Everytime I run, I run against a ghost. It paces...

New Year

Everytime I run, I run against a ghost. It paces me, matches my every move, and the second I falter, it flashes an icy glance before passing me. I fall to one knee, gasping for breath, and as I look up to stare after the clouds of dust, he’s there sitting next to me, cross-legged, face thin and stretched with patient endurance. A woman once said, “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” It’s always with myself. Each time I draw a breath in struggle, it’s not against a foreign advesary, but only the mirrored barriers around my own soul. However they got there, it would do me much more good thinking how to disassemble them, rather than who to blame for their construction. It’s probably the most valuble and difficult thing attainable in life, but I know that it will be mine someday.

People can do so many things. Man is a pile of organic matter, shaped and formed in some base image, from which we have great liberty to refine. But as much as we can temper or let atrophy, it is only a vessel. A breathing tank that gives home to something far greater than any we could hope to synthesize. Rare individuals devote their lives to improving it: the body, or the mind, or a trade. At the root of all these endeavours is simply a mastering of the self. That is the great challenge, and how far one takes it is the only variant.

As Yoritomo observes of Captain Algren during training, he has “too many mind.” I often realize in retrospect that I share the same hindrance. Since I am well-acquainted with the problem, I have but to solve it. I think everyone has the same challenges and opportunities, we need only first find the correct perspective to handle each in turn. I hope in the next year to make great refinments on my own, though I know luck with have nothing to do with it– it will be entirely of my own labor.

A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed.

I’m writing because I’m tired. Tired...

Not your ordinary Christmas

I’m writing because I’m tired. Tired and limping to a vacation that begins in three hours, eleven minutes. The company “bounenkai” (forget year party) starts at 7:30. I’ve filed my last change with the ANA project, I’m half-heartedly tweaking enemy AI in our game, and I’m yawning maybe every four minutes.

Today was the first time I overslept for work in as long as I can remember…it’s gotta go back to the Microsoft days, though I may have intentionally woken up around eleven and snuck in to ATR a couple times last summer. I somehow managaed to navigate the menuing system on my cell phone and turn off the alarm after it first went off. Next thing I know it’s 10:11 and I’m trying to verify in my mind that work has indeed already started. Damn. It was the last day of the month to be in the “never late bonus” pool. Oh well.

Yesterday was so _not_ Christmas.

In an attempt to leave work at a decent hour so...

Net cafe code and seasonal mirth

In an attempt to leave work at a decent hour so Mikiko and I can go to Millenario tonight, I went to bed at 2 (damn Donkey Konga) and after half and hour of coding in my sleep left the house for work around 7. However, I neglected to ensure that my office keys were among my possessions so I got about two hours of non-productivity to blow before someone else comes to the office.

Not to be discouraged, I put down 500 yen for some time at a net cafe and starting coding notepad style, so I can test my memory of the game’s class structure and mail myself the efforts before opening. We’ll see how many “Replace in files” commands I have to issue when I get in. For the meantime I’m working hard to break even on the terminal’s hourly rate via free cups of milk tea. Unfortunately this means a lot of trips to the can.

Even though my chair is too short and carpel-tunnel is whispering in my ear, I get some cheap Victor headphones and Christmas music net radio. A lot of Tchaikovsky mixed in with the R&B and Bing. Nice. Reminds me of the Robinsons…my Mom’s #1 homemaker connection family when I was in grade school.

The girls did the ballet thing, and we always saw them in the Frederick Regional troupe’s annual showing of the Nutcracker. Man I loved going to that. It happened every year at the Weinberg Center, Frederick’s venerable performing arts center (which I later would frequent on the other side of the stage). The old velour seats, the tarnished molding along the vaulted ceiling, the stale candy on sale in the lobby at intermission (the quality of Lance brand)… the sleepy warmth of a dark theatre and stage lit by 1970s pan pots. How each piece of music segued into another, leaving me torn between enjoying the current dance and longing for the next. The mystique of “coffee”, the fanfare of “marzipan”, the sheer beauty and grace of “snowflakes”. It’s funny how something I used to loathe as an impatient child grew up with me in penny-loafers, blossoming into an experience I would go to all lengths to attend with deep reverence.

