Friday, September 16, 2011

Part of the day

I went to the Howdy Doody about an hour ago, and the inside of the car was warm.  I drove around for a bit after that and turned on the AC, but it was blowing out hot air.  Matt had turned up the heat.  It's been a little cooler lately, and yesterday it was almost chilly when I took my walk.  Matt is working long days again, and he walks to the bus station which takes him into Dallas to the job site.  When he was telling me about his new job the other night, I mentioned the park and ride, that he could just drive the car to the bus station, but he said he would just leave it at home so I could use it. 

When I got back I started watching a BBC documentary about Hiroshima.  It consisted of interviews with the crew of the Enola Gay, and an assortment of Japanese survivors.  When I'm by myself, I tend to get pretty emotional about things, and the stories of those people choked me up.  Then I heard thunder outside, so I got up to take a look at the weather.  It had clouded over since I got back, and it was sprinkling.  I saw that the neighbor across the street had also decided to check out the weather, as he was standing on his front porch and taking it in.  I moved out to the old Escort and leaned against the back of it and let the rain sprinkle on me.  I looked around at things... to see if there were any other people, I think, and also to just take in the moment, because I love this kind of weather.  A few cars drove past and I wondered what they were up to on this day, in this weather.  A few houses down somebody got into their car and started it and left.  Somebody else rode by on a bike and hollered at the guy on the porch across the street. 

I looked at the trees directly in front of me, in the yard of the house across the street, and realized that I'd never properly noticed them before.  One is a tall and of the pine variety, with very few branches until about two thirds of the way up, where they all suddenly seem to sprout.  They looked like they were reaching out for the rain, all those spiky pine needles, thrust in every direction to catch the drops as they fell.  Another tree beside it is of the deciduous variety, and a little bit shorter.  A bush a few houses down on the left had pink flowers on it.  In the yard of my neighbor to the immediate left, there is a tree which leans toward the north somewhat.  I focused on the branches and imagined them without leaves, and then marveled at how much form those thin little wisps give to the tree. 

There are so many things in life that I never even notice, little wondrous things.  Before this minute, I couldn't have told anyone about that pine tree across the street.  I didn't even know it existed, but I've lived in close proximity with it for the past four years.  Four years of not even noticing another living thing that I shared air and rain and space with.  I marveled in a form of quiet fascination and dismay at my own ego and self centeredness.

Later I was back in the house and it was dark because of the storm that moved in.  In the hallway, it was silent.  The air conditioners are all turned off today.  It was just dark, and silent, and then the thunder rolled again, gently, and muffled.  Nothing moved, and all was silent except for fading sound of the distant thunder.  In the still half-light of the hall, I realized at that moment that peace isn't something you ever attain, it's just something you experience now and then.

Unused Audio Commentary By Howard Zinn And Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002 For The Fellowship Of The Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) Dvd. Part One.

By Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell

If anyone reads this and can't continue life without more of it, here are links to the rest of it.  It continues in part two of The Fellowship of the Ring, and then The Return of the King in four parts.  I guess they never did The Two Towers.


Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. “The world has changed,” she tells us, “I can feel it in the water.” She’s actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

Zinn: Of course. “The world has changed.” I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn’t changed. Not at all.

Chomsky: We should examine carefully what’s being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the “master ring,” the so-called “one ring to rule them all,” is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor.

Zinn: I think that’s correct. Tolkien makes no attempt to hide the fact that rings are wielded by every other ethnic enclave in Middle Earth. The Dwarves have seven rings, the Elves have three. The race of Man has nine rings, for God’s sake. There are at least 19 rings floating around out there in Middle Earth, and yet Sauron’s ring is supposedly so terrible that no one can be allowed to wield it. Why?

Chomsky: Notice too that the “war” being waged here is, evidently, in the land of Mordor itself — at the very base of Mount Doom. These terrible armies of Sauron, these dreadful demonized Orcs, have not proved very successful at conquering the neighboring realms — if that is even what Sauron was seeking to do. It seems fairly far-fetched.

