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TJ McLaughlin
29 September 2010 @ 09:58 pm
After careful consideration and prayer, I've decided to move home.  A few things have come to light in recent weeks that really helped push me in that direction, which I'm not going to go into right now.  I will say that one of them is financial, and while at least one of my roommates would certainly be willing to help me out on rent for a bit so I could get more caught up, I owe too many people money and I'm not going to add another friend to that list.  I'm okay with having to struggle a bit financially in order to do what I need to do - I'm not okay with constantly living on borrowed money that I never manage to repay.  Another, however, has to deal with the amazing opportunities that have opened up in Sharon to start making a difference.

So.  I've begun making arrangements for my return, but there's a lot of work that will need done on that.  I'm giving myself three months to do so, which will hopefully pan out a lot better than the handful of weeks, if that, that I usually give myself.  The plan is to arrive during the week between Christmas and New Year's and have a place already picked out and paid on that I can move into on or before January 1.  In the meantime, there's a number of things I'm involved in here that I will continue to do, but I will be gradually removing myself from them and helping train people to do any work that was involved in my part that requires training.  I'd like to thank everyone who has given me much needed advice in this matter.
TJ McLaughlin
22 September 2010 @ 02:56 am
Hey, Livejournal.  Did you miss me?  I kind of got wrapped up in some stuff.  And I was just thinking I wanted to post something, but have it be to a smaller group of people that I actually know than my tumblr/twitter.  And then I remembered that I've left this site all but forgotten.  My bad.

Anyway, the situation is this: I'm considering moving home.  I mentioned it on my tumblr, but didn't really go into it.  It's partially a financial decision - I presented it entirely as one previously.  There are some issues there, and I'm beginning to think they're not going to get better anytime soon, but that's not the whole story.

The larger part of the story actually has to do with where my life is and where I want it to go.  I feel stuck.  And I felt like that when I was in the Shenango Valley, but this is a different kind of stuck.  It was that I felt like I had nowhere to go.  Now I know that that isn't true, but being here, I kind of feel like I'm just slowly enclosing myself in a wall of unnecessary problems.  That, and my reason for coming here is looking less and less stable.  I knew the church plant was on hold pending support, but it didn't really hit me that it might not happen, at least not here, until I was home.  All this time, I've been waiting for Chris to come back.  Being home and listening to all the stuff he's involved in at his church, and being in his wedding, and watching the house he just bought for him while he was on his honeymoon pretty much drove home the idea that, whether he realizes it or meant to, he's putting down pretty solid roots there.  It's going to be difficult to up and leave to come here.

Now, I have reasons for staying that don't involve that church plant.  The church I'm in now, we're doing a lot of stuff in this valley.  They're getting a lot done with surprisingly little, and I fully feel what they're doing is great and I'd like to help.  But in listening to what the church Dad and Chris and their respective families are going to is doing, I feel the same way about it.  And to be honest, I feel more connected to that one.  I haven't been involved in it, but that's my home.  I've been hoping something like what they're doing would come along.  I've said ever since I left the area that I would go back in a heartbeat if I thought I could be a part of saving Sharon from what it's become.  And here's a chance for that.  And I still feel that way.  It's not that I don't care about this area up here, it's that I don't feel as connected to it.  I don't have the same heart for it.  I've failed to adapt.  That last part is actually pretty hard for me to say, but it's true.

I spoke with the pastor there in Sharon.  We talked briefly about what's going on and what role I could play in it.  And part of me feels like I'm just looking back over my shoulder, and considering abandoning something big I'm supposed to be doing, but for the most part, I don't feel that way.  In general, I feel I may have learned the things I was to learn here and it's time to go back and apply those lessons.  I actually have some trouble seeing myself here much into the future.  Maybe that should tell me something.

