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Mon, Jan 15, 2001 11:06PM -0600

I think I am actually happy, or at least content. Timorously so. I have to admit that it's been a while since I've felt joy with no strings attached, and I can't help but approach it warily, like it's going to bite me or something. Maybe it still will. But I'm trying to be optimistic. For once.

I had a paper to write. A paper in med school. Go figure. So I've let my thoughts backlog for quite a while now. I've been feeling a little mentally constipated. You know how if you hold it in, eventually, you don't want to go at all? But, in no order whatsoever:

Bits and pieces of yesteryear

This was the most uneventful New Year's of my life. The turn of the millennium and I'm doing nothing but driving home. I realized the lunacy of watching taped-delayed celebrations. What's the point, exactly? Time is an illusion anyway. But, hell, it's the middle of January already. Where am I and how did I get here?

I found a great book two days after Christmas, in Las Vegas, at the Virgin Megastore in the Forum. It's called Death on the Installment Plan by Louis-Ferdinand Celine, translated by Ralph Manheim. What a foul mouthed bastard. He's awesome. I want to be just like him. He was also a physician, and this book is kind of autobiographical in many respects. His main character expresses a lot of the sentiments I've felt. I finally finished it last week. What a story. I won't say another word, though.

Right next to him on the shelf at Virgin was a collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski, who seems really intriguing as well. Apparently he was insanely prolific. He writes a lot about L.A., and he lived in Glendale, of all places. I didn't get his book when I had a chance, but I'll probably end up ordering it. I went to Barnes and Noble today and read one of his short stories, and I'm hoping to read more soon.

A little bit of childhood nostalgia: I've been reading a lot Calvin and Hobbes, too. It's extraordinarily philosophical. And Bill Watterson is like the paragon of a virtuous artist. Finally, someone who spells out exactly what it means not to sell out. He's definitely going up on my list of heroes.

A final mental retch: I've had my share of brain barfing these past two weeks. Times like this you really find out who your friends are. Sometimes it just boggles my mind to realize that there are actually people on this planet who are willing to listen to me rant and rave for hours on end, only to come to the conclusion that, for the most part, there are no answers, and when there are, you already knew them to being with. I love you guys, you know who you are! And I hope you drank some Lactaid before you read this.

But seriously, it's amazing how this time of year makes everyone just reflect on their lives. I know I'm not the only one who has suffered an existensial crisis. If you're honest, you'll admit your regrets. Well, maybe they're not completely regrets. But you'll admit that there are things you haven't done that you wish you had. I guess they can't be regrets until you realize you can't do them anymore. I'll end on a trite note. As long as you can imagine it, there's still hope.

OK, I lied. Here's one more. Philosophical thought for the day: This is a side effect of reading Calvin and Hobbes, I guess. You know the Myth of Sisyphus? Well, Camus' explanation does make a lot of sense. There's something about watching that rock just roll down that hill after all your futile toiling. But then I realized, you know what, that's exactly what you do when you go sledding. You drag this heavy piece of wood and metal (well, heavy if you're a kid, although I guess they're mostly plastic these days) up the highest, most treacherous hill you can find (which is not an easy task in the Midwest, I've come to realize) and after all that huffing and puffing, you just piss away all your hard work and go sliding down that hill. Is Bill Watterson a genius or what? And sledding really is a lot of fun, even if it lasts for like three seconds. Now that's what I call existentialism!

Well, there's a lot more backed up sh-t still clogging up my brain. Now that I don't have a paper to write, I'll probably get through them before I know it. Until then...

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