Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Name:
Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."

7.31.2006

Love and Memories

So amidst all the fun and excitement during the OAR concert something profound happened to me. At the time it seemed very harmless, we were standing there in the lawn dancing and singing along to some great music, telling stories about concerts we’d gone to in the past. Everything was great until one of my friends asked me what he thought was a harmless question: “What ever happened to that girl from MD?” Uhh, “that girl” we don’t talk anymore, I ended that over a year ago. But that wasn’t exactly enough of an answer. So, my friend prods me for more info. But, I don’t really have a lot more info to give. “I loved that girl” I say and that ends the conversation. My friend now understands he has just opened up an entire subject that did not need to be opened.

Sundays are normally my recovery day and that usually leads to a lot of relaxing quiet reflection for me. Only today my reflection was not peaceful, it was tormented as I confronted feelings I try hard to avoid. What ended up happening the rest of that concert for me was this dull feeling that I still miss “that girl” but it makes no sense to me. So, ultimately I want to know what it is exactly that I miss. Is it really her? Or is it the feeling I had with her? And the truth is I have no idea. But for you to get the full understanding I would have to give the whole story and I am not sure I want to say all that. Lets just say this story goes back a long time and there have been many girls in between but somehow I always end up back at her, mentally if not physically. So, what is it exactly: loving her or loving someone that I miss? And the more I think about it, which has pretty much been all day, the less I understand.

I think my problem is that when you look at some subjects directly it is impossible to look at them objectively, you need to look at it from a different angle, sneak up on it. So, while I was at the gym, in the car and all over town today I have been looking back on all sorts of things, starting of course with my past relationships. I futilely started with my first relationships, but since I had two girlfriends in 5th grade that didn’t help very much. Although, I will say this that one of those girls had we dated later in life might have been an entirely different story. I don’t think about her often, but at least that memory helped me decide where I should place my energies and that is with the few women who at random moments of silence captivate my attention, the ones I still dream about. That list is small; there are really only two, two girls since “the girl” that I never really gave a chance to fill that void or whatever it is.

Not really a void, I think it is more likely an unfulfilled desire. Because I have known that feeling only once I think I equate that to the person when the reality may be that I don’t want her as much as I want someone else to be that close with. I want someone to be part of my family the way she was, but for that to happen I need to find someone that not only am I compatible with but fits. Since “that girl” no one seems to fit and it is frustrating to think about. It is especially hard to think about when I consider my basketball girl and the one with the shitty friends; they are the only two who ever had a real chance with me since “the girl”. I am still friends with both of them; I am actually still friends with all of the girls I have dated and had pseudo relationships with since I didn’t pay attention very well when I watched Cocktail. Anyway, the last two were both so perfect for such different reasons, but somehow managed to fall apart.

Bball girl and I were probably never more than friends who hung out a lot. Still, I think there was something there that was never capitalized on. We had a lot in common and enough differences too never suffocate the other and although we did couple like things it was never really a relationship. Occasionally, I still see her and things feel the same except there is nothing going on across the friendship line. Certainly, there were issues that might have led me not to pursue something or treat it more seriously but I am not sure which they were exactly. Possibly religion, maybe it was something she said once about not wanting kids, or just a moment when something didn’t feel right, but whatever it was it ended and eventually my mind returned back to the ideal of “that girl”. But that still leaves me with another girl who really was great, great for so many reasons different than the others. That is the thing I have met three significant girls and really liked each of them for very different reasons. So it’s not like I am trying to replace one with the other but something never seems to add up.

This girl I met in college, I was wearing an IDF shirt, she said she had the same shirt and we began talking. We were friendly and hung out and hooked up on and off for a year but I would never commit to a relationship. Eventually, we did start going out but I ended it before it went anywhere. I feel like I am always the one ending these things. Sure I hated this girls friends, they were nothing like my friends and reminded me of people growing up that I could not stand, but she was hardly like them at all, probably the sweetest, kindest girl I had ever met. I think more than anything I sabotaged that relationship because she scared me, scared me into thinking it could happen again maybe. I really think that relationship ended before I could ever find out if she fit. Eventually, she moved out west, I moved to DC, the Bball girl stayed in FL and life kept on. I might have only told one of them that I loved them but all three seem to form the mold that I am looking for. Even worse, I now want to find one person with qualities from all three. So, maybe it’s not “the girl” I am after or even one of the others but that feeling.

This is way too long and I don’t even think I am near finished getting to the bottom of it, but I want to go home so I will post this here and possibly write about this again someday.

7.30.2006

OAR concert wrap up with pics

I have been looking forward to this concert for a while so as expected I was up really early. I got my day started with breakfast, watching the news and burning some CDs. Then I got all my things in order for the show and before I knew it I was out the door to pick up my boy Mint and head out for the show. Mint and I met up with the rest of our crew at Harris Teeter, picked up some more supplies(beer, subs and ice) and finally left VA around 3:30. We were having our first beers in the parking lot by 4:45.
And so there we were baking in the late afternoon sun, it was easily the hottest day I have ever experienced in DC. But that just led to more drinking and less eating, although I did eat my Harris Teeter sub and plenty of party mix while we made friends with the Gators in the car next to us. Thats right at a concert with thousands of people we randomly parked next to a car of Florida grads. But those weren't the only people we met up with, there were also a couple of people from the DC live music junkies and another DC blogger.