I don't want to do this on gut feelings and emotion, though.  If I leave here and realize it was a mistake it'll be incredibly hard to come back.  To be honest, though, I'm leaning toward going home, as it stands now.  I think there's some more thought and prayer and advice to be had, but that's where I'm leaning.  I gave myself the deadline to have a decision by the end of this month.  That would give me three months to get everything in order to come home for the new year and resume classes at BC3 for the Spring semester.  Which is much more time than I usually give myself.  So, we'll see.  Any thoughts on the matter, if any of you still read this, would be greatly appreciated.
TJ McLaughlin
02 January 2010 @ 04:24 pm

Stayed single the whole year?

Were involved in something you'll never forget?
not 'involved', per se...

Tripped over a coffee table?
No, actually.  I can't really remember the last time I did.

Dyed your hair?
Not in years

Came close to losing your life?
What would a year be if I hadn't?

Saw one of your favorite bands/artists live?
No, sadly I don't think I saw any concerts this year

2009: Friends and Enemies

Did you meet any new friends this year?

Did you hate anyone?
No, hate is just way too much investment

Do you have any regrets when it comes to your friendships?
Sometimes I think I should call my friends back home more

2009: Your BIRTHDAY!

Did you have a cake?
Yep!  I bought it myself, but you'll have that

Did you get any presents?
I don't really remember, actually

2009: All about YOU

Did you change at all this year?
We always change, every second of every day.  We grow, we shift, we float between a world of possibilities and cannot choose any without altering who we are.  This is a stupid question.

Did you change your style?
Not really

Did you have a job?
Two, actually.  Two different Friendly's, and Wal*Mart

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Friends did, but I suspect none of them were as close as this question assumes

Would you change anything about yourself now?
I need to get busting on some of my projects

2009: Wrap UP:

Was 2009 a good year?
Yeah, it wasn't bad

Do you think 2010 will top 2009?
It better.  The last thing I need is to start moving backward.  I finally dug myself out of the remains of 2007, I intend to keep going


Done something you've regretted?
I can't think of anything, no

Ran a mile?
I don't think I've ever run a mile

Cut in a line of waiting people?

Told someone you were busy when you weren't?
Not that I can recall

Cooked a disastrous meal?
Yeah, I butchered something or other about a month ago.  I can't remember what now, though.

Broke a promise?
I hope not

Disappointed someone close?
I really hope not

Hidden a secret?

Pretended to be happy?

Slept under the stars?
Dude!  I need to get on that

Kept your new years resolution?
I never make New Year's Resolutions.

Forgot your new years resolution?

Met someone who changed your life?
Yeah, you know, in a way I did

Sat home all day doing nothing?
Of course

Pretended to be sick?

Had way too many days off school?
I'm not in school, but yeah, when I moved and Friendly's didn't have enough hours for me and I hadn't started at Wal*Mart yet, way too many days off

Lost something expensive?
No, well, my car, but it wasn't really lost or expensive

Learned something new about yourself?
If I ever stop learning something new about myself, ship me off to the grave right then and there.  There's no life left to be lived at that point.

Tried something you normally wouldn't try and liked it?

Found out who your true friends were?
More or less


stayed up til sunrise?
I work til sunrise 5 nights a week

Cried over the silliest thing?
Haven't cried since 2007 over anything.  Almost came close once.

Had friends who were drifting away from you?
I fear I was the one doing most of the drifting in that department

Had a high cell phone bill?

Gotten sick?
I think I caught a cold once...

Liked more than 5 people at the same time?
Let's not be silly

Became closer with a lot of people?
TJ McLaughlin
29 December 2009 @ 08:46 pm
Him: So, what if you ask her out, and she says no?
Me: Then I accept that and look elsewhere. Hope she doesn't get weird about being around me.
Him: That's it?
Me: Yeah, why?
Him: Well, it just seems...odd.
Me: There isn't a relationship to have invested heavily into, so I haven't. I would like for there to be, but I can't base how I feel on things that haven't happened.
Him: I guess. I just can't ever separate like that.
Me: From what I can tell, your method is the more common one. Personally, I don't think it makes sense, but it doesn't have to. It's an emotional thing.

