Hard Going
(21-30 June 2000)

30 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-It was all just an innocent little drive back on a massively familiar route till Jake dropped the bombshell that this was his last night at the old place.  Unreal.  So many memories & I didn't even live there!  The first Diplo' game, the first flirtations with 1830, the most fabled overnight in high school history (John's out-of-body experience, Gris playing Spin-Doctor on the 'puter, Vet & I getting Jake to stay up all night for the first time ever, etc.), Jake's 100-to-1 odds bet with Fish on the 6 of spades, & so many other trials, tribulations, & triumphs.  I try not to get stuck on locations, but they spark so much thought & most especially reflection.  There's so much change sifting around & I'm not sure any of us are really aware of it, let alone how to deal with it.  It's so easy to go hang at the Frontier & pretend we're still in the midst of AA, but I wonder how much is just below the surface that we're all trying to avert our eyes from.  Still, I don't feel much change.  I still think I'm the same 18-year-old who walked off that platform in May 1998... so little has really altered since.  Which, like most everything, is equally comforting & disconcerting.  As much as I like change (& could use some well-placed change now), I still want some things to stay the same forever.  I guess we can only wait... & cherish what we've got while we know for sure it's here.
-Pieces of prophecy from a letter from Stina dated 24 June... (if only the USPS were faster &/or she'd dropped it in the mail earlier!):  "And in that I saw the countless frustrating repetitions of themes in your conversations... How little you ask and how she gives back even less..."
-Off to the Grand Canyon this morning... back before you know it!

29 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-A lot of driving is just what I need right now.
-Kate, must you always ask me such difficult questions?!
-I think DK & I proved ourselves in bughouse, though Schneider's reaction left everyone feeling a little sour, I fear.
-No freethrows today - just traffic & thunderstorms & late comebacks in 5-on-5.
-I'm really glad our city government spends so much energy & money watering the roadways of Albuquerque, especially 6 hours after a major thunderstorm.  Water conservation could begin with taking all the sprinklers that spray directly onto 3rd Street & putting them to better use.
-Passing Civic Plaza is a different experience every single time.  Tonight, the blue-purple lights were all a little ghostly.

28 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-22 updates in the past 2 days.  Yowza.  It's time for me to get some space from things for a while.  Grand Canyon & Jaque & the Dylan concert this weekend should all add up to a proper dosage.  Balancing everything could be tricky.  Right now, I'm doing much better, thanks.  Maybe it's just that I'm tired.  These need to be a long 2 months upcoming.
-It's all good with all the pics now.  Slightly new versions for Fish & Marps, plus a completely new look at Eliaii-Bumpkin.  Kate still needs to send me one, since I honestly think the one on her 'site looks worse than the retro-Denny's one currently representing her.  Also recently posted are 2 new random pics in the section that used to be called "Look... My Friends!".  These are on their own back-pages, so I don't even want to hear it, Lisha.  The idea is that there will be more than just the 2... those were what I felt like scanning tonight.

