I want to go to college.

I don't mean hypothetically, at some point in the future, I want to go to college. I want to go right now. I'm tired of all the bullshit that takes place in high school. I'm tired of all these people who just hate everybody else, who spend all their time picking apart each other's flaws. I'm tired of spending hours in advanced placement classes with kids who are dropping down drunk.

I'm tired of stupid bullshit. I'm tired of Chaucerian poems about Hugh Hefner being paraded around as great works of literature. I'm tired of sitting in mindless English classes in general, actually, with a teacher who wouldn't know art if it punched her in the face. I was so tired of it that I spent a full week just walking out of the room for a half-hour every class and wandering the halls. Now I'm banned from leaving the class to even go to the bathroom, and spend my time furtively reading books that I enjoy while our teacher asks us to rank members of society by race.

Why the hell don't I just leave, then? If this place is so stupid, what's holding me back? A lot of things. I have a girlfriend who's one of the few people that actually understands me. I have friends who often aren't bad people to be around. I've got a pretty easy life, all things considered.

I've got a family, too, but all they really do is fight. So they're not really keeping me anywhere.

If I didn't have all these things that tied me down, I'd be off like a shot. If it weren't for the occasional daub of intellectual companionship, I'd have gone to college by now. I would have just walked the hell out of this bullshit high school and gone somewhere where you learn things. Where you appreciate things.

This town is a deathtrap for the mind. Nobody here tries to change anything. Complaining about the suburbs is useless rhetoric, but it's still quite the shock to discover that nobody in the suburbs has any dreams, anyways. They grow up to be happy little doctors and lawyers and live here for generations.

Me, I want to live in the city, I want to live where there are real people. I want to be where there's an exchange of ideas, where there's thought, where the best minds of my generation will not be starved. I've been two places in my whole life that really foster thought. I know they're out there; I know something's better than this hole in the ground. Sooner than later, I'll get there.

Looking back on 8.7 months of noding and ready to roll over into lvl 2

God love it...It all comes down to this. I gave some good thought into my 25th node and figured I'd do it quietly. I'll do what I do best...write a haiku.

Slippery noodle

Sway in the wind, whistling

Can't wait for pasta

Today I asked myself "why do I write here and post my thoughts?" I'm new at this, and am yet to get used to the publicity of the matter. Anyone with an account (particularly voting accounts) can praise or critique, or even, in the worst cases, truly bash anything I put up here.
It is a new experience.

The best way to start is to ask "why does anyone begin noding?" or, more to the point, "why did I begin?" I had found everything via slashdot, and found it both interesting and good. And so I decided that, perhaps, it would be a worthy use of my time and effort to contribute to something that I found worthy and good, and enjoyed. And so it is.

And yet, I have begun to dread the words of Klaproth, when he eats one of my write-ups. One, I grant, I called him upon myself, and so I do not worry about that one; it needed to be done. However, I do not favor his messages in my inbox; they aren't exactly polite, but that would probably be against the his nature. What bothers me most, though, is that something I wrote was found to be unworthy, and was discarded... it bothers me, but, on the other hand, there's only so much space avalable, and it makes sense.

So, what do I do? Packing up and leaving for the sake of a few write-ups seems... cowardly, on the whole. Everyone, I think, has had at least a few write ups scraped, and they survived. And, in retrospect, perhaps I can see why the ones that got the boot were ones that deserved it. Might as well learn something from it I suppose.

And perhaps signing up for mentoring would be a good idea.

This introspective jaunt was brought to you by the letter "I."

I had a near religious experience this morning... but first I should explain last night. Last night was so fucked up I don't even know where to begin. I guess chronological order is the best. I apologize in advance for any spelling and/or grammatical errors made, because I still haven't completely sobered up.

So, my coworker Mi Hi asked me to go for a drink with her last night. Since meeting her, I've had the distinct impression that she has a thing for me. She's a nice girl, and I'd probably reciprocate if I didn't already have a girlfriend.

So, we're sitting in this bar/coffee shop around the corner from the school, and we get on the subject of romance and marriage. Then, she suddenly says, "I have a crush on you. But you have a girlfriend." I say, "I kind of suspected that." Her English isn't perfect, so she didn't understand. I tried rephrasing a few ways, until I finally gave up and phrased it bluntly; "I already knew." She responded with, "I was only kidding!" Fuck. So then I was left in the awkward position of having to explain why I'd gotten the false impression that she was interested in me, while she accused me of secretly being interested in her the whole time. Later, she brought it up again, and said, "I... I..." as if she was about to confess something. Then she decided against it and changed the subject. I don't think she'd really been kidding when she told me she had a crush on me.

