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Subject:On coming out as genderqueer…
Time:09:50 pm
PAUSE! This was copied and pasted from my blog and definitely not a LiveJournal-styled post, but I thought this was really important and personal in a LiveJournal way that I should at least have it copied here. So, here's everything I wrote word for word in my blog post about coming out shortly after I did so via mass texts and a Facebook status of a picture of me in a dress and a typed message to go with it.

Alright, I guess it was about time that I did this.

So, a number of people may have noticed that I came out recently. Though some people think so, the term “coming out” doesn’t directly translate to “admitting to being gay” as much as “revealing something about your gender identity or sexual orientation.” I apologize if it’s annoying that I make it a point to detail the definitions of certain terms, but I think it’s important that everything is clarified. While I’m at it, be on top of this one: Sex and gender aren’t the same. Someone’s sex is physical and someone’s gender is mental. A transgender person’s sex might be male, but gender still female. Following? Cool. This next paragraph has a bit more “science.”

I came out as being genderqueer. Genderqueer is a pretty vague term because it can really mean a lot of things. In terms of myself, I use it to mean that I have an overlap of, or blurred lines between, my gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation. This is a non-normative gender identity. Heteronormativity refers to the idea that sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender roles align. Also, queer is a catch-all term that refers to sexual or gender minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary (and gender-binary refers to the classification of sex and gender into the roles of either male or female.)

Another note: I have to use words like boys, girls, men, and woman to be able to explain a lot of what I mean in this post, but it drives me insane to do so. If we keep saying “women’s clothing,” then we’re perpetuating the idea that “women” are the ones who should be wearing them.

Now that those things are explained, I’m going to get more personal. Cool? Cool.

I have spent my entire life struggling with my gender identity and sexual orientation. It wasn’t always an active struggle and I wasn’t always sure I was even having a problem. By the time I was expected to understand my gender role, however, conflict came. For example: When I was 11 years old, I remember asking my sister to paint my nails. As she did, my father walked by and I made a joke about it to him. I made this joke because I knew he wouldn’t approve and I thought that, if we could laugh about it, it would just be a funny harmless thing and nobody would make anything more of it. He did not laugh at all. His response was disapproving enough and I felt ashamed. Sadly, I have many stories like this (and it’s not even the only one that centers on nail polish, heh.) Sometimes it’s upsetting just to remember.

I’ve laid out that I realized I wasn’t always properly in my gender role, but what was equally challenging were the times when I was. The back-and-forth was confusing me (and it took me a while to notice.) I was still doing “male things” and hanging out with guys and enjoying it. That said, in high school, some of my female friends and I just joked that I was a “girl-guy,” and I began to rationalize this as me being in touch with my feminine side or something like that. When your society teaches you to believe that there are only two genders and that these are assigned to you based on your genitalia, then you start to explain all of your behavior through the lenses of those two modes of behavior and the belief that you know which one is yours. Anytime I was being less of a guy, I wrote it off as me just being a bit feminine sometimes.

When I was 17, I realized that I get attracted to men. I panicked. I thought I could tell no one. What the hell? I knew I was attracted to women. Very much so. What was this? I suffered through so many conversations about sexual orientation without revealing my confusion to the people I was having them with, constantly finding my feelings suppressed or hurt. I even tried telling my father about my curiosity, which was probably when I realized 100% that I would never be able to talk to him about my gender identity or sexual orientation ever. In fact, I never really felt like I could tell anyone about these things in full.

Years later, I began to notice how much it would piss me off any time I heard something like “you wouldn’t understand because you’re not a girl,” yet, though I wanted people to acknowledge my masculinity, I was so much less interested in defending it. At the same time, I’d then feel stupid because I was, in fact, not a girl (at least this was how I reasoned this to myself.) Soon later after having this realization, I had yet another epiphany: I wanted to wear women’s clothing. I was in downtown Helsinki and I passed a girl wearing something that immediately made me think “I want to wear that.” And it struck me. All those times in which I thought “oh, I like the way this is cut” (or whatever) about a woman’s outfit, even when I thought “but that’s not meant for me,” it never occurred to me that my actual desire was to be able to wear things that were designed for women. But in that moment, in downtown Helsinki, I thought it. It was like being 17 all over again—I panicked. I thought I could tell no one.

I admitted pretty quickly that I was going to have to tell someone. So, I disclosed this piece of information to a few close friends, pretended like I was going to do something about it, bought a girly thing or two, had the guts to wear them once or twice, and that was about it.

Over half a year later, I found out I would actually be living with some non-normative types and moving in with these great sorts changed my life drastically. I finally had people I felt I could really talk to about my gender identity, people who actually understood and even went through the same or similar experiences. And these talks were invaluable.

