I've decided to start exercising again. For too long I let myself drift to and from it and I'm correcting that mistake.

It feels good too. I did two and a half miles in under an hour, beating my old record! I've been lifting weights and eating right too.

I hope to be thin and muscular again. I just have to keep it up!

Ahh the funniest thing happen to me tonight. I entered the computer room at home and apparently I moved into the room really quietly .. and scared Flat mate No. 2. She exclaimed "You ninja'd and scared me!" clutching her hand to her bosom.

To whit I responded (best manly voice possible, "I always move like a ninja!.. I pad around the house" (My other 2 flatemates are like stampy the elephant)

She replied, "You sure don't fart like a ninja!"

I exclaimed, "I move like a ninja, but I fart like a samurai!"

HAHAHHA it just got funnier.. I guess you just had to be there

My Chinese horoscope for today, from Joong Ang Daily, one of the Korean English-language newspapers (I'm 1979, so a Goat): "Goats have been known to silently sneak up and attack unsuspecting tourists. Keep that in mind as you hit the streets today." I thought long and hard to try to find out what this could possibly be a metaphor for. I failed. I think it really is telling me to go out and attack unsuspecting tourists. As I'm just recovering from being sick, I'm not sure I have the energy.

Speaking of which, my sickness always follows roughly the same pattern. A few times a winter, I will come down with the vague beginnings of a sore throat. I go home and gargle with whiskey to disinfect. It works, I shit you not, although my roommates sometimes look at me like I've lost my mind. Anyway, that almost always cures the sore throat, but it seems to just drive the bacteria into other parts of my body. Once in a while, I'm lucky, and my sickness will just go away altogether, but more often, it begins a daily migration around my body, giving me a different symptom each day. This one seems to have been a short one. After the sore throat, I had sinus congestion, which has now lapsed to a mere runny nose. I expect to be better when I wake up tomorrow.

I have plans to go to Daejeon this weekend, to see Christina, who used to be the Korean supervisor at my English hagwon (private academy), to give her the Christmas present I bought her in Canada. This is a problem, because, up until the last time I saw her, I've been sleeping with her. Why is this a problem? Well, as I've mentioned in daylogs before, she's 13 years older than me, divorced, with two kids. This is unacceptable in Korean culture, so the two of us are pretty much a secret. That's not so bad, though. I was fine with that before. The problem is that I'm now just starting to become involved with someone my own age (well, two years younger, actually), by the name of Eun Jung, here in Suncheon. Sure, I haven't done more than hold her hand yet, but it seems pretty clear to me that we're heading in the general direction of "relationship." The way I see it, I have a few options, all terrible:

a) Break off with Christina as soon as I get there, and pursue Eun Jung wholeheartedly. Ordinarily, this would be the thing to do, but I dread Christina's reaction; these days, all her similarly-aged Korean friends are too busy/married/etc. and can't party with her, and her two foreign friends in Daejeon both have boyfriends now. So she's incredibly depressed, bored and lonely. She tells me she misses me all the time, and asks me when I'm coming to Daejeon again. Breaking up with her would hurt her too much. At the very least, I'd feel like shit, the whole weekend would be awkward, and there's a distinct possibility that she'd never speak to me again. Also, I have some vague business plans with her in the future. I'm sure those would be out the window if I broke off so suddenly.

b) Continue sleeping with her. I guarantee that she and Eun Jung would never find out about each other; even if Eun Jung found out who I was visiting in Daejeon, it would never even occur to a Korean that two people so disparate in age would be sleeping together... and Christina will never come to Suncheon again, because she's bitter about being fired from our hagwon. However, I'd feel incredibly guilty about doing this. I've never cheated on a girlfriend before, and don't particularly want to start. Besides, if I did this and ever confessed in my daylogs, I'd be serially downvoted by the female noders for being a piece of shit. ;-)

c) Sleep with her just this one, last time, and then break off with her, either in the morning, or by phone after safely back in Suncheon. This would avoid one awkward weekend, but otherwise combines the worst aspect of both other scenarios, except that I might be able to rationalize to myself that I'm not really cheating on Eun Jung, since we haven't done more than hold hands and haven't officially decided to be a couple yet. Except I hate guys who make up that kind of bullshit to justify their actions.

d) Break off with Eun Jung and keep sleeping with Christina. A temporary solution, since I decided long ago that I couldn't possibly be with Christina forever (mainly because I want kids of my own, not to raise her two girls, who are only 12 and 14 years younger than me, respectively), and that I'd have to break off with her when a nice girl my own age came into my life.

