Saturday, August 30, 2003

Thump. Thu-thump. Thump thu-thump thump thump thump thump. THUMP! THUMP!

I strike the heavy punching bag again and again, trying not to pretend it's really someone else.

Thump. A tingle shoots through my left wrist. The bag swings mockingly.

THUMP! The tingle goes all the way to my shoulder this time and it grows into a jangle on it's way.

The bag swings smugly.

I bare my teeth in a perverse semblance of a smile.

Foolish bag. I'm right-handed.

Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!


And now I'm no-handed.

Looks like it's time for sit-ups. Hopefully I'll still be able to jump-rope.

The drops of my sweat that have flown onto the bag gleam in the weak light. The bag wears them proudly, like shiny new victory medals. I start to turn away, disgusted with myself for having been beaten by an inanimate object.

Then the theme from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out (an old-school Nintendo game) starts emanating from my CD player. It is actually a cover of the original theme, done by the Minibosses.) Just under the music I can hear an eight-bit animated crowd roar that they want more, more, MORE!

I turn back to the bag.

Perfect timing, MiniBosses.

That stupid bag still doesn't know what hit it.

Today is Day One of trying to undo the damage I've done to myself. Since I turned 21 over three months ago on May 12, I have been systematically destroying my body with a wicked combo of excessive alcohol and potato, egg, and cheese burritos from Riva's.

And believe me, it shows.

I guess I can't say tonight's workout didn't damage more of me than it un-damaged. I guess that there is an inherent danger in tapping into "negative" emotions to fuel a workout.

Of course, I should know that by now, and so should anyone who used to see me running up and down hills in Kiwanis park until I would throw up into the nearest trashcan.

What a great relationship that was, at least for my physique.

I went out for sushi, with my friends Brian and David, and through a Herculean effort I managed not to order one of the huge bottles of Asahi beer that I love so well. Someday, Asahi. Just not today.

Since we were three guys in a bar, the conversastion naturally turned to fake breasts. It was actually sparked by the entrance of an unnaturally well-endowed woman. The consensus was that fake breasts were not ideal. One reason cited was that sometimes they just look silly. I admitted that fake breasts make me "wary." And they do. When I meet a woman with fake breasts (well, if it is obvious enough that I can tell) I have to wonder what this person is trying to achieve by increasing her bust size.

Hey, maybe she's trying to get me to like her! Hell, all she has to tell me is that she's read Moby Dick and likes The Nightmare before Christmas and I'll probably swoon at her feet. No need for fake breasts at all; cut out the middle mam.

So either she just doesn't know how to win my heart, or she's up to something completely different.

So I'm always wary at first.

I guess as guys go we didn't have very average male discussions. Not that being crude would have been looked down upon. When asked what I thought of fake breasts, I could have easily answered "Yum, yum, gimme some!" and that probably would have been good for a laugh.

But I didn't say that, for the sake of the discussion.

You're Still Here?!

Wow, I haven't mean to write so much, it's just that it's been kinda quiet around my blog-o-sphere circle. It's eerie for me to watch blogs that have dried up from neglect roll past like tumbleweed. I'm sure I'm exaggerating. When you've been haunting this ol' ghost town as long as I have, ya tend to ramble on just fer to hear your own voice.

Well, that and I haven't been sleeping well.

Friday, August 29, 2003

A friend of mine once asked me why I don't post about everything I do.

This is why:

I dragged myself out of bed this morning at about 10:30 am. It was a bit rough since I hadn't gone to sleep until four. I hadn't been up late for academic reasons, like most of my friends. I had been up reading The Briar King by Greg Keyes that he had given me at the Comic-Convention. (Admission to the Con: $50 dollars. Cafeteria-style food court pizza: $5. Watching Mr. Keyes show a little too much interest in Brian Young: Priceless.)

I took a shower. I scrounged up some breakfast. I put on Puccini's La Boheme (the opera I think Moulin Rouge is very loosely based on) and cracked open my Italian homework. After about 20 minutes of La Boheme I got annoyed and put on Verdi's Aida. I'm really not familiar with opera at all but I do know that I am starting to dig this Verdi guy. I'm sure he'll go far.

So I completed my Italian homework, but barely. I'm in 201 but I have forgotten more than I'm even sure I learned. ("So what do your people call all these noodles with meatballs in tomato sauce?") My class begins at 1:00, so I head out at about 12:30. It's not a very interesting drive, all freeway. But I rock out as best as I can on my way there. It is difficult since all my speakers are blown except for on my front driver's side, but that's all I need. (Note: Watch MTV with the volume turned all the way down. This is what you look like when you are singing in your car.)

Class goes fairly well. I learn a lot (it's called spaghetti.) There is a girl in my class, Erin, who has sort of a tribal sea turtle tattooed on her foot. I like it. It makes me think a tribal sea turtle might look pretty hip on my right shoulder. Maybe.

Back in Real Time: My roommate's cat Sashimi has just gotten stuck to the Batman costume hanging up in my closet. That's what you get, cat. Her brother, Rorshak, which is mine, knows better than to paw at my stuff. You would think Rorshak would know better than to try to keep getting outside, but no, he still tries to leap out of the door everytime I come in the house and I have to punt him back inside like a little furry football. (Note: This is the same Batman costume that Eric Piatkowski would run across Mill Avenue in back in the old apartment days.