----Later, and there was a connection between the two but it was kind of long----

Me: Well, there were a few reasons I came up here, but yeah, one of them was her.
Him: ?
Me: Here's the thing. I had told her to get out of my life, but it wasn't the first time. It wasn't even the first time I'd meant it. Fact is, no matter what we did, if there was even the slimmest chance of us ending up back together, we always did. It didn't matter what the circumstances were, eventually we would run into each other and it would start all over again. And I could see that it wasn't going to stop as long as we were both in the same area. We would just keep going back and forth, coming together and breaking up, over and over, until one of us just snapped and killed the other.
Him: Oh...wow.
Me: I mean, I hear she's married now. And probably living in France, so we weren't going to be in the same area anymore, but you know.
Him: Well, at least she was married.
Me: Doesn't matter. I don't know if it was some twist of fate or a sick addiction, but we would've ended up together eventually anyway.
Him: You think she'd cheat on him with you?
Me: She did.
Him: ...oh.
Me: But the point is, my losing that job made me flexible enough to leave the area, getting some much-needed distance between her and I gave me the desire to leave, and Chris gave me somewhere to go that was far enough away, had some family around, and where I could help do some real good. So I went.
Him: But that isn't here.
Me: No. That was another entire set of circumstances. To be honest, I don't think I could have avoided at least passing through here.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Looking back, I see a pattern. When I just let go, and let myself drift, I was slowly inching along the route that brought me here. When I tried to control my circumstances, they fell out from under me and I ended up being shoved along the same path anyway. Everything in my life for years now has converged on me being here, even when they had to fight pretty solid odds. I don't know that I'm always going to be here, but I suspect that no matter what I did, I would have come eventually anyway.

Now I just need to find out why.
TJ McLaughlin
09 October 2009 @ 11:28 am
My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul
d1rewlf goes trick-or-treating, dressed up as a cyborg.
ajevie tricks you! You get an eraser.
badasa gives you 18 softly glowing raspberry-flavoured wafers.
brandong tricks you! You get a clothespin.
cassildra gives you 14 light orange passionfruit-flavoured nuggets.
everlastinggoo tricks you! You get a toothbrush.
joybeatsworld tricks you! You get a block of wood.
jvcline04 tricks you! You get a rock.
kespernorth gives you 13 mauve blueberry-flavoured nuggets.
rileyzero7 tricks you! You lose 36 pieces of candy!
rockmc64 gives you 5 white strawberry-flavoured gumdrops.
d1rewlf ends up with 14 pieces of candy, an eraser, a clothespin, a toothbrush, a block of wood, and a rock.
Go trick-or-treating! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern.
TJ McLaughlin
09 October 2009 @ 11:24 am

My alarm clock is on my phone.  I've tried various other alarms, but seem to only have been able to really train myself to wake up to my ringtone (which, by the way, sounds like a phone ringing.  Not a pop song, not a midi attempt at some classical song, a phone's ring).  So, when it goes off at 10 during the week, I usually find a handful of text messages on there when I open it up to shut the alarm off.  It's usually Sara's twitter, she wakes up for work much earlier than I do and uses the site itself a fair bit more than I do.  Generally, I check them real quick so I don't forget to later, then fall back asleep until the next alarm goes off.

I know, I get crap about waking up at 10:30, as it tends to be, a fair bit.  Let me remind you that I work afternoon turn and don't have any kids to send to school or a wife to spend the morning with.  I'd wake up later if I didn't have to ride the bus to work.

Anyway, Sara's third message this morning mentioned, with some surprise, Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  In my foggy, mostly unawake mind, something about this just didn't seem to add up.  I decided I'd deal with it later.  So when I finally woke up enough, I went ahead and checked some news sources.

