Monthly Archives: November 2011

Things That I’m Obsessed With: Octopus Edition

1) They’re freaky/terrifying as hell and I’m incessantly fascinated most by the things that scare the shit out of me.
2) They’re beautiful. Proof.
3) They’re super intelligent. Nastily advanced nervous systems. You can’t legally operate on them without anesthesia in some countries.
4) They’re kind of autonomous and badass. They’re very free creatures who solitarily roam the open ocean being smart and killing things and adapting in the most impressive ways to survive. I’m jealous of their ability to live in water. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.
5) Females die protecting the eggs. Even if the sacrifice is for evolutionary rather than emotional reasons, that still makes them fierce mama bears and I totally respect that.
6) They can eat sharks. WTF!!!!

Articles about octopus behavior/intelligence (basically from just a two second Google search that you could have done for yourself):
What Behavior Can We Expect of Octopuses? I love that there’s a whole website devoted to cephalopods! I bookmarked it immediately.
Through the Eyes of an Octopus Their brain WRAPS AROUND THEIR ESOPHAGUS. That’s weird, yo.
What is this Octopus Thinking?
–  Are Octopuses Smart? I want to have one as a pet. Like a dog. They’re probably totally capable of playing fetch. I’d made it learn all kinds of cool tricks like shake and sit and roll over. Speaking of which…
Behind the Meme: Secrets of Octopus Intelligence More comparisons to dogs.
An Octopus’ Intelligence Compared to the Dog. Even more comparisons to dogs. And sweet jesus, I need to get that book. All those goofy Jacques Cousteau videos we watched in 3rd grade truly made my life.

When one thinks of how long it takes to teach a dog something as simple as sitting up or shaking hands, one must admit that an octopus learns very quickly; and that above all, it teaches itself. We did not show it what to do. With a dog, it takes months of patient work before the animal will do what one wants it to do. The difference between a dog learning and an octopus learning is the difference between training an animal and allowing an animal to exorcise its intelligence in determining the means to be used to overcome an obstacle in certain circumstances.
– Jacques Cousteau, Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intelligence

This is what I envision what my life with an octopus would be like:

Courtesy of Deanna Molinaro. Someday I’m actually going to buy the print because I’ve been wanting it forever.

My biggest fear about having an octopus as a pet is that it would get out of its tank (which they do all the time in captivity because they’re super smart like that) and like creep (like this) into to my bed do evil octopus things in the night while I sleep and I would wake up 2 seconds before my death to feel, in my last moment of life, only sheer octopus-induced terror. Which is ENTIRELY unrealistic but that’s the only thing I’d be able to think about if I had one in my house. Plus, they need the ocean. Seeing them in their little zoo aquarium spaces always makes me kind of joyless. I stare at them forever though so I’m part of the problem by basically reinforcing the fact that zoos have them because people want to see them.

Paul the Octopus had an ok situation, I think. He was adored by the entire world. Paul single-handedly combined my love for octopuses and soccer and I’ll love him forever. RIP, dude.

This is one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos. Pulpos: Suave Inteligencia. That’s freaking ridiculous. The combo of Spanish and octopuses being smart is unbeatable. If I was stranded on a desert island and could only take one YouTube clip, that might be it. Or maybe this. Things that I’m obsessed with: UZoo Channel Edition.

Finally, the thing that sparked this whole entry was the video that Ben sent me today. My first thought was that kayak fishing on the ocean is definitely something I need to do regularly. I feel like it would terrify me and I’m not sure why but that makes me really excited to do it and now I probably won’t stop thinking about it for 3 days. My second thought was some semblance of a freak out regarding what I would do if I caught a goddamn octopus and it’s huge tentacles were 2 inches away from my body while I sat low to the water in my kayak. My third thought was complete devastation that the asshole killed the octopus, even if it was accidental. The lifeless and defeated way it just hung there on the line was traumatic. They’re so beautiful and seeing one like that is the most tragic thing in the world. I really can’t even deal with people who don’t catch and release their fish. Things that probably influence my feelings on the issue: the emotional attachment I have to Hootie my goldfish, the fact that I saw a bluegill struggle and die at my grandparents’ pond at the tender age of four because my cousin couldn’t get it off the hook fast enough, and this (skip to 1:52-2:14). The Little Mermaid also probably significantly impacted my life in other ways but there’s enough discussion in that can of worms for a whole other entry.

