Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

The End of an Era

As I watched the colorful liquids swirl down the drain, punctuated only by the clinking of glass and unscrewing of caps, I knew that my life was taking a more serious turn. For so long our living room, both of our current apartment and the old place on Thayer, has been lit by flourescing fluids in various liquor bottles by a black light.

It was kind of an easy decision to pour them out; the entertainment center where they’d rested for at least two years was taken home when one of my roommates moved out recently, and I couldn’t remember the last time we actually turned on the black light for more than a few minutes.

Still, there was some nostalgia that flowed out with those waters. It’s odd, the bottles had become dusty and were now serving a purpose far from what they were originally intended. They were only rarely illuminated and just served as a quiet background for our lives. But when uncapped, the waters were even lusher and brighter than I had originally hoped they might be when we first pulled highlighters apart in the hopes of making something aesthetic and college-y with our empty liquor bottles.

Maybe it’s forcing the symbolism too much, but it just felt like a lot of college came pouring out with that water. So many of the memories have been covered in dust. My college enrollment has served a purpose far from what I originally anticipated it to: while it’s been an environment supportive of intellectual growth, it’s been a huge social catalyst. It’s where I first learned to come out of my shell, relax, and, in a weird way, let loose and party. That’s probably one of the greatest lessons I learned at Michigan, and it was thanks to so many people along the way that I was able to model. Those memories are not often very vividly recounted, but when they do come back, they pour out, just as vivid, and perhaps even more, than they originally were.

The beauty of memory is that it doesn’t take up space. When I was done dumping out our decorative liquor bottles I was left with no pretty water and some dull, dusty old glass that I recycled, but when I relive my college memories, the times of sadness, friendship, ennui, struggle, triumph, and realization that few experiences can be cleverly binned into a lame, trite categories, the memories flow around me, but they don’t leave me, and it will hopefully be a long time before their container is recycled.

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July 28, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , | 4 Comments

New content

From a blogging perspective it’s difficult to continue putting out content now that my daily experiences probably no longer merit blogging in the sort of descriptive, un-commented style that I prefer to write in (see old Xanga posts on first dates and Harvard interviews). Instead I may need to start actually reflecting more on the experiences, but then we run the risk of this becoming a cliched live journal type publication,  and I really don’t want this blog to head down that path.

If I might engage in a little emo-blogging for a second, maybe the fact that I don’t presently have anything blog-worthy going on in my life should actually become an impetus to put more interesting things into my life.  There’s plenty of stuff going on in Ann Arbor, and plenty of good art I could immerse myself in anyway. Maybe that can be a motivator. So…coming soon, book reviews? Chronicles of crazy adventures in the seedy underbelly of Ann Arbor? Anything you want to know about but never checked out? Help me make a to-do list of crazy/cool stuff, and I’ll do it (maybe) and write about it! Woohoo, prepare to cross the fourth wall 🙂

-Daniel

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , | Leave a comment

Stupid Mistakes

I had a nice weekend visiting some friends in Troy and then spending the 4th with my family in Milford, but that’s not what I really want to talk about.

On my way home from Milford to Ann Arbor, I got in a car accident. Although very scary at that time, it was pretty minor, involved only my car (and a guard rail), and didn’t result in any bodily harm and seemingly minor vehicular damage. Usually when I drive I have my iPhone in a holster with a bluetooth headset on, but just as I got off M-14 and was driving down the ramp in Ann Arbor my phone rang. I’d taken off my headset to better listen to a song I usually play whenever I return to the city (yeah, I’m lame, w/e), so I (foolishly) looked down for a second to grab my phone and answer. When I looked back up, I was on the left-hand shoulder, bouncing along the guard rail on the M-14 off-ramp. My reflections on my memories from the event have yielded some interesting points.

It was really surreal. I was going pretty fast, maybe 45 mph. I felt like I was just magnetically attached to that guard rail. Whenever I’d try to pull away, it’d suck me back. By the time I got unstuck I was swerving back and forth and I was struck by how true-to-life most driving games are wherein you wildly careen out of control whenever you try to turn at high speeds. I wasn’t even going that fast and I felt like I was on an oil slick. I’m pretty sure that as I veered out of control I quickly checked my rear view mirror to make sure I wasn’t going to slip in front of somebody. After discovering that my attempts at braking were being hampered by the fact that I was pounding down on the clutch and not the brake, things started to get back under control and I found my way onto a side street. Catching my breath for a few moments, I decided to drive on a short distance to a parking lot where I could inspect the damage.

The driver’s side of my car is somewhat banged up, but it’s not awful. Most of the damage seems to be cosmetic, and I’m not too worried about that. The experience is what jarred me the most. There’s this weird, survivalist mode that only gets flicked on occasionally, and usually it’s kind of fun. It was the same feeling I’ve had in the past when doing some sort of at least semi-adventurous sport and things go wrong. Whether it’s wakeboarding in the moments that you begin to lose balance before you fall, or after falling while skiing and trying to right yourself while rolling down a very steep hill in a jumbly mess of snow and blood and skis, all other thoughts are pushed out. Not that this was a near-death experience, but it totally could’ve been. If another car had been near me and hit me when I bounced off, I could’ve conceivably been killed. It’s not the gravity of the situation that’s giving me pause, it’s my failure to appreciate it in the moment. In some ways, that’s worrying, because I feel like I need to do more reflecting now, because I may not get the chance to if I meet an untimely end, but it’s also reassuring, because it seems that, so long as the end is met suddenly and violently, I will indeed not have time to adequately understand it, or maybe that just comes later in the process…

I guess that’s enough minor accident-driven, quasi-philosophical musing for one night.

I start my new job officially as a “Research Area Specialist Associate” for the University with orientation in the morning. I hope tomorrow will not be marked by the same kind of stupid mistakes that marred today.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ann Arbor in the Summer

I’ve been back in Ann Arbor for several days now and am remaining in a self-imposed quarantine from my office for one more week. I found out that I do indeed have an EB virus infection which is causing mono. Normally that’d be a bummer to find out, but in this case it’s a relief. I’ve already gone through the worst phase of it and received treatment for it, so it rules out the much scarier alternatives.

Ann Arbor seems really odd this summer. Last night we went to Top of the Park, a part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. It was pretty cool, and we saw “Raising Arizona.”

-Note: This post has been sitting in my drafts box for a while, so I’m just going to publish it and move on.

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , | Leave a comment