I had arranged to meet my friend Mr. Pak (aka 2-Pac) later that night, and Mi Hi agreed to come along. While we were walking to another bar to meet him, I tutored her in a few slangy English expressions, like "Is is cool if...?" Then she asked me how to say "link arms with someone" (I mean, she said, "How do you say..." and briefly linked arms with me to show what she meant). I told her and she said, "Is it right to say, 'Is it cool if I link arms with you?'" I said, "Yeah, that's right." Then she was looking at me expectantly. I said, "Was that a question?" She started laughing nervously. She definitely hadn't been kidding about having a crush on me, after all. Fuck.

So we met 2-Pac, and went off to eat some ori bulgogi (grilled duck) and drink some sam-ship seju, a mixture of soju (sort of like vodka) and bek seju (Korean ginseng wine). Then we went to another bar and drank more. Mi Hi was trying to play footsie with me. I hate to admit it, but I wasn't resisting. Fuck. I love Eun Jung. Why does life have to be complicated? Anyway, afterwards, 2-Pac dragged us off to a night club. By this point, my wallet was empty, but he was paying for everything. We stayed there for a while, danced and drank, then decided to leave.

Mi Hi took a taxi home. I got in a taxi with 2-Pac, since we live in the same direction. But he didn't take me home. I was drunk enough that I didn't notice that we were heading the opposite direction. Next thing I know, we're in the red light district, prostitutes waving as us from the windows of the brothels. Too drunk to argue, I let 2-Pac lead me into one of them. We sat in the back room, drinking beer with the matron for a while, then 2-Pac disappeared to another room, and a moment later, the matron came back with about 6 girls. "Choose one," she told me, in Korean. I tried to explain that I didn't want to do this. 2-Pac had already paid, and she wasn't having any of it. "It's okay," she said, "choose one and let's just drink beer together." So I picked the girl on the end, and they sat down and we drank. Later, 2-Pac came back with a girl of his own. We drank more. The night is a blur by this point. Next thing I know, 2-Pac is checking us into a yogwon (Korean love motel). He goes off to his room, and I end up in another room with the girl I had picked out. I was so drunk I probably couldn't have even spoken English properly, but I managed to explain to her in Korean that I have a girlfriend, I didn't want to do this, and I would have just taken a taxi home a long time ago, except my wallet was empty, and at this hour, all the bank machines weren't working (in Korea, for some reason, you can't use bank machines past 11 PM). "You want to go home?" she asked. I said yes. She led me back to the brothel, and asked one of the other girls to borrow 10,000 Won. Then she put me in a taxi and sent me home. Nice girl. I'm glad I had the morals and the presence of mind not to sleep with her.

I woke up at 11:30 this morning. I didn't have my backpack, containing, among other things, the cologne I got as a going away present from my favorite student who's moving to Gwangju and, more importantly, the love letter that I wrote to Eun Jung and haven't had a chance to give her yet (she didn't come out with us Wednesday night). I searched the apartment, but it was nowhere to be found. Fuck. I didn't remember having it at any point in the night, so it could have been anywhere; the first bar, the restaurant, the next bar, the night club, the whore house, the motel... pissed off, I decided to go to the school and get ready for work, and... what the fuck... there it was, sitting on the front steps of my apartment building.

That's not a near-religious experience, you're thinking. Except I'm sure I didn't have it with me when I came home. And why would I have put it down on the steps before going in? I mean, obviously I did; I must have remembered to bring it with me the whole time, and put it down on the steps (for some drunken reason), and forgot to take it in with me. There's no other explanation. Seeing it there, though, I couldn't help but feel that I was being rewarded for good behaviour; somehow, I feel sure that if I had slept with the prostitute, I never would have seen it again. Really, though, I actually didn't behave all that well. I was way more receptive to Mi Hi than I should have been. Why is it that when you're single, women won't give you the time of day, but once you fall in love with one, and find that love reciprocated, others start coming out of the woodwork?

I'm seeing Eun Jung tonight. I'll give her the love letter. I didn't sleep with the prostitute. There was chemistry between me and Mi Hi, but nothing happened, and I'll make sure nothing will. I will be good. I will. I will. Why can't life be simple?

