Monday, October 31, 2005


What a bunch of fuckers.

...Sen. Orrin Hatch -- who as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman prevented dozens of Clinton nominees from getting up-or-down votes -- was asked today whether the Republicans would invoke the nuclear option if the Democrats filibustered Alito's nomination. His response, according to CNN: "You bet your life we would."
So glad the Dems bent over on the Brown, Owen and Pryor nominations back in May to "save the filibuster." Not that this is a surprise or anything -- you could totally see it coming. It's just depressing. Learned helplessness, I guess.

[Note: this came from Salon, which means if you're not a member, you have to sit through a short ad to see it. Suck it up. 'Cause then you can read This Modern World, among other things.]

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I've been kind of out of for the past few weeks (basically since I got back from Europe) and it only seems like I've regained my footing in the last few days. I hadn't really thought about it until, at a team gathering last night, JTO asked me how I was doing, and after thinking about it for a moment, I gave him a one-word answer.

which is an answer that honestly surprised even me as it came out of my mouth.

I dunno. Maybe it's just the eye of the storm and I'm due to hit the crazy badness head-on again in a few days, but for the moment things almost feel, well, positive, and there seems to be a certain clarity about appreciating life.

All very shocking really.

Especially since over the last week, the normal depressive symptoms had been popping up with increasing frequency: lethargy, trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour, trouble getting up in the morning, constantly looking for (and finding) distractions rather than taking care of the things that needed to get taken care of. The days are shortening, it's starting to get cold (heat kicked in for the first time this season just a few days ago), and it's the same-old same-old work, school and girlfriend a thousand miles away. And yet, somehow things suddenly seem ok.

But until he asked, I hadn't registered that there had been a subtle shift in my brain. The point that seems to best mark the shift occurred on Thursday, on the way to a lunchtime pickup ultimate game. Listening to "Do Your Thing" as I drove to the field, I suddenly felt... inspired. I was visualizing music videos again. Flash projects. I feel... excited about creating again.

Maybe it was playing disc in daylight for the first time in a long while. (A lunch pickup game the day before.) And then playing again that day. Maybe it was having a good practice session that evening with a classmate, a newfound friend, and then being able to hang out afterwards and get to know her better. To connect. Little moments of positive stuff.

Causes or effects?

And yet, last night, I still couldn't get myself into bed at a reasonable hour. Stayed up playing online poker for the first time in months, even though I had to get up early to play in a tournament the next day. Not a good sign.


Despite being up late, I woke up on time. 7:30am. (Thank you, time change.) Game day decision to wear a costume. (Underdog, from a few years ago.)

The weather: suboptimal. On Monday, it had been forecast to be sunny and in the 50's. By yesterday -- they were expecting snow and rain in the morning turning into rain in the afternoon with a high in the 40's. It did snow a bit during the first game, but actually wasn't too bad. At least not until the afternoon.

And I felt good. Despite not being in the best of shape, I thought I was playing well, the joy of playing taking over. Not stuck in my head, as some might say.

By the end of the day -- the weather was no longer fun. Wet, sticky snow accumulating on the field, on us, only the tracks from our running and sliding creating the dark patches not covered by snow. Out of gas and running on fumes, fingers aching, toes simultaneously numb and painfully cold. (How does that work?!) Whiny and actually kind of miserable, happy to cut the final game short (now a game to only seven).

My team finished second in the tournament. Like I told my friend and teammate RockStar after the summer tourney -- in the end, it means nothing and yet it means everything.

It's a hat league. It's for fun, frivolous. It's not like it's the National Championships. And even if it were, it's still just fun and games.

It's play.

And yet, it's everything about what life's about: seeing, feeling, being. Living in the moment. Appreciating everything. The feeling of catching the disc in stride. The pivot. The fake. The throw. Watching the disc glide through the air. Running. Moving. Breathing. Feeling.

Back home now, after a hot shower. A little perspective. Feeling alright, despite still not being able to feel all my toes, assorted muscles sore, tendons tender.