Ack, I want to write so much more…but need to code…

Good King Wenceslas…first chair trumpet…all the MSS christmas shows…

Oh come Emmanuel…loved going to school Mass for Christmas songs during Advent. Gauging what sorts of holiday things are coming up by pink and purple candles…

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been...

The holiday season

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in Japan for 6 1/2 months now, the longest continuous period I’ve ever done anything five days a week. I’ve been out of my country for for some odd 200 days, and two weeks from now I’ll be back there, probably be cozying up to a Sutler-stoplight, or something equally foul concocted for the bonding of brethren. But for now, despite working 70-hour weeks, I’m doing my damnedest to keep the Christmas spirit alive, and I think I’m storming my checklist of major events.

1) Got a tree. He’s a live(ly) one, he’s 16 inches (plus root) of Cupressus “Gold Crest”, evergreen, and his name is Koji. He sits in front of my window with lights, gold beads, and some lovely red ribbon. He rocks. Go little dude, grow…

2) Christmas joy via post. I sent Christmas cards to a bunch of folks dear to me some 10,000 miles away. Actually, they’re Japanese akemashite [happy new year] cards, but they’ll arrive with the correct intentions and time frame.

3) Plan to go Christmas carolling, Japanese style. I’ll hit up karaoke and some spirits with my buddies from F-Zero production and one of my CMU senseis next week.

4) Christmas shopping. Well, I’ve been doing this off and on for months, but I’m sure I’ll assail a hyaku yen shop for eastern goodies shortly before departing the country.

5) Going to see the lighting of the big tree. There’s apparently a several kilometer long trail of gorgeous lights that takes hours to wait in line for between Tokyo and Shimbashi eki, near the Emperor’s place. Rad.

6) Seasonal movies and specials, lots of them. So far I’ve seen Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Garfield, and Christmas Vacation. [aah, remember the “Rusty” rule of the drinking game version?] Next week comes Frosty, da Grinch [hooville], and of course, It’s a Wonderful Life.

7) I’m sure I’ll cook something.

But I’m having a blast and not thinking about my shrinking checking account. The food is good, I’ve had Spumante, Moet and listened to live jazz and Christmas tunes, and this is all in the last forty-eight hours. I ventured on another odyssey yesterday [we’re now up to 240+ photos to pick from for the Autumn version of Sun Flare], got a colorful little colored glass lamp and an engrish-branded cup, visited the lovely Shinjuku gyoen today for a brisk stroll, AND I found two great maps I’ve been searching after for quite some time. Now I can highlight at 1:15,000 scale all the meanderings I take inside the Yamanote line. You have no idea how happy this makes me.

Don’t let it pass you by…IT’S CHRISTMAS IN ONLY 12 days!!! Peace and good will to you…

I had another Friday night scuttled thanks to my...

A little R&R

I had another Friday night scuttled thanks to my rite-of-passage project at work, but defiant to let leaving the office at midnight kill my hana-kin [Flower Friday, term used in Japan meaning on Friday everyone generally leaves work early and goes out to celebrate], I met Mikiko at Yoyogi eki at about 12:30 for some fun. We proceeded to karaoke and cheap whiskey for about ninety minutes of necking and Frank Sinatra. Crazy and wanting more punishment, I got up at 9:30 after about six and a half hours of quasi-sleep and met the father of my last summer’s host family, who was in Tokyo on a business trip.

We walked around Shimbashi (I thought there would be more there) for about forty minutes looking for some food and ended up back in front of the eki at an unagi-ya [eel restaurant] for a long lunch. I gave him my usual round of questioning for Japanese: opinions on politics, corruption, voter apathy, the Emperor’s relationship with God [popular belief used to be that he was], etc. I had eel steak for the first time and walked away with a small bone (still) lodged in the flesh at the back of my throat, in addition to an up close demonstration of how the food goes in minutes from a vainly writhing mass to the topping on my rice. The hearts still beat minutes after they’ve been removed.

