August 2006

August 27th, 2006

Most people don't see "the big picture". That's not to say I do either; I'm more aware than most that my understanding of reality is microscopic compared to what's out there--my brain's simply nowhere near big enough to understand it all! Yet I'm learning more all the time--But damn if I wouldn't love to meet the being who genuinely gets it all so I can soak them in!

Now you may say I act like I'm a know-it-all and you have every right in the world to hold on to such erroneous beliefs. The truth of the matter is I am a seeker (with an abnormal understanding of my ignorance, hypocricies, "sins", and limitations). As a young boy I was already asking questions the adults couldn't answer but I just kept asking and I kept making them uncomfortable with simple, straight forward (yet somehow "silly") questions like, "Why is it okay for a nine year old to act sexist but not an adult?" and "How can Jesus be the Son of God and God Himself at the same time?"

Oh, I drove them nuts (he says with a giggle) and I continued to do so in middle school, junior high, and (yes) Baptist youth group. Even once had the youth minister quite literally telling people I was being influenced by Satan (true story). But I kept asking the tough questions because I wanted to know the big picture and it made people uncomfortable and I realized they didn't want the awakening I was seeking but some kind of comfort in Dogma and you know what?!

That's okay. It's just not for me.

Take this afternoon. Vipassana and I were standing at an intersection waiting for that little red hand to turn into a white human figure and the driver of the oncoming SUV stopped and waved us on. Vipassana and I looked at him and a little startled by his patience I took a moment then smiled and waved at him as we walk-skipped across the intersection. As soon as we started to do so at least two of the drivers behind the man that stopped started honking. If memory serves the first was looking at his vehicle as if to say, "Why the fuck are you stopping you stupid motherfucker!" and the second looked at Vipassana and I as if we were responsible for what happened at Auschwitz.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating but the point here is we were just crossing the street not committing a gang rape. Maybe I'm overphasizing the point so I'll make it simple: they overeacted.


To me the situation screamed of people that didn't see and frankly don't want to see the big picture in their day to day, moment to moment, lives. The first person held up saw that we didn't jump in front of traffic illegally but had crossed only when directed to do so; they demonstrated a lack of understanding and care for anyone around them and in particular someone demonstrating kindness and patience towards their fellow human (they get no brownie points). The second simply thought it appropriate to lash out; maybe they were in a hurry because their grandmother was in the hospital taking her last breath--and I completely admit I don't know what was going on in their minds--but they clearly didn't care why we were crossing the street as they simply honked and made angry expressions without having the facts (ditto on the brownie points).

Now I've been told I think too much but so you know I'm just me and I rip apart my universe because it helps me rip holes in the Dogma I and others create for me getting me closer and closer to the big picture. And I could turn this situation over in my head and see it in a thousand different ways but for me it was good enough to simply see this as an instance where everyone had an opportunity to ask themselves, "What? Where? Why?" yet, as is so often the case, they found it easier to make assumptions that lead them to experience anger, frustration, and suffering.

Is this the behavior of an enlightened, much less mature, species?

And so I once was a Christian but it was too rigid, too small, and all too often too contradictory and manipulative. And so I once sought out athiests and found their journey empty and devoid of the questioning and curiosity that filled me with passion. And then I discovered Zen and Buddhism and they were the most brilliant paths I'd ever known. And there were philosophies from India that were thousands of years old and well ahead of what Western psychologists are just now starting to figure out. And yet I didn't need to take The Buddha's advice and always question because I've never just accepted a thing because it appears brilliant--my fingers are always feeling around in the dark tracing the countors of an object until I understand.

Then I move on to the next thing. Sometimes I even go back because what I thought was an empty box turned out to be full of those little packaging bubbles and you know how fun those are to pop!

August 26th, 2006

I want to stop writing. I want to throw up my hands and call it quits. I pay a little over a hundred dollars a year as a sort of electronic property tax for The Temple and to what end? True, sometimes I'll receive an unexpected compliment and more than once I've been applauded for my openness--but the warm feelings brought on by such communications seem effectively canceled by the occassional presumption or attack that I experience.

I am not a perfect person and never claim to be except in the existential sense. And yet so many have come here and hope, fear, and dogmatic projection seems to fill the gaps between my words. I am tired, I am so tired of trying to find the right words when truth be told I can only paint on the canvas--I cannot interpret them for those outside the bounds of my experience!

There is nothing magical I do here. I do what so many claim, I simply call things how I see them. I share what I see and think and experience and feel. You can do it too. And you know what? People won't understand, people will judge, they will project, they will throw hopes and fears at you until you're burried up to your eyeballs--but you just keep writing, you keep creating, you keep expressing yourself. That's how you do it. It's nothing special. There are no huge secrets or special directions. Just write and keep writing.

Yet I want to quit this thing.

I woke up today to Vipassana prodding me to get up--after sleeping poorly and having a very sour stomach. I felt slow and tired, I needed something but wasn't sure what and I'm dreading my return to work on Monday. And so we (Vipassana and I) go on a ride and I'm not really enjoying it--in fact, I'm getting downright irratable at some of the bonehead drivers, particularly one that almost slammed into my front tire when they performed an illegal lane change. And I'm thinking about July 3rd--my parents are in town at her sister's wedding and I'm asking myself how I feel about that and it's not so great but hey, I'm dealing until I see my parents later that day and I hear about the 300 + people at their wedding and how she in particular sent her best and all I could think was, "What a superficial, clueless bitch!"