Still a pretty good day, all things considered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chinese Kids 1, Tony 0

What is it with these personal-webcam headshot lip-syncing videos?

I don't know if there's some new meme or some crazy new, um, craze, but these two videos have popped up on one of my mailing lists in the last week. I find it bizarre, yet strangely compelling. (Although frankly, it quickly becomes too painful to watch Tony for very long.)

Anyone who's a little more hip and/or in tune with the kidz these days wanna shed some light on this?

Besides, maybe, bored friends surfing around Google Video...



White House Orders Satirical Paper 'The Onion' to Stop Using Presidential Seal

Maybe you really can't tell the difference.

Also on: Gawker, The Inquirer, and the original article in the New York Times.

[Thanks to Monkeyboy]


The Sneeze recently did a nice job summarizing my feelings on the new Mega M&M's:
"What the Mega F?"
V and I have discussed our disappointment on several occasions, especially after having watched a few of the (occasionally) amusing ad spots online. It really is kind of a bummer. From all the marketing, you'd expect it to be difficult to hold more than one or two in your hand. (Not melting, of course.)

I do have to admit that, even being maybe 50% larger, they do have an appreciably different taste which is certainly due to the increased chocolate-to-hard-candy-shell ratio. So, y'know, at least that's something.

My personal intuition and biases suggest to me that the reason that these candies aren't any bigger is that some pack of M&M lawyers (those would be the brown ones, I think) probably decided that anything over a certain size had to be considered a choking hazard, and thus a corporate liability. (Either that or there's some kind of overreaching federal* regulation on the matter.)

* Hmmm, maybe...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I am so smart ... S - M - R - T

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

I would have been embarrassed if I hadn't.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Feeling Old

(Sorry, more navel-gazing.)

I had an epiphany the other day.

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how old I am. I notice that I'm usually at the older end of the spectrum in many of the circles I keep. Little things. The movies you saw growing up. The stupid little things you know that are history, like, really history, now. Usually it isn't too bad. I'm amused by it. It's kinda fun. I put on airs as "the old man." You were born in the 80's?! Wow, scary.

I call attention to it. Bigger, faster, stronger? No? Well, older then. So there! Show some respect, I'm old.

You might say I dwell on it sometimes.

And, well... I am getting older. Duh. But I've started to feel it catching up. More injuries, slower recovery time. I don't look like I'm in my twenties anymore. Early thirties maybe, but the illusion is beginning to slip away. And I just had a birthday a short while ago that's brought me ever closer to the big four-oh. I've edged out of the comfortable mid-thirties and am sitting uncomfortably on the cusp of my late-thirties. Thirty was good. Thirty was old enough to relax, old enough to appreciate, old enough (or perhaps I should say, young enough) to enjoy. I had a better sense of who I was (am), what my strengths (and weaknesses) were (are). The thirties have been about getting some perspective. A start, at least. The thirties have been treating me well ...for the most part. In an age sort of way.

But there's definitely a stigma about forty.

So the epiphany came when I was poking around Flickr and found a friend's pictures which included some pictures of her new man. And I thought (and I recognize how shallow and judgmental this is, but truth be told, I thought)

Wow, he looks old.
Not like old old, but like, well, old. Like an adult. A grown up. A real grown up, not like me who's been faking grown up only when he's had to.

I picture us stopping in for a visit and having to act all mature and talk about finance or the key events in the war of 1812. I imagine myself feeling uncomfortable during an awkward silence, after which he asks about what I do for a living or what my plans for the future are. Plans are? Like, what are you going to do when you grow up? Crazy shit, all playing out in my head. I'm not thinking about what he'd be like, I'm thinking about what a grown up would be like talking to a kid. That kid being me. And I catch myself. Because when I think about it, he doesn't look old. He looks like someone my age, actually. I mean, he could be older, but he could be younger too. And then it hit me.

He looks older than I feel.

