My headache has subsided temporarily and I can think for a moment.  By the way, I got a killer headache earlier from playing Solitaire on the computer obsessively.

You could say that Long Beach Island was enjoyable only during the day, when I could lounge on the blanket on the sand with my iPod cranking out “Parisian Skies” by Maximo Park (which Ali supplied me with) as I stared out at the ocean and considered that the Atlantic is all that separates me from France, pretty much.  I hate the people on Long Beach Island.  Everyone’s living for the wrong reasons.  Why can’t you just kick back and enjoy how beautiful life is for a moment?  Salty air coursing through your hair.  Sand exfoliating your feet.  Being feels so healthy at the beach, yet when you look around, you just see that everyone only aims to be aesthetically pleasing, and few succeed.  I always feel overprivileged and greedy when I’m at the beach, which makes me feel extremely guilty and slightly nauseous.

I wore a bikini for the first time in ever this year.  I never wore one in years past because I was afraid of offending people with my body.  Pale, hairy, full of baby fat.  It’s a strange train of thought, I know.  I disagree with it.  But really, being bikini-ready is the least of my concerns.  I am more concerned about contentment and knowledge than I am about whether or not superficially-oriented boys will want to fuck me because of the display I put on while half-naked at the beach.  And hey.  If I was really that terribly self-conscious, I never would have bought the thing.  This is a small step towards confidence.

I read a whole lot while I was on the beach.  In fact, I covered three books.  Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I was already a Palahniuk fan, already a Vonnegut reader, so my thirst was quenched by those two.  Survivor is up there with Invisible Monsters.  I love Palahniuk because he doesn’t give you some bullshit happy ending.  The important questions are answered by the end of the book.  That doesn’t mean all of your questions are answered, though.  I would like to call his novels “mind-fuck” and leave it at that.  Through his characters, he also takes our culture apart from the inside–not as someone judging or evaluating, but as someone who has experienced it.  And best of all, he doesn’t do sequels.  Vonnegut was stunning.  Something about his writing style made Slaughterhouse-Five a quick read.  I never wanted to set it down.  I love his commentary on religion, especially in Cat’s Cradle, but there is certainly plenty of it in Slaughterhouse-Five.  There are actually many similarities between those particular novels.  As for Rice, well, she’s wordy, but I did crave more when I’d finished reading the novel.

Now I’m reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.  I find it a bit more difficult and lengthy to read, possibly because of descriptions, but it’s surprisingly hilarious.  Chuck Palahniuk sometimes solicits a small chuckle from me, but this one often gets a hearty laugh.  I’m only a few chapters in, too.

Somehow, despite the fact that I have a fairly firm grasp of who I am, my cousin constantly makes me feel like the inferior laughing stock of the family, and though I usually laugh it off, I flipped out about it this time.  Just not to her face.  With the help of the people who take me seriously, I was able to cool off fairly rapidly.

Example:  She wanted to swim in the ocean.  I was wary.  When I was twelve, I was sucked off the knee-deep sandbar over an 8-foot-deep hole and had to tread water while screaming for help and trying to live.  I just remember trying to keep my head up, and wondering when the lifeguard was going to come, thinking I was going to drown and die.  Whenever I used to think about my death scene, I would think about last words and telling everyone how much I loved them, but in that death scene, there was no time for last words.  Afterward, I completely forgot how to swim and stopped enjoying the ocean.  I find nothing about that story funny, but for some reason, my family thinks it’s hilarious that I had to get a lifeguard to save me.  So flash back to this year, and everyone still thinks it’s a great one and I still find nothing funny.  I reluctantly consent to go in the ocean, and it’s fine except my cousin’s already ditched me for Rachael and as I try to catch up to them, I’m suddenly in an area where I can’t touch bottom and I start panicking, breathing hard, and flailing, but this time I can turn around and ride the waves to shore, and I’m shaking and when my cousin gets out of the water twenty minutes later (because they abandoned me), she tells me that I missed the six “hot guys” who got in after me.  Too fucking bad, right?

There’s always some criticism of my style.  Your sandals don’t match your outfit.  Or your sunglasses are atrocious.  You wear that shirt every day.  This song is stupid and I don’t know why you’d listen to it.  You sit on your ass all day at the beach.  That guy is so comically ugly; I don’t know why you like him.  You should get your eyebrows done thinner.  You look young today.  You’re the eight and I’m the nine.  You are the eight.  And I am the nine.

