Thu, 31 Mar 2005top
wind and water
Today I had the day off. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to leave the intern pager at the hospital, so I had to wake up early in the morning to get it to the intern taking over my service. Which is just as well, because I had 13 dictations to do.
After three hours, I had breakfast at the Mission, picked up a package at the post office, then went back to sleep.
I was supposed to run some errands the day before. Yesterday, I had laid my head down at approximately 3:30 pm and failed to wake up until midnight. I still haven't learned to set my alarm post-call before nodding off to sleep.
But this time I woke up around 1pm and decided that it was a good time to go to the beach. This time I headed straight west on the 8, out to Ocean Beach.
Now I realize the following analogies are lame, and they really don't do justice to any of the places I talk about, but I'll write them anyway:
Whenever I try to explain Venice Beach in L.A. to any of my Northern Cali friends, I tell them it's like Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, or the Haight, except it's right next to the ocean. Well, in truth, it really isn't, it's just that the smell of incense and marijuana often fill the air in these places. I imagine that these places are the few scattered remnants of what used to be the whole country in the '60's, but what do I know? I was born in 1976.
Anyway, to mutilate an already ugly analogy, Ocean Beach in San Diego is like Venice Beach on steroids. It is actually a lot more like Telegraph Ave/Haight-Ashbury than Venice is. Venice is more like a tent city in comparison. (But of course, none of these places has that guy who wears a turban and roller-skates while playing the guitar.)
So, yeah, there are the hippies and the Rastafarians and the potheads and the goths. The counterculture still lives in scattered corners. Even in uber-conservative San Diego. I ended up going to the used bookstore, where I bought a grip of books. One of them was about feng shui for apartment dwellers. We'll see if it will actually help me with my inability to stay organized and clutter-free. I'm really desperate. I'm ready to try anything. Shit, if this doesn't work, I'm probably going to have to hire a maid to keep my shit together. My place may as well be radioactive, that's how nasty it is. Anyway.
And, as usual, though probably because of my erratic sleep pattern today, I can't get to sleep, despite the fact that I have to once again wake up at the ass-crack of dawn. Damn it.
Sun, 27 Mar 2005top
things never turn out…
…the way you plan them to.
As if I wasn't acutely aware of that fundamental fact that governs the universe.
Anyway, my mind is really not functioning these days. I think I've come to the trough of this year. I may have made it over the wall, but now I'm becalmed.
I'm getting nowhere, fast.
But I've been bitching about how one-dimensional my life has gotten these days. Outside of work, there is this huge gaping void, and lately, I've been avoiding this chasm by either going to work, or sleeping.
Sometimes I hate holidays.
I have all this time to think. For some reason, despite being told by my oldest friend B from practically the day we met that I think too much, I still think too much.
If you get what I'm saying.
Ah hell. I should just go to sleep.
I can't get to sleep I think about the implications Of diving in too deep And possibly the complications… —from "Overkill" by Colin Hay
As I've been trying to say, I've been fretting about how one-dimensional my life is. I've noticed how empty of content my days are now that I've managed to catch up with some of my friends whom I haven't talked to in months. They ask me, "So, what's new?" and I try and try and rack my brain, but there's nothing.
A conversation with my ex-roommate B reminds me that "this too shall pass."
Anyway. I've been pondering how my life has very few degrees of freedom. (OK this is going to sound nuts, but) I feel like I'm trapped between two Casimir plates. There's all this energy that's getting stored here, all this weirdness popping into reality, and I just have this feeling that when get out from between these plates, reality is going to be a bitch to pay back. (OK, I admit it. I'm a sick bastard. And the biggest nerd you'll ever meet. I read books about quantum mechanics for fun. Even though I don't know how to do math more complicated than algebra.)
I'm a virtual photon streaking through the quantum soup generated by pushing too unyielding surfaces too close together without actually touching.
I'm not even high.
I'm going to get to sleep now even if it kills me, damn it.top
Innocently, M asks me why it is that some Asian men get pissed off when they see a white guy dating an Asian woman. M is a Pinay in the Midwest who has only ever dated white guys.
I know that my brother gets irritated by it. M's cousin does as well. While I don't really feel strongly one way or the other, I can understand why some Asian dudes feel that way.
I mean, even I kind of flinched a little when my oldest friend B (who is, yes, a white guy) told me about his wild sexual escapade with this Pinay he used to work with. It was a visceral reaction. I can't really seem to explain it.
Without making it too political and too racially charged, part of it simply the inferiority complex that it foists upon Asian men. In typical chauvanistic fashion, some of us take it as personal affront to our ego. The perception is that it sends the message that Asian men clearly suck.
Now I'm not indicting any individuals here. I'm only meta-interpreting the societal gestalt. It is simply a naieve psychological exploration of the few guys I've met who have this hangup. I honestly don't know what white people think of this phenomenon, although I have certainly met quite a few Asian fetishists.
But the sad fact of the matter is that it reinforces particular stereotypes and self-defeating attitudes. The asexual Asian male. The disempowerment of the Asian male in a dominantly white society. It can cause a kind of invisibility. I remember that A and I felt it when we used to live in the Midwest. Living on the West Coast, or visting NYC, even I would get a few looks and smiles from women, but in the Midwest, I might as well not have been there. I might as well have had a shaved head in Buddhist monk fashion and a big sign saying "Eunuch" taped to my back.
True, it's all in how you choose to perceive certain stimuli. I'm not saying it's right to feel this way, but, there you have my interpretation. In case you've ever been wondering.
Sat, 26 Mar 2005top
obnoxious cel phone users
so of course I can't go to sleep, despite the fact that I have to go in to work on Easter Sunday at 6am. For some reason, I feel all wired. Of course, it could be all that caffeine I consumed today.
hypochondriac warning (skip if you don't want to read about my paranoid hallucinations) So as I climbed the ramp from the train to the parking lot, I totally got out of breath. No anginal chest pains, but definitely light headed. Which is, from what I understand about physiology, not very normal in a 28 year old male. I start worrying about anemia, and whether I might be bleeding out of my gut somewhere. Of course, what it probably is is that I'm horrifically out of shape. It's disgusting. I need help.
but on the train I was one of those people that I find annoying, yapping away on their cel phone. It was good to talk to B, whom I haven't heard from in a million years. Not that I'm necessarily the easiest person to get a hold of.
but we mused about the impending big 3-0, which is technically still more than a year away. but we both mourned the fact that neither of us were anywhere near our vaunted goals.
the big 3-0 just seems like such a steaming pile of bullshit, though. It's not like my life is going to magically change. or, to look it another way, things can only get worse.
ah, I love being so optimistic.
The other thing that has been crossing my mind is the fact that pretty much every woman that I've had an interest in or even dated is now either married or in a stable long term relationship. I don't know why, but there is something discomfiting about that. Again. Things can only get worse from here on out.
But what do I care, right? It's not like I have any time for anything in my life right now except work, work, work. I can't even make my bed, much less have a girlfriend at this point in time.
As I've said before, in what seems like an eon ago, what I need is a personal valet, not a girlfriend. I wonder what the going rates are for hiring an assistant? I wonder if I can bid for such services on e-bay?
Then there is the bizarre deal I have made. Basically a rip-off of "My Best Friend's Wedding." So, of course, there is this woman I have mentioned before. One night, in the aftermath of a messy break up and me trying to console her, we come up with this insane plan to get married by the time I'm 35 if we hadn't met anyone else we'd want to marry.
I honestly don't know what to make of this. As far as I understand it, we're just joking.
But then there's this niggling part in the back of my mind that makes me think there's more here than meets the eye.