Sure I've got a mortgage and a real car and a job and...stuff. But I spend as much time as possible doing stuff that just doesn't feel, well, like grown up stuff. I want to run around and play. Eat ice cream for a snack. Maybe breakfast. Or dinner. Read comic books. Dance. Play games. Nap.* "Kid stuff."

I don't feel old.

I feel young.

And I guess that's probably a good thing.

*funny how I never wanted to nap when we actually had mandatory naps in kindergarten.

Online bill-paying dumbass

I love online bill pay.

But love will turn on you. And it will be entirely your own fault.

But still, there is the love. Love is blind. Love is stupid.

With bill pay, there is the simple convenience of it. There is the economics of it. (I mean, it's like four bucks in stamps I'm saving every month.) But I particularly appreciate the way it can automatically take care of all fixed monthly payments for the car, the mortgage, insurance and all that.

There is one problem though. Though it is a problem which is entirely user-driven. Sort of by definition really, because the problem is user-error. With so much taken care of automatically, it becomes frightfully easy to forget to take care of things. So for example, having lost the structure of sitting down every month and writing checks, when it comes to my COBRA payments which need to actually go in the mail because they need to be accompanied by an appropriately signed payment slip every month, I tend to well... forget. (Like last month's payment which was 2 weeks late because I didn't remember to send it until some time after we had gotten back from Amsterdam. Whoops.) And it's easy to make typos -- mistype an amount, slip a decimal point, whatever. And when you're in a hurry because you've just remembered to make a payment at the last minute so you quickly jump online to take care of it, it's easy to just go through the motions and click through all the confirmations.

Perhaps you can see where this is going?

Because what happens next is that a few weeks later, you can't figure out why your checking account balance is so low. (Especially when you tend to obsessively quickenate. These things just don't happen.) And it's all very strange until you look through your payment history and you notice that for some reason you've sent $3500 to Verizon for your residential line.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Well, that's weird...

[via WWdN: In Exile]
Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A brave and loyal associate full of optimism, you remain true to your friends and their efforts, to whatever end.

But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Full of optimism?

Those of you out there who actually know me: do any of you find this at all ironic?

Voter Fraud

Just followed this link from Monkeyboy, it's a video of computer expert's testimony of the likely use of vote-rigging software in the 2004 election.

Forget how you feel about Bush, if you value the freedom and equality that this country represents, it will make you depressed.

And the thing that's bothering me isn't so much that it happened... Well no, that's not quite right. It totally bothers me. It fucking pisses me off. But it doesn't surprise me.

But what is also really bothering me is that this isn't actually news. The testimony is from December 2004. What happened? Have they disproved his claims? Is there an investigation? What's going on?!

The most recent thing I can find online about "Clinton Curtis" is an article on voter fraud in June in the Washington Spectator. The stuff from The Brad Blog, while interesting, is all 10 months old.

I can't believe there isn't more follow-up on this. But, well... yes I can.

On having kids

WARNING: sensitive new-age guy (whiny bitch) talk ahead! Those nauseated by touchy-feely navel-gazing should steer clear.

(Well, it's only sort of navel-gazing-like, but still, you've been warned.)

I should first note that it's not like I'm actively thinking about having kids at the moment any more than a "hmmmm, do I want to have kids one day?" that will occasionally pop into my head. I suppose it isn't such a strange thing -- I don't really know why my initial reaction is to get all defensive over it. (besides being just one of my natural behaviors, that is.)

I mean, every single one of the close married friends from high school that I still keep in touch with already has kids or is due any day. My friends here are having kids. My teammates are having (more) kids. And of course, there are the parent blogs.

And let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. (On the outside, at least.)

The topic of kids came up talking to my hand therapist yesterday.

She hadn't gotten much sleep because her son had been up several times in the middle of the night.

She couldn't remember the last time she slept in on a Sunday and could just relax.

She didn't know where they were going to find the money to send him to college (eventually).
They're all the standard things that have come up in the past (no sleep, no time, no money), so I'll spare you any additional discussion of the thoughts and mental gymnastics over those concerns.

