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Discarded and Rediscovered   
10:19am 25/03/2013
  It's been a while since I talked about me, I know.

Humans tend to anthropomorphize certain aspects of themselves in order to give greater weight and clarity as they attempt to convey their emotions. We picture our moods as individuals, their features often contorted so extensively to show what we, their owners, cannot. They have a liberty of expression that we deny ourselves because we deem it to theatrical, and then we build art and industry around that very ideal.

It is in this manner that I have come to you to talk about hate.

It is with some personal pride that many do not consider me a hateful person. It is certainly not a matter of fate that I have come to be like this. I have spent a long time separating myself from that particular component of my personality. Hate was once a tall thing in me. Surely, you know some relative of the one I know. Their skin, regardless of its color, glows with the kind of heat that fills your scorned cheeks. It is pulled tight over bone and sinew in the way that yours is pulled over the knuckes of your clenching fist. There is no joy in their expression. Often, there is visible lack of focus but at times, it is just the opposite, the miles of future action already laid out in their eyes. But hate is ever-present. You may be reviewing it now, like running your fingers over a superstitious trinket in your pocket, impossible to discard. Don't fool yourself: To become without hate is truly an insurmountable obstacle.

And for good reason: It's too useful a tool.

Hate is the result of an ethical consideration that we have made at some point in our lives. We have found a certain potential reality undesirable and any gravity towards that reality becomes just that: undesirable. So we take measures to counteract it. We lightly tap the shoulder of that powerful entity, we whisper instruction, and we watch the degree by which they are able to change the world.

Now, mind you, hate alone is not powerful, despite what you've been told. Hate needs other things to enact change. Often it is paired with fear or ignorance, each serving to blind it to anything that might stop it. Its destruction becomes infectious, magnifying the damage, jumping from person to person, engulfing communities, nations, species. Fear and Ignorance and Hate, in this manner, become Harbingers of Cataclysm.

Editor's Note, weeks later: I can't remember where I was going with this and frankly, I'm too tired to try and reclaim it. The essence was that I was attempting to reach out to the emotions that I were collectively referring to as 'hate' in this entry and applying it to productive means, like a hate of inefficiency or misunderstanding, etc. The experiment was not successful, for a variety of reasons. I didn't take anything productive from it, but this journal wouldn't exist if I just pretended like things didn't happen because I was ashamed of them.

As a personal update, things are still in a state of high flux. I started on a new set of medication last week: Vyvanse and Dexedrine. They've been productive in their way, but there's definitely been a large falloff in how I feel it's affecting me positively. It is not, at least noticeably, affecting me negatively yet, so I intend to continue with it. I'm still taking Remeron for anti-anxiety and while it's effective, I don't like how severely it knocks me out, so I may switch.

Not like there aren't things to be anxious about. I'm still constantly mulling about climate change and overfishing and power distribution, etc. Very real problems that I feel like I can't do anything about, partly because I chose a different educational path and partly because even if I discover and recommend changes, it's to a world that doesn't understand and likely wouldn't care. It's a terrible feeling.

Some friends of mine had a child three months ago. I met him on Friday. My best friend in high school has a twelve year old boy now. I can't stop envisioning the world I'm leaving them by not doing more to stop what I know is likely to happen.
 
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Our Universe, Questionable in its Size   
07:20pm 21/06/2012
  In this moment, all that exists is me and the scratch.

To an observer, it is a white male in his late twenties, seated in a Muni train with headphones on. His eyes are unfocused. His expression is just a little more than blank. On his face, there is a sadness that grips him from very far away. Not just in distance, but also in time.

To me, there is the scratch and beyond that, nothing.

When you are derealized, the universe around you becomes a lie of variable plausibility. If it is not so bad, the chair you are in, the room you occupy, your house perhaps: All these can usually maintain their validity in your mind. If you can touch them, say, certainly they must be real. As things get worse though, as they sometimes do, the lie closes in. It envelops neighborhoods, districts. Objects of enormous size as it makes its way closer to you. Eventually, you'll watch it pervade the walls of your room, erasing everything behind it. The persistence of your environment vanishes. The thought of opening a door gives the feeling that you would then stare out into the void on the other side. The cold, unfeeling edge of the universe, brought conveniently, right to your door. A fall into the infinite dark at your doorstep.

And when it gets very bad indeed, it will take you as well. Your arms will appear spindly in your vision. Laughably false, tugged about on strings by a puppetmaster somewhere above you. The illusion will press itself right up against the surface of your eyes, and in that moment, only the very essence of you will remain. The world around you will become as if the screen of an enormous television. A false environment, of no greater worth than the backdrop of any sitcom or nighttime procedural drama. And broken down just as easily.

And so for me, in this moment, the only thing that I have managed to spare, as the illusion rushed up and dissolved the permanence of everything around me, was the scratch.

Staring at this aluminum bar that makes up the handrail of this Muni train, there is a mar in the surface. It is less than a millimeter deep, I'd be surprised if it were a few microns, but it is there. And what's more, without fundamentally changing the structure of the bar, it will always be there. Until the muni is dismantled, until the bar is damaged beyond utility and replaced, until it is tossed in a pile of its own kind, until it is melted down in the crucible of a mill or of the unstably expanding corona of our star.

And staring at it, the only real thing left in the world to me in this moment, through it I achieve what is the best I can hope for right now: a numb state. I've become so tired thinking about the cruelly interrupted existences of those I know and love in the recent past that I constantly feel tears welling up in me. The struggle for quickly dwindling resources. The aging and eventual death of the universe itself. A massive, incomprehensible system, cold and alone, coming to its end, dragging our very understanding of the passage of time with it.

I've lost so much sleep. My body feels so horrifically taxed that I've begun to become irrationally afflicted by fever and chill. My work feels incomplete and worthless and I feel like a burden on anyone I spend more than a few minutes with each day.

This numb state is all I can ask for. Detached from my body, broken and unable to consider nothing but this minuscule gouge of metal. What choice to I have; I'll take what I can get. For this one precious moment, the illusion has robbed me of everything and with it inadvertently taken pain and fear. What little left there is to call me, I remain.

