At 5:36 AM 21 years ago today, I began my long and unending quest of making other peoples' lives hell.


Why, thank you!

So, what do you plan to do for the big two-one?

Well, it is Labor Day, after all ...

Oh, right! So I bet you're taking a fun day trip somewhere to get wasted?

Not exactly ...

Staying in a town for a night with the boys?

Umm ... no.

Going to school and working a night shift at the radio station?


Congratulations! You may already be this uncool!

Tell me about it. Well, in the long run, we're all dead, so I'm not sweating it. Courtney is in New York City at her internship, but she still got me stuff before she left - some bubble gum, some playing cards, a DVD, some postcards (to write her), a sketch book, and an awesome wall clock. Saw the fam yesterday, they had cake and ice cream and the new Lord of the Rings DVD waiting for me (always a pleasure doing business with you.) And today will be just another day, although I'm planning a Brown-nosed Spectacular for the first day of classes today by bringing chocolates to all my classmates.

It is good to be the king. Let me know if you find him so I can kick him in the nuts.

I was explaining to this friend who had lived ten years in Russia about American Music and how 'everybody' hates teeny-pop. I ended my sentence with a slight flourish at the end that just implied that I too agreed with the common opinion. A tiny flourish, just subtle enough, unnoticeable to the naked ear, like the slight upturn at the end of a pair of red glossed lips, or the slight recession in a block of stone, made by decades and decades by drops of loud dripping water off ancient tiled rooftops.

And he replied simply, without hesitation. "How childish."

Those words sucked me in, and I found myself saying numbly with a mouth-laugh, "Yeah, heh, isn't it so?" and closed the subject from further discussion with a twist-tie out of my back pocket. It left me feeling numb, truthfully, and I couldn't help but stare down at my bland accent and it's common articulation and wonder where I was living, to have been fooled all these years, to be shocked by a simple flick of the wrist and a clack of the tongue.

Anecdotes. I watched the last ten minutes of a movie in which this person was shaking, delivering her solioquy to the world, delicately rehearsed just enough that it wasn't awkward and dove to the point, wings folded and streamlined Jonathan Fletcher-style. Either the camera was jiggling badly or her face was, because her mouth and her lips and her eyes were going up and down and up and down like this miniature earthquake, like in all the safety pamphlets that tell you to get under your desk and wait like obedient lambs waiting for the godly catastrophes overhead to pass. I could see the trouble brewing underneath, but now it wasn't 'trouble' but a filming technique that dominated the screen and shook it like a giant roaring rushing sound to me. To me only, because before she finished I turned it off with a flick of my hand and the cruel remoteness of an indifferent gesture that had killed millions and would cripple billions to come, and to come.

I found my role model. For the whole of my life I thought my role model would be a Nobel laureate or a college professer, someone who would transform my life with a few words and a warm smile that would crinkle at the edges of the eyes. It had to be a man, with wispy gray clouds congregating at the edges of a shiny bald head like a halo around Mount Vesuvius. The clouds would mean wisdom, and I would watch him and become 'wildly' influenced: Like a bar of metal next to an electric field, all the haphazard elements of my life would jump to attention and assort themselves, and from then would be cruise control on empty airport highways in taxis cruising to Seoul Train Station at 180km/hr escorting two foreigners to a train at top speed. We were stuck to the seat, she said, and after we got out, the foreigners applauded their appreciation. She told them to grab a taxi and to pay the driver 'one green bill', and we laughed together because the expression was so remote yet so quaintly precise.

She was something, an object of friendly reverence, remote and yet so earthy, like an avatar of some distant sage in the body of a newborn child, bawling of the end of the world, all because of a dirty diaper, small and superficial and immensely important. She was the toasted dry rice on the bottom of a computerized pressurized rice cooker, the bastard love child of a fusion between two worlds that lent her all the attractiveness and the magnetic pull that no-one else could ever muster. She pulled my cheeks and told me that she would like a son like me, and told me to take trips alone to faraway lands to meet friends and to find dreams, or so she said. She was a live moving cardboard pop-out of a movie poster, perfect and not, with a gray recycled bland cardboard behind with the nitty-gritty details gone elsewhere, just behind the horizon, just only.

Just only.