Sometime around 7:30 we grabbed up our now dozen or so people and headed in to find spots on the lawn. We found a great spot dead center and claimed as large an area as we could. We caught most of Jack's Mannequin who was really good before OAR came on. We hoped with the sundown it would cool down but it didn't.

The show was really good, not the best of theirs I have seen but still really enjoyable and a great way to spend an evening. By the end of the night we had all lost our voices, our shirts had turned into towels, some of us were wasted, others just tired but all of us were starving, hot and beat up.
In the end it was all worth it and I am now looking forward to the next time we can spend an entire devoted to drinking and singing and having fun with good friends.

7.28.2006

To the weekend


Cheers

This has been a long mentally draining week. Inventory for customs is due on Monday and there has been no shortage of problems at work. But that is all over, at least until Monday. The DC ban is over meaning I may just venture out tonight although being at work now I have no idea if I will feel like it. Tomorrow however is 100%, I will be at the OAR show at Merriweather. And we will get wasted and have a great time while chilling in the lawn with a large group of friends and strangers. I can't wait, for years the summer has always been about music to me and I am glad that it still can be. Plus I might actually get to use my camera again, happy about that. Have a great weekend all.

7.27.2006

From an Israeli citizen

Received this in a comment from Adieu Tristesse. It is apparently also going around as an email and I thought it was worth posting.


----- Original Message ----- *From:* Jerry Brown *To:* Undisclosed-Recipient:; *Sent:* Wednesday, July 19, 2006 7:05 PM *Subject:* Letter From An Israeli Citizen
*AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WORLD*
From an Israeli citizen

Dear World,
I understand that you are upset by us, here in Israel. Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry. (Outraged?) Every few years you seem to become upset by us. Today, it is the "Brutal repression of the Palestinians"; yesterday it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War and the Sinai campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most
extraordinarily. Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we - the Jewish People - upset you. We upset a German people who elected Hitler and upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians. And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset. We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us In 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us. For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions, and we upset the arch-enemy of the Church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit. And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Jewish State. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you and disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you (and thus love you) - and have you love us? And so, we decided to come home - home to the same land we were driven out of 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset. Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state, we continue to upset you. You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The "radical" Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset. Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920 and 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered tens of Jews in Jerusalem , Jaffa , Safed and Hebron . Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron in 1929. Dear world, why did the Arabs - the Palestinians - massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929? Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots between 1936-39? Was it because Arabs were upset over 1967? And when you, dear world, proposed a UN Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a "Palestinian State" alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried "no" and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews - was that "upset" caused by the aggression of 1967? And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of "upset" then? The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state, attempted to drive the Jewish state into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "itbach-al- yahud" (Massacre the Jew!) that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today, but we should not "repress" them. Dear world, you stood by during the holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction. And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians dream daily of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. If that bothers you, dear world, well think of how many times in the past you bothered us. In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

7.26.2006

Everyone seems to be talking about movies

But I want to talk about TV. I will throw in a few movies anyway like Stranger than Fiction which looks really good. And The Last Kiss with Zach Braff and Rachel Bilson, but that actually brings me back to TV so it all makes sense. How does that bring me back to TV? Simple, Scrubs and the OC are two shows that I watch a lot and those two are stars in them. Summer television is terrible as most of us know, unless you are a fan of Bravo or So You Think You Can Dance? there aren't many options. I have been passing my summer by watching Smallville DVDs, my weekly dose of Entourage and playing NCAA 07 on XBox. But as the TV seasons grows nearer I am getting excited for the return of some great shows and trying to get into some new ones (Check my fall schedule here). Today's reason for being excited is my new HD DVR. I just can not wait to set my fall lineup and come home to beautiful HD picture every night.

Other news:
While I am still majorly obsessed with the situation in Israel I am not sure what else to write about it. So, I am trying to get back to my regular ridiculous posts, with a few meaningful ones sprinkled in.

My DC area self ban is going to come to a close tonight as one of my Brothers to the Bone is finally done with the Bar exam and I will again be venturing into the district for debauchery.

Lance Bass is gay, something I have known for years and I am sure most people have as well, but what is great about this is that his ex-boyfriend is/was fraternity brothers with one of my other Brothers to the Bone. This guy is getting killed on gossip blogs, one person called him a "mean, bitchy, queen" but he loves it all and will be celebrating with Lance tonight. My friend who happens to be a huge homophobe, yet still has close a personal gay friend, is finding all of this to be hilarious.

