Dear Reader,

When I first started this blog less than a month ago, I tried to make a post every single day.  Not that I had any followers or any party that was expressly interested in what I had to say, but because committing a part of myself to this blog was something that made me feel a little more productive in these last couple of summer months.  But with the fall semester starting soon and me starting a new internship, writing posts will continue to prove more difficult as the weeks go by.  That being said, I’m making a promise to myself here and now to still post something, whether it be short or lengthy, when I have the time and inspiration to do so.

[Insert terrible segue]  If I could, I would spend more time on this blog writing short stories of some sort.  There isn’t much stopping me from doing so but my own inability to concentrate on a piece of writing long enough without getting overly frustrated.  And unfortunately, the inspiration to write is a very fleeting feeling for me as it always springs up from inside at the most inopportune times, and dissipates by the time I can actually sit down to write.  What’s even more unfortunate for me is the same fleeting inspiration to make a piece of art, whether it be sketching or painting or making shapes on my computer at random (that last one being a joke).  Not only do I lack the motivation to do it at the right times, but I’m a bit of a defeatist about the whole issue.  Sometimes I am just unable to get past the feeling of not being a good enough artist in comparison to the millions of better artists out there in the world with more natural talent than I could ever hope to possess.  (And before anyone starts thinking that I’m fishing for compliments, I’m really not.  I can remember quite clearly all of the times I failed at anything art related when I was younger and had to be bailed out with the help of either my father or my sister.)

But whether you call it a character flaw or something along the same lines, I have the tendency to gravitate towards the things that I’m originally terrible at.  (Whether this is because I genuinely enjoy the subject or because I have the need to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do anything has become a line so fine that it is difficult to separate.)  So not only do I have no one else to blame but myself for the career predicaments that I have placed myself in, but I have to strive to succeed in various fields that I have taken a liking to that I am terrible at in comparison to most.  At times like this, I wonder how much easier life would have been if I had decided that my dream was to become a successful CEO, a doctor, or an accountant.  Sigh.
– Jon

It’s Just Bad Business

Dear Reader,

There have been a lot of talk and debate recently regarding the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A and its endorsing of organizations that have been classified as anti-gay.  On the one hand, supporters of gay rights and equality argue that such actions are unacceptable, especially for a national food chain that is located in just about every State and should cater to all, because by donating money to anti-gay organizations, they are in support of keeping natural human rights away from a particular group of people.  On the flip side, Chick-fil-A and supporters of the restaurant argue that it’s a matter of freedom of speech and as a privately owned company, that they have the right to endorse any organization they wish.  So which argument makes more sense?

If I were to judge the situation based on logic alone, then Chick-fil-A has a point.  They are a privately held and family owned business, and as such, they technically have no obligations to appease the public by giving funds to organizations that they don’t personally support themselves.  They have the right to do what they want with their money and they have the right to voice their opinions.  Would it have been nice if these organizations they were funding weren’t trying to exclude others and simply were devoted to bettering society (i.e. feeding the homeless, children’s organizations, cancer organizations, etc.)?  Sure.  But the matter of fact is that they’re not.  If the restaurant was located solely in Georgia, then no one would really care what organizations they help fund.  But when you think about the fact that Chick-fil-As are located in States that are also pro-equality and have passed laws in support of gay marriage, then what should be a private matter to the restaurant becomes a matter open for discussion like it is now.  There are no laws that I know of that state that organizations have to abide by the same beliefs as the State they are in, but they do have an unwritten social responsibility to think about.  Though Chick-fil-A doesn’t outrightly say so themselves, they are essentially supporting organizations that promote hate within our society toward a particular group.  Let’s face it.  If the restaurant were drawing swastikas on their sandwiches and promoting antisemitism or the like, this situation would probably be a bigger issue than it currently is.  But it’s kind of in the same grouping whether or not people like to believe it is.   Why would you classify one as hate but the other as freedom of speech?

So the solution?  The way I see it, either Chick-fil-A gives in and retains a neutral position in such politically charged matters OR they retreat out of states that have high percentages of pro-equality populations.  If the owners of the restaurant do insist on funding anti-gay organizations, then they should just make the company publicly owned and give whatever money they want to whomever they want using their own personal finances rather than in association with the Chick-fil-A brand.  That’s why they say business and personal shouldn’t mix.


Contradicting Feelings

Dear Reader,

I was watching the delayed Olympic events on NBC, and though I’ve known for hours that Jordan Weiber did not qualify for the all-around finals for women’s gymnastics, it was still heartbreaking to see it on television.  Her face.  Her tears.  And what’s worse is that in an attempt to escape the press, she was told that it was something she had to do–standard procedure, if you will, for all competitors that are partaking in an event of this magnitude.