The thing is, if I'm dead serious about this, I figure I should just go for it. Spill my guts and run all the way with it, even if eventually it leads me out into the middle of traffic only to get mowed down by a figurative Mack truck.
Instead, I make excuses.
Does this mean that I'm only fooling myself with what I feel? Or is it even more horrifically convoluted? Am I fooling myself that I'm fooling myself?
Will the madness never end?
Maybe I just need to have a frontal lobotomy. That'll definitely make all these dilemmas go away.
Wed, 23 Mar 2005top
GNOME 2.10.0 build order
This entry is not yet complete
GNOME 2.10.0 was released on March 9
- glib 2.6.3
- atk 1.9.1
- pango 1.8.1
- gtk+ 2.6.2
- at-spi 1.6.3
- libart2 2.3.17
- libglade 2.5.1
- libgnomecanvas 2.10.0
- gail 1.8.2
- libIDL 0.8.5
- ORBit 2.12.1
- libbonobo 2.8.1
- libgnomecups 0.2
- libgnomeprint 2.10.0*
- libgnomeprintui 2.8.2
- gconf 2.9.2
- howl 0.9.10
- gnome-vfs 2.9.91
- audiofile 0.2.6
- esound 0.2.35
- libgnome 2.9.1
- libbonoboui 2.8.0
- libgnomeui 2.9.1
- patch file modified
lost and spent
Another day off pissed away. Not to mention a couple hundred flushed down a couple dollar slot machines.
I don't know what possessed me at 6:30 pm (an hour and a half before my bedtime) to take $160, drive off into the mountains to a Native American reservation, and essentially burn it in a masochistic act of futility.
No use crying over spilt milk, I suppose.
But it seems that me and my sister have the same problem. Both of us seem to be incontinent when it comes to money. We somehow always end up spending more than we have, and I am almost certain that—unless I can get someone else to manage my funds—no matter how much money I make, I will always be broke.
Talk about Sisyphus rolling the stone up the hill.
Despite my aspirations towards monkhood (I've got the celibacy thing down cold), I can't seem to get around the whole vow of poverty thing. It's not like I own expensive things, necessarily, it's just that I really have no idea where my money goes. I mean, it isn't that I'm completely incompetent, it's just that thinking about every penny starts making me depressed, which has the somewhat amusing side effect of making me spend even more money. (I seem to have acquired the habit of self-medicating with consumerism.) I've decided that I am much happier not thinking about money, and if that means that I am always essentially broke, I guess that's the way it'll have to be. (Again, unless I can find someone to manage my funds. My oldest friend B has already volunteered his fiduciary services. Since he lives on the other side of the continent, this doesn't lend well to the kind of micromanagement that I need help with. He half-jokingly told me to give him a call once I have my first million. Which, according to my calculations, will happen, like, never.)
Anyway, you can't buy happiness. Although it seems that you can rent it for a while, so to speak.
I am also meditating upon red-shifting galaxies again. It is interesting to find that pretty much all of the women I have ever been seriously interested in are now in stable relationships, and a few are in fact married. I just learned that one of my friends is now engaged. (I had once upon a time told her how I felt, and I got the "let's just be friends" talk.)
It is interesting the way my love life has gone (or more accurately, not gone.) 1) I have been cheated on 2) I told someone how I felt about her and we basically came to the tacit agreement that it would be best to ignore it. It was almost never alluded to, and it was certainly never discussed again. 3) I have been pre-emptively told that it would be preferrable that my feelings not be known because it would probably unnecessarily degrade the friendship (This discussion did not occur in direct reference to me, just in a generalized, impersonal form) 4) I have simply completely failed to express my feelings and ended up surrendering to a better man 5) I have actually once had to play out the "it's not you, it's me" scenario—yes, remarkable as it seems, I had to once convince someone that a relationship with me would be a bad idea 6) I have encountered the "you're like a brother to me" scenario.
