Thursday, December 23, 2004

NY Journal # 23

Thursday, December 23, 2004
If I've learned anything through my writing, it is this:
° I need only to write about something to make it not happen anymore. As in: snow. as in,.. the snow i spent so much time talking about loving. As in, there's not even a damn flake left on the streets. Grrr. I'm trying to keep that diamond-in-a-pile-of-dookey-attitude that says "Oh, but it makes the snow on my birthday so much more special!" it doesn't. but that's ok. Self delusion is a skill that must be honed with practice, like my finely tuned jedi powers.
° In reading some of my past journals, I think i come off as a bit of an ass. Maybe I dont most of the time, but sometimes I think "who is this ass writing these things?" sometimes pretentious, sometimes i think i'm just trying to hard to write well. Or maybe not. self analysis is a skill i should probably try to practice less.
° Having said that, I think I may be getting better at this writing thing. Granted, this is a weblog.. or journal.. in effect, a diary... and not the op ed page of the New York Times, but the regular practice seems to be having some positive effect. If i ever hope to make writing a profession, I'll have only benefited from all these.. "first drafts"... so to speak... It's the editing, not the writing, I've found, is the more important skill to improve.
° Hi, my name's Kory and I am a chronic abuser of punctuation. "Hi Kory.."
° I think my fight-or-flight reaction is set a little too much on the 'flight' side because every time I want to talk to a girl, my initial, gut urge is to turn and run away. fast and with reckless, arm-flailing abandon. Maybe I should just be fighting them instead..? again, with reckless, arm-flailing abandon. do girls like that? There's only one way to find out! (yes, I'm kidding)
today on the subway. the abso-lutely most kory's-ideal, bespectacled, jewish-girl-next-door, straight-shoulder-length-dark-hair, finely-but-not-too-finely dressed, physically fit in a .. I'll go with.. tennis-or-maybe-pilates-or-dare-I-say-yoga kind of way, little-or-no-make-up and ... most alluringly... somewhat bookish in that shy, reserved, probably-cute-soft-voiced kind of way. And as I played out our entire future together - from our beginnings as a globe-treking travel writer (me) and world reknowned archeologist and astronaut (her) to our back to back Pulitzer and Nobel prizes to our three kids, house on a river, a small motor boat and successful astronaut career's pension making life comfortable in our graying days....... I knew I wasn't going to talk to her. Not today, I told myself, the next time i see her! Pardon me, but what the hell kind of thinking is that? In a city of 8 million, I'm banking on running into her again?? Would that be before or after I find that huge bag of money? I mean, really.
still, she rides the 1/9 line & gets off at South Ferry station also so there's a chance I'll run into her again. or.. run away from her. or fight her.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
And a spell was cast on him wherein words to wish or words of fact would summon the opposite effect.
And so it was.....
I told my dad on christmas day that it hadn't snowed since my birthday... six days prior. I walk outside and ... sure enough... chilly, flakey goodness falling all around. I was on my way to a Perry St coffee shop to read for a while but ended up enjoying walking in the snow too much to stop. An hour or so later, I ended up at my local nfl-satellite bar to read while glancing up at the different games occassionally. This always brings about weird looks from fellow patrons who cant seem to understand why anyone would go to a sports bar ... and then not glue their eyes to tv commercials and the bottoms of a string of pint glasses - which in a strange twist of symbiosis, mirrors my not understanding how people can watch commercials and drink during the day. Not that there's anything wrong with either...

Sooo... christmas was hard. not for it's not resembling any christmas I've ever known, in terms of trees and stockings and presents and their absolute lack thereof - which i was suprisingly fine with - but because this was the christmas I had sort of "used" to motivate my mom to stay strong and look forward to. It was her favorite holiday so we were hoping that'd help motivate her too - which just makes it all the more painful.. not that it was really a matter of motivation of course. This reality of her absence is sinking in, much deeper in the past few days. I spoke to her a mere few weeks ago and the thought that that's not possible, any more, at all, ever .... yeah well.... hard. very hard to deal with.
Not that my mom would have benefitted from it, but this is an interesting news story She certainly had the fear, but the fact that it was brain cancer may have precluded her from the study.

