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03.01.02 4:44 p.m.

There's nothing terribly wrong with feeling lost, so long as that feeling precedes some plan on your part to actually do something about it. Too often a person grows complacent with their disillusionment, perpetually wearing their "discomfort" like a favorite shirt. I can't say I'm very pleased with where my life is just now... but I can't help but look forward to where it's going.

 -Jhonen Vasquez  

Previously in Xenology: I put up with a lot of passive aggressive posturing from the Secondary Education department at New Paltz that was going to result in my having to stay at the college longer. I wrote a great deal. I started taking an Adolescent Development class with Dances With Bunnies that consists of a great deal of New Age proselytizing. Kate kissed me. I do Pagan-y stuff.

Ding Dong
I am no longer a Secondary Education major. I thought it would feel as though a yoke (or yolk, I suppose) was lifted from my shoulders. I don't, much, feel any different.
As I made to sleep at M's last night (more on that later), I figured I might as well get advising over with and expedite the change in major. I had been trying to see this woman for weeks, but our schedules were pretty near opposite and (when I did endeavor to come in early) she was out for a week.
The woman was cordial, even going so far as to see if Liberal Art English was, indeed, the best English course for me. Graduate Prep English was pretty much exactly the same, except I have to take another year of Spanish. She, however, felt it would just be best to get a BA in English and deal with getting an MA when the time came. I'm good with that.
She asked why I was changing my major. I thought carefully and gave her a watered down version of the truth. I didn't agree with the ethic of the Secondary Education department (they behave like anal, middle school vice-principals) and that the faculty and I had not seen eye to eye on a few issues. Like how I felt I should graduate and be treated in an honest fashion and they didn't. She nodded, though I think she thought I was being rash.
When she was informing me of the classes I needed to take, I was genuinely happy. Nothing but literature, criticism, and writing. Xen is a happy monkey!

Reiki For Dummies
Oh, Dances With Bunnies. Whatever shall we do with her?
In class Tuesday, she started out by telling us how certain traits run in families. No, not like genetics. How silly of you to think that! No, she meant she had one client who was missing her right eye owing to cancer and it turned out her grandfather lost his right arm in a farming accident and a cousin lost his right arm in a car accident. So injuries on the right side run in her family. Severely specious reasoning, but whatever. Then, because I wasn't yet annoyed enough, she shared how the son of another client was molested by a dentist. Then it turned out that a priest had raped his father. So getting molested runs in his family. WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY?! How can she stand to say this sort of trash? Not only does this man have to deal with the pain he went through and this incredibly traumatizing incident with his son, but he has this dithering bunny rabbit telling him that it is his fault his son got repeatedly abused. DwB shouldn't be allowed to consult people if she is going to be so psychotically flippant about things so painful. Get that fucking plank out of her own eye before setting up a practice to rid others of their sawdust.
Then she went on to speak about the aura that surrounds the body. I'm okay with that, sort of, though it did not at all pertain to the point of the course. Then she asked someone to volunteer. I sat back, not at all liking where this was going. She then told the volunteer to think a happy thought. He screamed, "CHRISTMAS!!!" Lo and behold, he started flying around the room... Oh, no, that was only in my head. She had him think his happy thought and then extend his arm. At this she attempted to pull it down and could not. Fine, this is obviously a lesson in suggestibility. He thinks he will be stronger, because DwB insinuated this prior to the demonstration. She enforced this idea by clearly not pulling on his arm hard enough. Simple trick, but it impressed some of my classmates. Then she had the lab rat think a negative thought. This time she pulled very hard, and he clearly thought he should be weakened owing to her suggestion, and his arm went right down. He wasn't even trying to resist this tiny woman pulling his arm. She was smiling widely, because "the power was working."
Oh, but she wasn't done. Then she started using Reiki to sweep this fellows aura away. This "weakened" him further, and again his arm went down. Then she just thought about doing it, and he was "weaker" still. I was not at all buying this. I agree that thoughts can affect reality to the extent that a certain sect of Buddhist monks can put soaking robes on in the dead of winter, outside, and be dry in ten minutes and never shiver. But I also know a trick when I see one.
She then asked the class to do it with one another to prove the inherent power of DwB. I groused to my partner that this was all a ridiculous hoax based upon gullibility. He took offense. Damn, there goes his chance of being redeemed.
Being around all of these inexperienced and confused people screwing around with energy was making me uncomfortable, so I left the class and hung out in the hallway. Across from my class is M's, so I stood angled so that she and only she could see me. Then I mimed how annoyed I was by my class. She left her class soon enough to see what I was irritated about (also, possible, it was over).
While I was waiting and gesticulating, someone approached and greeted me in an over-friendly way. I didn't recognize this creature at first, what with the bleached hair and so on. Then it hit me, Esquimaux (this is the pseudonym I am going with. I am tired. You be quiet). Many, many years ago, I was at a party at Cat's house with this girl. Cat, for some reason I don't care to know, thought I would be good with her. So, when I was falling asleep on the sofa, Esquimaux started trying to kiss me. When I called her the next day to figure out what the hell was going through her head, she wouldn't take my call and told many people that I was stalking her to give herself a sense of importance at my expense. As such, I trust her about as far as I can throw her stocky, heavily made-up frame.
She proceeded to small talk with me until she came to her point (because she clearly wouldn't just be talking to me) and asked if I had seen Zack lately. I informed her it had been many months and we presumed he was with her (his parents told us he was with her whenever we'd call). Evidently not. After we confirmed we hadn't seen him, she stated that she had better get to class. Then she stood in the hallway fifteen feet from us and spoke to someone else. Yeah, just adore this girl.
M had come out in time to hear most of the conversation. I explained who she was with one word (Esquimaux) and M gave her the appraising look.
When I returned to class, DwB seemed to remember that this was a psych class and was lecturing about something vaguely related. Still, can you imagine the amount of notepaper that is wasted scribbling pseudo-spiritual jargon and irresponsible opinions?