Anyway, to conclude, that one YouTube video of the octopus being caught could win an Academy Award for all the emotions it made me feel in two short minutes.

And WHY THE HELL was that creeping octopus on land from the other video delivering that crab to those people? I don’t think anyone will ever know. Octopuses behaviorally are weird and advanced. That’s the take home message here.

Turkey Burgers at 8AM

Why not? I mean, if you just got home at 7:30 and you’re hungry and you gotta eat something, turkey burgers seem like a good choice. I’m all about unconventional breakfast food.

I found out last night that sometimes if you’re on a good porch at various locations on the south side slopes on a clear night, you can stargaze pretty well. Winter is so cold but it’s the best stargazing season. There’s really something intoxicating about laying in the snow on a clear winter night in the middle of nowhere when you can see EVERY star in the sky because there’s no hazy humidity. And being outside on a clear winter night is pretty much the coldest you will ever feel but that’s partially why it’s incredible. That feeling paired with the warm feeling that the alcohol you inevitably have to drink while doing this makes you reach some kind of weird transcendent out-of-body state and the stars feel like they’re 2 inches in front of you. It’s a weird sense of clarity for things in all parts of your life and the “important” things become less important because you realize that you’re nothing but paradoxically, you also feel less alone in some larger, “we’re all in this thing together” kind of sense. Especially if you’re stargazing with someone you love who’s important to you. It’s like two or more people in that one moment in that one place somewhere on the edge of the Milky Way galaxy in the Virgo supercluster. Nothing means anything and everything means something all at the same time.

Semi-relevant:

I love Calvin & Hobbes. I think I need to add “loves Calvin and Hobbes” to my boy requisites because I can’t love anyone who doesn’t. I think that’s weirdly one of the reasons why Matt and I lasted so long. He was Calvin for Halloween like a week after we started dating and shit like that just sticks in your head and makes you think that even though it’s hard, it’s worth it. I hate memory. I hate that stuff like that stays with you forever until you die. The last thing I want to think about right now is the good memories.

Chris is randomly back in town. Rachel texted me at like 6:40AM to say that we’re all getting together with her tonight. This is the best surprise of all time and so this day is going by so so slowly. I sincerely miss Chris and Alex all the time and everyday wish that Japan wasn’t so far away. I can’t wait until tonight. Pittsburgh/Baltimore is always an intense good time (provided that we win, of course) and now that Chris is home, it’s going to be the best night of my life.

I also saw Howl’s Moving Castle for the first time yesterday and it really might be my 2nd favorite movie of all time now. As Ed says, “…the story demonstrates multiple lessons about emotional maturity as individuals and society.” Truth. And it blew my Imaginationland mind. It was funny/quirky, it was soothing, it was sad, it was profound. I need to read the book now. And I want to cancel Netflix but I can’t. There’s just too much good stuff out there.

Speaking of good movies, I love November for the Three Rivers Film Fest. I feel like all I ever want to be doing is watching indie movies in the Harris Theater. I look forward to being 32 and coming back to live here forever. It’s definitely time to go though and I’m anxiously counting down the weeks until it’s time to start over in Alabama. The best life skill I have is my inherent ability to pick up and start over and adapt.

It occurred to me then, that perhaps the reason for my growth was I was intended for larger things. After all, a giant man can’t have an ordinary-sized life.
– Big Fish

Also, I found out yesterday that my mom might have lung cancer. That’s kinda terrifying. I guess the fact that she smoked a lot when she was younger and the fact that we kind of have a family history of it don’t make it easier to think about. No point in worrying until we know for sure though.

Life comes at you from all directions. It’s amazing and terrible all at the same time.

Let’s Talk About Spaceships Or Anything Except You And Me, Ok?

That’s a sentiment I can get behind.

Sometimes unmemorably mediocre songs are redeemed by one line or the chorus. In this case, that one line is the chorus.

