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Mike M. [userpic]

A commerical for how normal we are...when we're anything but.

November 17th, 2006 (10:44 pm)

current mood: ecstatic
current song: "The Longest TIme" --Billy Joel

Bonus points for anyone who knows the source of the subject line before reading the rest of the post (where there'll be obvious hints).

A quick summary of the past few weeks: nice relaxing weekends followed by some long and insanely busy weeks. Holidays, lots of donations and deliveries to IFC, a lot of thought provoking conversations to keep me awake way too late at night, great times with good friends--there's been a bit of everything. I really need to start updating more than once a month, but at least its an improvement over the once every few months pattern I had slipped into (Hush, Karley). Anyway--highlights and random thoughts follow:

1. I saw American Beauty again a couple of weeks ago, which I had not seen in five years in spite of it being one of my all-time favorite movies. My life has gone through quite a few dramatic changes since then. I saw it when it first came out and it was a large part of starting this whole process I've gone through to wake up from the illusions of "normal" mainstream society. The first time I ever saw the movie, I was engaged to a woman who was a lot like Carolyn Burnham, above all, in the way she worshiped "stuff" over living--or worse yet, confused the two. The past five years have often been far from easy, but it does not escape me that the alternative would likely have been been ending up a lot like Lester in my 40s. I feel damn lucky to not be on that path anymore and to actually be doing something with my life that's far more worthwhile than the endless pursuit greed, consumption, and "stuff". There's so much I could write about this movie; I could see it ten times in a row and get something different out of it every time.

2. I think I've become officially addicted to Smallville and a friend here renting the Season 1 episodes on DVD has pushed that process along considerably. I didn't pay much attention to it simply because the thought of yet another Superman series made me yawn. But I've grown increasingly impressed with how well done of a show it truly is. The development and depth of the characters is first rate, one of the things I always look for in a quality story of any kind. Some of the plot lines require a certain suspension of disbelief but that doesn't detract from the show for me at all. I find it a welcome relief from all the utter crap that usually comes out on TV these days.

3. Went to Halloween on Franklin Street and it was totally insane. I don't mean that in a bad way; I had a lot of fun. There's usually well over 50,000 people at the Halloween event here and 70,000 is not unheard of. I rather suspect that this year's crowd is toward the upper end of those numbers. I got there later than I had planned because much of my evening ended up being spent in one of those long lovely conversations with a friend I seem to be growing ever closer to lately. Definitely no complaints about that. And even arriving a little after midnight, Franklin Street was still closed off and packed for several blocks (from Raleigh St. to the east to all the way past the McDonald's on the west, for the benefit of my local readers). Not that much in the way of candy on Halloween here, but eye candy was, to say the least, plentiful. A friend here once described Halloween in Chapel Hill as "a bit risque"--which strikes me as a bit of an understatement. Again, not that I'm complaining. All in all, a fun evening, even if it did cause a few hours of lost sleep.

4. I've been having a lot of talks over the past few weeks with current and former UNC students, IFC volunteers, and student groups on campus about forming a revamped Community Initiative to End Homelessness that's more effective, action oriented, and focused on the political and advocacy side of homelessness issues. The group we've had the past two years has been entirely too focused on people already in the social services arena. The present group functions very well in the sense of being a forum in which different agencies can share information coordinate the delivery of services more effectively. But what CIEH truly needs is to be restructured so that the members we've had to date can stay focused on areas where they've shown themselves to be effective while a broader representation of the community as a whole steps up in areas that up to now have been overlooked. There is much to be done, but I feel very good because we've made some good first steps to start heading in the right direction. I was particularly impressed meeting with representatives of UNC's chapter of Opportunity Rocks who seem to have a very strong desire to jump in and get started with the task of creating a movement to stamp out poverty and homelessness. There's a great energy in the air lately and I feel incredibly optimistic in spite of the enormity of the challenge.

5. It goes without saying that I've been absolutely thrilled with the results of the elections. I think I had somewhere around 4 hours of sleep over the course of two days but it was well worth it when Virginia was finally called for Jim Webb. I think that Wednesday night was the best night of sleep I've had in six years. The Democrats retaking Congress is a good first step--as long as people realize that its only a first step. There's a lot of work left to be done. And by the way, I'm firmly in the pro-impeachment camp at this point.

6. My beloved Ohio State Buckeyes will have their final tuneup before January's national championship game tomorrow against the minions of Satan. In more local news, we also have NC State at UNC, but with the way the season is going here, I'm far less excited about that one. Especially with the inevitable traffic and crowds and hordes of barbarian tobacco spitting State fans that will be swarming Chapel Hill tomorrow. By the way, is it true that the chancellor of NC State actually uses the decorative spittoon in his office? Still, Go Heels! And Go Buckeyes!

7. Last but not least--this past Sunday and Thursday evenings were totally amazing. Sorry, not getting into details here. But suffice it to say that life is very very good right now. It's actually been good for some time now, but those two days were definitely some very sweet icing on the cake. And hopefully only the first of many.