11.28.2010

Some Greek Plays

I read the three plays that make up Aeschylus' Oresteia, and I read Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation of Euripides' The Trojan Women. They all center around the consequences to the victors and the vanquished of the Trojan War (warning: a subject I don't know much about.) Cassandra is in both Agamemnon and The Trojan Women, and I keep thinking about how great her story is: a prophetess who speaks the truth but whom no one believes! Aeschylus makes her fearful of her coming fate, but in Euripides she's kind of insane and goes willingly with Agamemnon because she (accurately) foresees that the Greeks may have destroyed Troy, but they don't really "win" since their destinies are just as shitty: most of them would drown returning home, Odysseus has a ten-year return trip, and Agamemnon (spoiler alert) gets murdered by his wife (who was pissed because he had sacrificed their daughter to charm the contrary winds, thus letting the Greeks sail to Troy), who in turn (spoiler alert) gets murdered by their son to avenge the father's death.

The other thing that is apparent in both stories is that everyone, whether Greek or Trojan, hates Helen, pretty much blaming her for the whole damn war. In The Oresteia, she and Clytemnestra are "twin disasters" for Greece; she is a character in The Trojan Women, and Hecuba paints her as an opportunistic whore. If I were to write a musical version of these events, I'd call it Fuck you, Helen!

The Trojan Women was the more moving of the two, but it's hard to tell if this is due to a more liberal translation. Anyway, the line about Troy stayed with me over the weekend in NJ: "Its glory was that it was home."

11.24.2010

To Do

Change my morning routine.

11.21.2010

Describe Yourself


During chorus retreat, we were asked to describe ourselves in one word. I said “optimistic.” JP said that was a lie. I know, but I couldn't find a word that expressed what I wanted to say. He summarized my defining quality as: “the ability to find humor in any situation, for better or worse.”

11.16.2010

3 of 10

This week I checked off #10 (Visit a participant in another city) and #8 (Shoot as many different types of guns as possible at a shooting range) when I went to visit the front-runner of our fair competition in D.C. As evidence I submit to you the following photos. The close-up of the target shows Hannah's shots, which means I will seek her out when the Zombiepocalypse comes.


Lots more fun was had over the weekend, including: an impromptu tour of the DOJ (Boobs of Justice!), a trip to the zoo, a debate about whether it would be creepy to go to a dog park without a dog, a visit with Elaine (and a fight. for her right. to taxi!) Dukem, Zaytinya, an introduction to The A List, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, brunches, Yogato, and birthday greetings.

11.10.2010

Social Circles

If the majority of people I hang out with in Denver are gay singers or therapists, how do we think this might affect my worldview? I asked some of the therapists the other day if they believe people can change, since it seems like a profession where that might be relevant. One said she believes people can change, but she's not sure she believes in free will. What?

11.09.2010

Letter


Dearest,

I was running today, and I listened to that song that recalls you to me.   You probably find the song trite, and who’s to say that you ever really liked it; I might have made that up; you know me well enough to know that’s a possibility, that sometimes reality is overrated, that sometimes I’m prone to rearranging it to suit my needs. It was warm out, 75 degrees.

I was wondering if I should not have worn the long-sleeved shirt because of the weather, but I saw an old man on the path ahead with a cardigan and a fedora, and I thought, To each his own.

The song played. “Purify my mind.”  I thought how we who were raised Catholic, we are still always asking forgiveness, aren’t we? I’m asking forgiveness and sometimes I don’t even know why.

The man stood by a metallic folding chair. When I crossed his way he motioned for me to stop and told me he had good news to share with me, and showed me a religious pamphlet titled, “Steps to Peace with God,” by Billy Graham.  I decided to be polite and take the paper. He told me to share it with family and friends.

I turned the pamphlet over to read the back, and after an elaborately designed bullet point were the words:

“Admit your need—that you are a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness.”

It was truly weird.

And I know what I’m sorry about. I wonder if you get angry when I write these things about us, and I use your name without even asking if it’s okay.  And I wonder if you get mad when I write about him.  I’m sorry about that.  It’s just that recently I was thinking about years ago, and one thing I realized was that he is a person who allowed me to be myself.  I think he understood me.  At that time when we were inseparable I could be made fun of for being a good kid, for being a smart kid, for being a drama kid, whatever.  But none of that mattered, because I had this friend. So I ask forgiveness, because part of me will always love him for what he was.

