January 27, 2004


"Ne te quaesiveris extra."
(translation below)

If there's anything that I've ever learned about myself that has held true, it would be the idea that I tend to see the "big picture." I see the connections between things. I see, and often choose to connect, the pieces of my life so as to form some sort of order from the randomness. I think that it's a good thing, personally, but that's because I've learned to work in that context...it's a gift usually, and sometimes a hinderance. People yell at me for reading into things too much sometimes, but its usually under control. I'm often astounded at the parallels...

And so tonight, I had the opportunity to read some of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays for "Democratic Vistas" and had the chance to connect them to my own life. First off, read "Self-Reliance" by clicking here. It's a fantastic essay...basically making the point that self-reliance can be one of the strongest traits that a person can choose to develop in their own life. Boiled down, it comes to being true to oneself. As Emerson writes, "Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. " On finding yourself: "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."

Emerson calls upon the individual to develop fully before society can be developed fully...indeed, goes so far to say, "Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them. " It's an interesting statement when viewed in the context of society today." Further, on the disruption of society and of the normalcy that it brings: "Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things."

One of my greatest fears and faults is not putting enough of myself on the line in my life. I tend to stay the course and keep my mouth shut rather than be outspoken. Consequently, I keep things unsaid, and that grates at me after the opportunity passes. I need to be more assertive sometimes, need to realize that conflict does not equal destruction; that argument does not equal negativity always. To have this stuff come along in such an easy to understand package and for a class is helpful in some way. The big picture still exists and everything keeps getting tied back to it in its own way.

This isn't stuff that is particularly bringing me down currently, it's just always in the back of my mind.

It was actually a pretty decent day actually. The snow cancelled class. I slept in, and then pretty much hung out with Katie in the house for a while today playing video games, watching television and talking. We did watch "Wonder Boys" which is one of my favorite films. I worked on a Collegian redesign for a bit (if we ever get permission to publish on the web again) integrating the new PacMan (chevron) logo into the design. It looks interesting...would love to see it live someday.

Again, I find myself praying for snow for tomorrow. Or sleet. Or hail, ice chunks, frozen penguins or any other "significant weather event" that would cancel classes...solely because I have more classes tomorrow than I had today.

But the smile I spoke of yesterday continues.

TRANS: Do not seek yourself outside yourself.

Posted by Matthew at 12:15 AM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2004

It's funny...

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies...
-The Shawshank Redemption

The quotes to open these things up have been helpful lately...they seem to keep me on some sort of mental track, which has been helpful.

It's amazing how an hour can really change a weekend. Today proved that to me. This was my big "duty free" weekend - no duty at all...no duty actually, until Thursday this week.Friday must have been uneventful (oh! Laundry!) because I don't remember doing much. Saturday was kind of annoyingly boring. I was supposed to hang out with a group of people and see "Girl with the Pearl Earring." It got cancelled due to cold and other factors...from there, a cascade of plans that I set up really fell apart quickly. It wound up being me and Scott playing Halo for a bit, and a Wawa run, and people coming over for a while...I had forgotten about a party that was going on until it felt too late to go over -slash- I didn't want to leave the house at the point that it was. It wasn't all bad; Scott and I came up with a skit involving two older Russian gentlemen giving out love advice...kind of a communist Dan Savage, I guess...

I had been really looking forward to "Girl With..." to just hang out with some people and stuff...you know, to just get out of the house for a while. A duty free weekend is a rarity for me (especially in Miguel, for which I can't complain - the benefits put the duty to shame) and I wanted it to be special...

Today and tonight really made the weekend special. The day was just really quiet and enjoyable, spending time with old and new friends...rehearsal, "brunchinner" at the union with suzy, production meeting, and tv tonight...it was just kind of nice being with people for a while...

I'll have a smile on my face for the entire week...probably

But for now it is snowing...and it seems like our best chances for a snow day yet this year...so I hope it keeps coming, and freezes tonight...who couldn't use a Monday off?

[Listening to: Keep Me in Your Heart - Warren Zevon - The Wind (3:28)]
Posted by Matthew at 02:06 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2004

On groundhogs and other rodents...

This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat. You know, Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out and they used to *eat* it! You're hypocrites! All a ya!
-Phil (Bill Murray) in "Groundhog Day"

One night in January last year, a couple of us decided that we would get some people together and would go to see the groundhog in Punxsutawney this year on February 2nd. The decision was made, of course, while watching the movie of the same name. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be happening this year, as 2/2/04 is on a Monday, and no plans have been set yet. Oh well... This, I think, is still a goal of mine in life - to experience the wonder of standing in the freezing cold while a jolly man in a tuxedo pulls a furry creature out of it's burrow in order to determine how much longer winter will be. I mean, why not? I'd envision going up a few days earlier and leaving the third or the fourth. From Philadelphia or Baltimore (they're both about the same drive) it's around 5 hours one-way. Anyone with me?