I realized that being feminine doesn’t make you less masculine and vise versa. Dressing up in women’s clothing does not forfeit me as a man. Being a man doesn’t deny me my right to like, feel, or do anything that would otherwise be described as womanly. (And this was such a comforting fact to realize because I don’t want people to think that what I’m saying is simply “I’m a woman inside!” Part of my problem was not knowing how to feel like I was accepting facets of my personality that did not align with my gender without denouncing the parts that did.) I thought about how much I had been suppressing elements of who I was because of what was around me. It was simply that there were different ways to express different parts of my personality. There are interests, activities, forms of expression, and many more things that have been categorized by gender and I just don’t want to think about it anymore. I’m not going to look at myself as being a “feminine guy” (especially because I’m tired of denying my masculinity to accommodate my femininity. ) I want to see myself as a person, gender aside, first and foremost. And this is how I want to approach other people. This is how I feel about others gender identities and I find that my romantic interests are heavily influenced by this sentiment. This is why I deemed myself a pansexual, which is a sexual orientation that describes having sexual/romantic attraction to people of all gender identities and biological sexes. I have been seeing “women” my entire life and none of my feelings regarding the type of people I have been seeing (in terms of gender and sexual orientation) have changed, but I do feel that what interests me more is the person as a whole instead of where their gender identity and sexual orientation lie.

Where was I when I came to this conclusion? I’ll tell you: scared. I had no idea what to do with myself. I knew I had to start buying some new clothing and some makeup and things like that or I would never feel like I was fulfilling something I desired as a part of my lifestyle. I wanted to wear women’s clothing the same way that I want to wear men’s clothing that I like and make me feel good. This was unsettling for me. I would be sitting on a tram, see someone I thought was cute, and then think “If this feeling would have been mutual now, what if they won’t think the same when I’m dressed differently?” I started to convince myself that I would not be attractive to women if I was dressed in women’s clothing. When I actually was dressed up, which, before coming out, wasn’t often at all, people would stare. Of course they would. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it wasn’t so funny. Sometimes when it wasn’t, I had laughed it off, shrugged it off, or didn’t care. Other times, I didn’t feel so courageous. I would feel paranoid. I would feel embarrassed. I would want to look anywhere else. (Now, I’m only marginally more comfortable than I’m describing here.)

I kept telling myself I’d come out “soon.” Then, I’d think “Ok, this week.” Then, “Alright, before October.” Then, “Definitely before November.” When November was upon us, I thought “On Nov. 3rd and I will celebrate with the Halloween party we’re throwing.” So, even though I didn’t have the time to make this post then, I stuck to it and put up a picture of me wearing a dress, leggings, and makeup and thought “I’ll check this tomorrow.” (Thanks, all, for not asking why my hands look like alien claws in the second picture.) Directly after, one of my flatmates and I went to one of the only grocery stores open in Helsinki on the holiday (which means it was very packed.) There were moments when I actually forgot I was dressed up (until the staring of course.) I was just excited and I felt much better because I was with Tiina : )

I partied. I got drunk. I mouthed off to everyone that I had just come out. The support was so sweet–new friends telling me I was brave and all. The morning after, I opened up my Facebook and I could not believe what I saw. All the comments, “Likes,” and personal messages were so incredibly heartwarming. Thank you, all of you, for such an incredibly supportive response. Every single Like/comment/PM and so on was SO incredibly uplifting. I even heard from friends who I thought would not understand or would even be made uncomfortable by the news. I actually go to my Facebook and scroll down just to reread everyone’s comments.

Of the few people who knew beforehand, thank you so much for being a part of the small steps that led to coming out, and a particularly special thank you to everyone who asked me if there was something they could do to help me. I’d also like to send out a special thank you to everyone who asked me how they should treat me differently. And one last one for everyone who told me that I looked good : P It was so sweet to hear when part of my fear was just… being unattractive, even if people wanted to support me when dressed differently.

Where am I now? Finally busting out all the girly clothing I had kept secret in wait of this moment, being stronger about all of this, and trying my best to keep the fire going (just to let it die down so that this can all feel like a casual thing that always was.) I can’t imagine ever telling my father, though my mother was incredibly sweet about it. If I relayed my thoughts correctly, you’ll understand that I have no desire to stop wearing men’s clothing and what I look for in people (romantically/sexually/friend-ly) has not changed. I’m just going to start doing my thing without worrying about noise as best I can.

Please ask me about it if you have any questions, feel like sharing thoughts/hearing more, or think I could help you.
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Subject:Back In Helsinki
Time:09:49 pm
My intention was to follow up on my experience in Oulu; it feels so far away at this point. That being said, I shan’t skip it entirely.

When I wrote in my blog last, I was precisely one week away from departing from Oulu. Grimly, I reminded myself that a sobering feeling awaited me in Helsinki. The change “back” is always the one that makes you feel as if you just let another life go. I anticipated that many would express a collective reluctance to leave and desire to remain, but I, and others, knew well enough that we could have only lived the lives we were living for so long. The kind of experiences we had, specifically regarding the rapid development of our relationships, could only occur in a short-term environment (and often those very relationships can only exist at all in said environment). Retrospectively, I’m thinking on how even if we simply put the pedal to the metal to put ourselves out there and develop familiarity with one another, it is amazing how emotions then grew with matching urgency, independently but parallel. I reread this sentence and multiple faces come to mind. There are obviously some who I miss very much; some of them I may never see again, some of them I will. Come what may and all that.