Barak Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.  I mean, that's cool, I guess, but....why?  Before I looked up the reason, I tried to think of what it could have been.  Ending the wars?  No, didn't do that.  Oh, the Guantanamo Bay thing!  I checked, he hasn't closed that, yet, either.  Uh...no, there's a separate prize for economics, I think, and the economy hasn't been fixed, anyway.  I really hoped it wasn't for him being the first black President.  I don't see how giving him a prize based on his skin tone is any different than doing so for any other skintone.  Please, for the sake of the credibility of the Nobel Prize Committee (who, I have to admit, my greatest goal in life would be to get their Physics prize, though Lord knows how I'll pull that off), tell me they didn't give him a prize based on his skintone.

And what did I find?  First, that the deadline for consideration for the prize was February 1.  So, either he did something amazing in his first week and a half, or it was about him getting elected, or it was something he did before becoming President.  Secondly, well...apparently, they don't have to say why they awarded the prize, because all I've found is speculation.  The top two contenders are him being the first black President and a politically motivated act of support for his view and goals.  But...the prize should be given to someone that has already bettered the world somehow, not someone that says they want to.  Almost everyone says they want to.  Was there really no one in the past few years that deserved it more, on those grounds?

One guy in the one Reuters article I was reading pointed out that this puts a fair amount of pressure on the rest of the country.  Now that he has the prize, and Sarkozy has stated that this marks "America's return to the hearts of the people of the world", he's basically getting global support for reelection before he's even managed to get any of his ideas working.  The problem is, last election, an awful lot of people voted for him on the grounds of bringing change and his skintone, and next election those same people will vote for him for the prize and the world's favor; and quite frankly, the only one of these that should be notable at all in a Presidential election is the prize, but he hasn't even earned it yet (I've commented before that there is some change that does need to come to this country, but to vote for the concept of change itself is a bad idea, as change is not inherently good.  And yes, I know some of my followers didn't vote on that grounds, but there are many in this country who did).

Look, I know how some people will react to that statement, so let me just address it now.  No, I don't much care about global opinion of my country or its leaders.  Fact is, we're not subject to you, and you're not subject to us.  We're separate countries, sovereign states.  I doubt you'd get too worked up if I started laying complaints about your Prime Minister or whatever.  Our leaders' first priority is to the well-being of this country, and right now, we have way too much on our plate to add trying to please everyone else at the same time.  I appreciate the comment, Sarkozy, but quite frankly, that wasn't my primary concern to begin with.  I just hope it wasn't Obama's, either.

TJ McLaughlin
13 September 2009 @ 05:19 am

I can’t seem to fall asleep.  I guess it’s my own fault, more or less.  I didn’t wake up until 4:30 this past afternoon.  I woke up to find a text from Melody, which surprised me as I kind of inherently assumed by the fact I was just waking up and the amount of light coming in the window that it was somewhere around 10.  Then I saw the timestamp on one of her texts and realized I was horribly mistaken.

I needed the rest, really.  But now I have to be up early, and have given up on sleep altogether for now.  I’ll sleep after church and before work.  That should hold me over for my shift, then I have all night and all morning to get caught up from that.

When I woke up, I was dizzy.  I didn’t know why, but it was pretty bad.  I know it wasn’t a hangover, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in two years and when I did I never got hangovers.  Always drink water before passing out, kids.  Being Irish doesn’t seem to have hurt, either.  I was dizzy, and confused, and couldn’t focus.  I couldn’t maintain a cohesive thought, and to be honest, it kind of scared me a bit.  So I got up and walked around, calling Melody so I wouldn’t have to keep trying to read that little screen, got some food and drink, felt a little bit better but not much, then laid down to relax and found the room spinning.  Then I passed out.

I woke up around 10, unsure of when I passed out but knowing it was after 8.  I felt worse than before, but it was still all mental.  There were no physical effects, no sickness or anything, just very dizzy and confused and unable to think straight.  I did have a little bit of trouble walking much, but that was more a balance thing than anything.  I managed to get myself together enough that I decided a walk should help.  Some fresh air, some activity, maybe that would do the trick.  I walked down to the store, and found it did reduce some of the effects a fair bit but left a dull headache in the place of the dizziness.

