Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras

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If you’re not fit for college, what are you fit for. New essay!

I’m happy to announce that my latest essay, titled If You’re Not Fit For College, What Are You Fit For? has been published today on STIR Journal. I hope fans of Liquid Ink will check it out.

It responds to the idea, popular among a certain set of education reformers, that the lowest-performing high school students should be discouraged from attending college and moved instead into vocational training, perhaps in community colleges. Well…I work in a community college, and I had something to say about it.


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Dedication vs. masochism, a fine line

What sort of things do writers do to keep at it, to get it done, to meet the deadline, to let the energy out? Today I’m wondering about the fine line between dedication and masochism.

It’s a degree below zero (fahrenheit) in Chicago today. My basement, where I normally work, is about 57 degrees, with a sharp cold radiating through the floor. My wife recently had the idea to put in all sorts of rugs, and they really do help. So does the electric blanket—her idea, also—I’ve draped over myself.

Of course, it’s warmer upstairs. I could sit by the window and look over the winter landscape and read a book. Or I could play with my son, build an even faster Hot Wheels track. Instead, I’m down here composing an essay about racism and cultural identity.

That’s what writing is, at least for me. It’s not a cup of coffee by a window overlooking a pastoral landscape. Maybe it is that for someone, but I never felt that way even when I could see the Danube outside my room. I suppose Madison County is not the only one with bridges, but I’ve never written in any similar county, or composed anything about those kinds of bridges, literal and metaphorical.

Today, an electric blanket and a half dozen candles meant to raise the temperature by up to a full degree, the one that separates dedication from masochism. Call it what you want. Let’s get to work.


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Trauma, victims, perpetrators and the ultimate truth

I took the liberty of translating this from the jacket of a book I’m really excited to start reading. There’s no English translation, sorry, but there really should be one.

The perpetrator and the victim learn the real truth, but the witness, the observer gains only an impression. The quality of that impression—is it stronger or weaker—to tell the truth, there’s no difference. One way or another, the impression will die out, become a distant, faint memory, but the victim and the perpetrator will never forget the truth. –Sigitas Parulskis, Tamsa ir Partneriai (Darkness and Partners)


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Merry Christmas, bong on a bench

OK, so I know these guys. They’re good friends, former college roommates, and they recently met after a long time spent apart. Let’s call them Joe and Fred.

Fred lives here in the Midwest, and Joe lives on the West Coast. Joe came to visit Fred, and Fred showed Joe something he had not seen in over a dozen years: his blue plastic Grateful Dead bong. Married now with children, facing a cross-continental flight following the holidays (daze), as much as he loved it, Joe could not accept this gift. So the friends did what all good men should do during the holiday season.

They packed the bong with marijuana, included two “strike anywhere matches”, and packed the gift in a box of Glenfiddish whiskey. Then they left the festival on a bus stop bench near the corner of Austin and Roosevelt Road here in Chicago. Merry Christmas to the neighborhood friends who picked that shit up. (It’s gone. I checked.) May all your wishes come true, and may cheer greet you in the new year.

Every part of this story, except for the names, is 100% true. Deny it and face hellfire.


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Becoming a global citizen

Just a few days ago, I got the best Christmas present I could have imagined (besides a massive book deal). The documents confirming my Lithuanian citizenship arrived in my mailbox. The next step is to head down to the consulate to arrange for a passport. I’m officially a dual citizen.

This has been almost a three year process. It took longer than it should have, perhaps, because of contradictory and otherwise problematic documents, but I don’t want to get into that. This is a watershed experience in my life. It changes so much so quickly that I can hardly think about it.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding dual-citizenship in Lithuania because it’s forbidden for most Lithuanians. I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but for now I want to say that, yes, dual citizenship should be available either for everyone or no one. I see the idea behind the laws, at least in theory: dual citizenship should be allowed to those who have a high chance of coming back to live in Lithuania but illegal for those who are most likely to leave the country and never come back. In a globalized economy, it’s short-sighted, and the “us and them” mentality behind it might be a symptom of the reasons people choose to leave Lithuania in the first place.

