did you love this world, and did this world not love you?

i was going to make a list of all the things i've accomplished since i've been unemployed, but i decided it was too boring. people want to read something of value, but i'm afraid that hours spent beating heavenly sword on the ps3 in one night doesn't quite make for an interesting read. i'll talk about my klean kanteen, instead. i started drinking large quantities of water in early 2006, after i was diagnosed with prostatitis. for those of you who don't know what that it is, it's a prostate infection, and doesn't make for a very pleasant "sexy time." i won't go into detail about the horrors that it causes, but if you're really curious, you can look it up. anyway, i started drinking gigantic, whale-sized (i'm going with these weak animal descriptions lately, in case you couldn't tell) amounts of water from the american red cross' volunteer office's water dispenser. (is that what they're called?) anyway, i've drunk pretty much nothing but water ever since the diagnosis, which, apparently, is a good thing. i never really drank water as a kid, and it surprises me that i'm still able to function today, what with the large doses of pepsi, sprite, tang, kool-aid, and capri sun i once poisoned myself with. so i'd fill up my red cross nalgene religiously, and consequently, would have to use the bathroom every twenty minutes. i also learned, through online research, that it's not helpful to "chug" the water. instead, you're supposed to take frequent sips, so that your body can properly process (?) the water's nutrients. chugging only makes the water pass right through your system, leaving your body with nothing.

when i got hit with prostatitis again in october 2006, i freaked out again, as usual, and did more online investigating. somewhere i read that nalgenes weren't very good for you. the plastic inside the bottle erodes, and can eventually cause some health problems. the hippies'/environmentalists'/health experts' answer? the klean kanteen. my only beef with it is that it costs $17.95 for a 27 oz. bottle, and it's only available at co-ops, or through the online store. it's stainless steel, and seems virtually indestructible, minus the three or four dents it's earned, due to my negligence. but it also fits perfectly with my bike, and makes a lot of people think you're always carrying alcohol with you. students always asked, "what are you drinking?" or "what is that?" on days when i tried to be funny, i'd say it was vodka. but usually, i am a serious person, and i say, "it's only water."

like a crazy person, i take my klean kanteen everywhere. i've developed the habit of staying hydrated, so it comes along wherever i go. rachel, meagan's roommate, once laughed at how obsessive i had become over it. i panic whenever i misplace it because i don't want to have to shell out another $20 for one. "did i leave my water bottle at your place?" "yeah, it's here," (insert the following friend/relative's name here).

what else is there to say about it? nothing i can think of. not now anyway.
error.

i fucking hate technology. i'm trying to apply for this administrative assistant position through los rios college, and i had to fill out all the necessary bullshit (previous employers, phone numbers, education, etc.) to get there. then, when i get to the very last page, all i have to do is upload my stupid typing certificate, and i get a fucking error. goddamnsonofabitchbastard.

i was thinking about a perfect metaphor to describe how i am in most social situations. imagine that you haven't showered in a while, that you've just run a couple of miles in the hot sun, haven't shaved in a while, and have gone far too long without a haircut. furthermore, you ate a lot of shitty, fatty foods the night before, so your face has broken out pretty bad. not as bad as high school, but pretty bad. and after your run, sweat rolling out your armpits, the bottom of your faded shorts sticking to your clammy thighs, you end up going to some "higher-end" (i call it that because i have no real sense of where the rich actually go) store like banana republic, anthropologie, or j. crew. you just kind of feel out of place, and, though no one is watching, you can sense the eyes burning into you. you wished you had dressed up a little more. you wished you had showered, shaved, maybe not gone running for so long. you feel like a minority, even though there are more of you than there are of "them."

that's pretty much the way it's always been. being a filipino-american in predominantly white catholic schools. getting dropped off in a beat-up ford ltd, when everyone else gets dropped off in bmw's. going to jesuit high school and not playing any sports. going out with friends, and not wanting to drink. volunteering through americorps and being a male. wanting friends, but unwilling to talk. "and so it goes."
why are we doing this?

people complain about their jobs all the time. my biggest fear is that i'll one day join them. a few weeks ago, i asked my dad, a uc davis custodian, if he liked his job. "not really," he answered. "it's just kind of...monotonous." my mom wants to quit. i have family members, friends who work for the state, or other jobs, and none can honestly admit he/she enjoys what he/she does for a living. i understand the necessity of an elephant-sized retirement fund, and the fact that social security is going to run out by the time my generation gets up there, and health care, and the problem of boredom, etc., but i also know that there are other things out there which can provide one or more or even all of those listed above. so, why do you do it? and, if you are currently doing it, are you constantly looking for something better? i realize this might be an awful thing to ask, since i am a privileged (i like to think humble) little shit who can sit back and live with my parents for as long as need be, but i ask because i think everyone deserves some small speck of happiness.

i tried cutting my own hair today. i butchered the front. i don't see very many people these days, except for my cousins, so it doesn't really matter what i look like. claire, sabrina and bubut finished (i guess you could call it that) the job. i have a girlfriend i don't see on a regular basis, so my hair can look like a stupid coconut for all i care. i'll pay for a haircut when i see her again.

i feel a lot like joel knox in capote's other voices, other rooms. he's looking to meet his father, and when he finally does, his father is paralyzed and can only stare and grin stupidly. joel is a lonely kid whose only friends are zoo fever, a black housegirl, and florabel and idabel, two country bumpkin twins who hate each other. i loved it, but i won't do a book report.

i'm reading the best of american splendor. in one particular box, harvey is reading raymond carver's where i'm calling from. for those of you who haven't read any raymond carver yet, you haven't been living. perfect short stories include: "cathedral," "so much water so close to home," "a small, good thing," and "where i'm calling from." short cuts is a collection that has most of them. carver used to be a janitor at mercy hospital in sacramento. most of his stories take place around here, or in washington. he took some writing courses at csus, then taught as a visiting writer at the university of iowa. somewhere i read that he spent most of his teaching days getting drunk and missing classes. i wish i knew him then.

i'm going to give gina my tv. i have no use for it anymore.
i was in the same place.

right now, my dad is watching ken burns' the war. i saw a little bit of it. i don't care about destruction anymore.

i dreamed that my mom overturned my garden, not maliciously, but only because she and my dad wanted to pour concrete over our entire backyard. i was angry.

i've been reading the best of american splendor today. i requested no one is illegal: fighting racism and state violence on the u.s.-mexican border (2006). i'll pick it up when it gets there.

i read over the job description at the library again. i would really like a quiet, unassuming job.

my dad bought me a veggie burrito from gordito burrito. i haven't eaten it yet.

it's windy and cool in sacramento. i think i need that.
look at that old grizzly bear.