Today is the ninth anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. It was September 1, 1994 at 4:17pm ET, to be exact. I had been in the hospital for a day after going through a series of intestinal tests and was relaxing as best I could. I had an IV tube in my arm that was pumping fluid into my body to keep me from becoming dehydrated, for I had not been able to keep any food down for the three months prior. I was watching a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation (episode "Captain's Holiday") when my doctor came into the room and brought me the news: a minor case of Crohn's Disease. Initially I was just happy that my problem had a name and a history, that it wasn't some new horrible syndrome that they'd name after me and have to start from scratch with. I was thirteen at the time and just days away from starting the eighth grade. The diagnosis brought about swift changes. My diet changed overnight to exclude fruits, vegetables, dairy, chocolate, caffeine, nuts, seeds, fried foods, and other such things. I began taking a series of pills three times a day. I had to watch my energy output and not allow myself to become too tired or to miss a meal. I'd miss a day occassionally due to some stomach pains and I couldn't participate in all the school activities, but I handled things pretty well, looking back on it all.

Two years later in October 1996 I collapsed at school during a midterm exam due to intense pain. Imagine that the creature from Alien was bursting from your stomach and you can imagine my pain. Or consider the worst stomach flu you've ever had, only this one is far worse and never goes away. This is the pain I would live with everyday from this point on. I had to be wheeled out of class and taken to the hospital where, after receiving an IV and brief check over, I was sent home and told nothing new was wrong with me. For the next week my health slingshot from good to bad to better to worse, and one week later I found myself back in the hospital where I would undergo more tests and diagnostics. Liquids were the only foods I was allowed to eat. Over the next eleven days the tests revealed that my case had become moderate instead of minor. I was given new medications and told to adjust my diet yet again, this time focusing on small meals all day long instead of three main meals. I spent the next three months at home recovering from the ordeal. I watched plenty of reruns of Seinfeld and Mad About You and could only drink liquids; food was still out of the question. My first meal was a single slice of turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I returned to the tenth grade in Janauary 1997 and spent the rest of the school year playing catch-up on all the classes I'd missed.

In February 1999 word came that there was a new wonderdrug that could help me: Remicade. It was still somewhat experimental, but I was eager to try anything that could alieve my pains and give me a more normal life. I underwent the infusion and the change was almost instantaneous. The pains vanished! My energy levels were up and I could sneak in a little dairy cream cheese from time to time. I felt better than I had in years. High school graduation came and went and I moved to the Big City over the summer to begin college. I continued cruising along with my remission until August 2000 when the pains returned and my symptoms flared up again. The Remicade was wearing off. I received a second transfusion which returned my good health, but this time the treatment wore off before the end of the year. Plus, by this time my doctor came to realize that Remicade had some nasty long-term side effects. Additional transfusions were out of the question. The major pains returned and I lost the little food perks I'd been able to tolerate in small amounts, such as Oreos and potato chips.

2001 was mainly a lost cause. I missed two weeks of class in the Spring semester and had to battle a professor to receive special arrangements to make up the exam I had missed during this period. My meciation dose was increased and I became more reliant on pain medication. By the end of the year I'd lost the ability to digest wheat products. I lost sandwiches, hamburgers, dinner rolls, crackers, cookies, and most of the other highlights of my diet. I underwent more tests near the end of the year and word came back that I might need surgery. I was determined to put off being sliced open and decided to limp along for a while in the hopes that things would get better. Perhaps, given time, my intestines would heal themselves. I knew this wasn't possible, but false hope was a better choice to me at the time than the surgery. I spent 2002 limping along. I was in pain most of the time and didn't do very much outside of work and classes. Over the summer I lost the ability to eat beef. I underwent more tests and was once again told about the surgical option, but I still resisted. I did not want to be cut open to have my innards layed on a table and studied. The risks, minor as they were, were unacceptable to me.

2003 has been my lowest point yet in my heath. If 2001 was mainly a lost cause, then this year as been a totally lost cause. From January to May I spent all my days in bed. I made it to the occasional class or day of work, but on the whole my time was spent asleep. I required my pain medicine 24/7. I stopped eating as the pain grew too intense. More tests were run and it became obvious that I could not put off the surgery any longer. The operation was scheduled for May 13, 2003. I spent eleven days in the hospital, first dealing with the pains and initial recovery, and then learning to walk and eat again. During the surgery the doctors killed off my muscles temporarily and terminated my breathing so that my body was totally still while they operated. I was placed on life support for the four hour procedure. When I awoke after the surgery I found tubes hooked to every part of me, and as the days went by these tubes were removed one by one. I left the hospital on May 25, 2003 and returned home. I spent June through August working half days and sleeping the afternoons away as I began to take my life back. I've been relying less and less on my pain medicine. I have more energy. I can eat wheat again (although beef still causes problems). I no longer require afternoon naps. I feel like I've come back from the dead, my friends, and it feels damn good to be alive again. I hope that none of you ever have to go through an ordeal like mine, but if you do remember that there is life after a long medical nightmare. You just have to have patience and keep a positive attitude.