Things were different in the last week. Relationships were established. Schedules were consistent. My need to be alone was surfacing. Oddly, though, not only did I feel more need to be alone, but simultaneously I felt increasingly lonely. Maybe the latter caused the former. And the drama of my final days made me a mess/Super prepared to return to Helsinki (notatall). But, in a way, my return was smoothed over. On the way to the airport, Joni and I had a brief textual exchange of the welcome-home and my-ears-are-open nature. Though it was particularly sweet, I think just hearing from one of my flatmates already made me feel warmer about returning. Besides, soon after my arrival, Tuula took me to meet her cat and see Tampere for my first time.

I’ve always wanted to see Tampere. In a way, it reminded me of Helsinki, but with more piercings. Before then, though, we were in Hyvinkää. And our first move was to käydä a grocery store, where I found myself coasting toward hard drinks. As I lazily looked over the selection of weaker supermarket-safe alcoholic beverages, I picked up a lonkero and thought of all the times I bought that very drink in Oulu. Over and over and often for sauna aika. Most of my friends returned to countries where this drink was not available, but I couldn’t help but smile, look at the tall can, and think “nothing has changed.”

This brief get-away was what the doctor ordered. Peace and quiet was in abundance, as was time to collect my thoughts (as best as I could at the time anyroad). What it really did, however, was put a space between being in Oulu and being in Helsinki, granting me a brief couple day period in which I could adjust to not being in Oulu any longer, but not yet greet the “shock” of being back in Helsinki. Not only this, but when I did return two days later, it was perfectly in time for the Kallio Block Party. Not only did I have this soft two-day experience, but I came back to Helsinki in time for a festive night in which I didn’t have to bring myself to face any of the previously mentioned sobering lull whatsoever. In fact, the night was filled with drink, dance, and 8-bit remakes of favorite post-8bit-era video game tunes. My head has felt, as it did then, like a complete clusterfuck, yet it denied not an awesome way to ride back into town.

So, where have I been since then? The past three weeks have been spent gathering the pieces that are me and attempting (at times with success) to situate myself here in Helsinki. I divide my time by punctuating responsibilities with deeper searches for Helsinki vegan-dining and getting to know my hard-not-to-like flatmates. Both of which are rewarding : ) Nevertheless, my time has been generally dedicated, though not exclusively, to running errands, contemplating my life, and considering the most likely options for my next move. Post-university life, as it functions where I was raised, poses specific challenges. Thus, I find that I am experiencing a much expected series of hardships. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but who does? So, that’s ok. I have few friends, but that takes time. Still… this one probably depresses me the most. I’d say that I feel more responsible for this than it is actually out of my hands, which is part of the frustration. It simply feels like I can’t move on in regard to this front of my social life (or many other facets of my life in general) until I feel situated and as if I have a more concrete direction. Beyond this, I find that I became exhausted by the Finnish-speaking earlier than I saw coming. In fact, I think all of the predicted depression and stresses, etc., came much sooner than I saw coming. And this is where I could continue about things that depress me, but I really have no interest in doing so.

Now that I’ve said that piece, I want to say something else: I don’t think I have ever been so content with my life. Yes, I made it a point to outline clearly that there are times when I simply feel like I’m suffering, but I believe this was also because what I’m looking to describe next is a stark contrast. So, I repeat: I don’t think I have ever been so content with my life. I am so enthusiastic about my move to Finland. I found great solace and gratification in finally going through with something I have always intended to go through with. Helsinki has been my home for barely two months (and a few weeks of these two months were spent elsewhere) and yet I still feel that this titanic change has been so fruitful. I feel as if I have everything I could ask for at this given point in life, mainly a place to be, attitude, and ambition. I said I’ve felt depressed, but these feelings are born of me facing all sorts of challenges and working through inherently painful happenings. Past these feelings, I’ve been feeling that my life is the greatest life there could ever be. And so it will be.
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Subject:CIMO kesäkurssi, pt. I
Time:09:48 pm
I’ve placed myself in the cafeteria of Oulu University. I thought it important to write here before I left for Oulu, and I did, in fact, make the cut. I figured it a plan to write once before my departure to Oulu, but then later decided I’ll just sum everything up upon my return. Against this sentiment, I am writing right now. I have half an hour until I watch a film with my peers; so let’s see where this goes.

As stated in my previous post, I moved into my Helsinki apartment. I really do love it. I’m happy to have my own space, I love its location, and am rather fond of the two flatmates that I met (words to come on the other two once I’ve met them). My room has nothing but a bed and a mess of belongings as my only decoration. There I lived for all of two nights before I packed up my possessions yet again. I was Oulu-bound and so I went.

Weighed by a grey and tired morning and a trying goodbye, I hopped on a bus with others encumbered by their suitcases and stared out a window until the airport was in site. At the terminal, I recognized, from Facebook pictures of course, another course student. One meeting turned into eight and I was already becoming acquainted with people I would soon come to love.