It's the new one that came up after reading Dooce and then PVP (of all places) that I found... er, interesting, I guess. They're about different things, but they feel related, to me at least.

In a nutshell: recognizing that parenthood is a pretty big commitment -- a sacrifice -- it had never occurred to me that a (my) partner's love for you (me) could be eclipsed by the love for something (someone) that was born (hey! is that a pun?!) out of that love.

It seems like it would feel a little like being left out in the cold.

And then, the idea of once again being heartbroken after developing this new love -- saddening. ("Tragic" seemed to be a little too strong.)

And yes, that sounded overly mushy and hearts and rainbows to me (and clouds and rain [...and earthquakes and plagues of locusts!]), but it seems to be the easiest way for me to articulate it in generic, theoretical terms.

And I recognize the selfishness in there, too. It's all about me, baby! (Hmm, unintentional pun. Interesting...) And I recognize that love can die or just whither away for other reasons, or even all by itself, but that doesn't exactly give me comfort.

And I guess the questions of the relative importance of loving versus being loved and what is the capacity of one person to love (to love someone more or less than another) are whole philosophical discussions in and of themselves.

But whatever, there it is. It's not like I'm going to be having kids anytime soon. (Especially given that the SOOTTAD still lives in another city a thousand miles away.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Posting about the old noodles

I'd seen this article floating around the interwebs over the past few days:

Professor Houyuan Lu said: "Prior to the discovery of noodles at Lajia, the earliest written record of noodles is traced to a book written during the East Han Dynasty sometime between AD 25 and 220, although it remained a subject of debate whether the Chinese, the Italians, or the Arabs invented it first.

"Our discovery indicates that noodles were first produced in China," the researcher from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, explained to BBC News.
I found the article interesting simply as a self-professed noodle-lover (in addition to being a damn rice-eater). It was also somewhat noteworthy in the frequency of its appearance in my day-to-day random internet wanderings.

But only now have I been moved to post about it so I could give props to Yi for her concise assessment on the matter.

Short and sweet. Nice.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gulls and Galleries

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Finally got the pictures out of the camera and up online; a few others have been posted to Flickr. You can find the rest if you know where to look... (you could also ask, if you wanted to.)

This one is from the dock on Lake Maggiore in Stresa, Italy, before catching the ferry to Isola dei Pescatori for the reception.

At it again

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005



I'm not sure what his deal is, but one of the cats has been regularly climbing up onto my shoulders and aggressively licking my head since we got back from Europe. The shoulder thing is fairly common, and he's done the licking thing in the past -- usually after I've gotten back from a run or if I've just washed my hair. It's the frequency and persistence that's so weird. It's kind of endearing, but it's also getting kind of annoying, especially since I'm beginning to get a little concerned that my head is going to start smelling like cat butt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

hitting the ground running

Back last night from a whirlwind trip to Italy and Amsterdam, and already back to the grind today. I'm hoping to post more later, but for now, it's time to play catch up.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Trying to tell me something

One of the conversations I had with K at her birthday gathering (yes, the one with the book of what we've learned) was about the expression "somebody's trying to tell me something." You know: when circumstance and the confluence of events seem to form patterns or suggest some deeper meaning, as if someone behind the scenes were manipulating things in such a way to, well, send me a message.

These days, it seems like I get that feeling a lot. But I remain skeptical, and at the time, that's basically what I told K. When you get that feeling, I said, no one's trying to tell you anything, that's just your own head doing its thing. The brain is designed to organize information, find patterns, look for meaning -- that's what it does. I guess technically that is someone though -- that's you telling yourself something. But does your subconscious really know better, or is it just rationalization? Is it just making excuses?

It's been a rough year. I've already mentioned that (in a relative sense, at least) life is still pretty good, but given the relative suckitude day-to-day, sometimes I quietly wonder to myself, "does somebody out there have it out for me or something?" But, y'know, I don't really subscribe to the sentient divine -- that there's some dude sitting up in the sky, big white beard or no, deciding the minutiae of everybody's everyday lives. TheWandis suggested that maybe He has it out for me precisely because I don't believe in Him.