Zinn: And observe the map device here — how the map is itself completely Gondor-centric. Rohan and Gondor are treated as though they are the literal center of Middle Earth. Obviously this is because they have men living there. What of places such as Anfalas and Forlindon or Near Harad? One never really hears anything about places like that. And this so-called map casually reveals other places — the Lost Realm, the Northern Waste (lost to whom? wasted how? I ask) — but tells us nothing about them. It is as though the people who live in these places are despicable, and unworthy of mention. Who is producing this tale? What is their agenda? What are their interests and how are those interests being served by this portrayal? Questions we need to ask repeatedly.

Chomsky: And here comes Bilbo Baggins. Now, this is, to my mind, where the story begins to reveal its deeper truths. In the books we learn that Saruman was spying on Gandalf for years. And he wondered why Gandalf was traveling so incessantly to the Shire. As Tolkien later establishes, the Shire’s surfeit of pipe-weed is one of the major reasons for Gandalf’s continued visits.

Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

Zinn: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire’s pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor’s unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

Chomsky: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf’s pipe-weed ring. He’s trying to divert it.

Zinn: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf’s interest to keep Middle Earth hooked.

Chomsky: How do you think these wizards build gigantic towers and mighty fortresses? Where do they get the money? Keep in mind that I do not especially regard anyone, Saruman included, as an agent for progressivism. But obviously the pipe-weed operation that exists is the dominant influence in Middle Earth. It’s not some ludicrous magical ring.

Zinn: You’ve mentioned in the past the various flavors of pipe-weed that Hobbits have cultivated: Gold Leaf, Old Toby, etc.

Chomsky: Nothing better illustrates the sophistication of the smuggling ring than the fact that there are different brand names associated with the pipe-weed. Ah, here we have Gandalf smoking a pipe in his wagon — the first of many clues that link us to the hidden undercurrents of power.

Zinn: Gandalf is deeply implicated. That’s true. And of course the ring lore begins with him. He’s the one who leaks this news of the supposed evil ring.

Chomsky: Now here, just before Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party, we can see some of the symptoms of addiction. We are supposed to attribute Bilbo’s tiredness, his sensation of feeling like too little butter spread out on a piece of bread, to this magical ring he supposedly has. It’s clear something else may be at work, here.

Zinn: And soon Gandalf is delighting the Hobbits with his magic. Sauron’s magic is somehow terrible but Gandalf’s, you’ll notice, is wonderful.

Chomsky: And note how Gandalf’s magic is based on gunpowder, on explosions.

Zinn: Right.

Chomsky: And it is interesting, too, that Gandalf’s so-called magic is technological, and yet somehow technology seems to be what condemns Saruman’s enterprises, as well as those of the Orcs.

Zinn: Exactly.

Chomsky: But we will address that later. Here we have Pippin and Merry stealing a bunch of fireworks and setting them off. This might be closer to the true heart of the Hobbits.

Zinn: You mean the Hobbits’ natural inclination?

Chomsky: I think the Hobbits are criminals, essentially.

Zinn: It also seems incredibly irresponsible for Gandalf to have a firework that powerful just sitting in the back of his wagon.

Chomsky: More of his smoke and mirrors, yes? Gandalf conjures the dragon Smaug to scare the people.

Zinn: One can always delight the little people with explosions.

Chomsky: As long as they’re blowing up somewhere else. Now we come to Bilbo’s disappearance. Again, we have to question the validity of the ring, and the magic powers attributed to it. Did Bilbo Baggins really disappear at his party, or is this some kind of mass hallucination attributable to a group of intoxicated Hobbits? When forced to consider so-called magic compared to the hallucinatory properties of a known narcotic, Occam’s Razor would indicate the latter as a far more plausible explanation.

Zinn: I also think it is a spectacular display of bad manners to disappear at your own birthday party. And here, for the first time, Gandalf speaks to Bilbo about magic rings. Still, it is never clearly established why this one ring is so powerful. Everything used to justify that belief is legendary.

Chomsky: Gandalf is clearly wondering if it’s time to invoke his plan for the supposed revelation concerning the secret magic ring. Why now? Well, I think it’s because the people in Mordor — the Orcs, I’m speaking of — are starting to obtain some power, are starting to ask a little bit more from Middle Earth than Middle Earth has ever seen fit to give to them. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to expect something back from Middle Earth. Of course, if that happened, the entire economy would be disrupted.