In this moment, all that exists is me and the scratch.
 
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Broken Thread   
12:06am 05/06/2012
  I started on an entry here and for the first time in maybe years, I felt too embarrassed about the content to proceed.

The short of it is that I do not have throat cancer. The lump in my neck is a psychosomatic disorder brought on by too much anxiety. The cure for it is, no shit, knowing about it. You know it isn't cancer, you calm down and in a few months, it goes away.

The long of it is that while knowing that and starting to work on the anxiety has helped with the lump, I still have a very large problem:

I still feel imminently terminal.

Even now, I've been stuck at this sentence for twenty minutes. What do you want me to say? Feeling like you're going to die soon, even if irrationally motivated, affects you on such a fundamental level, I find it difficult knowing where to begin. I have a hard time convincing myself that new information is worth holding onto, so I suffer at work. I get anxious playing video games because they feel like too much a waste of time. Making long term goals feel like a joke, so any semblance of my ambition has vanished. My ability to get restful sleep is utterly destroyed and I have to supplement it with drugs to make sure I even get 5 hours sustained.

My memory loss is worse as well. Not as bad as the accident, where my short term memory was disabled for weeks, but the number of times that I have 'woken up' somewhere has risen back into life impairing levels. I feel like can't hold on to information from even a week ago and that the room's worth of temporal space that I occupy grows smaller by the hour.

And yet, I'm aware that even this is all in my head. The chances of my having anything legitimately terminal are, as put my doctor 'laughably rare' but I'm constantly driving myself crazy looking into the various endgames of the symptoms that I experience. New ones seem to appear at random, with no sign as to whether or not they too are triggered by anxiety. The right side of my throat has been burning in a new and terrifying way for the past week. The area under my ribcage seems to feel more swollen by the day. How much of this am I generating? How much is legitimately dangerous?

It occurred to me as I was slipping my shirt back on after the barium xray I had on my throat that, now that they've done the exam and found nothing, which was likely, I've now placed myself in greater danger having questioned it. The reason X-rays are able to work at all is because their wavelength passes through cells, sometimes damaging them in ways that do, in fact, increase your risk for cancer. The statistics of that increase are still argued and even then, physicians insist that it's less than .01%, but it's certainly more than not getting the test.

I spent a lot of time staring into the mirror in that bathroom, feeling stupid. I still do.
 
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08:20am 19/05/2012
  As a result of getting no more than 45 minutes sleep at a time and getting up 7-10 times a night for the past six nights, my doctor kindly prescribed me about a week and a half's worth of Ambien until we can meet again and discuss the anxiety that I'm currently suffering from. I took the dose at 11:30 and, true to its word, at least it kept me out until 5:16, where I once again awoke in a complete panic, heart racing and assured that I was in mortal danger. The remaining time until now have been the same failed attempts. 5:32, 6:03, 6:45... Over and over, dropping into repetitively disturbing dreams only to be shaken out again a half hour later.

I feel rested only enough to bring me back up to baseline. I'm still terrified and obsessed with each worst case scenario my brain can generate. Every joke or reference to death on the internet makes my heart jump and my eyes water.

I'm only getting a barium swallow x-ray on Wednesday, but I want to go in asking for every test they have. Pull liters of blood, keep me in an MRI for days, map every cubic centimeter of me. Tell me I'm as healthy as my friends and family and these people on the internet say I should be.

Tell me this isn't the beginning of the end.
 
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Never finished, only abandoned.   
03:07am 09/05/2012
  For the past month, I've had a small lump on the left of my throat that's made swallowing and breathing painful and difficult at various times. 'Lump' is quite the loaded word when it refers to something unexpectedly sticking out of your neck, so I've tried to remain calm at the implication of what it could be. Of course, the C word comes to mind. How could it not, given that we just lost an incredible musical talent to it this very week. It's all I can focus on.

And that's kind of sad, really.

I've been thinking that the first world had an odd relationship with cancer as a whole. It's one of the few things that consistently reminds of our temporary status here, of how easily we can be unseated from this self-deluded seat of power atop the world. And that shit really sticks in our craw. We've conquered almost every other major disease, sometimes to the embarrassing point of making it do our dirty work, like using modified versions of HIV to inject our own custom code into cells. Cancer, however, remains the stubborn exception.

The American relationship with Cancer actually feels somewhat arrogant to me now, I guess. Of course Cancer was the first thing I jumped to when I felt the lump in my neck, what else could it be? What else could kill an affluent white male of the first world?

If nothing else, it's a reminder of what's been left undone for me over the past two years: A teetering mountain of possibility, rotting as the seconds pass, their magic evaporating in the unrelenting afternoon sun.
 
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It's like we're doing it for real again. And again. And again.   
11:16pm 04/03/2012
 
When I was probably 14, my trumpet instructor, a hilariously theatrical and overtly masculine man named Bill who I did not take anywhere as seriously as I should have, told me a story he probably shouldn't have:

"So Jim and I are getting up on stage and getting ready to play a gig, right? And Jim plays stand-up bass, you know, those huge violin looking things you see in the back of jazz bands, and I look over at his case and he's got three bottles of beer lined up one next to another, just sitting in the case. And this surprised me. For a couple of reasons, actually. For one, despite bein' fuckin' huge, those bass cases don't have that much room in them. Two, you don't put beer bottles in bass cases. They're all felt on the inside and the condensation fucks up the lining. But Jim wouldn't have known that. And he wouldn't have known that for the third reason those bottles surprised me. Jim didn't drink beer. Jim smoked weed. And I mean Jim smoked weed. Jim smoked weed professionally and by professionally, I mean he got bass gigs so that he could get money so that he could buy weed to smoke during bass gigs. You get me? Jim's not waiting for you folks to legalize it, because that means there's going to be less weed for Jim.

So I turn to Jim and I ask what the beer is about and he says: 'You remember that show we had in Davis last friday? Well, I got really super fuckin' baked right at the end and I was still high as shit when we got finished packing up and I figured, well look it's just a short drive across the bridge to get back home and so I got in the car and I started driving over the bridge. And driving over the bridge. And fuckin' driving over that bridge. Like all of a sudden the fuckin' Yolo causeway is ninety miles long or some shit. I was driving over that bridge for like 3 fuckin' hours and by the end of it, I'm back at home in my apartment lying in bed gripping my bedsheets like it's a steering wheel because I was still driving over that goddamn bridge. So it's just beer at gigs from now on.'