Also, drunk sleep. Why does it make you bionic? I came home at 5:41AM last night so I probably went to bed around 6. But then I woke up at 10 with enough energy to run a marathon. 4 hours of drunk sleep is like 12 hours of real sleep and I have no idea why. It’s true that after a few hours of being awake, the hangover starts and you become immediately exhausted though. That’s basically every Sunday of my life. Well, probably 15% of my Sundays. That doesn’t seem a lot but when you think about how many days per year that is, you realize the magnitude of the waste. We only get so many life hours. You gotta be careful with how you spend them.

Saturdays are usually ok because Friday nights never get that crazy. We don’t have the pent up energy from a work-free Saturday influencing our decisions.

Anyway, here’s the general Sunday “Last night got way too out of hand” progression:
– 10AM: Feeling great and not thinking you were that drunk or did/said anything crazy/stupid. Eat a solid breakfast of Doritos and chicken nuggets. Probably still a little drunk.
– 1PM: Twinge of a headache, vague memories of outrageous things
– 2:30PM: Brain swelling death headache, concrete memories of shameful things, realizing how much you actually did drink. Never wanting to see those strangers you met last night ever again. Leads to a hangover nap to escape the physical and psychological pain.
–  5PM: Try to make it to the kitchen to drink water and/or eat but can’t even sit up without wanting to die. Leads to a 2nd nap
– 6PM:  Give up on salvaging the day and watch Netflix for a few hours
– 8PM: Rally and do something productive like laundry
– 10PM: Wide awake and feeling awesome again right in time for bed where you will lay restlessly for hours until 3AM, cursing the fact that you ruined your sleep schedule and have to work the next day. Remembering that every drunk thing you did/said most likely was forgotten by everyone you interacted with because they were ridiculously tanked as well.

From August-February, football is the background noise all day. And most of the time, I pull myself together and make it out for the Steelers game so that general progression up there is a bit different during the entirety of the NFL season.

Anyway, the nights get crazier and I stay out later and later as the months go on and the older I get. I think I’m doing this backwards. You’re supposed to get less crazy as you age. I have a lot of missed opportunities to make up for though. I think that’s what’s happening here. Not having a boyfriend is awesome. Ideally, I would like to find a boyfriend who wants to stay out until 9AM with me but I understand that these people are hard to find.

Sometimes I do feel a little out of control and would just like to have a chill night with a boy. The crazy party girl in me loves life and loves the crazy party friends and all the insane/hilarious stuff that happens but the quiet sensitive girl in me just wants to take the army blanket to the middle of a field and stargaze/makeout for hours. Or make him dinner and watch stupid crap on TV. I also weirdly like just reading on a couch as the boyfriend reads on the other end of the couch and sometimes you talk to each other or smile at each other because you’re in love. Like the country/city thing, I’m 50% party, 50% chill. I’m pretty sure that’s how most people are though so I don’t even know why I’m thinking about this so much.

Last night, we were pounding long islands at Mario’s. Then we got a text about a post-Halloween party in Oakland. And within an hour, we were able to make it home, dig the costumes out of whatever godforsaken place they may have fallen into in the last week and put them on and show up to the party. Granted, we were like disaster versions of our previous Halloween selves because it’s hard to do things when you’re drunk. Also, after 2 nights of hard partying, your costumes just aren’t in good shape anymore. It really looked like we were living a wretched walk of shame scenario at 10:30PM, but whatever. We made it. Everyone else looked like a disaster too.

Moving on… people are dicks. I have no faith in them anymore. One minute, you’re forever best friends with someone you’ve known for a considerable amount of time in your short life. The next minute, he starts dating a crazy girl and cuts you out like you don’t mean anything to him. One minute, you’re putting everything you have into a romantic relationship with a person you love because you could see yourself being with him forever. The next minute, he’s calling you a whore when you’re just living life and moving on after you broke up with him because he consistently never put in anything and broke your heart over and over again. One minute, you’re dependably/continuously helping a friend work through an issue and being there for him/her 24/7 and not even caring about the energy you put into it because you love him/her. The next minute, you make one questionable choice that really has nothing to do with him/her and he/she judges you for it and that’s the end of the friendship. The third example is the most recent.

