Recitations

For strength.


Invictus:


Out of the night that covers me,Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may beFor my unconquerable soul.In the fell clutch of circumstanceI have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chanceMy head is bloody, but unbowed.Beyond this place of wrath and tearsLooms but the Horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the yearsFinds and shall find me unafraid.It matters not how strait the gate,How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.


I have a Dream:


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.


It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.I have a dream today.I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.I have a dream today.I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Desiderata:


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.Strive to be happy.


Serenity Prayer:


Life,Grant me the serenityTo accept the things I cannot change;The courage to change the things that I can;And the wisdom to know the difference."

The graham cracker was invented by a weird dude.

Sleep deprivation. Does it lead to delusional thinking? Is that a reasonable hypothesis?

Or am I just crazy?

Okay, what if we flip it?

Do delusional people, people with extremist and unusual or erratic thought patterns, do they tend to be sleep deprived?

Would they be more rational, or more capable of rationality, if they got better sleep?

Is this why the military runs so many types of exercise that causes massive sleep deprivation? Does it allow people to believe in and do crazier stuff?

I find most people are crazy. Most people are sleep deprived. I wonder if there's correlation.

Sometimes I question my father's view of the world. Even though it gave me a pretty damn fine starting point and my understanding has all these holes where the hand-me-down memes didn't fit.

What is it I need?

Some sort of decompression.

I need more sleep.

But I also need to unload something deeper, with these vivid bright images and feelings burned into my brain late at night from two days of some of the most beautiful country in the world.

Million-year-old Munching Marching Giant Million, Million Ton Caterpillars doesn't even begin to cover it.

The kind waitresses at Dennys.

The penny-pinchers at BMW motorcycles. That feeling of getting squeezed.

Putting my hand into a glove and having my thumb come out the hole. Feeling the tacky duct tape slicking to my palm as we tear across the desert.

The transition into the furnace of Death Valley.

Relief from pouring half a bottle of water down my front.

Dry in 20 minutes.

The look of fine dust, like chalkboard dust, covering the rims.

The feeling of silk whipping at my face, a cross-wind letting a hot loud blast through a gap in my visor.

Riding one-handed through an alien world for miles, with the air-plunger whitenoise cars pwumphing by wth their bug eyes.

And dawn.

Golf courses below the sea.

Golf courses in the middle of Death Valley, right out my window. And Canadian Super-Wolf UberCoyotes and the Canadian friendlies that conversation entails.

Ben and Jerry's with coffee in the morning and the best damn Strawberry milkshake at night, beer be damned.

For some reason, everything has tasted creamier lately. Even water. Even life itself. Life is creamier the past few weeks.

So I feel constipated a bit, from processing all these changes in my life and allowing any sort of contemplation from the outside, I cannot observe myself, or even recognize myself outside of myself.

And so I feel like a sleep-deprived interrogant and what do you call a person under interrogation anyway?

There is a lamp pointed at me and my food is drugged and I am starting to believe all the things they're telling me.

So I am looking forward to this weekend. Oh yes.

And I need to clear this part of my mind that is backing up and has no outlet and I guess blogging is that outlet.

Me, indulged.

My name is Brad. I come from an Artist, and Engineer, and a biomedical science experiment in the farmland of NY's Hudson Valley. For a living, I concentrate energy from the sun in order to maintain homeostasis. Sometimes I work for a medical manufacturing company. I am pretty well in a continual state of awe at the world around me. I like trying to better understand how things work, how people work. I take pictures and I play music. I climb big rocks and hang out in the forest. Sometimes I read books or write words.

My challenge, like me, is complex. I have been diagnosed as having: depression; teenage malaise; chronic fatigue; sleep deprivation. But of course these things are all symptoms more than diseases. I have a whole list of possibly irrelevant symptoms, but the ones that most effect my life seem to be neurological in root. Brain fog, fatigue.



I'm Brad. I try to be well-balanced. I love to learn. I'm comfortable in contradiction. I want my slice of the American Dream, in pursuit of the greater good. I have become a professional telemark advertizer and also took up the extreme sport oftelemarket-alpinism, where I sold 42 deluxe luxury beach towels in one afternoon on the north face of Lhotse, without the use of supplemental oxygen.



*Please also send me a short bio for us to use in profiling you as an All-Star Team member – where you’re from, what you do for a living, your favorite hobbies, pets and/or significant others. In this bio, include your challenge, your epic win, and the history you have with this challenge, along with the answer to these three questions:

I.Z.

A house is the home of the
heart of the
soul of the gathering
masses of
flowering
grasses the land
is the home of the
deserts and
groves and the
blood that
pumps slow
through a family
only can make it
as far as the
grain they
unload or the
truths they
bestow and the
health of a house
or the health of a
mouse or the
health of the family therein
espoused is the
same as a
moment or the
tallest of tales
can be only
enshrined in the
heat of the
town is a house
is a home.

-I.Z.

Awesome:

Superbowl Sunday. Awesome that I can connect a talk by Jane McGonigal with a talk by Ze Frank and a blog post by Allie Brosh and consider the amazing results if the three were to collaborate. Sad that I don't think anyone else could relate. Fucking stupid that I have to post to livejournal when I'm so excited because Allie got 4,000 comments on a blog post, such that commenters on her post got several comments in return from other people reading the responses...because nobody else I know would care.

