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10.07.01 10:38 p.m.

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.

 -General Omar Bradley  

This Entry Features: Conor, Flynn, Emily's middle school friend Jerame [sic], his girlfriend Anne, Emily's friend Kelly, Stevehen, Tina, Melissa, Liz, Emily and me. Bad quotes from A Knight's Tale. Jingoism. Throttling. Sadness. Explosions. ARG.

"But they still teleport..."
Last night, as some of you know, was the much famed and defamed party for Emily's birthday. No surprise was attached to it, she had known for months. Still, we'll pretend in the annals of history.
First, we shall recount who was not there and why, so we can get that part out of the way. Kate was not there. She informed me Tuesday night that, having forgotten I was throwing the party this weekend, she had agreed to help light a show because someone backed out at the last minute. She seemed shocked when I reminded her that meant that she could not attend my soirée. She suggested coming late and bringing an angry, drunken punk (her description) that would yell at my guests and not get along with anyone. I vetoed that idea as I like my guests. And I again reminded her that I was not allowing alcohol at my party, this too seemed to come as a shock to her. She brightened for a moment when I mentioned that Sarah jokingly suggested that they smoke up together. It has been suggested that Kate intentionally forgot about the party because it would not involve drugs and alcohol. I do not believe she would just skip the party. However, I do not doubt that the lack of mind altering substances made it a less attractive prospect.
Zack, as well, was unable to attend, much as he wanted to. He was required at the last minute to go to Indiana with his family, the purpose of which I did not learn. He was much missed, though Emily and I were immensely grateful for the eight person tent he lent to the effort.
Sarah, I regret to inform you, was also unable to attend. Her friend and ride grew very ill on the day of the party, effectively stranding Sarah at home and reassuring me that forces were keeping her and me apart. She told me with certainty that we would be together before Christmas. We shall see.
So, in total, the following people were counted in attendance. I will assume that I may use their real names, as I feel they would approve. Conor, Flynn, Emily's middle school friend Jerame [sic], his girlfriend Anne, Emily's friend Kelly, Stevehen, Tina, Melissa, Liz, Emily and me.
Despite a goodly amount of my irked and irksome mood at the beginning of the party, it turned out excellently. Melissa regaled the assembled throng with stories involving Glade, her self-immolation, and a four-year-old girl. Her method of story telling had us all in stitches and hanging on her every word. I would have to say that she was one of the high points of the whole party as she kept our attention for nearly half an hour. All of us sitting around this smoldering grill, huddled for warmth and companionship, listening to an effective story-teller... it was timeless, in a way, and very modern in another.
This provoke others to share their fire related stories, such as how Emily once blew up her garage when she was a teenager by placing her chemistry set in the microwave. Then Jerame told us of his experiments with firework making which ended very similarly to Emily's. Fire always makes it better.
Conor and Flynn kept mostly to themselves, not in an antisocial way. They had a lot to discuss, I gathered. Flynn is an interesting lad. I will go into his history later, if someone reminds me. At one point, he was stating that platypuses are fictional beasts, like unicorns. Everyone else piped in with how weird they are (poison elbow spikes, electric sense, ovoviviparous) and he stated, "yeah, and they breathe fire and teleport." A few moments later, he conceded that they did not, in fact, breathe fire. Waiting a few seconds, he deadpanned, "but they do teleport." It is hard to relate this correctly, but his matter-of-fact delivery made me laugh so hard I nearly fell down. After how much I laughed at Melissa's stories, I could barely take it.
We never got around to playing pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey or manhunt. We mostly just ate, sat around the fire, and talked. It was remarkably fun. Emily stated today that she felt that this was a perfect meshing of people. Zack is the only guest that didn't come that we felt would have meshed instantly and easily with the rest of the party. I could not tell how Sarah would have changed the party, as I have not seen the lass for nigh onto three years. I do not know how she acts and interacts with new people. As for Kate... we were not certain. We could see her meshing well, enjoying the atmosphere and vibe of the party. We could also see her complaining at the lack of illicit substances or volunteering more nostalgic, less appropriate drug stories that would not have amused anyone. I wish I could be certain of either outcome, for future parties. We shall see this too, I suppose.
Melissa and Liz could not stay the night, for fear that her pets would consume one another or wither into desiccated husks owing to a lack of water. Stevehen, Tina, Kelly, M and I nested in the huge tent, swaddled in every blanket I could find in my house. There was immense coziness, despite the frosty clime.
When we awoke, eventually, we all went to Denny's (Motto: "The breakfast of the people who buy the champion's lunchboxes"). There we ignored Coley and her boyfriend when they came in (Emily stated that her boyfriend seemed ridiculous and pretentious, though she may have just been trying to do the supportive girlfriend thing). They may have actually fled, as we did not encounter them again and were there for a goodly amount of time. Stevehen was teasing me about how vocal Coley's hatred of me is. Glad to see that I left an impression, I suppose, though I wish she'd pick a new point of random hatred.
We gorged ourselves on massively unhealthy food. Our very peppy waitress, who we democratically decided was on a combination of speed and Prozac, kept bringing things to our table that we did not order and then stating that their would be no charge for them. I certainly didn't mind, as they turned out not to be poison.
Eventually we all parted way, as we must. Still, I consider this party to have been the most successful I have ever held.