The philosophy of facial hair

I let my beard grow back in last Fall, when the Confucianism unit of my Chinese philosophy course was coming to an end and Taoism was about to begin. I think the emergence of a beard is like the way Taoist sentiments grow on you. Little by little, you let go of your adherence to strict social norms, and before you know it people see you differently, even if you feel nothing has really changed. If you let yourself go long enough without a trim, you find people treating you in a markedly different way - as a bum, as a rabbi, as a wild man, as an elder of some sort.

I enjoy that sensation - I mean the sensation of change even more than the boost in venerability. My students of course noticed the new growth on my face, but I think few of them made the connection to Taoism and its uncomfortable relationship with society. To me, though, illustrating the ideas of that class in my own self is a way of keeping from getting bored with them, and the beard is especially good for that.

The beard got nice and raggedy and kept me warm in the wind, surprisingly harsh this winter here in the D.C. area. But this past Sunday I received a sudden phone call that made me pick up my beard trimmer and mow the thing coarsely off. Why coarsely? I suppose I am not ready for a Confucian clean shave just yet. Why shave at all? Well, my 98 year-old grandmother had been hospitalized again, and my mother needed me to help her (my mother) get from New York up to Providence to see my grandmother.

I saw my grandmother last not quite a year ago, and she did not recognize me, even after I told her my name. "Are you Henry?" (My cousin Henry is 84 years old and clean shaven.) She never liked my beard, and perhaps in her condition she can only remember me as a boy of five or ten, three or more decades ago. So this time I removed the beard to help her out a little.

She did know me, this time. The visit was not so pleasant overall because of her severe mental and physical decline, but I think she and I were happy that she saw and recognized me. That's certainly worth the trouble of shaving. Now, if I can just muster the motivation to keep it up regularly...

last day-log entry: February 1, 2003 | next: February 9, 2003
Today I lost a bet.

Being a proud Canadian, I balked when someone at work said that California had more people than Canada. So I bet them that it didn't.

Mind you, I wasn't laying down any incredible amounts of money on this. I simply bet my co-worker a coffee.

I was then belittled by my fellow Canadian co-workers when I found the following figures:

  • California: 35.1 Million (Early 2002)
  • Canada: 30.2 Million (Mid 2001)
I am shamed.

Instead of sitting on my ass and whining about it though, I think I will embark on a journey to right this wrong. I have two options, and which path I take will be decided by you, the people of Canada.

  • 1. Increase the population of Canada. This will require many ladies to sleep with me. An unfortunate side effect.
  • 2. Decrease the population of California.
Your choice!
Charles Bukowski, speaking about writers and boxers, once said, "If a Fighter doesn't feel like he owes the crowd something he's no good." (i'm paraphrasing here. corrections are welcome)

that's how i try to feel about my nodes. with limited success. anyway, i'll keep this short and sweet, because the shower's running.

most of you don't know me. ok, there's one person on everything who knows me. but otherwise, i'm just some lowbie. that's cool. but for you, my people's, benefit, i'll provide some background:

i'm 26.
i live in Seattle.
i broke up with my girlfriend of 2+ years in November.
i was never in love with her.
i haven't been in love since i was 19.
i thought it was impossible.
i met someone, a month or so ago, who i starting falling for.
i've been sleeping with her for weeks now.
it's requited.

so, what's the problem, you may be asking. the problem is endless, enormous. the problem is insurmountable. the problem is me, the problem is her. the problem is our past. the problem is nothing.

it's 10pm, The Postal Service, specifically Such Great Heights is blaring from my speakers. i'm waiting for a call. i don't think it'll come. i'm trying to prepare a backup plan, a more relaxed posture, an attitude of carelessness. i stink at this.

the phone is silent, overdue. there's an air of menace, implied misfortune. and i'm tired of struggling not to fight. my well-honed emotionless instincts are straining like dogs on a sled. i'm ready to speak dispassionately. i'm ready to act ruthlessly. i thought this banal assassin was dead. let's be clear about something dear reader - i'm not impressed by my own sociopathic impulses. they disgust and exhaust me. i suppose i feel that at the end of the day, when you've reached out all you can, when you've exposed everything you could, and you're still facing hostility - well. i don't feel much choice but to reach for the heap big medicine. the hold-out at the bottom of my traveling case. my hard forged, unpleasant, poorly-regarded ability to feel nothing. i'll slip it on, stare you down. where's the choice? it's gone, minutes, hours, days ago. i have no options left but the ugly.