I guess that a) is probably the "correct" answer, but I don't know if I can make myself do it before it's too late. I'm chronically bad at breaking up with people. Most of my relationships end up in disaster, because I can't bring myself to actually break up, so I start subconsciously sending out signals and trying to push the girl away, she gets confused as to why I'm acting different, thinks the solution is to try to get closer, rather than further, which makes things worse, so I freak out more, and so on down the spiral. I always manage to patch things up after the fact and stay friends, but it's still not a good scene.

Gah.

The Message You will Never Get

Another bad day. I keep thinking about all the things we did together. I'm thinking about London alot, all the things we are missing out on by not being together. There is so much I wanted to share with you. I had a strange revelation this morning. I haven't contacted you and have been thinking that maybe that really bothers you, but what if I'd said you could call me when you asked and by this time you still hadn't called me. What if you're not fussed about seeing me other than maybe once every few months. And then I'm back to whether you care or not and I don't know the answer so on and on it goes in my head.

Things that I had forgotten about keep coming back to me now. We actually did alot. I still love you. I still want to be with you, I would give anything to have you hold me in your arms and kissme and tell me you love me too.

I guess by now you must have moved on. Why would you be hurting when you were the one that wanted it to end. I can't see the logical stuff very clearly anymore. My heart has completely taken over and I can't see beyond the hurt. My head bombards me with memories and I want to scream. I want it all to stop. I am so desperately unhappy. Still my every waking thought is of you.

Please get in touch with me.

The justification for the ongoing maintence of real life, expensive as it is, depleting the mind of positive information overflow, injecting the unpious pitfalls of muddy madness—wavers, reorients itself continuously, dodging a definitive moment where one can say "justified." Down, down be narrow, and which way is up, to align the misaligned alien feelings abducting my augustine mind, augmented by the citrus smokings. It's a new morning. (roll away the dew)

Open ended continous and streaming sentence structure, never-ending (never-closing) prepopropos—you know, like gertrude said:

And prepare and prepare so prepare to prepare and prepare to prepare and prepare so as to prepare, so to prepare and prepare to prepare to prepare for and to prepare for it to prepare, to prepare for it, in preparation, as preparation in preparation by preparation. They will be too busy afterwards to prepare. As preparation prepare, to prepare, as to preparation and to prepare. Out there.

I open my self to extreme possibilities, but the opportunities are not always congruent. I say I want to live a certain kind of life, but that life always remains intangible, unobtainable, as if an electrical field operates in between us, interfering with my very real desire to transcend my form and flow through the electrical forest of sound and light. Perhaps that life is unobtainable to me now. It is not my time for that kind of life. This is the time for maintaining a more mundane version of reality, punctuated by the exhilerating possibilities in the universe!!! It really is maddening, knowing that somehow you as a human being were given the gift of a little more information awareness, gestalt thinking, and artistic pursuance. But that doesn't mean it's meant to be your reality. It might mean nothing, because while you can pursue the issues at hand, pursue the mediums of your choice (and you've chosen so many)— you can't compete. Not that there is a competition, not that it's anything like anything, or even a reality at all, that one in pursuance. There's no way to know what's really going on. Ever. Not a single face to turn to who can explain even one ioata of this crazy mechanic dancing.

What are you going to do with what you've been given? You can fit it in the palm of your hand, or on the back of an elephant. It's all in how I separate my self and myself, where as myself would probably be the well-contended by many, those with some semblance of a sound mind-body connection—my self finds the messy habit of separation, the spectrum in between is being cleaned.