No plans as of yet for New Years Eve. something semi-mellow hopefully. no way, right? me? wanting to do something mellow? my life needs an adrenaline I.V. yeesh.
actually, i took a step towards that the other day, signing up for a winter volleyball league - very exciting. it's been... good lord... probably 3 years since I've even stepped onto a court. "fi-nal-ly!".

Fun with links! and fun links! and ... fun.. ?
Come to NY, we'll go here and here (going there this wknd) and we'll go here and here and here and to some of these.
facts, facts and more facts - always good reading
and even more facts!

Thursday, December 30, 2004
There's nothing like 150,000 people and counting dying to put your own mourning into perspective. But not really. And then yes, really. but no. not at all. and then, yeah, a whole lot. Which is maybe why the media keeps reporting the story in the context of how many Americans died in the tragedy. It seems that the only way we can understand tragedy is if familiar players are involved. "12 Americans died? - Hey! I'm American. they probably said things like 'oh no!' 'sh!t!' 'run from the water!'" instead of... i dont know, some African-tribal-mouth-clicks or the seeming non-language-ness a lot of American think of when they hear most Asian languages. Someday in the not so distant future, media will be so finely tuned to self-serving, single-mindedness that we'll only get news based on our personal interests: "Seven Volleyball Players Killed as Meteor Wipes out Fiji" or maybe "Three Ex-patriate Oakland Raider fans to live under new Sumatran Government" or "Dayani's worldwide now number at 23,698" and in weather: "The Weather Over Your Head Will be 61° Today" - to the total exclusion of anything that doesn't directly affect us. Isn't it sort of that way already? 116,000 people. people like you. but not really. Because the news stories that make the paper are about how some Russian supermodel and her boyfriend survived. Or how Jet Li and his son made it (and right there even, I'm guilty of having that relate to me, having been a long time Jet Li fan... in a strange bit of coincidence, I saw his movie Hero the night before the tsunami). Critics would argue that you cant paint 116,000 pictures to match their stories, so aside from some video clips of it happening there's no way to tell the whole story accurately or equally. To those critics, I would say "the answer isn't to focus on celebrities, then!" to which they might say "I see, you'd like more of the babies-found-floating-on-doors or biological-dad-reunited-with-orphaned-son-he-saw-on-tv type human interest stories?" to which I'd have to say "ok, no, not those either" to which I'd then hear "well then what about the political side? how the U.S. initially offered a "stingy" amount of money (said someone in the U.N.) and how Powell got offended and said there was more money coming?" to which I'd sigh and say "nooo... you're right, I dont want to hear about countries throwing money at tragedy in the hopes it'll go away or at least away from their tv's and papers" from which I'd hear "Well, what then?? what's fair? how should they be remembered? honored? grieved for?" and, in probably a whisper, I'd say "I dont know". Maybe we just cant understand anything higher than single digit death tolls. Humans can barely wrap their minds around a single death let alone a few deaths - what do you think of when you think of 9 people dying? is it different from 23 people? 114 people? do you picture a small room full of people? an airplane full? I can picture roughly 3,000. roughly picture. And even then, I dont truly understand it. Despite all the practice the media's given me over the years... all the tributes, the t-shirts and bumper stickers, the documentaries and news stories. The September 11th victims, some with faces in our memories, some, just remembering the feeling of listening to the reading of the names on the anniversaries - seems to have instilled some sense of understanding of the amount of the loss of lives. but not really. in fact, not at all. y'know? What does 3,000 people look like? I know what 60,000something people looks like based on Raider game sell-outs, can I just double it for this tsunami death toll? Would it even mean anything to be able to visualize that many people all together? I'm having enough trouble coping with one death and even then, I know my dad is going through much more than I am. Can I, or you, or anyone be held accountable to emotionally process the deaths of 116,000? Is it just the difference between empathy and sympathy? Does repeatedly being confronted with death disolve sympathy into apathy? or are we all headed towards a global state of apathy? You know what doesn't help? 13 soldiers after 26 soldiers after 10 soldiers after 34 soldiers dying day after day after week after month after month. Whatever your political persuasion or whether they're 'needless' deaths or not.. we're being anesthetized by their constancy. that cant be good. or maybe it is. Maybe it's good that the human mind turns off when it's not so personal or the numbers climb too high.

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