Beneficial Belittling

February 5th, 2009

friends.pngChalk it up to the new year, or the departed old one, but I’m sitting here now reflective and grateful. For as I’m about to explain, I have been blessed with an amazing group of friends.

Both at home and at school, the people that choose to put up with me are, by far, the most unique, talented, perservering, and giving people with whom I have had the privilege to cross paths. I will spare the Breakfast Club-esque descriptions for each one of them, but suffice it to say that they’re as unique as they are similar.

Last year we have, for the first time in a long time, been lucky enough to add a few new friends to our longstanding core group, and they very quickly caught on to an interesting phenomena that revolves in our little circle – we all, quite frequently, make fun of one another.

Now this might sound normal, and in certain quantities it’s almost unavoidable, but we seem to do it more often than other social cohorts. Whether in front of each other, or not (spelled g-o-s-s-i-p), we always seem to revert to the same pastime – consistent, innocuous, ridicule. Now it’s important to keep in mind that this regular tomfoolery is not done with any sordid malice, which brings me to the question at hand – if not to hurt the other person, why do we do it?

I’ve thought about the answer to this question for a while now (often during periods when one of us took one of those verbal lashings slightly more personally than usual, haha), and believe that I have arrived at the main explanation.

I say main reason with precise intention – there are likely many reasons for this peculiar behavior extending far into realms of our own respective psyches. But of all of the explanations out there, only one seems to make the most sense: we do it in order to keep each other in check. Let me explain.

The vast majority of our friends have now finished school. They, along with those of us still in school, work hard at their jobs, in addition to balancing friends, family, significant others, volunteering, side projects, and the like, all on a daily basis. Now one couldn’t really characterize this as out of the ordinary, but it does lend itself to one pitfall: it’s quite easy to begin to take yourself either too seriously, or not seriously enough. It is here that our ridicule system is most efficient: it acts as as either a wake-up call (you get made fun of to your face), or as a collaborative expression of concern (behind your back). It seems to me that we hold each of us in our circle to a high behavioral standard (academically, professionally, socially, etc) and when one of us falls below it, the rest “give that person crap” about it.

While this may answer the question as to why we make fun of each other so much, it raises another valid point: if we’re just trying to help, why do it in such a weird way? The answer to that question lies within our group’s complete and unwavering avoidance of confrontation. This means that in addition to our symptomatic social interaction tendencies (we’re mostly engineers), we also create unique ways of expressing ourselves with each other. Doing something dumb? You’re going to get made fun of. Want it to stop? Stop doing what you’re doing…

I wrote the words above while on vacation just before New Years, and looking back at what I wrote, I can’t help but think that although my theory does explain why we make so much fun of each other, it doesn’t do much in terms of a lesson learned. Ideally this post would contain some sort of New Year’s resolution, promising to make less fun of each other, but let’s be honest, that’d be the first resolution we’d break. Instead, here and now, let me say that I’m going to try to be more constructive with my feedback, and if I’m not, I’ll at least be able to explain why.

Gem

January 29th, 2009

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I wrote the following post over several days in Kauai, staring at my iPhone (which I typed the whole thing on, believe it or not) and hearing little more than the sounds of waves breaking against the shore below our house. And as I finished it, I began to question the purpose of such a post, and what it’s added benefit really was. I pondered this question for several days after finishing it, only to come to one simple realization: the internet, like the world around us, is, for the most part, an unknowable place. There are places that we study, places that we visit, but in the end it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to find all of the little gems which make up our surroundings. It is in this spirit that I would like to share one of those little gems with the 2 of you who read this neglected blog, and hopefully I’ll be able to show you a part of the world you haven’t seen before.

I’ve said it before, but it’s unlikely that that’ll ever stop me from repeating myself: the internet is a fascinating place. It allows seemingly distant personalities to connect on a similar plane in real-time, and creates cohesive communities among those both like-minded and not. Although there are hundreds of examples of this very phenomenon, and I, as longstanding browser, have participated in my fair (and unhealthily numerous) share of them. Recently however, I have found myself entranced by a community called MacThemes.