And that leads me to a question that I have yet to find the answer to myself.  Is there a proper way to feel or to react when you’ve lost something dear to a close friend?  In this situation for instance, where you feel happy for them, yet can’t help but to be swept up in the overwhelming sadness and disappointment that you feel for yourself. On the one hand, the answer is no, in the sense that one should be allowed to act and feel the way they actually feel on the inside.  If you’re feeling sad, then you should have the right to feel sad until you can come to terms with the situation.  However, in times like this, social procedure says, “Yes.  There is a proper way to react.”  It calls for you to put on a brave face and congratulate your friend and fellow competitor on their victory.  And this doesn’t just apply strictly to times when you’re on national television or in any public social situation.  This social norm has long since been embedded into our minds as the “right” way to feel, lest you want to be considered a bad friend or a sore loser.

And that’s what I personally end up doing.  I harbor any bad feelings I have, stuff in a box, and bury it deep inside my heart.  But truth be told, those bad feelings just never go away when you do that because even if they aren’t at the forefront of your thoughts, they have a knack for coming back from the dead to haunt you every time you reach your hand into the depths of sadness.  Talk about being emotionally unhealthy…
– Jon


Who Said Games Are Bad For You?

Dear Reader,

Recently, I was reminded of a very important life lesson: that there’s always a chance of success if you continue to persist and turn over every stone that you can find.  Surprisingly, I became reacquainted with this saying through a gaming app on my Android phone while searching for treasures that I needed to collect and was unable to obtain.  Yes that’s right, I said gaming app.  And it came no sooner than when I was feeling rather defeated by the impossible task of trying to find an internship for the coming semester.  Maybe I found it because I was looking for it, but many good things can actually come from those video games and television shows that our parents kept telling us to stop playing or watching when we were kids.

Violent video games can, on the one hand, encourage violence when life imitates art, but violent video games can also serve as great outlets for people to de-stress and expend the buried anger in a way that doesn’t actually harm anyone or anything in real life.  The same goes for a television show that makes you laugh, yell or cry.  They represent safe emotional outlets that are needed to keep anyone as sane as they can be on a daily basis.  Shows that are based in satire, for instance, are especially useful in bringing the viewers’ attention to different social issues that they might not be aware of, and make people talk about issues that they might otherwise prefer to hide under a rug.

I am far from being an expert on parenting, but maybe it’s better to teach children to play games and watch television in a useful way rather than just shielding them from things that they world will eventually present to them.

– Jon

Does Originality Still Exist?

Dear Reader,

Plagiarism is a tricky thing.  Because we all run on similar social and moral standards, most of us try to avoid committing plagiarism since it’s the wrong thing to do.  We have more respect for our fellow man than to wrongfully claim their intellectual property as our own.  That being said, I have to confess that it’s sometimes difficult to draw the line between what we would consider plagiarism and what we would consider an original thought.

I bring this up because I recently learned that “Prince of the Clouds” is the title of a book by an Italian author by the name of Gianni Riotta.  A book that was published about a decade ago halfway across the world.  Though it might be possible that over the last decade since I was thirteen, I could have glimpsed the title of the book somewhere in the public sphere and for it to have been recordeed in my memory, locked away in a cavern somewhere deep inside until the it made its way out during my process of determining a blog name, the idea just sounds a little bit farfetched.  But the point is that when I had conceived the name of this blog (theprinceoftheclouds), it was just a concoction of words that I had pulled out of thin air–a string of words that I had no direct affiliation with that I thought sounded quite nice together.  It was just a RANDOM string of words that I felt represented myself at the time.  Though I wouldn’t regard a blog name vs. a book name really something that would make the plagiarism bells go off, it still presents the question of coincidence vs. unintentional plagiarism (if such a thing exists).  Is it still considered an original thought if the intention was to be original, only to later find out that it has already been conceived at some point in time in the past, somewhere in the world?  (A question that seems to come up a lot when it comes to music as well.)

– Jon

The Prince of the Clouds

Dear Reader,

If you’ve noticed (and hopefully you have), there is a new addition to my page–a prince of sorts specifically illustrated for this username.  Though I would have optimally liked to portray it in a neater and more consistent manner, the use of a background image in this WordPress theme seems to adjust itself in weird ways as the resolution of the screen changes across computer units.  So depending on whether you have a large screen or a small screen, a Mac or a PC, or even if you’re viewing the page with Firefox or Chrome (cause no one seems to use Internet Explorer anymore), you’ll get to see a varied amount of my illustration, ranging from the full body down to the cloud, or only the tip of the crown.  Even though the image keeps changing in size, the ones that I’ve seen so far are still quite adorable, with eyes peeking out from below or just a portion of the head popping out (I’m pretty sure there’s a that’s what (s)he said in there somewhere…).

But for now, let’s welcome the Prince of the Clouds because he is here to stay!

– Jon

My Dark Plot

Dear Reader,

Do you ever think about your own life as if it were some sort of a story?

What role do you play in it?

