A quantifiable attraction

A quantifiable attraction

The physical feeling that comes from attraction: it’s indescribable; so powerful it can’t have an official name or definition. You’re in love, and say you can’t live without the feeling. Then say what exactly it is you can’t live without. The smile. The sense of humor? Or just the feeling when they’re near, so powerful and yet, again, so hard to describe; near impossible to put into words. A quantifiable attraction to some can’t be thought of as anything else but magic. Like Charles Bukowski in Factotum, “I kiss her. She answers with her tongue. Women are magic.” The feeling you get when there are no words to describe the way you’re feeling, called alexithymia. It comes from Greek; means an inability to find words for emotions. But if they can’t be spoken, perhaps they can be written instead. I sit and daydream of pretty girls in pretty dresses, stuck surrounded by people who use pictures of their dogs for their social media profiles. All I’ve had to eat today are stale chocolate chips I found in the drawer in the library at the Burg. All I’ve had to drink is water that tasted like cement and iron. But that isn’t the reason for this feeling deep in my stomach. I lean my head on my fist because I’m bored and if I don’t it might fall chin to chest and into sleep. My eyes are tired, my eyelids are heavy. The warm air and constant drone of the TV up front like a lullaby begging me to stop fighting. Turn daydreams into real dreams. Turn off the sun and stay in...
My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

Cancer is an uninvited guest, a dark shadow on a sunny day, a trick, a pointedly mean joke without punchline or retribution. It inspires sympathetic head-shakes and hugs from those who might understand or think they do. Everyone, it seems, knows someone who has battled cancer. Or at least knows someone who knows someone who has battled cancer (win or lose). Or someone that is currently in the fight. And what is left behind.   Of life and death  The room is a warm and steady 72 degrees. It doesn’t change much. In the hallway, the bustle of doctors and nurses in scrubs and white coats. We are at Regions Hospital in downtown St. Paul. The plants are plastic: living things are harmful. But there is still life here, watching my mother dance around the room in a hospital gown to music I play for her. The windows can’t be opened but sunlight is streaming through the pane with warmth as real as the summer outside. But things are different inside than outside. Inside, cut off from the melange of cars and people that cris-cross through downtown streets. From their lives and stories. This was 2004, a decade before the Light Rail first passed in front of the hospital. She would have been excited about that. It’s hard to write a story like this without coming across as sob (or looking for sympathy). As I write this, my neighbor’s dog is chasing a rabbit from the yard, barking, soon to be covered in dirt and mud, blissfully unaware of the emotional trials of humans. The dog does not offer sympathy, only support;...
I am everything that is wrong

I am everything that is wrong

I am everything that is wrong with my generation. I am Millenial that would rather sit in bed all day with a laptop than go to work and make money. I watch porn when I have deadlines. I get dressed only if I’m going to be in contact with other people. I want to do better, but I don’t. I look for the easy way out. I go to the bar with my friends and laugh and drink all night when I have to get up for work in the morning. I spend my days being lazy and my nights doing whatever I want. I know my grandfather is judging me (or I would if I believed in heaven, which I don’t). I am wrong because I know I could be someone great if I wanted to get out of my warm bed on winter mornings. I know I should be someone great, if only I could be convinced that would make me happier than I am here under the covers. I know that I should (could?) be someone great, but when the most important things in my life are my pizza, my computer, and my cat it’s hard to stay motivated. I might die alone. Or I might find a girl that believes all of these things the same as me and we’ll stay in bed together watching Netflix and debating whether or not peanuts are a better snack then popcorn, and then realizing that if we just get Crunch ‘n Munch we can have both. I like to stay in bed and read. Right now I’m reading Yasunari Kawabata’s...
Trolling is too mainstream | Taking back the internet

Trolling is too mainstream | Taking back the internet

A trolling era People seem to think they’re sparking some sort of revolution by trolling; people who adhere to Milo Yiannoupolouos’ idea that trolls are the “only people that tell the the truth these days,” or  believe that trolling is an art. But you’ve got Time Magazine complaining how trolls are ruining the internet. And there’s even a book out on the subject: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. It’s just another tactic to try and exhibit power on the internet. Everyone is doing it now. And very poorly, usually. And, more importantly, as a result the average person is now less willing or able to be trolled. It’s lame. You’re a lame duck if you do it. Like the kid who thinks it’s still cool to pull on girls’ pigtails. Outdated. You and every other twelve year old can try and rile people up online. Lulz. But anyone with half a brain; anyone who knows two things about where the world is headed no longer falls for childish trickery. But that’s not the whole story. And it certainly doesn’t stop there.   So, what now? So where do the 4chan, 8chan, Breitbart trolls go when their caves have been raided? Where can they find darkness after being brought out into the light? To be fair, trolls are often nonpartisan. Like “Thor83” played by Patton Oswalt (amen.) trolling party invites in this Portlandia sketch.   But of course, when it’s not messing with people’s lives, it’s not really worth writing about or reporting on. So, especially on the sites just mentioned, the loudest and most obvious trolls, like Milo, have...
Bringing the country together

Bringing the country together

The United States seems as divided today as it has ever been. Racial, economic, religious, and intellectual divisions have spread us further and further apart. And while it’s in the country’s DNA to be divisive, things are seemingly at a breaking point. Politicians call for the country to come together. Is it even possible? Is it possible for there to be “one” America?  Or maybe a better question is, has there ever been one America? A country founded on dissent, based on bringing different cultures together. The term “melting pot” has been used over and over. When imagining the “great” America that Donald Trump seeks to return to, something painted by Norman Rockwell comes to mind. That is one part of the U.S., and it is the one that dominated politics and society for much of recent memory. This is where the problems arise. The idealistic/idyllic white families sitting around a dinner table and talking swap meets with a dog dreaming at their feet and a white picket fence around the front yard only worked for one portion of the country. That is no longer the predominant culture (whether symbolically or otherwise). The painting pictured right, aptly titled Freedom From Want, depicts the only piece of the country that could actually afford freedom from want. This is the demographic that had it all/everything, and they feel as though it is slipping away. As in the video posted by the Atlantic, the U.S. is no longer a white, Christian nation. But the notion that it is only the subjects of those paintings struggling with the social progress and equality embraced by modern society...
We’re proud of you, Minnesota

We’re proud of you, Minnesota

Minnesota has long stood for progress, made clear most recently by Governor Dayton’s investments in education, protecting the environment, and his stance on refugees. And by putting president-elect Donald Trump in third place on Super Tuesday, and being one of the only Midwest states to vote for Hilary Clinton, Minnesotans soundly rejected the fear-mongering and isolationism that somehow became policy during this most recent presidential election. While the president-elect was running on that platform, a different campaign was being run in Minnesota’s Distict 60B. And while Hilary Clinton may not have made history, one woman in Minnesota certainly did. Ilhan Omar was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives on the evening of November 8, 2016, and will represent one of Minneapolis’ most diverse neighborhoods. After escaping civil war in her home country of Somalia at age eight, she then spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before finally making it to Minneapolis. Omar also happens to be the first Somali-American legislator in the country. Omar, a strong force for women as progressive DFL activist, community educator, and Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, would have to be considered among the “problems” the president-elect called out during his brief visit to the state. Or his brief visit to a hangar at MSP airport, rather. “…you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval, and with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.” But we know better here. While the...