MacThemes has served as a home to some of the many Apple enthusiasts out there since it’s founding more than four years ago, and while there are literally dozens of sites out there for Mac fanatics, MacThemes remains decidedly different. For it is this website, this community, that some of the most talented and established graphic designers call their home.

MacThemes is, of course, beautifully designed, a graphic showcase on it’s front page, a themes page (devoted to improving the already pristine Mac operating system interface), a graphic design reference, etc. All of these are useful in their own right, but the truly interesting section of the site is buried in the waist of the navigation menu at the top of the screen – the forum.

For it is here that the true beauty of Mac culture and aesthetics shines so brightly. Although far from all of the forum participants are graphic design gods (far from it in my particular case), it is the warm and supportive culture of the forums that seems to breed constructive criticism, continual enthusiasm, and most of all, true, honest support.

I should pause here and provide some perspective. Since I was a child, I’ve been building, fixing, and explaining computers to those around me. For some reason I’ve been blessed with a particularly persistent plague of technological curiosity, and those who happen to receive my help seem to marvel at my abundance of random computer knowledge. I believe that now is the time to come clean. Everything I know about technology, all of the different ways I’ve fixed that annoying bug on your computer, all of it – I owe to the forums (and their respective communities) that I have found online. Forums are the reason that you, I, or anyone else can Google an error message and find not one but thousands of solutions, each posted key by key, letter by letter, by some helpful person from somewhere in the world. Google is a powerful powerful tool, but without the content of forum participants – it’d be useless.

Let’s get back to Macthemes. In order to understand the forums, one needs to understand a bit about the so called “Delicious Generation.”

If the Mac world had a Hollywood, then Phill Ryu and his fellow talent-drenched compatriots would be the first picks at the next Shawshank Redemption. They’re gifted, hard working, and most importantly (and fascinatingly, and consistantly) innovative. This group of individuals, usually lead by Ryu himself, are the masterminds behind MacThemes. They, above all, aim to make beautiful interfaces, whether it be online, on Macs, or on iPhones. While not all of their projects are huge successes (see MyDreamApp, which was a whole lot of hype and almost no results), they are always done with quality, thought, and unparalleled attention to detail.

It is only logical therefore, that In 2004, Ryu founded MacThemes, forum and all, with a mission to “fix things to make the world slightly prettier.” I’m not sure if this mission is meant as a less-than-subtle understatement, but the superficiality of it pales in comparison to the vast amount of unverbalized goals behind MacThemes.

While there are many examples of support, tutorials, feedback, contribution, cooperation, and compassion peppered throughout the MacThemes forums, none compare to what recently transpired: one of the staff members decided that it would be an interesting exersize in community building and holiday spirit to have a Secret Santa gift exchange. The gift would, like the best gifts out there, only have sentimental value: an avatar. For those that don’t know what an avatar is, I’ll explain. Each post on a typical forum contains several standard items: the post content, the member’s name who wrote it, and a small image by which that member has chosen to represent themselves. On a forum dedicated to beautiful graphic design, you can only imagine the levels of creativity and quality that some of these avatars reach.

With this in mind, and since most Macthemes members do not know anything about each other except what they’ve each contributed to the forum, each interested member was asked to post in the Secret Santa thread two simple things: the words “count me in,” and a short paragraph describing themselves, their interests, etc. With this information, each of the participants would randomly be assigned another particpant, for whom they would have to design an avatar that represented that person (based on their posted paragraph). People would have a week to sign up, and until December 22nd to submit their gifts.

As it turns out, sixty four members chose to participate in the gift exchange. Now I’m not sure what the number of regularly active MacThemes members is, but I know that it is quite difficult to get 3 people to do anything, nevermind 61 more. But, like I said, MacThemes is no ordinary place.

