01/01 Direct Link
It’s probably bad karma to start the year off by writing about things I hate, but I don’t believe in the ridiculous notion of karma anyway, so who cares.

What made my New Year’s Day? It wasn’t being able to spend time with my family (which was nice), or going 3-1 in online spades (also enjoyable), or shopping for my son (whom I adore). What made the day was Oklahoma beating the tar out of Washington State University (WSU) in the Rose Bowl.

I hate WSU with a contempt I can’t put into words.

Happiness = Oklahoma 34, WSU 14
01/02 Direct Link
Why do I hate WSU? Because I grew up in western WA, meaning I grew up a University of Washington fan and therefore hate WSU because they’re rivals. Similarly, I despise Yale for their rivalry with Harvard.

But the vast majority of UW and Harvard fans wouldn’t secretly cheer if something tragic happened to WSU or Yale like I believe I would. If WSU and Yale were destroyed by a massive earthquake, as a human being, I’d feel sorrow for the families of the victims.

As someone who hates both of those schools, I’d feel a sick sense of joy.
01/03 Direct Link
I think this is the difference: Most fans of one school don’t really hate their school’s rival. They merely dislike them. But if something tragic occurred to that rival, the fans’ basic human compassion would overcome any rivalry-induced dislike.

Only people who truly HATE their rival would feel any sick sense of joy at tragedy, making me ask what is it about me as a person that incubates such extreme hatred of trivial things (WSU, Yale, Star Trek fans, etc)?

Is my innate tendency to hate so much larger than others’ tendencies? Or is my human compassion that much smaller?
01/04 Direct Link
Putting aside my monotheistic beliefs for a second, here’s a question: Can one fool the fates?

I’m a big OSU fan. So I refused to watch the Fiesta Bowl because I didn’t want Miami to win (see October 6). Every so often I’d check the score and pretend I didn’t have a rooting interest. Or I’d state aloud that OSU had no chance of winning to give the impression I had resigned myself to a loss though I secretly thrilled at the thought of victory.

Do I honestly believe I can fool my sports jinx?

Whatever. OSU = National Champions!
01/05 Direct Link
For me....


together apart
or depth
awareness oblivion
or their cleft
listening unseeking
or else I’m deaf

I hear the voice of God

deep sleep
uninterrupted bursting
surrendering escaping dissolving apart
the numbness of loss,
the loss of numbness

I feel the hand of God

rapid eye movement
self-destructive struggle
self-reflective survival
or a two-headed coin
fantasy fulfilled glass wall shattered
or a reveried hybrid reborn
conceding retreating
or else I’m worn

I see the eye of God

intermittent bursts
fluttering stretching drawing apart
the light of truth, the truth of light

I am
01/06 Direct Link
I bought a cross-cut shredder yesterday, and spent tonight shredding personal documents I should have trashed years ago. Documents like old phone bills, electric bills, bank statements, etc. Some of these were three years old. I’d been saving them instead of throwing them away because I didn’t want thieves finding my personal information. My plan was that the next time we used the barbecue grill or fireplace, I’d watch my personal information become ash.

The joy of being able instead to shred the documents beyond malicious use made one thing abundantly clear: what I prize beyond anything else is security.
01/07 Direct Link
Back to The Two Towers:

I love this movie desperately. I think it’s cinema perfection. As a means of telling a story and presenting it visually and conveying emotion through music – all of it, perfection.

As an adaptation of a trilogy I’ve read a dozen times, it falls short in a few places, though. I won’t harp on the interpretation of Faramir’s character as that has been done to death. What galls me is Peter Jackson’s continued treatment of Gimli the dwarf as comic relief. Gimli is a dwarf prince, not a court jester.

Dwarves are for more than tossing.
01/08 Direct Link

I was the perfect student in school. I was well-behaved and intelligent. More than one teacher remarked I was “wonderful to have in class.” But only one teacher said she wanted to adopt me – my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Dexheimer. After a parent-teacher conference in the spring, she playfully asked my mother if she could have me, and turned to me and asked if I wanted to stay with her. I remember shyly hiding behind my mother and saying nothing.

But it was a difficult choice between familial bonds and perhaps a happier childhood – decided by my sheer timidity.
01/09 Direct Link

In my first proctor group meeting in college, I told my peers that “I want(ed) to be a football coach, but they (didn’t) teach that in college, so I was going to become a doctor so I could support my wife.” Besides grossly offending the feminists in the group, I think I stunned everybody because I was going to enter a profession I didn’t want.

