Monday, March 9, 2009



My name is Michael, and I am addicted to the internet.

Addiction starts as a pleasurable experience. You like what you feel like, you like that you can forget, or you like getting lost in the experience. So you go back. Then you go back again, and then a little more frequently. Then you keep going back. Then, you need it. You're not sure how to live without it. Suddenly you realize that your addiction is cutting into your life in negative ways. Your relationships are suffering, you're not doing work, or you're neglecting your previous interests.

I realized I was addicted to the internet sometime this week, when I noticed that I couldn't surf the net for less than three hours. Sure, I'll get to that presentation, I said around 2pm. Come 8pm, and I'm sitting down to format the powerpoint. Meals happen in front of the computer. I use stumbleupon until I fall asleep. Email gets compulsively checked. What if someone IMs me, and I'm not there to respond? What if there is something worth reading on digg? I don't want to miss the new thing on fmylife.

So now, my to-do list is gigantic, and I'm not working on it. Why? Because its late, I'm blogging, and it would mean NOT being online. This is crazy. Why have I let this happen to me?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

These Deep City Lights

When you first start drawing or painting seriously, I find it interesting that we always seem to gravitate to small paper or small canvas. 12"x18"still seems a little big, you might think, but its about as small as you can get away with. Its easy to throw your body over, too, if its a terrible painting. It doesn't attract the same attention as it would have if you walked a 4'x4' canvas across campus. Relatively, its a small amount of canvas, but when you first start in on painting, it seems like far too much space to cover with a paintbrush. Its the intimidation of blank space.

Once you start painting, you realize that you need more space. So you graduate, slowly but surely, to larger canvases. Suddenly, you're not sure if that 4'x4' is really going to be space enough to fit everything in... but it might be just the right size. Surely you're able to incorporate what you've learned in smaller paintings, add more and more detail and attention, and loose yourself in what is, in all relativity, a small space. You learn this too, and that sometimes your largest brushes are too small, or your smallest brushes are too big. There is so much artistic and muscle memory that goes into filling all that space, so much attention to each square inch, that you are as intimately acquainted with each part as you might be of a smaller painting. Maybe even more so, actually.

What I notice in these situations is that as I add more, the space gets smaller and more filled. Each brush stroke is a memory, a mark made to indicate the impression of a moment past. Soon, what was once a sprawling expanse of gessoed canvas is now crowded in, shrunken by our involvement. So too, I noticed, is Boston.

Cities seem to have this habit of shrinking with use. The transformation from impenetrable walls of cinder block and concrete to a model you can hold in your hand is often imperceptible. It happens day after day, walking along the same streets, visiting new places, and following the well tread paths made by others in their day to day. Soon, streets begin to connect to each other. What was once a destination becomes a location-- perhaps a small distinction, but also the crux of this experience.

Today, a walk to the ice skating rink took me through a variety of locations I hadn't visited since I first moved here: a building where I got lost on a rambling walk through my neighborhood, a train station I used en route to my interview, and the end destination of a long walk where I got lost with a friend. It all terminated, interestingly enough, at my favorite restaurant in the North End. In that moment, I watched Boston shiver, shake, and then shrink. The rest of the night, I was pleased as punch, walking through the North End looking in windows, admiring apartments.

On the walk back to ice skating rink, I noticed an advertisement for living in the North End-- it said "Where Progressive Meets Quaint", with an image of a brick building from which you can see the Boston skyline. To me, that happy coincidence summed up my entire experience.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gracious Gravy

It's been over a month since my last post. Has nothing interesting happened in that time? Have I no compelling thoughts I feel need to be shared? Hardly. Rather, I find that there is just no time or interest in setting down anything resembling a thematic account of my experiences.

In short, perhaps, I am feeling content. Is that trouble? My dreams are of kitchens filled with Williams Sonoma, Sunday morning rituals, and making the coffee in the morning. I dream of domesticity, it seems. In a way, this is the best way to describe my interests and goals. To find stability in self reliance. This is perhaps spurred by my growing disinterest in being housed in residence halls (at least, in open rooms where my presence is required as an element of my job. In short, I'm tired of being an RA). Perhaps next year, should I land my current version of the holy grail, then my story will be different.

The point of this entry is to say that I have things left in my head. I'm just not as diligent in relaying this information as I might usually like. I'm sure my readers (if there are any left) can related.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mortality Microblog

The past month or so has made me really take a look at life and its fragility.

Similarly, the worst part of being an adult, so far, has been the constant reminders of your own family's mortality. Its too present, too consistent, and too frequently a theme in my life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In which i set goals

Being in a weird mood right now, with no work to do and no willingness to keep slogging through "This Side of Paradise" (ENOUGH about being disaffected at Princeton!), I think its time that I record, if at least for myself, a few things about 2009 which I am truly excited or terrified for. Likely, 2009 is a big year for me. Lets break it down

New Years Resolutions and I do well. Remember that time my resolution was to give up meat? 18 months later, I ate meat regularly again. Fancy that! So this year, I have two.

1) Train for and run a 10K
Having realized that I was in the best shape of my life in Junior year of high school when I trained for a 5k, coupled with some things below, it seems like both a lofty and attainable goal. I forgot that I love to run, so this is a good opportunity for me to recapture that part of my life. Also, because it lets me shower in the middle of the day. WHICH I LOVE.

2)Read More
When asked for recommendations when I worked at Barnes and Noble that either a) I was illiterate or b) I don't read-- I'm a student leader. As such, I worked at a bookstore for 4 years and remain terribly poorly read. I was inches away from being one of those "Yo, I read the Da Vinci Code" types-- people who just DON'T read as a matter of course. I still default to that, most of the time, so I have to make a concerted effort to include reading in my life. I think the goal will be to look like one of those smart people on the T who have their noses buried in a book.

Things About Which I Am Excited

1) The Obama Administration.
Despite the vehement objection of the blogger-mother of my best friend, I honestly think that, if not even sweeping reform of failed policies and bad management, we're headed toward a direction where I can say that the government is doing something that doesn't make me say "yeah, about that... we picked a dude based on curb appeal." With my apologies to John Kerry: Bush is a bigger hunk.

2) Disney
K and I officially booked the trip: We're going to Disney in March. For me, this is a big step for a variety of reasons. I am extremely wary of making big plans this far out in a relationship that is, relatively, rather new. Not that this is a sign of doubt, but rather pragmatism. So this allows me to let go a little, as well as saying "you know what, Michael? Spend some money. Have some fun". K does this to me, and I am grateful for it: He makes me reconsider fun and makes me have fun. Too easily to I become all business, and what purposes does that serve?

3)Master's Degree and Job
In December, God willing (and the waters don't rise), I will receive my M.Ed in the Administration of Higher Education. Similarly, in May, I will hopefully be moving into a residence hall in the greater Boston area as an honest to God Residence Director. Like, you know, the job I've been waiting my whole life for. Is that depressing, that my goal in life is to basically be an RA? That administration, room conflicts, ice breakers, and diversity programming excite me? Yes. Even still... I've been working towards this for so long, and it will be nice to see it come to fruition.

Fruition. Great word. Perfect word for what's happening this year.