Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Riddle Me This (in 1200 words)

What's more fun that writing a midterm paper on no sleep? Doing it two days in a row, of course!

My "talent" for the last-minute paper - the only kind I write - is maturing in a disturbing way. My current modus operandi is to begin at 3 am, hand write the whole thing for three or four hours, then sleep for an hour or two. When I wake up I type it out, give one proof-read if I have the time, and email it to the professor by 11am (I don't print things). I did that last night (slash, this morning) and the night/morning before that. The quality of my writing is not so hot, but that is the price of being a level 70 procrastinator. I've been thinking about why I behave like this. The self-righteous answer is that I find personal destruction more interesting than essay-writing. The self-flagellating answer is that I'm a miserable lout who can't do anything right. The answer in the middle is that I'm a smart boy who hates school and just doesn't care anymore. It's all over soon...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

To Do or Not To Do

I don't have a newspaper column, but if I did it would be called "In The Knew" and in it I would provide advice to young people. Here is a fictitious entry in my fictitious newspaper column:

In The Knew
Observations for the young and the young at heart
By S.T. Peterson

"To Do or Not To Do"

Dear Friend,

Amid murder and antique language, it is easy for a modern audience (and a modern theater company) to forget about our tragic hero, the Prince of Denmark, that he is a young man. Hamlet is a young man with a young man's question, and like so many young people before and since, he has confused his linking verbs. "Being" is not the sort of thing over which one has agency. Try it sometime. I think you'll find that you already are. The real question our Little Prince invites us to ask is the title of today's column. As so many bumper stickers which have never been printed ought to advertise, "I'll kill myself if it's the last thing I do!"

Today's topic is how to do the things you need to do. I am something of an expert on the matter: I have had to do many things in twenty one years. Some of them important, other not so, some fun, some difficult, but I have approached them all with the same resolution and the same basic method. I generally abhor "3 Easy Steps to Suchandsuch" by Charlatan McFullofit, but I make an exception here for my own, "3 Easy Steps to Doing the Things You Need to Do," because I wrote it, and because it really works! What follows is the basic pattern I have followed whenever faced with something to do, and look at me. I've got a fucking newspaper column!

Step One: Don't do the thing you need to do. This may seem counter-intuitive, until you consider...

Step Two: Consumerism. Instead of doing what you need to do, go buy something. That will probably make you feel better about yourself. If that doesn't work, try...

Step Three: Masturbation.

So there you have it. The three perfect and only steps to doing the things you need to do: don't do it, buy something, and then masturbate. This is how I have faced ever task in my life, great and small, and it hasn't failed me yet. I can only speculate that things would have turned out better for old Hamlet if he'd know the secret. Make wise use of this knowledge yourself and bright things await.

Sincerely and faithfully yours,
S.T. Peterson

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The cost of existing

After many years' delay, I am finally reading The Fountainhead. I am also perfecting the vacant expression which is my coping mechanism for the unbearable contempt the book gives me for the world and by "the world" I mean myself.

Life is the cost of existing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Body Politik

I've long been passionate about politics, but I've never actually put my money where my mouth is, until now. Yesterday, for the first time, I donated money to a political campaign: $50 to Ron Paul. Just thought I'd let you know.

I have no patience for fools, myself included.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Million Little Pieces

Two days ago the temperature on my CPU read 170 F. That's waaaaay too hot. I've disassembled my whole machine and cleaned everything out. Now all of the delicate bits are strewn naked on the floor, waiting for the thermal gel and passive heatsink I ordered to arrive. This means I have to use University computers in the meantime. This means no porn. This makes me sad.

Introspection in Review

Conservatory drama programs (such as the one at Julliard) are 8 hours of pure theatrical training, 5 days a week. The NYU drama department splits the difference between conservatory and general education by farming kids out to conservatory studios (which are independent institutions) around the city for three days out of the week, and requiring academic credits to be achieved in the remaining two days. There are seven primary studios. I'm in the best one, naturally.

Of the academic requirements, "Theater Studies" classes have proven most painful for me. Primarily because I have a habit of failing them, but also because of the kinds of discussions they tend to encourage. If you sit in on a standard TS theory class (or at least any of the ones in which I have enrolled), you hear kids make frequent use of words like "every" and "all" and "never" and "no" and almost every discussion ends in a justification for someone's self-righteous definition of "art." Or something. I'm generalizing. Really there was just one class that was actually like that, but ever since then I've become very sensitive to wishy-washy and self-righteous arguments that I tend to see them everywhere.

Last week I had a conversation with my current Theater Studies professor and we discussed, among other things, some of my apprehensions about that kind of thing. Well, my teacher (who is one of my favorite ever) had some extremely reassuring words and expressed an opinion which I find all too rare in the theater world: my own! It was such an energizing and interesting talk that I thought for a brief time that I was, in fact, in love with my teacher. I realized then that it is not my teacher whom I love, but someone else. And that helped me make a decision.