I am thinking it's a sign
that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned

I have to speculate
if God himself did make us into corresponding shapes
like puzzle pieces from the clay

True it may seem like a stretch
but its thoughts like this that catch
my troubled head when you're away when i am missing you to death.

- The Postal Service, Such Great Heights - Sub Pop 2002

I'm starting further back than where I began.

Monday at 11:15 am, I start the day program at Western Psych. I have three weeks to get my act back together, or else I will be kicked out of dbt and the ability to see my therapist, Kelly.

I know that this is the best, and only, thing for me to do. But I'm still scared shitless.

Saddam Hussein, the ice-cream man

Why would anyone want to bomb Saddam? He looks like such a happy, pleasant fellow. He's on the news every night, sitting at that big wooden table, with his ministers all around, smiling contently. Always smiling.

The grandfather of Iraq. The friendly dictator.

He puffs away on his cigar, the smoke rising like balloons at the fair. We don't have weapons of mass destruction, he wooes gently from beneath that soft, woollen moustache. I believe him. And that old army general, with the thick-rimmed round glasses, that always seems to be around Saddam.

I think i can see them playing dominoes on a front porch in Baghdad on a Tuesday evening, as the sun rolls quietly over the horizon.

Sometimes, late at night, I get worried. The only other people that i know who smile constantly are spastics.

I don't know any mean and nasty spastics though. None that would harbour deadly weapons, at least. I drift back to sleep.

I hope Mr. Bush doesn't hurt Saddam. When i was little, the old man with the ice-cream van stopped coming past my street each Thursday. Apparently they took away his permit. He wasn't doing anyone any harm.

I miss his Italian accent. "Thera you are!" he would say with a rising inflection, as he passed me a cone of fluffy, snow-white ice-cream

Maybe he kept his chocolate sprinkles in suspicious brass cannisters, i don't know.

Tonight when Saddam smiles at me on the news, I'll give him an extra-big smile back.

I accidentally overdosed on diphenhydramine yesterday morning. It's definitely not something I recommend unless you've already fried your brain tripping on Dramamine and/or DXM, in which case you're probably used to what it feels like.

I'm fresh out of Ambien (a drug which, taken regularly, has made me something of a domesticated drug addict) and hard up for sleep, but couldn't hack it without pills of some kind, it seems. So at about 6:00AM I took a 50mg dose, along with 2mg of melatonin and then tried for an hour to get to sleep. After an hour I gave up, got out of bed, and took two more 50mg doses. About 15 minutes later I was going cross-eyed, was dizzy, feeling top-heavy, having quite unpleasant hallucinations, and couldn't hold a thought for more than about one second before I forgot what I was thinking about. I figured that induced vomiting wouldn't do any good since after 15 minutes, the relatively small pills would be dissolved already and would by then be raising hell through my bloodstream. So I decided to wait it out. Staying upright made me want to puke, so I laid down again and tried to forget about being cross-eyed, which was preventing me from losing focus and going to sleep. For the next six hours or so, I passed in and out of consciousness, until I finally got some real sleep from about 3:00PM til around 6:00PM. I woke up with a hangover from the whole ordeal, which lasted until around three hours ago.

I can't believe people actually take this stuff recreationally. Seriously. It was the worst (physical) feeling I have experienced this side of an anxiety attack. Diphenhydramine is the antihistamine/sedative ingredient in stuff like Benadryl, Tylenol PM, and other common over-the-counter medicines. When taken at doses higher than medicinal it becomes a disassociative like DXM, which I found out quite by accident yesterday after taking 150mg of it, in the form of Tylenol Simply Sleep.

I think I'll avoid it in the future just on general principles. I'd rather find myself unable to sleep than go through this again, even if I keep the dosage down to medicinal, I'd still worry about an adverse reaction to it. I can't understand how this stuff is over-the-counter when even a slight overdose (like this one) can cause such awful effects, when Ambien, which produces overdose effects such as extreme sleepiness and mild disorientation, nothing more, is prescription-only and costs approximately ten times more than a box of 24 diphenhydramine tablets. Jeebus bless the FDA.

"I don't care about America, I only care about sex and booze and pills. Damn this country and everyone in it." -- Abraham Lincoln, as portrayed on The State, many years ago.

Yesterday I heard the terrible news that Number Ten Downing Street had released a dossier designed to drum up public support for the forthcoming (? i hope not) war on Iraq. The document contained a detailed description of Saddam Hussain's deception and arsenal and many other Iraqi domestic affairs.

