Thu, 29 Sep 2005

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sympathy for the damned

So I actually made it out today and went to the Strand, where I immediately purchased way too many books. One of them is a book I've frequently stopped at and even flipped through but never before felt compelled to purchase. It is called The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon, and the very first paragraph sort of captured how I've been feeling the past few days:

Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair. When it comes, it degrades one's self and ultimately eclipses the capacity to give or receive affection. It is the aloneness within us made manifest, and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with oneself. Love, though it is no prophylactic against depression, is what cushions the mind and protects it from itself. Medications and psychotherapy can renew that protection, making it easier to love and be loved, and that is why they work. In good spirits, some love themselves and some love others and some love work and some love God: any of these passions can furnish that vital sense of purpose that is the opposite of depression. Love forsakes us from time to time, and we forsake love. In depression, the meaninglessness of every enterprise and every emotion, the meaninglessness of life itself, becomes self-evident. The only feeling left in this loveless state is insignificance.

It's sad and tiring to realize how easy it is for me to slip into this state, when I don't have the structure of the work day to keep my mind occupied, despite taking medications. And I suppose that's the flaw. I'm basically just hanging on, killing time, getting by. Subsistence. Hence, the lack of growth.

Another part of me believes I simply can't communicate what I feel to anyone who has never been depressed before, which is, I suppose, inevitably true. I just feel like I've been staring at this hole in the Universe for a greater part of my life. I haven't yet fallen in, but I'm definitely in a decaying orbit. And, sure, I can make some things still happen in my life. I have somehow managed despite sometimes crippling bouts of this malady to obtain an advanced degree in something, and in some ways even managed to excel in the field. Miraculously, despite many hiccups, stutters, stumbles, and outright falls, I've somehow held my shit together long enough to achieve what can perhaps be objectively described as a modicum of success. But looking at it from a distance, it's obvious that in some ways, I'm just breaking even. What is easy for many, perhaps a majority, of people is often a grueling task for me. Someone who possessed my inborn talents but who lacked my propensity for melancholy might have become Someone Great. Someone who might have already changed the world for the better. Me, I'm just doing what I can to keep getting sucked into that Utter Darkness, to keep my flickering candle flame lit.

I suppose the experience that I have no capacity in communicating to others is the process of surviving this state. In some ways, I feel like I've endured a mental anguish that most people are lucky enough to not have to ponder. As Solomon alludes to in the above paragraph, non-depressed people typically don't ponder their own staggering insignificance to the universe. Me, I've stared that fucker in the face night after night, until the notion that everything I do means nothing has been burned into my soul. So every fleeting emotion, every measure of excitement, every infatuation, sort of just fizzles out, because in the back of my head is the belief that nothing permanent is going to come of it. It's like I've been trapped in Douglas Adams' Total Perspective Vortex[1][2] from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and much to my dismay, my brain didn't get liquified to goo, and I'm forced to live with this knowledge for the rest of my life.

At this point, it's no longer a matter of ignoring this thoughtstream, of forgetting about it. At this point, I would have to be brainwashed. Re-educated. Made to believe that what I do is not meaningless. I mean, right now, intellectually, I know that's true. That everything I do has some effect on the universe, as infinitesimal as that effect may be. And regardless, there is the ethical beauty of just tending the garden—the task itself is its own reward. As Gandhi put it, "Whatever you do is insignificant, but it is important that you do it." But it always rings hollow. I do take my job seriously and somehow find it within me to sincerely give hope and comfort to others, but for some reason, I can't get my advice to apply to myself.

I've long realized that it is one thing to know, and another thing to understand. And yet again, it is completely another thing to believe. I know that what I am putting myself through is a destructive process that I don't need to go through. I think I even understand what I have to do to get out of here. But the thing that is holding me back, the thing that is sucking me down into the black hole is that I can't for the life of me get myself to believe any of these things.

