may update

Wow, it’s May already. It’s pretty crazy that I have just under a month of school left, and then I will be graduating high school. Honestly I don’t know what to think.

The past month has been really, really crazy. Not a whole lot of fun, to be honest. Between school, making decisions about college, relationships with friends, and the struggle of trying to find a summer job, I’ve been pretty stressed out.

I know that I should be grateful for everything that I have in life. And trust me, I am. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t feel as though I am getting a little bit behind in life. In a lot of ways, I am quite anxious and confused. It took me until yesterday, the day before the deadline, to decide where I will be attending college next fall, and I still feel as though I may not be making the right decision. When it comes to what I will be studying next year, I think I have a pretty vague idea of what I will do . Vague, but it’s something. Vague, but I’ll make it vogue.

I’ve also been getting behind on reading lately, much to my disappointment. I have hardly read anything, despite the fact that my reading list seems to grow a little every twelve hours.

Despite the anxiety of it all, there have been some high notes in my life since my last blog post. For example, I took an awesome trip to California.

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I also got to attend my senior prom with an absolutely beautiful date.

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Also exciting, I finally decided to purchase a Midori Traveler’s Notebook. I am entirely in love. Since the inserts are pretty expensive, I’ve been making some cahier notebooks of my own, and I have been pretty happy with the results. I will definitely detail the uses and setup of my MTN in later posts.

So that’s pretty much it. It’s been a rough month, but I am starting to feel the Spring air and I am optimistic about the month ahead of me. I plan on updating more frequently, so stay tuned!

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jimmy’s daily digest

Hey everyone, here is just a quick little update. I’m starting a new project and would love to show everyone. I’m creating a mailing list that will send out every weekday.

Titled Jimmy’s Daily Digest, I’ll be sending it out every weekday morning between 6:30 and 6:45 AM, EST. Included in the digest is the weather, a fun fact, a quote of the day, my thought of the day, a reader’s thought of the day, a picture of the day, and a word of the day.

I’m considering adding some new features, like perhaps maybe a song of the day or a painting of the day or maybe even a video of the day. Are there any features that you would like to see? Leave a comment! I want to make it reader friendly and fun for everyone.

So go ahead and sign up! There’s a permanent link to the sign-up form in the top bar of this blog, and you can also sign up here.

books

I’ve got a long list of books to read.

My Goodreads reading challenge has me down as wanting to read 15 books in 2015. Not a ton, but the right amount to let me read at a comfortable pace. Thus far, I have read four books, two ahead of schedule. So perhaps finishing books isn’t the hard part for me.

For me, the hard part is always deciding what to read next. I’ve got a pretty big list to choose from:

  • The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley
  • Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
  • Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
  • Violence, Slavoj Zizek
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • Tristessa, Jack Kerouac
  • Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Bell Jar, Slyvia Plath
  • Existentialism is a Humanism, Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Coming Insurrection, The Invisible Committee
  • Because We Say So, Noam Chomsky
  • No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald
  • etc.

So what’s next? I just finished reading Ecotopia, and I am reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as a sort of long term project (I am loving it, by the way). I think what I’ll probably do is this: I’m going to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, followed by The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I feel like I can’t read the later without having read something by Kesey. But after that I have a difficult choice to make.

Any suggestions? Leave a comment! I’m always looking for new books to read. You can probably tell what I enjoy reading off of the above list 🙂

P.S.  Please feel free to also recommend me some blogs!! I’m looking to add some to my RSS feed. Blogs help me get through the school day.

my age

Recently, I published an article on Medium. It served as a response to an article I had read that urged readers to be kinder to Hillary Clinton regarding her policy. In reading this article, I noticed what I thought were many flaws. As it turns out, the writer was just a little younger than I was, born in 1998.

As a person born in 1997, I responded to the article, pointing out where I disagreed and why. Upon publication, my article became the most widely read thing I have ever written. A link to my article made the front page of reddit, and the post gathered a couple hundred comments.

Most of these comments were very supportive and kind. These types of comments encouraged me; they made me feel confident about my work, and inspired me to want to write even more. But there were a handful of comments at the bottom of the thread that had some less-than-nice things to say.

Let me say this: I am by no means offended by any of the comments I received, I can handle criticism, and I am fully aware that there will always be people that disagree with  me out there. That’s fine. Frankly, most of these negative comments made me laugh:

lmao at some opinion piece by an 18 year old hipster who’s probably never paid for anything in his life being upvoted this much

…. and my personal favorite….

He’s an “18 year lover of cats and politics”

100% chance of being a virgin

But the one thing that did frustrate me a little bit about the comments were those regarding my age. I am 18 years old; it’s true that I am perhaps younger than most other people discussing the presidential election online.

Does my age disqualify me from having valid opinions?

I don’t think so, but several comments were quick to dismiss me because of my age. As an 18 year old, I have the right to vote. So don’t I have a responsibility to educate myself on the issues and stay informed? If I’m old enough to vote for people that can make decisions that will impact the world, surely I am old enough to form valid political opinions.

