but not much. There were about 4 things I was stuck on, all at the same time, and it was really starting to piss me off [moreso because Joel had gotten well past these parts seemingly without difficulty quite some time ago]. I resolved to get farther sometime Friday.

Friday night I got a hold of Joel, and he, Tuuk, and I went to Logans for dinner. Our waitress, Tricia, was most likely Aphrodite, down from Mount Olympus. She wished us a pleasant evening, and hoped we’d come back sometime soon. I think we should. Afterwards, it was off to Mulligans Pub. I like the word “Pub”. It feels… like old school Boston or something. It seems classier than “bar” anyway. Heh… the place itself, on the other hand… Anyway, Mulligans was packed, and we had a decent sized group. There was a inebriated/belligerent guy who said he’d give up his table if we bought his table all drinks.. and when we didn’t, he swore a lot. He was not amusing. So we hung out there for a while, and I met a girl that seemed to not hate me, which was nice. So hopefully I’ll get to see her again, which pretty much guarantees that I won’t.

Speaking of which, things have been weird lately. Weird good. After well over a year of pretty much nothing, multiple women have shown at the very least mild interest in me. It’s a good thing. Watching myself dick up all of these possibilities ought to be amusing to the outside observer.

Saturday’s weather was excellent! Sven and I went to the driving range, and I confirmed that I have no real clue how to swing a golf club consistently. That evening it was off to Founders to hear Jonathan’s band play. It was quite good, and I got a mention (the “eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry [drink when I drive]” song. It was excellent. Man I like that song.). Made it home late, played some more Zelda, then headed off to sleep.

Today was Easter service, and Kristin came with me. It was excellent… turns out we aren’t good people. Afterwards it was dinner at Jeff and Rebecca and Steven’s place. Her family was in town. It went well. Afterwards, it was Zelda much of the late afternoon, then Swac‘s family came over, and I hung out with then (+ Robb) for a while. There, you’re caught up.

Have you seen the commercials/trailer for the new Matrix movie? Um… that looks fan-freaking-tastic. I tend not to get too excited about that many movies, with the exception of Star Wars/Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Kevin Smith movies, but this one… wow. I’m a big fan of the original, but I had to be won over, as I thought the preview/commercials looked stupid. Those that dismiss it as a special effects driven shallow plotless story should be stoned in the city square. My brother and I were talking about this today: They’ve taken 2 or 3 of the main Fantasy/Sci-Fi themes, and managed to tell them in a new and really interesting/original way:

  1. The Messiah/Christ story: A prophesied “one” appears, and fulfills his/her destiny by saving the world/galaxy form ultimate evil that no one else is capable of defeating [e.g. Star Wars]
  2. The fear of the world being overrun/taken by sentient machines: Man’s undoing by his own creations. Machines become too smart, turn on their makers, and pretty much kill them all off, or make them slaves. [e.g. The Terminator series.. speaking of which, T-3 ought to be good too.]
  3. The fake universe: The world that you see around you isn’t real, or isn’t your world. [e.g The 13th floor, or any of the Star Trek episodes where someone has a goatee]

Anyway, I like the Matrix, and this new one looks like it’s going to be sweeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeet!

There’s this hostess at Max and Ermas, Sara (she short, cute brunette, not the hot taller blond). Every time she seats us, she asks if it’s the first time we’ve been there, and if there’s a special reason we’re there. I know the hostesses are supposed to say that and all, but she’s seen me many times. Hell, I’ve been there more than she has, I think. She shouldn’t be asking if it’s my first time there, and at this point, I think we can assume that I don’t have any special occasions. Then again, all she has to do is smile and say “Have a nice night” and I love her again. Being a guy sucks.

I lock the door to my bathroom even when I’m the only one home. Is that weird?

I was talking to Andy a little while ago, and we came to the agreement that, while for the most part musicians aren’t geniuses by any stretch, we would grant some people “moments of clarity” when they are capable of channeling true genius through their art. It’s this “moment of clarity” that I want to talk about (Moment of Clarity –> Those moments in life when suddenly everything seems to make sense, and you understand why things are a certain way, or why you behave the way that you do.). Saturday afternoon, I was watching CSPAN-2, and there was this author, Sarah Vowell, giving a talk/Q and A session. Sarah has done a LOT of This American Life segments for NPR, so I recognized her voice instantly. So I started watching, and she’s excellent. She was reading some of the things she had written, and she is so eloquent, so clever, so funny, and so charming.. She made me embarrassed to so clumsily use the same language. (it should be noted at this point that she also made me instantly think of Steve, who so wisely introduced me to This American Life a few years ago. Thanks Steve!) So I was listening to her, and was awed at just how much I enjoyed listening to her talk, and I resolved to read all her books, and listen to all her This American Life segments… and it all just kinda hit me: This is what I always do, and this is what drives me insane! There’s just too much in this life to do.. too much I want to see, feel, experience, know, appreciate, collect, visit, etc.. The line from American Beauty runs through my head quite often, and I think it’s sound advice that I’m still incapable of taking:

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst…

And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…

There’s just too much… and sometimes I get really frustrated that I’m not taking advantage of it all, or I feel like I’m not doing enough to experience it all… or I’m falling behind schedule or something. No matter what I do, it feels like I’m not doing all that I’m supposed to be doing, and because of that, I’ll be missing out on something. So I don’t sleep, because I’m afraid I’ll miss something. I try to get everything… and then I get frustrated and overwhelmed because there’s just too much, and I stay in bed, and hide from it all, and get depressed and scared and sad. I still haven’t learned to just appreciate the things life has to offer.. I’m too busy bemoaning the fact that I’m probably missing something.