27 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-Fish complained about his picture in the Pond & now he's got technical difficulties too.  I'm working on it, but for now, I figure that's the way things crumble sometimes.  & a lot is crumbling these days, believe you me.
-I feel like that guy in the movie "Pi" as I tell myself that it's 5:30 am, time to restate my assumptions... things like "I shouldn't date smokers" & "I shouldn't go playing in the minefield" immediately come to mind.  What did I used to say about light-switches & what is most certainly NOT like them?
-If you want to be disturbed, read William Golding's "Pincher Martin".
-Um, Kate?  More symbol font on your ramblings today.  I'm beginning to get suspicious.
-It took her 3 days to respond to my e-mail.  The least she could do is give me the courtesy of a couple days myself.  Things take time to sort out.  She should know that... she's told it to me enough times.
-Confusion is not an excuse for lack of accountability.  Just because I warn someone that I'm unstable doesn't mean I can turn around & pull any stunt I want & say "I told you so" afterwards.  Everyone is unstable.  Someone who recognizes that is probably earnestly more stable than someone who tries to pass themselves off as normal.  & I screwed up, too.  That whole minefield attraction thing again.  Lord knows this is a lot more complex than anyone'd like it to be.  & this isn't the full extent of people kidding either... just one example in a myriad of people being kidding all summer long, & even long before.  Perhaps all the time.  Which is why I commented thus.
-I think people tend to value things based upon their rarity in their life.  The rich don't take food all that seriously, for example.  The starving, meanwhile, value food above all else.  The former will drop food in a manner that would make the latter cry, even though it's the same food with the same innate value to it.
-Trip to Grand Canyon is well-timed.  I just hope I still get to see Jake a lot when he's here... that's the only instance of marginal timing involved.
-Kate, I didn't "complain" about the Spark's prediction date for my death, except to say I thought it too late.  I'm well aware you have more to complain about.  But I LIKE your picture in the Pond!  C'mon, it's so... Denny's!  All right, send me another & I'll put it in.  I also have to rescan the Matts'... or 2 of 'em at least.  I love all this page-to-page dialogue.
-Methinks I should start shooting 100 freethrows every day.  It's good discipline.  Yesterday, I made just 64 of 100, but today sank 81 in the same number of attempts.  If I keep this up, I'll never miss another 'throw again.  Actually, if I do it tomorrow, I'll probably make about 30.
-First wave of bitterness receding... might actually be able to reply within 24 hours.  The idea of an utterly clean slate actually has some appealing angles.

26 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-Happy Birthday Mom!  I guess we won't discuss your age here, or you'd likely be none too pleased with me...
-Last night, I had a dream that essentially the entire MUN team was quitting for one reason or another, leaving Joe Edlow & I to recruit about 18 more folks & build a team.  I just remember thinking that this was neither good nor bad, but would just leave us with what would be a vastly different type of team.  We'd still probably get shafted at conferences.
-Cockroaches are almost certainly more pleasant to have around than dogs.  I maintain & defend that statement.
-All right, DK, now you've given me a REAL reason to give you flack over sports!  3-player basketball just doesn't quite measure up to 2-on-2.
-Schneider's the last person I expected to be making & defending capitalistic arguments!  I refuse to classify the justification of somebody's "worth" by what they're getting paid as anything except BS.  It may be popular BS, oft-defended BS, but it's still BS.
-Apparently, it wasn't obvious enough.  Or maybe it was - that's the scary thing.
-Wonderbar.  I think a good idea would be to try to renounce any interest in anyone I've ever been interested in during my lifetime.  Time to find someone new.  Or many new people, given the prior success rate.  Stell-ar.
-I think most people spend most of their lives kidding.  Maybe it just looks that way because I take everything so seriously.  But most people are really just kidding about everything as they go about their daily lives.  That's a daunting thought, one that inclines one to hole up with about 500 good books, a 10-year supply of food, & a fallout shelter.
-Next time someone tells me "don't go play in the minefield!", I'm gonna listen.  That's not even true - who am I kidding?  I spend most of my life frolicking in minefields.  But the thought that I might not someday is comforting enough tonight.
-When I got in the car with my Dad for a great talk on perspective (& people being kidding), the first 3 songs on the radio were "Spiderwebs", "Real World", & "Everything You Want".  Always good to know that the universe backs one up.
-I'm beginning to think that life is an extenuating circumstance.

25 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-For those who'd have reason to recall, you might remember when Schneider & I got involved in a discussion of the value of words & pictures.  He ended up concluding that "If a picture is worth a thousand words, & a word is worth a thousand pictures, then a picture is worth a whole hell of a lot of pictures!"  In this spirit, I've posted a ton of pictures to the Pond of Peace, all of various friends.  It could be YOU!  If you don't like the picture you've got up, send me another you like better!  There seem to be some technical difficulties with Lisha's & Marps's... I assure you that these 2 decided to be ornery on their own... I'll be working on those in the coming days.  There's even a computer illustration of me done by Fish that, well, probably captures all that need be captured.  Enjoy!
-One tech difficulty cleared up.  & I don't think that many "psychos" peruse this page anyway!
-NO!  No more frisbee!
-"Cause I'm so tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for youuuuu..."  Unfortunately, no one 'round here has reason to remember Alaska Airlines commercials from the early '90's in Oregon.  But lord, those were amusing.  & most of them involved that song.  Which for some reason comes to mind today...
-So far, "The Spark" has yet to kill off anyone I know prior to the 2050's, save for Kate.  But we still need more info!