Zinn: The pipe-weed-based economy.

Chomsky: And, as you pointed out earlier, the military-industrial-complex that exists in Gondor. This constant state of alertness. This constant state of fear. And here Gandalf reveals his true nature.

Zinn: Indeed. Gandalf darkens the room and yells at poor Bilbo for rightfully accusing him of trying to steal his ring. It is abundantly obvious that Gandalf wants to steal the ring. But if he is caught with the ring himself, his pretext will dissolve. He needs to throw as much plausible deniability into his scheme as possible, which is why, later, he has Frodo carry the ring for him.

Chomsky: Gandalf knows the ring is powerless. It’s interesting that he attaches so much importance to it and yet will not pick it up himself. This is because he knows that merely possessing the worthless ring will not help his cause. It’s important to keep others thinking that it can. If Gandalf held the ring, he might be asked to do something with it. But its magic is nonexistent.

Zinn: Well, power needs to have its proxies. That way the damage is always deniable. As long as the Hobbits have the ring, no one will ever question the plot Gandalf has hatched. So here is the big scary ring, and all that happens when Gandalf moves to touch it is that he sees a big flaming eye. And notice it is a… different kind of eye — not like our eye.

Chomsky: Almost a cat-like eye.

Zinn: It’s on fire. Somehow being an on-fire eye is this terrible thing in the minds of those in Middle Earth. I think this is a way of telling others in Middle Earth to be ashamed of their eyes. And of course you see the Orcs’ eyes are all messed up, too. They’re this terrible color. And what does Gandalf tell Frodo about the ring? “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

Chomsky: “Let’s leave the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth with a weak little Hobbit, a race known for its chattering and intoxication, and tell him to keep it a secret.”

Zinn: Right. And here we receive our first glimpse of the supposedly dreadful Mordor, which actually looks like a fairly functioning place.

Chomsky: This type of city is most likely the best the Orcs can do if all they have are cliffs to grow on. It’s very impressive, in that sense.

Zinn: Especially considering the economic sanctions no doubt faced by Mordor. They must be dreadful. We see now that the Black Riders have been released, and they’re going after Frodo. The Black Riders. Of course they’re black. Everything evil is always black. And later Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White. Have you noticed that?

Chomsky: The most simplistic color symbolism.

Zinn: And the writing on the ring, we learn here, is Orcish — the so-called “black speech.” Orcish is evidently some spoliation of the language spoken in Rohan. This is what Tolkien says.

Chomsky: From what I understand, Orcish is a patois that the Orcs developed during their enslavement by Rohan, before they rebelled and left.

Zinn: Well, supposedly the Orcs were first bred by “the dark power of the north in the elder days.” Tolkien says that “Orc” comes from the Mannish word tark, which means “man of Gondor.”

Chomsky: Shameless really.

Zinn: Gandalf mentions the evil stirring in Mordor. That’s all he has to say. “It’s evil.” He doesn’t elaborate on what’s going on in Mordor, what the people are going through. They’re evil because they’re there.

Chomsky: I think the fact that we never actually see the enemy is quite damning. Then again, Gandalf is the greatest storyteller of all. He weaves the tales that strand Middle Earth in this state of perpetual conflict.

Zinn: He is celebrated on one hand as a great statesman, a wise man, and viewed by the people who understand the role that he actually plays as a dangerous lunatic and a war criminal. And you will notice that Gandalf’s war pitch hits its highest note when the Black Riders arrive in Hobbiton. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Chomsky: This is the Triumph of the Will.

Zinn: And now Frodo and Sam are joined by Merry and Pippin, as they finally escape the Shire. They’re being chased by the Black Riders. Again, if these Black Riders are so fearsome, and they can smell the ring so lividly, why don’t they ever seem able to find the Hobbits when they’re standing right next to them?

Chomsky: Well, they’re on horseback.

Zinn: Right.

Chomsky: This episode in Bree should cause us to ask, too, how much Frodo knows about the conspiracy. He seems to be piecing it together a little bit. I think at first he’s an unwitting participant, fooled by Gandalf’s propaganda.