So class ends, I go home, pick up my resume and go apply for a job. It seems to go well. They ask me why I was fired from my last job. I stick to my story in case they check with my past employers.

I stop by my parent's house on my way home. No one is there. Undaunted, I fix myself an early dinner and watch the end of "That 70's Show" while I eat. The quiet of the house gets to me. A couple of weeks ago when my younger brother Donaldo was home on leave the place had been downright bustling, just lousy with family. A couple of days after he left for Fort Benning, Georgia, my little sister, Barbara, had left to go to college in Mexico for six months. Now the Lopez children in the state of Arizona number only three. It sucks. A lot.

Ah, well, more food for me.

I returned to my home. I posted something, I think. Then I fell asleep. It wasn't a very good sleep.

I dream: I wake up in a hospital bed, completely alone. The palms of my hands are all torn up, but don't appear to have been treated at all. They aren't even bandaged. I leave the hospital and wander the city streets. Night is falling. I wander aimlessly, holding my hands palms up and away from my body so that blood doesn't get on my pajama bottoms. No one else is around, it's just me trudging down the streets. An IV bag is still attached to me somewhere, and it trails on the ground behind me. From a distance I might look like a pathetic little kid stubbornly dragging along a deflated red balloon.

My hands hurt, not dream hurt but an actual burning and I don't like it. I realize I'm dreaming at this point and my hands shouldn't really be hurting so I try to wake up using a trick I learned. I shut my eyes tight and then open them again. Usually this causes me to open them in real life as well since I'm a pseudo-sleepwalker.

It doesn't work this time.

I awake eventually, of course. It's almost 11:00 pm when I do. Mai-linh and I watch Futurama. "If rubbin' frozen dirt in your crotch is wrong, then I don't wanna be right." Heh heh, penguins with guns are also funny.

I head over to Brian Young's house where I should have been earlier since we all go to Rock Bottom off of Ray and the I-10 almost every Thursday (Pint Night.) It's right by Brian's house so we usually walk over there and then stumble back. I drop off an application I picked up for my friend David Dobell and in exchange he returns my copy of From Hell, which I grudgingly take back. It's not bad, technically it's amazing, but it really doesn't appeal to me. It's also nothing like the movie, I'm told (and I believe it, since I've seen and was incredibly disappointed by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on another Alan Moore work by the same name.)

I stopped by my parent's house again to find my older brother Miguel still awake. He lent me a copy of 1602 by Neil Gaiman. (These are all comics, by the way; everything I've mentioned with the exception of the Briar King is a comic.)

So I read that, and some more Briar King. I'm still halfway through The Art of Happiness that Dan Roche gave me. It's unusual for me to leave a book unfinished. I can count how many times on one hand: Six. But Dan still has my Dostoyevsky, so I'm holding the Dalai Lama for ransom. I got yer non-violence right here!

Then I laid in bed thinking about another book, The Truth About Taffy Sinclair. It's a book I read a long time ago about a girl in fifth grade who is an aspiring actress/model and is disliked by some of her peers but believes herself to be just "misunderstood." Misunderstood. Ha. There are words for girls like her.

But I was thinking about this book because I have acquired my sister's book collection since she left. It's an eclectic mix, much like my little library, ranging from Brave New World, The Chronicles of Narnia, Oedipus the King, My Teacher Glows in the Dark, and a whole bunch of Goosebumps books and a lot of sci-fi stuff by Hugo-award winning Orson Scott Card.

And of course, our old friend Taffy Sinclair.

But that book stands out because I read it at the same time as I read The Prophecies of Nostradamus and Life After Life ( a book that claimed to offer proof of life after death.) I was quite the indiscriminate reader. Taffy Sinclair and Nostradamus were on equal footing at that time in my life, both offering their take on what life and the world were all about.

I guess all those books had a common thread: they scared me.

And now I'm still at my house, writing. It's almost 6:00 am.

Again, in answer to your question, this is why I don't post about everything I do.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

On a great rare occasion I remember that I can click on that little rainbow-colored icon on the side of my blog and see how many people have visited this site. I love seeing how the average amount of time an individual is on is usually ridiculously short, for instance, 3.4 seconds.

Maybe I should put up a better picture of myself, eh?

I also try to be a gracious host and hit up any sites that I haven't seen or heard of before that for some reason or other send people to me. It can be pleasantly surprising.

And also rather disturbing.

I'm sure this is a common phenomenon, but I'm certainly not used to being stumbled up in such... unsettling ways.

(What really creeps me out is that the refering page is something like page 800 on this person's search. Twisted and persistent.)

But it's not all bad. I had to laugh at this one.

I assume of course that the person was looking for the answer to their question, not some poor shmuck who is also constantly wondering the same thing. I worry about the repercussions; a mistake like that could get Google shut down.

On linking:

At the moment I have only linked people I know, or at least have seen (even if only from a distance.) This is for selfish reasons mostly. I want to know what these people are up to and I find it easiest to set it up so I can just get to them from here.

I have been to Los Angeles to attend a student conference on Objectivism run by the ARI. (I had just read The Fountainhead the week before and had been meaning to visit Annie Melchor anyway. Go Greyhound!)

I have gone to that Comic-Convention twice now. (Where I saw Neil Gaiman (from a distance.))

I have taken Dr. Barry's Intro to Ancient Philosophy.

So if it's up here, it's because I feel involved somehow. I have every intention of keeping it that way. Not that there isn't so much great stuff out there, because there is. It's amazing. But linking everything presents a logistical problem.

But if it's good, I'm willing to do a little work to get to it. And I will get to it. My persistence is only rivaled by that guy I mentioned earlier. (Although, I know at least one of my friends has a blog that no-one knows about and I still haven't found it.)

But linking and getting linked seems to be the name of the game in this mixed-up, gin-and-graphics blog world, and the troubles of some little Gurg getting violated by a search engine don't amount to a hill of server errors 'round here.

But I'm glad you stopped by, kid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Del Taco. Two o'clock, ante meridiem.

I order some fake Mexican food. I pull up to the window, please.

This Del Taco shares the corner with a gas station. A man is walking through the pumps, smoking. He is walking towards me. As he draws nearer, several characteristics are revealed that turn him from "a man" into "a bum." The bum walks up and stands unsteadily next to the drive-through window. I watch him.

I am wary, but not very because this bum is Caucasian, and since I'm Hispanic with a shaved head he's probably more frightened than I am. However, I'm not completely at ease because for all I know he could be nuts or at least not the kind of bum to stereotype people.

He steadies himself by leaning against the wall. He speaks: "Hey man, give me a ride to Scottsdale."

I respond: "No."

He appeals: "You want me to have to fuckin' walk, man?"

I respond: "I don't know you well enough to wish anything upon you."

He pauses for a moment. I don't think he understands what I just said. He counters my ploy: "It's a tight keep."

I don't understand what he means. I tell him so: "I don't understand what that means."

He speaks: "I'm trying to teach you something man."

I don't: ". . . . "

He changes the subject: "You think you can kill, man? Killin', you think it's easy!"

He's right, but I don't admit it: "You must know what I think better than I do."

He changes the subject...I think: "You're on a mission."

I don't, again: ". . . ."

His tone is that of someone who has just come to a conclusion: "Yeah, me and Jimi Hendrix."

I make my own conclusion: "I don't know Jimi either."

The drive-through window opens and a weary employee holds out my order. I take it and thank him, but most of my attention is still on the bum. The Del-Taco guy is asking me if I would like any hot sauce when he notices the bum right next to the window. He tells him that he can't be standing there and to go away. The bum mutters something at him and doesn't move. I shift into first gear and ease up on the clutch.

The bum yells as I pass him by: "Just keep driving!"

And I do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Stream

Long ago, when the Earth was new, there was a little stream flowing through the forest. Now this little stream was very unhappy. It would often think to itself, "I just ramble on and on through the forest, without any real purpose." It would look up at the great tall trees and feel very small. It would see the mountains standing majestically and the blazing yellow sun lighting and warming the world each day. It watched intently at the white fluffy clouds as the lazily raced each other across the bright blue sky. It would see hawks soaring freely through the air. When night fell, it would gaze longingly at the twinkling stars, so small, yet so bright. It would behold the shining moon drifting through the velvet night. It would watch in awe as the lightning flashed and tremble when when the thunder crashed and boomed. All this made the stream sadder and sadder. "I exist in such a beautiful world, full of marvelous things." It thought, "A small and purposeless bit of water like me does not belong in such a place." The little stream felt quite forlorn as it trickled on through the forest.

One day, as the stream was meandering along under the great trees, the blazing sun, and the eternal sky, it encountered a small child. The child was splashing happily in the water. The stream was intrigued. The sight of this child playing stirred something within the stream that it had never felt before. The stream slowed to observe this unusual sight. The child looked down into the water and made a silly face. The child giggled. The stream felt hurt. "Why do you laugh at me, child?" The stream inquired. The child giggled again.

"I am not laughing at you, little stream. I am laughing at my reflection." The child explained, amused.

"I do not understand." The stream said sadly.

"I can see myself in you." The child explained.

"Really?" The stream said, surprised.

"Yes," the child replied, "And I can see the trees, and the sun, and the sky, and the birds, and the clouds. I can see everything in you!"

The little stream was stunned. It could not believe that all those wonderful things it had seen and envied had been inside it all the time. As it was considering this, the child spoke again. "My father says you are going to the Sea."

"The Sea?" The stream asked, confused again.

"My father says the Sea is huge, with water as far as you can see. He says that all little streams like you end up there."

This was almost too much for the little stream. In the short time it had talked with the child, all of it's fears and sorrows had disappeared. It had a purpose. It was a part of something great. It was filled with joy. The child continued to play and made another face. This time the stream laughed right along with the child. Then the little stream, still laughing, went upon it's way.

Now all streams laugh to themselves as the make their way to the sea.

For Beth Froehlich, who is one of the most beautiful women in the world.