not much accomplished today. i guess i just started staring off into space at one point, since my mom said, "hoy!" they took it as me wallowing again, probably, because my dad bust into his usual, don't worry look, and said, "just think of it as vacation." the funny thing was, i was completely fine until he said that. but now i get the feeling that they're already worried that their college grad of a son can't find a fucking job. i have to admit, i'm not actively looking. i have turned in applications, but i just don't have the heart or enthusiasm to follow up. and i should be working on applications (master's in social work - uw, mfa - arizona state university, and english/composition - san francisco state), but it's hard to get the motivation for it. maybe i'm not ready for anything yet. i don't know how much longer i can go, though, realizing, damn, it's friday already? where'd the fucking week go?

i tried to get byron to get a bill blass blazer and pink express shirt from the thrift store, but he wasn't digging it. so i made him watch the royal tennenbaums to try and encourage him to experiment with fashion. he said he wanted a sportcoat like bill murray's. it's a start.

not much else going on. sitting around, listening to boris, barbecuing at 10 o'clock, almost 11, at night. i wonder if i'll ever look back and miss these days. i probably will.
mercy me.

as always, low was flawless last night. they played many of my favorites, including "in the drugs," "sunflower," "when i go deaf," and others. my favorite part about the whole show, though, was an idiot heckler, calling from the balcony in between songs, "transmission! trans-mission!" he annoyingly continued requesting low's cover of joy division's "transmission." alan ignored him pretty much through the setlist, and many other fans yelled "shut the fuck up!" to the drunk (i imagine) heckler. but, during the first encore, when alan began strumming the opening chords to "when i go deaf," he stopped. "we should do transmission," he said. a few people groaned, but most laughed at the fact that he was giving in to this idiot. and so low played "transmission." "i love you," the drunkard called from above. "i love you, too, uncle bill," alan answered.

earlier in the show, they played a song i had never really paid attention to before. it's track 12 on the album trust, and it's called "point of disgust." i've heard it before, but it was the first time i really heard it. maybe because the opening lines are a little more applicable to how i've been feeling recently: "once i was lost/to the point of disgust/i had in my sight/lack of vision/lack of light."

i've written a blog entry before about how i refuse to listen to music that doesn't evoke some sort of physical or emotional response. lately, a lot of songs have given me chills, and i don't know what it is. the arcade fire's "wake up" is one of them, and i think it's because meagan told me that it reminds her of the kids she tutored at moreland elementary. the second verse goes, "children/wake up/hold your/mistake up/before they/turn the summer into dust." she also put it on a compilation she made for the sixth graders. it also makes me think of this retreat i went on in march with the americorps team. ace told the group how every morning, they play bob marley's "three little birds." the chorus goes, "every little thing is gonna be alright." i imagined these kids running around and dancing like crazies to bob marley. both those stories and both those songs made me really wish i had tried teaching at the elementary level. i know i could still do it, but i'm not sure i want to. i'm still recovering.

i'm feeling better these days. i really like loading up my shuffle and then going for a walk. i ride my bike when i'm feeling lethargic. i breathe in water and blow out the bad stuff every morning. my sinuses have never been better. i find things for us to do, so we don't sit around, brooding, second guessing ourselves. because that's evil. alice walker once wrote, the secret of possessing joy is resistance. i don't want to blow up at people. i don't want to throw things or take naps when i'm not sleepy. i don't want to buy things because i have nothing else to do. or settle, or become hopeless.

every now and then, though, i do need something, someone to wake me up.
these are the best days.


this one time i asked this girl in my english class, caitlyn, i think her name was, "have you ever heard of the softies?" she had a rose melberg-style haircut, you know, the kind with short curly bangs, cut straight across and high on the forehead. she shook her head no, and smiled. i told her that she reminded me of the that band, but i didn't really explain the whole haircut thing. i don't cringe, but i get heatedly embarrassed thinking about what a stupid question it was.

byron and i will see low tonight in san francisco. this will be the third, maybe fourth time i've seen them. although the latest release, drums & guns, is really stripped down, it should still be entertaining to see them live. i'm really hoping "when you walked" gets played, but i'm sure it won't. i wish i had more people in my life that really "get" low, the most miserable band ever.

i'm going to take a secretary test on monday. more tests i will pass with flying colors, but which will probably, most likely, lead to nothing.

yesterday, i forgot to add that when i raised my hand in the courtroom, hoping to be excused, the judge called me out. "you're mr. tan, correct?" i was so shocked, since everyone else had to introduce themselves. it was as if he had been waiting for me all my life, or spying on me, watching me blather my socialist views to random retired black men in the park.

i haven't realized, until recently, how much more i like fall than i do summer. maybe it's because i don't have to go to school anymore. or maybe because i hate television and don't really care what's on anymore. i wish, though, that i lived in a place where the transition to fall was more apparent. to watch leaves brown and then drop by the hundreds onto the ground. maybe i will learn how to grow pumpkins in the yard.
and all that i knew is moving away from me.

so, i've been thinking about ways to start this entry pretty much all day. here are a few starts:

start number one: the title of this entry is a line from joanna newsom's song, "sadie." driving meagan home from leatherby's one evening, i made her listen to it. i pointed out the line. i told her it reminded me of working at the writing center, and how it felt completely right, like i was part of something perfect, and i had finally found my niche. those nights where i'd always have someone to talk to, like meagan, mariah, tiffany, or jacob when there were no clients, or even clients to talk with when they actually showed up. how i'd received heartfelt recognition. people would say things like, "you're a creative writing major? oh, that makes sense." or, "wow, you're really good at what you do." but the worst part is, it only lasted a year. and so my throat swells every time i hear joanna lament, "and all that i knew is moving away from me." emo enough for you, kids?

start number two: the best part about walking on the overpass in sacramento at 5 pm in early autumn is watching your shadow down below getting trampled by cars speeding in all eight lanes. i'll admit, i'm weird enough to say to myself, "a narrow miss."

start number three: i've been missing out on a lot of sunrises. sunrise is the new twilight. boarding the light rail today at sunrise (time of day--not the place) was fucking amazing, especially when listening to yo la tengo's "our way to fall."

okay, enough with the starts. for those of you who have been following my blog for the last couple of weeks, you'd know by now that today was special. it was my first chance to get out of jury duty. and that i did. i, like everyone else, checked in and played the waiting game. it's pretty cool to see how people pass the time when TV is unavailable. many read works of great literature like nicholas sparks, while others play crossword puzzles or type on their laptops. the whole waiting room for potential jurors is much like an airport, except there are no planes to watch, and no places to eat. what surprised me the most, however, was the massive number of jurors they had summoned today. there had to be hundreds of us. and we all waited in line, we all filled out our little applications, and waited patiently like the good citizens that we are. or are supposed to be.

to pass the time, i read capote's other rooms, other voices. i really love the characters florabel and idabel. there's something about uneducated southerners in literature that keeps me reading. one of the lines another character delivers is, "i love you a bushel a peck and a kiss around the neck." capote is a goddamn genius. i also put my head back and drifted in and out of sleep.

it's a funny thing about jury duty; we're all anxious to be called, but none of us really wants to be there in the first place. maybe we're all just hoping to get out of there as quickly as possible. i don't really get people who want to be part of a jury anyway. we all know the system is flawed, racist, and caters to the rich. all i'm saying is, if, god forbid, i was ever convicted of a crime, i wouldn't want deal no deal-watching, clive cussler-reading, mcdonald's-loving, starbucks-drinking, arden fair mall-shopping sacramento scum deciding my fate.

during my lunch break, i had a nice chat with a black man in the park. i started the conversation, which is a rarity these days:

"so are you a juror, too?"
"nah," he said. "i never registered to vote, so i don't get caught up in that business."
"lucky you."
"so, you. you're a juror?"
"yeah, i'm waiting to be called." silence. then, "so what do you do?"
"i'm retired," he said. "just out enjoying."
"yeah, it's pretty nice out today," i offered.
"beautiful."

this man i talked to, roger thomas (i think that's what he said), was ex-navy, but luckily no wars; he's traveled to europe and the philippines on duty. "i felt at home in the philippines," he said. i couldn't help but think it was because i told him i was filipino. nevertheless, i liked that he said it. for a good chunk of his career, he was a hair stylist in south central LA. "i went back a few years ago," he said. "lots changed. things are a lot different, and not in a good way."

"what do you think causes this decline in our society?" i asked him. i could feel some others eavesdropping. maybe they were curious. how many times does a black man ever get asked that question?

"i think it all starts at the family level. you know, a lot of people having kids who probably shouldn't be having kids, but have them anyway. and they breed more that they can't take care of, and so on." he didn't seem too satisfied with his answer, so he turned to me. "you must have some opinion about it, don't you?"

i saw a chance to jump into my usual tirade. "i think it stems from being a part of an ultra-capitalist system where we're all taught to want and want and consume and consume. and when people can't get what they want, they're bound to do some awful things." it wasn't everything i would've liked to have said, but at least it was a start. at that point, though, euthyphro's call arrived. then, when he finished, a black woman came and sat between us. she complained that she was turned down for a loan. i only caught bits of the conversation, but she said something about how her utilities bills needed to be more than fifty percent of her income. i didn't really get what she was talking about. in my mind, i simplified it to just another minority getting fucked over, left only with vague reasons.

i said goodbye to roger, and went back to the courthouse. i could sense they were going to call me. they did.

i went up to department 39 on the 5th floor, and i did some more waiting. finally, a sharply dressed black man led us into the room. i was number 14, so i was in "the box." the judge arrived: a bald, bespectacled white man who spoke with the illusion of grave authority and good judgment. for some reason, he conjured the image of bull connor. not a good start. he explained the concept of due process, and that he wanted us to enter with a blank slate, and just because the defendant was arrested "means nothing. zip!" a woman began coughing. what's your problem? "i'm allergic to air conditioning." you're excused. come back when you feel better. any other hardships? "i'm unemployed, and flat broke." you're excused. come back when you get a job." i thought about using that one, but i wanted to hear the case first. "i only have one car, and my husband needs to get to work," a woman complained. ever heard of the RT? it's convenient. you don't have a valid excuse. shot down. surprisingly, her rejected plea made me feel good.

the excuses continued. finally, the judge explained the case. some man had been caught driving under the influence of drugs. outrageous. i sat around all day for this. all i could think about was what dave chappelle would've said. or what my friend dong would've said: "it's only a crime if you get caught." when my turn came, i explained to the judge that i knew all kinds of people in high school and college that would constantly drive either high or drunk. and they never got caught. so i couldn't technically be impartial. the judge asked, "do you think it would matter if this individual was older?" it was a stupid question, and i think he knew it. "no," i answered flatly. "i will excuse you," he said. and, as i walked away, the asian lawyer had a smirk on his face. a smirk i could only interpret as, "i can't believe you just told a fucking judge that you knew people driving under the influence and never did anything about it. you're fucking crazy."

whatever. i walked away, and that was the end of my jury duty for at least another year.

a moment of panic did hit, though. i considered the possibility that they would want names of those supposed criminal "friends." in a post-9/11 world, anything is possible.

walking home, i thought that maybe i should've stayed and help this guy off the hook. i thought about how many relatives have cheated on their taxes, how many times i've jaywalked, even stolen money from previous employers, or how many red lights i've seen people run/i've run myself. can anyone ever really be impartial? you'd have to forget just about everything. aren't kafka and camus right? isn't the whole system a farce and completely absurd?

lesson learned. when asked to serve on a jury, just start coughing, and tell everyone you're allergic to hypocrisy.
where are you friends tonight?

i got into an argument with my cousin last night. we were doing the typical bullshit, trying to record music, trying to play music, until we realized the sound card on his laptop was faulty, so we gave up. i voiced my usual frustrations about not being able to do what i wanted to do: be in a band, write good songs, and actually have fun playing them. it's the same rant i give about almost everything. i don't know how to properly explain it, but i will try. i think the source of this frustration is watching everyone else succeed and at least emit the illusion of happiness. as veronique vienne once wrote, "our biggest fear is being left behind while everyone else hurdles towards their destinations." or something like that. basically, it comes down to this. go see sigur ros play and then try writing your own music. or read raymond carver's short cuts and try writing your own short story. the arcade fire tours the world, and rich white girls get to spend all day pursuing master's degrees, writing amazing stories and consequently receive recognition for their efforts. and yes, i am talking about than just one rich, white girl.

i don't know how to get over disappointment. that must be my biggest problem. two paragraphs into every story, and i know it's shit. i can feel it's shit. two verses into a song i write, and it's already un-listenable. i think max fisher puts it best when he tells his dad, "i've been out to sea a long time." it's this horrible feeling when there's this pressure that you impose on yourself to be creative, to do something spectacular, but burden yourself with so much self-doubt that it's nearly impossible to pursue anything of value.

and it's so much easier to just get a j.o.b. that will stunt creativity at all costs. toe the line. to bask in the warmth of hdtv rays, and turn your home into an ikea furnished zoo.
hold your mistake up.

my typing test yesterday went well. on my first practice run, i scored a 96 with 1 error, thus giving me a score of 95 words per minute. the second practice test was awful, since i typed at a super speed and ended up with an ungodly amount of errors. the computer wouldn't even register properly. but, on the real deal, i scored a 93 with 2 errors, giving me 91 wpm. the proctor said i was the fastest typist she's ever tested. finally, some recognition. some payoff for all the endless nights chatting on aim, ranting and debating in pointless chatrooms, and of course, blogging. it was also nice that she pointed this out to me, since i felt rather out of place, as i normally do, since all the test-takers were women. it's something i'm used to, though, since i've been in americorps the past two years. i drove home, even speeding past a few people, with the thought, i might possibly be the quickest at everything.