Fighting the pre-mid-life crisis

Actually, I don't know how pre it may be. After all, I'm 42, live in the snooty suburbs, commute too long to a job I despise, am regularly exhausted, stressed-out and in some sort of pain. My Dad died last September at 77 so even if I live as long as he did, I'm already past halfway. I am arguably in the worst shape of my life - physically, spiritually, intellectually. If it weren't for my wonderful family (scrumptious wifey Supervixen and three crazy, adorable boys - SweetFaceBoy, Vonda MaShone and RunningHammer), I'd probably have gone mad. It's not my life in its entirety that's in the gutter right now, just the life of me.

I have suffered through the post-realization depression with a few days of anguished and tearful self-pity. A few days of this is all I'm allowed, and I have to do it in secret. Supervixen has a handy saying about sympathy being somewhere in the dictionary between shit and syphillis. SweetFaceBoy and MaShone concern themselves primarily with how much Lego building and bicycle-riding they can squeeze in between homework and dinner. RunningHammer tests the current limits of his gravity and velocity with an occassional full-speed falling bearhug to my thighs and crotch. In my home, there are no breaks.

So what to do?

Through the years, I've learned to resist the sucking downward swirl of nihilism. After the aforementioned depression, a gruff but wise voice begins barking gems of self-help.

"Quit feeling sorry for yourself, asshole."

"You already know what to do, just suck it up and do it! Stick with it and don't quit!!"

"Hey, here's an idea, you lard-butt. When the alarm goes off, just get your lazy ass out of bed and stay out! Make a committment and keep it!"

"Get obsessed and stay obsessed! One thing, two things, anything! Find a reason to jump out of bed in the morning. Stay vibrant and intense. Make Death come hunt you down and fight you instead of you just waiting for it to come."

OK OK OK -- back fucking off!!

I'll start with the body since that's what I'm in all day. I need to have some discipline and take my own advice. Stick with the heavy weights with a goal of a 300-pound deadlift by March 15, 2003, and include extra running and yoga. I've found that working with the body takes care of the mind. Some of my most authentic moments have come either during or just after long or extreme physical stress.

Continue my self-education in all things computer-related. Teach myself new programming languages. (This is fodder for a whole 'nother writeup.) Learn Linux. Build a computer. Create a robot. I can lose myself in this stuff the way I used to lose myself when painting. Once I start, it's several hours before I come up for air again, and I don't even notice. I'm basically done with my job by 10 a.m. (I work 7 to 4) so I have the rest of the day to study. Then I might squeeze in an hour at home. Maybe. I have to believe that all the work will pay off one day and I'll get a job I love. In the meantime, I'll just do it to do it and know that I'm working toward a goal.

Get all those freaking stories out of my head before they all go away. A routine of the body will chip away time for both coding and writing. Again, it will take discipline and perseverence.

Realize that some dreams have to remain just that. My time to be a chef and own my own restaurant is over. I'll never do the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon. I'll never swim the English Channel. There are others. There is no sense in brooding. Get over it and move on.

However...

I can still become a programmer. I can still become a writer. I still have time to turn myself into a muscular aerobic machine. I will raise my sons to become kind and generous and strong. I will be a rock-solid husband and giving lover. Until I die I can make relentless forward progress - a line at a time, a word at a time, a bedtime story at a time, a quiet evening at a time.

At least for me, it's never too late to start over. I just need to remember to never stop.

The old man doesn’t notice me when I come into the room. He’s eating his breakfast, and food has always been his number one priority. He chews in the slow, methodical fashion of an elderly person with dentures -- his eyes are big and wide as he eats, his thoughts focused only on the task at hand. He is thinner than I remembered -- just crinkled reddish tan flesh stretched over his skeleton. His bony arms tremble as he uses them to cut his sausage, scoop up his scrambled eggs. Despite everything he’s done, I can’t bring myself to feel anything but pity.

I step further into the room and he looks up at me. It’s clear he doesn’t know who I am, but he’s trying to place my face. I’m familiar, but only barely so.

”How’re ya doin’?” I say in the faux-cheerful voice of an adult talking to a young child. “They treating you well in here?”

He offers a nervous smile, eyes shifting as he tries to figure out who I am. Finally, his eyes light up -- something clicks. He says my name.

“Yup, that’s me,” I tell him. “Your grandson.”