The other thing I needed to tell you. The chorus is singing a song based on a Tennyson poem, and this line struck me: “Ring out the false, ring in the true.” When we met, I felt like a very closed person, that expressing feeling was somehow a dishonorable thing. And while you seemed to say you had the same notion, in practice you jumped in and told me what you thought, who you were. I think every conversation you and I have ever had has moved me closer to ringing in the true. That is the gift you have given me.

I called you and we talked about none of these things. Talking about the feelings, you know, can still be difficult.

Also, I forgot to tell you that Erica is training her dog to think that the word for squirrel is “zombie,” just because it would be funny to see the dog perk up when we say it.

Never doubt I lerve,

Brian

11.06.2010

The Places I've Gone

"Why Vermont?" Erica asked. I was again hinting to JP that we could settle there. And I concluded that it's a place that I only have good memories of. We used to go to ski once a year as kids, and when I was older, we trekked through the state to visit Sue, and we always had a time. The only drawback, as I see it, is the lack of good Italian food, a memory from those ski trips with parents and a flock of Staten Islanders.

(Sidenote: Here in Colorado, on the road to Keystone, there is a small shop called Jersey Boys Pizza and Deli. It is a godsend. There are Yankees and Giants pennants and a map of New Jersey decorating the walls, mixed in with a poster of The Sopranos. The back wall in the dining area is plastered with an eighties-ish photo of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline at night.)

(Sidenote 2: Not for nothing, but it's true that Vermont is one of the few places I actually could get married.)

If you've only visited a place, you don't have insight into what it's like to live there, but it's the reason I also look favorably on Rhode Island. Yelena (before she was Elena, after she was Helen) and Jon were married there, and the wedding was beautiful, and the weather was beautiful, and the drive there was beautiful, and we were on the peninsula of Bristol surrounded by water. AND there was a drive-through homemade doughnut shop. I could live there.

Hari thought retiring to Florida was a fate worse than death. But Florida was amazing in how unlike home it was: the beach, the shuffleboard, the adult tricycles, the lizards, the flea market with roaming peacocks, the homemade breakfast sandwiches, the pull-out love seat, and half the time we were there it was my birthday. To me, Florida makes perfect sense.

I think Chicago is one of the most beautiful American cities. But the majority of times I've traveled there has been to work, and the flight home was always delayed, and I hated it so much that I would call Erin and she would hate it, too, on my behalf. (I think a lot of people hate New York because of their experience at La Guardia, but my apartment was a fifteen-minute cab ride away.)

The question forming in my mind this week: what can you write about a place if you didn't have your heart broken there?

New Orleans has rocked every time. I asked Becky why she is always going to Miami. She said it's her "happy place." Maybe New Orleans is mine. I think Jenn's is San Francisco.

San Francisco is great. Damn you, California, for trying to make me like you. Rohini and I ate dinner together once, and I confessed to her my grudge against California. I loved someone once, and he left for California. I loved someone twice, and he left for California. And, yes, I realize that now we live together, that he has returned in a sense, but these things aren't rational. How can I compete with this state? I know he would love to move west, and to me that borders on unimaginable.

We were driving in New Jersey. Either: Bob, Erin, Corinne, and me, for Dre's birthday at Medieval Times, or: Bob, Erin, Tommy, and me, to visit Dani down the Shore. Bob played that song, "To the East," and then he quoted it. "It could be home, Brian."

Dream, 11/5/10

Joey D. from high school is joining Penn Singers. We may be discussing this in the lounge of KC3.

11.04.2010

Now Is the Autumn of Our Laziness

Mike expected a novel. It's not going to happen this month. I didn't run the Denver Marathon in October, even though I paid for my entry. Between July and November, I didn't run at all. (I ran once over the weekend.) In the 10 for '10 competition, I have only completed one challenge.

But:

I think I can knock off potentially 4 challenges before the end of the year, which would not put me in the running for the win, but would at least make me feel better about myself.

Epic game of Brickbreaker.

Evening with Sufjan

The highlight of the week has been the Sufjan Stevens concert. He encored with the old and mostly played the new. "Impossible Soul" was fantastic. "Boy, we can do much more together!" I want a new job as one of his two ridiculous backup dancers. I don't know what else to tell you reader; words are futile devices. He said he wrote that song when he was 21. Of course.