after the test, i gathered up my cds along with the grand theft auto double pack, and headed off to dimple. david was still working there. david was an old tower records co-worker of mine, who was a pretty cool, laid-back guy. all us other emo nerds envied him because he would always attract all the easy-on-the-eyes female customers. anyway, david ended up transferring to dimple some years back when tower hit financial trouble. ever since, i've talked to him whenever i'm trying to sell music back, and he always tells me he's on his way to do something else. he was going to school, or he was moving to a new place, or he was just going to get another job goddamnit. but he was still there. it was nice to see him, but it was bittersweet to see him still doing something temporary. this brought to mind a conversation i often have with my cousin rich:

"how do people like christina and adam (ex-tower workers, now working for the tower spin-off, r5 records) do it? when do they decide, this is it? you know, i thought most people working retail, especially at record stores, were always trying to do something else. like go to school, get a better-paying job, or anything. they're smart people, adam and christina. what brings people to think, this is the best i can do?"

rich's response: "i don't know, man."

anyway, david gave me $62 in cash for my pile of crappy cds. he asked what raft of dead monkeys sounded like. i mumbled something then added, "they're kind of rocking..." "kind of hard to describe?" "yeah," i answered. "but i think you might like them." "i'll give it a listen," he said.

when i drove to my cousin byron's house yesterday to meet him for his surprise, i was stuck in traffic. all the rosemont high school kids were just getting off school. it saddened me that i wasn't working there. those kids looked alright.

byron's surprise went down around 4:30. it was a rather long process that i won't describe in full detail, but i will include a few events:

4:30. we wait at the butterfield RT exit for a girl named amy.
4:40. amy gets money from an atm.
5:00. we drive to auburn blvd. where amy meets a man sitting underneath a tree. they exchange something.
5:15 - 7:15. we drive to mountain view, ca.
7:25. amy and i debate whether or not we should tell byron what's going on. at this point, he realizes we're going to a concert, but he still has no idea who we're seeing.
7:26 (approx.). as we debate whether or not to show byron the ticket stub, we turn a corner where the marquee is visible. it's the motherfucking arcade fire with lcd motherfucking soundsystem opening.
7:26:55 (again, approx.). byron undergoes shock.

so yeah, through craigslist, i met amy who said she would supply a ticket if i was willing to drive. and since byron's never been to a concert (yeah, not one in his 19 years of being on the planet), i thought i would surprise him with one. "how's that for your first fucking show? the arcade fire. my first concert was stupid jewel." "jewel, huh?" amy said. "that's impressive." it was still too early to sense whether or not she was being sarcastic.

before lcd soundsystem took the stage, thunder roared above. it was pretty brilliant. they played all their best songs off sound of silver, and closed with a flawless performance of "new york, i love you but you're bringing me down."

and then the arcade fire played. i'm not even going to talk about it. you should, if you're smart like me, sell off a sizable portion of your cd collection, meet strangers off craigslist, and do whatever you need to do to see them. again and again.

wandering around the venue in between sets, though, i had my distorted, pessimistic world view momentarily take over. i couldn't help but think, these are the people who have let us down. though most of them are older, they still seem to have a high school mentality. they're more concerned with being the ultimate, untouchable hipster, and scalping tickets, and drinking cheap but expensive beer than they are with fixing this awful place.

and what's worse is knowing that i'm no better. i'm one of those people, as stephen colbert pointed out, who would do nothing if i saw a peer getting tasered next to me. the only thought i would have, according to colbert, is i wish the cops would stop tasering this guy so i can get on youtube and watch a video of this guy getting tasered. and then i would blog about it.

miserable america, miserable self, i love you but you're bringing me down.
complete jackass.

right now, rich is busy assembling a cart grill he purchased from home depot. we got the idea to barbecue, sometime around 5 this afternoon, and now, i think he's regretting it.

we busy ourselves with random things. it sure beats sitting around, complaining of boredom. so, nothing to do? let's move this pile of rotting, dirty wood from the middle of our patio to the garage, where the wood won't get warped from the rain. at one point today, the three of us were throwing rotten peaches (or maybe they were apples) at an empty can of laundry detergent. i still enjoy that more than walking around a mall.

and for those of you who are interested, my secret commenter has revealed himself as "grachus moncur," though some close investigation (i googled it) has shown that the name belongs to an american jazz artist, born in 1937. grachus, whose email name shows up as ds dsd, has linked me to interesting youtube videos. my favorite is the "how many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb?" video shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrvfTpWP-g8

another commenter posted that she had actually intended to post an albert einstein quotation on my cousin rich's blog, which he started only a few days ago (he is linked on the right). this commenter goes by the name maria-theresa, though her commenter's name was "hampton," and she claims to be from cuba. what is going on with this blogging community? how many strangers are reading this? please, reveal yourselves. i'd like to read yours, too.

tomorrow i will take a typing test for a secretarial job, meet a potential new friend, and surprise my cousin. he won't know what hit him. and don't worry, i'll be sure to blog all about it.
be perfect.

before i go to bed, i just have to say how great friday night lights the movie is. i don't know about the tv show, but the movie is amazing. not only is the score perfect, but little moments, like when billingsley's dad gives him his championship ring at the end, or when booby breaks down in his uncle's car, whimpering, "i don't know what i'm gonna do. i can't play football..." i'll admit i'm a big sap, and those scenes get to me every time. even coach gaines' halftime speech inspires me to get my act together and be perfect. it's probably the fourth time i've seen it, and even though i hate football--i can't even sit through an entire superbowl--this movie floors me every time.

i remember watching varsity blues in high school, and even though that movie is shit compared to friday night lights, it nevertheless made me wish i was an athlete so that i could've felt part of a team. the closest i had to that was the basketball b team (yes, they called us the "b team" in case we got uppity with a few wins) in eighth grade. we actually developed pretty well as the season went along, but we blew it big time in the championship game. the only thing i really remember from that whole period is hitting my first three-point jumper, and swatting some kid. i swatted a lot of kids, but this one time, it actually got my whole team on their feet. normally, i wouldn't ever use the word "glad" to describe me, but at that particular moment, i felt pretty goddamn glad.
your hand in mine.

before i begin my now daily blog, i'd like to ask the anonymous radical commenter to please reveal yourself. is it you, eric? is it? just say so; i won't judge. honestly.

i've undertaken a new project which will, if kept up, most likely lead to an actual breakdown. that's right. i've given in to my OCD, and i've been trying to consolidate our family photos, so that i can make space for more of my books. for those of you (and i'm sure this is all of you) who have never done this before, at least browse through some of your photo albums. you'll discover, as i have, that we have an enormous amount of photos from sea world, various zoos, disneyland, etc. without anyone actually in them. the only thing i could ask myself is why. why all the photos of shamu diving up in her pool, or cinderella waving to parade-watchers, or a robotic jaws attacking the tourist tram? if nobody is actually posing next to these things, why take the shot?

having lived in watsonville for the past year, meagan and i have had a number of opportunities to visit the monterey bay aquarium for free. the watsonville library likes to hand out free passes to the aquarium, and so we took advantage of it more than a handful of times. one of the strangest things, though, is witnessing how many people took pictures of the fish. is this really necessary? isn't that what memory is for? and what drove william wordsworth to write a poem about those stupid daffodils?

