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How to Age

Looks like I'm just a little more than five months away from being eighteen years old. I'd ask where the years have gone, but I can look back and see where they've gone. They've gone by in months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. They've gone by in friendships. They've gone by in breaths. They've gone by in heartbeats. They've gone by in a few good nights' sleep, and with it they've gone by in dreams. But most importantly, they've gone by in journeys. They've gone by in journeys that all weave together into some larger, more ethereal journey.

I could look at the future, at my eighteenth birthday, and I could say to myself, "Wow, everything I've always wanted is right there." Well, am I wrong? I don't like alcohol. I don't like handguns. I don't see myself in a casino. Scratchcards, sure, but I can get them when I'm eighteen. I can get those cards in just over five months. In just over five months, I can finally open a checking account. I can finally establish credit. I hope I'll have my license. I hope I'll have a car. I can vote. I will be a legal adult. College will be looming airily in the future, just half a year away. The only things I can see myself utilizing will open themselves up as opportunities for me when I finally cross that rite of passage. In a matter of speaking, I'll be free.

But with this comes a time of reflection. I've reached the final stretch. Now I'm finally my own person, but who is this person? Why is this person who he is? What does he already have?

I am a strong, independent person. I am intelligent. I am talented. I am dignified. I am proud. I am awesome.

I am these things because I've grown up to value myself in away where I expect nothing less of myself. I am these things because of people. I am these things because of the small town I am in, and the wonders of the rest of the world outside this small town that the internet has allowed me to experience.

I have friends. I have ambitions. I have things to look forward to. I may not have money, but I have what I need. I have a best friend.

Where does my life stand? What does the future hold? Why am I thinking of this?

For a lot of people, these questions aren't easy. For me, I know the answers. My life is where it needs to be, but there's always room for improvement  in myself and in the quality of my life. That's what my future holds. Why am I thinking of this? Oh.

Ever since I turned thirteen, I've been pretty attached to the comic Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman. In a weird way, I consider the Duncans a part of my extended family. Then, on August 23, 2009, Jeremy Duncan's driver's license was issued. This strip changed me, in a way. First and foremost, I was jealous. After all, Jeremy Duncan is younger than me, both literally and in the comic context (he's currently sixteen). But then I looked over to the right side of the comic.

I looked at the three of them standing together. Most readers' immediate thoughts would be that Walt's making a sarcastic comment to Jeremy. I instead read it as pride and congratulations. I look to Connie, with her hand on Jeremy's arm and a seemingly-neutral expression. I see the acceptance of her son as becoming an adult. I see her ushering him onward to the rest of his life. I see in this little doodle her going over every moment of her life with her son, wondering, like I am, where the years have gone. Walt has his hand on her shoulder. He's thinking the same thing, and he knows that it's only a short while before Jeremy leaves the nest forever. But he comforts Connie, knowing that together everything will be alright.

then I see Jeremy. His eyes are focused on that one little card. He's happier than he's ever been just having that in his hand. He doesn't even realize that he's the same height as his parents, that that little card puts him one step closer to the door of his childhood. He's only looking at now. He's excited for now. His is a much simpler happiness than that of his parents. I don't know where I would fall in this picture. It hasn't happened yet. I can see myself being Jeremy in this situation. In fact, I probably will be. But for now, I'm Connie and Walt. I'm looking where I've been and where I'm going. I'm sad about it, but I'm also happy. I don't know what I'm going to do about it, but I'm seventeen. Who knows the answers when they're seventeen? All I know is that as long as I'm not doing nothing, I can be happy. I am happy. And that's all I need to know for now.

I made up voice actors for FF7 today... mainly because I had nothing to do. Switched them around as I saw fit, replacing and keeping as I thought appropriate. I don't know if these would all necessarily work, because I don't know how they would sound in the particular role, but I did my best.