I’d set my heart – CORRECTION: my parents set my heart on becoming a doctor because of the wealth and status. Were I a doctor, I might have been able to find my spine earlier.
01/10 Direct Link

Ordinarily I’d say I’m the smartest person I’ve ever met. Remember: it’s not arrogance if it’s the truth. But this level of brilliance isn’t perfect. Where most people are ignorant and show occasional flashes of brilliance, I’m more completely brilliant with occasional flashes of ignorance. To date:

-2nd grade Spelling Bee, city finals: Misspelled “separate” as “seperate”

-3rd grade Spelling Bee, city finals: Misspelled “vegetable” as “vegtable”

-4th grade Spelling Bee, city finals: Misspelled “caterpillar” as “caterpiller”

-5th grade Spelling Bee, county finals: Misspelled “drudgery” as “dredgery”

With the invention of the automatic spellcheck, I am now completely purfect.
01/11 Direct Link

Mailboxes Etc. taking forever to ship packages from WA to NJ state law allowing insurance companies to drop coverage during the SF-Giants playoff game allowing SF to advance screening of Return of the King still a year off FILTHY LITTLE HOBBITS nitpicky “purists” complaining about Faramir’s character portrayal of the "The Grumpy Bug" narrated abysmally by Sandra Bernhardt online companies like Homestead no longer offering free service at Shoprite where employees hate their customers as if we’re wasting their time of more than two days to ship my order from even though I clearly marked two day shipping
01/12 Direct Link

I rode home in silence after flubbing an easy word at the Spelling Bee finals. Two hours after returning home, in bed half-asleep, I could hear my parents arguing. I couldn’t make out the heart of the argument, only the rising and falling pitch of their alternating anger. Maybe my failure earlier that night put them both into a bad mood. I didn’t know. I could only shut my eyes and grip my blankets about my head – believing just a little bit that if I’d only made it to the state finals, maybe everyone would have been so happy.
01/13 Direct Link

I don’t know what the official psychological definition of clinical depression is. I define it as a person being extremely sleepy. In college, I struggled with severe depression for a few months. And though outwardly I might have appeared an active participant in my surroundings, internally I could feel this weight on my eyes to the world. I could feel the pressure to lie down and bury myself in enough blankets to shut out the searing light of sorrow. And I believed if I could just close my eyes eternally, I might wake up in a different place refreshed.
01/14 Direct Link

Fingerprints are one unique identifier of human beings. Optical nerves are another. I’ll add one more: the way a person sneezes. Unique sneezes I can recognize:

- My own: I sneeze semi-loudly through my mouth. Also, whenever I sneeze, I get really sleepy.

- My father: Very loudly through his mouth as well. It sounds like an extremely angry German curse being yelled.

- My wife: High-pitched, and she actually sounds like she’s saying the word “Hachoo!” – like how you’d illustrate a person sneezing in a comic book. As completely endearing as the sound of a sneeze can be.
01/15 Direct Link
We need to study lemmings and figure out what makes them suicidal. Because people tend to put their existences at risk like lemmings. How else do you explain the popularity of cigarettes and alcohol despite their hazard to health? Or women preferring men that aren’t good for them? Or today’s announcement that the White House was going to file a briefing arguing against affirmative action?

Let me get this straight: the Republican party is struggling with an image of being race-hostile, and they decide to publicly argue against a program that benefits minorities?

What drives people to throw everything away?
01/16 Direct Link

There is a surge, a charge
A flood more forceful
Than our fear of change

And I imagine neither you nor I
Can match its expectations

There is a fence, a hedge
A barrier less giving
Than our will to continue

And I imagine neither you nor I
Can overcome its resistance

There is a surrender, a defeat
A victory so complete
The endgame is more game than end

And I imagine neither you nor I
Can grasp its resolution

But there is a union, a bonding
And I imagine
Neither you nor I can imagine
Can not imagine
01/17 Direct Link
This afternoon I’m going to see The Two Towers AGAIN. You might ask how I could possibly enjoy seeing the same movie repeatedly. For me, the repeated viewing is always better than the original. In first viewings, the surprise and tension of what might happen actually lessens my enjoyment. I’d rather watch a sporting event where I know the ending than watch a close game where I might face defeat and don’t know.

For some, the enjoyment is in the tension and the struggle and the unknown. For me, the enjoyment is in the outcome, and the sureness of it.
01/18 Direct Link
Two questions asked in popular movies, and my responses:

“What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?” Mel Gibson, Braveheart

Without freedom I’d be obediently serving the overlords in power and hoping they stop the daily whippings. Will I fight you, William Wallace? Only if you’re limited to the swords and clubs used in the movie, and I get an uzi.

“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

Of course I’d prefer truth. Secondly, I’m not calling your truth-telling into question, so please refrain from questioning my truth-handling abilities, thank you.
01/19 Direct Link
My mother dreams about flying to London. To her, London is one of the great cities of the world, like NYC or Paris. I imagine she’s had this view of London since she was a little girl in Vietnam – dreaming of going to the US, with maybe a quick jaunt to England.

She’s flown four times in her life, and last time had to be on valium she was so airsick.

But she talks about flying to visit us again soon, maybe see London while she’s on the east coast. I nod my head and tell her it’s beautiful there.
01/20 Direct Link
Today is my sister’s birthday.

Growing up, I believed she had perfect timing. She stopped racing us before we could outrun her (she retired undefeated). We needed another car right when she learned to drive, so she got a car. She was old enough to enjoy weekends out at the same time my parents loosened their grip on us.

