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02/01 Direct Link
I had a good cry after watching Sherman sing for his deceased wife on American Idol. The song reminded me of some of the classic songs DS9 used toward the end of its run. When Odo left Nerys, when Sisko left Jake and his pregnant wife, when everything was drawing to a close.

There is still room for old-school love in this town. I admire him from afar, with curiosity, with yearning. Yet I restrain myself. I know the fantasy is better than the reality. And so I let it go, let it wash away in the waves. Departing, waking.

02/02 Direct Link
Holy crap. Jackís breakup with Tammy is really taking a toll on me. Heís never truly loved Tammy. As his longtime friend, Iíve been well aware of this fact for quite some time. Itís just that heís the type of guy who canít cope with being alone. And unfortunately, Tammy is completely, totally, and obsessively in love with him. Itís easy to allow yourself to be loved and taken care of like that.

Iíve written Jack several long-winded e-mails telling him my true feelings. I donít know if I can get through to him. Heís always playing the victim card.

02/03 Direct Link
Marti wins her first title of the year in Tokyo! Iím so proud of her. A 6-4, 6-2 win against Ivanovic, after trouncing Dementieva in the semi-finals. I canít wait to download the match. Getting revenge on these two players must be a great confidence booster for her.

I love seeing her newfound aggression on the court. Sheís jumping into her serves more and moving up into the court following the serve. That takes guts. Her whole comeback following three years off court took tremendous courage. She risked tarnishing the gloss of her first career, had she failed. She didnít.

02/04 Direct Link
I like this girl. Reading her entries makes me laugh. Her personality shines through her words. I wouldnít quite call her a lyrical gymnast, but her prose is easy to digest and... charming.

My girl crushes always seem more substantive than my boy crushes. I admire girls, physically, mentally. Boys rarely strike me so viscerally, so immediately. Itís more about how they respond to me... whether they laugh at my bizarre jokes, whether they appreciate what I have to say. Itís a much more conditional crush.

With girls, Iím simply attracted, curious. I want to breathe the same rarified air.

02/05 Direct Link
Some people are just nice. Unconditionally nice, open-minded, generous people. That is to say, under normal conditions, these people are nice by default.

A lot of people arenít nice by default; theyíre nice reflexively, conditionally, if others are nice to them. These people are like passive sponges, soaking up the positive energies from others, and responding in kind only to those who initiate and work to sustain the positive interactions.

These arenít necessarily bad people. Some are simply cautious or reserved. But others are truly egotistical and judgmental of others. Itís dangerous to get too used to their conditional warmth.

02/06 Direct Link
My recent life has distilled down to two elements: tennis and ruminations on social behavior. Gah. Thereís seriously nothing else I feel like writing about... and little else I actually spend significant time thinking about (Major Life Concerns excluded, of course).

What a small bowl I swim in. And how distorted my view of the outside world. Sometimes I wish I had a greater aptitude for seeing the ďbig pictureĒ on a macroscopic level.

Then again, thereís a reason Iím applying to grad school for XYZ. My world is about people. My gaze naturally rests and focuses on the individual.

02/07 Direct Link
Listening to ďCayman IslandsĒ was like sipping a mug of tea while gazing out a second-story bedroom window. I felt warm, nostalgic... happy.

This was the song that introduced me to Kings of Convenience. I had woken up too early out of necessity this morning. Venturing out into an abysmally frigid winterís day, I was in one hell of a grumpy mood. I returned home as soon as I could and curled up in bed, too tired and unmotivated to do anything else. With curtains drawn, sunlight nevertheless seeped through the edges. Like an embrace, ďCayman IslandsĒ calmed and comforted.

02/08 Direct Link
Jack called again, with more black news from the relationship war front. I donít even know what to say to him anymore. He brings these calamities upon himself, but never takes responsibility. Iím too honest and impulsive, so I tell him what I truly think about his situations. I thought I had gotten through to him, but his words today showed me I was wrong.

I guess we all have to learn our own lessons. I can only try to be a good friend... while still setting personal limits for how much I can take. Dark days in this metropolis.

02/09 Direct Link
My mind fills with images of rainy nights and slick cobblestone streets. Listening to the soundtrack to Umbrellas of Cherbourg, my heart dangles on a string. I cannot think. I can only listen and feel. And remember...

The Old City, sepia-toned under the glow of sodium lamps. Sana'a was especially beautiful at night, after the rain had abated.

We met many times in the evening, but never in the Old City. "Our place" was a bustling cafeteria that was open 24/7. We would take a debab there and have some sandwiches and fresh juice, before heading down to Hadda Street.