I am not the favoured one by my grandmother, no matter how much I resemble her.  It’s because I’m not sassy or outrageous.  Only once:  We were thirteen or fourteen.  My cousin said she liked hot guys, and I asked if intelligence mattered to her one bit.  My grandmother laughed and noted that I was the smart one.  And that’s just it.  My cousin is the conventionally hot one, and I have to be the conventionally intelligent one, no matter how hard she tries to make it seem like I’m not only less attractive, but I’m also less intelligent.  I’m just good for a ho-hum laugh and it’s all good.  But not anymore, because I’m sick of everyone laughing at me for being the weird one.  I’m sick of having to laugh at myself for being the weird one.

Today, I’m going to give you a Bright Eyes tune.  I some of my Bright Eyes on my computer, and I feel compelled to share some of it.  I enjoy listening to this one before I do something important.  And freshman orientation is tomorrow.  I hate it when people confuse the words “freshman” and “freshmen.”  I know, but it happens.  It really does.

Gold Mine Gutted | Bright Eyes
[buy] [mediafire]
[zshare] [direct link]
Bright Eyes’ Official Website
Saddle Creek Official Website

What the hell?  I’ll give you this one, too.  As far as I know, it’s Erika’s favourite Bright Eyes tune.  I personally love Maria Taylor’s heavenly voice floating over the heavy lyrics.

Nothing Gets Crossed Out | Bright Eyes
[buy] [mediafire]
[zshare] [direct link]

I have so much music I want to share with you soon.  Why do I keep seeing American Apparel ads everywhere I look?


I am at the beach, and I just keep thinking about the tales that everyone brought from Europe, and how much I dislike America.  How much I dislike being American.  Everyone here at the beach, on Long Beach Island, embodies the typical American tourist.  And we haven’t even left the country.  I keep wondering how much the people who work here hate us.  We’re feeding them lots and lots of money with our stupid yearly rituals.  Mini golf.  Dinner here and there.  Buying this and that.  But we’re so stupid.

I finished Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk last night, and this got me thinking, too.  I guess they really aren’t targeting the smartest people as their customers, because the smartest people see the traps and the fakeness and how even though the Atlantic Ocean is beautiful and it’s all that separates me from France, it’s a tourist trap.  The shore is a tourist trap.  LBI is a tourist trap.  But there’s almost no other way to really enjoy the ocean, not here in America where they have to package and sell everything.

Why, also, do you think I love being pale?  Why do you think I crave pearly white skin?  Anyone can become tan.  Even the most milky white people like Rachael can go to the tanning bed and gradually gain immunity in the form of beautiful bronze skin.  But it takes a certain kind of person to be able to be pale.  And I’m not racist.  If I wasn’t able to have very pale skin, then I would next want to have cinnamon skin or dark chocolate skin.  Those are my next choices, because I like the extremes.  Very dark or very light, those sorts of skin colours take a special kind of person.  But it’s not possible for me to have very dark skin, so I have to aim for the lightest end of the spectrum.

I just thought of something, though.  About culture.  I am sort of glad I grew up American because I have control over what I become.  I have control over my cultural education.  It may be difficult at times, but I have such a selection.  And I know exactly what I dislike about being American.

31 December, 2007, 814 pm
Filed under: Books, Music, My Experience with Existence, Nouvelle Musique | Tags: ,

Ummm, happy holidays, I guess.  This time of year makes me binge-eat junk food and cry a lot.  I like to read and think.  And Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk changed my life.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know anymore.  I don’t know right now.  I promise this isn’t a drunk post or any jank like that.  I don’t even drink.  Haha.  I’m just lost, I guess, in thinking about next year and about how many bad choices I’ve made, and thinking about who I really care about and how happy everyone really is.  Personal connections and all.  More music soon.

For the time being, this song is all I’ve been listening to lately.  It makes me think of last night, walking down the streets after it had snowed and the clouds had all gone away.  It was a winter wonderland, so peaceful, and everyone was asleep and you could see the stars.  It felt like we four were the only people left in the world.  And then I thought of someone.

Moose and Me

Fake Empire | The National