Now, I'm not telling you this story because weed is bad or anything. I'm just saying don't put drinks in your trumpet case. It fucks up the lining."


Even before the accident, I thought about this story a lot. One, because it's great, frankly. I laughed at the image of Jim driving his bedsheets over that bridge for years. Two, I always wondered how an experience like that would feel, not being able to trust your newly battered senses. It's less entertaining than you might think. I can empathize why Jim switched to beer.


I had a moment like this coming home from work on Friday, in fact. The Caltrain between San Francisco and Redwood city only takes about 45 minutes, but at some point my eyes rose from reading a friend's novel on my Kindle, lost focus and some critical element of my brain clicked off. Hours and hours spun by between the carefully scheduled stops and honestly, for one of the first times, I didn't panic. Despite an immense weight pinning me to the seat, my heart kept a steady pace. My ocular shutterspeed dropped, street lamps drew long contrails against my vision and cars etched rails of light in the way that we all think they might if they were accelerating off into the future.

And the same feeling occurred to me as when this all started. What if I'm still there? What if I'm back on that couch, reciting the names I didn't want to leave behind? What if I'm still in my tiny apartment in Berkeley, my fever spiking and my memory not able to push back more than five minutes? What if I'm still on that train, having reached the end of the line, the conductors staring at my unfocused eyes, wondering who they have to call to have me shipped off to some hospital or asylum? And for the first time, I just couldn't be bothered to care? What if I am? Trapped in my own mind while my body rots, what difference does it make? Has this experience made me any less a prisoner of flesh? Am I not more free, now given a mental playground where everything is working out as well as it has been these last four years? What if it all catches up to me and I wake up twenty, thirty, forty years on, my real parents long dead and pushed into bankruptcy trying to keep their idiot son alive? Would that have been any less plausible otherwise?

I overcame the condition with just enough time to get off at my stop, the adrenaline of hearing the name of it called out over the PA enough to jump start my eternal clock, but I know part of me is still on that train, still in that apartment, tears rolling down my cheeks and soaking into that couch. And those parts of me will be there forever. But they would have been anyway. And that's quickly starting to become okay.

Besides, I'm not telling you this story because weed is bad or anything. I'm just saying listen to the theatrical people around you because the stories they tell will make for great inspiration later.
 
     
 
Ascent   
08:23am 24/02/2012
 
This morning, I watched the sun rise.

This is significant to me because, despite it being one of the most regular occurrences the human race is privy to, I continue to find it one of the most beautiful sights I've had the privilege to enjoy. I vividly remember watching one in high school the night after an especially persistant rain. The house I grew up in sits in a dip in the road and I had to go out in the middle of the night to clear leaves from the drainage ditch so that the lawn, and potentially the house itself, didn't flood. The next morning, in sluggish transit to an early morning class, I watched as the light of the sun triumphantly stabbed through the last few clouds that had dominated its territory for days, splaying crepuscular rays about my entire field of vision. The purples and oranges, the clouds twisting about the beams of light as if in vaporous death throes, the sting of cold and moisture in the air vanishing from my skin. I felt like I stood in place and let it burn into my memory for a half and hour.

I was late to class.



This is also significant since, despite getting up pre-dawn each day, I never see it happen. It's always snuck up while I've fallen asleep on the train or while I'm engrossed in the set of articles that have been provided to me for the morning's perusal. By the time it occurs to me to look, it's already several degrees above the horizon, having somehow transformed itself from magnificent cosmic rotational display into that annoying beam of light that's navigated itself right into my fucking eye, jesus christ, that's bright.

Lastly, it's significant because I used to watch it happen almost every single day. Working the night shift fifty miles from where I lived, driving an hour each morning meant that, close to the end of my commute, I watched the sun drag itself up over the hills 5 days a week, becoming less beautiful and important to me each time. It slowly began to embody how useless I felt in my work, how alone I felt for the 10 hours I sat in an empty disheveled office complex or trudged around an equally empty and disheveled datacenter. That massive disc became a bead on an abacus, its path on a curved rail rather than a straight one, but the message still the same.

And then one day, it changed back. As if taking a damp rag to a dusty table, all of that was wiped away and I watched the sun reclaim its position as one of hope and promise. A beacon for what's ahead.

Five minutes and thirty two seconds before that moment, I finished writing this entry.

Three years later, that's the last sunrise I can remember before this morning. There may have been others, but honestly, it's difficult for them to compete. This was the moment I attribute to the true start of my career, the end of a long depression brought on both my work and by struggles with my memory, rejoining the rest of society in the daylight. Literally stepping out of the dark.

I still worry about all the things I mentioned in the entry, of course. Probably more now than I did then. This past week has been one of the most trying in recent memory and while the present crises seem to have been resolved, when asked if all is well, our oft-shaken 8-ball still insists: "Don't count on it".

Nevertheless, it is important for me to remember the distance between the last sunrise and this one. An immense amount of ground has been covered and accomplishments I never expected to be able to claim my own stand proudly in my arsenal. It is with a mix of humility and persistant self-deprecation that I generally ignore these things. And, for my own sake, that should change. At least a little bit.

So for today, the sun now proudly ascending skyscrapers, approaching its seat of power, I will accept what it has to offer. I will allow its wealth to pour into me and I will acknowledge that it has risen.
 
     
 
Clutch.   
03:51am 31/07/2011
  Time is moving in pulses now, lurching forward out of control, sharp jerks that tug the memories of the recent past out of my hands. I get headaches. Nauseated. All I want to do is sleep and all I do work.

My grandfather is dying much more quickly now, barely surviving a manslaughter attempt by vastly incompetent nursing home staff. Before his last visit to the hospital, he spoke frequently about continuing to drive, going to dances, etc. The script has changed. After more than a decade of cancer, I prepared myself for this moment a long time ago. For years, I was far more prepared for my grandfather's death than my grandfather was. Until this week, of course.