Preaching to the tone deaf choir
I am considering that, yet again, I am in the wrong major. I find fellow education majors bloody annoying and/or bloody stupid. I would not want a goodly number of these people teaching my enemies' children, let alone my own. Case in point, I just got out of a class where a girl who wants to be an English teacher told the class that she hates writing and only likes to read trashy romances. Well, you know what? It is damned likely you are in the wrong line of work then, hun. Don a pointed hat and learn how to say, "Where is the Mop-N-Glo?" because you will otherwise be a huge detriment to the children unfortunate enough to have to endure you. Do you have any idea how much a bad teacher can permanently fuck with a child? Every bloody day is a turning point for a student and this illiterate tart feels the need to pass on her hatred of writing?
I have enjoyment of so few people in my English classes as well. In my American Lit class, Geeky Stalker Girl (she stares at me incessantly) tries to relate every story to rape. There are centers on campus that deal with this fixation. I may have to inform her as much.
People don't actually want to learn anymore. They want to be vindicated. They want their voices to be heard, not that they have anything to actually add. So they bombastically spout off every time the teacher makes a fairly obvious statement in hopes that the teacher will remember how much they "participated" when he or she is making up the grades. Meanwhile, no one with actual opinions has the chance to speak because Anally Retentive Girl is forcing the teacher to give her the Webster's Dictionary definition of "smart" (no, really, this happened this week. Those rendered voiceless by this futile endeavor let out a collective groan at the inanity).
It is infuriating to me. You know that I have hordes of opinion and insight, else there would be little point in my writing so much and your actually being interested in what I am saying. Yet I am disabused of my ability to speak by a girl offering that English teacher's shouldn't be force to read at a level above their students.
So why am I actually in this major? I think I would be at my happiest taking psychology and theater classes all day. Writing research papers and critiques of plays. Yet I am taking rather asinine education classes and failing pop quizzes about books I didn't know were assigned (I am taking nearly twenty credit, plus trying to find another job and volunteer. Busy Xen). Why? I think I have the ever so noble and quite possibly erroneous belief that, in teaching high school students English, I will change their lives. And I may, in fact, touch a few lives. I may do so anyway. I touch quite a few lives without that BA in Secondary Ed. Some copycat raging student whose parents overmedicated him may also shoot me in the head. I may be just as poor as ever other teacher I have ever had in my entire life. I may work for years in hopes of getting tenure only to be fired for a new batch of teachers that will work cheaper. I do not know what I wish to do. I do not know what will bring the most joy into my life, what I will be most fulfilled spending my days on.
I am a junior. Next year, unless something goes wrong, and it very well may, I graduate from the edifice of higher learning and... actually, I hope to move onto a higher edifice of learning to obtain a Master's in Psychology. And then? Bloody hell, do I sound like I have answers here? I want to be fulfilled. I want to feel that I am changing the world for the better. I don't ask to be rich and famous. Comfortable and liked among my colleagues. Is that asking a lot? Evidently it is, because I do not see this in my future.
Apparently, I find other teaching students incredibly annoying. Even when they are twice or thrice my score of years, the other students in my classes behave as daft lab monkeys or sugar-rushed tattletales from the elementary school playground. They care nothing for education and betterment. They want to be grades and judged on the most technical points. Well, here is my judgment: Sit down, speak only when you have something valid and original to add to the topic, do not ask the teacher if you can be graded on something in the middle of class (class is not all about you, other students do exist and still hate when you ask if we all can be assigned more homework), look at the classes as a learning experience you are playing an obscene amount of money for, realize that perfection teaches you nothing useful, and if you think you can do a better job than the teacher, take the bloody state test and become a teacher... oh, you can't because the department seems to think that this person who has been teaching the class has something valuable to impart upon you? Gee, think they might have a point since you are 19 and just out of high school and this person teaching you Shakespeare actually has a PhD in it? Nah, that's such a silly concept.
I think I would feel a lot better if I could find something to like about more people in my classes. There are some that are likely very interesting and undoubtedly could make me think of things in a different way. However, we do not get to hear from them because ARG (good acronym!) doesn't feel she has vanquished the professor yet today. Bloody fuckin' hell.

