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Archive for Personal Views

These are the times that try men’s souls

Summer break was much needed. Two years ago at this time, I was running on all cylinders — full speed ahead into the unknown. Last summer, I was recovering. I was adapting to life after a traumatic spring, and when life stopped, I took time to watch everyone’s ways of dealing with life, listened to advice (discarding bad advice and adopting everything that I thought worked). It was in that summer that I made several startling discoveries: 1) People think things are crazy when they don’t understand them. 2) People deal with pain in different ways. 3) I adapt quicker than most people, but live my life mostly in my thoughts, and don’t vocalize them unless I need something cleared up. When life gets hard or something unexpected happens, I tend to think negatively and go into a downward spiral until something or someone breaks me out of it. This spiral ended this summer. That’s right, fifteen months of a downward spiral — stuck in my own head –little-to-no sleep — reviewing the traumatic experience on repeat — thinking it was my fault, if I acted another way, or did this instead, everything would still be okay — stressful day-to-day learning in grad school compounding the issue because I have no time to decompress and forgive.

Let’s put it this way: I was 100% two summers ago. Last summer, I was probably at 10%, burnt out physically and emotionally. This summer, after a month and a half of good living, I’m efficiently back in the 70% or 80% area. By the end of the summer I could very likely back up to 100%, but over the last year of school, I could probably be burnt out to about 50%… I know most people don’t picture themselves as a human lithium battery that needs to be recharged over long periods of time… but it helps me guard against unwanted stress, and not to overextend myself. Everyone always wants a part of you, and if you give too much of yourself, you’ll have nothing left. It’s a sad truth.

I will also be updating this blog more (but not sure for how long, maybe for a year, maybe just until I don’t need to anymore). This is because during my free time, I’ve been doing some amateur psychology research. I was talking to a college student, and she said she just changed from being a psych major — and that when she first meets people she automatically types them as one of the four types of people. Apparently, I am a B/A mix (sometimes called the melancholic type). This interested me because I didn’t know about psychology. I immediately did my own research on personality types and traits, quickly finding the Myers Briggs personality types. There are 16 types, and my type, the INTJ, is very rare, comprising 1% of the population. I found an INTJ forum, and quickly discovered there are people who think like me. The many explanations of the type fit me perfectly. and I found a website that explained how INTJ could attain immense personal growth. One of these tactics was to write my ideas and not have them bottled up in my head, rattling around and causing confusion. In effect, meeting someone and talking about types of people really broke me out of the worst funk of my life (even worse than when my aunt died during college).

Cheers, for now.

Boston Sports Saviors?

Jacoby Ellsbury

The Red Sox have been perennial playoff contenders this decade—but they have mostly achieved this through buying and trading major league talent. Just like in the late ’80’s and most of the ’90’s, the Red Sox have traded most of their minor league talent for big league help. In the last few years we’ve traded Clay Meredyth, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Murton (probably only Ramirez doesn’t have a ceiling for his potential) for other talents, mostly rent-a-players. I think Murton was in the Nomar trade that got the Sox Orlando Cabrera. Ramirez and Sanchez landed us Beckett, etc. It may seem like the Sox only kept “sure thing” prospects over the years, like Clemens, Boggs, Vaughn, Nomar, Youklis, and Papelbon. But think about all other talent lost in dumb trades. Brady Anderson, Jeff Bagwell, David Eckstein, etc. I just wish Boston won’t squander this homegrown crop: Lester, maybe, or Craig Hansen, or Jacoby Ellsbury. Mortgaging their future so they can win today, much like the Celtics are doing now.

Ray Allen

The Celtics basically traded for a 32 year-old All Star coming off surgery on both his ankles. I’m not saying Ray Allen isn’t good, or that we didn’t get good value with the 35th pick. I’m saying that we spent too much for a 30+ player and a second round pick. Wally can shoot, not as well as Allen, per se, but he makes considerably less money. Then there’s Delonte, who led the second team—not to mention being a solid one-on-one defender, and bringing unity in the locker room. Basically, Ainge traded a high prospect, in Jeff Green, a budding player in West (who shouldn’t be a sub), and Wally (probaby a throw-in to make the salaries work, the Celts didn’t want to give up there co-captain Ratliff even though he’s coming off an injury. Wally’s coming off an injury too!) Theo Ratliff needs to prove that he can play a full season. Then another team will have the added benifit of a big man and an expiring contract, then the Celts will get maximum value. Plus, no other star is coming to Boston through a trade this summer, most likely. It’ll have to be during the season.