7.25.2006

I'm hopped up on percocet

Well, actually not at the moment but over the past few days I have been. One friend must think I have a problem because he sent me this link. Shit, maybe he is right, I mean after all I do enjoy taking them, even if I do have a legitimate reason for it. I get a lovely euphoric feeling and even though I dont abuse them (1 a night, but not every night) or take them for recreational purposes, like he takes xanax everytime we go out, I do find taking some percs is a nice way to end my day and at least be free from pain for a little while. I think they also help me sleep, but if I begin to believe that we are gonna have a whole different problem here. Ah, who cares anyway, I am running my body into the ground faster than most, by the time I am an old dude, if I make it, I will probably be back on morphine. Have I mentioned the night I was on morphine? Best feeling ever, I asked the doctor if I could have a shot for the road. OK, just wanted to get that off my chest and if anyone should call me or IM me just about anytime after I get home in the evening there is a good chance I am not really paying attention because I am in the process of melting into bed.



Nerd news:
Monopoly is going all digital on us, replacing the cash with debit cards. I wonder what the next update will be, maybe they can add more properties like malls and mcdonalds?

7.24.2006

DC Live Music Junkies

For anyone reading this in the DC area who loves live music you should check this out.

Live Music Junkies group

Live Music Junkies Craigslist ad

If you would like to join the group so that you can get the most extensive list of upcoming music in the area or are looking for people to go to that show that you cant get anyone to go to this is the place. The group is newly formed but growing everyday. If you want to learn more go to the group link and if you want to join check out the craigslist ad and reply to it. You will be added to the list.

7.21.2006

Comic Book Movies

They are so disappointing, they are so exciting, I can’t wait to see them, and I don’t want to see them made anymore. Ever since Xmen it’s like they pop out one after another and each one seems to get more disappointing. Yet, I am still one of those dumb people that are there opening weekend giving the movie industry more reason to churn out more crap. More than anything I am disappointed in myself because no matter how bad the previous movie was I still hold out hope for the inevitable sequels or the introduction of other comic movies. As someone who follows the news of new movies and other media pretty closely I have to say there is a lot going on that continues this feeling of both excitement and dread.

Today’s news alone reveals a ton about the future of comics on film. Heath Ledger is slated to play the Joker in the sequel to Batman Begins. A director was named for the Incredible Hulk and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie trailer is online. Not to mention the numerous other happenings in the arena like the Comic con in San Diego that has become a huge event. There are other comic related movies coming out like Ghost Rider starring Nic Cage and Spidey 3 and there are a few that just came out: Superman Returns and X3. In the past years there have also been graphic novels hitting the movie screen such as Road to Perdition, V for Vendetta and Sin City. The graphic novels have faired a little better on quality but not as well in dollar signs. So the rest of the summer and Christmas and next summer will be filled with more, crappy comic book adaptations.

And here is the real problem in all this, I still hope they will be good. When Spiderman was announced I was ecstatic, then the first movie wasn’t that great but I still thought the sequel could be good, and now a third is coming out and even though the first two didn’t excite me I have to admit that the trailers make me want to see the new one. Same thing with Xmen and Xmen United, in my opinion 2 was better than 1 but 3 was worse than both even though I thought it looked like it would be even better. So now I am faced with news that there will be a second Hulk movie and I absolutely hated the first, but still get exciting when I see someone taking a second stab at it, as if this one could improve on the crap from the first. I really need to stop going to see these movies and wait for other people to see them before I give them a shot. I seriously fear what will happen when the sequels to Batman Begins and Superman Returns, movies I really enjoyed, come out but do not live up to the standard the first ones set. Sequels are such a dicey game but franchises with clear goals could be great. So why are they so often terrible?

7.20.2006

Transformers


How cool are these? Is it bad that I want children just so I can start buying toys again? Sidewinder Viper rocks.

7.19.2006

All week long...

I’ve sat down at the computer trying to write something, anything, not having to do with the Middle East. Something about DC, something about summer, something about America that is apolitical, and nothing makes its way from my mind to my computer. Even my dreams are consumed by violence manifesting in odd ways. Lately, my sleeping problems, which I have had for quite some time, have led me to try supplements that help you get a good nights sleep without a druggy feeling in the morning. I have not yet crossed over into prescription land when trying to cure whatever it is that makes me wake up multiple times a night. I still can’t sleep through the night but I have recently only been waking up once and usually fall asleep again almost immediately. This is thanks to a new supplement I am taking; the supplement though has an odd side effect, vivid dreams. My dreams are all over the place, last night I had one where I was in the tunnel at Florida Field talking with a Georgia cheerleader, a situation that clearly could not happen since we don’t play Georgia at Florida Field ever, never mind that I would never be in the tunnel or talking to an opposing teams cheerleaders in the first place. I’ve dreamt of my grandparents, of weddings, of awkward encounters with ex-girlfriends, but the most disturbing was of course of little kids in basketball jerseys fighting. I have no idea why I can remember these dreams so well or where the heck the ideas even come from but at least I am sleeping.

Now a few random things to put my mind at ease:

DC is hotter than hell this summer, so hot and the Sun is so bright that I am growing my hair out to avoid sunburns.

