Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Where are you going I don't mind
I've killed my world and I've killed my time
So where do I go what do I see
I see many people coming after me
So where are you going to I don't mind
If I live too long I'm afraid I'll die
So I will follow you wherever you go
If your offered hand is still open to me
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one
So you've been where I've just come
From the land that brings losers on
So we will share this road we walk
And mind our mouths and beware our talk
'Till peace we find tell you what I'll do
All the things I own I will share with you
If I feel tomorrow like I feel today
We'll take what we want and give the rest away
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one
Holy man and holy priest
This love of life makes me weak at my knees
And when we get there make your play
'Cos soon I feel you're gonna carry us away
In a promised lie you made us believe
For many men there is so much grief
And my mind is proud but it aches with rage
And if I live too long I'm afraid I'll die
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one

Monday, April 07, 2008

Instructions for Freedom

An excerpt from one of my favorite books, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

1. Life's metaphors are God's instructions.

2. You have just climbed up and above the roof. There is nothing between you and the Infinite. Now, let go.

3. The day is ending. It's time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, let go.

4. Your wish for resolution was a prayer. Your being here is God's response. Let go, and watch the stars come out - on the outside and on the inside.

5. With all your heart, ask for grace, and let go.

6. With all your heart, forgive them, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and let them go.

7. Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go.

8. Watch the heat of day pass into the cool night. Let go.

9. When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It's safe. Let go.

10. When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of your life. With great joy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone.

Sometimes I wish I could say things as eloquently as this....

(from www.johnmayer.com/blog on March 27, 2008)


I need to write this.

I've been traveling alone in Japan for the better part of three weeks now, and It's been so remarkable an experience for me that I can't book a ticket home yet. I haven't spoken very much out loud these days, but I've been thinking to myself in what feels like surround sound. I can see so many things clearly, and feel so connected to myself and the world around me that I need to share the perspective with you.

I'm already aware that when I sing, say or write anything, 50 percent of the response will be in support of it and the other 50 will want to discount it. This blog, though, is directed to 100 percent of people reading it. If my blog truly does have any cultural effect, then it should be used for more than just pictures of sneakers and funny youtube videos. (If you don't think my blog has any effect, than you can't by definition be reading this right now and therefore don't have to respond to it in any way. Isn't that tidy?)

What I'm about to write isn't about fame or success or celebrity or the media. That's my business.

This is about us all.

This is about a level of self consciousness so high in my generation, that it's actually toxic.

This is about the girl in her bedroom who poses in front of the camera she's awkwardly holding in her outstretched hand. She'll take a hundred photos until coming up with one she's happy with, which inevitably looks nothing like her, and after she's done poring over images of herself, will post one on her myspace page and then write something like " I don't give a f*ck what you think about me."

This is about the person trying out for American Idol, who while going off about how confident they are that they were born ready to sing in front of the world, are trembling so badly they can hardly breathe.

This is about me, the guy who walks through a throng of photographers into a restaurant like he's Paul Newman, but who leaves a "reject" pile of clothes in his closet so high that his cleaning lady can't figure out how one man can step into so many pairs of pants in a week.

This is about a young guy who maintains a celebrity blog that subsists on tearing other people down but who has wrestled with a lifelong battle for acceptance as a gay man.

This is about us all. Every one of us. Who all seem to know deep down that it's incredibly hard to be alive and interact with the world around us but will try and cover it up at any cost. For as badass and unaffected as we try to come off, we're all just one sentence away from being brought to the edge of tears, if only it was worded right. And I don't want to act immune to that anymore. I took the biggest detour from myself over the past year, since I decided that I wasn't going to care about what people thought about me. I got to the point where I had so much padding on that, sure, I couldn't feel the negativity, but that's because I couldn't feel much of anything. And I think I'm done with that.

I'm not the first person to admit we're all self conscious, Kanye was. But what I want to do is to shed a little light on why we're all in the same boat, no matter the shape of the life we lead: because every one of us were told since birth that we were special. We were spoken to by name through a television. We were promised we could be anything that we wanted to be, if only we believed it and then, faster than we saw coming, we were set loose into the world to shake hands with the millions of other people who were told the exact same thing.

And really? Really? It turns out we're just not all that special, when you break it down. Beautifully unspectacular, actually. And that truth is going to catch up with us whether we want to run from it or not. The paparazzo following me to the gym ain't gonna be Herb Ritts and the guy he's following ain't gonna be Bob Dylan. It's just a matter of how old you are once you embrace that fact. And for me, 30 sounds about right.

What now, then? I can only really say for myself: Enjoy who I am, the talents and the liabilities. Stop acting careless. In fact, care more. Be vulnerable but stay away from where it hurts. Read. See more shows. Of any kind. Rock shows, art shows, boat shows. Create more art. Wear hoodies to dinner. Carry a notebook and hand it to people when they passionately recommend something and ask them to write it down for me.