Being a newfound (and completely lost) amateur icon maker, I decided very quickly to participate in this peculiar holiday exersize. So I posted in the thread the following words:

I am currently a PhD student researching Public Policy & Structural Engineering, specifically repair of post-earthquake highway bridges. In my spare time, I own an IT services company that specializes in web & graphic design, web hosting, and Mac support. I’m absolutely obsessed with music (mostly), as you can see from my last.fm profile. Hope that helps!

I was subsequently assigned a guy who went by the member name blazedragon555, who posted his description as the following:

I’d rather not disclose my name, but I love Macs and beautiful user interfaces (and long walks on the beach too, but that’s a different story…). I’m a huge geek, and a Cocoa developer, and I read way too much (especially scifi books and funny articles, they consume 90% of my time!). I dislike most sports, listen to rock music (Linkin Park, Disturbed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.), live in NYC, hate following fads, and in great need of a nice avatar.

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Arguably not the most material to work with, especially for someone who knows not what they’re doing, but I eagerly got to work, and eventually came up with the avatar on left, hoping to represent my giftee through the city which he called home.

About a week later, all of the gifts were collected and began to be posted, beside the names of the creator and the recipient. My Secret Santa turned out to be a MacThemes staff member called Mac Guru, who created the avatar on the right for me.

The mark of true talent is being able to create something which the recipient didn’t even realize he represented. In the case of this avatar, my first glance at it invoked a smile from ear to ear, for here was an icon which fit perfectly into my About Me page of my new website, and the original author had no idea that I had designed, no more than two weeks prior, the icons on that page which are in the exact same vein as this one.

Missing from the ones I designed is of course is only my love of music. Unbelievable.

Flight

August 15th, 2008

8:06pm

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Takeoff. The endless gray runway loosens its grip on the front wheel of our plane and I suddenly cannot continue reading any longer. I’ve left home before, countless times of minimal significance, with takeoffs and landings little more than gates one passes on his way from here to there. But as we pull away from both ground and home, I become reflective about the past few days, at least before peripheral vision takes center-stage.

8:13pm

The lefthand wing blocks my view of the setting sun, and I start to think. Where I am and where I’ve come from, where I’m headed and where everyone else will be. My trip was, at least on its surface, standard. Family, friends, the warmth of home. But with each passing day, each dark slumber silence, I was left alone with my own thoughts, and I fell once more into the ditch of constant analysis. Words like crossroads and pinnacle, settling and patience, seeped slowly into the shallow depths of my mind, paralyzing my ability to think beyond them. But the meanings behind these words pale only in comparison to their questionable applicabilty to my current state.

8:29pm

Above what little cloudcover Southern California owns, the gentle chatter of my fellow passengers smoothes the murmured hum of muffled engines. Like most flights before this one, I can’t help but appreciate the arbitrary cohort with whom I travel, each with his or her own stories, joys, worries, complications. The anonymity of it all jerks me towards more comfortable thoughts of close friends and loved ones, some aging, some growing up, but all changing with unstoppable speed. Suddenly the peculiar progression of relationships gained and lost over time sparks in the distance, and I start to wonder how it all ended up this way.

8:47pm

An endless sunset breathes it’s final breaths of shimmered light, losing it’s nightly battle for attention to a dotted sea of man-made glow. As time passes, slow in realtime but fleeting in hindsight, I find one image permanently charred into the back of my eyes – it’s little more than a cinematic effect, one whose name I can neither recall nor care to investigate. But nonetheless, it’s there. Music plays behind a wide angle shot of the main character, singular as he stands in focus, surrounded by anonymously blurred people passing him from both front and back at unparalleled paces. I see it often, the lone actor’s face frozen with perpetual burden, trying but unable to slow the speed of life around him. The scene continues as the actor resigns to worn gesticulations of predictable action and little more.