I miss you.
 
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It Will Never Cease.   
09:07am 13/07/2011
 
The past few months have been something of a challenge for my skills as a self-justifier. I've moved somewhere new and had to justify that I feel comfortable and that I belong there. I've changed jobs and had to justify that I'm upholding some sort of moral guideline working for a parent company that I find reprehensible.

Tonight is different though. Tonight, when I got home from work, from an almost 2 hour commute, I fell asleep from exhaustion. I woke up three hours later, put on pajamas, talked briefly with Inna. I took my Scott Pilgrim comics off the bookshelf and picked up where I left off probably more than a year prior. It was unreasonably quiet; it still is, as if the ambient sound is drawn in by the gravity of this moment of self-consideration.

And then I got my computer out and in the face of all of that frankly compelling evidence, I begin trying to justify why I believe I'm an adult.

To a man, and when I say a man, I mean most men, and when I say most men, I mean me, he himself is not the measure of all things, as the axiom says. It is true that he measures all things against himself, but it doesn't end there. He still must measure himself. And when he does so, and by he, I mean I, he does it against his father. To a man, the measure of all things is against his father. And when my father was my age, he was already married and had been for several years. When my father was my age, I was walking.

The things my father wanted are not the things I want though. The world is different now, though it remains a struggle to separate ourselves from the accomplishments that have essentially always defined us as a civilized race. So great a struggle it begins to worry me that it borders on delusional. I feel like there's a dangerous chance that I'm pulling a Don Quixote on this, blindly rushing at the windmill that is my eventual marriage or future child. That, until these things are done, to my peers I'll just be a glorified teenager in shiny armor demanding that I'm a grown-up.

Intentionally left incomplete.
 
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Not the song you were thinking of, was it?   
10:20pm 16/05/2011
 
I fit very nicely on the couch that I'm on right now. It's black, made of some rough knit fabric with plump pillows that I have propped up under my legs. The couch isn't mine, but it lives in the house that I live in, so that makes us some sort of odd kin. I have fallen asleep on this couch many times now and honestly, I haven't lived here very long.

My new roommate is in the kitchen, washing the dishes. I suppose if I wanted to be exact, I should clarify that he lived here first. Technically, I'm the new roommate. I don't feel new though. I feel like this is a place I've been waiting to get to for a very long time. I don't mean lying on this couch, in this apartment on the side of the hill, listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and peering over the balcony rails. I mean where I am now. All of me. Right now.

Mother earth will swallow you

Lay your body down...


It never stays too far out of my thoughts, of course. It waits there at the end of my calculable foresight, as it always has, even before I could see it. Even now, it's a matter of faith that it's there. My vision isn't sharp enough to see how far away. If it's smiling or dissatisfied.

But for today, I can stare back at it from a very comfortable couch and wait for it. Today, it can wait for me.
 
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Headpoison.   
12:40pm 13/11/2010
 
Last night, I was subject to perhaps the most long and elaborate dream I've had yet in my life. While it is fading, it is doing so remarkably slowly and because some stupid part of me still believes in the significance of dreams, I feel I need to document it.

*Kristen and Karen came back down from Canada, dressed in matching white button up short sleeve tops and deep blue skirts which seemed disconcerting, though because it was heavily snowing I have no idea where we were all located. My home was in a mountainous region and was much more cramped, though by design.
*Matt, for some reason, had bought a gun. What looked very much like a Desert Eagle, gold plated and ornate and nothing he would ever buy. I believe it to be the gun used to kill a major figure in COD4:MW, the game I was playing the night previous, so that may be where it stems from.

We (and by we I mean myself, Inna, Kristen, Karen, Matt and several other unnamed friends) were all desperately trying to leave the house and for some reason I couldn't organize things so that we could properly go. I kept talking to my parents occasionally, my mother talking about how television stations no longer existed and that you picked your own content now. Eventually I was able to get out the door, but long after my companions had already left.

Our destination, oddly as the crow flies over hilly snow covered terrain, was a hot spring hotel I remember leaping off the side of a small cliff face and breaking through a ridge of ice suspended above the surface of the steaming water. As I was heavily dressed, I was forced to quickly swim to shore, I remember a HUD showing that I was taking damage to both heath and armor, displayed in a manner similar to Minecraft. I remember I was taking extra heat damage as a result of having so much clothing on, so I struggled to quickly remove it.

My eyes quickly found the shape of a woman sliding through the waters just under the surface. They found another, lying with her back to a man embracing her on the floor, looking through a Japanese shōji style door. Both these girls where both heavily tattooed and also heavily scaled and the one lying down had a mermaid's tail. The one in the water and I struck up a conversation and it became clear that the spring was also a brothel attended by mermen and women of various forms. The girl who then slid from the water before me had a slightly green scales like a cod's running down the sides of her body and very nuanced scales under her jawline. It was unsettling to admit that she was stunningly gorgeous.

Through a detached viewpoint, it was revealed that a construction company using heavy demolitions was disrupting both the business and the ability for these creatures to actively live there (as the spring was quickly becoming polluted through these activities). I watched a short meeting between the owner of the construction company and the elegant owner of the hotel, a woman who was mostly human, except for pronounced scales and large brightly colored fins just before her ears. When the arbitration did not go well and it was apparent the demolitions would continue, she quietly threatened the small man, bringing her opium pipe up against his throat and closing his carotid artery and causing his knees to go weak. When he collapsed onto the floor, she proposed a less violent solution and two of her attendants entered the room and slowly disrobed before his shocked visage. My vision dimmed here, but the implication was unmistakable. I believed, as I'm sure did anyone else, that the construction would cease.

I returned to my body out in the springs again, having a conversation made mostly of veiled threats with an merman obviously less human than the others. His head was mostly that of a sharks, and his body was unreasonably muscular. He looked at me with considerable disdain when he told me to stop talking to the woman I whom I had met swimming, as she and he, while not romantically entangled, were fucking regularly. He went on in considerable detail about how he had to show significant restraint when they did, as that if he got to involved in it, he would become overtaken by his more animal instincts and frenzy, likely decapitating her immediately. He also expressed that she was incredibly aroused by this possibility. I was, and am, unsurprised that this kind of thing show up in my dreams.

