The Romantic’s thoughts about the snow: Look how the gently falling snow covers the landscape and quiets everything in my view; how each flake that falls on my nose or tongue creates a new sensation of life in my frozen heart. How I will miss the snow when the spring sun melts it back into the ground and long for the next coating of white on the world…
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The Realist who drives a Hyundai Accent with bad tires through the snow: Fuck the snow!
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Three things that I would gladly give the government half of my paycheck for if they would provide these services:

-Free health care and prescription medicines (no complicated tax credits or paperwork or anything like that).
-A reliable railroad network that I could access by driving ten miles or less that would connect me to every major city and airport in the country.
-Free education through a bachelor’s degree for everyone.

Think about those things candidates. Or maybe I should just move to Europe…

The road was covered with slush today, and after I surmounted the hill that I thought would be the most trouble, I couldn’t control the car going down another hill and ended up sliding off of the road and into a small ditch. I wasn’t stuck too badly, and I called around to Bryan (my brother-in-law) and the roadside assistance (which I would’ve had to pay for), but then Bryan called back and said that he could come and pull me out, which he did and it honestly took very little effort on the part of his van. It’s just not a good feeling to lose control of a moving vehicle. After he’d pulled me out, he asked if I was ready to go back to Vietnam. “Yes!” I answered emphatically.

And here are the two birthday boys from last weekend with Chad. Let’s find the weird connections from college: Chad (center) was my homo-social lifemate and Christian (right) was my ex-lover.
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The term “homo-social lifemate” came from something that Chad and I studied in our critical theory class, and I think the term “ex-lover” came from some late night conversation/argument at a truck stop after too much coffee and too many cigarettes.

Twenty-five years now. Days when events such as birthdays arrive, I usually end up wondering what I’ve done with my life so far and what will happen later. This time around the event marked a quarter of a century. I have to wonder how many more I have left in me. I hope two more, but we’ll see. And what have I done so far? I finished college, so I guess that’s an accomplishment. I finished an MCC term in another culture and made a ton of good friends and I hope I had a positive influence on students (I got several birthday greetings from Vietnam, including a powerpoint presentation). I feel like I’m not doing my part to help the world at this current job, but I am gaining experience here. I need to get out into the world, that’s what I want to do with the next quarter century. I want to be there, on the ground, in some place that needs my service and knowledge. Vietnam needed me, Mount Vernon Ohio can limp along into the future just fine without me I believe.

So I’m 25, healthy, educated, and I guess that’s all pretty good. I should consider myself lucky, and I do. But sometimes is seems that I’m falling behind certain peers who’ve met fortunes far better than mine. Which is why I need to start exploring the future and see where it leads…

It was more appropriate last year, but I may read this poem on every birthday until I’m 30…

“Twenty-Four Years,” by Dylan Thomas

Twenty-four years remind the tears of my eyes.

(Bury the dead for fear that they walk to the grave in labor.)

In the groin of the natural doorway I crouched like a tailor

Sewing a shroud for a journey

By the light of the meat-eating sun.

Dressed to die, the sensual strut begun.

With my red veins full of money,

In the final direction of the elementary town

I advance as long as forever is.

Here’s an amusing text message conversation between Eric S. and I:

Eric B: When’s the event in Wisconsin? (referring to the primary)

Eric S: Next Tuesday

Eric B: Obama there, but the polls for Ohio aren’t looking too good

Eric S: Ohio is full of uneducated people who worship an invisible god

Eric B: What god is that?

Eric S: Thor, zeus, jesus, anyone with a beard who preaches capitalism

Eric B: And they’re invisible too?

Eric S: Exactly