17:50:48 29 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

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reality continues to ruin my life

I don't know what to say. Is it the weather? Am I simply having a premature episode of seasonal affective disorder?

I remember last year when I was on vacation, I was kind of dreading having to go back to work. Now granted, this was probably because I was new to everything, and didn't know half of what I was doing, but, really, it's not like I'm so much smarter now. I think that one of the maladaptive rationalizations I've learned is that confidence isn't so much a matter of being able to do things right, but more of a matter of not giving a shit. It isn't so much that you get better at things—it's simply because you care less.

But, yeah, another pathological aspect of my psyche today is that I almost can't wait to get back to work. What kind of sick fuck would rather be at work than on vacation?

The main problem is that I certainly have way too much time to think, and all the paths I know always seem to lead me to deep, dark places full of despair, with no apparent way out. I think I succeeded in the strategy of not-thinking for the past few months, what with family crises and being busy with work, but this break has got me thinking that maybe this isn't such a great strategy, since everything I hadn't been thinking about has suddenly reared its ugly head in my face with at least twice as much soul-sucking strength.

I'd like to say that I'm OK, that, sure, there are lots of things I want from the world right now, but I just have to be patient and tend my garden, and as time marches on, I'll discover the difference between what is important and what is not. But on deeper inspection, it becomes clear that I am all sorts of fucked in the head, and the notion of becoming even remotely unfucked is somewhat laughable, and I suppose the noble thing to do is to try not to drag down too many people into my whirling vortex of decrepitude.

Right now I think it is appropriate to quote Tyler Durden: "Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction…."

06:52:32 29 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Wed, 28 Sep 2005

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approximating sanity

a summary of the rather depressing conversation I had with BD the other day:

so he indicts me for having a rather boring and empty life, which I can only agree with. that's just how it is. the thing that is troubling is that I really don't have the wherewithal to do anything about it. now I know that no one is going to rescue me from this downward, toilet-bowl-flushing-like spiral, so as far as I can extrapolate into the future, I'm just pretty screwed.

sure, it's a defense mechanism. because I'm pretty much done with dealing with rejection, having had extensive experience with the process. so I've pretty much decided that I'd rather not meet any new people. solves a good percentage of my problems with dealing with humanity. my rationalization is that I'm barely able to keep up with the people I already know anyway.

but they say no man is an island, and I know deep down this is pretty pathological. I guess I try to cope by trying not to care, by detaching myself from the situation. so if someone doesn't want to hang out or talk to me, oh well, such is life. it's not like I'm not usually busy anyway.

so BD hopes that things will be different in 5 years. for one thing, he's sick of hearing me tell him the same old shit. definitely in terms of my emotional growth, I haven't changed for the better in the past 5-7 years. in 5-10 years, he anticipates embarking on what CB once called the hetero-normative consumer pathway—the American Dream, the lifestyle that includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, a 2 car garage, and 2.5 kids. ah, married with children. he'll be telling me about the not-sleeping-because-the-kid-keeps-crying, the dirty diapers, the teething, and all the stuff that I'm bizarrely familiar due to my job, but which I don't really anticipate being able to put into practice in my own private life. now I'm not one to call anything impossible, but I wouldn't exactly bet my life savings on the possibility of being in a similar position in 5-10 years. (Lord have mercy on my convoluted sentences.)

the reality is that I know that this can't possibly continue on for that much longer. realistically, something drastic is going to have to change, or I'm probably going to be dead. sucks, and I hate to be alarming, but I can't envision much else happening in the long-term future.

21:42:08 28 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 4 comments

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waste

so I ended up not doing anything today. I was another of those days where I wonder how I may have offended any deities or if I was an evil bastard in a past life. it didn't help that I didn't sleep very well last night (although, likely, that's part of the reason why today was such a waste.) I moped around all depressed for no rational reason, although I did get out to walk my sister's dog. I wasn't able to find replacement razors for my Mach 3, so I just said screw it and decided to get another razor. after shaving off nearly a week's worth of beard growth, I thought I was finally ready to head out to the city, around 4:30pm. then I couldn't find my 7-day subway card. after much cursing and frantic searching, I gave up and decided to shell out some cash. what made me finally surrender was that my iPod battery gave out. it was just not meant to be.