That pretty much sums up the past ten(!) years, really. It is interesting to note that my horoscope today stated:
An idea from the past hangs in your mind like an abandoned tire resting in a roadside ditch. Mental cleanup includes consciously deciding on one course of action and letting go of the other possibilities.
I feel that this is directly applicable to my stagnant situation.
It makes me wonder. I think B (the other one) would contend that deciding explicitly to take the path less traveled is simply a cop-out. Or maybe he wouldn't think that. Maybe I'm just projecting.
But, yeah. Maybe it's true. I've said once before that I think I make a pretty decent friend, but I would probably make a pretty shitty boyfriend.
Oh well. You gotta play the cards that you're dealt. (Please remind me never to go gambling ever again.)
Mon, 21 Mar 2005top
only hope can keep me together
I'll send an S.O.S. to the world, I'll send an S.O.S. to the world. I hope that someone gets my— I hope that someone gets my— I hope that someone gets my—
I seem to always come back to this song.
Right now I am simply shuffling randomly through my mp3 collection (which has recently just outgrown my 40 GB hard drive, although I'll admit, I probably have at least a few hundred megs of duplicates that I haven't bothered to clean out). Because of my wacky habit of keeping track of memories by attaching them to songs, I find my mind taking off to what are now quite distant eras of my life.
Not that I'm an old geezer, mind you. It just feels that way sometimes. Especially after being at work for about 30 hours.
I'm getting that "floating in space" feeling. That feeling that no one could give a shit if I lived or died. That solipsistic feeling that there's really no one else around. Everyone else is just an actor or a computer-simulated program or something equally creepy.
I suppose that this is technically a sign of insanity, but I think that everybody's a little crazy anyway.
I know I am.
I don't know. I'm totally in that state of mind where I feel lonely, but the thought of the company of other people makes me clastrophobic. Like, I start imagining my life populated with more people, and I get the creeps.
Today has just been a very fragmented day. Once again I slept all day. I dreamt about the end of the world. That the universe was falling apart, and that the only way to survive was to take this hypertransit corridor that dematerializes you and accelerates you to near light speed, then decelerates you and rematerializes you. Like the inside of this corridor basically looks like what I imagine a particle accelerator looks like. (By the way, did you hear the bizarre news that some scientists think that they may have created an atom sized black hole? Neat-o.)
Stranger still was the fact that the timeline of my dream was bifurcated. In one timeline, I was married to this woman, but in another, she was married to someone else. But if you entered the hypertransit corridor, the timelines would combine. (Leading to very awkward social situations.)
I dreamt that they were slowly converting freeways into hypertransit corridors. And that certain medical conditions prevented you from traveling on the hypertransit ways. So some people were doomed to be extinguished by the coming cataclysm.
But unfortunately they had the dimensional equivalent of the INS on the other side of the corridor, and in my dream I basically had to sneak through the border. (I don't remember how you're supposed to do this at 95% of c, but hey, this is my dream, damn it.) So here we were, about twelve of us in a one bedroom apartment, including a dog, refugees from a dying universe, unable to leave lest we get deported and condemned to endure the Big Crunch.
Oh, I remember now. We had a patron who was powerful enough to sneak us through, but was quickly losing influence so that we had to worry about deportation.
Sat, 19 Mar 2005top
the hour of barking madness, long ere the coming of the dawn to sleep now would be folly oh but to await the sunrise… this floating space and time of going nowhere fast
the mind disposes of thoughts and ideas dreams and memories forking, twisted paths turning inward upon themselves like Ouroborous eating his own tail there are no answers except for the one we already know the rest of it is just filling in the blanks
the city that is no city that is a place I may only visit in the darkness with my eyes shut
we take the train into the city center though of course forgetting that there is no center only the periphery is real and we spin about on Joseph's constructed merry-go-round seeking that ivory tower the phallus stretching up into the sky that God tore down, scattering us to the four winds
and all we're left with is some psycho-babble some half remembered doggerel about penises and tongues and the unforgivable hubris of trying to reach heaven
I dream of voices in the Oort cloud stirring and I wonder about all the things in this universe that remains unseen all the things that are seen, but we do not understand living on this tiny rock spinning around a little poof of starlight that could wink out in an eyeblink as far as the universe was concerned
we are, ultimately, little children playing at high drama mutilating and killing each other for some paltry trinkets trying to ignore the long, lonely darkness staring at us through the night sky
Sun, 06 Mar 2005top
sleep is for the weak
So as I noted, I stayed up for 32 hours the past couple of days. I figured that I'd take a four hour nap, pack, and then head up to L.A. to visit my parents. Heh.