You don’t have to agree with me. I respect the opinions of all. All opinions should be respected, regardless of the qualities defining the person holding that opinion. I will continue to write about my opinions online because I believe that it is the best way to hear the views of others. Through the web, we have a lot to learn from each other. We are, for the first time in history, enabled to hear the point of view of nearly everyone in the world. I am young, but I demand my voice be heard. You don’t have to agree with me, but don’t invalidate my views because I am young.

valentine’s day

Today is a pretty special day for me. Today is the very first Valentine’s day that I get to spend with a girl that I love very much.

My girlfriend, Elizabeth, has very quickly come to mean the entire world to me. Because she is tremendously fantastic in every possible way, I fell for her so quickly. I am elated that she has become such a big part of my life, and I don’t know what I would do with out her. She’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and I think of her for every waking moment of my day. She is the last thing I think about before closing my eyes to go to sleep at night, and I always pray that she will be in my dreams.

There are so many reasons as to why I love Elizabeth. I’d like to use this opportunity to talk a little bit about why she is my everything.

I was initially attracted to Elizabeth because I thought that she was just the coolest peroson in the entire universe. Everything about her was just so incredibly cool – her taste in music, the books she reads, the things that interest her, her tweets, the things she talks about, the movies she likes; everything about her simply makes her so cool and irresistable. Elizabeth is seriously the coolest person I have ever mey, and I am just so drawn to her.

I’m telling you, Elizabeth is, without a doubt, the most beautiful girl to ever exist. All you need to do is take one look at her and you’d be convinced. I think that my favorite thing about her is her eyes – Elizabeth has big, beautiful brown eyes that are always sparkling no matter what. For me, there is nothing better than being able to look into her perfect eyes. I’m in love with them, they are perfect. I know that I have the most beautiful girlfriend that time has ever known. I am lucky.

I love Elizabeth and I am incredibly fortunate that she cares for me like no other. I always know that Elizabeth will be there for me no matter whar. When I am sad or nervous, all that I have to do is go to Elizabeth, and she will make me feel better, everytime. I have never met a more understanding, caring, comforting person, and because of this, I am able to open up to Elizabeth about my feelings more than I am with anyone else. I am so fortunate, I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She cares for me and makes sure I’m always happy and feeling good. I will never take Elizabeth for granted.

My girlfriend is, to be 100% honest, actually the funniest person that I ever met. When I’m with her, I spend a ridiculous amount of time laughing at a joke she made. To me, she has the perfect sense of humor, she’s really perfect for me. I’ve been in agreement with many other people I’ve spoken to about the subject – Elizabeth is the most hilarious person. She makes me truly laugh, there’s always something to smile about with her.

Perhaps my absolute favorite thing about Elizabeth is the way we can talk to each other about so many things for such a long time. I live for the nights we stay up late talking about music, the picnics where we bond over conversations over everything from animal religion to the Stanford Prison Experiment. I’ve never met a person that I have felt so connected to, I’ve never met a person that seems to be on the same wavelength as I am. I’m endlessly fascinated by her and her vast intelligence. Every single time I talk to Elizabeth, I learn something knew. When we have a conversation, I’m talking to someone that seems infinitely smarter than I will ever be (maybe that’s why she always beats me when we play trivia games…) and I have an insane amount of respect for her. She is always teaching me something new.

And the things that Elizabeth have taught me hae changed my life in profound ways. She has opened up my mind in so many new ways. Beacuase of Elizabeth, the girl I love, I am now a million times more conscious of issues regarding feminism. It’s a bit hard to explain, but because I have fallen for a girl so much and because I care about her more than I have ever cared about anything in my life, I want the best for women in general. I want the best for my love, it truly is hard to explain but I’ve suddenly become so interested in feminism, and I give her credit for sparking that interest in me.

But that’s not all she has taught me. She has taught me how to be a good person. She has taught me to care about the people I love to the best of my ability and to always strive to make the ones I love happy. She has taught me to truly put others before myself, and to truly care about those that mean a lot to me. She has taught me to be honest and truthful in the things that I say, and to never make a promise without the intention of keeping it. The things that Elizabeth has taught me have made me a far better person than I was a year ago today, and I’m proud of the person that she has helped me to become. Elizabeth has taught me what I truly value and want in life.

Today I’d like to celebrate my love for Elizabeth. To me, Elizabeth is everything perfect in the world and everything that I love. Thank you, Elizabeth, for being my girlfriend and for being so tremendously fantastic. I’ve always said that you were the absolute best, and today, I mean that more than ever. I am incredibly happy in our relationship, and I would not give this up for anything in the universe. Elizabeth, I love you.

restaurant experiences

Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to restaurants for meals. For me, there is a lot of fun to be had in interacting with the server, the food is often very good, and there’s nothing better than getting into a conversation with your dinner partner.

But I do think that there are some flaws in the whole going-out-to-eat process. What is often believed to be fun, something that is often reserved for special occasions, becomes a little sad, perhaps a little frustrating. And it’s not necessarily the restaurants that are causing this, it is the patrons themselves that often contribute to this melancholy situation. There are two main things that I have observed that make the restaurant experience less than pleasurable: watching patrons wait to be seated, and ordering your meal.