I came home about 2:30 and caught Miki just waking up, messed around for a bit and then promptly passed out for about two and a half hours of not-sleep. After some failed attempts at level 8 super hard on Panel de Pon, I discovered I had inadvertently downloaded another hentai episode of sex demon queen while looking for FLCL. Out went the garbage and here I am yet again at One’s. I’m not trying to draw any inaccurate generalizations but why is it one large, silent man works stoically preparing the main course while the smaller, attractive waitresses slice vegetables and serve drinks? If you think about it, that’s the way it usually is. I guess it’s because women are just more settling and pleasing to interact with, by nature. At least for me.

As usual, an array of liqueurs and Virgin Radio, London are my companions as I reflect on how I can’t accurately describe how happy this city makes me. I’m usually met with surprise when I tell natives how much I love it here or how beautiful I think it is. Even in English I have difficulty emphasizing how the ambient energy and endless variance makes my heart swell with sick love.

[after some necessary coasting around Harajuku on my bicycle and the procurement of a cheese-like substance…]

I’ve said it many times before, but I love this city. It fills me with a tingling excitement that comes from feeling my heart stirred in so many ways at once. I want to live in East Harajuku above a pop clothing shop, one of dozens. I want to see the soot stains along concrete walls greet me as I climb the stairs to a unique flat with a view of rusting awnings and crystal clear store windows. I want my art to blossom like a rising fountain, an outpouring that effervesces from my soul and twists tendrils of arching electricity that’s made of the stuff in every heart from the farthest mountain campsite to the nexus of a morning commuter train packed with perspiring, glassy-eyed hopefuls carving a living in a quietly pulsing organism of culture, money, lust and tradition. I want to draw all of this in deep inside with one breath like a joint and have it simmer up through the pores on my neck. To dream and write and drink and cry and hurt a thousand tragedies at the cusp of joy, that is the trash novel I want to live inside.

Legend of Me

I’m pleased to announce (more than you know) that yesterday marked the released of F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu (Legend of Falcon) to gaming enthusiasts nationwide. This title is of particular interest to us as it features voiceover work done entirely by me. Though I have done voiceovers for other games in the past, none of them were of the mass-commercial release variety, so needless to say I’m quite charged to have had a chance to do something I’ve always loved (using my voice and personality to entertain) on a scale of hundreds of thousands of people.

I recorded over 150 discrete things to say, but as is common in our industry, size limitations saw roughly 30% of the material make it into the tiny Game Boy cartridge. However, there are plenty of times you may hear me say “Choose your car!” or “3 laps to go…”. Those exceptionally familiar with my voiceover history may notice a “GOOOOAAALLL!!!” reminiscent of the Spanish-localized version of Dance Dance Anubis 2.

Anyway, please go out and buy it if you like racers. (US release is mid Jan-Feb next year.) I don’t receive any royalties other than deriving pleasure from the fact you can now hear me say “Congratulations!” any time you wish. 😉 It was great to be a part of a game series my brother and I have appreciated for a long time, to say nothing of working with Nintendo. Look for me in the manual and credits (if you can beat it), I appear with a number of aliases so you’re sure to know me.

Here’s a couple in-game movies in which you can hear my work, as well as the TV spot.

Anniversaries and Holidays

Today is Thanksgiving. Like any other day, I struggled with waking up for work, hungered for more than I had time to eat, and arrived home some thirteen hours after I left. In the meantime, nearly every one of my kinsmen and compatriots is waking up to spend four days away from stress, worry, and strive to focus on family, friends, and good fortune. This weekend also marks my being in Japan for six months. I won’t be cliche’ and say it seems like only yesterday, though I will admit I wish I had made more inroads socially and done more non-work related things. I suppose all I can do is endeavour to continue a cumulative acceleration towards a more perfect balance with my life. There has to be a way I can make my programming tasks evaporate more quickly and with less pain.

Along those lines I think that despite the hated “weekend warrior” rut I’m slipping into, I may have a solution to the sporadic blogging. It probably won’t come until Christmas though, because I can’t seem to find one easily here. In the meantime, I’m still collecting all these sticky notes and reverse-sides of defunct schedules that bear the larva-like jewels of my nascent hobby.

So today please give thanks for being alive. In the blissful company of your loved ones, or across the sea on your own.

I wish there were more outdoor parties this time...

Ever, Ever Raving

I wish there were more outdoor parties this time of year but I guess it’s too cold at night.

I took good advantage of my Seiyu [owned by]/Wal-Mart bicycle today for the first time. Though my wandering expeditions lose a little something in detail when on wheels, the tradeoff is I get to cover a lot more ground quickly.

I didn’t spend nearly as much time out as I did in October, but I got a little later start and it gets darker (rendering my camera useless) much earlier now. Having spent the majority of my excursions pushing south, I decided to head east today and took my instinctual meandering path up and down through backstreets and avenues, though more or less I followed the Chuo-Sobu line from Sendagaya to Akihabara and then back west-by-northwest to Akasaka, the national palace and down to Shinanomachi to meet my old running route through the Meiji outer gardens.

A canal off the Sumida-gawa by Ichigaya and an autumn temple on Shichi-Go-San (Children’s Day).

I think that the bulk of my recurring difficulties involve maintaining good physical and mental health (something I’m not used to as my college lifestyle blinded me to such introspective avenues), and as a result, how much difficulty I have with work. That being said, I am quite certain I love Tokyo like a shadowy-eyed girl that gives me equal amounts of bristling fascination and quiet dedication.

Tokyo is a characteristically Japanese product in that it has the uncanny ability to continually surprise you with how much functionality and variety is seamlessly woven into its every curve. Austere parks line the rivers and then fade slowly past police boxes and concrete embankment murals. Thin, slate mosaic walkways skirt unchecked vegetation under towering expressways as the glow of media and financial neon is nearly consumed by a motionless net of trees. In twenty minutes I can buy five pairs of slightly small (for me) socks, go through 200ml of tea in a perfectly shaped bottle, admire a spotless office park and still have time to catch a restless look from any number of powdered service girls in fur.

It’s as if bits and pieces of every great city in the world were copied, shrunk down, and then twisted into neatly drilled holes supported by a canopy of thick-shielded power lines and PA systems. The suburb where I work has started playing “It’s a Small World” over a network of loud speakers seemingly every 15 minutes of the shopping day. Specialty shops carry Winnie the Pooh and Snoopy in Santa outfits as the grand marbled hotel plazas wrap white Christmas lights and hearts around tragically sooted pillars.

Though a little tired and windblown from darting down more than several stone-lined hills, I feel incredibly satisfied with my three hours’ outing and look forward to tomorrow with pedestrian shopping and luxuriously far more time to accomplish my few humble errands than I need. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll lose myself in a cup of hot chocolate and a threadbare corduroy blazer from one of Harajuku’s seemingly endless community of vintage shops.

Disney Sea

I went to Tokyo Disney Sea yesterday. It was pretty cool. Our company was honoring the completion of numerous long-running projects in October (among them a first delivery of our uber-project to the publisher), so we had in the words of Wallace and Gromit, a grand day out.

Disney Sea is about four years old, adjacent to the pioneering foreign Disney installation, Tokyo Disneyland (currently celebrating its 20th anniversary). Whereas TDL is what you’d expect, Disney Sea on the other hand is slightly different though still characteristically Disney. It’s been called the most mature of all Disney’s parks, generally quiet and calm, lacking the aggressively festive atmosphere and abundance of merchandise vendors every three feet.