On this front, we wasted absolutely no time. It was incredible how close we became in such a short span of time. The fun we’ve had has laid claim to lasting memories. There’s only so much I can detail how this developed and what has occurred, but hopefully I will be able to do this more so in my next post once I’ve returned to Helsinki. In a nutshell, I can equate this course with alcohol, friends, and high cheek-boned distractions. Sometimes Finnish.

Each country and culture represented turns this experience exponentially more exciting. All that I’ve learned, the fun facts and the other languages (and a million other things), make every day so priceless.

It’s amazing to consider how little time I spend alone. Really… I’m never alone. Only when I sleep. As well, any extended period of time I spend without company feels strange. Not because the lonely atmosphere is discomforting, but because it’s so atypical. Normally, I’m not this way at all. I need my alone time to “recharge,” but it’s been working out very well. Not only am I never alone, but my apartment is always the one to host all the gatherings. Yes, we are those that wake others without the intent. Sorry.

Speaking of my apartment, I live with an American named Chris, a Swede name Daniel, and a Pole named Wojtek. Each of these characters are people I’ve been excited to live with. I’d go more into it, but really I must be off.

PS I went bungee jumping. I went to the lady at the sign up booth and asked “How does this work?” Her response: “60 euros. 60 meters.”
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Subject:Cue: The Start of the Rest of My Life
Time:09:47 pm
My departure from New Jersey seems already as if it took place a lifetime ago, yet I’ve been in Finland no longer than five (fulfilling) days. The day of, I spent less time packing as much as re-packing because my suitcases ate too much of my stuff and grew fat–too fat as decided by airline regulations. On my first flight, I sat next to a cute German girl with whom I made conversation and started a friendship. She asked for my full name so that she could find me on Facebook and when we got to Iceland we spent our layover time together. Her flight boarded approximately half an hour before mine and in that time I waited at my gate. I overheard a girl close by tell a stranger that it was her first time going to Finland. I walked over and apologized for eavesdropping before asking her about her trip. She was a Canadian girl clearly dolled up and this, as I discovered, was obviously because she was seeing her boyfriend in Finland. Yes, she is a Canadian girl dating a guy in Finland (though they met in Australia?). They’ve been together for three years. Holy shit. After an enjoyable conversation, she told me she wanted to keep in touch as well, so I found her on Facebook later on. When we landed, I waited for her outside of the gate because I know how nerve-wraking it can be to find yourself in another country, particularly one in which the locals do not share your native tongue, for the first time. Outside of the terminal, I met her boyfriend, an extremely Finnish-looking gent who sported no small talk, haha. For me, I found Tuula and Leo. The three of us returned to Leo’s where I kissed and played with Luka until hunger took over. We ate inside Iso Omena (“Big Apple”) and afterward, of course, saunaed together (me, Tuula, Leo, and Luka, that is). There we sat, submitting to heat and sweating in a way I missed terribly, drinking cider and beer, and listening to the Donkey Kong Country Returns soundtrack.

The next few days were so incredibly packed. I have been extremely productive. Here’s a list of some things I managed to get to: I went to the magistrate to have my move recognized by Finland, acquired a phone plan and a public transportation pass, opened a bank account, applied for social security benefits, purchased the remaining parts necessary to build my new desktop, and went to my apartment to finally see it and meet my flatmates (who seem absolutely great–I’m very excited to live with them). There is one rather incredible thing I have noticed about all this work I have done: Every one I have had to meet with has been incredibly nice. The United States equivalents of the people I’ve dealt with would have all behaved like they would prefer working at a DMV. The exception would be the guy at the bank, whose American equivalent would be the sort of “nice” that drips with insincerity and beckons the desire to grab a knife and cut “thank you so much” out of this person’s vocabulary. Meanwhile, the guy at the bank here was so cool— a word I never thought I’d use to describe the person helping me open my bank account.

Speaking of the person helping me, Tuula has been so incredibly helpful and, more or less, walking me through everything. She has made everything so easy to find and processes so simple to go through. I’d have otherwise been so lost and Leo’s feedback and unnecessary teasing would have made me feel pathetic and dumb. Instead, I’ve been productive enough for me to feel proud of it and still managed to hit the sauna twice, make it to a beach, sample the vegan cafe around the block, hang with cousins, and then some.

Multiple things will happen tomorrow, but the biggest of them is my move to my apartment. Currently, I’m living in Tommi’s apartment in Pohjois-Haaga, but tomorrow I will actually move into my apartment in Sörnäinen. I admit I am still slightly nervous because my flatmates cut me a break and spoke English when we first met because I was tired/jet-lagged, but I know that I really have to up my Finnish game. That being said. . . they’ve been so nice and seem like really cool people. I’m pumped : ) Not to mention my apartment itself seems so awesome.

I’ve been borderline overwhelmed by how much I love this country, how happy and excited I am to be here, and how many spectacular things I have discovered in the past few days that I never even knew before. I started making a mental list of small things that excite me about Finland, but today I actually began a virtual one on my phone, haha. I’m amazed that I feel as comfortable as I do already in Helsinki, much more so than I imagined I would so soon into my life here.