Starting in late July, rolling through September will be concert season for me. I am considering going to Lollapalooza in Chicago, OAR in MD, and the Virgin Fest, as well as possibly seeing the Counting Crows and any other bands that come my way. If anyone knows of some lesser known talent that will be in the DC area I would love to hear about them.

And since I can’t make it an entire post these days without something about Israel here is a link to a Charles Krauthammer article on the situation.

Take care

7.17.2006

The Killing Joke

Yes that would be a comic book, a comic by the great Alan Moore, about the Joker and of course Batman. Alan Moore is arguably the greatest comic writer of recent years; he wrote V for Vendetta and Watchmen and always seems to have his fingers on the pulse of the world around him while writing books that are timeless. For instance when I read The Killing Joke yesterday I thought how easily Moore could have been using Batman and Joker as the figures of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now this book was written twenty years ago but its message can be used just as easily today. First I am going to describe the book, then put it into terms of what is going on in the Middle East. If you want to read the book you might want to skip the first section.

Synopsis of the Killing Joke

This book may be a Batman book but the Joker is the main character. It opens up to the Batman going to visit Joker in Arkham Asylum. Batman goes to visit Joker and here is what he has to say, “I’ve been thinking lately about you and me. About what’s going to happen to us. We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me, perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner, perhaps later. I just wanted to know that I’d made a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome just once.” At this point Joker isn’t listening or responding and Batman is getting angry, he thinks this is a serious subject and continues on while grabbing at the Joker only to find out that this is just an imposter. Joker has escaped.

The book then goes on to discuss just who the Joker is for a while. They go back to show what he was before becoming insane. The Joker was a soon to be father, a husband and a failed comedian. Terrible things lead him to make terrible choices and things out of his control occur like the loss of his pregnant wife. This and a swim in some toxic chemicals makes him insane and the character we know today. All the while we are being told of how Batman helped create the Joker and how their relationship seems to be a fatal one Batman says this, “I don’t know him, Alfred. All these years and I don’t know who he is anymore than he knows who I am. How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?”

The book then returns for a few pages to the present where Joker is free and planning an attack on Batman and the whole of Gotham. What he does was shocking to the comic book world and would be shocking anywhere really. He goes to the home of Commissioner Gordon, shoots his daughter Barbara which would paralyze her and then takes the commissioner hostage. While Joker has the commissioner hostage he tries to humiliate him, drags him around naked and in chains, shows him pictures of his naked, paralyzed daughter dying on the living room floor. He is trying to make Gordon mad just like him. And he is doing all of this to prove a point to the Bat.

The books conclusion has the Batman coming face to face with the Joker again. Batman immediately goes into the speech he had tried to tell in the opening, only this time it is done amidst combat. Batman says, “Hello, I came to talk. I’ve been thinking lately. About you… About me. About what’s going to happen to us in the end. We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me… perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner… perhaps later.” The speech is interrupted as Joker takes off and Batman find commissioner Gordon who is remarkably well for someone who has gone through what he has, complete with insisting that Batman brings in the Joker “by the book”.

Batman finds Joker and they continue the physical and verbal sparring. You see, Joker thinks he has won because he has driven the commissioner mad, but he was wrong. You can not terrorize someone to be driven mad when they have solid moral footing. Batman informs Joker that the commissioner is just fine and that the world isn’t like him at all and eventually reigns him in. The book ends with the Joker asking Batman for what he deserves, “Well? What are you waiting for? I shot a defenseless girl, I terrorized an old man, why don’t you kick the hell out of me and get a standing ovation from the public gallery?” Batman responds, “Because I am doing this one by the book… and because I don’t want to. Do you understand? I don’t want to kill you. I don’t want either of us to end up killing the other… but we’re both running out of alternatives and we both know it.” Batman continues trying to convince the Joker that there has to be another way, that he can help reform him and they won’t have to kill each other. But, ultimately Joker says it’s too late, far too late to change now. It all reminds him of a sick joke about two lunatics in an asylum.

The Killing Joke as played by the Arab-Israeli conflict

Here is how I see it, if you say Israel is playing the part of Batman and the Islamists (Hamas, Hezbollah, the radicals) are playing the Joker it makes a lot of sense.

Yes bad things have happened to many of the Palestinians and other extremist groups to make them radicals and yes, Israel has had some hand in creating that extremism. But, there tactics of attacking Israel are not going to make them like them. Terrorizing old men and crippling young women is not going to make Israel suddenly go mad and become bloodthirsty. I think that is shown in the posts by Sandmonkey and Lisa about demonstrations for peace. And in this entire struggle Israel realizes that it does not even know its enemy, they don’t really understand each other and therefore Israel can not understand the hatred. “How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?”