Hopefully, whatever this is, it’s short-lived.  On a related note, I did earlier find myself wondering if there’s a drug that does this, and if so, why anyone takes it.

TJ McLaughlin
18 August 2009 @ 03:09 am
((Editor's note: I didn't bother copying the first of three posts here.  As such, the beginning will sound a bit odd.  Putting that aside, though, here's the other two.  Given that it's through a site most of you don't use, if you guys think it'll fly I'm willing to set up a similar community here and find some way to get information back and forth.  -T))

The gist is this. If we want to see anything change in this country, we need to be willing to have proper communication. Lumping people into camps based on our own elitism isn’t going to do it. This doesn’t mean you blindly accept what anyone says, it simply means that you’re willing to use opposition to hammer out the details. Who knows, with some work, you might actually see something that resembles a good idea.

To that end, I started a new blog. It’s public and set up to receive contributions from multiple authors, and available at http://workablehealthcare.tumblr.com/ The goal of it is simple. If you want to discuss ways to fix the healthcare, join. If we get enough people to bounce ideas around, we might be able to lay out a good system. If we do that, we can use our collective influence to try and give it some attention. Posts that do not highlight an idea or concept that can help will be deleted. It is not a place to post horror stories, but solutions. To discuss the matter in a reasonable manner and try to come up with something good. I’m going to copy the post I made a while back to it to get it started, and let the conversation go from there. I want a collective effort here, people. You don’t even have to be in America. If you have some knowledge that will help, bring it in. I understand there will probably be some lively debate on ideas that get raised, and that’s good. We need to do that. Just be respectful and understand that, no matter how foolish you may find a person’s idea, they are ultimately after the same goal as you: seeing change that will be worth the effort.

If you would like to join, send me a message (on here, to n1ghtcrwler@gmail.com , or on AIM to d1rewlf) with your e-mail address so I can send you an invite.  I haven’t yet found a setting that lets people just join without an invite.  I’m working on it, though.


Okay, so. I took a look at the rules regarding multiple author blogs. Apparently, there is no way to get members without invitation links. However, I can set it to accept submissions. Which will accomplish pretty much the same goal in this work, so hey.

The link to submit is http://workablehealthcare.tumblr.com/submit or you can send an e-mail to workablehealthcare@tumblr.com . The post will appear on the submission queue, which I can then tell to go ahead and post. Thanks to this system, I don’t think you even need to have a tumblr to post, though this makes me wonder if credit will be given to the original poster. If not, I’ll see if I have a way to do so. I know the one moderator system can seem really shady, but I don’t have any other options at the moment. Please spread the word: we need people for this to work, and once it gets some members I can even elevate some to moderator status so it’s not just me.

Correction: I just checked.  Posters will get credit for their posts, assuming they’re logged in.  So there’s that.


TJ McLaughlin
18 August 2009 @ 03:07 am

So.  The Obama administration is, apparently, leaning toward removing the public option aspect of their healthcare reform bill in order to compromise enough to get the bill passed.  in case you were wondering, yes, the public option aspect was the government-paid part.  You know, the bit where you get your insurance through the government rather than through insurance companies.

Now, the article I’m focusing on at the moment has a lot moe information than the one I read earlier today, which doesn’t appear to be on the local paper’s website.  However, the one I read earlier mentioned the introduction of non-profit organizations handling health insurance to compete with the insurance companies, therefore creating the competition needed to drive prices down without the government getting directly involved.

