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Love and Transience: Antinomy Unreconciled

I’ve always been something of a romantic. Even at the height of nihilism, a relatively newer friend was able to see this truth and call me on it. The day has come, however, where love is stranger and less real to me – perhaps I should elucidate by narrative.

Four years ago, I met a woman with whom I became quickly and entirely enamored. We had been having a wonderful evening, though she knew nothing of what I felt; and at its close she told me that her sleeping-space was occupied by a roommate’s parent – she needed a place to crash. I offered her my
roommate’s bunk, beneath mine, and proceeded to elude sleep for time unmeasurable.

I remember needing her; my soul crying out not ten feet to the angel beneath me, coming to suspect that the fulfillment or the ruin of my universe was entirely dependent on her place within it. I remember struggling to sleep and even to breathe, as if my lungs had gone on strike until their friend the heart had been fulfilled. I remember agony.

She never went for me, though it can’t be said I didn’t try. If I knew then what I know today, of women and of love, I might have been more successful. Perhaps I am delusional in thinking this, but the point is hardly worth disputing – there is no rewinding, and the memory stands. When I came down from my first official bender, I went to on to love again, surviving more highs and more lows up to the present day.

One of these lows was, in a number of ways, the last straw. A recent relationship devolved into the sort of trainwreck which, upon explosion, erupted into vast mushroom clouds of bad karmas, raining down upon myself and those around me to pollute and singe us all. I survived.

Sorrow is a guru; mine has taught me self-reliance and impermanence. Everything beautiful dies. In the wake of this knowledge, however, I simply cannot fathom what divine being could once more find my heart and leave it breathless – that sort of needing has escaped me now.

What has transpired here? Is this a newer, less juvenile face of love, or have I inadvertently scarred and calloused parts of me unto the point of deadness? I don’t much mind – it is peaceful here, like the great Dr. Manhattan sitting solitary in a sea of crimson beauty. Moreover, I trust that if love can come, it will. All is waves and currents, crests that follow troughs that follow crests.

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Maps.

Maps.

-:-

While we sit here knowing,
but not comprehending
why we are so different,
we stare at the sun.
Blindly, we forget–
it’s the same one.
Looking at our friends–
each one has a heart
bound to find us
happy?
We’re not so different
after all.

You’re one thing I can’t let go of…
you’re one person that I
cannot bear to lose.

Please don’t pick me away.
If I can’t be anything to you,
at least, let me scar you.
I just wanted to love you.
Ever since I knew you
I wanted to love you.

I remember the way you were
when you became angry.
You’d speak fast and you would storm
when you walked.
Something about you
empathized with me.

If I could say one thing, it’d be
I miss you, but most of all I wish
the best for you.
And I want to be free, but I feel that I cannot,
without you here.

My dreams may only be dreams,
but you stand there
in real life.

Our moments– speechless as they are,
feel like an eternity
in a different world.

Are you going to hold me again,
and tell me how I made you feel?
Or must I always imagine
the words you might say?
Was it all just a dream,
or did I grapple
through your words, through the way
we moved, that hey…
you loved me?

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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True Blood: The Vamp Show That Didn’t Bungle

Whilst killing time at my amigo’s flat, the hour inevitably came when the bars were closed and we had played all the Smash Brawl we could reasonably stand. Calling my attention to a small, white box with mildly erotic cover art, he suggested we watch an episode from the first season of “True Blood,” his latest vampire-infused TV fetish.

I immediately recoiled, as if repelled by garlic or by sunlight. I’m really not much of a television enthusiast, truth be told, and rumors of Twilight’s blatant donk-canery had soured my taste for any attempts at mainstreaming the vampire genre. (Sparkling vampires? Stake through the heart. Or maybe a kukri knife, a la the original Stokerian epic.)

Due to boredom, masochism, or the perseverance of hope, I decided to give it a shot. After five or six hours of viewing time over two subsequent evenings, I am happy to say that my doubt has been laid to rest – the program is well-written, engaging, and most importantly, does not reduce the vampire to a glittering, Hot Topic-esque pissant conceived to arouse fifteen year-old emo chicks.

This does not imply that the show does not have its sensual moments. The vampire has long been a symbol of sexuality and deviance, and I cringed at first for fear of half-assed soft-core or soap-inspired shamefulness. Never you fear, gentle reader – True Blood rides the line between Steeleian cliché and pleasant sexuality like a drugged up fang-banger straddling their first vampire lay (puts “v-card” in a whole new light, doesn’t it?)