Zinn: I’m much more suspicious of Frodo than you are. I’ve always viewed him as one of the most malevolent actors in this drama, precisely because of how he abets people like Gandalf. He uses a fake name, Mr. Underhill, just as Gandalf goes by several names: Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, the White Rider. Strider is also Aragorn, is also Estel, is also Elessar, is also Dunadan. He has all these identities.

Chomsky: We call those aliases today.

Zinn: But is Sauron ever anything but Sauron? Is Saruman ever anything but Saruman?

Chomsky: And now, with Frodo in the midst of a hallucinogenic, paranoid state, we meet Strider.

Zinn: Note that the first thing he starts talking about is the ring. “That is no trinket you carry.” A very telling irony, that. It is the kind of irony that Shakespeare would use. It is something Iago might say. And did you hear that? “Sauron the Deceiver.” That is what Strider, the ranger with multiple names, calls Sauron. A ranger. I believe today we call them serial killers.

Chomsky: Or drug smugglers.

Zinn: And notice how Strider characterizes the Black Riders. “Neither living nor dead.” Why, that’s a really useful enemy to have.

Chomsky: Yes. In this way you can never verify their existence, and yet they’re horribly terrifying. We should not overlook the fact that Middle Earth is in a cold war at this moment, locked in perpetual conflict. Strider’s rhetoric serves to keep fear alive.

Zinn: You’ve spoken to me before about Mordor’s lack of access to the mineral wealth that the Dwarves control.

Chomsky: If we’re going to get into the socio-economic reasons why certain structures develop in certain cultures… it’s mainly geographical. We have Orcs in Mordor — trapped, with no mineral resources — hemmed in by the Ash Mountains, where the “free peoples” of Middle Earth can put a city, like Osgiliath, and effectively keep the border closed.

Zinn: Don’t forget the Black Gate. The Black Gate, which, as Tolkien points out, was built by Gondor. And now we jump to the Orcs chopping down the trees in Isengard.

Chomsky: A terrible thing the Orcs do here, isn’t it? They destroy nature. But again, what have we seen, time and time again?

Zinn: The Orcs have no resources. They’re desperate.

Chomsky: Desperate people driven to do desperate things.

Zinn: Desperate to compete with the economic powerhouses of Rohan and Gondor.

Chomsky: Who really knows their motive? Maybe this is a means to an end. And while that might not be the best philosophy in the world, it makes the race of Man in no way superior. They’re going to great lengths to hold onto their power. Two cultures locked in conflict over power, with one culture clearly suffering a great deal. I think sharing power and resources would have been the wisest approach, but Rohan and Gondor have shown no interest in doing so. Sometimes, revolution must be —

Zinn: Mistakes are often —

Chomsky: Blood must be shed. I forget what Thomas Jefferson —

Zinn: He said that blood was the —

Chomsky: The blood of tyrants —

Zinn: The blood of tyrants —

Chomsky: — waters the tree of —

Zinn: — revolution.

Chomsky: — freedom. Or revolution. Something like that.

Zinn: I think that’s actually very, very close.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Song lyrics

First things first.  I passed an old lady today when I was out walking, with her head buried in a book, just like I'm always doing.  But I didn't have my book with me!  I had decided to just listen to music today as I walked.  Dammit!  That would have been perfect, to pass a fellow Book Walker.  I imagine that we would have nodded casually to each other, both of us content in our own knowledge of the secret to paradise on Earth.

So anywho.  As I said a few sentences ago, I was out walking today and listening to an old mp3 player, one that had been lost for about 4 years.  I found it when I was digging through the dark depths of the corners of my room the other day, looking for something or another.  It has a bunch of old Pearl Jam songs on it that I haven't heard in years, along with a bunch of other music I had been really into at the time.  I'm not supposed to post song lyrics here according to my own rule, but these ones are important in that I identify strongly with them. And after all, it's all about me, isn't it?  No?  It isn't?  Well, I can pretend.

These are all Pearl Jam songs.  This first one pretty much speaks for itself.  And for me, too.