Cloud Strife: Steve Burton
Tifa Lockhart: Rachel Leigh Cook
Aerith Gainsborough: Mena Suvari
Cait Sith/Reeve Tuesti: Robert Atkin Downes
Red XIII/Nanaki: Christopher Meloni
Barrett Wallace: Tracy Marrow
Cid Highwind: Chris Edgerly
Vincent Valentine: Steven Blum
Yuffie Kisaragi: Amanda Bynes
Sephiroth: George Newburn
Zack Fair: Rick Gomez


Pres. Shinra: Donald Trump
Rufus Shinra: Wally Wingert
Scarlet: Shanelle Gray
Heidegger: Blake Clark
Professor Hojo: Derek Stephen Prince
Gast Faremis: Kirk Thornton
Palmer: Jack Black
Lucrecia Crescent: April Stewart
Tseng: Keith Ferguson
Rude: Crispin Freeman
Reno: Quinton Flynn
Elena: Bettina Bush


Biggs: David Gallagher
Wedge: Sean Marquette
Jessie: Mae Whitman
Marlene: Grace Rolek
Zangan: Anthony Anderson
Ifalna: Linda Larkin
Don Corneo: Linus Roache
Bugenhagen: Michael Gambon
Elmyra Gainsborough: Mariska Hargitay
Jenova: Uma Thurman

How to Melt the Snow

So I don't have that much to say about today other than:

Yesterday I took my SAT. Well, that's a story and a half. There were two clocks in the room, 10 minutes apart, so I didn't finish me essay. That and there were two sections that were just unbearably hard. But on the other hand, the rest was win because it was easy.

Today I went to Discovery (Orientation) for rehiring at Six Flags The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom. Whoo. Well, I won't be working there much because of summer school and ACC Precalculus, but I'll be getting some money.

Oh, and the snow is melting. With only five days until spring, it fucking better. But it is, and so far it's warm. I don't see any dread in the forecast, so maybe this year Spring will actually be Spring. Now, I hate global warming and stuff, but hey. It's upstate New York, and I don't care how hot it is until it gets to be June and gets too hot.

I have like 3.5 service hours for National Honor Society. I need 10 by June or I'm kicked out. And all the service things are always booked. I wonder if the dealine for the last NCBI is over. That gives me 5. I'd only need 1.5 left if I could do that. Hmm.

My life is uneventful.

How to Fail a Driver's Test

I was ready. I'd driven for over a year. I'd passed driver's ed with a 95. I'll pass.


I was totally cool-nerved on my way to the test. We stopped at a drive-thru window and I got my mom a coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.
 The drive on the way to the test was flawless. I was excited to pass and get my license. How many times have I asked for a ride and not been able to get one because other people didn't want to go? Too many times.

We get to the test location. We park behind someone. Someone parks behind me. The examiner arrives, pulling down a "No Tresspassing" road, does a 3-point turn, and parallel parks between two cars as fast as a blink of an eye. Great, I thought, a cocky bastard. Doing that to scare us, I bet.

He got out, and was smiling and using body language that implied he was in a good mood. He was rather intimidating: a 6-and-a-half-foot-tall, mid-40s African-American male holding an obnoxiously-large zip-up clipboard binder and wearing a blue boiler suit. He tested the two people before me, not changing his attitude each time he got out of the car. He climbs into my car as my mom waits on the curb.

"Hello," I say softly, getting very slightly nervous, but glad that he seems to be a nice man.

"Good morning. How are you?" the instructor replies dryly, almost deadpan.

"I'm well. How are you?" I ask politely, gathering myself. He slams the door. He doesn't answer, though I know he's heard me. Great start. He's one of those. My heart beats faster.

He instructs me to pull away from the curb. I signal. I shift gears. I lower my foot off the brake, but immediately put it back down. I put it in R, one tick too far.  never do that. We'd barely moved, but he notices.

"It's important to know your gears, young man," he says dryly, monotonously. Now, things are starting to make me dislike this man. First, I hate the term young man. Refer to me by name or don't use a title. I'm the only other one in the car, I'll know you're referring to me. Also, he's sarcastic. Normally I wouldn't mind, but he's dry. That means he isn't being sarcastic to be nice and relax me. He's just a bastard.

I may have mumbled a half-hearted "sorry," but I don't remember. It was already clear I disliked him and he disliked me. He was an ass and I wasn't dressed to be in a brothel, so we're both fucked.

I check my mirrors. I physically turn and check behind me. I pulled away from the curb safely. Well, safely for my driver's ed teacher, safely for everyone else who's ever been in a car with me, but not safe enough for whatsisfuck over there.