I feel so hopeless about human relationships. I think I need a paradigm shift here. Maybe I should stop thinking about them as solid long-term things and take a step back to see the bigger picture of life being 90 years of people coming and going with a few people who are there for spans of 10-20 years and most people who are there for spans of 1-5. It’s hard to do that though because I love too intensely. #1 downfall: I care too much. And when things inevitably go badly, I refuse to feel hurt for more than 2 seconds because I kind of have the “why waste my time?” mentality and believe that life should be lived happily. But the only way to not feel hurt when someone you care about does something shitty is to have hostility to fall back on and that’s kind of not ok. I’m working on it. It’s better to feel hurt sometimes then hide behind ridiculous walls that can’t be breached by anyone because what happens is you push away all but the fiercest individuals.

The weird thing is that I generally trust people completely and immediately until I have a reason not to. I’m not cautious about that part. But it turns out that not a lot of people are very trustworthy. The rational thing to do would be start being cautious about who I trust and how much I trust. I don’t even want to start being hesitant about trust though. Even if I’m upset every day for the rest of my life, being distrustful is no way to live. So I’m in this weird state of hesitancy to trust anyone but also absolute refusal to let my soul become that bitter and broken. Trust will prevail in the end. My best friends are patient with my freak outs. We fix each other.

I wish I could apply that to letting people in. It’s kind of related to trust but not really the same thing. Sometimes I feel like my heart is a one-way street all the time. Everything can get out but nothing can get in. Like I will try to make other people feel loved until I die but I consistently struggle so hard with allowing myself to feel loved or believing that people are genuine in their affection (it’s not a low self-esteem issue so what is it?… someone analyze this) or letting people have a concrete/solid spot in my heart that’s just for them. The first image that comes to my mind is a little virus sitting on top of my heart like it’s a cell and injecting it’s little virus bits into my heart then taking over the DNA  and ruining my heart’s ability to function as a heart. That’s what I’m afraid of. I still feel so destroyed from the breakup aftermath. Not that I’m sad or missing him or anything. But really, I’m so tentative and my heart feels like ice and I don’t know how to kick that or why I’m still this way three months later.

In August, I was a hostility monster and a crazy person and should not have been dating. In September, I finally felt real emotions again instead of just nothing. In October, I regrouped completely and made it back to the core of myself. In November, I hope to kick the whole hesitant thing. I’m still crazy impatient which is a trait that I picked up somewhere along the way. I’ve always been a little impatient naturally but it’s been really bad lately. Like annoyingly bad. My personal fix list is miles long right now. And I’m just engaging in self-indulgent blithering at this point.

I really am a hermit crab though. Super vulnerable but at least I have my shells to move in and out of as I grow and that’s how I survive. Someday (soon, hopefully) I’ll get to that point where I’m absolutely ok and normal again. Even looking at the progress since August, I think I’m happy with the results. There’s a decent amount of hope in my day-to-day thoughts/emotions. These things just take time.

And though spring, it did come slowly, I guess it did it’s part
My heart has thawed and continues to beat
– Bright Eyes, June on the West Coast

I still sometimes feel like I’ll be forever alone unless there’s a guy who’s patient enough to work with me on this and sees right through the hostility act. Maybe that’s just what love is and it’s not completely unreasonable to think that this is possible. People have baggage and you love them in spite of it. Or maybe I’ll just learn to be a human again with time on my own. I don’t need to be emotionally rescued and I kind of hate when guys try (because of my hostility/refusal to let people in thing) so the latter is probably the most likely scenario. Regardless, I’m pretty content with or without a relationship so I guess that doesn’t really matter.