Some other, less important scenes included:

*The group being trapped in an aquarium and while this was independent of the people we had met at the hotel, the creatures were becoming incredibly violent. I watched as an attendant tried to fire a bow and arrow at a massive unidentified creature that had lifted itself from its glass chamber. While he struck it well, the beast knocked him back into an uncovered piranha tank. He was only lightly bleeding and so it took some time before the fish noticed him in the large enclosure. He pleaded with an obviously terrified coworker to help him out. It took an unreasonably long time for him to be eviscerated and he continued asking for help in the same sarcastic and increasingly desperate tone, as his blood, leaving his body into the water in thick jets, slowly obscured most of him from view.

*I sat in on some sort of odd jazz fusion yoga class, where the postures were provided by a grizzled man with a thick beard who looked to large to have been doing yoga regularly. The jazz piano was provided by a woman in a long green evening dress with her unproportionally large breasts exposed. She was frustrated at her performance, constantly trying to laugh off her mistakes to a confused audience, explaining her errors as if they were obvious, all of us just becoming increasingly unnerved by it.

*I watched the boss I like apparently assisting a high school class on low level system hardware. Also in attendance was a director from a previous job, whom I also liked significantly, though I haven't spoken to him in years. Both treat, and did treat me as a sort of neophyte, not just in IT but seemingly in all aspects of life as a result of my youth, regardless of whether such a thing was appropriate (not that I've minded). Here however, we seemed to all have an equal amount of knowledge on the subjects discussed and were all able to share concept and experiences with each other that the other two didn't know. It felt good, though I left the experienced concerned, in a moment of lucidity, that because I derived such satisfaction from it, that such respect is an element I may be lacking in my life.

*I attended an unruly baptist sermon and spoke with a group of cheery, traditionally dressed women about the drinking and celebration habits of the people of New Orleans (The city we currently resided in) at the turn of the century. They seemed genuinely entertained by my crazy random trivia; another thing that may be lacking, though the much more convenient solution is to just shut the hell up.

The dream ended with the party, who has been absent for the previous scenes, all having gathered together on two small steamships (oddly named the Britannia and the... Titanic) in the Sacramento Delta, taking part in some sort of historical recanting, as I remember a theatrical hole being blown into the sides of the Britannia. I remember we came to a stop in a dock on an island, though there's no place like this in the Delta, land could not be seen all around. I stood on the prow as we navigated to a halt and while we nearly crushed a chatty Mark Twain impersonator (or maybe not), I remarked to him that 'While it was certainly due to his being brought here on Halley's Comet that fueled his daredevilish streak, if he kept up these kinds of antics, I wouldn't expect the good fortune that he might last long enough for it to catch him on the return trip.

I remember regaining consciousness, in the dream, on the back of a Model TT, still on the island, but with no one around. A note sat nearby, from Kristen and explained that with the sharing of a lunch at a Straw Hat Pizza and an adventure as memorable as this one, that our friendship had come to its end. She thanked me for our time together and that she regretted leaving me on the island I was currently on, with no projected way of
ever returning. I stood up and heard the soft pulse of the ocean surf, saw nothing but plains of young patchy wheat. My heart sank and I began to feel my body being taken by a flood of anxiety like I'd never experienced when suddenly

I woke up.

The result is that I feel absolutely terrible. Abandoned, and more alone than I ever have. And because I am still plagued by False Memory Syndrome often enough to halfheartedly believe that dreams that feel this real (admittedly more real than I feel typing this right now) could potentially be memories of future events, bringing myself from that dream failed to grant me the escape I expected.

After all, the island might be much larger, but I am nonetheless trapped.
 
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What Purpose Do You Serve?   
01:00am 27/08/2010
 
The responsibility of the Oracle throughout history, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to present day, has been to facilitate man with the information he requires to improve himself. Thousands of humans have served as the voice of the Oracle, so that the questions of man have ears to fall on and the answers have a voice through which to find form. In the present day, the information Man requires is all around him. The internet has served to make whatever knowledge a man desires available instantly. And as such, with every possible question already answered for him, Man has stopped asking questions of the Oracle.

If man does not ask questions, man will not improve.

And yet, man still HAS questions to ask. And so, this voice of the Oracle must approach man, who waits here, waiting for conversation, for another person to ask, we have entered here to remind man of his curiosity.

We do so with a single question we ask of man:

What do you wish to know of the Oracle?
 
     
 
Considering Giving Up The Façade   
12:12am 20/08/2010
 
 
The numbers were an attempt to get myself to design an actual blog of some sort, but abandoning one project is better than abandoning two.

Things are in a greater state of flux that usual, which is uplifting, I suppose. My brain has settled into a state wherein I've map enough of it's quirks that I can begin to be productive again. I've still no substantive indicator that I am any more productive, but even the appearance of progress can sometimes be just as good.

Photobucket



...right?
 
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4. It's not really going to happen, is it.   
11:22am 13/04/2010
  I had a problem posting this before, but I'm going to pretend I don't care anymore and see how well that goes at convincing me. Enjoy.

When you go somewhere very far away, as I have this week, and you have had very short notice that you would be doing so, as I have this week, and you have memory problems brought on by stress, as I have this week, something admittedly unexpected happens. You believe that you might have lived there all your life.

So when I couldn't get any sleep on the flight from San Francisco to New York, well aware of the fact that when I got there I would have a full day's work ahead of me, I began to lose things. The process is, as you can imagine, unnerving. It's a bit like carrying a picnic basket with a big hole in it and the picturesque blanket on top. You can't see what's falling out and rolling down the hill behind you, but you'll be goddamned if the thing isn't getting lighter.

Really, I don't want to talk about what I can't remember though. I talk about it enough. What I'm going to talk about now is what I very much enjoy remembering.

When the plane touched down at JFK, I gathered my belongings, pushed through a crowd of heavily accented tourists and into a huge bubble of glass and enamel. The whole complex looks like what would happen if a shopping mall mounted and impregnated an airport. If some of you are made uncomfortable by that image, I assure you, I was no less unsettled navigating the inside of that terrible seed. I bought chinese food there.