9:05pm

My stomach sinks to a depth far below my cushioned seat as our plane descends closer to a different world than that which we so recently left behind. I can feel the slow start of routine motion, of work and play, and unbound freedom. An unexpected comment by the woman sitting beside me snaps me back into the present, and I begin to fumble the words of my response. In some three idle minutes, we share friendly words and bite-sized bits of information, enough to sort one another into coherent crates of first impression. Momentary silence ends our conversation, and our attention shifts back to our respective directions, left and right.

9:17pm

My window exchanges scattered light atop the windblown bay for equally- spaced bulbs, giving way to the soft touch of rubber to runway. Here it begins, another two plus week visit to a place which, after more than six full years, still lacks the warmth or soul of home. Complaint is neither justified nor appropriate, for this is my path and by no means is it regrettable. For fear of stepping onto the jetway with excessive baggage in hand, I begin to look forward to the comfort of familiar faces, unfinished progress, and the little surprises along the way.

Good Read

July 7th, 2008

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I don’t typically use this space as a venue for book reviews (I tend to do that over at GoodReads), but I just can’t seem to pass up this opportunity.

I have just finished reading Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs , a book whose title is oddly fitting despite Klosterman’s hardcore word-choice. That said, the title is probably the most shocking part of the book itself, which is truly a peek into the mind of a modern genius. Finishing it presented me with an odd desire – the second that I set the book down on my coffee table and sat up, all I wanted to do was pick it back up and read it once more. But this is merely one of the interesting predicaments that this book has put me into since I turned its first page.

Before I explain, let me first make a small (but necessary) confession: there aren’t many issues that I can exactly pinpoint myself as having, but I think that I can honestly say that I have issues keeping my mouth shut about something great that I’ve discovered. Maybe it’s the Market Maven mentality, or simply a seemingly annoying personality quirk, but I cannot deny that I, upon finding something new an interesting, cannot help but share it with those around me.

While Apple products are usually my vessels for such advertisements, this week it was, without question, Klosterman’s manifesto. After both laughing out loud and stopping to think about the true depth of what I had just read, I couldn’t help but share various parts with my roommates or whoever was close-by at the time (regardless of their expressed interest in what I was saying or Klosterman was writing). Of particular noteworthiness was a series of questions introduced as “the twenty-three questions I ask everybody I meet in order to decide if I can really love them.” This was an interlude between chapters, and involved questions such as:

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“For reasons that cannot be explained, cats can suddenly read at a twelfth-grade level. They can’t talk and they can’t write, but they can read silently and understand the text. Many cats love this new skill, because they now have something to do all day while they lay around the house; however, a few cats become depressed, because reading forces them to realize the limitations of their existence (not to mention the utter frustration of being unable to express themselves). This being the case, do you think the average cat would enjoy Garfield, or would cats find this cartoon to be an insulting caricature?”

It is writing like this, or even this line of thinking, that makes the classification or even description of this book nearly impossible. Klosterman has chapters devoted to topics ranging from Saved By The Bell, to country music, to The Real World. And he does this in the most curious of ways – the book is organized quite literally like a mixtape, with seemingly arbitrary song lengths attached to each chapter name in the table of contents.

I was fortunate to spend this July 4th weekend with a fantastic group of people, I could not help but tell them about the sheer brilliance of what I was reading. However, each time that I tried explaining to them what the book was about, I either sounded like a blind-faith fanboy or a blabbering buffoon. The reason for this difficulty, as I only realized later, has mostly to do with the fact that Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs could best be described as a series of blog posts. Not this sort of blog, but the kind of blog that Hank Moody would write for Hell-A magazine, the kind of blog that keeps you glued to the screen with the strange desire to simply be the author’s friend. Klosterman’s blog (which is both much-needed and non-existant) would be filled with pages of the most well written, pop culture infused, ADD-natured panache available on the internet today.

That’s basically how I feel about Chuck Klosterman now. Given the opportunity, it’d be extremely fun so simply hang out with the guy, not in a “hang-out-with-a-famous-person” kind of way but in a “I-could-really-see-myself-being-friends-with-this-guy” way. So to speak.