You have been weighed, judged and found wanting
I feel that I have grown very judgmental and misanthropic. I hate the idiocy of a goodly number of Pagans I have encountered. I want to throttle some sense into the Education majors. I am these things, but the comparison to those I dislike makes me wish I could state otherwise.
I think it is humanity to a large degree. They do not wish to actually think, just be good little automatons and lead lives of quiet desperation. Case in point, the WTC disaster. One would hope this would give people pause, force them to look at the preciousness of life. Force them to realize that their puny lives could end in a moment and they should not to withering internally from lack of exposure to light.
But no, even this they make into something wholly moronic. They duct tape flags onto their back windows so they cannot see out of their cars and thus crash into mine (hasn't happened yet, just a matter of time). They decide that anyone with copper skin is Afghani and thus an evil, soulless terrorist. Only they neglect the fact that Afghanis are pretty much in the same position as people under German control under the Nazi regime. They are being suppressed, controlled, and killed.
Moreover, it was a group of, at most, 100 people who committed this atrocity. Not a country. Bin Ladin is not a county we can bomb, but people refuse to actually consider this point because that would require them to show a shred of humanity and forethought. Jingoistic nationalism isn't the solution, it is what caused the terrorists to crash into the WTC in the first place.
See, here I am judging. I don't want that, but people disappoint me so much. Is it wrong that I expect them to behave in a higher manner? I don't expect them to be like me. I do not care if someone is an Islamic fundamentalist, he or she can still be a compassionate, fascinating, amazing beam of light. I don't think I could read twenty foot tall, florescent letters by the light most peoples' souls give off.
I know it comes out sounding like anger and sometimes hatred. What it is at the root is frustration, disappointment, and sadness. That humanity as a whole could be at an amazing level but it wallows in squalor and ignorance. So, I have returned to hating humans and making frequent exceptions on an individual basis. And I weep for this, because I want to love them and cannot. This may be my failing.

Soon in Xenology: More on the Haunted Mansion. I fall more in love with Emily. Sarah shows up. Conor finds love. I get a job.

last watched: 12 Monkeys
reading: The Weekly World News
listening: "Crash Into Me" from Crash by Dave Matthews
wanting: Still with the materialistic desire for cash, though for the higher pursuit of taking Emily out to eat Friday.
interesting thought: You can be closer friends with someone you just met than you can be with someone who has known you forever.
moment of zen: The moment I could let go and enjoy the party.
someday I must: get a steady job.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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