02/10 Direct Link
Zhang Yibaiís Curiosity Kills the Cat is actually a quite daring movie. On the surface, itís a story about love... specifically, the eternal dilemma of the love triangle. But thereís a larger overarching theme here. One might even call it a critique of the Chinese governmentÖ or rather, a critique of the burgeoning social ills brought about by capitalism and rapid economic development. Itís a bit ironic that the two are synonymous.

Freedom, free trade, has resulted in a portion of the populace growing incredibly rich. What does wealth bring? And what of those left behind, living in the margins?

02/11 Direct Link
I had a marvelous talk with Cage yet again, and it excites me. He looks just like Verdant, albeit a younger version. And personality-wise, heís nicer, and geekier, and shares a lot of my interests. Iím smiling and buzzing right now, listening to Canadian emo.

My mood changes on a dime.

As recent as this afternoon, I was all emo over Verdant, sighing and making myself a nuisance with everyone who knows our story. Then Cage comes online and cheers me up with good geeky conversation. I donít hold any unrealistic hopes about this dashing young lad. Nice, for now.

02/12 Direct Link
Am I playing around with boys? From the perspective of Cage, Iím not. Itís simply a joy to talk with him and learn about new music from him. Iím totally into that. He seems slightly shy... a treasure. I canít help it; Iím excited. Iím happy. Itís a friendly thing and a good thing.

From the perspective of Verdant, I donít know. I feel sort of insincere now, sending that ďI miss you tooĒ message, way after the fact. The truth is, I do think about him a lot. But I donít feel as comfortable around him as with Cage.

02/13 Direct Link
Ah, marriage. I watched ďI Love YouĒ tonight. Same director who directed ďGreen Tea.Ē But a far inferior movie. I talked to Verdant about marriage, and felt all moved and pious for a second there. Then I talked to my friend, and he was like, why are you going to widow yourself for a guy who hasnít even committed to you? I was like, I donít know. I just had that bizarre moment of enlightenment, you know?

Then I talked to Cage. And again, amazingly, ineffably, the conversation just flowed. Easy banter, easy joking around. Easy, breezy, beautiful. Unpredictable: life.

02/14 Direct Link
Iím over it now. Iíve been so emo these past couple of days. But today, Iím in a rarely lucid state. Funny how everything can change so quickly. I was all abuzz over Verdant last night. Tonight, I made a date with Cage for the weekend and spent hours bitching with Jack.

It makes me question the depth and sincerity of my feelings and convictions. Talking with Jack really made me wonder... did Verdant and I like each other merely because of lust and because we both like getting attention? That ainít love. Is that even like? I feel cynical.

02/15 Direct Link
Thereís a friendship to be salvaged here, somewhere. I have no desire to repeat past mistakes. It was a shame to lose Bobo as a friend. I think about him still, and itís been ten years. I wish him well, and I harbor the hope that some day, when I get my life in order, perhaps we may meet again.

Itís like that Gwen Stefani song, ďCool.Ē

Same with Verdant. Perhaps we just are not meant to be. But I wish him well, and I treasure the time we spent together. It was a summer romance not to be forgotten.

02/16 Direct Link
Itís tough pulling myself through a breakup... we didnít even have a relationship. I dangle my hands through the pool, and encounter nothing but thin air. I wave my hands before my face and question the reality of what I see.

This is one of the toughest things to feel. What happened to the heightened emotions we experienced together? What happened to those lovely words and the attentive treatment? Distance dulls the passions of the heart, and memories dim with the passage of time.

If I were once again, next to him, for one night... perhaps we might recharge, remember.

02/17 Direct Link
Itís a new year, the year of the pig. It would be an understatement to say that Iím not feeling in the mood.

Entry into grad school no longer seems a promising prospect. I feel all hope draining out of my body. I know he no longer thinks of me, despite his assertions otherwise. Itís nice for him to hear those sweet, warm words from me. Itís nice to be on the receiving end of that lavish attention. And such sweet words are easy to return. For a moment, indulge in the mutually illusory song and dance of nostalgic romance.

02/18 Direct Link
First impressions are not always right! And, I do not need to feel so insecure or down about myself, worrying others wonít find me attractive or knowledgeable. A lot of that is in my head. Cage enjoyed me! He was actually nervous and that was why he babbled so much. I felt bad for being so quiet; I worried that I bored him. But that was not the case. He liked me; he thinks Iím awesome.

As Jack said, itís nice that you guys have a good beginning. Again, my emotions change on a dime. Thank god for the internet.

02/19 Direct Link
Xu Jingleiís ďLetter from an Unknown WomanĒ left me pondering. To be completely forgotten by a lover, is this possible? I can imagine running into Verdant some years down the line in some modest setting. There will be a brief moment of recognition perhaps; that struggle to match name to face and dig up the appropriate greeting.