I wish I was a neutron bomb for once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
The Christmas tree I wish I was the star that went on top
I wish I was the evidence I wish I was the grounds
For 50 million hands upraised and open toward the sky

I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me
I wish I was as fortunate as fortunate as me
I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down
I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up
I wish I wish I wish I wish I guess it never stops.


I didn't realize this one was about suicide until today.  The guy in the song pretty much describes me, all except the part at the end when he checks out.  I've spent far too much time in my life thinking about it, though.  And I've actually done the sitting in the car bit, listening to the radio, and watching people as they arrive home and pull up to their houses at the end of the day.

"Sleight of Hand"

Routine was the theme. He'd wake up, wash, and pour himself into uniform.
Something he hadn't imagined being.
As the merging traffic passed, he found himself staring down at his own hands.
Not remembering the change. Not recalling the plan. Was it?

He was okay, but wondering about wandering.
Was it age, by consequence, or was he moved by sleight of hand?

Mondays were made to fall. Lost on a road he knew by heart.
It was like a book he read in his sleep. Endlessly.
Sometimes he hid in the radio, watching others pull into their homes.
While he was drifting.

On a line of his own. Off the line of the side. By the by.
As dirt turned to sand. As if moved by sleight of hand.

When he reached the shore of his clip on world, he resurfaced to the norm.
Organized his few things. His coat and keys.
And he knew realizations would have to wait.
Till he had more time. More time.

A time to dream to himself. He waves goodbye to his self.
I'll see you on the other side.
Another man moved by slight of hand.


This one is about addiction.  When you're high, truly, nothing is as it seems.  It's a big, beautiful lie.

"Nothing as it Seems"

Don't feel like home. He's a little out.
And all these words alone, it's nothing like your poem.
Putting in. Inputting in. Don't feel like methadone.
A scratching voice all alone.  It's nothing like your baritone.

It's nothing as it seems. The little that he needs, it's home.
The little that he sees is nothing, he concedes. It's home.

One uninvited chromosome. A blanket like the ozone.

It's nothing as it seems. All that he needs, it's home.
The little that he frees is nothing, he believes.

Saving up a sunny day. Something maybe two tone.
Anything of his own. A chip off the corner stone.
Who's kidding? Rainy day. A one way ticket headstone.
Occupations overthrown. A whisper through a megaphone.

It's nothing as it seems. The little that he needs, it's home.
The little that he sees is nothing he conceives. It's home.
And all that he frees, a little bittersweet... it's home.
It's nothing as it seems. The little that you see, it's home.


And this one is about love and pain in relationships, with a lot of dysfunction thrown in.  Mostly I identify with the pleading pain.  The implied violence, abuse and control drama is something I've seen a lot of in other relationships.


Oh please don't go out on me,
Don't go on me now
Never acted up before,
Don't go on me now
I swear I never took it for granted,
Just thought of it now
Suppose I abused you,
Just passing it on

Once passive, servile,
Now you're getting sharp
Moving oh so swiftly,
With such disarm
I pulled the covers over head,
Should've pulled the alarm
Turned to my nemesis,
A fool not a fucking god

Don't go on me

Go...  fuck...  blood...  touch...  burn... 
Oh...  time...  tunnel vision... search...  turn...

Please, please, please...
Don't go on me
Don't you want me...
Don't go on me
Don't go on me

I'll add more as I think of them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh, this is funny.

Third shift showed up and we counted the drawers, and I put everything in the MOT, and then I announced to everybody in general that I was going into the cooler to stock it up, as I usually do.  As I was heading that way, I heard from the office, Olivia's distant voice - "Bye, honey!"  Cracked me up. She's a sweetie.  She made some meatloaf and brought some to work today for me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday and today