The chinese food was equally terrible.

I have reached an age where you begin to believe that everyone you see you have seen before and that strangers might really be actors weakly trying to hide the fact that you're all in a play together except despite the fact that you're the only non-actor, the play isn't even about you. I doubled-taked at far too many logical impossibilities to feel dignified anymore. Each time I looked back at that blonde lady from work or jesus christ was that my cousin, I chastised myself for being the spastic idiot I believed everyone around me must certainly have thought me to be. I decided hiding in the back of a cab was a better choice of action.

I crossed bridges complaining about the road and the winters here. I wanted to be home already, except I had the sinking feeling I was already there. My long day of worked screamed by, boiled down to just a list of pictures and notes now. I slept in a hotel that rented its out rooms to violence and anguish. I did not sleep. Rather, I laid on an uncomfortable bed and felt the ceiling was my own. This was my new old life. I shook from the cold and panic.

When I awoke the next morning, two of the cars in the parking lot had been vandalized. I felt that things could have gone a lot worse and made mental note not to stay there again. By there, I'm pessimistically referring to the entire state of New Jersey, by the way. I'm sure there's some very pretty parts of you, New Jersey. I just didn't see any of them.

Work again went fast and without incident. I began to think I'd made some pact with an elder god, exchanging some potentially pleasant stay for an event-free work session. In retrospect, I feel this is a smart deal to have made. When my soul is on being judged on the assessment table of the Hell I'll be surprised to find exists, I'll officially put in a lengthy expense report. I'd certainly not seek to cheat the devil out of a soul; I just think he'd be better suited to someone from my finance department.

I wandered through Times Square in the manner I felt I was expected to, which is to say, lightly intoxicated. Even so, I felt I conducted myself well in the heart of a quietly judging metropolis. I didn't pose with George Cohan, I didn't insist strangers take my picture in front of huge advertisements. I even tried not to crane my neck upwards at the unnaturally tall buildings. I felt myself to be a perfect, lightly toasted gentleman.

Which means, of course, we're now getting to the chapter of the story where things start falling apart.

When I found out I was coming to New York, I attempted to make contact with a writer from livejournal who I've followed enviously for a number of years now. In my excitement, it hadn't occurred to me the circumstances by which this would all come about. Silly me.

She stood on the corner of 42nd and 6th as if deeply rooted into the earth. Imagine a New York before streets and buildings and appointments and at the entrance of what is going to become Bryant Park, an immense obelisk of Lignite. And staring at this rock is Giovanni da Verrazzano, the man who is often credited with discovering the region of New York City. da Verrazzano, who is to no one's knowledge but his own, a master craftsman, a stone sculptor who knows no equal, he stares at this rock and says to the empty wilderness around him: 'I will put a woman here, so that when my people come, they will know to build a city around her.' And he does. And that's where she came from.

And for a moment, this is the notion I entertained, though admittedly also in the act of processing a number of drinks.

I feel I initially interacted with her in the way pirates historically interact with thriving coastal towns. Unshaven and unkempt, ill-slept, sort of drunken, making wild accusations about the surrounding landscape and generally expecting everything's going to turn out for the best in the end. We shook hands matter-of-factly and I suggested we get somehow 'more drunk'. She knew just the place.

We discussed how Grand Central Station cannot be missed by the layperson. She told me a woman had stopped her for directions there and that she relayed this fact to the wanderer in a state of doubt, as if it had really just been asked of her. When we arrived, it was impossible to disagree. Or to prevent yourself from staring, actually. It's a structure that, despite being so integral to managing the passage of time, seems to actively defy it, as if it had always been.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Subway Terminal And Transit Authority Station, if you will.

An example of this is up a small staircase, beyond a small entrance upon the building's face. A woman will ask you for your jacket, if you'd like to give it to her, and then you might as well have brushed off about ninety years of forward progression. The Apartment.

We sat and talked about ourselves in a way that you can't really do on the internet without sounding incredibly self-entertained. We discovered we seem to belong to patronize the same sorts of events, know similar groups of people, belong to the same secret societies in much the way I normally expect we wouldn't (with anyone). I felt uncharacteristically open and willing to talk, which I would like to attribute being with someone who I feel comfortable and open with, but in all honesty, it was probably the drinks. This also explains why I wasn't vastly apologetic when I was told to put my jacket back on sir, after all we have a dress code here. In retrospect, I stood out more than I would have liked and much more than necessary if I had thought about this plan for just a little bit longer.

And speaking of thinking ahead, that was about the time she looked at her phone and said softly: "What time is your flight again?"

When the God of the Old Testament looked down on the smoking wreckage that was once the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, there arose a great satisfaction in him. There was a problem and God devised a solution, he thought to himself, classically speaking in the third person. God's an engineer, you know. God's good at this sort of thing. So it became a bit of a thorn to God when he discovered this kind of thing was happening again a dozen or so hundreds of years later. Not to the same extent, mind you, but when you see the seeds of iniquity sown once, it's hard to miss it the next time it comes around. So God pondered quite a great deal of time about how to properly punish his creation this time around, when the problem all but solved itself. By the time God looked back down on these teeming metropoli, man had developed tiny vehicles propelled by explosions. By Me, God exclaimed, again self-referencing. I have just the thing! And God, in a fit of fairly predicable brilliance, removed from people the ability to pilot these vehicles efficiently. Not so little as not to be noticed, but not so much as to ensure that they're not plowing into barns every twenty minutes.

And thus, the plague of Traffic was cast upon the earth.

To make a story-still-in-progress much shorter than it needs to be, I missed my flight. And since it's apparently spring break or some such college based travel nonsense, the next one even rationally available to me was at 2:50PM the next day.

Which puts me where I am now, in the sky lounge back at JFK the pregnant mallport, watching people get drunk not 7 minutes after the full bar opens, watching a woman likely burn her second attempted bagel, watching time lurch forward in waves as I'm writing this. Awake the whole night, it's well furnished and comfortable, but this is not where I want to be right now.