Or alternately, perhaps we shall never meet again. Just a blip on the romantic resume. Summer, 2006, Sanaía.

Or possibly, I will forget him. I will wake up one day and my mind will be empty of him. Do I want eternal sunshine?

02/20 Direct Link
I found a job. I have a new cell phone.

Deep breath.

This is another beginning. Iím going to work hard to make this right. Considering everything that went right about this day, I feel oddly weighed down and borderline melancholy. Itís as if Iím missing something.

Where are you? Itís raining nonstop in Maryland right now, on the evening of Jackís birthday. Tennis went well this morning. Iím always at my best when thereís a little bit of competition involved. (Where are you?) Arabic class was fun, as usual. Iím a little behind though. (Where are you?)

Stay... stay.

02/21 Direct Link
Working feels good. My life is picking up steam again. People in training for this job seem to come from a variety of backgrounds. We are all there with the same hope, for the same thing. In particular, the young mother with the eight-month-old child seemed a bit down. I imagine she is probably pretty desperate.

I too, am desperate. Desperate to try to turn the tide, desperate to start anew. I canít see into the murky distant future, but I can see as far as tomorrow. I can try to make tomorrow a successful day. There is hope here.

02/22 Direct Link
I almost had a nervous breakdown tonight. These past few days have been so hectic, and this upcoming weekend promises to be crazy. Sheer insanity. I guess the only thing I have to go on is a firm belief in myself.

In the face of rampant doubt and negativity, I just have to keep my head high and listen to the voice inside. Thereís something magnificent about the way Iíve been suckered into this job. Iím so amped up and ready to go, yet completely unprepared to actually go out and do everything required of me. Insidious, brilliant. Forget fear.

02/23 Direct Link
This is one of the hardest things Iíve ever had to do in my life. Objectively speaking, thereís not a huge deal at stake here. At the very worst, what can happen to me? I can get fired. I can make a fool of myself in front of some acquaintances. I can feel like an unwanted pest in my neighborís homes. I can feel nervous and stupid for not being able to operate the very equipment Iím trying to demonstrate to others. Iíve never been a very hands-on person.

Itís all about losing face. I canít let fear dominate life.

02/24 Direct Link
A snowy Saturday in Minnesota. My body is tired and so is my mind. This hasnít been easy in many ways. But in many ways, it has been rewarding. I have some doubts about my future, if I cannot set up the required number of appointments. I also have some doubts about my abilities to make those sales.

And yet, the potential is there to get the money. Iíve already put in a lot of effort into this endeavor. I want to start achieving some success. Iíve already invested so much time and energy. I have to see this through.

02/25 Direct Link
I want to figure out a way to make this work. Iím not ready to give up on this or to give up on myself just yet.

First of all, I need to pick my appointments carefully, instead of just trying to set up as many as possible. I have to be careful; otherwise, my ratio of visits to sales will suffer. Second, I need to give the best presentation that I can, and at the very least, invoke desire for the product in the consumer. I can only focus on closing the deal after completing these two steps first.

02/26 Direct Link
The rally was an interesting affair. I was struck by the single-minded drive exemplified by the men who have made it. These are guys who started off on the bottom rung, and pulled themselves up out of the hole through sheer willpower and effort.

Say what you will about their vulgar sense of humor, their lack of polish (for lack of a better term)Ö these are down to earth guys working hard for the sake of their families. These are guys with roots; guys determined not to let the ones counting on them down. Iím the opposite. Iím a floater.

02/27 Direct Link
What is commitment? Iím in a good mood. Iím staying active. I donít feel like I have a full-time job, because I havenít committed myself to this endeavor. Not whole-heartedly.

Iím tiptoeing around a lot of things these days. Flirting with folks with no intentions to follow through. Dancing around issues.

Cage called me ďweirdĒ and said that he can read most people, but he can never read me. Verdant said the same about me. I wonder why Bobo always ďgotĒ me. Or, maybe Iíve simply grown a shell since then. And all I really want is warm, encompassing love.

02/28 Direct Link
Itís hard to let go of people; itís hard to let go of dreams. I spent my day out canvassing, working hard as part of the team. It felt like I was on The Apprentice, in that there was very little direction from above. We were pretty much on our own. Autonomy, responsibilityÖ they were ours for the taking.

(Money, it was there for the making.) Iím doing a lot better, in many ways. Itís no longer so difficult to laugh or smile or cry. I have yet to see Leaving Las Vegas; I keep putting it off.

Soon, inshallah.