I pull up the big easy chair to his bedside, and he begins to tell me about life in the hospital. He hates it -- he wants out. But the food is good. They were trying to starve him yesterday -- he had an MRI -- but today they say he can eat as much as he wants. He thinks he might wrap up a couple sausages in a napkin -- you know, so he can eat if they don’t feed him. I assure him that they’re definitely going to feed him. Not to worry.

Over the next hour or so, he recounts his hospital ordeal. About how for some crazy reason, he thought he was at a train station where the conductor was an African American woman. But he doesn’t call her that -- he uses a racist epithet I won’t repeat. His friend John C. was there, and so was my mother. He doesn’t remember how he got from the train station to the hospital.

“That didn’t really happen,” I tell him. “That was a hallucination -- like a waking dream. You were really sick, so your mind made that up.”

I try to explain to him how the arteries in his neck are blocked, how the lack of blood makes his brain do funny things -- see things that aren’t really there.

Just as I think he’s getting it, a man -- possibly in his sixties -- enters the room. He wears a meshback baseball cap that says “USA” in red, white and blue letters, and is missing his top row of teeth and half of the bottom row. I get up and introduce myself to him, shaking his meaty hand. He doesn’t tell me his name, which strikes me as kind of rude. But then, I’m programmed for business etiquette -- I introduce myself to people all the time. Hagerstown is at its heart a small town. People do things differently there than in Washington, D.C.

He sits down next to my grandfather and starts telling him about how he needs to see a local politician about the capital gains taxes he owes on a property he’s sold. My grandfather listens intently, but clearly doesn’t understand a word he’s saying. He nods along, though, and laughs at the appropriate cues. I wonder how long he’s been playing this game -- pretending to know what people are talking about when he clearly doesn’t get it. I should have noticed it before, but even when I was with him before, I never paid attention to him.

The man begins a long tirade about the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. “I hated Bill Clinton,” he says, “and I voted for Bush because I thought we needed a change. But now things are even more messed up than before. Clinton disgraced the office of President, but Bush is doing things that our country doesn’t need.”

I tell him I agree with him, and begin offering my own insights. He blinks and looks confused -- I realize how much my knowledge of politics and foreign policy dwarfs his, begin to feel embarrassed that I’ve said too much. Sometimes I forget what things are like at home -- how different my education and experience and use of language makes me from the working class people I grew up with.

Eventually, the man leaves. I chat some more with my grandfather, and notice the nurses keep walking by and looking in, giggling at me. One of them actually calls me out and asks me questions about my grandfather I know she already knows the answer to -- just to talk to me. She giggles all along and smiles. I’m reminded of Joss Whedon’s TV show Firefly, and how the ship’s female backwoods mechanic has a crush on the dandy cityslicker doctor. I realize that my Steve Madden shoes, gray turtleneck and Danish-made designer glasses must make me look very successful and appealing to a nurse in Hagerstown. I wonder what she would have made of me back in high school.

Not long after, another visitor enters -- a woman from my grandfather’s church. I introduce myself, but again, she doesn’t tell me her name. My grandfather tells her the story about the train station, and she explains to him about how the lack of blood to his brain is causing the hallucinations. Her reaction is almost identical to mine, except in regards to the race of the conductor.

“I never heard of no black conductor before,” she says, laughing.

I realize I am very far from Washington, D.C.


The rest of the day is spent off and on with my grandfather. My relations are due late in the evening, but despite my need to confront them, I decide to go home. There will be time for that later. My coworkers frantically email me with questions, and I have a publication that needs to be proofed. And I miss Pantaliamon and the dog. So I convince my mom to take me back to the Shady Grove Metro station so I can go home.

I stop by to say goodbye to my grandfather. He tears up when he hears I’m leaving -- he’s so afraid to be left alone in the hospital. I assure him that he has more family coming tomorrow -- that he won’t be alone for long.

He seems contented by that. Just as I turn to leave, he catches my eye.

“You know,” he tells me, “I remember being in a train station. There was this black girl working as the conductor -- can you believe it? A black girl? I never heard of such a thing. John C. was there with your mother. It’s the damndest thing, but I don’t know how I got here from that train station. Do you know?”