Whenever I put myself into some sort of storybook setting, it seems that I end up the hero of my own story, albeit sometimes a tragic hero.  It may be just human to think of myself as the hero of my story, but I seem to follow a specific path when I visualize myself in these fictional situations.  I’m never that hero that battles evil all the way through and triumphs at the very end.  Instead, I seem to visualize my own role as the main character that slips into the dark side at some point and only becomes the hero of the story and saves everyone towards the end when I somehow rejoin the good in order to fight the evil.  More often than not though, my story seems stalled at the point of my battling the good guys and triumphing for the dark side.  I seem to get lost when it comes to figuring out what exactly happens in order to pull me back to the light.  Is it the near-death of a friend that makes me realize where I should stand?  Does someone really dear to me somehow reason me back into the light?  It’s difficult to say… but it might be interesting to finally see how the plot line proceeds when the time comes…

– Jon

The Inability to Escape

Dear Reader,

Do you dream?

I’m not talking about the wacky, crazy sex dreams that you have when you fall asleep at night, or the enticingly romantic daydreams that you have in the middle of the day.  Just dreams of things you’ve always wanted to do.  Some of them attainable, others just out there and destined to remain a dream forever.

I have something like that. It might sound terrible of me to say what it is, especially for those of you that have good relations with your families, but what I’ve always wanted to do since I graduated Junior High was to run away.  From home, from my parents, from all the sadness that I was feeling at the time, and all the things that didn’t seem to go the way I wanted it to.  And even though the past is the past, and I’ve gotten over (for the most part) the problems that I had back then, running away is still one of those “dreams”, if you will, that I’ve wanted to do yet remains fleeting because of the fears and the senselessness of doing so.  But if I could, I just want to go someplace new, someplace where no one knows my name, no one knows my story, and someplace no one cares to know.  Just someplace where I can start over and be the person I want to be; the person I know I can be if not for everyone that seems to keep me trapped in a cycle of repetition.  Locked in time both mentally and emotionally.

I guess if you boil it down, my “dream” of running away is really my dream of starting over with the world but on my terms and in my way–with no one around to make unnecessary comments about how I’ve changed.  That’s because in this dream of a new life, the me that exists there will be the only me that has ever existed.  Perhaps the real me and the me that could have existed in the present place and time had I not been tied down by fear and obligations.

But in a case like this, a dream really will have to just remain a dream.  Something pretty to look at and amazing in theory, but impossible to attain in reality.  Like everyone else in the world, I am who the world has made me, and as much as I would like to, I can’t escape the past.  I can only come to terms with everything that has happened, and try to focus on forging a future for myself that I can be happy with.


– Jon

Friday the 13th

Dear Reader,

Are you a superstitious person?

I don’t exactly follow every superstition to the letter, but there are general things that I sometimes like to abide by just because I’m conscious of it.  I don’t break mirrors.  I don’t walk under ladders.  I don’t stand in pitch-dark bathrooms and recite “Bloody Mary” three times in a row and spin around.  Okay, maybe that last one is more of a question as to whether I believe in the supernatural or not, but I still won’t do it (and that’s probably a question best left until another time).  The only one I don’t really stick to is the belief that seeing a black cat on Friday the 13th is bad luck.  I happen to like black cats.  They have a certain charm about them, even though most of them look like they are poised to attack me whenever I walk past them.   Regarding the other ones though, it’s not that I really do believe that I will receive a kajillion years of bad luck if I happen to perform that act, but why risk it?

But then again, how will having seven years of bad luck from breaking a mirror make my life any different?  Bad luck happens every now and then, but if I just blame it on old superstitions, then I’d just end up driving myself insane over ways to boost my luck.  Cutting off the feet of rabbits.  De-shoeing horses.  Throwing salt over my shoulder and onto the floor.  Unless something super drastic occurs right after I break a mirror, I think it’s just best to believe that life is just happening.

Now I should probably go knock on some wood…

– Jon

First Post

Dear Reader,

For me, a blog may be one of the hardest things to write.  Or better yet, one of the hardest things to start.

Step 1 was finding a username that hadn’t already been claimed (and I can assure you that any cool sounding or inventive string of words that you can think of has probably already made its way onto the list of claimed usernames somewhere on the web).  And after having spent hours pondering over the next best string of words that I can identify with, theprinceoftheclouds blog was born, now going on the age of 40 minutes.

And unfortunately, the set-up process is far from over.  You see, despite the difficulty level of finding a username that works, it’s ten times as difficult to choose the right theme, layout, and color scheme, and twenty times as difficult to determine what exactly it is that I will blog about in the future.  It may be a different case for some of you, but for those of you that are as anal as I am about having the perfect balance everything, you know exactly what I am talking about in regards to the stress of putting together a blog.

Sigh.  But at least it’ll be worth it in the end to have pieced together a little space for myself that I can call my home… well, at least my home on the web–a space for my thoughts.

I better get crackin’ on it, so float on for now!

– Jon

[First post complete!]