Yesterday sucked.  One customer called me a liar when I told her that I wasn't purposefully trying to give her a hard time by not letting her pay with just her credit card numbers, and no actual credit card.  Manual entry doesn't work on those registers anyway.  I tried to explain that to her, and she didn't believe that either.  Later a guy called me an asshole because I wouldn't accept his torn up, peeling, expired North Carolina ID to buy alcohol. I wouldn't let his friend buy beer either after that, because they were together, and that's a frikin state law.  I tried to explain that to his friend, and he called me an asshole too.  I bought one of those 24 oz Steel Reserve beers and took off walking straight after work with a book and a flashlight and an mp3 player.  It's getting cooler now, and walking season is officially open, I think.  I walked around last night until 3:00 am, and it did me some good.  I missed walking and reading, it's been so hot that I couldn't stand it.  While I was walking, I was traversing a dry creek bed.  It was really cool... the embankment walls were about 8 feet high, and being down in it was like walking through a mini-canyon.  It was fun.  While down there, I came across a rabbit trap somebody had set.  It was a cage with a mechanism of pulleys and wires, leading to a metal trap door, with carrots clustered together at the end of the cage.  Well, I couldn't resist, so I picked up a stick and started pushing against the pressure plate, and clickity ka-chunk, the door popped shut.  No rabbit inside, though... somebody is gonna be irritated.  I also marveled at the brightness of the full moon, and how it illuminated everything.  I read once that the surface of Titan would be lit about as brightly as a night on Earth under a full moon.  I imagined I was on Titan, slogging through a slurry of frozen hydrocarbon slush and ammonia rain, with everything having a reddish cast instead of blueish.  At one point I tried to spot the supernova that had recently erupted in the pinwheel galaxy.  I knew it was near the handle of the big dipper, but I couldn't find it, which I thought was weird.  I can always spot the big dipper.  So, I hunted around for the little dipper, and from there tried to work my way towards the big dipper, because you can draw a straight line from the front two stars of the big dipper to the pole star.  Well, that wasn't successful at all, and I began to grow really frustrated... until I realized I was looking at the pleiades, and not the little dipper.  They do look kind of similar, but I kicked myself anyway.  I know the frikin pleiades, or the seven sisters as they're also known.  I felt like a right retard.  I still couldn't find the big dipper though, which was even weirder.  I did spot Orion rising at about 2:45 though.

Today, work was much better than yesterday.  Mostly because this one girl came into the store and wouldn't shut up about how gorgeous I am.  She said I was the cutest one who worked there, and she kept calling me gorgeous after that.  'Hey gorgeous, how much is this?  Thanks, gorgeous.  Hey gorgeous, are you married?  Isn't he the cutest?  Doesn't he have gorgeous hair?'  This got embarrassing, as she was saying it loudly and to other customers too.  It was still kind of fun though, and made me feel good.  And Matt (a guy I work with, not my brother) invited me to a dress up party.  The theme is 'rock star', and everybody shows up dressed like their favorite genre of rock.  I don't know if I'll go, or even be able to.  It's on Saturday night a few weeks from now, and I have vigil on those nights, and church early the next morning.  Plus, I don't know how I'd get there, what with the car situation.  Still, it was nice to be invited, and I wouldn't even have to dress up if I went... I'd just go as myself.  Mr. Grunge.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sick of this.

Last night I came home from vigil and went into my room and plopped down to read.  Matt came in a few minutes later and asked me if I wanted to go to Mr. Chopstix with him.  I declined, as I wasn't hungry and it was late, and I was tired.  He didn't say anything and went to his room.

About 20 minutes later, he came back into my room and I was on my computer, watching the appendix DVD's to The Lord of the Rings.  He stood there for a second and then asked, "Is that all you're doing?" 

I have to confess to being a little confused as to the question.  Was what all I'm doing?  Watching a movie?  Yeah.  "I'm watching a movie," I replied

"What else have you got going on?"  I then realized what he was beating around the bush about.  I was currently downloading a movie, and that tends to take up a lot of bandwidth and he was having trouble streaming a movie on his laptop.  Or so I assumed, since when he's not working he lies in bed in his room and watches streaming video.  He's also gotten into the habit of just unplugging my internet cable from the modem without even telling me.

"Oh, yeah, I'm downloading a movie.  That's slowing everything down, probably.  I'll stop it."  I closed the download program.  Matt continued to stand in my doorway.

"Do you know what bandwidth is?" he asked.  Do wha?  What in the heck did he mean by that?  He knows that I know what bandwidth is.  I had no idea why he was asking me that.  I looked at him for a few seconds, trying to figure out if he was joking.  He said, "When you download, it eats up the bandwidth.  We only have so much bandwidth."