I don't know. I suppose one of these days, perhaps my temper will flare and I'll be insane enough to not accept failure, and rail against probability even if it kills me. Times like this, my thoughts stray to the Battle of Maldon.

20:43:38 28 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

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nothing meaningful or constructive

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

OK. I feel a little better now.

11:18:48 28 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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reeling

my tarot card reading was rather ominous today. basically the gist of it was that everything is fucked up in your life and will continue to be so in foreseeable future, and that the only recourse is to go with the flow. the creepy thing is that my horoscope for today basically said the same thing—that despite things failing to go my way, there's no use getting pissed off about it, and that I should just roll with the punches.

great.

if I wasn't certain before, I'm pretty goddamn well certain now that there is something chemically wrong with me.

09:40:33 28 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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insomnia (how i hate the night)

Now the world has gone to bed, Darkness won't engulf my head, I can see by infrared, How I hate the night.

Now I lay me down to sleep, Try to count electric sheep, Sweet dream wishes you can keep, How I hate the night.

—Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

so you know you're in trouble when you wake up and then immediately regret it, mostly because you must now consciously face some fact that you wish weren't true.

how is it that a recriminating conversation indicting me for emotional stagnation, coupled with a relationship status change on someone's profile on Friendster create sudden emotional turbulence, the likes of which I would hardly be able to foresee even just a week ago?

in other words, why can't anything ever stay simple?

but I recognize that it doesn't matter. or, more precisely, it does matter right now, but since it won't kill me (I'm pretty sure), in the big picture, it doesn't matter.

or some such solipsistic rationalization as such.

feh.

03:37:18 28 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 4 comments

Tue, 27 Sep 2005

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i am so fucking doomed

so I watched 2046 with BD today at the Sunshine Theaters. it wasn't what I was expecting, but I found myself engrossed by it anyway. the protagonist is a writer who churns out smutty science fiction. the time frame is the late 1960s. the setting is hong kong. he is a seriously damaged character, basically unwilling to let himself get attached to anyone, and even when he realizes what he's doing, he just lets it tragically go on anyway, resigning himself to eternal loneliness.

or maybe I'm just projecting.

anyway, in Old English, doom didn't have the negative connotation it does today. it was basically a synonym for fate, for destiny.

sometimes those are just cards you get dealt.

whatever happens, happens, even if it keeps happening fucking over and over again.

22:32:31 27 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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nyc: revisiting the big city (continued)

in some ways, gotham has been on my consciousness for a slightly longer time than the windy city has. the first time I came out here was in January 1993, and from what I remember, it was not yet fully giulianified. me and others from my high school were only there for a night, I think, on an east coast college tour. I remember being cold, staying in a place infested with roaches, with holes in the walls where some guy on probably pcp decided to take out his aggression on the building. ah, those were the days.

the second time wasn't until 1997. this was when I became enamored with the irrational tangle of steel rail and electricity known as the new york city subway system. me and my family did the whole tourist thing—the empire state building, the statue of liberty, the world trade center. we even watched les miserables.

third was in 1999 while I was on the way to farmington, connecticut to interview for medical school. BD was living out in jersey city at the time. I got lost looking for the port authority and it was snowing. I remember wondering if I could actually die out there.

fourth was again in 1999, after I had made my move out to chicagoland. it was interesting to compare and contrast the two cities. JdG had just moved out there at the time, to Brooklyn Heights. BD had moved out to Astoria. I had an interesting adventure navigating the N and R at 3:30am coming out of Brooklyn. I finally emerged on the Queens side by the time the sun started coming out.

from that point on, I think I may have come out there pretty much every year. in June 2001, JdG graduated from the New School, and a bunch of us from college came out, mostly from Cali. I came back out in late July 2001 with BS, JT, and C. That was a lot of fun. it is somewhat eerie to think about that time, right before the WTC was destroyed.

seventh was in late June 2002. Me and Y decided to go on an insane 15 hour road trip from Chicagoland to NYC, leaving inexplicably at 12am, finally rolling across the GW Bridge around 3pm. BD was in Hoboken at that time. That trip, I think, set the tone for my lifestyle the rest of that academic year.

eighth was in late january-early february 2004, when I was interviewing at mt sinai for residency. I had flown in from chicago, where it was 2°F without windchill. I remember coming up from the newly reconstructed WTC subway station and catching sight of a temperature reading of 18°F and I remember rejoicing for how much warmer it was.

ninth was just last year, after my sister had moved out here for law school. she now lives in astoria. that trip was less eventful, spending most of my time trying to catch people in their spare moments, or hanging out at the museums. I really dug the Cloisters and am thinking of going back up there just for the peace and quiet.

so this is my tenth trip to this city that doesn't sleep, the city between two rivers. at least collectively over the past 8 years, I've probably been out here for a total of two months or maybe more. I still fantasize about moving out here some day, but it seems less and less likely. I am too in love with the eternal california sunshine and the desert. but, never say never, right? (even if I've just said never twice… anyway.)

08:07:50 27 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Sun, 25 Sep 2005

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waking the sleeping dragon

so I guess the weather really does fuck me up pretty good. I've got to make it a point to move to an apartment that gets better sun exposure than where I live now. hopefully with air-conditioning, especially since direct sunlight will only heat the place up a bit.

but I didn't leave my hotel room until about 2pm today. I had my Chicago-style deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's, and I decided not to go up to the Signature Lounge since the weather was so shitty.

so I let my solipsism get the best of me. as soon as I walk out onto the street, it started raining, and then quickly pouring. if I didn't know any better, I would take this to be a sign, a bad omen if you will. the grey sky really depresses the shit out of me. I doubt I would last very long at a latitude any farther north than Chi-town—I barely survived as it is, and not without probably lasting mental scarring, but what are you going to do, live and learn, I guess. in any case, once again, my decision to move back out to sunny southern california is reaffirmed.

I am still impressed at how coming back to a place can dredge up all these long-submerged thoughts and emotions. I mean, maybe it's just coincidence. it has, after all, been a while since I've had a chance to sit back and re-evaluate my life. I suppose the only true difference is that I'm a lot more resigned to my current lifestyle (or lack thereof.) Except for brief bursts of incapacitating depression and moments of excruciating sleep-deprived suffering, I really don't dwell too much on leaving for Tierra del Fuego or the Himalayas. it's entertaining, no doubt, but probably a little too fantastic for a reasonable Plan B™.

the cold hard truth is that I will be expected to continue to be sleep-deprived and angst-ridden for at least another three years, and, as people are wont to say, it's only going to get much worse before it starts getting better. Oh goody. the deception is the idea that somehow life after residency will be all peaches and cream, and yeah, I'm probably going to make more money, but most of that it going back to pay my debt to Satan the banks, and I'm definitely going to have to work my ass off to earn it. as far as I can tell, I really don't work that many hours more than a junior attending physician. (The only thing that will definitely be nice is that I won't have to sleep overnight in the hospital.) but this is, I suppose, a worry for another day. Hell. I'm on vacation.

I guess I'm just being wistful about not being able to rest on my laurels.

that and the stark realization that I'm an emotional cripple, and there's nothing I can do about it that won't involve lots of pain, suffering, tears, and sweat.

c'est la vie.

01:34:24 25 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Fri, 23 Sep 2005

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trying to envisage my future

it is moderately distressing that every time I come home, my mom(!) bothers me about my love life (or more accurately, the lack thereof.) it is painfully obvious to me that she wants to be a grandmother rather soon, and it baffles me how this is supposed to transpire.

I don't know, call it rationalization, call it sophistry. whatever the case, a string of disasters has rather damaged my ability to want to pursue romantic relationships. call it avoidance, call it whatever pathology you want, but I have a feeling that this is more than a transient thing. you know how people can have strokes, but how some people just have neurological deficits for no more than a day (a transient ischemic attack, or TIA), others have it for a couple days or so (a reversible ischemic neurological deficit, or RIND), while others, it just continues forever and actually gets worse over time (a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA) I'm beginning to suspect that, as far as my romantic abilities is concerned, I've entered the end-stage. as far as I can tell, there is no rehabilitating this cynicism and fear. I've closed off all possibility, and whenever there is a faint glimmer of hope stirring somewhere in the corner of my mind, the vomit reflex kicks in, the way someone with leukemia tends to throw up every time they come to the hospital, even if they're not even going to get chemo.

in short: as far as finding true love, getting married, and having kids is concerned, I think I'm pretty much doomed. I've crossed myself off of Darwin's list.

Again, rationalization. Sophistry.

so it is that subconsciously I tend to linger in the friend zone. Instead of pursuing possiblities, I deliberately let them go. abandon all hope, all ye who enter here. what the fuck is the point?

so I don't really now why I bother. there is not enough alcohol in the world that would get me to jump off this doomed train of thought, at least not enough alcohol without outright killing me.

drunk? who me?

22:54:18 23 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 1 comments

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memory lingers in the streets

in today's trivial minutiae: I am typing this on my brother's Toshiba Satellite, horrifically missing MacOS X. It's really just the little things. Like how I don't have to reboot the stupid computer every time I wake it from sleep because I can't get back onto the Internet. Like how I don't have any built-in Firewire ports and therefore can't charge my iPod (because, like the scatterbrain that I am, I left my stand-alone charger in San Diego.) I've had to sort of shoehorn a UNIX like system onto Windows XP (by installing Cygwin) feh. the spacebar is screwed up for some reason, and I have to really pound on it to make it type a space.

anyway. I wandered the streets around the Mag Mile today, and I couldn't help but reminisce about all the times I've done this, usually in misery or loneliness or both. for example, I started thinking about that time when S left me in the Friend Zone, her rejection burning in my chest like Drano, all the while listening to M trying to rationalize a way to forgive her ex despite the fact that he had likely fathered a child with someone else (all the while stabbing my heart with little pinpoint daggers. ah the joys of the Friend Zone™) and here I was wandering these empty streets under a grey, dreary sky (I can't even remember what month it was because there were so many grey, dreary days over the past five years) chain smoking cigarettes and imagining how my life was going to turn out, how I was probably going to alone for the rest of my life, and how every day was the same, this low-level of mediocre misery. not the incapacitating grief of full-blown major depressive disorder, to be certain, but certainly as annoying and as draining as a case of infectious mononucleosis.

and it's interesting how when you go back to places that you haven't been for a while, all of the sudden all those emotions you left dormant come up to bite you in the ass, or at least make you trip as you're trying to step onto the curb.

what is interesting (and not a little bit pathetic) is that nothing has really changed. I just have a lot less time to wallow in self-pity these days. I mean, yeah, as soon as I'm done with residency, the rest of my life pretty much looks like that black pit of despair that imagined that one gloomy day as I strode down Michigan Ave, burning cigarette in hand. it's not a little pathetic that the one bright spot of the exhausting work I'm doing is that at least there are attractive, intelligent women there who talk to me and give me smiles of recognition, this despite knowing that (1) it scarcely means anything, and my desperation is merely a symptom of being single for far too long and (2) relationships among colleagues have this tendency to become far too complicated and volatile.