But she was also old enough to work when my folks bought a house. She helps pay the mortgage even today. I wonder when her timing became more of a hindrance than an advantage, or if it had always been so.
01/21 Direct Link
Meditations on Race, Pt I:

One of my friends has devoted his career to fighting racism. He majored in African-American studies in college, spent a year in South Africa at a legal organization fighting apartheid, and will be working at the NAACP for two years. He is white.

I’m against affirmative action, for the death penalty, and against multicultural studies and race-specific majors – though I know the alternatives are inherently biased against minorities. I’m not white.

What is it about my experiences as a minority, and my friend’s lack of experience as a minority that could drive our disparate paths?
01/22 Direct Link
Meditations on Race, Pt II:

I’m not sure which path is best.

My friend’s path tends toward obliterating hatred of differences via legislation. It supports cultural awareness programs and race appreciation courses. It supports quotas and reparations. It is about color sensitivity. It is a path destined to fail – you cannot kill hatred.

M path tends toward obliterating differences. It supports cultural homogeneity and unity programs. It supports meritocracy and finding the common ground. It is about color blindness. It is a path destined to fail – you cannot kill individualism.

If both paths will fail, then . . . ?
01/23 Direct Link
Meditations on Race, Pt III:

But here’s the thing I want to make very clear. It isn’t that race is unimportant to me. That’s not why I feel that color blindness is the better solution. It’s that I know human nature. I know that fear/intolerance of difference is innate and unavoidable. The easier path is to blind the eyes toward difference rather than to cultivate appreciation. The easier path is not always the best path – but it is the quickest path to resolution.

Those who seek the harder and longer path risk the cause itself for the sake of idealism.
01/24 Direct Link
Today is my father-in-law’s birthday.

In December of 1995, I called him to relate my plans to ask his daughter to marry me. Though I’d been dating her for three years, he and I didn’t know each other that well. He had only two questions for me. One: was my mom ever going to yell at his daughter again (my mother had done so about a year and a half prior to this conversation), and two: had I really accepted Jesus as my Savior?

That says a lot about him: his love for his daughter, and his love for God.
01/25 Direct Link

it began simply with whispers in my ear which I whispered on to you in soliloquies before a crowd which you whispered back to me in satin blue and then again a summer’s night aloud but in between the whispered revelation and the summer next it bowed as vastness and void were whispered in on the breath of remote clouds no reconciliation allowed the whispers’ strength at this point all but cowed frustration’s distance whispers thrice bringing loneliness to the whispering lips of the proud and I am left cradling the phone wondering when everything became so agonizingly loud
01/26 Direct Link
Here is what I have to say to Raiders and Raiders fans: neener neener neener!

How’s it feel to lose, lose badly, and lose badly on the national stage, losers? Say what you want about my team not even making the playoffs, but guess what? In the end, I more enjoy watching you lose than watching my favorites win. The only thing more pleasant than your mauling would have been your mauling at the hands of my team. But I’ll take what I can get.

I hate the Raiders with a hatred I reserve for WSU and Duke. Bucs #1!
01/27 Direct Link

I don’t know if I believe in omens. On one hand, my religious beliefs seem to preclude their existence. Omens seem to have this mysticism/polytheism quality about them, which I dislike. But a God that takes an active role in the lives of His children might very well place signs into people’s lives to warn/encourage them.

Every now and then I find myself watching myself as if from a distance, the world spins in slow motion, and I catch something around me which might be the workings of my imagination, or the workings of God telling me something, anything.
01/28 Direct Link
Omens (continued)

Let me relate two omens for your consideration.

The first omen occurred the day before my wedding. My father was rushing home from work early because we needed the car to run last minute errands. He called to say he was coming home, but an hour later, there was no sign of him. Finally he made it home. Before my mother could scream about his tardiness, he let her know he’d been in an accident.

A crash preceding my wedding – God’s way of telling me what? That all this was accidental, or that lives were about to collide?
01/29 Direct Link
Omens (continued)

The second omen also occurred the day before my wedding, only much later that night. My friends had traveled across the country, and were sleeping wherever we could find space. I’d given up my bed, and slept on the living room floor. I couldn’t sleep. At 3:00 am I looked out the front window. Staring back at me was a deer. We exchanged stares for a minute before she sauntered off.

In Native American folklore, deer “remind us we should try to live lives that are balanced and graceful. Deer teach us to see the power of gentleness.”
01/30 Direct Link
in my dreams I stumble into the living room in the middle of the night and he’s standing there looking at me with eyes darker than the night around us and I head to him with a happiness I could not pretend only now he’s faded and I am left groping to retain his form with a failed embrace only with less success than one would have capturing sunshine in a jar except this sunshine is a shadow whose darkness is not its true character but rather merely the void of itself and I am left standing there in desire
01/31 Direct Link
I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for half a year -- perfect time for self-reflection.

I began this thinking it’d be a great way to sustain creativity. It’s become more a way to express fleeting thoughts, feelings, and moments as clearly as possible. But I need better quality control. There were 21 days in August I was proud of. Only 16 in September, 14 in October, 15 in November, and 14 in December. But there were 17 this month I really liked. My goal is for 19 good days in February.

With Zachary’s birth looming, I’ve got a shot.