Outside the bedroom, the show continues not to disappoint. A host of believable if routinely traumatized characters (it is, after all, a drama) bring the town of Bon Temps to life, infusing the program with a down-homey, colloquial flare. While the dialogue’s backwoods simplicity was alienating at first, repeated exposure charms the viewer like a southern belle; drawing the audience into the more human aspects of a fantastic world. This is a strong claim coming from me, as a lifetime of exposure to Bush-era redneckery has embittered me toward anything that drives a pick-up and listens to Toby Keith; but it is true – seeing relatable characters in such familiar surroundings actually did much to assuage the shame brought on by my humble Midwestern origins.

And speaking of politicizing, I should applaud the satirical elements of True Blood. The message is subtle yet undeniable, as background programs host chattering about vampire-rights legislators and the struggle to legalize vampire marriage. Pricelessly, a Fellowship of the Sun cathedral even sports a bright yellow poster reading “God Hates Fangs.” If that doesn’t get you off, well, then I simply have no comment.

While the action scenes are not uber-abundant, they certainly occur often enough to maintain interest. The violence is intensely fast-paced and often over quickly, which upon consideration is better than the drawn-out, cheese-ridden excuses for melees that so permeated the genre’s prior failures. Also, as the name implies, the program is suitably ensanguined in other aspects, from vampire intercourse to the snorting of vamp blood to induce psychedelic journeys.

All in all, this is the program that got it right. While it is not my favorite drama of all time (bring back The Riches!), it is a masterful forward leap for the vampire traditions, honoring the genre’s hallmarks without trespassing into the cliché. The show maintains an aestheic homage to metal and gothic aesthetics at points (such as at the vamp-bar “Fangtasia”) while keeping Bon Temps and its residents believably normal – the only inconsistency is that landscapers and wait-staff walk around in high-end, sponsor-evident fashions. Also, I am proud to announce that HBO’s vampires balk at running water, recoil from sunlight and silver, and are precluded from entering private dwellings uninvited. And, once again, they don’t fucking glitter!!!

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer for Project Group Think. He apologizes for the late post, citing an impending move back west brought upon by perpetual nomad-ism. Follow Neo and his PGT pals on Twitter – once again, we’re PGTblog!!!

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Sorry Satan! The internet has already consumed my soul!

I always figured that if there was a hell I would be dueling Satan on a fiddle for the rights to my soul. In the age of technology there will be no souls left for Satan to devour once we all parish. The internet has already consumed my soul and likely yours too.

I just went 36 straight hours of straight internet outage, and I almost pulled my hair out. I could not do my school work, browse various free streaming porn sites, or even check the good ole’ time consuming facebook.

Without the internet I felt out of place. I felt awkward if you will. I had no clue what to do. Sure, I can take Ethan to the park, read a book, do some cleaning, but for 36 hours (7 ½ which I was asleep)? I could not plow my facebook Farmville fields and plant fresh virtual plants. Honestly, the world could have ended, and I would have been left here clueless because I could not do my daily browse of various news sites.

Honestly, how the hell did we ever make it through life without the web?

The internet is our passport for anything we want in life. Read anything you want. Need friends? Join some social-networking sites.  Want to hear your favorite music? Screw music stores and paying for music. Download them illegally, and for free. Buy yourself some airline, concert, or sporting event tickets. Do anything you want, or find anything you want because it is the internet.

I honestly have no clue how life would be without the web. I was 14 when the internet made it’s debut in my household, and I haven’t looked back since. Most of us hardly remember a world without Myspace, Amazon, AIM, eBay, and facebook.

What hell did people do prior to 1994? I was a kid, so I remember running around outside playing football and baseball. What are kids doing these days? Are they sitting on their asses becoming mob bosses on facebook’s Mafia Wars like me? What did our parents do? What did college students do without facebook? How the hell did you contact your dealer without facebook, or even a cell phone?

The world would be a strange place without the internet. Would we live in a better place?

ElTigreTom is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Novel Writing 101

So you want to be a writer. If you’re a WordPress enthusiast, chances are you may be a writer already. Maybe, like many of us, you think you might be or would like to be a writer, but have little understanding of what writing might actually entail. The good news is, there are a number of useful books already published on the matter from which the literary aspirant can glean wisdom (I highly recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing,” though I absolutely disagree with a good bit of it.) And, in even better news, there’s a free guide right in front of you.