That's how I feel and how I feel isn't always pretty and rosey even if it seems so, white on black background. So I've been in a pissed off mood. I've been feeling absolutely alone lately and a "good God-loving Christian" who absolutely dumped on me while I was growing up sends her best? Maybe I've been hardened but I prefer that people who haven't given me anything, even a letter, in twenty years keep their vaccous oratory vaccilations to themselves!

Or: Keep it real and if you can't then shut (the fuck) up.

Truthfully, I don't know why everything hit me so hard today. It's not just that her family invited my parents (who live over a hundred miles away) but not me (who lives less than twenty miles away), it wasn't that I felt a chism between Vipassana and I today, it wasn't work looming--oh, how envious I have always been of those who have one core issue that blows their day to bits, for me it's always dozens of little tiny things that dance and carry on together as if they're drugged in a mosh pit head banging crazily until I just want to run from the room screaming.

So.....I want to stop writing. What's the damn point? I sit here and try to express myself but to whom? I'm not going to tell you the reasons I write as I've done this before but still, there's a point where I just think it's absolutely insane to keep it up, especially if I turn around one day and find all this effort has come to not. And perhaps that's where my frustrations for 2006 lie, this underlying concern that everything I do is in vane. I've had hopes but where have they taken me? I've grown, evolved, and accomplished some pretty amazing things, but to what end?

I nailed the following quote to The Temple's entrance the other day:

"All the harm, in short, my ego does
To its advantage and to others' cost,
May all of it descend upon itself,
To its own hurt--to others' benefit."

- Bodhicharyavatara, The Way of the Bodhisattva 8.165 by Shantideva

It's a little Buddhist wisdom about taking on pain and suffering for the betterment of others. The most extreme form of this is, of course, the sacrific of Jesus Christ, yet what this verse refers to is our ability to experience pain so that we might transform it into something beneficial for others.

I often ask myself if allowing myself to experience pain leads to your benefit. Do I really help you find a new perspective, a larger truth, strength through difficulty? Or are my writings as Shakespeare once said, "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"?

I honestly don't know. And perhaps it's not imporant that I ever know. Perhaps it is only important that I make an impact and possibly, hopefully, a positive one. Yet I have experienced increased amounts of frustration as of late. When I was young it was reasonably easy to find a friend or a companion or a lover and wow, was I an incapable mess of a scared human being back then!!! Now that my head's on straight (at least 90% of the way there, anyhow), I find the only thing I seem to be able to consistently attract is a depth of karmic whiplash that leaves me sometimes screaming, "Uncle!"


August 25th, 2006

I am hesitant admitting this to you. Although it's something that's on my mind from time to time it's not something I readily talk about as it is not something that encourages a more positive outlook. And yet I find myself overwhelmed by it today in a way that's become as uncommon as it once was commonplace--and I'm not exactly sure how to work through it.

You see, I don't have many friends. I never have. I'm not saying that to garner any sympathy or otherwise complain but merely to describe the social environment to which I'm accustomed. The last day or two it's had me wanting to rip my hair out.

Over my lifetime I've had many theories for this (the lack of friends, not the hair pulling out part). When I was young I felt my interests were just too weird for my classmates and while this was true I recognize how my shyness was off-putting to those who might have otherwise befriended me. As I grew older other factors came into play: an avoidance of large groups, a clear disgust of those who did not hold my values, a Depression that played out in all imaginable ways, and so on and so forth. As part of my study into psychology and sociology I looked at the reasons behind my sometimes hermit-like existence. It seemed that the more I examined the various phases and avenues of my life the more complicated my social evolution became. And yet recently it has become very, very simple: I have few friends because I choose to have only a few.

I have many reasons for making this choice but the main point is that it is a choice. For the most part I'm okay with this but the last few days I've felt uncommonly lonely. Here I am on vacation, alone, and until Vipassana comes home I have no one to talk to, take a hike with, or go out to coffee with. Anything I might want to do I have to do alone and there's a certain frustration that occurs if you're itching for a game of tennis or backgammon. It's at moments like this that the neon sign flashes in front of my eyes: looser.

(Granted, with a certain uncommon recognition of my mortality and the borrowed time I'm living on the label doesn't really encompass me though my human ego can at times be overwhelmed by the emotion, however superficial it might objectively be.)

And so I want to admit it to you because it's been a long time since I've just admitted this to anyone: I want to be accepted. I want to be cherished. I want to be sought out. I want to be admired. I want to meet people with similar interests so we can explore those interests together and I want to meet people with completely different interests so they can broaden my view. I want to meet a girl whose head is on straight and who's heart is in the right place and I want her to be brave enough to climb on the back of my hooligan so we can do a little canyon racing on the weekends.

I want my letters returned. I want a phone call. I want to be sought out. I want to be loved and I want it to be in the Biblical sense not the vaccuous 21st century sense.

Don't you?

And so I start my day with a shower. I may then get some wood for the hallways shelves, with the kind help of a colleague of course. I may go sit on a Triumph Sprint ST to give me something to look forward to and I might go up to the archery range to use my bow which has sat idle for far too long. No, I won't be going to a bar near you, no, I won't be creating an account on, no, I won't be getting out a little black book of past acquaintances and no, I won't be getting a makeover in hopes that I can attract someone new.

The best way I have ever known is to simply feel, to simply accept, and to simply be.

I am.

August 24th, 2006

I have fucking lost my mind.

Wack! Wack!! Wack!!!

I figured (rationalization) I had only a few days left of my vacation so (what the hell) I'll begin preparations for that Book/CD/DVD/VHS shelf I've been wanting to build for three years. So I mark off the studs and make some lines with my pencil and a square and get out the drywall saw and start cutting some holes so I can check out the interior of the wall and first thing you know Monkay (my most bratty cat) is sticking his head in the holes trying to eat the drywall!

So here it is, the first picture of my Tool Man Taylor attempt to put a bookshelf into the wall. I'm so nervous about knocking holes into the wall of my home, my first house, the place I own and pay a huge mortgage on every month! I so want to just call it even and cut a huge square and put in a square piece of matching drywall and paint over it but no, I'm going to get some wood and cut piece after piece (wipe sweat from forehead) until I have shelves (wow!) and I'm going to put those together until (presto!) they're in the wall (OMG!) ready to be finished (woohoo!) and then it'll all be dry and I'll put the DVD's in and take pictures and post them here and it'll all be done (yes, yes, yes!!!)...oh, I am a nutjob!

I guess that's how you learn. And what will I learn? I will learn either that I can accomplish something that unnerves me or that next time I should just call a contractor!

Or...that all home improvement projects should begin with a Corona with lime ;)

August 22nd, 2006

Riding alone is a straight forward and simple process. First, prepare. That includes but is not limited to insuring the safety of the bike and getting things together and being mentally and physically prepared. Next, get on the bike and ride. That's it. Straight forward and simple.

Riding with someone else isn't nearly as straight forward or simple. Preparation is similar but there's a need to coordinate. What do you have in your bags? What do I have in my bags? How can we split what we carry to make the trip easier? Okay, so we both get enough sleep, can you ride as hard or as fast or as long as I do (or visa versa)? Do we both want to go down the same roads? Suddenly planning becomes a challenge in democracy. Where an individual can simply change the schedule on a whim a gaggle must sometimes stop and talk and ask the simple question, "What road do you feel like going down now?"

When I do a thousand miles on my own I recognize that my moods are entirely my own; I don't project them on anyone regardless of how "bad" the service at a gas station or restaurant might seem. Sure, it may be raining and yes, my butt might hurt, but how I choose to internalize these experiences is an excercise in personal responsibility.

When there's another rider sharing the road there's the potential for interpersonal irritation in the form of silent nit-picky finger pointing. They're riding too fast/slow or too far or not far enough. They don't know how to relax once you've kicked your feet up or they're too relaxed when you want to get out and go for a hike.

You're not conforming to my ever changing and sometimes irrational moods!

Whenever another person is intimately involved on a long trip there's the potential for interpersonal conflict. It's just a reality. The other reality is that we tend to weave our stories before, during, and after real or perceived conflicts. When I ride alone I can't project my thoughts, feelings, and mood on someone else but when I spend hour after hour close to another through cold or bumpy roads or rain it's easy to become irritatable, judgemental, and even blaming when I would otherwise simply suck up and keep on keepin' on.

The truth is there is no difference between riding alone or with a partner. Under both circumstances you have to be prepared and always you are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, always you are responsible for your interaction with the bike, the road, your riding partner, the traffic, the weather, and more importantly, yourself. And that is the challenge, is it not? To take this upon yourself, to ride safely, to enjoy every inch of highway, to have the right gear to get through the rain and the cold and the fog and the dark, to know when to stop and know when to ride, to plan ahead, to look forward, and to wiggle your ass a little from time to time when the music is right.

That is the challenge.

August 21st, 2006

We rode 380 miles or so today. We started at 11am when the hotel kicked us out and we arrived home twelve hours later. The ride was slow, cold, and hard, the stops for stretching were too long and as soon as we got back on the bikes they seemed too short. Though our initial plan was to stop after 150 or so miles we pushed on and we pushed on until day became dusk and we stopped for dinner and dusk turned to night. And so we drank coffee and we shot through the dark forest corridors scanning left and right for deer and avoiding drunk drivers and we pushed forward as fast as we safely could given the limitation of motorcycle headlights and not being able to see subtle changes in the road and we stuck to the center of the road and we used other cars as guides and we found the city streets and we pushed and we pushed until the bikes were parked in the garage where they sat only a week and a day ago.

When Vipassana closed the garage door she finally understood the finality that comes with that moment, the feeling that no matter how much your butt hurts, no matter how tired your brain and body might be, to hell with that damn garage door! Lets get back out there because we haven't seen all the roads, we haven't shot down the entire coast, we haven't used the entire memory card on the digital camera or all the tapes in the video recorder, and we're not out of gas. There's only work and responsibility inside these doors, the journey lies outside!!!

Sometimes there's nothing uglier than a garage door closing. Sometimes there's nothing more beautiful than knowing when and how to open and close a door.

August 13th, 2006

I will be perfectly honest with you tonight and admit I have no serious focus in this evening's writing. That being said, I will now begin freewriting.


This is a picture of a dog I took a few weeks back. My daughter was outside the garage sawing up some wood as a chore when she came inside screaming like a mad-woman that a dog was in the garage. Based on her hysterical attitude Vipassana and I assumed the dog was 1) big and 2) angry. So we rushed into the garage ready to fight this animal off and found this beautiful, calm natured dog limping around wanting attention. Our daughter continued to act afraid but we calmed her down and worked out what we'd do. The dog had a wound on its right shoulder that, at least to me, appeared to be a post-surgery scar. Her hind legs were very stiff which seemed to indicate trauma (possibly being hit by a car) and she seemed like she either hadn't been fed in awhile or was very, very old. We got some (cat) food and water for her and then Vipassana made some phone calls including one to a friend that's a vet. Finally, after contacting the local Sheriff the officer came down and picked the dog up and took her down to a local animal shelter and I went up to my room to make posters which would include this (and two other) pictures I'd taken of the girl.