so here I am on day 2 of my vacation, whiling the time away in my hotel room, typing about how sad and pathetic my life is. as usual. I don't know, like I said, I'd rather not think about it, because the future, frankly, looks horrifically bleak on a more global level, and currently, I am from at least a purely monetary point-of-view, worth more dead than alive (because if I die or am killed, the insurance on my loans will cover my debt.) while, certainly, I could theoretically start making money once I am done with this particular stage in my life, the thought of working for the next ten years merely to bail out this sinking ship known as my credit rating kind of leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, and it's times like these that I feel like picking up and moving to Argentina, or preferrably somewhere where I won't get extradited for defaulting on my debt, or maybe joining a remote monastery somewhere, but oh well, whatever. As they say, we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

17:47:05 23 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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chi-town revisited

so to be honest, I decided to come out here because of a girl. now M can't say I've never come out to visit.

but I was also intrigued to come back to this place, to see if anything has changed since a year and three months ago when I left this place, likely for good, except for times like this, perhaps.

I have discovered, much to my chagrin, that, without free plane fare and without leeching off of any of my friends, Chicago is an expensive place to visit.

I don't know if it's simply because I don't get out anymore—at all, but cruising down the Blue Line from O'hare after all the airport workers got off at Jefferson Park, I noticed that there were a lot of young people out. not that there's anything surprising with young people going out on a Thursday night (after all, everyone knows that the weekend starts on a Thursday) but, I don't know. I suppose it's just where I am in my life. All the people I hang with are either my age (circa 30) or older, and, sadly, most of the time, it is work-related. Man, I can't believe I am calling early 20 somethings "young people". Still, I'm kind of stuck on the notion that anyone younger than my little sister is pretty young. This despite my "baby sister" turning 24.

anyway, I realize I miss the big city. I miss the ability of being able to walk a couple of blocks from where I live and be able to find something interesting to do. I only actually lived in the city proper for 2 years (and out of that I spent nearly 6 months out of town) but I was in Chicagoland for 5 years total, and it's strange to not be able to think of this place as home, as much as I bitched and moaned about being stranded out in the Midwest.

although, I suppose that was the interesting thing. I fully recognize that growing up in Southern California separates you from reality de facto, simply by the fact that you have to get in your car to go anywhere. Hence, trapped in your little bubble universe travelling at 15 mph down the 405, you really don't get the same sort of city vibe. Mike Davis talks about the irony of artificial, Potemkin city centers dotting L.A.—Universal City Walk, Downtown Disney. Hell, that's what malls essentially are—prototype arcologies, privately owned pseudo-public spaces.

I dunno. I'm starting to leave stable orbit and head out into the vast blankness of outer space, but it gets me thinking about the so-called "culture war," which in some senses marks the divide between the people in the rural areas and suburban hell, and the people who live in the city proper. Sure, you can't ignore the notion of race when discussing this, but to focus on that alone is oversimplifying. The so-called "Sun Belt cities," of which L.A. is the prototype, and which easily includes San Diego, are really just hundreds of suburbs and private artificial developments that, after forming some critical mass, were amalgamated into these hellish places of big-box Walmartization and cookie-cutter tract housing with no true city center, no true central business district to speak of. in what may not be coincidence, these kinds of cities dot the landscape of the red states. I mean, the whole premise of suburban living is that is somehow approximates the wide-open spaces of the countryside and combines it with the consumer-convenience that civilization (i.e., city centers) traditionally provide. In my mind, it doesn't work. Decentralization and hodge-podge unregulated development simply lead to the stagnation of youth (since they don't have anything interesting to do or go to when they're not at school except for the mall), the obesification of American people (since you have to hop in your car to get anywhere, and no one walks—there aren't even any sidewalks sometimes), and widespread environmental destruction. There is also a sense that this disdain for natural ecology practiced by many developers leave unsuspecting suburbanites at the mercy of not-so-merciful Mother Nature. While New Orleans was destroyed, and Houston awaits the tender ministrations of Hurricane Rita, you can see every year how parts of Southern California routinely burn down (see most of San Diego County and the mountains in Ventura and San Bernardino Counties in the Autumn of 2003), and all those rapidly (and cheaply) built hillside developments tend to slide into the sea. (See Ventura County, Malibu, Laguna Hills.)