I am not a published author. However, I am acquainted with the writing process on a level of intimacy which, I believe, qualifies me to make the following judgments concerning my experiences with literary composition, in the hopes that you, too, can find them useful on your own path to linguistic renown (or give your own dissenting and presumably useful opinion – I’ve got a lot to learn, too.)

First of all, and I think King will agree with me on this one, writing is all about finding a “space.” Stories spin themselves out within certain mental parameters that construct the boundaries and intricacies of wholly different worlds within an author’s mind, and to go there you are going to want a physical and mental space that will minimize distraction and catalyze inspiration, ultimately dragging you more deeply into the story and away from this goofy primary reality we all spend so much time complaining about.

I’m not saying you need to sprint off to Ikea and drop your savings on a well-equipped office – a laptop and a familiar tree will be just as sufficient, weather permitting. If you’re feeling glitzy, a cup of coffee and a good bowl are as much as you’ll probably need in the way of glamour.

Which brings me to my next point. Oftentimes, the Dickenses and Hemingways of the world are cited as irrefutable proof that one must be a drug-mongering addict to succeed as an author. This is bullshit. Those familiar with my work at PGT will know that I am unapologetically pro drug use, and even I am called to stand against this errant myth. I do believe it is true that there are certain types of people who are inclined, by their psyucho-spiritual constitution, to write in certain ways and even with a certain zeal; and that these people often find themselves compelled to indulge in abusables recreationally. This correlation is a coincidence of nature – wild, drugged out aesthetic types tend to be prolific. They and I could easily write just as well sober.

If you are so inclined, however, and not too dodgy on the heart, I’ve always had luck with the “hippie speedball.” Caffeine and cannabis were simply meant to be taken together by aspiring authors with a certain disregard for their own physical health.

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Hypochondriacs Anonymous.

Yesterday a friend suggested something very probable to me. I may just be a hypochondriac. Like always, I researched this possibility. It affects 6% of the population, but I also don’t know how old that statistic is. It seems very low, but I could consider myself as being one.

When I was in 9th grade, after learning about STDs, I thought that I had an STD. I thought that I had genital warts. I began checking myself constantly for signs of STDs. I also thought that I was pregnant, and that running excessive miles in cross-country would make the baby go away. People, I was a virgin.

I had nothing wrong with me, except that I was advised by my doctor to get more Iron in my blood because I was close to having blood-deficiency.

Years passed in high school. When I began having sex, the worries began once again. I learned that I really, really loved sex. So I did it often. I used protection, minus 1 or 2 times. When I first came to college, I got tested for everything, including HIV/AIDS. Most people I know have A) Never had a blood test or B) Have them once a year, if not, less. Others do not go to the doctor when they “think” they have something, and others have unprotected sex when they know they have something, such as HPV.

Why do people do this? I don’t know and I can’t imagine their reasoning. Me, on the other hand, will wake up the next day after engaging in protected sexual activity, and think that I have somehow contracted HIV, warts, chlamydia, and gotten pregnant. These worries sometimes consume me to the point where my body begins creating fake symptoms. I have actually begun shaking, thoughts spinning in my head, keeping me up at night. I have put myself in cold sweats, and then gone on to think that it’s a sign of a disease. I have had body aches, and made myself believe it was a sign of HIV.

When these worries happen, I then begin to bother my past sexual partners– texting, calling– to ask them if they have had STDs. At the time of sexual encounter, this question was already asked. However, I have trouble actually believing the person.

Condoms are 97% effective against the transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS if used correctly. This is true, right? This means that 97% of the time, I am safe from contracting a disease. Yet, months after my last sexual partner, I will still imagine that he has given me something, even if I have NO symptoms at all.

I have gotten yearly pap smears since I was 18. 2-3 of those years, I had returned to the doctor for more pap smears. This is excessive, but so are two blood tests a year. I have wasted hours in the waiting room and hours worrying at home. The final answer from my doctor has always been this: Your pap smear came back normal. Your blood test came back negative.