For this weekend, I made loose plans to meet a few Italian girls who are flying to Finland (for their first times!) to be a part of the course I will begin in Oulu on Monday. I guess Sunday I’ll pack for it and the day after I’ll be gone. I can’t wait
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Subject:There Will Be Saunas
Time:09:47 pm
Here I sit. I arrived at my mother’s place in New Jersey only three days ago, but clocks turn slothful when you’re located somewhere you’d rather not be. I knew this stay would count six nights, yet I began packing on the first. I’ve met with my father a couple times already. Anyone who knows our relationship can imagine that these experiences were very trying. I’ve seen a couple faces I’ll certainly miss, so at least there’s that. In general, my days seem to fill themselves, but when they end I don’t feel any sense of productivity. I made a countdown online for my departure from the house and it’s broken down (by this, I mean converted) into days, hours, minutes, and seconds. It’ll change by the end of the sentence, but currently it reads: 3 days – 76 hours – 4570 minutes – 274244 seconds.

I’ve been looping a few albums this entire time. In order:

1) Laura Stevenson and the Cans’ Sit Resist

2) Wringer’s Cool Story

3) Akira Yamaoka’s Shadows of the Damned Original Soundtrack

4) James Newton Howard’s The Hunger Games Original Score

The first I found to be incredible. I was interested in hearing it after seeing LS&tC perform in Manhattan a month or so ago and it did not disappoint. The second I’ve already heard and enjoy very much. Wringer is a lot of fun and I love their style. It’s something that I’ve heard before, but it seems that no one is doing it these days. Consequently, it actually ends up sticking out. The third was not as good as the first SotD OST I found, but still enjoyable. I’m an Akira Yamaoka fan overall. The Hunger Games score was very well produced, but it has few parts that actually stick out. It’s simply not a memorable score. Listening to these albums, however, drove me into a train of thought regarding the continuity of albums in general. The line between writing a song and writing an album, I mean. The strength of a cohesive album is greatly augmented by how engaging the overarching story/tone/message is strung together. Consequently, albums with songs that may be individually a little weaker manage to hide beneath the fact that they fit the puzzle so perfectly.

This morning, I finally watched the Kickstarter backer update videos for Double Fine’s Adventure! Project. I felt… a lot of things. It made me very excited. I am very much looking forward to Adventure! and Tim Schafer actually revealed the skeleton of a plot for the game. Beyond that, however, I felt a bit sad, intimidated, confused, nostalgic, and whatever else. It was warming to see the game development team be together and find detail and insight in how they function, what makes them tick, and so forth. This is something I want so badly to be a part of, but I have such difficulty shaking the feeling that it might be out of my reach. It’s… very disappointing. So, yes, I feel discouraged. Nonetheless, my work toward it could never stop. I couldn’t cease to write music out of the blue. I’m incapable. Not only that, but I have my previous accomplishments to remind me that these efforts were, in fact, of some avail. I’m very proud of Anti-Swag Fiend Party’s only LP and am proud to be not only writing the entire soundtrack to a documentary right now, but am also being paid. Beyond this, here I am talking about wanting to be a part of a development team… and, in fact, I am! I am currently writing music for the upcoming iPhone/iPad game Melodus. Still… it does not feel like enough. I’m on my way, I guess. Maybe.

These things aside, my move to Finland is most imminent. Look at that counter up top. I don’t find myself becoming any more excited (because I was already really fucking excited to begin with), but I do find myself becoming increasingly nervous, especially for the Oulu program. I wish to be able to communicate with those around me. I want to establish friendships, meet people I’d want to see again, and hope that they want to see me again too. I really want my flatmates to like me. I already think that, in my excitement, I’ve probably made myself seem a bit foolish and annoyingly talkative. I’m simply overwhelmed and intensely excited (even for a person that’s typically excitable). I realize the language barrier will take me a hot minute to hop over and that, before it, I’ll be more difficult to reach and, honestly, less interesting until I’ve managed a way to connect on a less shallow level. So much of me isn’t a foreigner to Finland (and so hints the Finnish passport next to my computer :] ), but I’ll still be fumbling over the native language, asking dumb questions, and being overall unsure of what I’m doing with my life and in another country. I’m anticipating the discouraging feeling that’s sure to come within a few months in which I shall wonder if the move was the right thing, etc. It will be grinding and I’ll have to stick through, keep my whining to a minimal, and carry on until, as Rosenstock put it, I realize sometimes things are great.

At least there will be saunas.
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Subject:Traveling East–Saratoga Spring, NY
Time:09:46 pm
It’s a quarter to 10am and I am pants-less and blanket-wrapped, sitting on a couch in a pretty luxurious home where my friend is home-sitting a professor’s fancy pad in Saratoga Springs, NY—a place for Skidmore College students and upperclass folk looking to bet on horses. Mike and Adina have yet to wake, so all is still and silent and even the house-with-at-least-two-of-everything itself feels like it has yet to wake. The sound of my typing feels as if it would carry throughout this home. Through the sizable living room windows I see a suburban neighborhood with very green summer-qualities. Birds interrupt the silence with morning song, but all I see are the motions of a light breeze bullying the surrounding flora.