All well and good?

No, not really. Of the 19 page dossier, pages 6 to 16 were plagiarised from a published article by postgraduate student, Ibrahim al-Marashi.

So they researched a bit, so what?

So what???!!!! This wasn't a bit of research. This was cut and pasted from the paper to the dossier. This included typographic errors. I can't begin to get across how angry this makes me feel. A few points though will help

  • Plagiarism is 'intellectual theft'. Using someone else's work and passing it off as your own. As an academic, this is annoying on a moral level.
  • The information contained within the dossier is 12 years old. When the paper was written by Ibrahim al-Marashi, it was a historical document. Now it is being passed off as up-to-the-minute, cutting edge of British intelligence.
  • This document exists as a propaganda tool to increase public support for a war.

    Plagiarism to increase support for killing people. This is wrong on just about every level I can think of.

    Before this, I did have some semblance of trust for the New Labour government, but now i have no trust

    What to do?

  • I got a pet on Tuesday.

    He is a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Ew! Gross! Nasty! What would anyone want with at cockroach?

    Well, to be honest, I’m not insane enough in the pet realm to just run out and buy a cockroach. But it was one of the project options for my Entomology class. Raise a cockroach for the semester. Sounds kinda cool in the gross/creepy/exotic way. Sign me up!

    So after Entomology on Tuesday I picked him up. He was inside a tiny SOLO cup about 2 inches high and 3 inches in diameter. He barely fit; I’d estimate his body to be just under 2.5 inches in length. He is a rich brown with yellow gradients to the side of each segment, and little dots down each side of his body. His head nestles underneath his shell; you can barely see it from the top. Above his head (on the shell) are two “horns” (more like bumps). These are apparent on the males and not the females.

    So I put him in my pocket and drag the little Dictyoptera home to my dorm (where he is very much not allowed). He looks so sad inside his tiny cage.

    It was time to take a trip to the local Petsmart where I got him a nice sized cage and some dried papaya for food. When I got back to the dorm, it was time to put the little bugger in.

    Even though he is my companion for awhile, he majorly creeps me out. So instead of picking him up, as I’ve seen my entomology teacher do several times, I too the lid off the cup and dumped him in frantically, eventually dropping the whole thing inside.

    After having a pet for a few hours, it seemed appropriate to name him. Here’s a list of the wonderful name suggestions I got

    Well, some of these names would have worked well… but not well enough. So it was time to consult my (far superior) E2 friends.

    And it was within E2 that I got the answer. From this day forward, my Madagascar Hissing Cockroach will be known as Rohan the Roach. Courtesy of CzarKhan. Wuukiee and mcc confirmed this as an appropriate name. Can’t go against a crowd like that!

    Today I was giving him some food and moving around some of the “foliage” inside his cage (dead pieces of plants that have long departed). And I dropped Rohan’s entire cage on the floor. Dirt EVERYWHERE, and worse yet, my illegal cockroach free on the floor. I picked him up (eep!!! With my bare hands!!!) and he hissed at me, but I got him into the cage. I almost screamed, but my floor counselor would have come, and I have wine and a George Foreman Grill in addition to the roach. I picked up all the dirt from the floor and put it back in the cage.

    Rohan has sophisticated taste. So far he has eaten papaya, banana, lime, filet mignon, mushroom, and peach.

    I plan on getting him some porn for his window. Poor guy has no lady cockroach!

    Orange Alert!

    The Terror Threat Level was moved up from Yellow to Orange. What does this mean, oh, average citizen? Well, here's what I advise:
    • Look both ways when you cross a one-way street.
    • Avoid all unnecessary super sizing of your McDonald's meals.
    • Watch one PBS show at least one night a week.
    • Send a friend a mix tape or a goofy postcard to his/her work.
    • Take one of your aunts or uncles out to lunch and thank him/her for making your childhood years magical.
    • Go see a movie alone on a Saturday night.
    • Go for dinner with a friend and commit to ordering an appetizer you would never, ever normally order.
    • Sit in a downtown four star hotel lobby with a friend on a Saturday night and play backgammon.
    • Bake cookies for the receptionist and the network guy.
    • Get a coffee, sit outside, and watch traffic go by for a while.
    • Let a friend take you to a concert you're dead set against going to.
    • Write a letter to a company's head office saying "x person at your y store gives simply the best customer service! S/he really brings me back!"
    • Oh yeah, spend money wisely.

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