Twenty or so minutes later our daughter comes in the house screaming at the top of her lungs that a man is at the house. Based on her screaming we're thinking someone's after her now so we rush down and out and meet a calm gentleman about 35/40 years in age who's looking for his dog who got out of the back lawn. We learned the dog lived about four or five houses down and was very old (18) and was still recouperating from being hit by a car and another surgery for a cyst or something similar on her shoulder.

That was a beautiful event and I'm so happy this wonderful friendly dog was reunited with its owner so quickly.


I don't have too many friends but I can honestly say I'm appreciative of the friends I have. I have met some really interesting, intelligent, creative, and wonderful people over the last few years and I just wanted to take a moment to thank them all.


I finally got to see What the Bleep? Down the Rabbit Hole. As some of you know I loved the first movie. Though one scientific experiment showcased an experiment that hasn't been replicated (to my knowledge) the rest of the movie has so much evidence behind it to make the arguments and theories mind blowing--and they are to many people. Yet when I sat down to watch the second movie the plotline was a terrible edit and rehash of the first movie making me wonder what the hell the director was thinking.

If you haven't seen them, both are documentaries that include a fictional backstory acted out by a famous award winning actress. In the first movie this backstory is weaved skillfully into the interviews to paint and explain the scientific subjects their aspousing. The second movie, however, seems to almost be a random hodgepodge of fictional backstory and interviews; had I not seen the first movie I would have been entirely confused.

That's not to say I didn't learn something. The people being interviewed were bright, intelligent, learned, etc. Still...dissapointed at the seemingly random cutting and splicing of footage and even more so at the blatant recycling of parts of the first film.


I don't have panic attacks much anymore but I've found that when I'm on the verge of having one a certain person is thinking about me. Once upon a time they said they loved me--the truth is they often made me feel judged and that if I didn't fit into their little (and I mean little) box of how a partner "should" be there was something wrong with me. I have found a one-to-one correlation between when I get this uneasy panicky feeling and them contacting me or otherwise reaching out towards me.

I need to learn to put up stronger barriers against psychic attacks.


On a more positive note my fortune cookie Friday night said: A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you.

I can't wait! :)


Fyi, I gotta pee, tmi, brb, etc.


Sometimes I want someone from my past to seek me out and say, "I want you, will you forgive me?" or "I want you, I have forgiven you" or just "I want you." And then I sober up.


I want to get some more piercings. True, I really want to get a few tattoos but I told myself that would be a reward when I hit my goal weight. Until that time I'm simply contemplating a few more piercings.

Right now I only have two. The first I got when I was twenty or so in my left ear. In 2000 or so I pierced my right eyebrow. I didn't do it because I was some kind of punk or what have you, I simply liked the way they looked and one day simply decided to do it and I've had the peircing in ever since.

What I'm thinking I want is one or two ear cartilige piercings. I hear they hurt but then on the other hand eyebrow piercings are supposed to hurt but mine was absolutely painless (some uncomfortable pressure followed by, "There, you're done"). I like the way cartilege piercings look but how will they look on me? I don't know, but then I didn't know how an eyebrow peircing would look until I did it and now I couldn't imagine looking in the mirror without the ring.

And so what if they fall out of style? I've never been into the fleeting superficiality of what's in style. And so what if you don't like it? I'm not doing it for you!

So we'll see. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Either way, it's fun to play with one's looks and see how people respond to it. I'm sure people will see me as more tough or they might see me as gay or they might think I'm punk etc., etc., etc., etc. and you know, I think that's great because the people who really want to see me for who I really am will have the singular ability to look beyond the superficial while everyone else flips that switch turning on their neon "stereotyping in progress" indicators.

Maybe I'm weird but I simply wish to be accepted for who I am.


Well, I really must get off to bed. I just shaved and cut my lip (ouchy) and need to chill my knee with ice before hitting the sack so all my best, take care, and I look forward to writing more ramblings soon.


August 12th, 2006

I know the universe is connected. Buddhists call it Karma and Newton thought it was so important he called it the first law of physics. So was I surprised that my bills from Portland General Electric went up when Enron screwed consumers in California a few years back? Not at all.

A begets B begets C begets D.

For those of us who have taken the time to see the documentary The Smartest Guys in the Room there's no surprise that the selfish choices of a few can have a large negative impact on many. Being someone that reads and listens to the news every day, pays attention, connects the dots, and is an intuitive, I saw the whole Enron fiasco unfold with anger but without shock: in a culture where the desires of the self supersede the health of the group it wasn't at all surprising that a few fat cats would screw thousands of thousands of people out of their life savings.

I do not like this aspect of American culture. So often we say and think that these attitudes are the exception, not the rule. But are they?

I digress...

I felt fortunate. Though I've been through many layoffs, many of which occurred after the dot com bubble burst, I have never had to work for a company like Enron and get screwed harder than simply loosing my bi-weekly paycheck. And then last night I learned something:

"The evidence at trial showed that when the inflated earnings were disclosed by company officials on April 15, 1998, Cendant's stock value plummeted in one day from more than $39 per share to less than $20, ultimately resulting a $14 billion loss in market capitalization for Cendant. The fraudulent scheme allowed CUC to artificially inflate its stock price, use the stock to acquire other companies and, ultimately, make it a more attractive merger partner with HFS, which was unaware of CUC's decade-long fraud at the time of the merger that created Cendant."


The man behind these schemes was a fat cat named E. Kirk Shelton. How can I tie him to myself?

In 1998 I worked for a little video game company called Dynamix. A subsidiary of Sierra, Dynamix was my first professional job outside of college. I started in Quality Assurance testing games and I worked my way up to development (I can still clearly recall my promotion as I'd walked into our area and my QA manager looked at me and said something to the extent, "You're fired! Get your ass upstairs, you're a developer now.")

Working at Dynamix was not a well paying job but I loved the work better than anything else I've ever done. The people I worked with were creative, fun, and smart. The job itself was both challenging and fun--putting in a 24 hour workday wasn't too uncommon but the pride we had in the work and the comraderie made it completely worth it.

Yet the job had difficultes. Every six months or so we'd go through minor downsizings, layoffs, or reorgs (depending on what the politically correct terminology would have been at the time) and this kept most of us on edge. We all loved our jobs, we would have done anything to keep working at this great place on these awesome products. So though there was nervous apprehension when our parent company, Sierra, merged with a powerful French corporation called Cendant, we got in the trenches and worked even harder but when the next round of layoffs came around we didn't need to lighten up by a few people that we'd hired as needed but 1/3rd of the company was chopped (including myself). And though Dynamix was saving heaps of money by paying much less to their employees (due to location: Eugene, Oregon vs. say, Seattle or Redmond Washington) Dynamix was permanently shut down less than six months later.

So I was wrong, I lost the best job of my life due to the fact that Sierra merged with a company that it would not have merged with if they had known what Cendant was doing with its books. And though I can't blame Mr. Shelton for the dissallusion of my marriage I can say that man's actions directly contributed to difficulties in my marriage which significantly increased the stress and tension between my now x-wife and I.

E. Kirk Shelton, you don't know me but your decision has effected me and everyone I know and love. A begets B begets C begets D. Sometimes everyone looses.

P.S. For those who've played Starsiege my callsign was Youth in Asia or YIA and I designed and wrote all but two of the multiplayer levels. Find my easter eggs yet?

August 11th, 2006

I haven't been able to jog in about four months now and it's really been hard on me. I've never been an overly sporty person but after a year of running regularly I found the bi-daily outing more than just a literal breath of fresh air but a chance to become more balanced and focused. That hour of time allowed me to meditate in a way I'd never done before and brought a sense of refined peace into my life, even at those times it was most chaotic.

And then I injured my left knee so I stopped jogging and went easy on it. It didn't want to get better so I started putting ice on it and still it wouldn't get better. I wore a knee brace, I started looking more closely at activities to determine how I was irritating it. I researched online, I found that the symptoms were of "runner's knee" and I found exercises online and I started doing them. And I'd get better for a few ways then my knee would pop or I'd twist the joint and it was back to square one over and over and over again. When it got its worst I would start to limp at which times Vipassana would lovingly refer to me as "a gimp".

So I was still not getting better and I knew I should go see a doctor but my general practitioner?

Let me tell you about my general practitioner. He's a fucking idiot. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I was with him for about three years and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he was allowed to practice. The first time I'd gone in to see him I wanted to get something to help me stop smoking. He didn't seem to care terribly much but gave me some samples of a little drug called Wellbutrin--what he failed to tell me was the drug is an anti-depressant and anti-depressants completely fuck me (and a lot of people) up, especially if they're not taken with rigid consistency. Anyway, I spent a few weeks on an emotional roller coaster then researched the crap, discovered what it was really meant for, and STOPPED TAKING IT!

The story continues...

For several years I kept going in with symptoms of the flu or strep. Each time he'd prescribe nasal inhalers containing steroids. These caused me to get bloody noses and by extension of that nasal infections. "You have allergies," he'd tell me and I'd say I've been thoroughly tested and treated by the best allergists in Oregon, it wasn't allergies. "Allergies change," he'd tell me and prescribe me more nasal inhalers which would cause more problems than they solved. So at my worst my throat would hurt, my nose would be running, my chest would be congested, and my shoulders hurt because this made me tight. I suffered from these bouts for years. Finally I quit smoking (as it was obviously contributing) and still the symptoms did not go away. Needless to say the worst went through my mind so I went to him and expressed how frustrated that I'd quit smoking months and months prior but my health kept degrading and do you know what he said as he walked out of the room?

"Well that's just too bad, isn't it?"

Now I have to admit I was an idiot going back to him over and over again but in my defense I've demonstrated an overcompensated loyalty streak the last six years. So one day my throat gets so bad I can hardly swallow and I go in ready to tell him he needs to treat me or I'm going elsewhere but he's on vacation and a substitute doctor is there. Okay, maybe they'll listen. And it's a woman, a holistic practitioner, and within five minutes she performs a strep test (which my primary care physician never did) and within five more diagnosed me with acid reflux disease and hypertension in the shoulders. She gave me samples of a medication for my stomach and a muscle relaxers for my shoulders and told me to try them and if they worked to come back for a prescription. So I went home, tried them, and within a half hour my shoulder pain was gone and within a week my nose, stomach, and throat problems were also dealt with. So after I ran out of samples I made another appointment and my regular doc was back so I told him the whole thing and asked for prescriptions and guess what he said, "Oh, you just have allergies, here's a prescription for nasal inhalers and Allegra."

To say I was pissed off is an understatement. And to boot the idiot had the balls to give me a little speech about the dangers of motorcycle riding. That moment really made me see that riding my bike is nowhere near as dangerous as having a doctor that ignores the data. So I asked him to see a nose and throat specalist but he completely refused saying I needed another allergists so I said screw him and called a specialist on my own. When the specialist asked who my primary doctor was I said I didn't have one (which wasn't far from the truth).

I visited the specialist and within a minute he diagnosed me with-guess what?--acid reflux disease. He said, "Stop drinking caffeine, don't eat chocolate, and stay away from spicy foods." He also told me to incline my mattress about four degrees, not eat too close to bedtime, and last but not least gave me some medication. Although it hasn't been easy I've slowly changed my lifestyle and now rarely drink coffee, eat chocolate only as a special treat (yum!), and rarely have spicy food (and never as hot as I LOVE it). I find that when I push the lines out a little my stomach is immediately sore and I get heart burn and at worst a sore throat so I now have an immediate understanding of the effects of my choices, etc.

I listen to my body and trust the experts who demonstrate expertise.

I spent years in pain and sometimes worried I had throat cancer. Doctors that didn't care or kept prescribing the same course of leaches had really turned me off doctors. I found that I'd have more luck using Google than going to a doctor and frankly, my research would be smack on 95% of the time. Going to the doctor turned into a routine of, "This is what I have, give me X please."

I didn't want to see another doctor for my knee. It would heal, I told myself. My research showed that runner's knee can take up to six months to heal so I was patient but I found it was just getting better and worse and better and worse and worse and worse. About one month ago I gave in and made an appointment.

The bone, joint, and fracture specialist did not seem terribly interested in my symptoms. In fact, he didn't listen to most of them and had decided on a diagnoses within two minutes of meeting me. He didn't prescribe drugs, he didn't give me therapy, he didn't explain what I had, but he did send in a pseudo-therapist who gave me a sheet of exercises (half of which I'd already been doing--thanks Google!) and sent me out the door. WTF? Okay, whatever. I wasn't doing the stretching exercises so I started those and hell, he said if I wasn't better in three or four weeks to come back so why not work a little harder and incorporate the new routines?

Guess what?

I didn't want to go back to see him but one day while at work the pain became so unbearable I made another appointment. I limped around the office that day and it was a proverbial blessing in disguise. A coworker noticed and started talking about knee injuries she'd had and told me about a little therapy center not far from where we work (very close to my house, actually) and they'd helped her get over chronic knee pain she'd had for years. This sounded exactly right so I called the place and they told me I needed the thumbs up from my doctor first!


There I was stuck again. What's up with that? To get help you need to get the permission of some overpaid prick driving a Mercedes? WTF is with that? My knee was hurting, it was fucked up, and it was obvious!!!!! How many hoops would I need to jump through to find one human being who knew what the hell they were doing and cared about what I was going through?!?!?

I wanted to jog so badly I spent a few afternoons close to tears.

What could I do? I went back to the specialist and he looked at my knee and he acted almost annoyed that I'd come back (when he told me to) and implied I should give the excercises more time. "No," I said, "If this were getting slowly better I'd agree but it gets worse so we need to do something else." "Okay, okay, okay," was all he seemed capable of saying so I pushed, "First, it seems I keep reinjuring it so it swells and that gets my patella out of place, right?" "Okay," he'd respond. "And that," I'd continue, "weakens my muscles even after all the exercises. So it makes sense that I need a high quality anti-inflammatory, right?" "Okay." "So can I get one?" "Okay." "Right, and your exercises, I'd been doing most of those before I got here and they seem to help some then I reinjure myself. So I need a therapist to directly help me strengthen the right muscles, right?" "Okay," he says to which I reply, "Well, can you give me a prescription for both?" and he finally goes, "Okay."

Less than a week later I'm in to visit my physical therapist and I have to tell you, not only has she renewed my belief that there are people out there who know what they're doing when it comes to the human body, but there are people who do these jobs that actually CARE about their patients. Within five seconds of entering the office she engaged me in friendly conversation, within a minute of examining my knee she could feel the swelling (my specialist couldn't) and within ten minutes of question, answer, and bodily manipulation she'd diagnosed the problem (with no x-rays!), spotted muscles that have atrophied in my knee, legs, and bum, and had correctly diagnosed me as pronating my knees due to flat feet. Motorcycling, she said, could make this worse (because us motorcycle junkies hug our gas tanks with our knees for a safer, more balanced ride) and so would wearing shoes without arch supports (the boots I wore for about a year had 0 arch support and, I'd only noticed a month before, caused increased pain to my knee after prolonged wearing). She hit the nail on the head. This lady knew her stuff.

My therapist showed me stretches and exercises and made sure I did them correctly. My therapist told me how my body works. My therapists showed me how my knee was constantly pronating causing me back pain and hip pain and a FUCKED UP knee. She listened, she cared, and she did her job better than any doctor I've ever met.

I'm so in love ;-)

That afternoon I bought arch supports and have already experienced significant improvements. Sure, there's still quite a bit of pain and swelling but it's gone down and in the morning's I almost feel normal again. In two days I've improved more than I have in four or five months of exercise, careful use of my leg, avoiding stairs and heavy lifting and yard work, and so on. If I'd known her when I injured myself I'm sure I'd be jogging today.

I know I'm rambling but I want to share a lesson with you: You are responsible for your body, mind, and spirit. There are doctors in the world, but if you don't listen to your body and trust your senses when your doc obviously doesn't care how can they benefit your health? There are psychologists in the world, but if you don't listen to your mind and trust your heart how will they benefit you if you find they only facilitate your patterns? There are gurus in the world, but if you don't feel challenged to learn and become a better human being aren't you following them for all the wrong reasons?

You are responsible for your life. You are responsible for your health. So listen. Learn. Pay attention. I can't even begin to tell you how useful this has been to me. I've stopped smoking because of it, I've been able to loose weight because of it, and one day I will be in "perfect" shape because of it. Pay attention to your body, pay attention to your heart, pay attention to your spirit, and don't just pay attention but turn off the tv and the radio and breath very quietly...

...and listen.

