Perhaps Introductions are Necessary?

I decided to start a little “blog” of my own, after reading the overly dramatic crud my buddy Micah posts at cry_me_a_river.blogspot.com. Although my life isn’t nearly so interesting as his (or those of his friends), I would still like to chronicle what goes on in the day-to-day life of a nerd, namely yours truly.

I suppose I should first lay out who my friends/acquaintances are, and their relationships to me. Not at all an easy task, given that I am not a very social person and find myself easily capable of spending weeks with no contact with anyone, alone with my books, thoughts, music, and computer. And yet there are still a few folks I don’t mind talking to, and even consider friends.

Michael: Probably my closest bud at this time; I can’t really talk to him, but I can chat with him about website-related stuff, a major past-time of mine and his.
Jenny: Michael’s girlfriend; she smart and popular, a rare mix at Harding H.S. Anything I tell Michael goes straight through one ear and into hers, and vice versa. I would never express an opinion about one to the other at this point–I learned my lesson when I called Jenny “squeaky”.
Micah: A gay buddy of mine that used to attend Harding; Il est mon ami jumeau (twin friend). He’s overly dramatic, annoying as hell about 66% of the time, and highly entertaining. He’s into musical theater at Northwest now.
Eddie: A former boyfriend turned almost-confidant; I still don’t know if he’s bi or straight, and I can’t bring myself to care too much. We spend little time together, which is good, because it makes what time we do spend together better in that we don’t fight (too much) and I don’t get to see all the little things I dislike about him. I would consider him a friend.
David: A disturbed boy from (multiple) disturbed homes. I place him here because he’s a good acquaintance that makes me laugh (at length) and I amy end up talking about him at some point.
M. K.: M.K.’s just a shortened nickname, as what I call him is his mother’s last name, and it’s not nice to post that sort of stuff on the Internet, ya know. He’s a superficially arrogant, not-so-bad-looking dude that I used to consider a friend, until I realized that I can barely stand to listen to him talk at all. It’s “all M.K., all the time” with him, and I find myself with less and less to say to him.
Dulin: My one buddy that doesn’t annoy me (I think). He’s been my friend since freshman year, and although we don’t have deep or even personal discussions, I can trust him to be my buddy through all sorts of weird stuff (like very public, annoying, and embarrassing boyfriends/girlfriends).
Nathan: A strange guitar-playing acquaintance; for a brief period of time, I almost considered him a friend, but then the night of revelations ended and I was faced with the familiar, curly-haired, arrogant, manic-depressive (IMO), offensive-as-hell guy I have always generally avoided or talked to in short spurts. Very short spurts.

I am a senior at Harding University High School in the International Baccalaureatte program and am interested in pursuing a career in either web design/development, coputer programming (in Java), or book editing (as in for a publisher like Baen Books). I spend lots of time reading, even more time working on my websites, and a fair amount of time reading USENET groups, that entity that not enough people know about anymore and that promotes discussions of topics about everything from religion to computer hardware to books, movies, and music.

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Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Labyrinth”

In this Vorkosigan short story, which follows Ethan of Athos chronologically, Miles takes charge again, heading to Jackson’s Whole for the dual purpose of meeting a new man in power there (Baron Fell) and acquiring a geneticist for a client of the Dendarii Mercs. Things rapidly fall apart, and Admiral Naismith must avoid falling into the wrong hands, killing an innocent woman, and torture by several parties.

I found this story much more in the spirit of the Vorkosigan series than Ethan of Athos. Miles is present and active, and several other recurring characters are introduced (it certainly helps explain Mirror Dance, which I read before this one). I usually dislike short stories, as I prefer lengthy Deed of Paksennarion and Lord of the Rings types of books, but this was very good, with an intricate plot and a satisfying conclusion. It was more like a mini-novel than a short story.

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke

This story, told first person from the perspective of a sex addict (Victor Mancini), tells of Victor’s struggles to gain an identity, to deal with his mother, and to understand his role in the world (or lack of). Victor pays for his sick mother’s $3000-a-month care by working for $6/h at a historical theme park and choking nightly in restaurants, after which his saviors send him money for whatever problems he tells them he has (rent, electricity, etc.).

In the jacket blurb for this book, Victor is called an “anti-hero for our deranging times”; I think that is a perfect description. He’s a med school drop-out, a bum, a sex addict, and a bastard, all of which are conditions that our society propogates in one way or another.

Although it took a little longer for me to get into this book than Fight Club (I found the first chapter a little excessive in its criticism), I was soon just as enamored. The development of Victor and the other characters is superb, and very realistic. The writing style seemed to reflect Victor’s training as a doctor, succinct and full of medical jargon and pessimistic diagnoses. The medical jargon provided either a flinch or a laugh, depending on the situation, but was always entertaining. When you read Palahniuk’s works, it doesn’t seem like you are reading about the viewpoints of some middle-aged satirist; it seems like you are in fact reading an autobiography of the main character, and the views expressed may not be Palahniuk’s at all.

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Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ethan of Athos

This installment of the Vorkosigan Saga features a young doctor from the all-male, generally homosexual planet of Athos who must acquire a new set of ovaries for the continuation of life on Athos. The problem is, he must interact with the morally inferior Galactics, and in particular, women. Ethan joins with Admiral Naismith’s agent Elli Quinn to uncover a plot that threatens the stability and longevity of the Athosians.

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club

This novel, now a movie, tells of two young men, one of which starts a destructive club (Fight Club) with the intent to wake up the world and change it, and the other who must deal with his insomnia, his conscience, and a desire to hit bottom.

I fell in love with this book on the second page. It’s that simple. Palahniuk’s writing style and choice of content grabbed me, and to be perfectly truthful, haven’t let go of me yet, although I am done with the book. This book appealed to me in the base way Fight Club appealed to the men in the book. Although I don’t believe in destroying things to make a statement, the reasons that Tyler Durden wished to change the world made some sense to me.

The book is also considerably darker than the movie. I think another part of the appeal of this book to me was the contrast between the Hollywood version and the “real” version. It almost seemed to underscore some the points in the novel, or at least the general theme.

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taking joy in human unreason