i don't really like taking pictures. the only ones i take are usually for crap i'm going to sell on craigslist. and whenever i do that, i have to borrow someone else's digital camera. i'm too cheap to pay for something my brain can do for free. mental snap-shots. they'll put kodak out of business.

anyway, i didn't really mean to blog about all that.

for those of you who know me, i mean, really know me, you'll know that i'm pretty eccentric. i say things to myself. i don't necessarily talk to myself; i just say random things. for example, when i worked at the aids alliance thrift store in seattle, any time i came across an eddie bauer article of clothing we couldn't sell, i almost always said to myself, very quietly, "eddie, i'm...i'm so sorry." and recently, at home, i have a tendency to say things in tagalog to my mom, quite vocally. "manok!" which means, "chicken." sometimes i'll say, "manok! balok! bantot!" which means, "chicken! rotten! stinky!" sometimes my mom will answer, "manok!" back. we have a really strange relationship. lately, she's been prone to saying, "ka-wawa," which means, "sad," or "pitiful." often, she says this about me, when she catches me doing something pointless, like, for example, consolidating photo albums.

but sometimes, i think, she's referring to herself. she had a mini breakdown last week. she decided that she's going to quit her job. her original plan was to retire at the end of next december, so that she could begin collecting social security, but she just can't put up with the bullshit anymore. due mainly to stress, she's been unable to sleep before going to work for the past two years. and now, the hospital is undergoing some major changes. management wants to assign more patients to each nurse, despite a large number of nurses' objections. my mom complains about the politics there, for many of the nurses are two-faced, saying they object to the new plan, but whenever management is around, easily transform into dimwitted yes-women. so after two years there, and after thirty years of nursing, my mom's peacing out.

i don't want to end up on the couch one day, crying like her, having to worry about where the health care or social security or retirement funds are going to come from when i'm forced into early retirement. whoever you are, anonymous commenter, you're right. this system truly is "rotten to the core."
it tastes just like cherry cola.

my mom dragged me to another family gathering this evening. i didn't want to go, and i even told her i didn't, but then she threw a little guilt trip my way. "well, if you don't go, then i can't go, since i have a hard time driving there." i answered with an exasperated sigh and agreed to come along. after all, my cousin francis' wife, renata, did invite me to dinner, too.

the reason for this get-together was because my aunt ampy is in town. she's my mom's sister, and, i have to admit, is probably my favorite aunt. one of the things i like about her is that she never fails to bring up the story of when i was little and called her "fat." apparently, when i was about three or four, i was eating a four-piece, standard-sized kit-kat bar, and she asked me if she could have a piece. i took one look at her, then one look at the wrapper's nutritional contents, and remarked, "you'd better not. it says here that it has fat." obviously, my aunt was insulted, and tells this story to me, and to everyone around, every time i see her. i don't know any other relative who associates me with an insulting remark. i think it's funny, and i like it.

so after she told me the story, she asked if i was working. i told her about the whole mather youth academy debacle, and how i don't think i really want to pursue teaching any longer. she, a formal school teacher, remarked that kids in the u.s. are much different than students in the philippines. and if i really want to teach, the philippines would be the best place to do it. she proceeded then to tell me about a former co-worker of hers that decided to teach in houston, texas. this poor filipino woman was asked, "why are you here?" and later she was assaulted with a handful of m&m's.

at some point, someone, i think francis' mom told us to go into the living room and look at the wedding pictures. my mom, aunt ampy, and i all went to go have a look. we gathered around their ikea table (everything in the house - curtains, tables, chairs, sofa, plates, silverware, etc. is ikea), and opened up a photo album. when grabbing one of these ikea chairs, my aunt ampy said this, (i'll translate from tagalog) and i think it describes her pretty well: "can we sit here? the chair's heavy. nevermind. isn't it heavy?"

for appetizers, we had mussels from costco, and chips with salsa. i ate a lot of mussels. then, frank (francis' brother-in-law) showed up with his wife, ria (francis' sister), and his adopted father, a white man from texas. i think his name was bill. we'll call him bill. bill, as frank would later point out, once worked for dick cheney. he was an oil driller, or oil baron, or oil-something-or-other for halliburton. bill was also an ex-marine. bill also liked to talk very loudly, much to the discomfort of all the poor filipinos around him, about his conservative, pro-republican, pro-gun views. i found it kind of funny, kind of sad.

my mom's blood pressure went through the roof when she talked about him in the car. "typical marino. typical white man." aunt ampy was pretty oblivious. in tagalog, she asked, "what was so bad about him? what did he say?" my mom couldn't give specific examples, because it really was a long, long stream-of-ignorance that he spouted off. my mom just called him yabang, tagalog word meaning, "pompous asshole."

the whole episode made me think of the book i recently finished reading, white like me. tim wise, the author, talks about how he loved debate in high school, but later viewed it as a very "white" activity. he calls it this because whites have the privilege of treating major issues such as poverty, homelessness, war, unemployment, etc. as if it's just a game. it's just dinner conversation that doesn't really affect them.

as i closed the front door, i heard them talking about next year's elections. i closed the door to this massive, four-bedroom, three-bath, ikea-furnished house, to get into my mom's honda CRV, and the only thought i had is that this is happening everywhere. having kept my mouth shut all evening, i felt like somebody else. like a provincial boy who eats at the separate table, who cleans the elders' slippers and sweeps the porch with a broom made from sticks, tied together with rubber bands. at the risk of romanticizing the poor, the servants, i can at least say what they experience is human.

i hate this disease called progress. i hate this religion called success.

last night, my cousin rich and i discussed the possibility of making a documentary about our family. i told him that we should show pictures of our dads and uncles back in the 1970's with their long hair, their giant smiles, their bell-bottoms and fabulous polyester attire. and after we show pictures of them, we should show them now, balding, working random jobs: my dad and uncle mike as uc davis janitors, rich's dad a former CF warehouse worker (CF went under a few years ago and workers were greeted with a locked gate - goodbye 403), uncle tim as an at&t manager. we obviously had a good laugh over this, until i realized, too soon, that we were next. "they were such crazy, party-goin', beer-drinkin', hip guys. and then they all just ended up working entry-level jo..." oh shit. haven't i been applying to random, entry-level positions lately?

it served me right for trying to make light of our fathers' and uncles' transformations. shit, at least they had fun when they were young. for a good, long while back there, they had too much wine and too much song. when did rich, byron, or i ever have that? did our fathers and uncles ever sit around watching reruns on dvd? did they play x-box for hours and hours? did they ever, even for a minute, have to ask the stupid fucking question, "what should we do today?" no, they didn't. they lived their lives. and now, even though they're aging, balding, and some have turned to alcohol, and all but my dad have been through a bitter divorce, they at least have those memories to look back upon. and that, i think, makes them better, happier, more fully human than our sorry lot can ever hope to be.