When you go out to a restaurant with another person, you have to expect that talking to that person will be a big part of the experience. Surely one would not go out to dinner with someone they do not enjoy the company of. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that when people go out to eat, they enjoy conversing with the person accompanying them. However, peering into the area for people to wait for a table might prove just the opposite.

Recently, I went out to eat with my grandma. As it turns out, we had to wait about 15 minutes before a table would be ready for us. Waiting is never something that really bothered me. But looking around me, I noticed something that made me wonder. All the people around me, waiting for a table just like I was, seemed so sad to be there. Sitting next to friends, lovers, children did not seem to make up for the fact that they were waiting for a table. But why? As I said earlier, you go out to eat with somebody because you enjoy their company. Why did all of these people I saw seem to be so depressed in the company of the ones I assume they love? If you are going out to eat, you must anticipate conversation with your company, why must the conversation wait for a table? Why not maximize the amount of time you have to converse and make connections? It all seemed very bizarre to me. There’s no rule that says you must be sad when waiting for a table. This is a burden that restaurant patrons put on themselves. Happiness, or at least contentment, can come wherever you are in the restaurant with interaction with the ones you chose to go out with.

Looking at people waiting is depressing, but the worst part for me is actually at the table, when a server is taking your order. Now, the best part of going to a restaurant is that you get to choose whatever you want to eat. A pleasurable restaurant experience would mean that a patron receives exactly what they would like. This includes portions, which leads me to my point: why do some restaurants mandate that patrons order more sides than they desire?

When I went out recently, I knew exactly what I wanted – I wanted an entree and one side. I have trouble finishing my meals as it is, so one side is far more than enough.

“French fries, please,”

“Alright, and your second side?”

“Oh, that’s alright, just French fries will do!”

“But we offer two sides here, would you like macaroni and cheese?”

“No it’s okay.”

“So you would like two orders of French fries?”

“Sure.”

“Okay! Now, what type of salad would you like?”

I can’t eat that much. When at a restaurant, I would like to order what I would like to order. There is no need to mandate patrons have a minimum number of sides. I recognize that far worse things could happen, but really, what’s the point. It just detracts from the  restaurant experience as a whole.

LIT

I’m in my senior year of high school. Ever since kindergarten, I’ve been in love with reading. So naturally, I decided to take AP Literature this year.

AP Lit is okay. Considering I call myself an avid reader, I thought it would be my favorite class. But it has really just turned out to be a lot of dry literature that I have a hard time making myself care about. My girlfriend sits behind me though, so I guess that makes it all worthwhile.

The thing that I hate most about Lit is the fact that we are required to read assigned novels. I think that this is a big reason as to why many people my age don’t enjoy reading in their free time (I know that I absolutely hate reading the books assigned to me).

For example, we just finished reading Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. To say it simply: I hated this book. Sure, I realize that it is culturally significant and probably helps me to become a better reader. I’m sure that Mark Twain is an excellent writer. But the book was so boring. Nearly the entire time I was reading it, I found myself wishing that I could be doing something else.

And I think that’s the exact problem with classes that assign specific books. Yes, it is important to learn the basics of literature, but why can’t students do that on their own terms? I would much rather pick out my own book to read and then do a book report on it rather than reading a classic that I hate. English classes like AP lit should strive to cultivate a love of reading among the students. Because if we are only learning on books that bore us, will we ever use the skills we learn on books that actually interest us?

***

Anyway, we were just assigned a new book, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. I’m not yet convinced that I’ll love it, but I must admit that I am somewhat eager to start it, as I have been wanting to read some books with feminist themes lately.

As I’m reading The Awakening, I’m reading two books on the side for pleasure. In a few day’s I will have finished Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia, a science fiction book about what would happen if Northern California, Oregon, and Washington were to secede from the U.S. and form their own nation on the principles of environmental sustainability. This book is absolutely fantastic, and has strong feminist themes itself. I’ll probably write a brief review of Ecotopia in a few days.

Aside from The Awakening and Ecotopia, I am also reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. A recommendation from my girlfriend Elizabeth, I am tremendously excited to read this book. It’s long and it’s surely going to take a while to finish, but I am intent on finishing. A review of this book will also come, but I’m not quite sure when.

Hello World

Hey everyone, this is my personal blog.

I’ve started so many blogs over the years, and there is nothing as awkward as the very first post. What am I supposed to say? I don’t really want to talk about the things I’ll write about on here, because to be honest, I don’t really know what I want to do on this blog. It is certainly going to serve as my personal blog. So I guess I’ll write about whatever I feel like.

And I realize that’s probably not a very good thing to write on my first blog post, but it’s the truth. I just want a spot for my personal thoughts, whatever that happens to be.

Blogging is a lot of fun, I don’t want to ruin the fun of it by restraining what I feel as though should be published here. So if you’re interested in learning more about my life, feel free to read on! Add me to your RSS feed! Bookmark me! Follow me on Twitter!!!

Okay, that’s really all I have to say for my least favorite blog post of all time. I’ll probably be back later with some thoughts from earlier.