In the midst of fighting Israel will eventually return to the discussion they have begun so many times. They will say that there is another way, that we don’t have to kill each other. Israel will say, “I’ve been thinking lately about you and me. About what’s going to happen to us. We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me, perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner, perhaps later. I just wanted to know that I’d made a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome just once. Do you understand? I don’t want to kill you. I don’t want either of us to end up killing the other… but we’re both running out of alternatives and we both know it. We could work together. I could rehabilitate you. You needn’t be out there on the edge any more. You needn’t be alone. We don’t have to kill each other. What do you say?” Maybe someday the answer on the other side will be a positive one but lately it seems that the answer is simply, “No, I’m sorry, but … No. It’s too late for that, far too late.”

7.16.2006

Links to follow the situation in Israel

*Updated: Got an email today about another place to donate money, so if you haven't yet or would like to send more there is another option on my list.

I have been all over the place these past couple of days, from blogs to news sites to places to donate money to Israeli causes and even places to show support for the Israeli government. I figure here is as good a place as any to spread the word.

This is where I am following a lot of info: The Muqata, The Sandmonkey, Oleh Girl

Jack's Shack has a really comprehensive list here.
Treppenwitz has a good list too.

Places to donate money:
Yad Sarah - medical equipment
Pizza IDF
Burger IDF
Magen David Adom
Hatzolah Israel
Zaka - rescue and recovery
Buy Israeli products whenever possible.
Meir Panim - Relief centers

You can always follow the news sources but I dont always trust many of them. Hope this helps anyone who feels like I do at times like these. I want as much info as I can get and there never seems to be enough. And tomorrow or today, maybe yesterday depending on when you actually get here you can read my take on The Killing Joke and how it might actually explain the current situation in the Middle East.

7.14.2006

A blog and a song

I don’t like to mention things then go back on them, so when I started a second blog just to keep track of how I am eating and my workouts I wanted to make sure I would stick with it before adding the link here. I have now been doing it for about two weeks and I think that is sufficient enough to say that is part of my day. On there I post every meal I have including supplements everyday of the week. I don’t go into serious breakdowns or anything and one day usually looks a lot like the rest but I am at least keeping track and watching what I eat. I am also posting my workouts, I have always kept track of these in a notebook at the gym but now I am taking what I write down and putting it online. I will also mark my progress by posting my bodyweight and body fat measurements once a week on Sundays. Yes I have calipers, I am a freak like that, plus I sort of have to since losing weight doesn’t really tell the whole story when you lift weights the way I do. So check out Free Leaf Fit and let me know what you think, I would prefer no general comments and hopefully if I do get any feedback it will be workout advice.
And before the song some explaining, with the ongoing situation in Israel I have been following the news but also reading a lot of MidEast blogs to keep updated on the situation. One of them peeped me to another site that offered up the song lyrics from a Bob Dylan song. Since I am a huge Dylan fan, and really how could I not be since he is from Minnesota as I am and he is related to one of my uncles and there is a rumor that his mom was at my parents wedding, his music is always near by the Essentials are in my car and I have a ton of his music on the IPod, so here is The Neighborhood Bully:
Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.
He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.
What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.
What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

7.13.2006

Israel

















I am having a hard time getting my mind around anything today. I want to write something to either kill the time or get something off my chest but I am not sure what to write. I am very frustrated by that but mostly I don’t seem to have the words to explain what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what is going on in Israel, but I can’t the words aren’t there. It is frustrating the crap out of me, but I really don’t know what to say. For the past couple of years I have had this strong desire to make Aliyah, I have researched it and considered it but I never seem to go through with it. It is like standing on the edge of a cliff waiting for someone or something to push you over the edge. But instead of receiving a push someone or something keeps pulling me off the edge, only I don’t want to be pulled off.

Most people would find this crazy and there is no way I could mention this to my mother but I want to be there more now than ever. I guess that is somewhat crazy, why would a person want to move from a comfortable suburban life with a good job to a place that might be escalating to war? I doubt I would be able to explain it, and I doubt the majority of people I know here would understand but I also know that this desire isn’t going to just go away. So, what exactly am I waiting for?

7.12.2006

This fucking sucks

I wake up today and it’s just like any other day. Coffee, breakfast, get ready for work, stop for gas, give directions, let lost person follow me to the highway, get to work. Then everything goes to hell. The morons at Customs are having even more trouble doing their jobs today than normal which of course means more work for me. Followed up with more soldiers being kidnapped and Israel as close to a full scale war as it has been in a long time leading me to question why exactly I am not there? Then to top it off, I can not fucking breathe, asthma attacks are not cool. I haven’t had one in years, yet all morning I am sitting year with a tight chest and wheezing. This better just be some chest cold and not a sign that I need to up to my dosage of drugs again. At this rate I am going to run out of drugs to use to control this stupid disease. Then there is this little tidbit, since I rarely use inhalers but get them for an obscenely cheap rate through my insurance I have them everywhere, literally everywhere, in my gym bag, my car, my bedroom, bathroom, random back packs, but not in my work bag. So I ran out to my car to get my inhaler, right past the smokers, which sucked too. I just took my second puff of albuterol, rant over.