The thoroughfares are wide and spacious, the various themed sectors presenting their character to varying degrees of charm (I was a bit disappointed with Mysterious Island, but on the other hand Arabian Nights was quite refreshing). Near American Waterfront is a bouquet of shops and restaurants equipped to serve alcohol, though I wish the upper stories of McDuck’s Department Store were accessible. (They may very well be only facades.) A large steam cruise ship is in the harbor behind a massive Christmas tree, and an outdoor stage production provides entertaining musical numbers.

The Indiana Jones Adventure was quite entertaining, I had the surprising reaction of being unable to stop laughing from the excitement several minutes after it was over. The jolting of the car works wonderfully in chorus with the sounds and shock visuals. The animatronic characters were quite impressive and lifelike as well. I bought a jungle green t-shirt with my favorite Harrison Ford personality for about thirty dollars, but I’m sure I’ll be wearing it for at least six or seven years.

The Little Mermaid area was very well done, an undersea cave filled with little rides, a myriad of lights and creative decoration. The stage show was pretty impressive too: the actors were extremely talented, vivacious and sporting delightfully original costumes part human, part mechanical.

I realize I’m starting to sound way too much like a pompous theatre critic, so I’m going to take a break…

[one episode of TNG later…]

I notice that I’ve become critical and disenchanted with my writing recently. I wonder if this is due to a valid observation of its quality or merely discontentment with the atmosphere under which I write (often feeling tired and that I have other things both pleasant and otherwise to do). Perhaps it’s a combination of both. I feel the same way about my photography during cyclic periods of the year. I wish I could produce things that I’m satisfied with under some kind of consistency, but I suppose until I achieve a greater understanding of the causes- mental, physical and biological, it will continue to be hit and miss. This may also be due in part to the artist’s apathy and how the demand for regular and premeditated delivery kills the creative process. Who knows.

Anyway, it was a nice weekend that passed all too quickly. I messed up my back after getting an impromptu massage from my company president while standing in line for lunch yesterday. It might have caused more damage than help; I can’t turn my head to the left now without intense pain and it hurts to get up and down out of bed. Here’s a picture from yesterday, should have a nicer one soon after I pool my data with the not-so-inferior cameras of my coworkers.

Early

I have a long-seated loathing for waking up early, one that surpasses the joy and anticipation of so many Easter and Christmas mornings spent rollicking around the house in pajamas and slipper-socks. It comes from a string of long-journeys, usually involving some considerable amount of physical discomfort and fitful sleep.

When I was fifteen I had major surgery on my chest to correct a genetically-inherited disorder known as pectus excavatum. My sterum has always grown in a cork-screw inward direction, and my ribs and breastplate are dislocated, placing an unnatural amount of pressure on my internal organs. Aside from the cosmetic effects of an asymmetic and under-developed torso, long term side-effects include increased stress on the heart and lungs. Upshot is I had extensive corrective surgery where my sterum was broken and chest bones repositioned. At fifteen, I wasn’t looking forward to my first hospital visit since birth. We left at roughly four in the morning after a sleepless night for a long morning of pre-op in Baltimore.

I used to hate flying. Loathed it. I think that grew out of getting airsick in flying to the Ozarks for my great-grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary when I was six. How small my world was back then, never being more than a couple hours’ drive away from home. I insisted that somehow I would survive college and my career with my trips to the airports few and far between. Ha. As Counselor Troi says “the best way out is through.” After my rise to computer science department student representative at Virginia, I found myself accelerating into an explosive suite of paid flights for interviews, contests and appearances, the dot-com age of recruiting was still in full-force at the end of the 90s, and I was virtually required to be jet-setting on its coattails. I travelled twelve thousand miles in three months after previously rarely venturing any father than two states. Already I marvel at how boastfully accomplished the traveler I thought I was then, where now routinely crossing the Pacific three times a year. Still, at the dawn of my era of enlightenment, fatigue and a mild sense of dread were the prerequisites for those morning rides to Dulles or BWI in my father’s stoic, smoke-filled sedan.