Since my last pap smear, I have had 8 sexual partners, due to my excessive drinking and black outs. 2 of these were unprotected, yet contributing to no symptoms of anything. The rest of these partners used condoms. Sex is something I love, and I do not really regret my decisions because of that. But I do regret that I waste so much time worrying. Currently, I believe that I have contracted herpes from an ex-hook up partner/boyfriend/guy I dated. I make myself believe that people have it out for me, and that they have plans to give me diseases. Currently, I also believe that I could be pregnant, even though my period came on time last month, I’ve gained no weight, and have no symptoms. Whenever I have PMS (breasts become tender, moods become irritable), I attribute it to pregnancy and head to the computer where I research all the symptoms, putting myself into a shaking nervous anxiety attack. Then my period will come on time.

I always misdiagnose ingrown hairs for genital warts or herpes. I check myself everytime I get out of the shower, unless I forget.

I don’t know why I have unprotected sex with some people, but that is completely my fault. If I should go to the doctor again for tests, it would be the third doctor visit in less than 6 months. It would also be my second blood test in one year.

Perhaps I should stop seeing the doctor, and instead, see a psychologist. As far as I know, I have HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, and HPV in the back of my throat. My neck currently aches, probably from all the worry and staring at an online medical database. I woke up with aching shoulders, probably from sleeping in angst.

You may be thinking, “Well, stop having sex.” or “Go get tested.”

My fears have become so irrational that I am trying, for once, to resist going to the doctor unless or until major symptoms should arise. I have always been careful, this is a fact, for at least 98% of the time. Each time I go to the doctor, I am told that I am fine. Also, I have been to the doctor so many times this year that I have reached my family insurance cap. I went a couple more times because I got a yeast infection and I had poison ivy, however I thought that the poison ivy was scabies. I knew I had a yeast infection, but I didn’t believe myself, and figured it was clamydia. I am always a nervous wreck. Now, I am trying to deal with the problems myself instead of getting in my car, running out for plan B, pregnancy tests, researching every STD known to humankind (including pictures of infected people, and comparing them to my perfectly healthy-looking private parts). I am trying, for once in my life, to be rational and put  my worries into other forms. Now, I’m trying to move on with my life and leave my worries behind. Having numerous body ailments = unrealistic. Cleaning my room = realistic.

I hope that I do not need therapy for this, but it may be a good idea. Whenever I see a therapist, I just sit in the chair and don’t really say anything. I think I’m a hypochondriac, but I also may just be faking the symptoms, even though my heart has been pounding and I’m feeling nervous as I’ve typed this entire thing.

I hope that you, the reader, can provide me with some helpful insights, aside from the old adage, “Get tested,” as I know my body very well and the rational part of my brain is beginning to say, “Do not worry unless you have a reason to.” Thank you for reading.

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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How to Justify the Music You Like – A Guide

We’ve all been there, your token hipster buddy’s got his new ipod dock out and asks you to hand your pod over so you can jam some Radiohead (or TV on the Radio, ‘Drum’s Not Dead’ era Liars, The National, Kasabian, or other suitably hip band) and when they’re scrolling through your artists to get to their intended choice of music they suddenly stop because they’ve just noticed that you have Lady GaGa on your ipod.

Kiss your indie-cred goodbye!
Kiss your indie-cred goodbye!

But wait! Before you panic, remember that it’s still possible to save some face. As someone who has both force others to justify their music taste, and had to justify my own on many occasions, I have a sort of expertise in the field of music others will make you feel ashamed of for listening to, and believe me when I say there is hope. Presented here is a list of ways in which you can salvage your social trainwreck and get away with just a few scratches.

The “Just One Song” Defense

The “Just One Song” Defense is one of the most common defense tactics used to justify an out of place item of music. This defense is simple and is based on the idea of just one artist/song/album/whatever, being a minor offense. “Look,” this defense says, “Clearly my taste in music is acceptable, so what if I have one All-American Rejects album? I like their first album, so sue me.” (Fun fact: I do like AAR’s first album…a lot. It’s good, really!) This defense can usually take the heat off of you, but it relies on one very important thing: that you only have ONE embarrassing song/artist/album on said ipod/playlist/whatever. It’s one thing to write off having “Get Low” as your one mainstream song on a dance music playlist, it’s another thing if you’ve got “Get Low”, “Buy U A Drank”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, and “In Da Club” all needing justification.