And just so we don’t get any crazy ideas and you start thinking about the stereotypical movie kid with Asthma. I am not that kid, never was, never will be. My mom made it a point I would never be that kid, she grew up with one; the kid who has asthma and parents that won’t let him do anything for fear of an asthma attack. That is not me, not even close, so thanks mom. I grew up playing sports, doing everything other kids did, I just had to bring my inhaler with me or give it to the trainer on the football team or one of my coaches. It never held me back and now that I take a preventative medicine every night I rarely if ever have problems. I work out and run and play football almost every week but for no reason this morning I can’t breathe, odd. They said I would outgrow the asthma but I should have done that by now, so I figure that if I have had it since I was 2 years old it’s just become another part of life. Something that I actually rarely think about except when I have to take my medicine before bed and on rare nights out where there is a possibility I wont make it home I have to make sure to take my meds before I go out. Ok, three puffs, ten minutes, I am starting to feel better but the morons at Customs are still dumb, one just hung up on me.

7.11.2006

Newcomers

Admittedly yesterday was a bit of downer on here and well at work too. But there was also some good news. My cousin and his wife welcomed into the world their second son yesterday. Just got the pics this morning and he looks very much like his older brother, these kids are gonna be tall. I am very happy for my cousin who has grown up to really be a good person and a loving father. It was the last thing many expected growing up but he has really matured. My family is large, the extended family requires aerial photography, but even just my Mom’s relatives are growing pretty fast. My mom had two sisters (twins) and a brother and they had 8 kids between them. Now my two oldest cousins each have two boys. So, our family is growing once again, its fun to think about and fun to see these little kids grow up. I do hate that I don’t get to see them very often as we all live so far apart but I hope when my sisters or I end up starting families we will all live near each other so our kids can know their aunts and uncles. Mine were a huge part of my childhood and that’s something I would like to continue.

Odd fact: Starting with my oldest cousin down to my youngest we are all 3 yrs apart in age if you take out my middle sister. 19,22,24*,25,28,31,34,37

7.10.2006

Happiness is Fleeting

Just thought it was finally time I would throw it out there. I am fucking crazy, I know I am and I guess its better to know than to think you are normal. For the past week or so I have been walking around in a kind of miserable haze, just totally unhappy all the time, it’s very frustrating but it’s not as bad as sometimes in the past. Last summer for instance I got a similar feeling that was just a little bit worse than I feel now. Then, I felt like the world was crushing me, I couldn’t breathe and I did not want to leave the house, it felt like a summer storm had overtaken my life. But within days, maybe it only lasted 24 hours, it was gone and I was resurrected. That pain was deep and precise but now I am feeling something much wider but much more shallow, this is less painful but sadder.

For me happiness is fleeting, nothing holds, no matter how many good things can happen in my life, bitterness is always around the corner. I had been feeling this way for a while but the issue really came to a head recently when on a night out in this swamp that I felt entirely alone amongst a group of friends. There everyone was having a good time, drunk, dancing like fools and I was just standing there looking around at my friends and realizing they just don’t get it. I often tell people that I don’t remember the last time I was truly happy, just happy for no reason other than enjoying my life. And its not that I dislike anything about my life, it’s just not anything to be happy over. Good things do happen, sometimes a lot of good things happen, but the good feeling wears off quicker and quicker each time. I get a new car and I am happy, some other new toy, happy, promotion at work happy, but then it just stops, things aren’t new anymore, they just are and you realize none of it has changed anything. So, we are back to square one and in that place I am the same unhappy person I have been for the past five years or more.

Of course with all things in my life I will not forget that there is a bright side. Growing up I was the one who always said things will get better, I believed in miracles then, and I think I still do. I know they exist I have felt them; I have felt the power and the mysticism of this world that we can not explain. So, my hope remains. In all of this I am proud that I haven’t turned to destructive habits like so many others in my case certainly would, I haven’t had a drink in weeks, nor do I even consider drugs, shit I don’t even eat junk food except for the occasional stop at Panda Express. And so I keep fighting to pull myself out of this wading pool of despair in hopes that someday I will find something that can fill my heart longer than some fleeting happiness.

7.07.2006

I am an easy target

Twice this week I have walked into stores intending to buy the one or two things I was looking for. But, I get up to the counter and the clerk convinces me to keep shopping because they have a special. The first time this happened was at blockbuster, since summer TV is terrible I am trying to catch up on movies since I rarely go to theaters anymore. I pick out the two I had decided on before entering the store and I am ready to check out when I am told, “you can get a third movie for $1.00”. Fine, I will get a third movie but only because you told me to. This very same thing happened to me last night only this time it was worse, much worse. I got out of the gym and headed over to the Vitamin Shoppe just get a couple of things, ZMA and Green Tea extract actually, I walk up to the counter and I am told, “you know if you buy 3 you can get a 4th item for free”. Well, thank you very much I guess I will get 4 things when I intended on buying two. Not to mention that in the end I probably ended up spending about $30 more than I wanted. Did I really need creatine and CLA, probably not, but what can I say, I am a sucker.