Tonight was meant to be spent up in LA with friends watching movies...unfortunately, this wicked nasty headache killed my night. I just felt like crap. I wound up dozing on the futon downstairs and watching "Monsters, Inc." on Encore. Good movie...I caught myself laughing out loud quite a few times. I did get laundry done tonight, which was a plus, and the room retains some of the cleanliness from my cleaning yesterday.

I don't have any duty this weekend, which is an incredibly strange feeling. I'm free of the clipboard and keys, as I said to another RA friend tonight... kinda not sure what to do with the open evenings now. Not worried of course - this rocks, to not have to stay around the house. Coupled with the fact that I don't have any papers to write right now, Saturday and Sunday night are just open blocks of time.

Maybe finish the Villanova gradschool app... perhaps.

[Listening to: 18th Variation (Rachmaninoff) - Rhapsody on a Theme..Paganini - NY Philharmonic, Bernstein (2:53)]
Posted by Matthew at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2004

So what's new?

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether
that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. "

-David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

The week has been running well thus far. "Democratic Vistas" provides for interesting discussion. Tuesday went a lot better - the discussion was a lot more even, and it felt like it was more academic rather than griping. "Witness" was interesting for Film as Art...one I'd seen before, but one that (I guess) was worth watching again. "Frankenstein (1931)" proved to be much more comedic than horrific in Film History. I now know more than I ever wanted to about the eating habits of Celtic monks in ancient Ireland.

Yeah, it's been one of those whirlwind weeks.

I keep running into people that I haven't seen since before break. Somehow the discussion always goes along the lines of "where has the time gone?" It's only January and I'm already getting wistful about the whole graduation thing. Oh yeah, still nothing done on grad school apps at this moment. I'm feeling more and more like I may try to do an RD position somewhere and take my RA experience with me. It's a path that I think I'd enjoy, and it would probably help me get in gear to get the Masters.

Random moment...talking to my father in a heated discussion on the phone yesterday, he told me "You talk too much. Just do." Yeah, I agree...that's all I have to say about that.

Right now I'm just really hoping for the weekend to get here. No duty for a change, and plans on Saturday and Sunday. What more could anyone want?

Posted by Matthew at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

The tradition continues...

I think I wrote about this last year, but the tradition of the mysterious Poe toaster continues...

Posted by Matthew at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2004

Back to the Future

I've finally seen Back to the Future.

A bunch of us watched it last night. Strangely, nothing bad happened - the world didn't suck me into a vortex, the apocolypse didn't happen, etc... it was just a darn good movie.

Yeah, so the teasing can finally stop...the 21-year old film major who hadn't seen BTTF has finally seen the first two movies.


Posted by Matthew at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2004

Just a really nice day

The snow didn't come down enough for a snow day today, but it was just a really pretty day overall. It was incredibly fluffy, and easily cleared.

Democratic Vistas got bogged down in conversations that I thought were off topic, but still managed to maneuver back onto topic for the end. It's tough to talk in philosophic generalizations, but the class really needs that. Specific issues can't be discussed as universals, and people kept trying to. Frustrating...I'm a nerd, I know...but it felt more like listening to the priveleged few whining about their own personal political disillusionment rather than genuine philosophic discussion.

Just a damn good day overall in the end too...just a really wonderful, wonderful day.

[Listening to: It's Hard To Be A Saint In The - Bruce Springsteen - Tracks (Disc 1) (0:-1)]
Posted by Matthew at 01:33 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2004

Another semester begins...

The semester seems to be getting off to a good start. Classes are pretty cool. The lowdown:

  • Democratic Vistas - My final honors class, taught by Dr. Volpe. Volpe is a pretty cool guy, very mellow, very much set in that education is a personal experience best left up to the student. Lots of independent readings, many different points of view, all in the vein of attempting to get some greater truth. The material is going to be difficult, but I like the authors; I think Emerson will be among them...its a large class, and my earliest class starting at 11am on T/R.

  • Film as Art - This is the weird one this semester. I'm retaking to erase the "D" that I recieved 2 years ago. I'm in class with freshmen and sophomores mainly, and I really don't know anyone. It's Bill Wine though, who is pretty easy to please if you're able to coherently state your viewpoint. He's hysterical too, which helps.

  • Film History - My other class with Wine. Looks to be interesting - not a lot of work, but some really interesting subject matter. This is the class with everyone from Film Seminar last semester, which makes conversation interesting and worthwhile. There's also a few seniors taking it as an elective - they should be interesting as the class pans out.

  • Travel Study to Ireland - it meets Friday, so I haven't had it yet...but how bad could it be? We're going to Ireland for spring break! What else is there?

In other news...had a random night with Cristin, Danielle, and Melissa earlier this week...went up to fix Danielle's computer, but couldn't (anyone have system restore disks for an HP 7200 model computer?) and so we just got to talking. About wine. And I professed a like for wine, and a desire to try more. They have several cases of decent wine, and Danielle proceeded to open up a bottle, and we three polished it off in a few hours while just talking. And there was a small bottle of champagne too, and that was cool...we just had some really random conversations, and I saw many many scrapbooks from previous summers and school years. It was one of the most random nights I've had at La Salle (right up with Dave and the leather pants) but it was one of the best.