24 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-$17 is a lot of money.
-If gender is unclear, is using a person's actual name, the phrase "this person", or the word "it" more offensive?
-Are there more kinds of jelly or jellybean in the world?  & more to the point, does this make a Jelly-of-the-Month club ridiculous or simply make a Jellybean-of-the-Month club less ridiculous?
-80,000-factorial is an ENORMOUS quantity.  Are there 80,000-factorial ANYTHING in the world?
-You haven't lived till you've had Schneider's homemade pancakes.  Especially at 4 in the morning.
-Why does it seem like that oft-used phrase of our youth, "gutsy... but stupid!" will always be relevant in my daily existence?
-"So, uh..."
-More dubiosity from "The Spark" (linked yesterday):  Jake & Katie are both slated to outlive me, making it to the late 2050's.  Meanwhile, Fish has a LOWER purity rating than I do, with 71% to my 75%!!  & he didn't even get a point lowered for the eyeball question, which I thought would be pretty standard...  Why haven't you reported YOUR results?
-This human genome mapping stuff is perhaps the scariest research of our lifetimes.  I'm so glad that there's a lot of philosophical perspective being examined for what this capability will do to human society.  Oh that's right, more scientific research at whatever cost MUST be thoroughly justified!  How could I forget?  Aldous Huxley is spinning in his psychic but unheard grave.
-I guess math can be a more sensitive subject than I'd thought.  Jaque was emotionally overwrought by my earlier reference to 80,000-factorial (80,000! in math-people terms), but reports that "I found 80,000! to be roughly equal to 1 X 10^362969.", which I can only assume to be a somewhat sizable number.  He later was moved to tell me "It's time for me to cry."

23 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-Fish reports (as was expected) that his perspective makes life more difficult.  I'm not sold.
-After much anticipation, it is indeed e-mail time.  Everybody, run to your inboxes!  & then write back, if you please.
-According to "The Spark" & its highly dubious "Death Test" (courtesy of Kate), Fish & I are slated to die on 9 February 2051 & 7 March 2052, respectively.  Go there, take the test, & report your dates my way!  It's a bit morbid, but fun nonetheless.  Though the results may be skewed... I, for one, don't expect to live that long & I think an 8% chance of death by homicide is earnestly far too low.  Especially when I had an accompanying 6% chance of death by alien abduction.

22 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-From a 4-hour phone conversation with Kate:  college debate should be like pro sports... teams should be able to trade debaters, as well as pick up new recruits from high school through a draft.  How much fun would this be?  Especially if it weren't done by money (then Stanford & Princeton would get ALL the best debaters & would become the Yankees & Braves of APDA... "oh, HE's good... buy him!"), but by the administration of each team.  Admittedly, this could get a little out of hand, but it's still a fun concept to throw around.
-I've suddenly realized that I DON'T owe that much e-mail after all... most of you owe me e-mail!  Or it's at least an even split.  Though a 4-hour phone conversation is not conducive to me writing much e-mail.  But I now have less guilt about this.  Unlike the dino in "Toy Story" & his ever-popular line, "Oh no, now I have guilt!"  I should start saying that a lot again.
-Ten updates from yesterday may be a record.  But I can beat that.  To think that I once considered suspending this shindig over the summer.  I once considered a lot of things about this summer, come to think of it...
-My life is troublingly predictable these days.  One might be tempted to say all days.  The same types of things keep happening over & over again.  & whether the cycles can be broken, or if they even should be, remains entirely unclear.  Timing is insane.  But insane in the most purely rational non-coincidental fashion.  What am I supposed to do with these circumstances?  I've often felt like a bystander in my own life, since so much ends up being based on other peoples' decisions & I just roll with it.  Is it time to change that?  Or to just keep rollin' cause that's what I know how to do & there seem to be few alternatives?  Yet so much of what I criticize others for is their unnecessary inertia.  Though that's only when it has a bad impact on their lives, not so much when it's neutral or beneficial.  & honestly, right now, I don't know.  But I do know one thing - life's cosmic joke is never distant.  I'm going to roll with that for the time being.  We'll see, shortly, what I decide to do otherwise.
-Wow, am I sore from 3 straight days of hardcore basketball.  But refreshingly sore.  Sore the way one wants to be.  The first person to apply that principle to my emotional life gets an ugly glare from me!
-Jake & I combined may be hot stuff.  But if I could take Fish's approach to females, I'd certainly be better off right now.  It's so much simpler, so much more consolidated.  & I know he'd tell me it's so much more painful.  I dunno if I disagree or not.  From this side of the hill, it looks easier.  Then again, I'm always fond of green grass.  Or green anything, for that matter.
-The more I chew over everything, the more life's cosmic joke laughs.  Loudly & with abandon.  This will be a night to think myself into irrational behavior, potentially.

