Michael Battalio

Friday, September 22, 2006

a regular blog post

How about a regular blog post for once? Nothing that requires a dose
of ibuprofen after I've finished writing it. (I've already got
another serious topic I want to talk about, but I'll save that for
next time.) Does anyone realize that we are already a third done
with the semester? How scary is that? Enough with rhetorical
questions. A lot of people say the spring semester goes by fast. I
submit that the fall one does faster, mainly because of football
season and band. I've had one Saturday so far this semester where I
haven't been doing anything, only the second one. And while this
Saturday is an away game, I'm going on Fall retreat this afternoon.
And next Saturday is, correct me if I'm wrong, fall break I believe,
so that's a Vicksburg trip for me.

Every day during the week, I finish with classes at two, so I have
three hours to kill before band. I tend to be rather useless during
that time, watching Star Trek reruns instead of doing homework. I
have recently been offered a part time position doing website stuff
for a friend I know who works in the research park. It will just be
5-10 hours a week, a perfect amount for me. I need to e-mail the guy
I'm supposed to contact. I think I'll do that before I go to lunch.

In something completely unrelated, I've had a sore throat for the
last five days, and it's really starting to tick me off. Apparently
it's some kind of virus that's like strep throat, but that isn't, and
because it's a virus and not a bacterial infection, there isn't a
thing to do about it except wait it out. Stupid modern medicine.
This disease will not keep me from having a good time on the retreat
though. It was delightful last year, and appears to be that way
again. Nothing like a bunch of Catholics worshiping Mary.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I have recently come to the conclusion that I am too impressionable
of a person. Someone can say in passing, "well, I don't even have a
tv in my room." I then wonder what is wrong with me because I watch
an hour or two of tv a day. Someone else can say, "well, I do school
work at least a few hours everyday outside of class." I then think
I'm a lazy bum because I don't do nearly that much work each day.
Someone can brag about how much they read a day, and I feel
discouraged because somedays I don't read a single paragraph.
Someone can have a part time job and it makes me feel
unaccomplished. A few years ago I was rather proud at myself that I
really didn't care what anyone thought of me. I'm not sure what has
happened since then. Again, perhaps this has something to do with my
general lack of self esteem. I have gotten better about it recently,
but I still have a long way to go. It needs to come to the point
where not only can I say to myself I read the right amount or I do
enough school work, but I can defend myself if I am questioned about
that. Right now I would defend myself if someone were to call me
lazy, but only because one is expected to defend one's self, not
because I would actually believe what I would be saying. Fighting
for self improvement is hard place to be in college.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The big question

I find when I contemplate life and seriously think about life, I tend
to just get depressed. When I live life and not contemplate my
existence, I find I'm happier, so the question is , which would I
rather be: A self examined, depressed human being or an ignorant,
content fool. I will admit that's a bit of a false dichotomy, but is
it so much of a stretch?
For example, as I'm sure everyone knows, I wasn't in the best of
moods last semester, but then I was thinking a lot about everything.
Now, I am fantastically happy, but I haven't been thinking about
anything except school. It could have something to do with the fact
I'm so busy and have no time to think. And I seriously have to
consider, do I want to think about the universe and risk unhappiness,
or do I prefer the way I am now and can live with the risk of denying
the beauty of my ability to be self-aware? To reduce it to another
dichotomy: do I want to be a person or a trained monkey? Some
people might get a chuckle out of that, but I am really torn about
this. I want to examine my life, (Is the unexamined life worth
living?) but on the other hand I would like to enjoy life at the same
time. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the examined life is
an unhappy one. I am saying that to me, right now, it is. At the
moment though, I'm leaning towards enjoying life and thinking later.
I should enjoy college. Twenty years from now I'm not going to
remember the epiphany (unless it's a really good one) I had while I
was sitting in my room reading Aristotle, but I will remember going
out and enjoying myself. However, I can't help but feel a sense of
loss if I don't explore my existence continuously.
Another good question is why am I this way? The biggest question
some people face is which bar they are going to get drunk in
tonight. I have to decide whether or not I want to be happy. To
finish this entry I will have to point out that in examining this
question right now, I'm effectively choosing to examine my life, and
it really isn't so bad if I force myself to see the utter bliss life
has to offer. Even the hopeless vastness of the human mind will have
a hard time pulling me down then.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

a celebration

Pretend this entry was written on Sunday. That's when I meant to
write it, but being home, I was too lazy to do anything.

There are three Catholic Churches in Vicksburg. One of the older
ones, St. Mary's, celebrated its centennial this weekend. St. Mary's
is the majority black church in Vicksburg, but for whatever reason my
grandparents attended that church even though it is the farthest from
my house. So, for the first twelve or thirteen years of my life I
attended that church. I have quite the connection there. I was
baptized there and I have first communion and reconciliation there.
And because of that I felt I should attend the celebratory Mass. I
was very much in for a surprise. There were thirteen priests
celebrating. Eight of those from the Jackson diocese. (In case you
are curious, 8/72 yields over a tenth of the entire Jackson diocese
there.) Mass lasted almost two hours. And if you hadn't known it
was a Roman Catholic service, you would have guessed that we were in
some amalgam of a Pentecostal and Southern Baptist church. There
were people yelling Amen during the homily. The priest was pounding
on the pulpit. And the music was a cultural awakening of sorts, a
full choir with an older woman with a spectacular voice banging on an
old, upright, out of tune piano. The word that comes to mind is
honky tonky, the piano, not the woman. The organ was a classic,
almost stereotypical sound one would expect from a Southern, small
town black church, a lot of vibrato, a sound that echoed through the
entire church. The entire experience was something I've never been
around. I'm not sure what I don't have very many memories of the
church when I was young. But I did like it, something else to make
life interesting.

2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)