There’s just something about being single that’s awesome that not a lot of hopelessly “I don’t want to be single anymore” people don’t recognize. Every place you go and every individual you meet offers limitless potential. You’re not bound to any person or situation. Your decisions are strictly yours and compromise is not a part of your life in any way, shape, or form. I mean, compromising is fine and I’m happy to do it most of the time but there’s truly something nice about not having to do it at all. Your plans are fluid and flexible. Your experiences are random and fulfilling. There’s nothing boring about being single. Things are always happening. And you can flirt with whoever you want or dance with whoever you want or go to dinner with whoever you want. And it’s an onslaught of attention 24/7. Even if 90% of it is guys trying to hook up with you, misguided/trivial attention is still worth something. It’s nice to feel like you’re the hottest girl in the room sometimes. Especially when your ex never made you feel like you were hot because he was a non-emotional negative hater type. Boyfriends: overrated. Random guys complimenting you because they want to sleep with you: awesome (as long as you take it with a grain of salt and don’t take them seriously).

Anyway, typical weekend morning text exchange with Desi:

– Desi: haha last night
– Me: it was so random. sometimes i wake up and think, “how is this our life?”
– Desi: right?  always crazy

And really, I know not ALL people are assholes. Just a few examples:

Drew and I will be friends forever and I know this because the worst shit has happened and none of that has come between us or shaken our friendship on any significant level. Desi (obviously) and I will be friends forever because we’ve both lived through amazing and terrible experiences in the last 6 years and there was never one time when we didn’t absolutely have each other’s backs and I’m pretty sure we haven’t judged each other for anything. If one day she was like “I killed a guy and now we have to go run away to Peru and hide there forever,” I would go in a heartbeat. We take care of each other. Kelsey and Greg will be my friends forever because  they’re absolutely decent people in every way. So down to earth and open and honest and laid-back and non-judgmental. Plus, amazingly funny to be around and honestly, some of the most generous people I’ve ever met.

So, the fact that last night ended with Desi, Greg, and Kelsey and then a phone call to Drew makes me realize that I actually kind of love my life in spite of the shittiness. I go back and forth on this all the time and I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record of narcissism where I’m whiny about how much I hate life/people then immediately come back to how much I love it/them.

I wonder if life will always feel like this or if it’s just a thing that happens in your 20s. I guess I won’t know until I’m 35. I guess it just seems like the whole 20s thing is a ridiculous transitional time where you’re starting to learn how to have adult relationships and sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding. Plus, you’re kind of transitioning in time and space on every level. It’s not like we’re all settled down with families in the same place with the same friends. People come and go as they go to move to different cities for school/work or just decide to pursue life in a different way/place.

I feel like we’re molecules in a gaseous state in a closed space and subjected to increasingly hot temperatures. Buzzing all over in crazy directions and reacting with each other sometimes in bad ways that are explosive and sometimes good ways where new molecules are formed but always changing in some way then eventually zooming off into a new direction we wouldn’t have gone if not for that interaction. Science is my religion in case you haven’t noticed. I’m going to write some kind of religious text where the human experience is explained via science analogies. I used to have this list of Biology concepts/processes that could be used as metaphors for love in its various forms. It kept me pretty grounded for a long time. I wish I could remember some of them or had that list. I’m sure if I read that textbook again, it would all come flooding back. I think I’m the only kid that read every page (because who’s an overachiever like that?)

I swear to God, life has this beautiful thing about it where everything that happens at our level mirrors something that happens at the lower levels and the higher levels. I mean, you could totally think of people as solar systems or stars or galaxies or anything like that. Maybe that seems like it’s not a good analogy because things in space seem to happen so slowly, but in the timeframe of eternity, it’s happening pretty damn fast. We used to be stars anyway. I’m relatively certain I blogged about that before but I always come back to it because it always blows my mind.

 We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.
– Sir Arthur Eddington

Sometimes, I just wanna be that chill kid with a handful of close friends and no drama or craziness in my life. But then, I think about how incredible it is to experience life in every way you possibly can and part of that means that you have to take the risk that sometimes things are going to go badly and you’re going to be unhappy. Bad choices and upsetting situations are the price of meeting both the good and bad people who are going to influence you to fulfill more potential than you could without running into them in life and also having those experiences that blow your mind and give meaning to your existence. I think fate has a way of working things out anyway. We just fall into the place where we’re supposed to be eventually. When that moment comes, it’s effortless because of everything you’ve already done to get there without even knowing that’s why you were doing it.

Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
– Henry Miller

I ran a cost-benefit analysis. The expected return favors living.

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.
– Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower