Monday, June 27, 2005

off plot in the wastelands

i tell myself i like spontaneity, but that is probably only a half-truth. i like to create a defined reality around myself that is consistent and within that i like room for variation. thus, i like to feel like my life is spontaneous and open, but only within a pretty measured and bounded space.

these days i am way off the path. there isn't really a confined space. everything is wide open. i can do whatever i want next. that is an odd feeling. it's like i have left the current story i was telling and landed in an entirely new plot and world.

Friday, June 17, 2005

New York Times 1904 and Blatant Racism

Excerpt from the June 15, 1904 New York Times Article about the 1000 deaths of women and children when the General Slocum caught fire and ran aground. New York Times reran this article for their On This Day section.

Most of the deckhands were negroes and were apparently unmoved by the terrible sights they witnessed in the police station. All of them had jumped into the water and swum ashore to North Brother Island.

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0615.html#article

This section came after the article described the heroic efforts of many people to save the lives of the women and children aboard the boat. It seems to just be a targeted jab based on the author's own racism. I was surprised to see it in the article, especially in the New York Times. I wonder what other statements in other articles reflected the socially acceptable racist attitudes of those times?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

lost in limbo

so, my flight back to new york was cancelled and i am just wandering around in california for another day.

i kind of feel adrift. i don't really have a strong desire to return to the life i am leading right now. it isn't all that great. if i had a million dollars, i think i would take off for a bit, like dave chappelle. it seems nice to just be able to leave things behind for a while, to disappear.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Is Persuasion Dead?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/04/opinion/04miller_oped.html?th&emc=th
Matt Miller asks this question in a NY Times editorial this week. He wonders if most political speech isn't at all about persuading people but instead just preaching to the choir and helping people validate their own beliefs without questioning them.

This also reminds me of Deborah Tannen's book, The Argument Culture. She talks about how most debate isn't thoughtful or meant to appeal to people trying to make up their minds. Instead it is extreme and polarized, for the sake of argument and spectacle.

I don't do Tannen's book justice in that brief summary, but both her book and the editorial are worth checking out.

Miller wonders if people aren't just tuning out because their intelligence is insulted by the debate in which shrill gets the edge over substance.

getting the heck out of dodge

so, i am heading home to california for a long weekend.

i don't assume the wedding i am attending will bring me great joy. it will probably make me think too much about the vows i took just a few short years back...

getting on a plane doesn't fill me with much joy either. i always am more paranoid of dying at times like these. too many things feel unsettled... i don't know if that makes sense, but i just don't feel at peace.

however, the prospect of spending a few days away from here with friends and family sounds nice. plus there are in-n-out burgers to make me happy when skies are grey...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity

-Horace Mann, 1879

It's your quote for the day. Now go eat your vegetables!

Monday, June 06, 2005

what does it mean to be in love with someone?

my wife says she doesn't believe i am in love with her, that i am only in love with the idea of her. she doesn't really believe that i know her.

i don't really know what the defense against a statement like this is. she can't really know what i do or don't feel.

this has had me thinking about what it means to be in love with someone. is there anyway to say exactly what it is that makes you love someone? poets seem to use metaphors and similes to get at the nature of it and can say things that we can sometimes identify as truths. however, it seems to me that love is too complex to vocalize or to rationalize in any real manner.

certainly, i could make a list about things i like about her and what i enjoy from her when we spend time together. but that doesn't really seem to put my finger on it exactly. there are a lot of people whom i admire and like spending time with, but that doesn't mean those pieces add up to love or justify exactly why i would rather be with my wife than anyone else.

a friend told me this quote by irvin yalom, "romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection."

that feels right. being in love is a mystery that doesn't seem to be rational or easily explained and deconstructing it may actually cause you to realize how tenuous and illogical of a thing it really is.

so when my wife says she loves me, but she isn't sure she is in love with me, what does that really mean? what are long term relationships based on? certainly there is an ebb and flow of attraction, passion and feelings of romantic love. i guess if you are lucky you both come back from the ebb at the same time...

is romantic love sustainable forever? or is it that passion brings people together and love keeps them together? or is it a bit of both?

also what is being in love based on? do you ever truly know another person? do we ever even truly know ourselves? and if we can't know ourselves, why would we expect to be able to know another person completely? so, is it fair for her to say that i love the idea of her, but not her?

maybe.

