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Saturday, April 09, 2005

The hellish week of college catch-up is over. I completely screwed my history exam; I have no idea how many questions I managed to guess correctly. I am woefully bad at multiple choice exams. I'm also apparently much better at classes which involve face-to-face time than I am at virtual courses. It's a pity my work/theater schedule necessitates some virtual credits if I want to get out of HACC by Fall '06.

I somehow managed to bang out a ten-page paper for history (on the topic of early African-American music) in under twelve hours. It's an awful piece of work. I basically wrote the paper before adding my citations, which is completely contrary to everything I believe when it comes to composing papers of integrity. I may as well write off the course. When I was in high school, I graduated with the modern history prize. Now I can't even scrounge an A at community college. Of course, there's a long list of variables on which I can blame my poor performance - the fact it's a virtual course, my heavy work and theater commitments, my lack of prior knowledge of this period of American history (in high school we stopped after the Revolutionary War and picked it up again during WWII), bad news from home - but in the end, the only real reason I'm not doing as well as I should be is my own lack of discipline.


Despite my shoddy preparation, there are many aspects of my history and government courses which I find completely fascinating, such as the evolution of the two major political parties in this country. Perhaps it's general knowledge for most Americans, but coming from Australia, I had no idea that the Democratic Party began its life representing agrarian interests, decentralization of power, and states' rights (in fact, I always thought Jefferson espoused Republican ideals until I discovered that he basically founded the Democrats). I didn't even realize that the Republican Party arose out of the emancipation movement, which just goes to show you how clueless I am. A hundred and fifty years ago, I would have cheered for Republicans. It also boggles my mind that the Democratic Party was known for most of the 20th century (perhaps unfairly) as the "war party," and that until fairly recently, they had an unshakable stronghold over the South. It's incredible how the tables have turned in such a short amount of time. My cynicism regarding staunch party supporters has been validated and reinforced. Isn't it funny? Take a short trip down Memory Lane, and everything you think your party stands for is bullshit.

Echoing the Sound has really gone to shit recently, and I'm distancing myself from it. For some reason, it's been invaded by a half-dozen or so mewling Christians, who all spend their time choking on each other's genitals in an orgy of desperate mutual affirmation. The amount of ridiculous misunderstanding and ignorance evident in a recent thread about the impact of the Pope's stance on condoms is so painful I'm not even bothering. I get along very well with thinking Christians, but these compulsively back-patting creatures are just awful.

There are also far too many Bush-supporting members. I much prefer to hide my head in the sand when it comes to the number of Bush supporters in existence, which is why I'm on ETS in the first place. Backstage a few weeks ago, Trent Reznor said that Republicans "had no business" being fans. If only they were bright enough to come to this realization on their own.

I haven't heard any more news about my dad, although Jason has given me a brighter outlook by pointing out that Dad's doctor can't know for sure if the cancer has spread until after the ultrasound this Friday. This could mean that Dad was exaggerating the extent of the cancer on the phone or misunderstood his doctor. I hate not knowing. Again, I hope Dad lets his doctor talk to me. Because I have no idea of what's going on, the more research I do, the more freaked out I become. If I had a concrete diagnosis of the stage and spread of the cancer, I'd have something to hang onto, some limits to help contain the panic.

I'm astounded at the outpouring of support I have been receiving from everyone, even people I haven't spoken to for months and others who I didn't think knew me well enough to really care. I feel like a charlatan. I'm not the one who needs support, Dad is. And I know, across the other side of the world, he's not getting much in the way of support. I doubt Mum and Trevor are much help, considering they seemed quite willing to let him attempt to kill himself two years ago. His mother died last year, and he's estranged from the rest of his family. He doesn't have any friends, he doesn't belong to a church, and I can't see him volunteering to go to a support group. I don't know how to address that. No wonder he cried when I called him.

And yet, his lack of close friends or family is his own choice - if you consider personality a choice. That's always been such a huge part of how I feel about Joe. I feel so, so sorry for him sometimes, but when I look at the reasons he is where he is, I wonder how much pity he deserves.

But now is not the time for objectivity. He has cancer, and that's frightening. For me, too. I don't know why, exactly, but I'm scared.

God, imagine how screwed up I'd be if Mum got sick.

Monday is my birthday. If you're in the Harrisburg area and you're up for some Indian food and hookah smoking, I'm planning an informal birthday dinner at the newly opened Citadel restaurant on Second Street from 7pm.
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