7.06.2006

Free Leaf 101

Without even noticing yesterday I threw up my 100th post. Making today #101 and as with those great 101 classes we used to take this is gonna cover a lot. I guess I could have done numerous posts on the different topics but I’d rather speak briefly about a few.

Walk on Water

Last night I watched this movie for the first time. It was not my first attempt at Israeli cinema so I sort of knew what to expect as far as quality and having to deal with subtitles due to my limited Hebrew. Eytan Fox who directed this movie as well as Yossi & Jagger (the movie about gay Israeli soldiers) and The Bubble did a really good job in my opinion. The movie is driven by the characters and has so many underlying issues that it tries to discuss that at times it gets confusing but overall I really liked it. Of course I am nostalgic for all things Israel so that helps. But the movie does show some very true and real emotions that are not often confronted.

The film featured five languages and three countries, as well as dealing with racism, hatred and homosexuality. I don’t want to write a review, there are enough out there, so just read one. But I will discuss the topics in my own light. Starting with the homosexual aspect, which really does play a very small role, which is only lightly touched upon, but I think that is the right way to do it, gays are everywhere but they aren’t everything. I did find revealing that a gay Arab can fit in much better in Israel, even if he is hated and discriminated against, better than in Arab countries for the most part. The film also confronts the leftist view of Suicide Bombers briefly, the Israeli main character doesn’t seem to care about how bad their lives are to make them kill themselves he even calls them animals. And maybe he is right; I will touch on that later in this post. The third most prominent interaction is between the Israeli Mossad agent and two German grandchildren of a Nazi, it is actually this dynamic that got me thinking the most. After all most of the WWII generation is moving on and the grandchildren are beginning to have children of our own. And just as I am the descendant of Holocaust Survivors, Germans my age are likely descendants of the perpetrators of the Holocaust. I can see how it creates an awkward dynamic. What would I do, how would I feel if I were confronted with a person whose grandfather was responsible for the loss of my Grandfathers entire family or my Great Grandparents on my Grandmas side? I really don’t know.

The New Science of Siblings

Time’s cover story is about how siblings may effect who we are more than any other factors in our lives. More than parents, peers and genetics and they make some good points, I have yet to finish the article but thought it was worth mentioning in the context of what has been going on with my friends. In the article it is posed that we learn so much of our social skills from dealing with our siblings. So, it is my guess that someone growing up with two younger sisters would ultimately interact with others differently than someone who grew up as a younger sibling or with brothers or a different mixture. I think my case is also a little different in that not only was I the oldest brother to sisters but we grew up without our dad. It might explain my care giver status amongst my friends and the reason that I put myself through the torture of being a Fraternity president, a job that closely resembles babysitting. It also might be why my friendships with women are easier than other guys. I am sure it has helped me in relationships in the past and I hope my sisters were helped by interacting with me so much in our youth. We spend a lot of time growing up with our siblings, more than you really notice, there were times when my sisters have been my best friends and still to this day I talk to my little sister almost daily, not that she listens to any of my advice, and though my other sister and I have drifted apart I have a feeling that we are only across a bridge as opposed to an ocean. Maybe, I find my friends so frustrating because my social interactions were formed dealing with girls and that’s why I just cant see eye to eye with my friends in a dispute?

Gaza

Obviously the world is watching what is going on in the Gaza strip lately with cautious eyes. Some feel its excessive force by the Israeli military intended to collectively punish Palestinians. Others here in America look on in awe and respect at the way Israel is taking no holds barred attitude to get back one of its own. Today, I read Krauthammer’s article in Time on the cycle of violence and he makes some good points. While, I do not like the fact that the everyday citizen is mixed up in this I also think it is time that Palestinians took some responsibility for not having peace. Israel withdrew from Gaza and since then 1000 rockets have fallen on pre-67 Israel. Gilad was kidnapped behind 67 lines, while two of his comrades were murdered. There are no leaders in Gaza, none that care about the welfare of the everyday Palestinian, if there were, if they truly cared about their own people they would have taken the opportunity in Gaza to show the world that they can govern themselves and put their people first over the “struggle”. It has not happened and it won’t happen until someone with enough strength to lay down their life for the cause takes the helm. And I don’t mean the way a murdering terrorist lays down his life by blowing up innocents, I mean laying down your life by making hard decisions for peace that may ultimately get you killed at the hands of your own radical people. They need someone who would recognize Israel and stop the bullets from flying long enough to build an economy and infrastructure. It also wouldn’t hurt to start properly teaching the youths that Israel does exist. I lived in Israel when there was still peace in the late 90s but I also remember when my sister lived there and the news of clubs being bombed on the news. It all needs to stop but Hamas seems to be moving backward instead of evolving the way many thought they would. I could go on and on with posts like this but this is not my real focus and that should be enough for now.