maybe in the sense that we don't know another person exactly. but, sometimes we do know things about another person or see things in them that they can't see about themselves. so, where does that put us? maybe sometimes a person can know us better than we know ourselves or at least know some part of ourselves better.

i am not saying that i know her better than she does. but, it is possible that i know things about her that she might not know about herself and vice versa. sharing one's life with someone for 8 years is deeply intimate and i think i have an idea of the person whom i have been sharing my life with. not that i know everything, but i do know something.

can i say why i love her? sort of. i can express a lot of intangibles and strong feelings and emotions with words. but i am not sure it gets at the essence. the real essence is that right now she is the only one i want to spend the rest of my life with. if i could chose how life would work out, i would chose it to work out with her. i would chose her above anyone else or anything else and it wouldn't be a hard decision. the only why i can figure is that being with her is simply satisfaction and happiness for me. she has been a friend, lover, and companion and it has been mostly fulfilling on many levels.

obviously, i won't go on with her if she isn't able to feel these things for me any more. but, if i could find a way to make it work, i still would want to.

my wife is reading these...

so weird. i guess it changes the nature of these on some level, how can it not?

i still need this though to be the place where i am honest about what is going on. so i will try to continue to do that.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

she says she wants me to be happy

she says that and it sounds nice on the surface, but deep down it doesn't feel nice at all.

really, what i think she is saying is that she wants me to be happy without her, that she doesn't want to be the one in my life that is making me happy, that she doesn't want to put in the effort.

it seems it would be easier for her, if i could just be happy without her.

it is complicated, because i don't think she is the only thing in life that makes me happy. i am not dependent on her for happiness and fulfillment. i don't think that there is one person that just completes you. i feel like if you look for that, then you will never find it. you have to be happy with yourself to be happy with life or anyone else.

however, i think that when you make a commitment to be with someone forever, you commit to being companions who will be there when you need someone to talk to or spend time with.

life to me seems inherently lonely and uncertain. somehow finding that other person and knowing that they are a constant in the journey of life makes the other uncertainties more bearable because you know at the root of it all you have a best friend who will always (or almost always) be there through the good and the bad. and that is comforting.

now that is gone. and it is just sad. especially, at a time when i need the support most that i'd come to expect from her.

it seems so dysfunctional, craving the emotional comfort from the person who is causing the pain.

Friday, June 03, 2005

am i the woman?

i think that my wife and i have reversed our gender roles. but, what are those any way?
i know they are stereotypes and what not, but even so, i still feel like i have to conform to them on some level. though in this relationship, i am the one who wants to talk more, who wants to communicate.

fortunately, i was the one who wanted to have sex more too, so at least i have that to bring to the table when tallying up my masculinity points.

the over examined life vs. the unexamined life

where is balance? or do i even care? and when my mind whirls around at a thousand miles per hour, why not just go with it?

what else is there to do?

burry my emotions? i refuse to do that because then they just lurk deep down and pop up and the most inopportune times.

so, i own my feelings and write them to cyberspace and lead the excessively over examined life. just don't ask me how i'm feeling...

unless you have a few days to spare...

how many times should you let yourself be kicked in the head before moving out of the way?

is that the age old question?

seriously though, when you love someone where do you draw the line? when do the cross the line between what you can forgive them for and what you can no longer accept and be able to be a person with some self-respect?

where does abuse begin?

so, right now if i think that my wife is having somewhat of a break down, do i say to myself that we can get past this? that i will honor the vow through good times and bad, through sickness and health.

i think some people give up too easily. but, i also think some people put up with insanity and that is equally bad, if not worse. but, where is the line and how easily distinguishable is it.

also, when is hope really just not facing the truth? and when is accepting "the truth" too quickly really accepting something that isn't true at all?

when there is no certainty how do you answer these questions?

which side do you err on?

can men and women be friends? rules for it? (not well thought out, but food for thought)

contrary to the harry met sally dialogue, i think that it is possible to be friends with women.

harry's reasoning was that the sex part gets in the way, but i am not clear why it has to.

the first exception harry talks about (if i remember correctly) is a person you aren't attracted to. he then changes his mind and says, you pretty much want to nail them too. i disagree.

i must say that i don't know that this applies to everyone, but i have been friends with lots of women. the one's who i am not attracted to pose no problem because i don't have any romantic or sexual feelings for them, so there is nothing to worry about on my part. i don't send signals and so far as i know and have experienced so far, they don't misinterpret my intentions.