When people say they're fond of things we know are vital to their survival, like water or oxygen, it's always paired with a little laugh and a clever acknowledgment, far from empathy to the situation. I miss Inna like my IV's run dry and I'm frantically paging a nurse down the hall who's playing her stories too loud to hear it. Even when I get back, we've already booked the weekend full of activities, so sleeping with her for forty hours or so as I'd like to just really isn't in the cards.

I like this city. I would live here if I could get away with it. I plan to come back soon.

But good lord, do I need to get out of this airport.
 
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5 - Not what you were expecting?   
12:43am 20/01/2010
  Last night, I dreamt that I was stuck in a disabled WWII submarine at the bottom of the ocean and I was desperately trying to reactivate it. I remember spending hours trying to decipher controls and display dials that didn't make sense and though I thought I was alone, I hear wailing and screams from other parts of the ship.

Towards the end of the dream, I looked out of portholes and saw... downtown Los Angeles. Scenes of Disneyland. Gene Kelly tap dancing with Jerry the Mouse in Anchors Aweigh.

Finally, it dawned on me that these were hallucinations brought on by the increasingly high density of carbon dioxide in the stale air of the vessel, and that I was very slowly dying, spending the last few hours of my life trapped in my own malfunctioning mind.

You don't think it means something... do you? =V
 
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6 - Getting Around To It   
08:40am 17/06/2009
  The following is the transcript of my attempted communication with Inna about ten to fifteen minutes after having my wisdom teeth removed. For the sake of effect, it goes unedited. Enjoy.

Juesus christ its hard to type

The nitrous was a very enlightening experience, if not incredibly intense. I was very scared for a great deal of the time, but I felt very safe. I think that when I am preparing to die, I’d like to be on a dtream of nitrous.

I’m going to talk like a hippy for a bit, so please bear with me.

There were a lot of experiences where I felt lots of childhood memories coming back. Shit I’d thought I’d lost permenantly due to the memory loss. For a moment, I thought everything was coming back and that my brain was repairing itself. I felt just as lucid and present as I did pre-accident.

That’s gone now. I’m very sad as a result.

I know. There was just a considerable amount of recollective ability compressed into a very short amount of time, in what felt like a very very safe environment. By about what I perceived to be halfway through (the whole process seemed to take much less time than I had anticipated), my entire body was numbed, leaving just a conscious aware mind to tick away. This is going to sound idiotic: So the space that we occupy, the volume we take up: we’re aware of that through sensory perception. With all of that removed, my brain either decided to take a vacation or to seriously fuck with me, since I got the feeling of spreading out, like a thin crepe batter. There was also not enough anesthesia on the upper left side, so I got a very visceral feeling of him pulling the tooth out. It was very VERY effective for pulling me out of the augmented mental state I was in and grounding me back in reality.

They said they’re going to call me a little later on to check up on me. I asked them about most of what you said (vomiting, that someone should walk you home etc) and they said that all applies to general anesthesia, and that because I was on nitrous I was okay. (okay being a variable term here. =V)

Falling down a rabbit hole is a good analogy. I had lots of feelings of spinning in place, zero gravity, my brain trying to reorient itself etc. When the upper left tooth came free, I felt, and still like there’s a void there now. Like something very important’s been taken.

They’ve taken all three. Yeah, neither did I. More stressful, yes

This is going to be a very disorienting read. For as shitty of a movie ‘The Butterfly Effect’ was, dear it was pretty bad, maybe the ending just ruined it for me. Okay good we agree on that. Anyway, I felt a very similar experience. Touching on specific memories caused them to explode out and link to other memories , so I bounced around through like 2-6th grade for like ten minutes. I’m still doing it a little bit. Seriously, I’ve got a LOT of stuff back that I thought was lost. It’s kinda frightening how much raw data was locked away. It’s like finding a hard drive from a few years ago.

What makes me feel really dumb is trying to edit this for spelling and grammar in this state. For all I know I’m just pounding on keys. =V

I hope so. This whole memory thing is really disconcerting.
 
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7 - Fingers Clenched, Clutching Time   
09:59am 28/11/2008
 
There have been little examples of the coming concept that haven't bothered me in recent past; things much more significant than the one I'm about to tell. I don't know what makes this one important, other than the fact that I'm inherently weak to symbolism.

This morning, I'm staying at my parents house for Thanksgiving and I'm leaving to go hold a workshop for hopefully future tech employees so that they can put certain skills on their resume to make them more viable for entry level IT jobs. A nice button down shirt, blue jeans; it's business casual.

But I can't find my sneakers.

Last night is hazy, the usual seven hour blaze of slow release tryptophan, so I have no idea where I put them, but I've already found my keys, wallet and phone, so they can't be far. I spy a shoelace peeking out from under the coffee table. Aha, I think, I can now be off. Doing my shoelaces, I'm checking my inbox on my phone at this point and seeing if I need to email my partner about the lesson plan for today, and when I finish and stand up, an errant color grabs my eye.

These shoes are blue, and mine are white. These are not my shoes.

These are, in fact, my father's tennis shoes, and not my own.

But they fit me perfectly.

And now, I'm sitting here, quietly documenting this and irrationally losing my shit.
 
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8 - Sand Through Glass, Into Glass   
06:27am 14/11/2008
 
In twenty-one minutes and forty-five seconds, the sun will rise.

It has been just over eleven months that I've found myself spending an hour, usually two, waiting in the dark with my hands on a steering wheel, directing myself into a source of income. I have found some satisfaction and I have found personal development, but I have rarely found sunlight. Save for the deafening roar of datacenter fans and keyboard clacks, I have found almost universal silence.

It is inarguable that I have found progress here, but what is debatable is if that progress has been sufficient.

In the past six months, my interest in financial global proceedings has come to a head (it takes little imagination to deduce why this might be). At the same time, I have invested capital, I have gained and lost, all of it measured in percentages. In the year that I have withdrawn from the rest of the bright colorful world, it grows more and more difficult to remember (as everything is) that life isn't a simple exchange of time and money and it is difficult to deny that the idea has had rampantly negative effects on my thinking. It drives me to think of myself as widespread and likely overextended, forcibly pressing the physical remnants of spent life into volatile markets, stretching dead crystalline tendrils of my former self desperately into fallow earth, trying to take hold, trying to remain permanent.