Root for others.

Give more and expect the same in return, but over time.

Act nervous when I'm nervous, puzzled when I don't know what the hell to do, and smile when it all goes my way. And never in any other order than that.

And when it's all over, whether at the end of this fabulous career or of this life, which I hope takes place at the same time, I should look back and say that I had it good and I made the most of it while I was able. And so should you.

I'm going quiet now.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Everything must end sometime....

Years down the road when I think back to the time I spent at U of I, I wonder what will come to mind: the wonderful friends that I will walk away from this experience with, the times that I could not handle being in Champaign anymore, or the year I spent away. This weekend, two of my dearest friends came to visit, and having them hear created a type of collision of worlds that brought out a lot of emotions and memories that I don't think I've been dealing with adequately.

This year has been much better than the previous years at Illinois mostly because I think my time away left me refreshed and able to cope with a lot of things. Yet, I think of the friends I have made here, and while many of them are wonderful people that I enjoy spending my time with on campus, I am painfully aware of the fact that I can probably count on one hand the people I will stay in touch with after May. That is not to say that our friendships have not been meaningful, but I somehow feel like I have poured a lot into many of them without that effort being reciprocated. When feeling that way, it is difficult NOT to eventually start comparisons with the friendships I have with others. I always have shrived to remained the optimist when it comes to friendships--investing my time and energy in maintaining those that may be losing their luster but this optimism is frankly exhausting.

Maybe all of this will change, and even if it doesn't, I am 5 weeks away from starting a new chapter. There's so much here I want to hold onto, but I feel like at this point there is more sense in letting go.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Mass Media, Scary Children, and Thoughts on Becoming a Hermit

This book made me hate society.

At first glance, the baby looks kind of peaceful, right? Wait. TV for an eyeball. That's kind of unnerving. And so is everything within the covers of this book. While I admit that I am often a skeptic of taking everything within a book for truth (see: early reactions to the Di Vinci Code), considering its academic nature, I gave this book a shot. My life, how I live it, the TV I watch and the people I know will never be the same.

In brief, Croteau and Hoynes spend hundreds of pages discussing theories of mass media and its effects on the public. As a frequent consumer of mass media (I check CNN daily, read the Times when I'm feeling ambitious, read the DI for entertainment purposes, among others), I find with each chapter this book revealing things about myself and mass communication culture that, I, for one, had a hard time coming to terms with.

For one, it has taught me to regard the media with an even more critical eye (hopefully not one that will turn into a television set anytime soon). I have always been a stereotypical hater of Fox News. What they put on TV and the internet is criminal, and something that should be addressed on a federal level. However, it is only because they do these things more blatantly than other sources that I find them so offensive. CNN, the Times, AOL, Yahoo.... these outlets thrive on sensationalism--something that, while entertaining, is doing so much harm to the intellect of the American people that I can hardly stand to stomach it. Placing a story about the Iraq War on the front pages but utilizing only a quote by the Defense Department and providing no critical counter arguments as these outlets so often do is something straight out of Orwell. Do we not realize that we are being primed to believe the agendas of official sources and respect them perhaps far more than they deserve? Furthermore, corporate ownership has corrupted the process further by strategically placing products and emphasis in certain areas that will promote action from the consumer though we are unconscious of these efforts. Yet, under the guise of "independent" media, these outlets continue to push an agenda while allowing the public to believe they are not subject to one.

It's a sad world when the most unbiased, or at least honest outlet in the news media is a program that is run on a comedy channel. Yet it seems no solution is on the horizon until consumers of news media realize they are nothing more than recipients of an agenda that preferences consumption and sensationalism over honesty.

There will be time.


by: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

      ET us go then, you and I,
      When the evening is spread out against the sky
      Like a patient etherized upon a table;
      Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
      The muttering retreats
      Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
      And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
      Streets that follow like a tedious argument
      Of insidious intent
      To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
      Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"

      Let us go and make our visit.
      In the room the women come and go
      Talking of Michelangelo.

      The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
      The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
      Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
      Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
      Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
      Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
      And seeing that it was a soft October night,
      Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

      And indeed there will be time
      For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
      Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
      There will be time, there will be time
      To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
      There will be time to murder and create,
      And time for all the works and days of hands
      That lift and drop a question on your plate;
      Time for you and time for me,
      And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
      And for a hundred visions and revisions,
      Before the taking of a toast and tea.

      In the room the women come and go
      Talking of Michelangelo.

      And indeed there will be time
      To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
      Time to turn back and descend the stair,
      With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
      (They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!")
      My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
      My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
      (They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
      Do I dare
      Disturb the universe?
      In a minute there is time
      For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

      For I have known them all already, known them all:
      Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
      I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
      I know the voices dying with a dying fall
      Beneath the music from a farther room.
      So how should I presume?

      And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
      The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
      And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
      When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
      Then how should I begin
      To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
      And how should I presume?