7 thoughts on “I thought I figured something out, but I probably didn’t

  1. Two things:
    1) I should see The Matrix again, but my memory is that the Messiah thing was overly heavy-handed. Even the Star Wars prequels are more nuanced in that respect, since their annointed turns out to be evil.

    2) From WBEZ in Chicago and Public Radio International, it’s This American Life. NPR doesn’t enter into it. I’m sure NPR is really happy that everyone thinks they’re synonymous with public radio, but PRI has so many good shows that they really deserve to be recognized as the independent entity they are.

    “Nancy Cartwright has done a LOT of Simpsons segments for NBC, so I recognized her voice immediately.” It’s like that, except that I don’t give a hoot if Fox gets respect, because it doesn’t deserve any. But PRI does.

  2. Klaas,

    1.) Watch it again. Yeah, it’s heavy-handed, but it’s one of those things where Morpheus (a possible “the Father” figure) is constantly trying to convince the “son” that he is who he is. It’s hard to do that without bringing it up quite a bit. I guess I felt less like I was being pounded over the head with something, and more than HE saw no reason to try to hide it, or keep it a secret. Star Wars takes a similar idea, and twists it slightly, by making the Messiah figure more murky, and split. You’ve got to call Anakin “the one” that was foretold… the one that “would return balance to the force”. But he turns evil, and it requires the work of HIS son to help him realize his true destiny, which is to destroy the evil one in the form of Emperor Palpatine. Luke is able to stand up to the evil, but was powerless to destroy it. So it’s an interesting twist on a familiar story. The idea of the savior figure being unwilling is nothing new.. but making him so unwilling that he goes in the complete opposite direction is interesting, I think.

    2. Yeah, I noticed that today when I went to the This American Life site again. I’d change the blog entry, but then your post would make no sense. I do question your example a little though… This American Life plays on NPR here, I thought…(just checked, and yeah, it does.) So i guess it’d be more like giving credit to TBS for coming up with great shows like Seinfeld and Friends…

    Either way, all hail PRI for providing joy in 1 hour snippets.

  3. I’ll concede #1, at least until I’ve seen the movie again.

    I’m still going to hold out on #2, though. I think you’re being thrown off by Michigan Radio’s slogan, “Your NPR news station.” What they’re trying to say with that is not “We are part of NPR, or owned and operated by them” but “We play a lot of NPR programming, and we want you to listen to it from us instead of from Blue Lake Public Radio” (or whatever the competitors might be in southeast Michigan.

    So obviously Michigan Radio has a close relationship with NPR (they get a lot of programming from them, and Todd Mundt is sponsored and distributed by them), but they’re an independent organization, headquartered in Ann Arbor.

    I’m pretty sure I’m right about all this, but I’ve gotten bits and snippets of information from Steve recently about the NPR satelite system and various things that have served to confuse me somewhat about just what the organizational structures are and how independent different entities are. But I’m pretty sure that NPR and PRI are competitors (not in the sense of trying to beat each other out so much as in the sense of being two different companies in the same field. Like Visa and Mastercard.) who both sell content to Michigan Radio, one of many independent radio stations.

    Nice that your posts are so long, since too often my little comments like these dwarf the original entries.

  4. Ah, I’m beginning to understand (well, I think I’m beginning to understand what is correct, rather than just what I thought..) There’s only one way to find out… well, no there’s many ways to find out, but I’m lazy.. so I’m just gonna ask NPR and PRI what the deal is b/w them….

    Okay, I sent an email to Michigan Radio asking what the deal was b/w NPR and PRI.. we shall see…

  5. Yeah, NPR and PRI are competitors. HowEVER, NPR Distribution (which is sort-of NPR and sort-of not) distributes both NPR and PRI programming over the Public Radio Satellite System. Michigan Radio (which is not Michigan Public Radio, mind you) is a CPB-qualified station that airs NPR and PRI programming that it receives over the Public Radio Satellite System. See, it’s all very clear.

  6. Ok, so these are questions for Steve, Mr. Public Radio Guru, which I could email, but am putting here instead since it seems like other people might be interested in the answers.

    What exactly does CPB-qualification mean? Does every CPB-qualified station get money from CPB? Is it a prerequisite for certain things, like a certain tax status or the right to get programming from NPR or PRI? (The last hypothesis would seem to be supported by the fact that you never hear NPR or PRI programs on commercial radio (at least I never have).)

    Next question, or tack: What’s the difference between “Public Radio” ala Michigan Radio and WHYY and “Non-profit community radio” ala WYCE and WXPN? Is the “Public Radio” label reserved for CPB-qualified stations?
    This ties into the “do you have to be CPB qualified to air NPR/PRI content” question, since WXPN plays the five-minute NPR news briefs. And also has a program distrubuted by PRI.

    That’s probably enough for now. Various answers would spawn various other questions, but I’ll avoid trying to hash out all the possibilities here.

  7. It’s all rather foggy. CPB-qualified means you get money and have certain privileges (airing NPR/PRI content, I think) and certain restrictions (strict underwriting requirements). They re-qualify you ever year or so. Public vs. Community radio isn’t real clear. Commercial vs. Non-commercial is clearer, but some public radio stations are getting suspiciously commercial (witness WBUR in Boston). WXPN is a weird one, and I don’t know quite how it works, but I suspect that they pay more for NPR programming that CPB-qualified stations pay.

    In the end, good radio is good, and bad radio is bad. What we need is more good radio, whatever you call it. Who want’s to make some?

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