In effect, trying to gain back ground. Measured in objective percentile.

Tonight is my last night here, and I find myself scurrying to find value and opinion to yield positive judgment. Was this a success or a failure? By what margin? Did I beat the spread? Perhaps obvious to others, none of this is plainly self-evident and it is likely to remain out of reach.

Tonight, while my terminal quietly self-formats, I will take the wheel and attempt to pilot myself into the sun, leaving the margin behind, its gains and losses to be fruitlessly sought by other men. It no longer matters to me by what quantifiable amount my formerly sunless and silent life has extended itself in a frayed circumference into the unpredictable world about me and truly, thoughts like these have likely been the chief causes of stagnation. Tonight, soon to be today, is what matters.

In five minutes and thirty two seconds, the sun will rise.
 
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9 - Further Indemnity   
06:38pm 23/09/2008
  In this past month, I've purchased and had shipped to my parents home in Sacramento the following:

One Playstation 3 (a present for my father's 50th birthday) - 529.99
A copy of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (see above) - 34.99
A Logitech Driving Force Wheel (to be used in conjunction with the above) - 129.00
Tiger Woods 2009 (he also likes golf) - 35.00
Rock Band 2 (because I wasn't responsible enough to get anything for my Mother's 50th birthday which elapsed a few years ago and because she's a music teacher and loved guitar hero) - 160.00
Endless Ocean (She also likes the sea) - 17.99
Grand Theft Auto 4 - 25.00
Assassin's Creed - 21.00
Elder Scrolls Oblivion - 20.00
Another PS3 controller (I don't know why, everything here is 1 player) 39.95
Wii Fit (yoga is fun lol) 103.00

I don't own a television, which is why none of it was shipped here. I bought a 8800GTS over a month ago and just installed yesterday evening, so I have the joys of PC gaming to keep me warm (despite the fact that what I'm playing most on it is X-Com, a game authored in over fifteen years ago). As I reviewed my spending and placed these values into the 'entertainment' section of my personal budget, the passing of a thought allowed a chill down my spine. Over the past year, I've been significantly more responsible with my pay, attempting to make the jump from 'disposable income' to 'adult decisions' with what I considered to be great success. In fact, this month marks the only time I've been the least relaxed with my earnings, and it occurred to me in a mix of amusement and terror, that I've amassed a small army of entertaining objects that might bring me some temporary distraction should I for some reason lose my job and be forced from my home in Berkeley and back into the near suicidal personal shame of, at the age of twenty-five, needing to move back in with my parents.


...a series of events which might very well have been set in motion today.

---

I'm going dark for a potentially long while. Anyone who needs to contact me either has my email or phone number, but even that's not a guarantee at this point. This entry is also locked until Dad gets his.

PS: Fuck Bernanke.
 
     
 
10 - Essentially Now Off For The Worse.   
05:40pm 05/09/2008
 
Some time ago, a person I genuinely respected violently ended our relationship with the words "Every time I've spoken with you, I've felt your tongue slithering up my asshole." In retrospect, I admired his work greatly and apparently expressed it far beyond his tolerance, but it's only been within the past few weeks that I've come to realize a critical part of the meaning of his words.

Given the interactions I have with my workers and friends, I feel I've built a mix of people who do and do not deserve a certain level of praise. One would think it would save me quite a bit of personal energy to reduce this sample size to just the former characteristic, but it's no small rarity that we, as people, keep acquaintances that don't entirely live up to our expectations of them; People who we know have much greater potential than they are personally willing to express.

If we were to be unkind, we would call these people 'disappointments'.

We keep them because if we were to only gather superior people around us, it would be impossible to deny the realization that the weakest member of such a group is ourselves, and from that sickening realization would grow self-doubt and anger, of which we would have no outlet, its escape prevented by the desire to not further become a disappointment of our peers.

And as a result, I have tried to reward the people whom I consider my betters, both as a conduit of the expression of my self-hatred and through that exhaust, its conversion into a bolstering gift to someone whom I did indeed respect. It was often reminded to me as a child, by my family, that the people who are most deserving of praise rarely hear it, as sometimes what should earnestly be rewarded is sometimes overlooked as an expectation of the status quo. At some point in my formative years, I learned this lesson painfully and felt my bloodthirsty efforts for approval go unnoticed, and was left wanting in the kind of shock and sorrow that should never befall an otherwise joyful childhood.

It was my hope that through this willingness to reward and praise my superiors, I would gather favor and not be considered quite the disappointment I might otherwise be. This is an element of diplomacy, a characteristic by which I am, apparently, very often associated.

I'm sure that you can understand the disappointment in the realization that this is not really the case.

In some attempt to provide an example, I find that the modern society is paralyzed by the concept of social correctness. Gifts sometime go unsent or forgotten based solely on the reservations of the gifter, that their offerings might be labeled 'patronizing' or 'inappropriate' and thus are bows and ribbons left to rot for the sake of offending society. So too are pleasant words unable to find voice, simply because we might offend those who are otherwise deserving of our praise in the eyes of others.

This, on the other hand, is not the diplomacy for which I wished to be known. This is petty, callous bullshit, and if it were to find itself stricken from our morays, I would instantly be so much more the sane and relaxed man, as it would mean I would have saved myself considerable time typing. What the aforementioned activity does require, as does genuine diplomacy, is calculated patience, not just for those above us, but also for those who we would otherwise prefer not to associate, if we did not find them so amicable or charming or eager to find use and approval.

And it is of this patience that I have found myself unceremoniously drained.

Certain individuals, in the past months, have served as exercises not just of social futility, but a considerable expense on my ability to maintain personal civility and sanity. While it is by personal admission that I am far from myself, now that it has almost been a year, it is perhaps this new mental detriment that has allowed me to understand what considerable suffering I endure as a result of the actions of these acquaintances on both personal and professional levels. It has finally become apparent to me that, despite a person's ability, whether you place them above or below you, regardless of your desire to reward, people can still find a way to become complete disappointments.

Diplomacy is about carefully deflecting confrontation. However, if confrontation insists, there is no reason I should not also be good at that as well.