      And I have known the arms already, known them all--
      Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
      (But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
      Is it perfume from a dress
      That makes me so digress?
      Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
      And should I then presume?
      And how should I begin?

      Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
      And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
      Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

      I should have been a pair of ragged claws
      Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

      * * *

      And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
      Smoothed by long fingers,
      Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
      Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
      Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
      Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
      But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
      Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
      I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;
      I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
      And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
      And in short, I was afraid.

      And would it have been worth it, after all,
      After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
      Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
      Would it have been worth while,
      To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
      To have squeezed the universe into a ball
      To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
      To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
      Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--
      If one, settling a pillow by her head
      Should say: "That is not what I meant at all;
      That is not it, at all."

      And would it have been worth it, after all,
      Would it have been worth while,
      After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
      After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor--
      And this, and so much more?--
      It is impossible to say just what I mean!
      But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
      Would it have been worth while
      If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
      And turning toward the window, should say:
      "That is not it at all,
      That is not what I meant, at all."

      No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
      Am an attendant lord, one that will do
      To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
      Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
      Deferential, glad to be of use,
      Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
      Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
      At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
      Almost, at times, the Fool.

      I grow old ... I grow old ...
      I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

      Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
      I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
      I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

      I do not think that they will sing to me.

      I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
      Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
      When the wind blows the water white and black.
      We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
      By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
      Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The times they are a-changin'

As it is currently snowing like mad outside with sub-zero temps, I am really wishing my little feet were on a beautiful beach in South Carolina (see below) instead of bundled up in terry cloth socks.
Well, after a lot of thought and consideration, I think I am going to venture away from my comfort zone next year (Chicago). I know my opinions change every week, but I feel like I have been waiting for this moment (graduation, the opportunity to select a completely new place to start my life, etc) for too long to take the easy road. Obviously, moving to Chicago would not be simple, but it lack some part of the excitement and change that I believe would be beneficial to me. It will be difficult to move away from many friends who I know will be starting their next chapters in the city, but I have to kick myself and think back to my mantra in Geneva...Start doing things that scare me. They may not always be comfortable, but they are always invigorating. I'll figure it out... just have to keep having faith that the right opportunity is going to come my way and I will have the courage enough to take it.

Btw... Happy Holidays everyone! Next blog will probably be from the opposite side of the world.... exciting ! :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Out with the old...in with the new.

I figure as 2007 comes to a close, I should reflect upon all the incredible things it has brought me, as well as look ahead to all the goals I would like to accomplish in 2008....

Accomplishments for 2007:

Czech Republic
Italy (and Sicily)
Vatican City
Boston, Mass
Cape Cod, Mass
Newport, Rhode Island

Lived in Switzerland for 4 months
Lived in Washington DC for 2 months
Received an A in Microeconomics
Attended meetings at the WTO, WHO, ICRC and United Nations
Swam in Lake Geneva
Visited Auschwitz
Was detained on the Swiss/French border
Paddleboated in the Charles River
Studied French again
Organized meetings for delegates from throughout Africa, Russia and Indonesia through the State Department International Visitor Leadership Program
Worked for a Non-Profit organization
Photographed the Sistine Chapel
Gained and lost 15 pounds
Learned to love dark chocolate
Watched 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall
Ate at a traditional Moroccan restaurant
Took the LSAT
Applied to law school
Was a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding
Tried Sushi for the first (well, second) time...and liked it!!


Goals for 2008:

Great wall of China

  • Become a vegetarian (after January 11th)
  • Run a mile in under 7:00
  • Read the "Great Ideas" series by Penguin

Marcus Aurelius
St Augustine
Thomas a Kempis
Niccolo Machiavelli
Michel de Montaigne
Jonathan Swift
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Edward Gibbon
Thomas Paine
Mary Wollstonecraft

William Hazlitt
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Ruskin
Charles Darwin
Friedrich Nietzsche
Virginia Woolf
Sigmund Freud
George Orwell
On the Shortness of Life
Confessions of a Sinner
The Inner Life
The Prince
On Friendship
A Tale of a Tub
The Social Contract
The Christians and the Fall of Rome
Common Sense
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
On the Pleasure of Hating
The Communist Manifesto
On the Suffering of the World
On Art and Life
On Natural Selection
Why I Am So Wise
A Room of One's Own
Civilization and its Discontents
Why I Write

  • Write one letter per week
  • Generally, become more organized and scheduled
  • Study 20th century war history
  • Take yoga
  • Graduate from college (AH!)
  • Move into my first 1 bedroom apartment (AH!)
  • Attend law school (AH! AH!)
  • Go "green"
  • Start a "rainy day" fun---i.e. start saving
and for fun...

  • Watch the Bourne series

More to come I'm sure. Sad to see what was probably the most amazing year of my entire life go, but looking forward to new adventures that 2008 is sure to bring :-)

Currently reading...The Communist Manifesto
Currently listening to... Die Alone - Ingrid Michaelson