On the other hand, you have stories like this one that suggest that the administration isn’t backing away from the option as much as they may seem.  Or…well, sort of.  It seems like kind of a toss-up at this point, which shouldn’t be surprised as this was all started by a short answer Obama gave in Colorado recently that was, at best, vague about intentions.  Basically, he mentioned the public option as a ‘whether we have it or not’ thing, and pointed out that it wasn’t the entirety of health care reform.  Which, to be honest, I don’t have any argument with.  I’ve been saying for a while now that it couldn’t be the entirety of health care reform because, although the insurance companies certainly are a problem, they’re not the problem.

Of course, the reform bill, whether it includes a public option or not, is still focused on the insurance industry and not on the risk market that controls those industries.  I’ve pointed out before that the reason insurance companies behave the way they do is that they run entirely on risk.  It’s a question of whether or not they will lose money by insuring you.  In the case of people with notable preexisting conditions, I have to admit, there is a certain bit of ground to assume they may.  Does this mean I agree with their actions?  No.  But, I do understand that they are a business and they cannot lose too much money before they cease to exist entirely.  Which is why I’ve raised the suggestion that the way to fix the problem is to reduce the risk.  Competition will only do so much - it may make the companies more willing to stretch themselves out a bit, but if the risk remains unchanged than they will only do so much.  They only can do so much.

The reason I don’t support the public option is really a simple matter.  The reason being used to support the public option is that the insurance companies need competition, which is true.  However, in order to be competition, it must go both ways.  That is, the insurance companies and the government-run program would need to be in a position where they can actually compete with each other.  One-sided ‘competition’ is not competition, it’s a blow-out.  If a high school football team (use whichever meaning for ‘football’ you wish, it’ll still apply) dominates in its area, you may suggest that they need more competition to be worth watching.  You would not, however, put them against a professional team.  It may be more difficult for the high school team, certainly, but it’s not a competition unless the high school team is the most amazing such to exist and the professional team is an embarassment.  No matter who you put into the insurance industry, it still operates on risk - except there is no risk for the government agency.  They won’t lose any money, no matter how much you cost to care for.  Government agencies in this country have long shown a willingness to take money from elsewhere when needed, to spend well more than they have, and in some circumstances, to actually create money to pay for their endeavors.  And I haven’t even had to bring taxes into that equation.  Would the market be tougher for the insurance companies?  Certainly.  Would it be a competition?  Not in any sense of the word.

It is mathematically impossible for the insurance industry to survive long under this system.  Now, some of you may be cool with having the government be the only option outside of paying from your own pocket.  I don’t, personally.  I still maintain that it’s not their job and I don’t believe they will do any better of a job of it than the insurance companies are now.  But I have to ask, why take the long route?  If that’s what you want, then push for it.  Under the public option, it’s ultimately what we’ll have, anyway.  “Oh, but there are a lot of people who will choose the insurance companies instead.”  No, there are some people.  They are not enough to keep the industry running, and any attempts to use them for it would result in rates so high that most of the people who would be willing to go that route simply wouldn’t be able to afford it, anyway.  “Oh, well, lots of people can’t afford insurance now.”  Well, a lot more can than you may thing, I know they always cite it as 50 million people having no insurance, but that’s a far cry from saying 50 million people can’t afford insurance.  I don’t have insurance.  Can I afford insurance?  I dunno, I’ve not bothered finding out.  Judge all you want, but I’m one of those 50 million, and quite frankly, a lot of the things you’re saying about me aren’t entirely accurate.  And it’s never just one in these situations.  Are there people in that 50 million who can be accurately described under these horror stories?  Of course there are.  50,000,000 is a big number.  I suspect you could say just about anything and find some poster children among those 50 million.

The core of the problem remains untouched.  We need to lower health costs.  This reduces risk and encourages competition in the insurance industry, which combine to form alternate business practices from what we’re seeing now and lower costs for insurance.  You can fix this whole issue without ever creating a government agency to step into the ring.  Hell, you can fix it without ever even paying attention to the insurance companies.  They will adjust as the market demands.  That’s how they stay in business.  Obama looks to be willing to compromise.  Quite frankly, this makes me happy, suggests that ultimately his goal is to get something done rather than get his own agenda through.  That may or may not be accurate overall, but it’s a step.  And now that he has that image being formed, we have reason not to back down, but to push for something that will get the job done, whether it agrees with his original submission or not.  We need to get the job done.  And like him or not, the President seems like he might be willing to listen.  We need to give him something to listen to.