So I wake up around 9am the next morning, completely disoriented, with eye-boogers glueing my eyelids shut. I feel completely dehydrated, getting orthostatic when I stand up to pee, which is miraculous that I still can, considering that I have been NPO for 24 hours, and I was already dehydrated when I fell asleep. Nevertheless, both my flanks ached, and I was sure that I had developed bilateraly kidney stones.
It is now 7:30pm, and I still feel dehydrated.
I don't know how people in relationships, and especially people with families, survive this madness.top
dreaming while the house burns down around me
Now I should probably know better, but for those of you who know me well, this is probably not surprising at all.
It's actually been a while since I haven't slept at all on a call night. It never occurred to me how much even 1 hour of being able to put your head down makes all the world of difference. So I try to drive home without killing anyone after working for 32½ hours straight and decide to warm up the pizza that I had left over from the night before call.
As the pizza sits in the oven, I decide to lay down on the couch for a second. You know, just resting my eyes. Checking the lids for light-leaks.
A few minutes quickly turns into sixteen hours, at which time I notice that the place smells a little smoky, and my throat is a little raw, like I've been smoking from a pipe.
How I managed not to immolate myself is a mystery to me. What can I say. God has a strange sense of humor or something.
Anyway, I guess the mild-to-moderate asphyxiation stimulated my brain or something, because I had some really weird dreams.
One: I dreamt that my other dog died, run over by a car.
Two: I made it to an island in the East Pacific that was it's own country, and the populace was made up entirely of ex-patriate Asian Americans. The Filipino guy who hooked me up with my travel visa was trying to extort me, so I got rid of his phony goods and made my way to the U.S. Embassy. My uncle then wanted to fly out to Cebu. Bizarrely, I find out that one of my mentors in medical school had had an affair with the Queen(?) of this country and they had had a child which died.
Three: A neighbor of my parents comes to the door in the advanced stages of labor, and my mom and dad end up delivering her in the foyer. The kid is past dates (something absurd, like 42 to 46 weeks) and me and my brother make sure that he's doing OK. The baby is, however, grunting, and I scan my brain for anything that we might use for deep suction.
Four: The bottom of my parent's hill has majestically gentrified, with an enormous commercial district that reminds me a lot of New York City. The city I find myself in is one of those weird hybrid cities I dream a lot about: some bizarre amalgamation of NYC, Chicago, and L.A. This version has the hills and mountains of L.A., the population density and public transport system of NYC, and the lakeshore of Chicago.
Five: Me and my brother are playing this really fun RPG that has very realistic animation. The world is kind of like Middle Earth, and involves various aspects of many of the computer and game-console RPGs that we've played throughout our lives.
Thu, 03 Mar 2005top
red shifting galaxies
I came home today all-of-the-sudden completely fried. I'm working in yet another different place, and once again went through the rigors of the First Day™ The day went surprisingly, swimmingly well (as they say.) But as soon as I got home, I crashed on the couch and curled up into a fetal position.
I've been envious of babies lately. Although I must admit it must be really irritating to be a newborn still in the hospital. Every day they rip you away from your mother, unwrap you from your swaddling and strip off your clothing, and then apply a cold, unyielding stethoscope diaphragm to your chest, poke their fingers in your belly, grab your legs and try to dislocate your hips, flip you around, and twirl you in mid-air before finally putting you back. But even still.