respect your elders, kids. they're wiser than you think.
it tastes just like coca-cola.

man, i must be bored. in my desperate attempt to find more bloggers (i only have 7 friends), i started searching for blogs randomly by thinking of some stupid phrase, a band name, or just random words in general, and then adding .blogspot.com. i will list a handful and give brief descriptions. be warned, however, for asstoass.blogspot.com actually shows pictures of five female asses.

http://www.asstoass.blogspot.com (real asses)
http://www.blogspot.blogspot.com (doesn't make any sense)
http://www.dirtydirt.blogspot.com (one time blog)
http://www.fucktoyou.blogspot.com (in another language - unfortunately, nothing about borat)
http://www.ihateblogs.blogspot.com (2 entry blog)
http://www.iloveblogs.blogspot.com (nothing here, except a title that says, "how to make a blog")
http://www.mogwai.blogspot.com (nothing about the band - terribly boring)
http://www.shit.blogspot.com (one time blog)
http://www.sigurros.blogspot.com (written in icelandic...could it be them???)
http://www.yolatengo.blogspot.com (boring, short-lived blog, though it does contain the lyrics to belle & sebastian's "judy and the dream of horses")
http://www.yourmama.blogspot.com (nothing, except for the long-winded title:
i'll work for eight cents an hour.

the temp agency wasn't what i expected it to be. before i ever go somewhere, i always envision what it will look like. i imagine most people do this, too. i imagined a very sterile, open office, much like the red cross i worked at in seattle. i imagined many yes-men in suits, busy in their cubicles, and women with business suits pacing one end of the office to another with files and/or manila envelopes in hand. but, as it usually goes with any other situation, it did not look like this.

first off, i ended up at the wrong place. and just to be clear, the website, even at this point in time, still says this place is located in the wrong place. check it: http://www.bmistaffing.com/
so i'm not totally crazy. it's actually located at 1325 howe ave. the receptionist laughed on the phone when i told her i was at 2020 hurley way, (you know, because that's where the website said they were located) and she told me where i should be.

bmi staffing, the temp agency, was much smaller than i expected. i guess they normally recruit warehouse workers and construction workers because i obviously didn't look like i fit the average client's profile. an older man, probably late 30's or early 40's arrived just as i did. the woman greeted both of us, then had us go into a smaller room to fill out applications. in addition to the application, there was a mini-quiz. its purpose was, i suppose, to weed out anyone who couldn't do basic addition, or know how to alphabetize five states, which are vital skills for any profession, as we all know. another question was to count circles that had dots in them. i counted 15. so i wrote it down. the quiz actually reminded me a lot of the cbest. i guess it makes it easier for the state of california and for bmi staffing to shoot down anyone who can't read or add or subtract without having to deal with complaints about discrimination or handicap issues. i'm not sure.

anyway, when i finished my application, w-4, and mini-quiz, the receptionist sat me down for an interview. she was surprised that i was a college graduate and a former americorps volunteer. "that's very interesting," she said. then, when another woman who looked like her supervisor arrived, she asked, "do you have any questions for him?" the woman put on her most serious face and asked, "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" i answered with the typical bullshit, but i lacked the rare enthusiasm i normally have when interviewing for jobs that i actually want. regardless, both seemed pretty impressed.

the receptionist then took me back into the little room to watch a video. even though i told her i was strictly searching for clerical, or administrative work, she sat me down to watch this video. "it's very short," she said. the video was about how not to hurt your back when lifting heavy objects. it was intended, i think, for the man who actually wanted a warehouse job. but, for some reason, he didn't watch it. i did. and while i watched, i overheard his interview. "i'm a hard worker," he said. "i learn quickly. i'm punctual." blah blah blah. and then, i heard him say, "i'm willing to work for just eight cents an hour." i know he wasn't being serious, but either way, it was a strange thing for him to say.

on the way out, i trailed behind him. he slowed down. "have you checked out many agencies?" "no," i said, "just this one." "this is like my fourth, fifth one," he said. "the last place i went to found me a construction job. $7.35 an hour. i spent like an hour and a half walking from the bus stop. it wasn't worth it." "yeah," i said, "that's too bad." "well, anyway, good luck." he hopped on his bike and rode away.
i am a writer.

when rob, a big white guy who lived across the hall from me in bellarmine broke up with his girlfriend, he sent me the AIM conversation she used to break up with him. apparently, she told him she had met someone else, and that they had been going out for a while. at this point in time, rob and i were freshmen, and his girlfriend was still a senior in high school. even though she was only about two hours away in orkas island, the long-distance relationship didn't take. it was over.

i read through the conversation, as he, for some strange reason, wanted me to. all i remember is thinking about his poor writing skills. one of the lines read, "i so confused." it saddened me because it wasn't an isolated incident. his entire side of the conversation was riddled (can this verb only be used with the noun, "bullets?" whatever--even though this probably defeats the whole point of this entry) with grammatical errors, misspellings, and awful punctuation.

needless to say, it felt strange. i couldn't really feel sympathy for him. while everyone else (melinda, steve, anthony, jenn, jason) was telling him how sorry they were that it didn't work out between him and his girlfriend, i couldn't get past his poor writing skills. it boggled me that anyone who wrote that terribly could be accepted to seattle university. and, for those of you who have the same thought i had at the time, that possibly his writing was rushed, and that he was in such a horrible emotional state that his fingers couldn't gracefully connect with the keyboard, forget it. i gained a reputation for being "the writer" on our floor, and just about everyone came to me, expecting me to review and/or edit their papers. rob was often one of them.

before i get carried away, i just want to be honest. i'm not "the writer" few purport me to be. (in fact, i just looked up the word "purport" to make sure i was using it correctly.) i have no idea how i got accepted to seattle university. my second batch of SAT scores was a whopping 1040, and i had no extracurriculars to back me up. once, during a poetry workshop, when karyna used the word "dog-eared" in one of her poems, i remarked, "oh, i never really thought about how books actually look like dog ears," and i held up a book tent-style in front of me. another time, in british literature 2, i read aloud the word "sew" but pronounced it "sue," not just once, but many, many times. and, as a freshman in english 120, i asked, rather naively why the king didn't just tell telemachus where he could find odysseus, since he clearly knew where he was. puzzled, father leigh looked at me, and answered simply, "because then there would be no story."

my point is, i'm not perfect. that's obvious enough. but what i learned as a writing consultant at seattle university, what i learned as an americorps volunteer, and what i learned as a one-week teacher at an inner-city school, is that some people--no, actually a lot of people, can't even spell the word perfect if you asked them to.

i guess it should've already been clear to me. but, having attended st. ignatius elementary, where donald mundy was the only student who still stuttered when reading aloud even by the sixth grade, i just assumed everyone was caught up. there might be a donald here and there, but the thought that thousands of illiterate kids were struggling everywhere must've escaped me.