"You didn't check behind you again before pulling out," the examiner said. I immediately brush this off, because the last thing I did before pulling out was check the rear windshield by physically turning.

"You also didn't check your left blind spot," he criticized. I once again disregard this, as I'm in a coupe, and the "blind spot" he's referring to can't be seen in coupes. I've tried, and the only way to check it is to roll down the window and poke my head out. No matter how many points I lose for it, I'm not doing that in the freezing cold winter.

We proceed to the stop sign. I stop. I look both ways twice. I'm once again scolded for not checking my left blind spot, which given the situation was unnecessary. He scolds me for not checking behind me. I'm going to be turning right. The person behind me doesn't matter. This dude needs to get a grip.

I finish checking both ways. In the distance I see the vague outline of a vehicle coming onto a side street. It's far enough down to not be able to see the blinker and they had a stop sign, too. I continue right, because the lane I'm pulling into is completely clear. The examiner clears his throat.

Something whizzes by in the left lane. It's the garbage truck that was poking out of the side-street down the road. He had run the stop sign, and barreled past me doing seventy in a residential area.

"Now, I know he was speeding, but that was a near-accident, all because you failed to yield."

I'm livid. I hate this man. It's my fault a garbage truck ran a stop sign and proceeded to fly by me while I was mid-turn? What luck I have. If I had stalled three seconds longer, long enough to have that truck swerve onto the road, I would have actually seen that it was going to run its stop sign and would have yielded. But the actual situation wasn't my fault.

"That was a critical error, and an automatic disqualification," drones the examiner. "Parallel park behind this car."

What's the point, asshole? I already failed. Fucking sadist. I think he knows parallel parking was the only thing I couldn't do in a car. I pull it off flawlessly. He doesn't comment. He tells me to pull off and proceed forward. I do his ridiculous routine of never actually looking out the front windshield to get back into the lane. He compliments the clearly-unsafe pattern.

"Do a three-point turn here," he says. We're on the narrowest street in the neighborhood, and the snow banks extend far past the curb, making it even more narrow.  Even in this short little coupe, I wasn't sure that with the snow there would be enough room for even the most skillful three-point turn. The car was longer than the street was wide, and I couldn't believe there were two lanes.

I nearly do the three-point turn perfectly. He demands that, once again, I mustn't look out the front windshield when turning. Or any other time, apparently, as he had commented on it extensively during the two very short straight-aways I had to drive. Because of this, the front bumper slightly taps the snow bank. Had the snow not protruded two feet from the curb, I would have had plenty of room. The tires wouldn't have even been close to the curb and I would have turned magnificently. Three-point turns were my specialty, but he gave me an impossible task with that one.

"You hit the curb," the examiner states.

Actually, no, asshole. My bumper hit the snow. Or are you really that big a retard that you confuse frozen water and pavement?

"That, too, is an automatic disqualification. You have two," he says.

He orders me to go back to the street where I began. He makes me park, making sure to remind me to leave him room to get out. He attempts to make me stop right in front of a side-street, but I refuse and continue up and park on the side of the road next to the sidewalk. I'm not an asshole like him, even if it is 9:30 in the morning, I'm not going to block off an entire street with the car. Sorry, not happening.

He prints his receipt and hands it to me. I take it, without paying attention to what he has to say. My mom gets into the car. The road test lasted just over three minutes.

"So, he tells me you caused a near-accident," she says.

"He's a lying prick," I mutter, driving off. I consider flipping him off on my way home, but I figure he isn't even worth the energy to do that. He's an asshole and either simply hates me enough to give me bad instructions, or is a retard and doesn't himself know how to do anything but the little diddy he did in his own car before taking the first person out.

On my way home, I make no mistakes. I pass through a part of my town which is extremely difficult to drive in, because of the road's combination of two turns, a hill, and an abrupt speed limit decrease of 15 miles per hour while on the downhill slope. I do it perfectly. The policeman behind me seems to agree with that assessment, because his sirens stay off and I notice in my rear-view mirror that he isn't irritated in the least. So much for some peoples' opinions.

I'm retaking that road test sometime, and if I have the same prick examiner again, I'm telling him to get out of the car before we pull away from the curb.



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August 2009


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