If you'd like to learn more about Crohn's Disease please check out the Crohn's/Colitis Foundation of America at or my own website at You can also ask me; I'm very open with my illness and am always happy to answer questions.

This day log is not a utility for an easy leap to level 2 (novice). I just really fookin' felt like writing one!

Anyway... The birds are nice aren't they? Chirping, as it were, umm, all around us. And, err... The widely-reconized summer months are over. That's a real shame. Soon we'll be freezing our buns off. Oh yeah.

But one must keep one's chin up and upper lip stiff, for these are really, really trying times. Yeah.

OH! As I was remarking to a friend the other day, what's up with those electric kettles? They're so durable. And the conflict in Iraq. Terrible stuff. People blowing themselves up, that just ain't right.

/me whistles and shuffles feet.

Saw this movie the other day. "The King's...", umm, something or other. It was top stuff, but the guy in the lead, something Smith, should have his guild card taken away or something. I mean he sucked like you would not believe. Shit, yeah.

Well, these are all things of great import, and I hope you'll all come away with something to think about after you have read this, I really do.

Level 2!!!!! Yihaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

My foodless universe - which is now a whole seven days old - is starting to generate its own wonderful sense of equilibrium, and, dare I say it, peace. Now I don't start the day with a fresh organic espresso, nor jump into my leathers and haul the laptop at 90mph southward. I don't rush out to the sandwich truck looking for a bacon and sausage bap; I don't have two pints of Guiness in the pub to wash down my Steak and Stilton baguette. I don't drag the laptop back along the snake pass and hurtle to the microwave for a chicken jalfrezi and I don't head to the pub again for another two or three dark beers.

Instead... I sip....

Fizzy, flat, cool juices. 7.30 am sip.... and keep right on sipping till it's time to shut my weary eyes and hope that tomorrow I'll be able to eat again....

Strangely comforting knowing I can live this long without food; just better not tell my kid brother... he works in advertising...

The race day was sunny and cool. A long line of cars pushed its way through the startled, quiet residential streets. They snaked their way around silently searching for a parking lot. The mental health volunteers screwed up; they didn’t really know what they were doing. About ten of us overshot and hit the Institute for the Blind - then we all did 3-point turns. We were looking for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and kept driving until we found the right lot. Yes, the mental health volunteers fucked up a little bit but no driver dared get mad at them.

There were almost 400 people at the 5k and 10k race and I was in a competitive category. I furtively checked out the other females. A tall, slim blonde girl was doing ambitious Yoga stretches on the rocky rough pavement. Her lithe body appeared to be built to run and her eyes held a determination required for success. Another girl with a giant ass - a body holding as much weight behind her as a picknic-filled backpack, stood confidently.

I struck up a conversation with a girl with a friendly face about running, universities, and the north vs. the west . Suddenly, she cooly stated ‘I am getting water, good luck on the race though…’ I felt like a dismissed slimy guy trying to talk her up in a bar. I vowed to never speak to her again. Ever.

The 10k race finished one hour and six minutes later. A couple of people cheered as I passed the finish line and a mental health volunteer handed me an orange-cup. “thanks!” The hill at the end; it was steep and terrible and it was hot. Those are my excuses. I grabbed a lot of orange-cups and watched people who came in almost 2 hours after the race started ‘hooray! It is over!’ I yelled in an encouraging way. I did not clap for people who walked over the finish line.

At the award ceremony, the yoga girl and the girl who-I-will-never-speak-to-again wore medals together for a media shoot. I won a Latino Dance Club Mix CD in a random draw at the end. The female winner of the 5k race walked up with a baby and gave the medal to her. She was amazing. The top male finished thirty minutes ahead of me. He was amazing. Soon after, I drove home in my little black car. My legs hurt. The sun was too bright. I was thirsty. I performed well that day for my category: a pleasure seeker who still drinks, smokes, and eats french fries and chocolate. I heard the voice of a sweet mental health volunteer in the air saying thank-you as I turned up the dance music.

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