Selective Vision
Exiting Jenks class Wednesday I encountered Tina. She spoke to me of her mouse that got its head stuck in metal grating and had to be greased out. Aw.
A few moments after this story, Kate walked up. I had seen her around campus and spoken to her a few times. We are not very close, and I am still apprehensive in her presence, but it could be a lot worse.
Kate informed me that she has been trying to avoid me when Emily and I are together, which is wise but I note she hasn't done a very good job of it. She has made it quite plain that she sees me and nonverbally greets me, which is a provocative action when she knows how M feels about her and how she makes me uncomfortably. Still, I tried to maintain a normal conversation.
Jenks walked by and I mentioned that M had given him that name. Tina said, "How are you two? I heard you were only friends..." I glared at Kate and said that M and I were fine and where did she get that idea. Had she gotten it from this site, I would say it is abundantly clear than Emily and I are still together. So I think we can safely presume this wasn't the information source. But where ever else could she get such an idea? And, I wonder, how many other people have been given this idea and this version of history?

Secondary, My Dear Watson
Now that I am no longer among their hordes, I will deride the Secondary Ed department.
Yeah, like that stopped me before.
I still have to ride out my class with Jenks. He came into the last class drenched in sweat from running, in the cold, something like a thousand feet. I will expect someone needing to take a few breaths after that. But he was sopping and made no effort to wipe his face off. It was decidedly unpleasant. He reminds me of Pee Wee Herman's geeky brother.
Though I know this is petty, I am willing to accept that I am not totally a good person. There is this girl. I will call her Annoying Tongue Girl, for reasons that will become apparent. I assume that in her formative years, she was never given proper speech therapy to correct any impediments. As such, she uses her tongue to make sounds that one shouldn't. Like "B" and "P." It is hard to look at her when she speaks, because it seems so unnatural. It gives her the slack-jawed look of someone heavily sedated. Plus, she is genuinely fairly annoying. She laughs at the attempts at humor Jenks "shares" with us. That likely means she is a demon of some sort.
In that class, I indulged fantasies of levitating my pen and sending it around the room to stab people in the neck. Not everyone. The pen is very selective, you see. It just wants to stab Jenks and a few other people who behave in irksome manners.
I told you I was willing to accept that I am not a good person.

To Be Silent
I was paired with this sorority girl I knew in Spanish on Thursday. I had been in a Spanish class with her before. She seemed pleasant, but we rarely spoke. When I did, she often was speaking of getting drunk at a local bar, badmouthing other sororities, and talking about random sex. Still, she wasn't unpleasant, really.
We were helping one another understand how to use the Spanish form of "it" properly (it needs to be conjugated) when she noticed some of my jewelry. First she noted the silver wire "Xen" around my neck. I explained that it was a nickname of mine that I liked. Then she inquired about my fairy star, asking if it was a pentacle in so many words. I became surprisingly nervous and explained that it was a gift from my girlfriend and I doubted the scholarship of it belonging to fairies since I have not found any proof of this in any mythology I have found. She then inquired about the silver pendant I wear, asking if that was a pentacle. I quickly and equally as nervously explained that it was an object an antiques dealer couldn't sell so he gave it to my mother. While I never said they weren't pentacles or pentacle related, I was far too skittish to tell her they were.
I was frankly surprised that I am nervous letting a curious stranger know this sort of thing. It is not as though I am in the broom closet. And I am certainly not ridiculous about my faith (unlike the Pagans on campus that felt the need to wear black velvet and Halloween "witch hats" a few days ago). But I didn't want to tell her, despite the fact that she used the right terms and seemed nice about it. I am not quite sure how I feel about this.

When I Was Five
I just finished When I Was Five I Killed Myself, a book Melissa lent me weeks ago that I had been neglecting. It is about an eight-year-old boy who has been put in a group home because he "hurt" a girl name Jessica. Obviously, as Melissa works in such a home, the subject in near to her heart.
It is really a very affective book, as it is told entire from the perspective of Burton, the boy, from his writings on the Quiet Room wall. It also helped me to better understand just how terrible parents and doctors can be. I was reading it in one of the coffee houses on campus and crying during the more poignant moments. I think I got a few looks, but I didn't care.
So go. Read it.

Soon in Xenology: I try to make Scarf Girl my friend or at least learn her name. The fun experiences with my ex-classmates parents. M and her job prospects. The Fantasticks. Making friends in coffeehouses. PSU. Dave's party.

last watched: Queen of the Damned
reading: The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer
listening: Orff: Carmina Burana
wanting: better food in my house. Perhaps some fruit? I like fruit.
interesting thought: some people live in their own world yet insist on screwing with mine.
moment of zen: finally doing was I need to be doing.
someday I must: bake more.

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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