That said, I can tell you how I feel. Identity is a construct, I agree, and given that I have always looked at myself as a global citizen, I should not have felt, you’d think, any particular identity shift following the arrival of a document. However, I feel completely different. It’s one thing to feel one’s a global citizen philosophically but completely different to have documents that allow you to apply for work in about a third of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also a validation of sorts: “Yes,” a voice says, “There’s a difference between theory and practice.”

So, anyway, hello, world. I have a new way of joining the global community, the one we feel so strongly when we do something as simple as dial in to CNN-World in a hotel in Poland. I used to feel stuck, trapped. Now I feel the intimidating awe that comes when one faces enormous possibility.


Here’s a picture of me waiting for a flight in the Vilnius airport in the summer of 2014.

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Every administrator’s dream syllabus

Swanson Collidge

English 102 or 104 (pick one)

Autumn 2014

 Instructor:       Dr. Karuvius Zakoostix                                                                                       Office: 401 Scissorbill Hall

Office Hours:

M/W    00:00-24:00
T/R      24:00-00:00
F        All day
S        Always open
Sun      Satan equated himself to God. So do those who rest on the 7th.


Mobile:                       +1 312 233 3452
Wife’s Mobile:           +1 312 233 3451
Home address:          4061 S Winchester Court


There are no requirements for this class (except for payment, see below).

Required Texts

Students intending to read should select books they find suitable.

General Education Objectives

The primary general education objectives served by this course call for students to “pass the class through registration,” “use any technology* to pass,” and “demonstrate the ability to value passing.” The course also requires that students “understand and apply personal values and ethics regarding the need to pass.”

Catalog Description

Students further develop the skill to pass the class. The course focuses on passing as a means of passing effectively. In the process of passing, students learn to analyze how they passed and to construct a complex or simple passing grade. Students also learn basic text based, electronic and virtual passing methods and procedures.

Optional lecture three hours per week.


The only thing you need to do in this class is pass.

Outcomes: Successful students will

  • register within the first four weeks of the term
  • choose to write or read or not
  • pass, logically
  • search for things in the library and Internet (if they have time)
  • distinguish among individuals’ unique ways of passing the class
  • demonstrate comprehension of what it means to pass
  • identify credible and relevant means to pass
  • say “I passed”

Evaluation Criteria

Assignment grades, and ultimately course grades, will be determined by a student’s ability to “pass the class through registration,” “use any technology* to pass,” and “demonstrate the ability to value passing.”

Attendance Policy

Students may opt to pass in class or outside of class. A passing student need not be present.

Academic Honesty

If you fail to sign up to pass the class yourself, no one else may pass the class for you. Passing is limited to one (1) student per student ID #, and a registered student may only pass one (1) time each semester. See college catalog for more information.

Guidelines for Optional Papers

Students may, if the wish arises, choose to submit written essays. They should adhere to the following requirements

  • Please use ink
  • Please use typing paper (unless you only have a ruled notebook, then that’s fine)
  • Type or use a word processor (unless you like writing by hand).
  • Say something in your essay if you’d like your professor to say something besides “this passed”.
  • Possible topics include:

1.) Write about something you like. Say how much you like it.
2.) Write about something you don’t like. Say how much you don’t like it.
3.) Write using the word like. Do it often, like, in every sentence. Twice, like.
4.) Write about the time when it was unfair.
5.) Write about the time when you had the most fun, ever.

Final Exam

There is no required final exam. Students opting to take a final exam should make special arrangements before finals week.

*technology is anything that you can use to pass besides yourself or another human being. 



Students who do not submit their payment in full by the seventh (7th) week of the semester automatically forfeit the right to PASS this class or to receive any CREDIT for it on their transcript. Acceptable PAYMENTS may be made by money order, cash, wire transfer or credit card. No personal checks. No refunds. 

customer service



Photo by Random Retail 

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This will change you in 60 seconds (stop abuse)

If this Australian video does not impact you, there’s really no hope for you in the first place.


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