TJ McLaughlin
09 August 2009 @ 12:58 am

The moon is beautiful tonight.  I can see its surface so much clearer than usual.  I stood and stared at it, wishing I had a telescope.  Or binoculars, or anything, really.  Anything more than my glasses.  I considered taking my glasses apart and just holding the lenses, just the right distance apart.  Galileo's first telescope was made from eyeglass lenses.  Probably a higher prescription than mine, though.  And not all scratched up, from the time they fell on the floor at the pizza shop and got stepped on by my stepmom.  She didn't know they were there, luckily, they're very tough.

I'm bored and I want to destroy something.  I don't know why.  I'm not mad.  I just want to see something break.  It's better than having everything keep being the same it has been.  I cleaned the apartment today.  I guess that's different.  But it's not, at least not enough.  I light a cigarette and watch it slowly give way to ash.  I want something to change.  Something to happen.  I want to go outside and walk.  Just walk, for days and days and see something new.  Anything.  Head north, look for a moose, maybe.  Just so I can honestly say I've seen one.  Go somewhere where I can see every star and try to name them all, just to remind them that I can.  Come back to find that I lost my job for not showing up and that I have to start all over again here.  But I won't.  I was raised better to just walk out on my job, or anything important like that.

We have to rope off anywhere we're working now at work.  Building inspector said so.  Sometimes I walk over to the rope and think about how much it looks like a fence from this side of it.  Just a yellow rope, completely surrounding me.  I don't dwell on it, I have work to do.  But it crosses my mind.  I could never work in a cubicle.  I think I would eventually set it on fire.  Just stand there and watch it burn.  Let the water from the sprinkler system flow down my face in fake tears, the building itself mourning me as I'm escorted out.

I would be a terrible motivational speaker.  I would tell kids not to grow up.  When you graduate, leave.  Don't go anywhere in particular, just see everything you can see.  Don't think about coming back and starting to work.  Do odd jobs on the way.  If you find someone you want to stay with, bring them along.  Fight, get into a car chase, hunt with a knife, stand at the top of a plateau in the middle of nowhere and watch the sun set and the stars move and the sun rise.  Then leave.  Don't wait for it to happen again.  It will, but you've seen it.  Find something new.  Go into a jungle to find out what's on the other side.  Climb to the top of the world and let loose a balloon.  Screw the turtles.  Just watch it go, and run through all the places it could land in your mind.  Then go to every one of them and look for it.  Pray you never find it.  Stand on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington and give a lively speech about your favorite flavor of Ramen noodles.  Count the people that ignore you, ignore the people who try to determine what political movement it's an allegory for, and consider each person willing to debate you a close friend.  It doesn't matter what you do, kids.  Just do something.  I recommend sleeping on the L in Chicago.  It's comfortable, and when you wake up, you'll be somewhere you never saw before.  I found myself in a train garage, the train was shut down and locked and I had no idea when it would open again or where I would even go if it did.  Five minutes of uncertainty and absolute loss of control, through the dreary eyes of a lost traveler who just woke up, was a small rush I don't know I could recreate and wouldn't want to spoil if I could.  Everything is glamourous if your life is different for it happening, even the darkest, most frightening hour of your life.  Do not stand out and do not blend in.  Be who you are.  If you stand out, let it be because those around you are different, not because you choose to be different.  If you blend in, leave.  There's no adventure left to be had there.  You will never learn anything by listening to people who agree with you all the time.

I'm shutting off my computer and refusing to turn it on again for a while.  I need to leave the house more.  I'll find something in this town worth visiting.  I'll be back after I feel like I could consider this place my home, at least for now.