August 9th, 2006

I have regrets. Maybe I've commented on this before but it came up today when I read someon's bio and they said, "I want to live a life without regrets" and I thought, how foolish, how utterly foolish.

Perhaps that's overly judgemental of me but I have regrets because at times in my life I've been a complete asshole, sometimes mistakenly out of the best intentions and sometime simly because I was being a self-centered prick who wanted some type of immediate satisfaction. I've lied to people, manipulated people, and cheated on people. I've broken people's hearts and spoiled people's hope.

I think I'd be foolish not to have regrets about these things. I'd be an idiot not to examine them, not to be honest with myself about them, not to learn from them. To ignore my mistakes is an act of cowardice, to tell the people I've hurt that I'm still pulling the same old shit with others is an insult to them. Maybe I'm an oddball but I cherish my regrets, they make me a better man.

That's right. I go to bed some nights and think, "Fuck, Aslynn, why the fuck did you do that?" and I pass the memories through my mind and I ask myself why I made the choices I made. If I can make a difference to those I hurt I try to make amends; regardless, I put the memory away for future reference because the universe has a way of throwing me in similar situations where I get to to demonstrate proficiency, understanding, and maybe even a bit of wisdom.

If you're perfect I can understand if you don't have regrets, but if you've ever stepped on someone's feet get real and use your mistakes to everyones benefit. Take a moment to examine your mistakes, transform them into regrets, and use those as a motivational tool for change. And no, I'm not implying the need to feel badly about your past or certain behaviors, what I am saying is be honest about them, think about them, talk about them, and dare I say it: write about them.

The only regret not worth having is the regret not acted upon.


August 8th, 2006

My first experience with computer networking was in 1991 when I got my first computer, a clunky 386sx33 with 2 megabytes of RAM and an 80 megabyte hard drive, and started to connect to BBS's. These were computers you could dial-up over the phone line and use a modem terminal such as Procomm Plus or other such programs to download text, pictures, play text based games, or chat with whomever owned that machine. In many ways the BBS was the home grown precursor to the internet.

I have to admit, I was a net addict long before the idea entered the mainstream. I'd be up five, six, seven hours at a time calling Bulletin Board Systems all over the Eugene/Springfield area. I had only a few friends so the computer was a way for me to reach out and meet people who had similar interests.

One of the first people I ever chatted with was a girl in least she said she was a girl. I don't recall the specifics but I do remember a few weeks later learning that almost everything "she" had told me was a lie and that person used the anonymity of the computer to manipulate people, in particular myself. I remember being so shocked and upset by the way "she" had messed with me that I spent an evening crying.

When the internet first took off around 1995/96 my hope was that it would be used to teach, to share, and to bring people together. Places like took awhile to come around and were the kinds of places I would have liked to see ten years ago, yet have we really done all that much with this marvelous technology?

Are we humans or are we animals? That is the question put to young Paul Atreides in the beginning of the novel Dune: "Are ye Human or are ye Animal?" Put another way, do we use the internet as a civilized and mature species might or do we continue to behave like emotionally charged animals high on our egos?

We've got some pretty spiffy technology, but have we really evolved all that much since the times of the Ancient Summarians? How would the ancient Romans have used the internet if they'd come up with it first? We still wage war, we still take advantage of each other, we still turn a blind eye to suffering, we still hoard wealth at the expense of others, we still cheat on each other, rape each other and take advantage of one another whenever it is convenient for our selfish goals, and we still try to hurt people simply because we beleive it's somehow justified. We still watch out for #1 even when it's harmful towards everyone and everything.

Stone tablets, letters, telegraphs, BBS Chats, e-mail, and Instant Messages--technological advances mean nothing if our hearts and souls are only stone statues guarding ancient tombs.

A few final words...

Before the internet I knew you. During the days of the BBS I met you. While I was a child I found you on the playground. To the latest in a string of manipulators I have this to say: I'm not biting. I gave you a chance because that's the kind of person I am but I have little tolerance for deception. I can read between the lines. And I've seen those pictures before: they're not yours.

So, are ye human or are ye animal?

August 7th, 2006

I need a girlfriend and I need one bad!!! I'm going to go nuts if I don't find one now, I need one or I'm going to explode. And I'm easy to please, I only have one requirement of her:

- 1 x 60 gigabyte iPod (full of music)

Now I know this is going to come across as extraordinarily selfish of me but the reason for this is that I need new music. It used to be I wanted something more out of a relationship, silly things like loyalty and support and conversation and trust and honesty but given the rather questionable experiences I've had over the years I'm going to make it straight forward and simple: I want a girl with music.

Let me listen to your tracks. Let me discover what I like. Then lets go our separate ways. Lets face it, it's clean and no one gets hurt. I don't have to believe you're going to be there for me when I need a friend and you don't have to keep those silly promises you made. I get music, you get freedom without responsibility.

Everyone wins! Hurray!

For now, though, I have about 10 gigabytes of music. I went through every song last night listening and asking myself if that's a song I want to take on my trip. Is it?

What are my present qualifications?