His eyes are big with fright and wonder. I shake my head.

“I wish I knew how I got here,” he says. “Tell your mother to bring me my jacket and my shoes -- I need to go home. They probably won’t let me leave, though. No, sir. They won’t let you out of prison unless the judge says it’s okay. But maybe if I tell them it’s only for a few hours ... maybe if I say I’m just going to get dinner ...”

I turn and leave, wondering if this will be the last time that I see him. Hoping that it is.

Another normal day passed by. Nothing new. Except I feel that I'm grouchier than usual. I haven't worked in awhile, so maybe that's it. Nah, it can't be. Work makes me even grouchier.

It could be the fact that I'm afraid. I'm Seventeen and a senior, so I'm afraid of the future. Where will I go? What will I do?

My biggest fear is that one it's time for me to express my feelings to Kari, I'll choke. Every time I'm near her, I act very nervous. I start to shake. I can't even look at her straight. I'm pretty sure she has feelings for me. Is she the right one though? The time is not right now. Patience and waiting on God is the key.

One thing I noticed while driving back home from my haircut though. A man was stranded on the side of the road. Apparently, his car pooped out. I figured, I probably wouldn't be able to help him. After all, I know nothing about cars and I sure as heck don't have anything with me that could help him. So I passed by, hoping that he would be able to get out of there before the storm comes.

What do you get if you take a teenage geek and place him in a room on IRC with a load of people who are writing poetry?

The answer, this:

Once while sitting down at school
I saw a girl who made me drool
I wanted to ask her for her name
but I was afraid of sounding lame
I wanted to tell her about me
and my 1337 skillz using VB
and how I had hacked the DoJ
and really made those bastards pay
I had so many words in my head
like "will you join me in my bed?"
In the lab later on that day
I heard a voice next to me say
"Could you help me here, I'm new"
That pretty girl was a geek too!
From then on we had some fun
trying to make our BASH scripts run
until she said one day on IRC
"I want to take you home with me"
I'm still a geek but now I fuck
I guess some guys get all the luck :-)
Please excuse the mess for I am not fit to be writ at times.

I think I sold my soul to high school. All my applications are in and here I am, not enjoying senioritis. Tommorow I get to enjoy a Calculus test on integrals, involving volumes, solids of revolution, and areas between curves. As it stands i'm boing to bomb like a Korean dictator.

I have been thinking about what I want from college in terms of what I want to study in addition to my primary interest, history. I'm considering one of the fancy languages, like Latin, (ancient) Greek, Hebrew, or Arabic. Latin will probably win out over the others simply because Cicero is ten times the badass Plato is, with apologies to the Neoplatonists.

I hope I get into Yale. As it stands I spend way too much time worrying about where i'm going to college. I hope I at least get into University of Chicago, that would be an awesome place to go to, even given the fact that if you leave the bubble of Hyde Park and enter the jungle of South Chicago... well.

Previous
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Being an update on issues expounded previously

  • On January 11, 2002, I mentioned that I'd asked Jennifer to lunch, with the next day being my appointment to have some fillings removed and replaced with the non-toxic kind.

    Tomorrow, I'm having two more porcelain fillings installed where currently reside lumps of mercury/silver/zinc nastiness, so continuing the tradition, I asked her to lunch again today. (It was easier this time. And I simultaneously introduced her to E2, by presenting my year-ago daylog to her.) This time, we went to The Natural Cafe, and I had a grilled veggie sandwich.

  • On December 24, 2002, I told y'all of the wonderful Christmas card that Edward gave me, and my desire to preserve it for a lifetime of savoring. Today, I got it back from Minckler's Frame Shop, and am mightily pleased. A ten inch by ten inch square, asymmetrically tiled by two mats – a greenish woodgrain in an L-shape, and a square of alternating light brown stripes in the upper right corner – with a thin, dark green wood frame. I cut the front off of the card, cut the front into two pieces with a diagonal cut through the long sides, and put them near the upper left and lower right corners; the interior of the card, bearing his wonderfully sweet message, was near the lower left, and a 5x7 picture of him in the brown area. All the elements are deliberately misaligned and slightly overlapping in some areas, and the whole thing is quite wonderful.