If you were born between 1975 and 1990 and haven’t read Klosterman’s masterpiece, I highly recommend Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs . Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever said a sentence like that before.

Pera and Israil

May 22nd, 2008

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As I sat there, in the back of my grandparents’ English class, the same biweekly ESL class that they have attended for over a decade, I couldn’t help but smile. Shying away from her usual routine of worksheets and parts of speech, Sandra, their faithful and time-tested teacher, recently embarked upon a new course, asking each of her devoted students to dedicate half of a class period to a presentation their country and city of origin.

There they were, all sitting with their specific group of friends like high school never ended – learning. But on this day, and in that room, they weren’t learning about greetings or grammar – they were learning about each other. Setting aside the truly astounding fact that they still want to be in school after the lives that each of them has lived, I couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that I was surrounded by some of the most amazing people alive today. Here they sat, listening intently and discussing the peculiar similarities between countries like Belorussia and Iran, writing down new words they heard along the way, growing together and moving ever-forward at an age of undeniable slowdown. To watch them interact and bridge gaps which they could not have dreamed about in their home countries was an experience I won’t soon forget.

As I’ve grown up, my grandparents have been an undeniable force in my life, one of guidance and ideal, trust and unwavering support. Rare is the day that passes and I don’t speak to them, if only for minute. But those days without those talks do sneak by with the emptiest of spirits, only to be followed by the darkness of unquestionable regret.

For these are the people who raised our parents, who raised us, who molded the very dispositions of those that I hold so dear in my life. But they are not merely parents – they are children, and friends, and siblings, and lawyers, and engineers, and doctors, and survivors. They are the last links to a past that seems to be fading away by the hour, never pausing or stopping to breathe the smallest breath.

After their almost 90 years, and more than 60 years together, no better founts exist for requisite lessons about philosophy, life, love, and everything else that might arise along the way. But lessons or not, with or without the experiences from dark days of the old world and the old life, I declare now with the full force of meaning that my grandparents are some of the most amazing people that I will ever meet. If in the end I’m even slightly like them, or achieve even a small portion of what they have, that will be a life worth living.

Twilight Thoughts

April 24th, 2008

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Two AM and here I lay, blanket and comforter shielding me from the fan-induced breeze blowing gently above me. I can’t seem to calm my mind, prevent the endless parade of disjointed logic which keeps me from rest, as if we weren’t meant to unite.

This year has been different, three months have gone by and yet I find myself faced with the sort of thoughts that could only creep up on you, slithering slowly under the sheer gravity of unbridled possibility. Needs, family, health, happiness, duty, deference, priority, time – they occupy the mental real estate previously reserved for what now resembles stability by way of unopened eyes.

It would neither be fair nor accurate to describe my life as anything short of perpetual positivity, peppered with lows no more frequent or taxing than those of others. But as I turn from side to side, subject to subject, I can’t help but wonder if this is truly the path that I’m supposed to be on, the path which down the road assuages any previously plaguing qualms. I realize that only hindsight can provide this sort of guarantee, but that doesn’t seem to make me want it any less.

Likewise the ever permanent presence of life’s pinnacles and troughs fail to keep me from staring up from down below. Perhaps this staring is beneficial, an uplifting sign of the aberrational nature of my current state. I sure hope so.

Family

April 21st, 2008

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There’s something to be said for family, for home, for the existence of a place where it all comes together. I’m not quite sure how to assign words to my current state, but nonetheless here I am. There’s a Russian movie called Make It ‘Til Monday that offers the mantra much better than I ever will – the movie asserts, as its overarching theme, that happiness is being understood.

There are, and always will be, those in our lives who offer unmeasurable positivity, intrigue, and sanctity. They provide unparalleled uplift where life has lowered all visible manifestations of hope, and much needed support where circumstance has abandoned any earthly form of buttress. But those qualities alone, despite being integral strands in the tapestry of situations that face us all, fail to form a holistic picture of what is truly required. This diversity of friendship, even in small quantities and regardless of form, provides a valuable (and indeed much needed) element of growth, helping create mutual understanding, tolerance, and stability. But diversity alone rarely suffices, lacking the sort of fundamental comfort that I seem to be devoid of these days.