when i was a sophomore in high school, i read the bell jar while my classmates at jesuit were making dick and fart jokes, or else orchestrating a mass pencil-dropping routine at precisely 10:15 a.m. i didn't really get the bell jar when i read it, but i knew that i'd rather have my head in a book than participate in whatever pointless act my classmates were up to. i loved reading about people with emotional disorders, or people who had breakdowns. i couldn't understand all the white, smiling faces around me.

i so confused.
filipino like me.

i've been reading tim wise's white like me. it's amazing. it sounds like my friend jacob wrote it, who, coincidentally is jewish and also supposedly (just kidding--is) antiracist. one of my favorite passages is this:

I have long thought I would prefer a land filled with angry and hateful people than one populated by spectators who watch the drama unfold, and no matter how bad it gets, never miss a single beat of their ordinary, predictable, pre-fabricated lives. Kids dying in Mississippi? Gotta remember to call Betty and make my hair appointment. Water cannons being turned on black people in Alabama? Gotta pick up the dry cleaning and grab a few things at the grocery. Medgar Evers shot down in his driveway? Did I remember to feed the cat?

it's something i've always struggled with. i think about when i was in college, and i'd be taking a class called poverty in america. what did i do in my free time? buy clothes from atlas or cds from easy street. the u.s. invades iraq, 2003. play a few hours of conflict desert storm on the x-box with the boys next door. african american literature. never question why only four people (this includes the professor) in the whole class are actually black.

but there were some moments where i grew, i think. like after reading peter singer's animal liberation in an ethics class, i went vegetarian for three years. (i'd still prefer to be veggie, if people didn't keep offering me meat every time i sat down for a meal.) when taking ignatian spirit and practice, i broke out of my shell for a while. i tried my hardest to make new friends and start conversations.

the last part is the real struggle. i kind of retreated back into the shell, especially after graduating from college. there are these fictious people i've created, who watch my every move, who look over my shoulder, and say, "who the hell do you think you are, talking to these people? you don't belong here." i've learned, especially at social gatherings, to sit with a glass of wine, or a plate of food, to never look bored, or desperate for conversation. i've mastered the illusion of solitary content.

tomorrow, i will schedule a typing test for a secretarial job. i will submit an application for an administrative assistant position at csus. i will register with a temp agency.

i will try my best to grow old and do some shit.
dirty dream #9

another awful dream last night. one where i'm standing in some parking lot with other people, and we're watching this space shuttle launch. for some reason, everyone begins chanting, "impact! impact!" and i don't really understand it. the shuttle falters, and ends up going into some skyscraper. it explodes, obviously, and all the glass buildings around it shatter. i wake up as the glass starts raining down upon us.

on a lighter note, i have another dream that gives me an idea for a children's story. we'll see if it ever gets written.
the place to be.

we're clearly running out of ideas.

yesterday, to commemorate the sixth anniversary of an inside job, my cousins, my mom and i went to ikea. i really, really dislike that place. i had no idea why i agreed to go, except maybe because i never go anywhere with my mom, and she seemed to be having a good time there. which is strange because she tends to agree with my anti-capitalistic, anti-corporate rants. but sometimes in life, we just need to quiet that side and just remember how to enjoy the plastic, commercial world.

and it's not like my mom went crazy. she bought some scissors (i bet she just liked their colors because i thought about buying them at first glance, too), some measuring cups (which we do actually need here at home), a wok, and some lining for cupboards and drawers. rich bought some poster frames, a lamp, and some other miscellaneous items. then, in the as-is section, he spotted a t.v. stand for his monster of an hdtv. he decided he needed it, but it wouldn't fit in my mom's crv. so we drove home, then drove back with his dad's truck. i had a headache from hunger, as i refused to eat in ikea's restaurant. the food reminded me of junk they serve on an airline, but, having tasted a few of my mom's potatoes, it really wasn't all that bad.

afterwards, we rearranged rich's living room yet again with byron's help, and then the night turned into an xbox360 time-waster.

i'm thinking about going to graduate school for social work, but then i think, am i just doing this because i can't think of anything else? obviously, graduate school is a much better choice than waking up around noon and doing nothing all day, but i really want to think things out before i get myself into any more debt. and i also think, once i have my master's, then what? i'll still be at this point again: wondering what to do, where to work, where to live.

i need to take my time with this shit. nothing wrong with that. or so everyone else says.

i had another dream about eighth grade again. i think i've been emotionally and physically scarred forever by saint ignatius. it's the only recurring dream i ever have. one where i'm all grown up, but i'm still in mrs. clark's class, and i have no idea why. in the dream, jean bessette, writing center co-worker, and alicia katnik, 8th grade classmate were there. i asked alicia how old she was. she told me 28. i told her i was 24, so what the hell are we still doing here? she didn't really have an answer. i told mrs. clark i wasn't in the right class, but she was unresponsive. she wore these dark blue eyeglasses and seemed entranced by something else. i wanted more than anything to get out of there.

my dreams have been pretty terrible lately. i guess that's what happens when you're unhappy. i've had one where i'm eating in a cafeteria, and someone leaves a backpack next to me. as soon as this person leaves, a police office comes in and tells everyone it's a bomb. but instead of evacuating the building, he decides to detonate it in front of us, and tells none of us to move. it starts fuming, and people scream. another dream is where my mom just disappears. i think she gets sucked into a computer. my dad cleans through walls to try and find her.

i still have a lot of frustration i have to work through. i don't really talk to my friends anymore. i only keep in touch with family because family is obligated to be my friend. i think i don't keep in touch with high school friends because i don't really like sitting around and saying, "remember that time..." because none of my memories before college were any good. everything before college was a terrible mess and i almost wish i could have that huge section of my life deleted from my memory. even though that defeats the purpose of the lesson in eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, i would nevertheless have it done.
there will be blood.

my grandma's sister celebrated her 81st birthday on saturday. she looks in better shape than i am. clear-headed, too. the shindig went down at some thai restaurant in roseville. uncle hennessey drove me, sam, and byron. on the way, i asked, semi-rhetorically, "they have a lot of tragedy on that side, huh?" "yeah," hennessey said, talking about how jojo's car wrapped around a pole in the late seventies. they blamed my dad for his wrecklessness. it was a street-racing fiasco down on watt, or maybe it was arden. no one really knows. my dad tries to block it out.

but even earlier than that, during world war II, auntie mae, my grandma's sister, lost one of her babies during some "underground escape from the japanese army." i don't know how accurate the story is. apparently, the child suffocated.

later, another loss. i didn't get the details.

and just recently, auntie mae's daughter, bing, found out her son committed suicide in l.a. apparently it was over a girl that had abandoned him. and he, having been abandoned earlier in life by his dad and bing, most likely saw he had no other choice. he went out the same way his grandfather did, "russian roulette-style," my aunt anne recounted.