Well, maybe.

I accept that there are things that I don't understand. But I'm also a nerd, so for me, it always gets back to probability and statistics and well, coin flips. You know, the whole thing where the probability is always 50/50, meaning that even though statistically, over time, you should end up with an approximately equal number of heads and tails, that fact remains that for any given flip, and even any flip is a sequence of flips, the odds for that one flip are still 50/50. Meaning, nothing in the probability excludes the possibility that you could call heads on 1000 coin flips and get 1000 tails in a row. Someone trying to tell you something? (Well, besides me trying to explain how bad luck is just luck.) No, it's just luck in it's purest form. Probability. It's not you being unlucky... well ok, it is. But what I mean is that a person isn't intrinsically unlucky, we just say a person is unlucky when he suffers from unfortunate circumstance.

Luck, and shit, happens.

So, recently it's felt like somebody has been trying to tell me that I should give up on massagemuscular therapy school. What are the signs? Well, for one, things seem to keep happening to my hands. This past March, I scraped up both my hands, because on a long training run... I just fell down. I can't think of one single other occurrence in over 20 years of running where that's happened just running along the street, even the ones where I've rolled ankles. Then in June, I sliced open my right hand doing dishes. And then in July I tore a ligament in my thumb (and subsequently had surgery in August). And a few days after I officially got the (second) splint off (after the cast and the first splint), the day the rehab therapist told me I was making great progress, I cut my hand again washing dishes. (Thankfully, just a superficial cut -- yay! Dull knife! *sigh*) Then, deathly ill during the first week of class. And then this week where I couldn't find enough practice bodies for technique homework. I had one for today but she cancelled yesterday because she had gotten sick. I tried to schedule a massage for myself (we can use that as a substitute for homework twice a semester), and never got a call back. I was feeling pretty frustrated last night, trying to scramble and get in touch with classmates at the last minute. *

Really, is someone trying to tell me something? At this point I'm not sure whether I'm being rational, or just stubborn.

But, y'know, I take a weird approach to this sort of thing. Especially when it comes to giving up on something. Am I just being a quitter? I'm afraid that I'm just taking the easy way out, the path of least resistance, which is something I have come to realize drove a lot of my decisions growing up: avoidance in the face of challenge and adversity. So sometimes I do things because I'm intentionally trying to stare down my desire to do the easy thing. Unfortunately, that whole process muddles my ability to figure out what it is that I really want to be doing. And you throw in the signs and portents, and it's all over -- it's an exercise in trying to figure out what is real and what is manufactured, and really it's effectively flying blind, taking shots in the dark. It's using the force.

So you do it. If just for the sake of doing it. The SOOTTAD was talking to me about that. She left a framed Goethe quote with me when she moved:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness... There is one elemental truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too... A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

It's funny. At least three people, maybe more, made comments last week during class about me being in my head, or needing to get out of it, and I suppose this is what they were talking about. Help! I've fallen into my head and I can't get out! I think I told one of them that I could turn it off. I suspect that I lied.

It's troublesome at times, but I think sometimes that it's only through the mental exercises and gyrations that gets me through some of life's darker moments -- the frustrations, depression, malaise, the badness. Things may be crappy, but it can help me realize that it's not me, it's not in my circle of concern, it's not in my circle of control. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. (Or not.)

And there are times when I do fall in... but at some point, I just throw it all out, close my eyes and take a step. But I suppose from the outside it looks just as much like an outcome arisen after much analysis and deliberation. Unless of course they're close enough, just before, to hear me say: "fuck it."

And then I can only hope that I won't, once again, be thwarted by circumstance.

* I was feeling pretty disappointed about that initially because I didn't hear back from any of them. But then I got an email, and another classmate called this morning. Which made be feel a lot better about things, even though the one called back later this afternoon to cancel because her plans changed unexpectedly.