Not to say that the supremely centralized schema of urban development pioneered and well practiced by Chicago is the end-all, be-all. Chicago has had it's share of eco-disasters. After all, a year or so before I ever came here, nearly a thousand people died one summer from heat-related conditions. But there is something about living in a city like Chicago, or New York, or San Francisco, that is missing from places like San Diego. (Oh, sure, L.A. is the prototype of sprawl and decentralized private development, but in it's early history it developed more like traditional cities, and you can still see faint glimmerings of that when you wander around Downtown or K-Town.) The wackos on the religious right see the centralized city as fortresses of depravity and the libertarian disciples of Ayn Rand find the centralized city as the epitome of the welfare state, but it's hard for me to relate. After all, the centralized city is the basis of civilization—without the city-states of Mesopotamia, without urbanization along the Nile, the Indus, the Yangtze, et al, what would life be like?

10:22:47 23 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 2 comments

Tue, 13 Sep 2005

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29

Uugh. Hard drive crashes. Very sucky. My iBook lies on a Apple-certified repairer's workbench. The hard drive is actually no longer the problem, since I successfully tore open the plastic case, unscrewed 30-40 screws, popped off the aluminum shielding, took out the clattering 40 GB factory-installed hard drive, and popped in a fresh 100 GB 2.5" hard drive from (you guessed it) Fry's Electronics. The iBook actually works OK. The problem is that (1) I've managed to render the CD-RW non-functional and (2) the latch has snapped off, so that the laptop fails to close. I won't even mention the lack of audio. I had accidentally torn out the wires that connect to the built-in speakers. (I had also accidentally torn out the wires that connect to the power switch.) I managed to fix the power switch, but since I didn't want to go screwing around trying to figure out which wire was live and which wire was ground, I just remnants to the inside of the case and let it be. That's what external speakers are for, anyway.

In any case. What did I do today, one more year closer to that notable epoch, that dreaded age? My sister thinks I'm insane for thinking a year ahead (and I probably am) but I tell her, no one cares about turning 29. the only reason anyone cares about turning 29 is that it's one year closer to 30.

Not that 30 necessarily has any significance personally. Sure, society at large seems to make a big deal of it, but in reality, I find myself using 32 as a rough guide, the age at which my father married my mother. Then there is 33, the age at which Jesus Christ was crucified. And then finally there is 36, which is currently the half-way point if you subscribe to the putative life expectancy of an American human male, which is 72. Of course, since I'm a person-of-color, that is probably lower than that, and because I'm overweight and borderline hypertensive, probably even lower than that.

Ah well, I'd rather die young anyway.

In any case, all I did today was turn in my poor battered iBook for attempted resuscitation, then got sucked into the vortex known as Target. I now have two unassembled fusion maple file cabinets sitting in my living room. I then went to Fry's because I felt a little antsy not having at least two working computers in my apartment, but I managed to stave off temptation and actually left that godforsaken hellhole empty-handed.

After that, I went into a bit of decline…

I did manage to tame a few meters of the unwieldy wires traversing my apartment. Right now, it looks like my front door is booby-trapped, what with the thick ribbon of wires running up and down the siding. There are eleven different-colored cables, and it is quite aesthetically displeasing to look at, but I can't figure out an alternative. I need a Feng Shui expert's opinion on how to run my multitude of cables through my apartment. In any case, the decreased amount of entropy in my apartment is actually almost palpable.

Definitely not my worst birthday, though. People called, I chatted and caught up, and I hung out with a few folks for a little while. I've decided that my worst birthday is probably when I turned 23 (nobody loves you when you're 23) and I was all by myself stranded a good couple thousand miles or so from anyone who gave a shit about my existence, and I managed to miss everyone's phone call, and I didn't talk to anybody, and all I did was cower in my apartment, completely overwhelmed by being marooned out in the Midwest.

