The One

new york autumn

I used to say that summertime always brought out my nostalgic feelings, but these days, I think it might be fall. And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s fall. Summer is the period when, if you’re a student, you get to let go of all the responsibilities that you’ve had during the year, goof off, and think about other shit. Fall is the part where you realize how much fun it is to have responsibilities after all. That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway. These days, I find myself flashing back to my senior year as an undergraduate, a period during which I didn’t sleep all that well due to overbooking myself with regards to extracurriculars and other commitments. But I did get a lot done. I was in two plays, met some interesting people, took a couple of memorable classes, and in general soaked in the atmosphere. In the spring, I took on fewer commitments and thus had a lot more time to sit around doing nothing, during which I did, indeed, get lots more nothing done. But most of the interesting stuff that I did that year came in the first half.

I hope it doesn’t always have to be that way. I’m also flashing back to the fall of 2011. That was the time during which I worked a job at a dining hall, got kicked out of my apartment by my irrational roommate (who had just found out she was pregnant and was taking out her issues on me), and applied to grad school. I didn’t meet quite as many interesting people, but I did have (a little) fun and accomplished one or two worthwhile things. But I’m not nostalgic for one year ago. That was the fall semester of grad school, the time in which (as regular readers will know) my stress levels shot up to heights I didn’t think they could reach. Honestly, I’m still reeling from that one. It could take a long time before I’m ready to mythologize it.

It could be that there is something about California that brings out these feelings. Last year, I was in New York, a place that has four distinct seasons. California has two: the sunny and the rainy. I prefer the rain. It’s cool but not cold, and quite cozy when you’re indoors. I used to sit inside watching Doctor Who or reading takedowns of crappy movies on the internet. Somehow, I can’t do that quite as well during the summer. It’s just not the same.

Actually, there is one memory from fall of 2012 that stands out. When Hurricane Sandy hit, I holed myself up in my uptown Manhattan apartment and watched Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, a short-lived English spoof of crappy hospital soap operas and the horror genre. The whole run is available on YouTube. It seemed like an appropriate choice given that Halloween was days away, and believe me, it is fucking hysterical. The attention to detail (right down to the intentionally bad acting and continuity gaffes) is extraordinary.

The hard part for me about vacations is that I always know I have to go back. I enjoyed Thanksgiving break while I was in school, but I knew I would have to return to school and start working again, and so I ended up not using my time as wisely as I could have. I hope I can overcome that someday. That’s what fall means to me: it’s a chance to learn to be efficient and present. Because winter is coming.

I was born and spent the first seven years of my life in Michigan. Then my mother got a job offer out here and she and my father decided it might be fun to move us all across the country. I wasn’t happy about it. I still prefer the Northeastern part of the country to this part, but there’s a contrast, that’s for damn sure. I spent most of my time at grad school trying to find enough common threads between California and New York that they didn’t feel like two separate worlds anymore. Oh sure, I could drop out of school and fly back anytime I wanted. But the instant I did, that was it. There was no turning back. And I wasn’t prepared to go there. For various reasons, I revisited my high school at least five times the year after I graduated. One time, I went to see a performance by my old improv club and ended up performing in it, which felt more than a little awkward. I don’t understand how some people can just graduate and forget they ever went there. At the same time, I have no intention of ever attending a reunion.

We lost a legend not too long ago. All I will say about him is that I heard this song at the end of The Squid and the Whale (great fucking movie) and liked it so much I got the CD. It’s killer, and rather fitting, given its subject matter.

I see a lot of links on social media to stuff that is supposed to restore your faith in humanity. Here’s one I liked. I posted another in this vein not long ago that was absolutely horrifying, so here’s a video that will make you feel a little better. Enjoy.

I have the day off today, so I think I’ll grab lunch at In N Out, then see Ender’s Game. If you read this blog, you probably already know my thoughts on the controversy surrounding Orson Scott Card’s political views, so I’ll just say that the reviews are positive enough that I think I’ll give it a try. Orson Scott Card is a great writer, whatever else you think of him, and whether you see the movie or not, it probably won’t make much difference to him.

Here’s another video I like. It’s about prejudice and how to respond to it.

Arcade Fire’s new album is now up on Spotify. (I tried to listen to it when it was on YouTube, but got only 30 minutes in before it was yanked.) So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go change my pants.


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