Lists

"I think I've checked everything off my list," Ben told me.

"Of things you're planning to do with that place?" I asked. I assumed so, but I wanted to prolong what little conversation I had with him, knowing both he and I aren't usually big fans of smalltalk.

Earlier in the evening he told me about the new place he wants to open up, just down the road. A new bar or club with a classy restaurant attached to it. A new place with something more than the plain ol' bar-and-concert-venue formula like the Blue Fugue and most of the downtown locales.

"No, of things to do before I die."

As bold as it was, I didn't doubt it. I've heard over and over the stories of how he and Scott started the Fugue years ago, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as the place of their wildest dreams. Ben always struck me as the type of man that can put the work in to get what he wants. How old was he now? Thirty or thirty-one?

"Well, you'll come up with new ones, I'm sure."

He stared at me with deadpan silence. It wasn't the usual "I hate smalltalk" silence, but rather, it seemed he was actually contemplating how to respond for once.

"It's a bit late in the game to start adding things, though. Maybe I should've spaced them out a bit more..."

And as quickly as it started, our conversation ended as Ben sauntered off to go do something else. The man always had a way of ending conversations -- like I said, not a big fan of smalltalk.

And at this time I'm thinking to myself: At least he's got a list. At least he's got direction. At least he's got something.

How the hell do I start?

Trailer Preview

For the couple people that read my blog and don't see my Facebook or read Adams' blog:

It's the trailer for a trailer, as obnoxious as that sounds.

You know, something to follow the 2006 edition.

Vacation Update

Okay, so here we go. I'm 1000 miles / 15 hours away and I'm loving it.

I'll have plenty of stories to tell soon. Some highlights thus far: Car breakdown less than an hour away from St. Louis. Arriving at 3am and then staying up and messing around 'til sunrise. Yankees game in some really awesome seats that my uncle won in a raffle--he's not much of a baseball fan so he let us use 'em.

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Some photos:

Yankee Stadium

Sweet Cherry Pie

Old Man Jenkins

…And in this world everything can change just like that.

The line score looks like this:
A- (1), C- (3), D- (3), F (3), F (3); Term GPA 0.838; Cumulative GPA 2.457

MU's academic standards state:

Journalism students are placed on probation when either their journalism or their overall (term or cumulative) grade point average falls below 2.0. Students may remain on probation no more than one term. They regain good standing when their term and cumulative grade point averages, for journalism and overall, climb to 2.0 or higher

[...]

Students are dismissed and become ineligible to enroll for a period of one calendar year when their term grade point average (journalism or overall) is below 1.0, when they pass less than one-fourth of their work in any term or when they fail to perform their academic duties.

A student who has been declared ineligible to enroll may be readmitted only on the approval of the dean of the school or college in which the student desires to enroll[...]

My cumulative GPA is enough to bring me out of probation and back into good standing. That is, if I were on academic probation.

But apparently one bad term alone can simply wipe away an okay (well, admittedly it's mediocre) track record.

---

"Frustrated" doesn't even begin to cover it. "Depressed" doesn't quite fit this, though it's closer. Maybe "angry." At nobody but myself.

I've done relatively well for the past 24 hours, keeping my cool and not freaking out. Staying level-headed enough to go about fixing this mess methodically.

Should I even mention how uncharacteristic this is of me? How surprising this is?

I was the honors student, I graduated 7th in my class, I was that kid who got a 32 on the ACT and took it again to see if I could score a little higher. This is the benchmark from which I've been judged--by parents, by peers, and by myself.

But read it all again and you'll notice one detail in there, one little word:

Was.

I was responsible in school. But I guess I grew out of that. Just as I started getting my footing on being responsible for my life--inching closer and closer to being financially and responsibly independent--I ended up losing that part of me.

I can't explain it. The many jobs I hold and the work I do serves as a wonderful excuse--but is it a reason? I'm a stickler for differentiating reasons and excuses.

But no, that can't be the sole reason.

I woke up one morning in March and all at once, I realized that I didn't care anymore. I knew I had to change it, but I knew it was too late. It crossed my mind that I could be overworked or stressed or depressed, but again--I found them excuses and not reasons. Something about me just did not care and did not get worked up about school, work, or anything for that matter.

I'm trying to keep my cool so I don't do anything stupid to myself. I'm being methodical about this so I don't get overemotional trying to fix it. But it's a bitter pill to swallow when you find that you're so close to destroying everything you were raised on, everything your life was built on.

Heh, ain't that somethin'. If worse comes to worst, I have a decently clean slate to work from. To (probably mis)quote an unpublished story that Adams wrote: "Today I set my life on fire."