So many pre-dawn rousings for the fraternity did little to improve my sentiment for my grandfather’s adage of “early to bed, early to rise…“. Everytime I awoke to the cold darkness it was matted hair, track pants and eyes glued shut with sleep while Brandon waited with a sports drink bottle of water in the pitch den. We walked in silence, the only sounds the swishing of nylon against nylon, fingers cupped under arms as the we waited the long, hard minutes for the Neon’s diminutive heater to provide yet another bitter reminder of how blissful the sleep we were sacrificing was. Someone would be late. Someone else would be late. Someone would go to call the first person from Small Hall (cell phones were not yet practical). The first person would arrive in supposed ignorance of the planned meeting time. We’d wait for the person who went to call to come back. Someone would go after them. We’d give up on someone and mutter about how many dozens of pledge tasks would be piled upon the woeful class for such insubordination. The roll would meet with mixed results. Some of us would go back to bed for a late class, some would give up and sleep through it. Some would go to O’Hill and be the first at the omelet bar.

I want to change the seemingly insoluble abhorrence I have for waking up early. In a perfect world I’d display the lunar efficiency of my father and have three hours of work done in blissful solitude before anyone else even showed up at the office. Then I could leave at the end of the “working hours” posted on my contract at 6:30 and share a normal life with the millions of 20-something office workers, teachers, and shopkeepers.

The Dalai Lama says change in five steps: education, conviction, determination, action, effort; the last of which requires consistent application for a substantial period of time. He wakes up at 3:30 to start the day. I guess the least I could shoot for is 7. I wonder not what tomorrow’s attempt will bring, but the average for the next three weeks.

(the yearning for going) Back to basics

This once-a-week blogging isn’t suiting me, especially since it seems to happen only when someone’s in the shower. Is that truly the only 45 minutes of reflection I’m getting every 168 hours? Anyway, I have no plans tonight other than calling Mom (as usual), so I guess how much I write depends on what time I get away from work. I’m batting a 23:08 average for the week, so I don’t know if that portends good or bad for tonight. Anyway, it’ll all get turned on its head soon as I currently have next Friday through the following Monday slated for birthday vacation. I’m sure I’ll talk about that, I’m going to be 24 (the color bit-depth of most non- alpha-enabled graphics cards). Wow, that sounds lame. I gotta stop dreaming about people from work and technology. Sleeping at the other end of the bed certainly causes one to hit their head.

Aha, that rhymes. I should pen that for my new band, Whitespace.

Halloween is coming…can’t you just smell the gourds?

Cold, quiet, gray that says a lot

I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about Kawasaki that feels right and makes me a little uneasy at the same time. Most of the metropolitan area doesn’t have enough trees in my opinion, but still I feel an odd hazy peace while sitting by the sliding glass door to the capsule-like balcony. The same city that just a few weeks ago soothed my heart with the organic bustle of families and laughing children, is now a drizzly shadow of that tableau.

It’s been misting, raining, off and on all afternoon. The sky is the sort of muddy grey that reminds me of so many watercolor paintings I destroyed as a child, the levels of back- and foreground running together from too much moisture and not enough waiting…the top of the scene washed out and pulpy, the bottom studded with pockets of dye that would later dry into ugly blots.

There is hardly a sound outside, save for the distant echoes of planes at Haneda, or an exceptionally large truck on some expressway shielded by drab buildings. A handful of scraggly evergreens rock weakly in the breeze from time to time, the only feeble sign of life. Quite a barren and depressing picture to be sure.

Still, it feels right. It’s a day that precedes a similar night, only with more rain, and that kind of time falls quite easily into one of the vast flagstones of memory in my heart, the wide steppes of so many autumn and winter nights spent as a child going out with my mother and her best friend’s family. Those dark, soaked parking lots outside the mall, the fog condensing on the inside of the car window, a strand of my friend’s long hair getting stuck on the glass just near the door lock, and how dirty I thought it was, spoiling the perfect pristine sterility that my mother kept for every belonging she had. I wanted to reach out and remove it, but I knew if I did it would just get pushed around, sticking to the wet glass, and then my clammy fingerprints would further ruin the clean window, not only now but in a few days after it dried and there was only an unwanted smudge left behind.