Family seems to fill this void more and more these days, and as time goes on I find myself growing closer and closer to the people who made me who I am today. With the continuous bewilderment of those around me, I continue to talk to my family several times a day, if only to say hello. Words doubtfully do justice to how truly important this element of my life actually is, but I pale at the thought of life without it.

It is therefore that I find myself in a newfound state for the last several days, missing my parents as they travel around Europe for the first time without me. Despite being the foremost advocate of this vacation (it was much needed and I’m glad they went), I can’t help but feel a bit down. Call it separation anxiety, call it an inability to “cut the cord.” I just call it missing the ones I love.

A Taste of the Past

March 12th, 2008

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Have you ever run into an ex and witnessed first hand that what you two once had is going on just as it had before, except this time, without you? It continues, even better than it did when you were involved. Unpleasant at best, but dismal more than anything else.

Well luckily I didn’t run into any ex’s today. In fact, that hasn’t happened to me yet (and I’d like to keep it that way). But an almost parallel situation unraveled before me tonight, and like it or not, here I am writing.

Tonight happened to be the ASCE Spring Faculty Student Social, a complicated event to plan, but one of the most rewarding to experience after planning it. This Faculty Student Social, like the one the year prior, and the one before that, the best social to date. Well planned, well executed, well done.

But it was the meeting afterwards, the first meeting of the ASCE Alumni Advisory Board, that put me in my current state. The board consists of past ASCE officers (mostly from my years of service) coming together to provide current ASCE officers with insight and advice on how to improve ASCE.

The details don’t matter as much as the situation itself: here I was, on the 7th floor of Davis Hall, once again meeting with a group that was an undeniable (and unbelievably significant) part of my life for the four years of my undergraduate education. Surrounded by those that continually surrounded me back in those four years, I once again heard the voices of a group of people devoting their time, energy, and sanity toward a simple but worthy common goal – helping others.

Although it was absent in the course of the meeting, the somber duality of that gathering hit me the second I walked out of the building. It was only then, on my moonlit walk back to my car that I understood just how large a part of my life ASCE was, and just how large a hole it left when it ended for me. Since my involvement, the organization has grown, matured, and prospered in ways that I could not have imagined, and their invitation to this meeting meant more to me than they will probably know.

Tonight allowed me to once again give back, to work together with people that I genuinely care about and respect. And sitting there, offering advice and helping make decisions brought a smile to my face that I hadn’t shown in quite a while. But the sobering truth of that meeting was that those days are now over, and little exists to bring them back.

Indeed everything has its proper time, place, and end, yet here I am again, faced with just another example of my voluntary exit from a situation which likely improved with my withdrawal, but left me missing that which I had lost.

Hoops

February 20th, 2008

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Settling. Not down. I take no issue with down. Those that know me well know that I’ve had no issue with it for as long as I can remember. My issue is the seemingly inherent (and unavoidable) conflict between compromise and settlement, between idealistic desire and attainable reality.

I get it, I’m still young. I have yet to completely figure myself out, nevermind anyone else. But in that same sense I feel that I have a pretty coherent understanding of who it is I am, as well as who it is I seek. Sure, I’ve been spoiled by my past – I understand that. But that same spoiling yielded yet another slice (or addition) to the mold that I hope to one day (soon) fill. It just comes down to the fact that I’m not sure anyone fits. And more importantly, I’m not sure anyone will.

It was different for those before me. I know it must have been just as difficult in decision, but was it not simpler in simply the idea that there was, in all senses, one less hoop to jump through? I believe it was. The options must have been severely limited by proximity, availability, even kin – but how is this not the very best example of less being, well, more? One less hoop is clearly not the answer – but it sure did help.