    After work, he came home with me to see it, and was very pleased with what I'd done. He thanked me for appreciating it so much, and I again thanked him for it.

  • And a year before that, I mentioned – among other things – that during that year I'd had an unfortunate parting of the ways with a friend. But yesterday, almost exactly two years since we last spoke, I sent him a short message with good wishes. I was a bit trepidous because, after our last conversation, I wasn't sure that he would be happy to hear from me, but this morning I awoke to his reply that showed that he was, which is a Good Thing.

And one new item

  • Today, one of my Ashtanga coaches told me that I'd made significant progress since I started about three months ago, both in flexibility and in deepness of breathing. That was nice to hear.

On speeding tickets and the depressed economy.

A few days ago, the Dallas Police Department announced that they'd be taking an unusual measure to enforce speed limits on Metroplex freeways. They would be using squad cars -- three or four at a time -- to create rolling roadblocks on some of the busiest traffic arteries in the city. To picture this, envision a four-lane highway, with four police cars in line abreast formation (one in each lane, driving beside each other), casually driving at the posted speed limit. During rush hour. Good idea, right? (This tactic was employed often during the oil crisis era of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has been used very infrequently since then.)

Well, maybe an idea with good intentions. The Dallas-Ft. Worth area has a relatively well-planned highway system, and excepting a few two-lane highways in desperate need of widening, traffic flows smoothly. Well, as smoothly as you can get in a metropolis of more than 6 million souls. Some people, however, see 60 mph as a minimum speed rather than a maximum; I was clocked once doing 85 mph in my 1988 Pontiac 6000 on Interstate 635. Sometimes the leadfoots stick to the leftmost lanes (including the HOV lane), but sometimes they weave through traffic as if they were playing a live-action version of Spy Hunter (minus the machine guns and oil slicks, of course).

So why has the Dallas PD unveiled their new tactic? There are, of course, the usual concerns about safety. It does seem that area law enforcement agencies rotate on a monthly basis between which traffic violations to enforce: speeding, seat belt usage, impaired driving, etc. After the summer's "Click it or Ticket" campaign and the usual holiday drunk driving checkpoints, the focus has returned to speeding. As it should, right?

There's likely something less benevolent at work, though...money. Last week, the Texas Legislature reported a budgetary shortfall of nearly $10 billion, mostly due to falling sales tax revenues. Although the area cities haven't reported similar looming deficits yet, it isn't difficult to guess that they're feeling the crunch, too. And where are the cities going to find the missing income? All signs seem to point to the money coming out of the pockets of impatient motorists.

Don't expect Dallas PD to run the rolling roadblocks for long; I think the campaign is more of a public awareness effort than anything else. It also serves as an opportunity to say "I told you so" when the real speeding crackdown begins...probably as early as this weekend.


The crackdown didn't begin soon enough for two Plano men who were struck by a speeding car early Tuesday morning. The men had pulled onto the left shoulder of northbound Interstate 35 East in Dallas to lend assistance to the driver of a burning car. The men, Demont Matthews and Joseph Wood, were pulling the driver from his damaged car when they were struck by a silver BMW traveling at a speed in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h). The BMW had been driving in the leftmost lane, then swerved onto the shoulder -- in between the stopped cars and the concrete barricade -- and struck the men. The driver of the burning car was injured, but will live. The driver of the BMW was a professional football player, Dallas Cowboys defensive back Dwayne Goodrich, on his way home from a night at a strip club. Goodrich turned himself into police on Tuesday night.


It isn't just the city of Dallas that has intensified their efforts to catch speeders. On my way home from school Tuesday afternoon, the Arlington Police Department had an elaborate speedtrap set up at the Interstate 30/Fielder Rd. interchange. One officer was standing against the overpass railing, training a radar gun on the westbound traffic on I-30. At the bottom of the onramp, two motorcycle cops waited for the go ahead. Further down the highway, another pair of motorcycle patrolmen had each pulled over a vehicle, one on either side of the freeway.

Usually, speed traps are run by a maximum of four officers, but there were at least six present at that particular one. As long as the city has enough money to finish their road construction, I'll be happy.

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