One week to Princeton.

Trying to flush it out and make it into sense

Trying to force myself to write it down and give it meaning, while getting better at living in the moment by reliving it as the recent past...

Today was tricky. Too burned out to even be anxious, just enough reserve and dexedrine to make it through the day. Feel pretty good but a little tired, now.

Stood swimming by the x-rays trying out statistics with a couple guys who don't know any statistics, and I' don't know any, and I feel like I'm going to have to run for the bathroom any second now because my feeble processed-whey and doxycycline breakfast feels about ready to revisit and we're three guys in a dark room trying to discuss how nice the paint looks, but I'm about to puke and my brain is miswired so I can't even focus on them talking about something nobody can really see even probably on a good day.

And Chris tells me about his landlord and pumping out basements and pumping up the volume and a nosy neighbor from hell with a noise chip on his shoulder and everyone is now feeling their liberties are being violated and they're all taking each other to court. Even cheery Chris, who is smiling as he tells me this. He has to miss a half day of work. Alex can't find the files we need. Chris shouted fuck at his neighbor a bunch. He tells me about Sunday afternoons and private property and I'm really only trying to remember that Kinks melody now and picturing Chris trying to pluck it out on guitar and he's a pretty attractive guy and is that weird and fuck I should be paying attention and I feel like Alex and I are still a little rough but he can be really hard to read. I wonder absently about professionalism, another space-out while someone else is talking saying something probably important and probably wrong. Better luck next time.

A needle slit, from a 26 gauge stainless steel back-cut japanese needle into a polyurethane membrane is a beautiful thing. Clean. Reminds me of the singularity.

The singularity is this one image always in my head that contradicts itself. It is rough but smooth, light but dark. It is like a tesselation, like sane dunes with ripples or snowpack at night. It is somewhat like skin but more like test membrane for needle punctures.

And Ted. We did a lot today. That was an amazing conversation. I see a lot of myself in Primary Immune Deficiency. In Ted's story of not knowing what was wrong, trying to treat symptoms, being sick for weeks and weeks. And helping people.

And my dad says "Feedback On Results"

And who am I to disagree?

A new computer, a hand-made bed (not true, really, 2X4s are like Lincoln Logs for the young adult).

There is so much going on for me to process.

Lonely, 2.0 Redux

This journal is so old, it predates Lindsay being a critical part of my life.


I don't know why I'm feeling so depressed tonight. Let's go down the list.

I took a Concerta this morning, to try to avoid coffee. They usually don't work. This one didn't. I don't have any Dex in Monroe. Which reminds me...

I'm stuck in Monroe. I guess I could be working to get a ride to Beacon, but I don't really have the heart. There are a couple girls in Beacon I think I'd get along with. I should hit them up. But first I have to make it up there. My only opportunity would be early Monday morning. Oh well. Guess that will wait two weeks. Florida.

It snowed. It will be snowing this weekend. In October, expecting a foot of heavy snow. No truck.

I'm alone. I know all my female friends are off places, primarily Albany, partying for halloween. Of my male friends, the only sensitive chill ones are Dan and Vinnie. Dan's been strange lately, and I feel like things are a little off with Vinnie, so I didn't call him earlier, and now it's too late to really do anyhting. It's all about that regret. Nothing better than a feeling of loss to get you down.

I'm reading Jeffrey Eugenides. He always knows how to pull my heartstrings.

I went through a big developmental push, both at work and in my personal life. I am now a truck owner, but rapidly ran out of the benefits of vehicle ownership; in order: Getting Places, Helping People, Buying Things, Fixing Things. I can't go anywhere, it's broken. I can't help anyone, it's broken. I have nothing left to buy and not much to buy it with, as I've been hemorrhaging money to soften the blow of depression that I was trying to ignore. And then I was trying to fix a truck. But now I'm waiting for parts, so there's nothing left to fix.

I feel stagnated. And alone. I want to have someone creative around who I feel "gets" me. I feel like I've never had anyone who was super into the type of collaborative projects I always fantasize about. I want someone who just loves to savor life at the same speed as me, because my lens is so sensitive and wide, there is so much to see, that someone who thinks like me would invariably feel the same way but be looking at completely different things.

Things with Ash are super sad. We've devolved into some sort of money machine with occasional pity or empathy mode.

I know I am productive, and have been growing, but this is not the case so much socially, despite some efforts to that end, the hudson valley hasn't been working out for my kind of come-and-go internet-coordinated social style.

I never made it to Maine, either. And I haven't had sex or a girlfriend in months. Like, it's been half a year, just tearing calendar pages.

So, keep trucking. But I'm now going to "lose" two weeks from my personal goals, pursuing lifestyle sustenance. Work, family visits. Good stuff, but I don't know that it will open up my world.

But who knows, often my greatest growths come out of no expectations.

High hopes low expectations. Envision both the best and worst case scenarios of any given situations. Give the beast a face.

I don't want to talk about Elvis,

No! It's too mellow!

Where to from here? Where is my "out"? I don't feel the progress I was so sure of before. I feel like I finally get close to a network, to some kind of escape from the life I used to lead, and it sucks me back in. I fear that no matter how much things change, they'll stay the same, because there's a cerrtain system that works for how I feel, and it's not a very sociable system. Loner should be a four-letter word.

Where do I find my spark again, over and over, always burning out?