I lament advertisements.
Trust me, I understand why they exist. I understand the need for people to sell their product, and I understand the best way to garner positive feedback for something is to subconsciously relate it to something people already like. I get that, and I lament it.
That’s right! I bought the energy drink! Thinking I was immune to advertisements is what made me so vulnerable to them.
The conscious mind is what gets all the attention – it looks all glamorous because it’s what makes us better than ants or rockpiles, but we can learn a lot more from focusing on the subconscious mind — the things we do when we don’t have a real reason to do them.
When you start to try and pinpoint the reasons behind your action, you’ll find you often can’t come up with anything satisfactory. Instinct is a warm-bellied master, but he feeds you gruel. The void chills the heart, but the meals are sweet.
I’ve noticed WordPress has started to post ads on the bottom of my posts. This isn’t my doing. If you want to remove the ads you have to pay WordPress 30 dollars a year. I’m not going to do this. I failed Financial Mathematics, but I know making negative money on something is a bad thing.
I don’t like ads, especially when I don’t get any off the top. Please bear with me.
My hair grows very fast. I know this because, in my family’s lean and early years, my constant haircuts were a source of contention.
As the member of our little family that contributed least to our financial security, I felt it my responsibility to keep the monetary burden of haircuts as minimal as possible.
I kept my haircuts down to one or two a year. As a result, this cycle of growth and removal became unintentionally ritualized – a trend that continued long past the age when it is appropriate for parents to pay for personal grooming.
I did not realize to what extent this cycle had on me until several days ago when I decided to cut my hair before the new semester and found I was deathly afraid.
There’s a barbershop I pass every time I walk to the grocery store. It’s just some guy’s house with a sign and phone number outside.
This house used to just tell me I was one block away from packaged food. Now every time I passed it, the house was like a guilt-machine reminding me of my crippling personality flaws.
I bought more and more groceries to force myself to keep passing the house, until finally I had mustered up enough courage to schedule an appointment.
Three sunsets later, I returned to the house/barbershop.
The Barber washed my hair and then cut it.
I had 25 dollars in my wallet. He charged 20 dollars, so I gave him a 5 dollar tip. He said if I ever needed a quick trim it was free.
When I looked in the mirror, I was amazed by how symmetrical the haircut was. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that haircut was actually asymmetrical, but in a manner inverse to the way my face is asymmetrical, making the face as a whole therefore symmetrical.
Most haircuts I’ve had try to be perfectly even, but the human face isn’t perfectly even.
I guess if you decide to cut hair in your basement, you probably know what you’re doing.
Here’s to new beginnings.
I’m back in North North America until school starts up. Canada is nice place to vacation, because everyone does their best to ignore you, especially if you’re the kind of person who looks a little troublesome.
I went to see a movie with Sister One. It was more difficult than you’d think, because in Canada, days that are close to holidays count as holidays.
In order to travel to the movie, we took this magical train not available in Real America called the Skytrain. Cars are the transportation of land, airplanes are the transportation of the air, and the Skytrain is transportation of the middle.
In case you couldn’t figure out what a Skytrain is by the name or that helpful diagram, a Skytrain is a train whose tracks are suspended in the sky rather than bolted into the ground.
A lot of Canada’s culture is based around doing the opposite of whatever Real America is doing. It’s like those teenage boys who hate Justin Bieber so much that they pay $500 dollars to go to his concert to throw an empty water bottle at him. Justin Bieber doesn’t care where the money comes from. All he cares about is that people keep saying his name. (YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THE FREE PUBLICITY, JUSTIN BIEBER’S MARKETING TEAM.)
I always enjoy my time here, but I think I’m about ready to return to Real America, where the only Canadians you see pretend like they don’t hate you.
I have a confession: a confession about this blog, about the nature of this blog, which I will tell you via this blog.
Believe it or not, when I started this blog, it was not a vanity project. It certainly seems that way – I mean, I have drawn a lot of pictures of myself.
The internet has created an amazing canvas for vanity, which I think is a good thing. The fact that anyone can have a voice is incredible. It took less than five minutes to create this website. The barrier of entry is so low it’s practically invisible.
The human spirit wants above all else, I think, to be free. There’s something in the air we all feed. We bleed our minds and our hopes and our dreams into the nothingness and hopes it spits back something interesting.
If I had a thousand lives to live I’m sure I could sort out this whole damn mess, but it seems my great misfortune to only have the one.
This blog was started for a college class: Writing in Online Environments.
I took this class as an alternative to a plethora of other dull-sounding classes, most of which involved the word ‘rhetoric’ or ‘discourse.’
That’s not to say this blog was the product of some well-structured syllabus. I broke just about every rule set in front of me. This page was supposed to be an academic analysis for the thesis of my blog (I actually think it is, by the way.)
The class is over, but I think I’m going to continue the blog.
So now it’s all on front street. This blog isn’t a vanity-project designed to maintain an ego. It’s a education-project that almost immediately descended into a vanity-project designed to maintain an ego.
But then again, isn’t all of academia?
(Click the picture below to read the first part. It’s not a requirement. You are free to make your own choices.)
Now that everyone has completed the first part of my tragedy, I feel confident in giving you the conclusion. Here it goes:
I took financial mathematics because I needed a math credit and I thought the practical application of finances would lend to a practical learning environment.
I was incorrect.
I turned in assignment after assignment with answers correct down to the decimal point, but would constantly receive zeroes on assignments for doing it the incorrect way (the way the book does it). Eight out of ten answers on the first test were correct. By my math this is an 80 percent. By his math it was a 10 percent.
After the first test was graded, about half the students dropped the class. This moment would have been perfect for me to leave this professor and his ego in the math department where it belonged. No one would blame me if I left.
Instead I took it as a challenge.
Academia had usually provided little challenge for me, and in the rare instances where I was challenged, a few dedicated study sessions pulled me out of even the most dire of situations. Hell, senior year of high school I had less than half attendance and still managed to pass all my classes. I think technically I shouldn’t have been allowed to receive credit due to my absences, but they let it slide on account of my consistently high grades (and I think it would have required paperwork they didn’t want to do.) I would have even received honors if I attended the mandatory meetings (I didn’t, and they kicked me out.) Before I took financial mathematics, I had never failed a test.
Now I’ve failed four.
By last month, I was mathematically failing this class. By this I mean that even if I were to magically receive perfect scores on every subsequent assignment and test, I would still not have enough points to pass the class. The amount of people attending the class on any given day had dropped from the initial fifty or so to about eight.
So why did I continue to stick around even when, mathematically, I had no way of succeeding?
I’ll tell you:
It’s called a grading curve.
Yes, in order not to feel like terrible teachers, sometimes educators will employ this magical device to curve the grades. F’s become C’s, B’s become A’s, and A’s stay the same because fuck you if you’re getting an A when everyone else is failing.
You see kids, if everyone is failing, than failing is the average, and an average is a C, not an F, you silly, silly children.
I chatted up the few remaining students, and most of them seemed to be failing or at least close to failing. A beautiful grading curve was inevitable.
Now, I’d like to tell you that even though I wasn’t the strongest or smartest, even though all the odds were stacked against me, I stuck it out. And because I stuck it out, working hard, studying into the wee hours of the night, turning in failed assignment after failed assignment, my god-damned determination paid off in the end.
I’d like to tell you that.
But I can’t.
Because it didn’t.
I fucking failed and I just have to live with that.
And so do you.
This morning I awoke to discover my environment had been murdered by icy white particles from the sky.
I’m safe in my room, curled beneath a heavy blanket, holding a cup of instant coffee. I huddle close to my overheating laptop like it’s some futuristic fire. There is a certain serenity in the snow outside my window.
Back in middle school, when it snowed, kids would still wear shorts. Their legs never seemed cold. I shivered beneath three layers.
In high school, I drove to school on icy roads that made my wheels spin. The icy roads stretched out towards infinity, with sidegaurds so small you wonder why they even put them up. People slid off the road all the time. It was so easy to do.
It was the day I was to be confirmed into the Catholic Church. The roads were pure slick and my mother was scared. We had an old green van with worn-in tires and two-wheel drive.
I was stuffed into this ugly brown-yellow suit all boys are forced to wear to at some point in the lives. I was sick with either pneumonia or strep. All I remember was I felt like death and my lungs hurt and my face was hot. And that I really, really wanted to be confirmed.
The road grew worse as the world grew darker. My mother’s voice was terrified. I took out my rosary and began to pray, silently. I knew that if God were to choose a moment in my life to actually listen, it had to be this one.
I understood why he’d ignore a prayer for me to be thin, or for me to have friends, or for somehow one to lead into the other.
God had his reasons.
But this was different. This was about him. This was about entering his church. If there was one moment in my life where’d he choice to intervene, it should be this one.
When my mother lost control of the vehicle, everything slowed down. God made sure I saw every instant between the road and the ditch, and made sure there was nothing I could do to stop it. But I didn’t stop praying.
It wasn’t the last time I’d prayed, or even the last time I’d prayed and believed someone was listening.
But it was the last time I prayed and believed anyone cared.
I never made it to my confirmation.
I hope you’re in a shelter, because I’m about to drop some drone-bombs on the middle-east of your ignorance about Canada.
A year or so after I started college, my entire family decided it would be a great idea to move to Canada now that I was trapped in America for three years. Was this abandonment? I definitely assume so.
So off they went in a plane, and landed in the city called Burnaby, which is kind of like a suburb of Vancouver – two towns which mean nothing to be because they’re not in Real America.
When I went to help my family move into the Great White North, many stereotypes about the Canadian people were quickly dispelled. The most important one I will discuss here today.
For some reason, everyone in Real America thinks Canadians are super nice and polite. We need to stop telling them that. You know how you’re not supposed to tell kids they’re special because then they grow up thinking they’re just inherently special without doing anything of value or even being a half-decent person? That’s what we’re doing to the Canadians.
We’re allowing Canada to become a nation of self-righteous assholes, and I am NOT going to allow them to steal our thunder. So let me set the record straight right here and right now:
Canadians ARE NOT nice.
Canadians are NON-CONFRONTATIONAL.
There is a HUGE difference.
Yep. They’re not nice. They’re just as evil as all of us. The only difference is they’d rather kill themselves than insult you to your face. I hope too many innocents weren’t lost in my drone-strike of truth, but if my president is to be believed (WHICH HE IS, ALWAYS), this is unavoidable.
One hour from the time I am writing this, I will be expected to fail a mathematics tests. Did you notice that I said “fail” instead of “take?” You should, because that is the basic premise for this entire blog post.
You see, my college requires everyone to obtain three credits of mathematics in order to graduate. Unfortunately, many people who definitely aren’t me avoid taking math classes until the last minute. This is because most math classes are about as appealing as watery oatmeal.
In their vast wisdom, my college implemented a system: if you don’t register for a math class by the end of sophomore year, you are not allowed to register for any classes at all.
I went up the registrar’s office during their office hour of one p.m. to two p.m. and asked them to fix this for me. I promised I would sign up for a math class right away if they let me register before all the good classes were taken. The registrar was exactly as helpful as every public service worker I’ve ever encountered.
After maybe a week of bugging them, I finally lucked out and landed a helpful person.
Then came the choice of which pointless and unnecessary level 100 math course I’d have to take. Pretty much every course at that level sounded like it would be filled with the boring as fuck fractions and line graphs I was forced to do throughout middle school until they boosted me up to the advanced courses when it became clear this stuff was too easy for my smart-ass brain.
Back my youngin’ days, I took a lot of pride in being smarter than my hillbilly peers, but now I just wanted to obtain my two credits with the least amount of work possible. That’s when I noticed a beautiful, familiar face: Financial Mathematics.
You see, back in middle school, Financial Mathematics was part of a “special” group of classes. Any kid too dumb for the worthless knowledge the school provided was placed into a tract designed to promote “practical knowledge.”
When I saw the glorious class as one of my college options I signed up immediately, positive I could breeze through with all the effort of a public service worker.
Unfortunately, it was this brazen overconfidence that did become my downfall…