Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 1. The Official Beginning

We're going to let yesterday's lapse slide because it was the first day, and at least I wrote an introduction. Besides that, by the time I finished my "real" work and had time to write something, it was 1:30 in the morning, which was technically not the same day anymore anyway, and with a newborn and an active two-year-old (everyone I know says that - "active toddler" - I ask you, is there any other kind?)... okay. I'm just making excuses and will shut up now. Here we go.

Today, we have a book review portion as well as original writing. While rocking Julian to sleep over the weekend, I read him Ayn Rand's Anthem (because every four-month-old is interested in opportunism and dystopian societies).

Book: Anthem by Ayn Rand

General thoughts: Excellent book. With my Libertarian affiliation (let the hostages go, put down the Constitution, and back away, Mr. Obama), I can't help but love Ayn Rand, even if she was a little crazy. Statistically speaking, I probably just alienated about 4/5 of my readership. Let's try to look past political leanings and all remain friends, eh? Moving on...
I loved the exploits of Equality 7-2521, even if the "allegory" was less-than-subtle (so much so that I question the use of the word allegory). It was fantastically creepy in a "my life is slowly deteriorating into The Giver" kind of way. I tend to read Rand and think, "If she wasn't a vehement atheist, I'd swear she was a prophetess." I don't think we're anywhere close to a society without I, without ego, but some of the content hit really close to home, especially the parts where Equality 7-2521 is chastised for being better than the other kids in school. "It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them" (p. 21) really sounds to me like the basic premise of No Child Left Behind. Aim for status quo, not excellence.

Favorite part: I have to say, I love the part where Liberty 5-3000 is trying to explain to Equality 7-2521 that she loves him. "'We love you.' But then they frowned and shook their head and looked at us helplessly. 'No,' they whispered,'that is not what we wished to say. [...] We are one ... alone ... and only ... and we love you who are one ... alone ... and only'" (pp. 86-87) The profound difficulty she struggled through to express herself made her statement so much more romantic. It melted my heart on the spot. Still kind of brings tears to my eyes.

Criticism: The allegory was so obvious it could barely be called allegory. Basically, this is Atlas Shrugged for Dummies. In Atlas, she showed you where the world is headed. In Anthem, she sort of pummels you in the head with it, but not unpleasantly.

Long story short: It's something like 85 pages long. Can you really regret reading something so short? Even people who disagree with her viewpoint can at least appreciate the language itself. It's fascinating to see things from the perspective of someone who doesn't even realize (at first) that he is an individual.

On to the "fun" stuff! Unless you're me and more used to expository writing than fiction... still, pressing on!


Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel! Do you guys ever feel that way? You do, right? Our society is so "busy," but none of us are ever really doing anything. My roommate's always like, "I'm so busy this week! Work is just crazy, man! It's just crazy!" but then he spends, like, 17 hours a day on Twitter. Clearly you're not busy enough, Drew; you just posted a series of six tweets critiquing Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's performance as Riddick... even though Vin Diesel played the part and all seventeen people who saw that movie thought it sucked balls. I wouldn't call that "busy." Now get off the couch, put on some pants, and wash the dishes. During one of my 36 trips to facebook on my office computer, I complained in my status that I'm swamped with paperwork... that is ultimately meaningless and will be shredded in July to make room for more meaningless paperwork that will be shredded in October. It's a never-ending cycle. We're all just little gerbils running around in our plastic ball thingies... Better a gerbil than a hamster, I suppose. Did you know that hamsters and gerbils are totally different? A lot of people think they're more or less the same, but they're actually quite different. My sister had a hamster. It was fat and disgusting and smelly, like our Grandpa Lou (he had a sensitive digestive tract and suffered from terrible flatulence - the hamster, I mean). Seriously, though, it's amazing how

Oh forget it; I'll never be any good at stand up. That's not even funny; it's complete nonsense. No one wants to hear about hamster farts at the Yukkity-Yuk. I'm going to be booed off the stage and have to stay at this dead-end telemarketing job until I die. I wonder if Drew made enough ramen for both of us...

Okay. That was crap... but you have to start somewhere, and apparently, that's where I am starting. I have a hard time just coming up with a plot off the top of my head, so expect more character sketches like this until I figure out how to properly utilize Freitag's Triangle on the fly. At least I wrote SOMETHING. See you guys tomorrow.

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