the ones that i do find moderately attractive aren't really a problem for me either. just because on some purely animal level i find a woman attractive doesn't mean i have any real need or desire to act on it. why throw away a friendship or jeopardize my marriage for someone who i don't care about as much as my partner? there is no compelling need. even when i wasn't married though, there wasn't a reason to act on it. once someone was a good friend and i knew that there weren't truly powerful feelings, there was no reason to risk the friendship for nothing.

the real threat is being close friends with someone you find very attractive on deep and intimate levels. this is a bad relationship to pursue if either of you are involved with someone else because the goal of the relationship on someone's part is dishonorable. getting to know someone better and pursuing a friendship in this case is problematic. you aren't being a good friend to the person because your pretense is false. you are creating a friendship that is built on deception and hidden motivations. even if these motivations are mutual, they are taken under a false pretense of friendship. if the feeling is mutual, either be brave and end your own relationships before you pursue a new one, or avoid getting close to this other person. putting yourself in this situation is risky, selfish, and ill-conceived.

i have friends who i am mildly attracted to, but this is very different. i have no intentions of pursuing them and i will be careful not to do anything inappropriate. ultimately, i know that i am not going after them nor would i. so, i guess the rule for me is that i should only be friends with people who my attraction to is significantly less than to my current romantic partner.

but, then what about if they are attracted to you? if you know they are, you should consider whether the friendship is wise. if one or both of you is involved with someone else, it wouldn't seem wise. if neither of you is involved, i would want to be very careful not to send any romantic signals and i would probably limit my time with them in order to minimize letting them get wrong ideas.

so the girls i find the most attractive on many levels are not my good friends. i keep them as more casual acquaintances. this doesn't mean that i don't have beautiful and attractive friends, it just means that my friends are ones who i wouldn't risk my current relationship to be with.

when you aren't in a relationship, it is more okay to be friends with the people you are super attracted to. but, as i said, you shouldn't have a friendship based on false pretenses, so i would make sure only to pursue a friendship if that goal in itself is an acceptable outcome. if it isn't, then you should be brave and pursue them romantically.

also, if opposite sex friends are involved with other people, they should definitely make an effort to include their significant others in their activities. not necessarily all of the time, but enough that their partners can get to know the other people and see for themselves that they aren't threatening.

still harry's issue of the significant other wondering why their partner needs something from outside the relationship may come up.

it seems wise if before pursuing friends of the opposite sex when one is in a committed relationship that a conversation is had that sets some of the boundaries and what each person is comfortable with having their partner pursue.

why e is not honorable (a long rant - mostly for myself)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

all lower case: pretentious or not?

so, is it pretentious and poser like to write in all lower case?

certainly it beats all caps.

but, why all lower case? is it slacker cool? does it say i don't care about convention or does it instead say that i readily join into pretentious conventions like writing in all lower case?

i also hate the people who refuse to capitalize "I". i don't know why i hate them. hate is a pretty extreme word and it doesn't seem like much of a reason, but i might as well hate someone today and why not pick on the people who don't capitalize "I". my favorite thing about them is that the people i know who engage in the practice are all raging egoists. that's why they would even think to do such a thing. their excuse though is that america is the only society that capitalizes the "I" because we are so self-involved. they refuse to give into that. so instead they prefer to draw attention to themselves by not capitalizing the "I", which seems to have the opposite effect, right?

notice i haven't capitalized my i's in this, but that is because i am all lower caps, so i think i can get away with it. actually though, i am also a raging egoist poser like the people i hate, but i don't need to use that as a reason to hate myself, because i find enough reasons in my every day life.

here's to the twin pillars of ego and self-loathing...

cheers!

men can fake their orgasms too

just be sad

why does it feel wrong to just be sad? i feel like i need to do something to not be sad anymore or to take my mind off of it.

maybe i should just own it and say i am sad. i will be sad for a long time and i am going to just experience the moment for what it is...experience what sadness has to offer.

feel it, taste it, savor it...

certainly it makes me appreciate the happy times more and it makes me feel in touch with some of the feelings that used to seem far away.

like love...

why do i feel my love stronger for her, when she has gone away? when she no longer returns it to me?

love had faded a bit, but now that it is gone, i feel it and appreciate it more. the tarnish is gone and it blazes once again. so true that we recognize what was important in its absence.

i just wish that the last time i held her and she was truly mine, i knew it. so i could know the moment and keep it with me.