I have spent my entire summer (starting from the moment I walked out of my final) juggling a series of items on an ever-growing To Do list and keeping as busy as my dense schedule required. Five days after my accounting final, my Intro to American Politics course began. It was only a four-week gig, so we met every school day for over two hours. During this time, I started interning at Rhino’s, the local media youth club slash concert venue. As well, I’m employed by Indiana University as a composer for the music of a biology department documentary. So, often times, my day would have me wake up, do my homework, attend class, intern at Rhino’s, and then return home. . . where I would then begin to create some pieces for waiting footage. I wanted to spend the other time looking for apartments in Finland, practicing my Finnish, selling things that weren’t coming to Finland, and addressing the laundry list of chores that needed addressing. Fortunately, I opted to coerce myself to put aside time for a video game. I wasn’t going to last this way if I didn’t push time for non-work activity into my day. I beat that game. Then, another. After this, my summer course ended, the day after Anti-Swag Fiend Party took the stage for our last shows, and then two days later two more summer courses began. No more time for video games. At this point, only a couple weeks before my departure from Bloomington remained. I was trying to power my way through my internet summer courses. So, daily I would wake up between eight and nine, arrive at the local coffee shop between ten and eleven, and there I’d stay for hours as I tried to chuck through multiple quizzes and papers a day (of course, after this I then interned, worked on music, and so forth). On one particular day, I stayed at Soma for nine hours, of which only one hour was used as a break (I need to eat, I guess). I showered when I returned home and the bathroom began to smell of coffee. I was trying my best to cram in seeing friends wherever I had time, but it was very difficult and I knew that I’d have to give in to the fact that some people just weren’t going to make it into my agenda (especially you who put less effort into actually reaching me—that’s right, I’m looking at you). In a week and a half, I managed to get to and take my finals for two separate eight-week classes. And I did find an apartment in Helsinki. Or, more accurately, it found me. (But that’s for another time.)

Eventually, the day came. I had packed my entire life into a sedan and took off for Indianapolis where I would spend the night with my chum Lia. The stay was short, but sweet, and the morning after I began my 13.5 hour drive to Saratoga Springs, NY. With the way I drive, it took 12 hours. I drove from 10:30am to 10:30pm while listening to movies play through an mp3/video player I found. Imagine me sitting in that car seat for 12 straight hours, part of which was spent quoting Mulan, Super Troopers, and The Fifth Element out loud along with the lines as they were spoken during the movies.

Within a few hours of my arrival, I passed out. The day after, we woke early enough and went to the local farmer’s market. The goods included all the healthy-looking veggies and fruits you’d expect at a farmer’s market, enticing baked goods, and even homemade catnip. We found breakfast at a local coffeehouse and it was at this place that I realized something: I had spent such an incredibly long time (starting even before the summer began) being so incredibly busy and stressed that it was making me anxious to suddenly be on a sort of vacation. There is nothing that needs to get done in Saratoga Springs. I’m here solely to spend time with my close friends. What furthers my anxiety is that I know I’ll be going somewhere soon after, where responsibility will yet again pick up. Nonetheless, I knew that this was actually a good thing. I needed to engage, as Mike put it, this “work detox.” Later in the day, we went swimming in a lake. We walked through forest to a rockface that slid into the body of water. On this stone, we de-clothed, put on sun screen, and assured Adina’s friend Julie that she didn’t have to worry about the tick on her leg. A man emerged from the forest with a dog that showed us up by diving into the water without any hint of hesitation. So, we each set ourselves to follow suit. The edge of the rock was obviously slimy and the closer you were to the water, the more difficult it was to dip in slowly. Of course, everyone knows you’re supposed to just dive in. That’s how these things work. Still, I was used to doing it AFTER having just been in a sauna. As well, there was no dock to run on and dive off of. So, I babied myself by getting up to my thighs before saying “screw it” and submerged myself in the water. Indeed, it was amazing. The sun was hot and the water was cool. It reminded me a lot of Finland (where else do I swim in lakes?). I began with big strokes. immediately heading farther into the lake. There, I leaned my head back, let water cover my ears and compromise my hearing, and stared up at the sun. My breathing became increasingly heavy and as I swam my muscles made sure I knew they were being used. Eventually, I returned to the rock with sore muscles and overly sensitive ears. We sat here for a bit before eventually deciding our appetites demanded action.

So, later, Mike, Adina, and I made dinner. Or, more accurately, Mike and Adina made dinner and I helped. The bruschetta and zucchini casserole were both extremely tasty. And we all hung around for a bit before Adina decided to lie down. The remainder of the evening was filled with great conversation (and Adina did eventually rejoin) about a variety of things with varying degrees of intimacy. I then Skyped Tuula long enough to wish her a good morning, got onto my couch-bed, covered my body entirely with my blanket to avoid the mosquitoes, and fell asleep.