Some days in the NICU actually made me want to have a kid. (Not a premie, mind you, but you get what you get.) But I think it was merely a manifestation of my desire to still be a kid.
Spending time with all those mothers and babies made me think that that relationship is probably one of the purest expression of love, in those first few hours and days after birth. That you will never be loved that well again in your entire life.
As they say: we enter life bloody, cold, wet, drowning in our own fluids, screaming in terror and in pain. And then things get worse.
I am ever the optimist.
Unfortunately, the side effect of hanging out with all those stupid babies is that it made me reflect on the fact that I won't ever be able to have one unless I can convince a woman to have one with me.
Which brings me to the topic at hand.
Yeah, I've been trying to avoid these thoughts, and I've been, up until recently, pretty content with being alone and beholden to no one. My sojourn alone up the Pacific Coast was really soul-cleansing, and I doubt it would've had that power if I'd had had anyone come along with me.
But, to steal another turn of phrase, reality continues to ruin my life.
I suppose I've never really gotten my mind out of these morbid thought. Consider the way I continued to ruminate about the disasters of the past. The Central Coast is rife with some brief but vivid memories, making me think of a life that I was destined not to have. I feel really silly for having so many vain hopes, so long ago. And I suppose that every time I fall into this black mood, I'm simply trying to stop myself from being that silly again.
I must say, though, that I have simply been around too many attractive women, hovering in that savage land of the Damned known as the Friend Zone™. It is, I suppose, ultimately an illness. A psychosis. A phobia that I can't seem to overcome. While the Friend Zone is not where I'd want to stay forever, as B would agree, it's familiar and it's safe.
"Familiar and safe" is simply a euphemism for "graveyard of souls."
So there is the woman who I know would freak out if she knew I felt that way about her. The woman who sees me as a brother, the ultimate Kiss of Death. The woman whom I've barely met who is guaranteed to be out of my reach in due time and is probably out of my reach anyway. The woman who I shared a grueling and torturous month with, as professional colleagues, with all the distance that this implies.
I suppose what this really reflects is the failure of my imagination. If my psyche were not so mutilated, I doubt I would be this hopeless. As long as you're alive, there's hope, and yet I can't seem to drill this simple concept into my head.
In an anti-solepsistic twist on things, I feel like everyone has a chance but me.
Shit. I am just asking for the Darwinistic cleaver machine to mow me down. Unfit to propagate.
Anyway. The reason I bring all of this up is that I randomly thought of an arcane metaphor for all this.
They are like stars. I mean, I don't know, did you ever think, as a kid, that you could just reach up into the sky and pluck out a star? Like a firefly or a spark? The ancients thought that they were jewels embedded on the dome of the firmament, not ordinarily reachable by humans, but only just barely out of reach. Certainly within the demense of heroes and gods. But then Galileo and Copernicus and Kepler and Newton threw that all out the window, and the stars were no longer in our neighborhood, becoming the background upon which the solipsistic dance of the planets occurred. Then Edwin Hubble, via Albert Einstein, discovers the ultimate shocker. The germinal seed of the Total Perspective Vortex. We are specks of dust living on a rock orbiting an unremarkable yellow star, one pinprick of light amidst the trillions of scattered balls of gas that illuminate the darkness. One indistinguishable speck embedded within a single pinwheel of gas and dust floating amidst an infinite sea of other pinwheels and dust blobs.
All of the sudden, the stars are ludicrously distant, the nearest one probably unreachable for another fifty generations at the least, if we don't manage to blow ourselves up.
And still their light shines upon us, glimmering, shimmering beautifully, unaware that they are gazed upon with awe by a little dust mote like me.
This is how I sometimes feel about women and relationships. To put it more succintly, as M once did: so close, and yet so far away.
Ah well. Better luck next lifetime, I suppose.