First, it must be a good motorcycling song. Second, it musn't have too many quiet bits or too much bass (both of which are difficult to hear over the wind at 60mph and frankly the headphone speakers have little to no bass). Third, the music must be at least one of the following:
      1. Educational, Thought Provoking
      2. Entertaining
      3. Wakie-Wakie (the musical equivalent of caffiene)
      4. Ironic (i.e. "Milli Vanilli? WTF?!?!")
      5. Reminiscent
      6. Songs people have shared with me

Since I'm currently short on girlfriends with iPods I'm presently at 1.99 gigabytes of selected music or about 333 minutes (which is perfect in a Christian sort of way as "333" is a sacred number representing the Trinity). Add to that 1 gigabyte of Old Time Radio Shows, Zencasts, and Ghostly Talk, and I can decide to simply extend my trip from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Main. That would be SOOOOOO fun!!! :)

But enough of fantasy, the reality is I've chosen the music I'll be taking and my heart is in one piece (a good thing, I assure you). For better or worse, here it (most of it, anyway) is; maybe you'll see something you like as well:


August 6th, 2006

Oops, I did it, I conformed, I followed the masses. Actually and truthfully, I did not do so because it "was" the thing to do nor did I because it was something to do nor because it was "in"--at least four months ago. The reason I joined is because I have a strong aversion to getting on the bandwagon. Doing what's popular, playing follow the leader, conforming to have more friends or more lovers is just one form of jumping into a personally limitting box--yet my issue, my box, tends to be exactly the opposite. I've never been one to jump off the cliff just because my friends thought it might be a good idea.

Just one reason I've been described as stubborn...but that's another journal entry.

So I've joined up with for that reason and also to satiate my curiosity. What's it all about? Maybe I'll meet some nice people. Maybe I won't. The main point, though, is exploration, open-mindedness, and flexibility. Plus, it provides a forum for those who simply want to know what kind of music I like as opposed to the more detailed meanderings on the lucid dreaming that is my life.

Oops, there it is:

P.S. I've only taken a few passes at the page for styling and a little text. I'll update it over the coming week.

August 3rd, 2006

I'm not big on dates. Now you could read one of several meanings into that statement but for brevities sake I will explain simply and make my point clear in hopes that you will understand one who is not endured so closely to cultural norms.

You must understand that there are times where the strict application of schedules is a fundamental necessity to interactions on a social level for it would be terrible to attempt to attend a movie if the starting times were randomly placed according to the whims of a few. However, though there be a time to employ ink strictly to the calendar there are likewise times where the day and time of events should simply be. Such should be the proper application of the celebration of life and friendship.

Given this peculiar and somewhat eccentric state of personality I have found myself eloping upon flights of fancy in regard to that rather static date most call a birthday. I myself have avoided the date in-as-much as it has always brought upon me negative portents and so I have often asked those of warm acquaintance to celebrate my life in other ways on other days and to simply allow me the solitude of one day alone in thought. On a positive deviation I have found myself giving birthday presents without respect for the callousness of the calendar.

To Vipassana a new mesh motorcycle jacket. To my mother a sizeable and carefully framed photograph of which brings joy to everyone who comments upon it (I would not write so without doing you the honor of sharing this image presently). To my father a black and white picture carefully taken at a car show--however, given his state of physical blindness I will endeavor to engage upon him a gift he can enjoy with the fuller senses. To my beloved and precocious daughter an old Pentax camera in part to expand upon her already flourishing talents, in part for the mutual sharing of a hobby, and lastly in memory of time where photography truly was a boon upon my life.

Although there was a moment of superficial fussing all gifts were received with acceptance of the sentiment in which they were given though I find myself with one last gift which I am unexpectedly reticent on giving. It hangs silently on my wall and serious questions regarding its sharing multiply within my mind and heart. Perhaps I should be more forthright. I do not mean to obfuscate behind laborious articulation but I find myself fearful of judgment, afraid of the darkness into which I cannot fathom reaction, scared of taking upon myself a responsibility in decision that for my trivial knowledge may only serve to negatively impact those I wish to benefit. Perhaps like a coward I use the beauty captured behind the artificial lens to convey a feeling but oh, so easy for one to project upon both the blank and the fully filled canvas.

What fragile creatures we are.

August 2nd, 2006

Thirty-one. That's how many times I sat down to write letters last month. Sometimes I wrote during my lunch break, sometimes when I got home, and often just before I hit the sack. I have never written so many letters in such a short time nor have I ever made it a goal to write so many consecutive days without pause. I didn't even manage that when I was seriously working on my book!

I'm here tonight to share with you my thoughts and feelings about the experience. First, the idea just popped into my head on the last day of June and a little voice in my head said, "You need to do this," so I said, "Okay, I'll give it a shot." The first week was easy enough though I found myself spending two to four hours on each letter. As July progressed I found I didn't always have ("make") the time and was having to write the letters in my mind as I bought groceries or worked on the deck or what have you. As the month became busier I found myself reticent to write and on a few occasions I almost said, "Fuck it," because I just wanted to go to bed (case in point, night when parents came to town and I was up till 3am working on my dad's computer).

I kept writing. I wrote if I felt rested and I wrote if I felt tired. I wrote if I was hungry and I wrote while I was eating. I wrote while I felt alone in the world and I wrote when I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride. I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, and I didn't stop writing until yesterday when I said, "Fuck it!" and went to bed.

(: Sorry, DJ, I was going to write happy b-day yesterday but I did get you a frog!!! :)

This picture, which was sent to me by a colleague, is an accurate depiction of the experience. True, it is a generalization, a black and white caricature, but it does capture my desire to just have a day or two off. Yet I set a goal and that goal was to challenge my stamina and my consistency and I achieved that goal. True, a few letters were shorter than I would have liked but I believe all were written with great effort, honesty, and sincerity. Perhaps that was the hardest part, sitting down and telling myself that no matter how I felt I'd put myself completely into the effort and be 100% sincere.

The scary thing is I have several hundred more such letters within me. Will I decide one to day write one letter to a different individual or group of individuals for a whole year (on a leap year)? Perhaps. Would you want to read them? Whatever the case I'm back to random ramblings and hopefully insightful musings.