21 June 2000
[from Albuquerque]
-Permanent "just kidding"s are the worst kind.  There's your unfortunate answer, Jaker.
-So I get home exhausted from playing home-run derby, outdoor basketball, & poker (the cards admittedly weren't a great source of exhaustion so much as a good source of $3), & go talk to my parents.  After brief conversation, my dad tells me that I'm obviously at a very high level of energy & intensity & it's more than he, about to fall asleep, can deal with.  & he wasn't kidding.  I found this amusing because at that precise moment, I felt less intense & less energetic than I had in days.  That says something about my perception of intensity, doesn't it?
-Ah, surveys.  Trouble is, last time I sent a survey out to many of my friends (you know the type - the e-mail 20 [or 652] questions about life, death, & the American way [c'mon, folks, say it with me... "the last 2 of which are synonymous!"... that wasn't so hard, was it?]... forwarded to friends, neighbors, & those who are alone)... anyway, the last time I sent out a survey like that, all but one or two of the recipients yelled at me or otherwise questioned my judgment/mental state.  So perhaps I'd best not fill it out myself.  Or if I do, just not widely distribute it.  But such decisions have nothing to do with a dearth of feelings for anyone...
-Ah, dubious responses on surveys.  I think I spend most of my life just wondering.
-So, like I was saying, I'm exhausted.  Maybe intense too, but also exhausted.  So if I owe you e-mail (sheesh, I'm sounding like a stuck record here), it might just have to wait a little while longer.  Or if I owe you a call for that matter.  But maybe I'll get a second wind - heck, it's only quarter till one in the morning!  But since the miracle on Princeton Street has now become the nightmare thereon, I guess I'll be more tied to these infernal mind-consuming machines than I was expecting, so there'll be a net gain of e-mail for everyone.  I just want to make sure it's QUALITY e-mail.  & when I'm in this mood, that's far from guaranteed.  So there you have it... or will soon.
-Sometimes, I think I could just ramble forever.  I'm afraid you all agree with me.
-Fourteen hours later, I STILL don't have a second wind.
-I love playing basketball.  I really do.  More than much else I can think of doing.  Especially in the ol' AA gym.  ESPecially when Jimmy Hsu & Sam Winokur & even ol' Jacob "Yakob" Goodman show up.  ESPECIALLY when I get a job offer for next summer right before playing.  Yowza!  But please note the "NEXT" in the above sentence... keep in mind that I had a job for this summer prior to it actually BEING this summer, as well.
-Fish finally believes me about Gris's flakiness this summer.  Between his general attitude & 80-hour (literal) work-week, I'll be lucky if I see that kid before August.
-This is a crudload of updates today.  Don't go thinking that means a lot is happening.  This is just me reacting to everything, because doing otherwise is getting dull.


Introspection, My Worst Friend* (Current)
Ye Olde Archive (Past)

Tell me this is not the end...*

*-lyrics from an as-yet unreleased song, "The Same Old Frontiers", by SWClayton.