But as day becomes week, and week, month, these seemingly attractive portrayals of uninstigated meetings, of unintentional crossings, of unexpected finds, seem all the more unreal, and hence unrealistic. They meet, they click, they work. But how true-to-life, how believable, and most importantly, how probable really is that?

Well let’s start with true-to-life. For the vast majority of the population, its more than true – its the way it seems to work. But what if a percentage of the population was all of a sudden eliminated from consideration? Not just any percentage, one of significant proportion. Does it still work? Sure. Alright, let’s remove a second percentage of the population that remains, removing just as much if not more than before. Does it still work? Probably not.

So that shoots a hefty bullet through believability, does it not? Luckily for now it doesn’t, but what I fear most is the day that it does. And the reason for such pessimism is the very idea of probability. How hard is it, even for those brilliant and truly amazing people around me, to find any pertinent sort of compatibility? Its staggering. And despite (or in spite of) their quirks and intricacies, they are highly appealing people. Its incredibly difficult for them, and yet they do not suffer from the same tunnel vision affliction that I can’t quite escape (I don’t even want to). For them compatibility appears sufficient. That’s hard enough as it is. But two additinal hoops?

Sorkinistic simplicity, yet again, rings true: “It should be hard. I like that it’s hard.” Anything short of difficult would lack the kind of unadulterated appreciation that is so vital here. But often the halcyon days of the past, those days that have engrained their almost touchable details upon my memory, highlight a period of the most appealingly pliant bliss. Those days are gone, and young or not, the time has come for self-realization to mean more than someone understanding himself. These are the days of today – some up, some down, but ever-forward. The only question is – who’s coming with me?

Midnight Expression

February 12th, 2008

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Somewhere between last night and this morning, I found myself faced with an interesting predicament – as I laid down to slumber, weary of exactly how soon my morning rise would come, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

I turned to one side, and thought of things trivial and frivolous. I turned to the other, and thought of things critical and grave (this is my tried and tested tactic for sleep induction). But no matter to which side I turned, I simply could not seem to get some sort of strange verse out my head. It wasn’t something that I’d picked up during the day. In fact, I’d never even heard it before. Yet no matter what I did, I couldn’t help but recite it over and over:

Its been some time
Since I did rhyme
For her or blog or book

So I rolled around, did my best to get it unstuck, but nothing worked. Frustrated and sleepy, I finally reached for my iPhone, charging on the nightstand beside the bed, and decided to write down the very verse which seemed to banish me to insomnia. Except that when I finished writing the verse, I didn’t finish writing. I just kept writing, verse after verse. From out of nowhere.

Now, let me be the first to disclaim that this cadence ridden logorrhea is far from brilliant, or even poetic by any standard. But what’s of interest is that I have no idea where it came from, or why it chose to come out in verse. After doing some research, it turns out that the ridiculous manner in which I chose to express myself lacks any sort of name, other than tail-rhyme or “aabccb.” However, I was reassured to discover that this type of rhyming scheme is typically employed by satirists and those seeking a lively and humorous tone. My verses were neither satirical nor humorous, but, sure enough, they were mine. Alright, enough description, here it is:

It’s been some time
Since I did rhyme
For her, or blog, or book
So I thought that I’d
Take time in stride
And give it another look

For here and now
Should be about how
I think and do and feel
But more and more
Like never before
I’m reinventing the wheel

For what is new
For me feels true
Again this theme’s explored
But for a minute
I feel what’s in it
I must try and record

The previous years
Have calmed my fears
About future and what’s to be
Yet that’s not enough
I still seek the stuff
That completes a complete me

What’s out there’s uncertain
And often a burden
But I take pride in the fact
That right now is right
And still worth the fight
Since its time you’ll never retract.

Now that you’ve read my peculiar midnight creation, you can take comfort in the fact that this exercise in lack of appropriate tone, meter, or subject matter has taught me one very important lesson: that I, in all senses of the word, am not a poet.

my personal journal
my journal

this is my medium for thoughts, rants, and raves about anything that comes to mind.