despite all the tragedy, they seem like a normal functioning family. auntie mae has kids who work, make money, climb the ladder. something to be proud of. neh-neh approached me, asking the same old, dry bullshit. "what are you doing now?" followed by, "if you want to get into real estate, give me a call. we'll talk."

no-noy, the gay son, kept cutting up lichon (roasted pig) and serving it to everyone. i stared at a small plate of it and didn't touch it. not because it was served by a gay man, but because i could see half the pig, head and all, sitting in his little cardboard coffin. lichon always brings me down.

they sang "happy birthday" with deep filipino accents, then served ice cream cake.

as byron and i were leaving, some of my aunts stopped us. "james, they're saying they can't believe you're 24! they said you look like you're still 16!" i think it's because i don't talk. i don't put things on credit. i don't make small chit chat about the best route to take to work. i don't smoke or drink. i won't listen to music unless it can evoke some sort of physical or emotional reaction. i don't smile unless i'm genuinely happy. i don't smile just to make other people feel more at ease. i don't feel at ease. maybe that's where the 16 year old vibes come from.

i really don't get family. i always get invited to these family gatherings, but i never truly feel like i belong there.

today was another prime example. lola ampy's and uncle junior's 80th birthdays. (why the hell is everyone turning 80 this weekend?) all my cousins are working professionals. i majored in english. go figure. i just don't want that bigger house, that faster car, or even to talk about what it is i'm going to do.

for once, i'd just like a relative of mine to say, "james, it's weird that we're related, but i spend more of my time watching t.v. than i do getting to know you as an individual." i think that would give me more incentive to go to the next gathering, than say, a steaming pile of lichon.
i feel like going home.

friday night. spent it ripping cds, listening to the friday night lights soundtrack. i made chocolate chip cookies with my mom, talked about rich trying to buy a house. there's no rush. i sat at the table with a plateful of rice, chicken, celery and potatoes, thinking, i literally have all the time in the world to eat this. still, i finished it in under fifteen minutes.

i'm in a better mood. today was one of those days that doesn't feel completed wasted, even though, technically, it was. i raked up some more leaves for my garden, threw brambles and broke down wood for the compost pile. i wish i had a wood chipper. and some worms would help, too. maybe i'll ask for earthworms this christmas. no, i really want a tree in the front yard. one that will grow large enough to shade the entire neighborhood.

i have these thoughts sometimes. like, what if i never do anything amazing with my life? what if i never write one damn good story, or ever have my fifteen minutes. i thought about how some of my fifteen minutes might have been used up already. maybe the fifteen minutes isn't consecutive; just broken moments that add up. like the time i swatted michael garcia, an eighth grader, when i was in seventh grade. he challenged me. it was beautiful. he looked straight at me, pointed, and said, rather arrogantly, "i want him." i shrugged my shoulders, and said, fine. he drove in for the lay-up, and i rejected the shit out of him. it was pretty amazing, since some people (okay, namely the girls) were watching. a total of eight seconds, perhaps?

another time i kicked a basketball the full length of our court, and it went in. five seconds of fame, unless you count my classmates talking about it the rest of the day.

a handful of spelling bees where i was the number one speller. total of forty-five seconds?

may 26, 2001. graduating from jesuit. an eternity of bliss.

i had a sickening thought earlier today, though. maybe all i want is to work, pay off debt, pay my taxes and exit this miserable place. i know that's not true, though.

my mom gives me inspiration. she hates her job and wants to retire, but remaining subversive keeps her going. she tells me about how she raids the stock room for diapers, wipes, formula, and always gives shitloads of it away to the poor, while warning them, "don't tell anyone. i could lose my job." i want to be able to do that for people, too.

i told her about when i delivered food to people through the red cross. how unbearable it was to go in some of these people's apartments because they smelled so awful. or how cluttered, dark, and depressing the places were. places that said, i no longer now how to live or why. i believe it's the sad reality everywhere. not just north highlands, like my mom suggested. i'm sure these places exist in the apartment complexes across the street. in mexico, africa, the philippines, it's all so obvious. people live in shitty cardboard boxes and starve everyday. here in the u.s. it's all hidden. all this poverty, all these horrible conditions are all neatly wrapped under the guise of "affordable" or "low-income" housing. it kills me. there's no other way of putting it.

on that note, i'd like to ride bicycles around my neighborhood sometime in the early evening while playing yo la tengo's "i feel like going home," from a loudspeaker. who would care to join me?
i don't want to live in my father's house no more.

another awful, disgusting day in sacramento. the air was unbreathable. it was like that sigur ros video, where all the school children put on gas masks to go play outside. the atmosphere was post-apocalyptic, reminiscent of 28 Days Later. i'm not exaggerating. apparently, there's a fire near gilroy and much of the smoke and smog has drifted our way, settling into our little shit bowl of a valley. i resent my parents for ever coming here. i know it's ridiculous to despise an entire town, but i do. i despise it.

my mom and i went to berkeley today. i saw a lot of college students walking around, cheerful with their backpacks, their visions of a brighter future. my heart blackened a little. i sat on amoeba's dusty floors, as i usually do, looking for dollar records since i can't afford anything more. i grabbed six or seven of them, then i decided at the last minute i didn't want them.

something's definitely wrong with me. i think my one week at mather youth has just killed me spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. something in me died that day i drove away, never wanting to come back. i think i'm just fed up with work, the futility of trying to help individuals. i know i can't help, teach, or guide anyone when i'm constantly wallowing in self-pity, unable to visualize anything better for myself.

i'm constantly vacillating between going back to school or just giving in, going to work. really, what would i do with an mfa in creative writing, or an ma in english w/ a concentration in composition. a master's in rhetoric in composition. what the fuck is that? why do individuals aspire to become academics? how dare we use such flowery, intellectual language when the majority of our neighbors and community members are illiterate, poor sons-of-bitches.

i see this strange transition as a detoxification period. i don't want to turn on the t.v. for fear my mind will be further cluttered with ads. i don't want to make new friends for fear i'll forget the old ones. i really resent the fact that people just come and go. i'm just some rest stop on everyone else's destinations. i hate that i have no real childhood memories, only reruns and overplayed video games.

i have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. i take long naps and have recurring dreams where i'm in a moving car, but not driving. the message is obvious: i'm not in control. i don't just want another job. i don't really feel like i should go back to school. i want to travel, but i don't even have health insurance. i should've been asking these questions earlier. this culture makes it much too easy not to question.
here i am back home again.

i don't think i've been this miserable since high school. as byron and i were driving around today, i thought, wow, i used to have a good time. i remember going to concerts, going out for drinks, having friends, and then, somehow, it all stopped. what happened? as i walked through the aisles of best buy, my only thought was, i can understand why some individuals wish to wreak havoc upon this world. as i get up every morning with no agenda, no plans, nothing certain on the horizon at all, wallowing in self-doubt and self-pity, i come closer to accepting the philosophy of the absurd. as aaron cometbus' zine puts it, "things are meaningless."