And here I am.
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Subject:Sage Asshole concert
Time:11:03 pm
My first time at Bowery Ballroom.

Buddy Wakefield was the first to hit the stage. He walked out and started right away. He was a spoken word poet. His performance was sick. He had some great lines. I remember one was "And if you don't agree with my opinions, then after the show my family and your family can come together and have a war", hahaha. He did a piece titled "My Town Is Cute" (or something of that nature). I gotta find it.

Alias came up after. I remember him having some decent beats. His presentation was good, but I can't remember the lyrics for the most part. He seemed like a decent dude =). I'll probably look into his stuff as well when I get the chance / remember.

Buck 65 hit the stage after Alias. His voice was higher than I remembered it being in the recordings. His presentation was definitely different than I expected it to be. It was an awesome performance, though. He didn't move much from one spot on the stage, but he moved a bit where he was. Throwin' his arms about. Pantomiming lyrics. Like reaching for the air when the lyrics included the word "climbing". He played Wicked and Weird, Spread 'Em ("wider... wider..."), and Out Of Focus. He did this sort of... song-jam where he combined songs. I know that he threw Cries A Girl and Centaur in there. As well, there was all this razzle dazzle.

Mothafuckin... Sage Francis came up last [in a blond wig]. He opened with Civil Disobedience. ["You can't kiiill me mothafuckaaaaaa..."]. Alias was doing the beats. There was a dude on guitar (I forget his name). And then Dilly Dilly on... effin' every instrument. She played a recorder, a saw (with a bow), and the bass. He played Escape Artist, Crack Pipes, Sea Lion, Climb Trees, Specialist (to which I whispered the lyrics into Emily's ear), Good Fashion, Got Up This Morning, Keep Moving, Going Back To Rehab, Hell Of A Year (I think), and I think he said "nobody likes this song expect me" and it was Clickety Clack. For Dance Monkey... he was like "Who wants to dance battle me for the second verse?". I was about to get up, but some other dude got on stage before me. Thank God he did. I would've looked ridiculous, but I was preparing myself for the next day (and then ended up not going to the second concert). Evil Kinevil came out! He took a bicycle and went off a ramp (over a toy school bus) and into the crowd with it. Emily was playing with the school bus and then I took it and pushed it down the ramp. For the last song, Evil took my cell phone and... well... I didn't know what he did with it.

I think I didn't enjoy the concert as much as I would have had I been less tired. (I hate when that happens... it's like I'm looking forward to the end of the show... and it was Sage Francis)

They were pretty quick with getting people on and off the stage. The show seemed relatively fast paced.

No picnics were had. Too many people filled the room!

Afterward... I asked Sage if he knew Emily's name (so that I could pwn her 'cause she kept being like "SAGE KNOWS MY NAME" after the poetry thing). And he didn't know. And then we told him the story. And he said that he likes her way more anyway. . . . I got le mothafuckin' owned by Sage Francis.

Someone told Evil he was fucking awesome. So he said "You're fucking awesome". And then I interjected with "I'm fuckin awesome too!" (or something?) and he was like ". . . who's A-T-I?" and I was like ". . . . . oh! Aiti! It means Mom in Finnish." That's when he told me that he called her on stage.
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Time:06:41 pm
Short Survey, Please Click (Don't fill it out if you're not serious)
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Time:06:18 am
Real men Scrawny Finnish boys don't sleep.
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Time:06:01 pm
40 Things You Never Think to Ask

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
Sometimes because I think it feels nice (but never on the first time)

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
Years ago

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Depends on circumstances

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

6. Do you consider yourself creative?

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Mrs. Smith

10. Do you know how to play poker?

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?

12. What's your favorite commercial?
I know a couple good ones.

13. What are you allergic to?

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
I don't think so

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
All the time when I was younger

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
I don't know

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Oh my god. Not only did I cry. I almost died. "How do they pitch that to the marketers?"

20. Can you name 4 songs by The Beatles?
Eleanor Rigbey
Strawberry Fields
Penny Lane

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?

22. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Not really

23. Do you know who Ghetto-ass barbie is?

24. Do you always wear your seat belt?
Especially when I'm driving

25 what cell service do you use?
cingu-gay (copied from Talia)

26. Do you like Sushi?

27. Have you ever avoided a fatal accident?
Can't think of such a time off the top of my head

28. What do you wear to bed?
Boxers and a t-shirt (preferably oversized) and then pajamas and maybe socks in the winter

29. Been caught stealing?

30. what shoe size do you have?
9 1/2

31. Do you truly hate anyone?

32. Classic Rock or Rap?
Probably rap, I think.

33. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Taylor Bow? Hah. I don't know. I'm not really into celebreties.

34. Are you a virgin

35. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?

36. What food do you find disgusting?
Disgusting is harsh

37. Do you sing in the shower?

38. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?
Haha, definitely

39. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Are you kidding me? We're all human.

40. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Probably at some point

I am...
[x] Single.
[ ] Taken.
[x] Happy.
[x] mixed feelings
[ ] Like someone.
[x] Sad.
[x] Angry.
[x] A meat-eater
[ ] A vegetarian
[ ] Crying.
[x] Tired.
[ ] Age 1 - 12.
[x] Age 13 - 19.
[ ] Age 20 - 30.
[ ] Age 31 - 50.
[] Age 51 - 80.
[ ] Older than 80.

Currently I'm...
[x] Alone
[ ] With another person
[ ] With a group of people
[ ] In pajamas
[ ] Naked
[ ] Dressed comfortably
[ ] In my clothes from today
[ ] Listening to music
[ ] Watching TV
[ ] Watching a movie

I own...
[ ] A laptop
[x] A stereo
[x] An MP3 player/iPod
[ ] An inflatable chair
[x] A bean bag chair
[ ] A lava lamp
[x] A black light
[x] a car
[x] A musical instrument
[x] A CD player
[x] A CD burner
[x] DVD burner
[x] Over 100 CDs

I have...
[x] Glasses
[ ] Contacts
[x] Pierced ear(s)
[ ] Other piercing(s)
[ ] Tattoo(s)
[x] Scars from accidental injuries
[x] A broken body part

I've physically met...
[x] A celebrity
[x] A poor person
[x] A rich person
[ ] The President
[x] Family I never knew existed
[x] Someone from another state
[x] Someone from another country
[ ] someone EXACTLY like me in personality
[ ] Someone EXACTLY like me in looks

I have been...
[ ] Legally dead
[ ] Engaged
[ ] Married
[ ] Divorced
[x] In a car accident
[ ] Arrested
[x] Questioned by police

All about me from A-Z.

A - AVAILABLE?: Not just yet...
B - BEST SPORT?: Ultimate frisbee?
C - CRUSH?: Do I have one?
F - FAVORITE COLOR?: I don't know
G - GUMMY BEARS OR GUMMY WORMS?: Bears... or worms. Or bears.
H - HOME STATE?: North Jersey
I - INSTRUMENT: Drums, guitar (electric/acoustic/bass), piano, vocal chords
J - JUICE? Cranberry?
L - LONGEST CAR RIDE?: 8 hours to Ohio?
M - MILK FLAVOR?: Chocolate?
O - ONE WISH?: Can't decide
P - PHOBIA/FEARS?: Clostrophobia
Q - FAVORITE QUOTE?: "Girl, you don't gotta dress like no mothafuckin' beekeepa."
R- REASON TO SMILE?: Anytime Mike is unhappy.
S - SONG YOU HEARD LAST?: !!! : Instinct
U - UNKNOWN FACT ABOUT ME?: That's not common or that nobody knows?
W - WORST HABIT? : Annoying people?
X- RAYS YOU'VE HAD?: A couple of my hand?
Y-YUMMY FOOD? Pad thai puck

[x] I am really ticklish.
[x] I'm afraid of the dark outside
[ ] I'm afraid of facing my back to open doors at night.
[x] I believe in true love.
[x] I ran away from home.
[ ] I collect comic books.
[sometimes] I shut others out when I'm sad.
[x] I open up to others easily.
[ ] I am keeping a secret from the world.
[ ] I watch the news.
[x] I own over 5 rap CDs.
[x] I LOVE Disney movies.
[x] I am a sucker for pretty eyes
[x] I don't kill bugs
[ ] I curse once in a while...
[ ] I curse too much.
[ ] I have "x"s in my screen name.
[x] I've slipped and fell in public
[x] I've slipped out an "lol" in a real conversation.
[ ] I bake well.
[x] I have worn pajamas to class.
[ ] I have owned something from Abercrombie.
[x] I have talked on a phone for 3 hours.
[ ] I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.
[?] I love to laugh.
[] I drink alcohol on a regular basis.
[ ] I loved Lord of the Flies.
[x] I have cough drops when I'm not sick.
[x] I have a few scars.
[x] I've been out of this country.
[ ] I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room.
[x] I love chocolate.
[x ] I love spaghetti.
[ ] I bite my nails.
[x] I play computer games when I'm bored.
[ ] I cry sometimes for no reason.
[x] Gotten lost in the city.
[x] Seen a shooting star.
[x] Seen a rainbow
[?] Had a serious injury.
[x] Been so mad you've locked yourself in your room for the day.
[I've done worse] Gone out in public in your pajamas.
[What constitutes stranger...] Have kissed a stranger.
[x] Hugged a stranger
[ ]Been in a bloody fist fight with someone of the same sex.
[x] been in a fist fight.
[ ] Been arrested.
[x] Laughed and had some type of beverage come out of your nose.
[x] pushed all the buttons in an elevator
[x] Made out in an elevator.
[x] Swore at your parents.
[Maybe?] kicked a guy where it hurts on purpose.
[ ] Been skydiving.
[ ] Been bungee jumping.
[x] Gotten stitches.
[ ] Drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour.
[x] Been to Niagara Falls.
[ ] Gotten the chicken pox twice.
[ ] Crashed into a car
[ ] Been to Japan.
[x] Ridden in a taxi.
[ ] Been fired
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