"Of course I know what bandwidth is, I'm not retarded," I said to him.  "I just can't figure out if you're trying to be sarcastic, or what."

"When you say something like 'it slows everything down', it sounds like you don't know anything, like you're just ignorant.

I had no idea why he was being an asshole all of a sudden, but I didn't feel like arguing with him, so I just ignored him and went back to watching my movie. 

About a half hour later, I realized that I didn't have any cash to give to the church the next day.  I needed to drive up to the Wells Fargo ATM and withdraw some, so I started hunting around for the keys.  First off, let me preface what is about to happen by saying that Matt has been using mom's car for the past couple of months for work, so when he's not actually working, it's convenient to have a car here for when I need to run to the store.  So, I was looking for the keys, and I couldn't find them.  I peekeed into Matt's room and saw them lying on his bedside table near the door, so I picked them up and said, "I need to take the car for a second so I run up to an ATM and get some cash."

He gave me a look of pure hostility and said, "THE car.  You're taking THE car, right?"

Oh boy, here we go again, I thought.  "Uh... yeah, that's what I said.  I didn't say MY car.  It's mom's car."  I though that maybe he'd thought that I'd said 'my' car, and that it had irked him, since it wasn't 'my' car. 

"Whatever.  THE car."

I had no idea why he was being so overtly hostile, when just an hour before he'd offered to get us dinner at Mr. Chopstix.  I was starting to get a little upset, and he was making me feel like I needed to explain myself, so I said, "I need to get some cash for church tomorrow..."

"I don't give a fuck what you need to do.  Why should I care about that?  What the fuck has that got to do with me?  I don't give a shit about that or whatever it is that you need to do."  He said this to me like he was talking to a piece of shit; that anything I had to say to him wasn't worthy of his attention.  That got me genuinely upset.

"What crawled up your ass?" I said.  He just sat there on his bed and glared up at me.  He didn't say anything, so I said, "Somethings pissing you off.  What is it?  What did I do?"  He still didn't reply.  "What?  What did I do?"

"You did know that I'm buying that car from mom, right?"

No, I didn't know that.  It was news to me.  But now everything made sense... kind of.  He was pissed off because I had been in the habit of just up and taking 'his car' when I needed to run an errand.  There was something more to it than that though, because even if it was his car, and it was a known fact that it was his car, he wouldn't have gotten upset about me taking it unless he was pissed off about something else.  He'd never gotten upset before when I took the car for a 5 or 10 minute hop to the store.  Why is that something to get upset about anyway?  I don't know.  Like I said, I think there was more to it, but I don't know what.

"No, I didn't know that."

"Well, now you do."

I tossed the keys to him and said, "Fuck it, I'll just walk."

He gave me a really shitty smile.  "Sounds like a great idea to me!  You do that!"  I walked away from his door and went into the bathroom.  He called after me.  "Why don't you have a car, anyway?"

"You're an asshole," I said, and shut the bathroom door.

"You're always relying on other people, mooching off people.  Why are you always depending on others for everything?  Why can't you just depend on yourself for a change?"

This had the effect of pissing me right off.  I opened the bathroom door.  Matt was lying in bed with his head turned toward me, with a FUCK YOU snarl plastered across his face.  I was incredulous.  What the hell was going on?  There wasn't any reason for any of this.

"I can't believe you're saying that to me," I said.  "I paid all of the bills, all of the rent, everything for two months while you just moped around the house and sat in your room all day, not even looking for a job.  I didn't mind!  And now you're using mom's car so you can work.  If it weren't for mom, you'd be up shit creek, so who's depending on who?  What the fuck is this shit?"

"And I paid all of that back to you!" he said.

"That's not my point.  I didn't mind paying for everything, and I didn't give a flip if you ever even paid me back at all.  What I take issue with is you telling me that I have to depend on everybody, and implying that I especially have to depend on you."  I slammed the bathroom door.

I still don't understand what the hell happened.  Maybe he felt irked because I didn't want to go to Mr. Chopstix with him.  I don't know.  He's like a selfish, spoiled asshole little kid.  I just want my own place, and to be away from him.  I'm sick of this shit.