The Friend Defense

The Friend Defense is another common defense tactic that is useful in a variety of situations, but hard to make convincing. In spite of the name, it doesn’t necessarily require a specific friend; it works on the principal of it not being your fault because somebody else put it there, or asked you to put it there, for whatever reason. “Oh, James downloaded that!” or “Kelly said I just had to hear this one song by them” or “I was just going to delete this after I burned Tim a copy,” are all examples of the Friend Defense. As I’ve said before, the Friend Defense does not, necessarily, require a specific friend; as an amatuer DJ I’ve often used the defense of, “It was a requested song,” to justify the occasional embarrassing mainstream hip-hop/pop tune. This defense can work quite well, but generally falls apart around the time they notice that the song is on your top rated playlist and has two hundred plays in your library.

The Redemption Defense

The Redemption Defense is a tactic commonly employed by people who feel that all of the bands that they like are bands worthy of gaining one hipster cred, even if they don’t already. The main strength of this defense is that appeals to the logic of others, by giving a reasonable explanation for why a band isn’t as bad as a person thinks they are. The main weakness to this defense is that the band you want to defend has to have some redeeming value. A good example of the Redemption Defense put into action is the justification of listening to U2 (particularly the last few albums, no one questions Joshua Tree) by pointing out all of Bono’s philanthropic work.

Then again, maybe Bono is beyond redemption...

Then again, maybe Bono is beyond redemption...

The “I Knew Them Before They Were Popular” Defense

While the IKTBTWP Defense might not have a particularly catchy name, or acronym, it is a very effective defense, given that you can prove that what you’re saying is true. The logic behind it is this: if you knew a band when they were still “indie” than for you to listen to them is still somewhat “indie” even if they are now popular. When formerly “indie” bands like Modest Mouse and The Shins start to become somewhat mainstream, diehard hipsters will start to turn up their noses, but if you can prove that you got into Modest Mouse back when “Building Nothing out of Something” came out, you can justify your love for the band. Even bands that never had indie cred can be justified this way, just as long as you can prove you were listening to them before anyone else. If this wasn’t true and you can’t lie about it, then this defense becomes problematic.

The Nostalgia Defense

The Nostalgia Defense is truly a fabulous one, and one that can be used to justify almost anything you listen to. All you have to do is claim some memories are associated with the music, and people will generally leave you alone for it. If you put on Backstreet Boys in front of a group of 90’s kids, everyone will laugh and poke fun, but on the inside they’ll all be reliving some of their best (and worst) pre-teen moments. I often use this defense to justify my love of Snow Patrol, who is one of my favourite bands, but who lost all the indie cred they once had when Eyes Open came out. Considering that I started listening to Snow Patrol about six years ago though, I have a wealth of memories associated with the band, and as such they will always have a place in my heart. The best part about this defense is that they don’t have to know that, in many cases, you would like the band in question even without nostalgiac value. The main issue with this defense is that not every band you might try to justify has even been around for six years, and even if they have when you started listening to them is definitely a factor. Claiming that the band is nostalgiac ’cause you heard them at a sweet party last week will not save you from the ridicule of others.

Fuck you hipsters, this album is and always will be one of the greatest albums ever made!

Fuck you hipsters, this album is and always will be one of the greatest albums ever made!

The Blackmail Defense

When you’re desperate to hang out to your indie cred and running out of options The Blackmail Defense can be your friend. It is not a pretty tactic, but one does what one has to in these situations. Even your most “hipper-than-thou” friends have musical skeletons in their closet, and if you can find one, you can use it against them. “So what if I like, 3oh!3,” you say, “You listen to Shakira!” or “Who cares if I like Thursday? You own Korn’s entire discography on vinyl!” While it’s a dirty tactic and it certianly won’t win you any points, it can still save you some face. The only real issue with this tactic is that you have to know of a terrible band that the person pointing out your embarrassing taste likes.

Youa re unlikely to ever find yourself in a situation where one of these defenses won’t be good enough to cover your ass, but if you are, or even if you aren’t, you could, always just tell them to fuck off and that you don’t care what they think. You could tell them off for judging you and walk out, head held high, leaving them in a more confused state than they were after hearing Morrissey’s recent re-release of Maladjusted (ziiiiiing!), but who is really going to do that? So much of life is about keeping up appearances, and we all do it, whether we admit it or not. So remember this article the next time you get caught with something embarrassing on your ipod, and for now, here’s a little song that I thought was an appropriate closer to this article.

HelloLion is a contributing author here at projectgroupthink’s fantabulous blog of wonderous knowledge. You can spend less time anxiously hitting the refresh button on this page every ten minutes by following our tweets @pgtblog.

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