Thursday, July 28

Drawing A Blank

I created my first blog with the intention of maintaining a strong political slant, but devoid of a clear mainstream ideology; specifically, my interpretations of world news. After focusing on newspapers, magazines and other blogs with such intensity, my work quickly morphed into a regurgitation of the news with little evidence of my personal analysis. I continued to develop and transitioned from general events in the news to international news with a strong focus on Middle Eastern politics. Still, I wanted to get away from the monotony and redundancy of simply writing articles and using the ubiquitous hyperlink as the Internet version of a bibliography. I wanted to bring the blog to a more personal level, so I could better relate with myself and others.

The past summer has left me, on many occasions, confounded and full of “philosophical” questions about life. Questions asked by nearly everyone yet rarely answered by anyone to any degree of satisfaction. The majority of people on this planet will never answer life’s most profound questions or even bother to try. Many chose uncompromising ignorance, while others, in an equally uninformed fashion, accept what they are taught. Be careful in your interpretation, by no means am I implying one cannot accept an idea with which they agree. Acceptance should follow the questioning and analysis of another’s ideas.

“Ignorance is bliss,” is one of the greatest truths in human history. Every time I explore a new corner of the World, expand my knowledge or experience an emotion, more questions arise and the mind suffers just a bit more. Given my inquisitive nature and inability to accept what I am told, I am driven to seek answers. Earlier this summer, I was inspired to start jotting notes in a “journal”. The journal’s purpose was not to recap events in the traditional sense, but to write and visualize questions I had and the thoughts circling overhead like vultures. Ideas in my head come and go as quickly as the mind’s nerve impulses dart from one synapse to another, hence the priceless art of writing. I write not only for the pictures drawn in the imagination, but for the history they keep. Twenty years from now I can look back and think: “Boy I was young and na├»ve, but I worked things through in my mind and I am a better person today because of it.” Or perhaps, “I can’t believe I was such a terrible writer! I must have been asleep in English class.”

To my dismay, the ideas racing through my head are generally too disjointed for the smooth flow of a blog entry. Rereading some of the material in my journal is a chore in of itself. One that, to be read coherently, requires several hours of polish. The level of effort involved is a damper on the frequency of posts.

I love writing and currently have two posts in the works. I am heading to NYC for the weekend which will inevitably provide me with ideas. Of course, I am certainly open to ideas if someone would like to offer a suggestion.

Wednesday, July 20

Intelligent Conversations

My world was slightly shaken this past weekend. We were barhopping around Adams Morgan Friday night with the air so thick you felt as though you were walking through a sauna with some asshole continuously throwing water on the rocks. I have never understood the appeal of the Adams Morgan night scene to a group of mid-twenties professionals. Adams Morgan is a neighborhood watering hole in Northwest DC for the college frat boy and sorostitute, and a locale I absolutely cannot stand: a quarter mile of bars and restaurants offering the same fare, atmosphere and ridiculous prices. The exception is the Jumbo Slice pizza parlor, offering the largest slice of pizza you will ever see. The scene every Friday and Saturday night rarely diverges from the norm. Guys wear the obligatory Polo with the collared popped and have spent more time on their hair than any girl walking by. The girls all wear heels, spaghetti strap tops and some pair of pants that rarely matches and just screams, “I am preppy trash who needs you to take me out and fuck me, so I can use your money to buy nicer clothes and chase richer men.”

The majority of my friends here in the District share my displeasure for Adams Morgan, yet when the weekend rolls around, my lawyer friend called: “I’m meeting this girl and her friends in one of your favorite places…Adams Morgan, do you want to come along?” Adams Morgan! Are you kidding me? Without even meeting this girl I already knew everything about her. But I digress.

As the morning clock reached two, we made our way to the exit and the nearest Metro station. As we swam through the humidity, one of my friends discovered a fleece coat on the sidewalk whose owner probably discarded it thinking, “Why the hell am I wearing this in 90 degree weather!” My friend, drunk and high, grabbed the 4XL coat and donned it for the remainder of our walk to the Metro.

Waiting for the train, I frantically searched for the slightest bit of cool air, and my chem. friend began talking about intelligent conversations. The subject was brought up as a delayed reaction to an argument we had been having earlier about America’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Over the past couple years I, with some difficulty, convinced myself I must “get smarter” and hold intelligent conversations with intelligent people who had intelligent ideas. A month ago I actually missed the last train while debating early WWII air power and the possibility of a cross-channel invasion of Britain. I thought the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht missed a perfect opportunity at Dunkirk to invade Britain while my lawyer friend argued it was in no way possible.

Well, my chem. friend continued and said most people do not relate with Washingtonians and their obsessions: Karl Rove, Supreme Court nominations, etc. She even went so far as to describe my lawyer friend as exceedingly boring and it surprised her girls actually talk to him for more than 15 minutes. I was taken aback for a moment – I had been drinking and my head is already a jumbled mess of nonsense. More surprising than what she said was that I never realized it myself. I’ve even been in assholes anonymous for the past several months and have been trying to avoid beltwayitis like our government avoids responsibility. It’s unbelievable how insulated we are in the shadow of I-495. Reminds me of West Virginia, but with Banana Republics, ten dollar martinis and suits to give the impression of a civilized society.

If I break down the premise of intelligent conversations, I’m left with serious tone. Having an intelligent conversation generally implies that you are seriously discussing weighty matters. Keep in mind, the theory does not work in reverse. Sharing a latte and having a discussion about the new line from Louis Vuitton is not intelligent. Affairs of state, the meaning of the universe, why Danica Patrick is a horrible racer, those are conversations of necessity.

Her words really resonated and after a couple of flashbacks I came to my own quasi-epiphany: I really don’t have as many intelligent conversations as I think I do. In fact, this entry may degrade in literary quality as I continue to write it! Of course I can talk politics with the best of them, while equally doing my best to avoid association with the Kool-Aid guzzling ideologues on Capitol Hill and in the White House. For the most part, I focus on fascinating topics including, but not limited to, clothes, “rug burn”, how I exhibit gay tendencies, why one of my friends is completely un-dateable (her words not mine) and nothing in general.

Perhaps I am not a lost cause after all or perhaps I’ll live in a state of self-delusion (which for many people is life). Maybe instead of barreling at a hundred miles an hour down the road towards seriousness and my father, I’ll slow down, get off at the exits, and take the scenic routes.

SummitPost

My favorite web site, SummitPost.org, had a great poll asking people to choose: "What trait do you look for most in a climbing partner?" The obvious winner with 36% percent of the votes was: "Safe to climb with," but third place and my choice was: "Is very attractive, single, and the opposite sex."

...That's actually three traits, right?

In the beginning

And so it begins...again! I have revived my once defunct blog. However, this time around I want to take a different approach. Instead of simply reporting the news, I am going to offer more commentary on whatever tickles me that day. It is the resurrection of my online persona, now with more life and literary experience.