Voice of a Generation

Another thing discussed in Time was the lack of a Voice of a Generation (VOAG) author. Since this is one of my common complaints I found the article very interesting. Essentially every generation has always had that one author, not necessarily the best, that really defined the life of that era. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Kerouac, Salinger to name a few but who has defined life in the late 90s or 00s? Maybe the new generation just doesn’t need a VOAG or maybe we need one more than ever. Maybe we are so diverse that no one author can uniquely describe the American experience broadly and deeply enough to make others witness them as the VOAG. Or, maybe they have just moved to other art forms. Still, I do kind of long for the past of some of those authors; I loved On the Road and the Dharma Bums as well as the Catcher in the Rye. I just wonder if years from now someone will read a book about this generation and wish they could have been part of it the way so many of us do for periods past?

I know this might be too long for some but if you made it this far thanks for reading. If you just skipped to the end hoping for it all to tie together, go take your adderol and come back. Things don't have to tie together, they just have to be on my mind.

7.05.2006

The art of dealing with friends

Lately, I have been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which so far is quite a good book. Gives you a lot to think about and helps you realize things you might not have originally seen. I have also been dealing with some friends of mine in one case where we just do not see eye to eye. They think I am crazy for acting one way just as I think they are crazy for acting the way they are acting. The situation that we are in complete disagreement on is about another friend’s bachelor party that I actually wrote about previously. Now, it was one thing for two very vocal friends to rally the group into the trip they wanted but it was completely different when they began “calling out” the man who was actually getting married. Of course this angered me a great deal and I told them so, they reacted as if they were doing nothing wrong because the guy who was getting married had not explicitly made his case. I thought they crossed the line and they thought they were doing him a favor, just messing around. When I questioned them on this they of course reacted angrily towards me, for no reason other than I agree with the bachelor and would be furious with them had they treated me the same way. That situation seems to have resolved itself with my friend who is getting married finally responding against the trip that the vocal minority wanted. Others have taken note and moved on; the minority has yet to speak. I think they are now offended by how easily they were shrugged off but that may be too deep for a group of men to think in.

And that is where I see the disconnect with these friends. We view the world in completely different manners. It is rough for me to see things the way they do because I never have, but I can tell that when we look at two things we filter those things through completely different channels. They are more basic, things are black and white, if you want to go to a bachelor party, you go to the place that works, no emotion involved in the choice, it’s the most logical to keep repeating the same thing over and over if it continues to work. Whereas I, filtering life through the gray area am looking for new experiences at all turns. I am not thinking about the logistics or the percentages or the safer bet, I care first about how my friend feels about the situation and then the where and the why. Once we get past that I begin thinking about scenarios that offer a possibility for greatness. Certainty is for others to worry about, if I can picture the idea of a good time in a place I have never been I will go there. I do not need solid evidence like my other friends. They see going to the same place for a third bachelor party as the only logical choice because they know it is fun because they have done it. They may be right, but they are also so conservative and sheltered in their thinking that I am surprised they have moved out of their parents homes. I, on the other hand, am looking for the next place to check off the list. Why play it safe when you can try something new? Now I am just rambling as I tend to do when I feel strongly about something (I’d say passionate but that just seems too gay after my run in over the weekend).

To me life is complex; everything I see is multilayered and can have a plethora of meanings. To my friends life is simple, things just are and they don’t have to have any more meaning than that.

Independence Day

So this is a day late but 4th of July is usually a busy day. Anyway, while my independence day celebration was not up to par with some of my others. I did see this picture online and thought it told a better story than anything I can say. There are many times I take for granted my relative freedom as an American but in the back of my mind I know that this is a great country. Despite periods where the leaders are inept and the population clueless this country was founded on principles that for 230 years have been stronger than the individuals who are charged with upholding them. Who knows what the next 230 years will bring but I do know that the issues of the day are hardly enough to trample the idea that America was founded on. Freedom for all. Its not perfect, far from it, but if there is a place in the world with more opportunity I'd like to hear it. Happy Independence Day.

7.03.2006

Things I learned this weekend

1. Anybody (that would be me) who works past 5 on a Friday is an idiot. And it was still the earliest I got home all week.

2. My Shabbat candles burn just a bit less than the 3 hours it says they will on the box.

3. I am still too short and slow to play cornerback, even in flag football.

4. No matter how much sunscreen I put on I still get a little red.

5. Although I still have no luck with the ladies in DC, the gay guys absolutely love me.

6. All of my friends are terrible at making plans or being where they said they will be when they say they will be there.

7. If you miss South Beach and smoke Hookah go to Aqua Ardiente.

8. If you like to get drunk and sing along to bad rock music go to Third Edition, where some girls actually dance barefoot (disgusting).

9. People who tell you they are from Miami to only reveal that they grew up in Boca Raton are idiots. That’s not even close to Miami; as a matter of fact it’s not even in the next county.

10. No matter what I did the night before I will be up early on Sunday morning to begin my rehab. Lots of coffee, water, breakfast, then the gym followed by the sauna and back home to rest the day away until Entourage comes on at 10.