Heh, this is the first birthday in a while where I haven't been delirious and/or drunk. (Last year I didn't even blog my birthday because I was on-call, and while I wasn't drunk, I was certainly delirious, not to mention the fact that I literally passed-out and I was offered IV rehydration.)

But, yeah, I'm in a contemplative mood now. The fall has never been my favorite season. It's always bittersweet. On one hand, September heralds my birthday, on the other hand, it means summer is over. And in the past few years that I've traipsed over this earth, September always seems to be the time when really bad things transpire, or when things I hope dearly for fail miserably.

Ah well. Good times for a change. See the luck I've had would make a good man turn bad. So please, please, please, let me, let me, let me, let me get what I want…. Heh. No cake, no candles, but I'm making wishes anyway.

23:29:10 13 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 1 comments

Sun, 11 Sep 2005

top

catch up

a lot of crazy, fucked up shit has gone on in the past three months since I fell off the blogosphere (and, remarkably, none of them have anything to do with unrequited love, for once.)

"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up… — Iñigo Montoya from "The Princess Bride"

now if you've read this blog for any length of time whatsoever, I'm sure you're familiar with my penchant for melodrama, but, to put it in 25 words or less, a loved one had a near-fatal event, another relative is in the middle of a long drawn out messy divorce, another relative apparently deliberately failed to invite me and my family to a wedding, another relative is getting married rather soon.

In the midst of this all, I have stood at the bedside of two babies, watching them die, without me being able to do anything about it. My stupid dog bit someone. An American city has been destroyed, not so much by nature, but by sheer, brutal incompetence. And for the past couple of days I've probably sleep nearly forty hours. Yesterday I was literally awake for only 4 hours.

Ah, yes, let me vent my hypochondrism before I start believing my own paranoia. Yesterday it was about 12pm. I had gone to sleep around 8pm the evening before, so I was kind of hungry by now. I hopped into the car, crossed a few intersections, then realized that I really couldn't turn my head without wanting to puke.

Fun times.

So, my peripheral vision severely curtailed, somehow I manage to get a bite to eat and make it home without either crashing or puking. Thank God for better living through chemistry. I've been popping meclizine like breath mints, and while it keeps me horrifically sedated, at least I haven't spewed barf all over my apartment.

Naturally, I am forced to wonder, do I have viral meningitis (because it can't be bacterial, otherewise I'd be dead by now) or do I have a brain tumor? Realistically, I should wait until next Friday before I jump to conclusions and demand brain imaging. As it is now, I probably deserve a spinal tap, but I don't have much desire to have a three-and-a-half inch large bore needle shoved into my back. And, unless it's herpes (which is unlikely, because, again, I'd otherwise be dead by now), there really isn't anything I can do about viral meningitis except bitch and moan.

In the interim, I have zoomed through a few books by Tom Holt, a British fantasy writer whose prose has made me laugh out loud in quite inappropriate venues. So, yeah, it's funny. It's pap and filler half the time, but if you're a fantasy freak, how can you not love references to Gollum?

He does, however, pack a mean melancholy ending. One of the books I read Little People ends with the guy not getting the girl. Pretty much the same thing happens in In Your Dreams where the hero saves the girl who had once loved him, only now she doesn't because the bad guy (or, bad girl, to be exact) sucked it out of her brain.

It really is nice to know that someone else can relate.

But what else is there, really? My mom keeps bugging me about meeting someone and getting married, which really isn't anywhere on the agenda. It's at best around number 125, right up around brokering world peace and being one of the first Filipinos on the moon and/or Mars.

Anyway.

That's really the sum total of the past three months. I could go all out into deep meta-analysis and illustrate just how these events have completely warped my mind, but suffice it to say, if you thought I was weird before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

22:41:27 11 Sep 2005 > /soul > permalink > 5 comments