And if another deal gets done, trade Ratliff and Green. They are expendable. Jefferson isn’t. The Celtics added all this young talent. They should take a lesson from the old Red Sox teams that lost to the Yankees for so long.

Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brown Cow

Jim Gaffigan

I don’t know about you, but I’ve categorized at least three types of comedians:

1.) There are the lofty, philosophical comedians that tell jokes that only Albert Einstein would appreciate fully (if he weren’t dead and his brain wasn’t cut into samples and spread around the world, and all). George Carlin does this all the time, and he acknowledges that he’s the “thinking man’s” comic because he wants to prove he has a brain even though he never really had a formal education (because he dropped out of high school).

2.) The comedians that tell fart jokes and steal bad ones (a la Carlos Mencia, the putz) fall into category two. This style also jumps into the comedians who do mainstream work (like the atrocious Larry the Cable Guy—honestly, “Git ‘er done” isn’t a universal phrase for every situation—ranging into accomplished comedians who jump into sitcoms and movies (like Ray Romano and Mike Myers).

3.) Then, and this is probably the most widespread style, there are the comedians that jump back and forth between jokes at random, saying things like “that reminds me of the time…” or “what’s the deal with…?” or just jumping into another joke without even the slightest segue. It seems to be a sort of ranting that works for stand-up, and I hear it with comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Dane Cook. And everyone loves a good joke about Hot Pockets or Kool-Aid, don’t they?

I’ve lumped comedians together and simplified their styles. People may have other views about this—since, c’mon, you monitor the media and love to laugh as much as I do—but isn’t this verifiable fact? Purely physical comedians who do slapstick might deserve a fourth category, you might say. But, that’s really lowbrow comedy that’s technically the same as the comedians in the second category. So go suck on a lemon.

Thank you, thank you. You’ve been great. No really, stop, you’re embarrassing me.

::Exit Stage Left::

Being a Clay Pigeon

I guess I don’t see what other people see. What’s so important about working again? If you don’t have any expenses, it’s pointless to actually have a 40 hour/week job, right? People seem to need a purpose—to fill their day with something to do, and to feel needed. That usually means taking meaningless jobs to live off until you get the education you need for the job you actually want. To get that job, you need either experience or a series of little pieces of papers that prove your worth—a high school diploma, a college degree, et. Al.— and you work all the way down the line until you have a comfortable position that you don’t mind working in until you get arthritis and keel over like a rusty sailboat.

But is it worth the effort for the diplomas? You have to pay money to earn the degrees. This means you will have debt for years. And as an employee that sees people’s finances on a daily basis (when I’m not sick), I have to say people make the dumbest decisions even if they’ve been to school for eighteen years. People don’t know how to handle their money. They slide into even more debt, in addition to what they have to pay back in student loans, and then they have to work overtime at their jobs to survive.

Thompson Hall

So I guess college is important in that way. You are almost guaranteed to work off your debts—credit for your student loans, home loans, credit cards—in the field that you want to. You won’t be working in the grocery store for fifty years, but then again, you don’t really have a choice to stop working at any point. You might even start a family, and then you’re screwed until you’re in your sixties.

The thing is, even when you eventually buy a house, you’ll probably get a thirty year mortgage from a financial institution, like a bank or credit union, you’ll pay over a thousand dollars a month so you’re house isn’t taken away. And then, after you pay for the full thirty years you can still have your house taken away. You never stop paying for a house. You won’t be paying the bank or credit union, you’ll be paying quarterly taxes to your town or city’s escrow slush fund. If you don’t do that, they kick your punk ass into the street.

So, like I said, it would probably be easier to walk through life with little-to-no debt until you you have to settle down and spend the big bucks for a home. Education is important, but even if you go to a state college you are being taught by professors with doctorates. They have the same qualifications, they just believe in the value of an economical public education as much as I believe in being a cheapskate.

Sometimes it’s easier to be a target of ridicule by taking the road less traveled by: the inexpensive path that keeps your options open. You’d be surprised how many people choose a school with a name over a long-term plan with a concept.