Don’t get me wrong, those nights were a lot more than just worrying about breaking the perfect, ordered menagerie of my mother’s Accord. They were about me wearing goose down filled cotton coats, and my friend in a pale blue and cream nylon vest, one of thousands so popular circa 1988. The sound of the windshield wipers moaning against the windshield, the forbidden excitement of being inside the mall just before closing. The oh-so-early Christmas decorations, mountains of pulled cotton, styrofoam, and spray snow.

Now several shades darker than twenty minutes ago, Belle and Sebastian are falling near the end of yet another amazing forty-eight minute backdrop to quiet, slightly heartbroken life, and I feel the gentle tug to go out and visit the local equivalent to those long-lost nights in commercial suburbia. Maybe we’ll go see a movie. Maybe we’ll have dinner at a table with candles and too much atmosphere. Maybe fifteen years from now I’ll be writing of someplace else on a cold October evening, and how it reminds me of Kawasaki.

In a city of light and dark places

It’s strange how your life can change if you’re not looking directly at it. Everyone who survives has a strategy, a series of tactics worn into the folds of the mind. Each may begin as a joke, an imitated mannerism not taken seriously at the moment. But in the unintentional feeding of a scared and lonely heart, these little things soon become big things: tucking an errant piece of hair behind the ear, always walking Z to A in the video store. Things that are familiar are safe, and not wanting to wander too far from the warm places that we thrive, we carry a shoeboxfull of memories, catch phrases, and expressions wherever we go. The more places we go and the more frequently we encounter conflict, the faster this rubber-band ball grows. Some pieces fall off along the way, but some are as unforgettable as the scent at your mother’s neck.

Being out of school is strange. Some say that you have more freedom, while others claim you’re allowed less. My mentor at work said that time always moves faster as you get older. I figured this would be due to the fact that each year becomes a smaller percentage of your life to the present, but he thinks it’s because you do less. It always seemed to me that when I was doing tons of things, time flew by. It was when I spent a summer without a job that I felt the days really stretched out. What is a lot? People tell me that now at 23 I’ve done more than they’d done by 35. Is that a good thing? I have a lot of memories but recently I seem to not have my health. Am I burning too fast?

I want to keep learning, keep falling in love, keep discovering things I never imagined to exist. The directors of my graduate program enjoy boasting that in two years at the center, you get more than five years of knowledge for the industry. I used to joke that it’s because we worked 2.5 times as many hours per week as a normal person. I enjoy this time now in solitude to reflect, but I think that I don’t know how to handle it as well. I almost miss the light sweat of just barely squeezing everything in to a week.

I guess one thing that doesn’t change regardless of who I’m with or what they think of me is that I’ve alive. And that’s incredible and fulfilling enough a challenge by itself, even without all my mental jewelry.

We Form in Crystals (really starting to lose control)

Have you played Star Ocean 2? Aside from the ever-annoying “.. … ….” bubbles (further reinforcing how Japanese derive satisfaction through enduring mindless repetition), it’s a pretty good game. I think. I’ve been told. I got maybe 40 minutes in, but haven’t played it in many months as I made the oh-so-common zealous gamer/romantic mistake of naming the heroine after my then-girlfriend.

I want to write. A lot. Everyday. I want to write so much the frustration of not writing joins the frothing river of anguish I carry from my work and deteriorating health. More precisely, I am unable to write because my nights are as much pain as the laborious days. I can’t recall a day when I didn’t wake up feeling nauseated and about to throw up from fatigue. My memory is failing me, and I can’t concentrate on anything for more than ten minutes at a time. I’m going to a clinic next week to beg mercy and help with my rapidly dissolving grip on sanity. The amount of things I want (and know I can with normal health) to do is increasing asymptotically to my careening grip on basic life maintenance. If you know me, pray for me. I need it.