In other aspects of my life, I continue to be as apprehensive and nervous about things as ever. More on this later, as I finally realize that there's five months left to say the things that I need and want to say to the people around me. Nothing serious, mind you, but hell, sometimes you have to look at life as a time to say what you want to, because there's really nothing to lose in the end that you wouldn't have lost anyhow.

Laramie progresses. That's about all I can say, having worked on some research, but not having seen any rehearsals.

I'm currently praying for a snow day for Thursday. 3-5 inches, come on down!

Posted by Matthew at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

Some interesting ads...

A quick link to MoveOn.org's "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad contest.

Interesting if your politics don't completely mesh with those of the current administration.

Posted by Matthew at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)


The book says, we might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.

I'm back at La Salle. I say it every year, but its hard to believe that the break went by as fast as it did. Blah - less than a month, and most of that month was spent at Regal working forty-hour weeks. I'm not complaining - the price of not working is boredom, which is ten times worst, in the least.

At the advice of my parents, I stopped by Calvert Hall yesterday to see some people. Teaching may be in my future for a while (hey, theres plenty of time to write, and there's time for grad school as well...) and there was some interest expressed that maybe I would go back there and teach. I'm growing into the idea - not completely sure yet - but its an idea. I spent a lunch with Uncle Mike Magrogan, talking about a lot of different things, from grad school, to theater, to race in the cities. I stopped in on Mr. Motsay too...strange, I think, how I'll never be able to call these people by their first names...he's doing well, his kids are excelling everywhere. It was just a good time - I went in kind of reluctantly, and came out really happy I had gone.

I made the drive this morning in about an hour and a half, which seems to be the best time I've ever made. The day was spent in a retreat with the CA staff of MATLC over at Gwyned Mercy College. It was very laid back - we played Cranium and other board games, and just talked. Training begins tomorrow night and lasts until around 4 on Sunday. I'm looking forward to it - its my last training ever, and I'm presenting. My presentation isn't finished yet - I have a beginning and an end, and need a middle. (no sweat, right?)

I spent tonight working through a "CDP" - the "Community Development Plan," a document that is supposed to outline half of the semester in terms of what I want to accomplish. Except I don't know what I want to accomplish through Community Development. I've been away for a month in the real world dealing with real problems, not worrying about people's clothes not drying and whether or not we need an ice cream social. My focus hasn't quite shifted yet, as you can see...I'm enthusiastic as to seeing what will happen. The CDP is a lot of excess paperwork though, and I disliked doing it - I know I'm going to get it back for revisions and requests for specifics that I don't have and don't want to set yet.

I was talking with an old friend while working through the CDP, Pete. Pete and I worked on two plays at CHC - "Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged" and "Me and My Girl." He acted - I stage managed. I actually ran into him at CHC the day before, completely spontaneously. He brought up the shows we did, and the people, and how we should all get together. I'd love to - if anyone out these sees this who worked on those plays, get back to me. They were my introduction to theater, and I loved every moment - painting the stage at 11pm the night before open, learning fencing moves for "Shakespeare...," figuring out how the hell to stage manage...ah, memories.

Overall though, I'm feeling optimistic for the semester. I can't wait to see everybody again - it was great seeing Scott today in the house. I have a lot of fear about what's happening past May - I brought the applications I have with me to work through in the coming week. Laramie should be interesting. I've promised my parents I'd audition for Godspell. It's good being back.

And as we move through this life we should try and do good. Do good... And if we can do that, and not hurt anyone else, well... then...

Posted by Matthew at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2004

No resolutions as of now

Happy New Year everybody. I don't have a lot to say - I'm coming down with a cold, and the NyQuil is kicking in right now.

I have no resolutions as of now, as if anyone would really want to read them. Resolutions should be private anyway, making it all the easier to forget about them/refuse to do them later on.

My life has revolved around work, pretty much, for the past week. Tomorrow will mark the seventh straight day that I'm working, although it breaks the current streak in that the shift is under 8 hours. Sigh...I could complain about working, but I won't. It's keeping me busy, and is paying for a lot of the trip to Ireland/books/next semester in general. The theater took me back, and with a pretty decent raise to boot.

I'm looking on the bright side of eveything.

Maybe that will be my resolution - work on staying positive, and keep looking on the bright side of things. Probably just a continuation of everything else, I guess.

I'm back at La Salle a week from Thursday. This break went by so fast, although I've done so little. Grad applications aren't done - going to try and work on them starting on Sunday. There aren't that many that I want to send out. If I make it, I make it, if not, something else will come along.

Something always has.

Bright side, remember?

One week left, and so much to do.

Posted by Matthew at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)