0 comments Sunday, May 30, 2004

I just started my summer job this week. I'm a secretary/registrar with the University of Oklahoma, but only part-time. It's nice because I only work 2-3 days a week, but it doesn't feel like I'm working enough. The job itself is pretty easy. All I really do is register students, copy papers, file paperwork, database entry, and some webpage coding. Still, I wish I was working a little bit more than 2-3 days, for monetary and entertainment purposes. I like the fact that I get my weekends with this job, which is something I usually don't get with my summer job.

That might change though. Since I don't feel I work enough with this job, I'm planning on filing for another part-time job with another organization here. This way, after budgeting, I'll have a fairly good amount of money for books and other essentials when I go back to college.

Besides work, the weather has been nice here. It's surprising, really. Usually it's raining until mid-June, but it's been really sunny lately. While it's been beautiful and nice, it has been causing the temperature to rise just a enough to turn the house into pre-sauna stage. Since we, along with 34 million other Europeans, don't have air conditioning it might be another arid, near-death summer like last year. I hope it doesn't get that hot, but right now it's starting to look that way.

As far as debate goes, I've found some topics for my informative speech but I'm not sure they will work. I think it's the fact that I keep thinking that the speech topic doesn't apply to everyone. Who knows, though. I'll have to bring them up with Marty and see what he says. As of right now, though, I've already dropped my ADS. I'm thinking of doing a CA or, heaven forbid, a Persuade. I'm not too sure. If I can't think of something, I'll just stick with my Inform, POI, and DI. Though, the POI and DI aren't coming along to smoothly either, I might add. I think it's the concept of a motivational link that makes these speeches hard to do. I can practice them, memorize them, and perform them, but it seems I have the hardest time with a motivational link. Which reminds me, I need to send my DI piece to Lacey. It is so cracked out, but that's what I love about it! It just means I can perform it better! Ha! Again, though, the motivational link is off. ::sigh::

So, I guess I better type that DI up and send it over. Then I can get back to reading and, occasionally, playing the guitar, DDR, or video games. w00t! XD

0 comments Saturday, May 22, 2004

Taking steps back through the places I thought I knew
I feel lost and there's nothing to say
So take it all away from me
and make me feel something again
because I can't feel this happening

Maybe it's just me
Retracing footsteps and trying to fill the spaces
with warmth in places
It never was, it went away
But I can't leave it be
when I'm coming down

I'll breathe the air and take in the sky
let it take me away
and I'll lose my mind
Until I see the places as empty spaces
where was and were collide
Still I break and ache that
back home is not much more
and ever less than it was before

0 comments Monday, May 17, 2004

Tight_rope courtesy of lisak10 at deviantart

Now that I'm back home and all is said and done for this semester, I'm still worried. I know they're posted or will be soon enough, and I'm afraid to check them. I'm afraid to see these marks that I'll carry with me like scars.

I know I did well and that I gave it my all, but I wonder if, in some cases, that was enough. Of course I managed and pulled through, but where do I stand? I want to know the answer. I want to feel assured about my efforts, but I can't get past the fact that maybe I stumbled along the way.

It's well enough to continue when you fall, but it isn't enough when you can't get back to where you were.

Perhaps that is what I'm most worried about.

I know my elevation in the topics I grasped and held on to; the topics I climbed and conquered. My elevation in the others, however, should be stated in depth so that one can see how far I fell before I drowned.

I obviously made it to shore, though, somehow. While the tidal wave threw me out to sea, tore me up along the way, and nearly drowned me in the depth of what is still unknown, I survived. It's just that I fear the recollection of it all. Tracing the ebbing back to the epicenter and wondering when and where I got swept into the hurricane.

Maybe I'm better lost at sea in my ignorant simplicity. Maybe...but for how long?

0 comments Friday, May 14, 2004

Counting down the days. Courtesy of explodingdog.com

It's finally over and I survived the storm, but I am weak. Although I was not cut, I was bruised and broken. Whirled around and tossed aside until I found I was really still standing in place.

It was strong and I was weak. I forged my body armor strong as I could, knowing that it wouldn't withstand every blow. There was too much, too fast and it overwhelmed me. It took me in at full force and left me in its wake.

And I didn't feel it anymore.

I didn't feel it the way it had surged through my body before. No, not this time. It was neither flushed nor prevalent, but suppressed as it always is in the aftermath. Yet, I still wait for the aftershock of what will inevitably be the definition of struggle and survival. The path of which has yet to be measured, valued, and expressed. I pray that I wasn't the destruction in the process of it all, but I feel that I was. Still, I have yet to see.

As for now, the days here have met there temporary end. They still continue on, but not for me. At least, not here. The days will continue for me elsewhere away from the eyes and embrace of the people I already miss. Yes, I want to go back home and be away from here, but only to be with family. I don't want to be alone again, trying to find usefulness in nothingness. I worry that I'll bored in my endeavors and wonderings of "what should I do next" because you won't be here to make me laugh or take me away when I need a break, although I may deny it. I'll only have myself to keep me company in the long haul with everything I have to do, that's why I'll miss you the most. You were my main and most favorite company. Between our late night chats, DDR, iceblocking, dorm-escape runaways, and numerous random visits to Shari's and Jack in the Box at the wee hours of the morning, I don't think I have to say what you already know: I'll miss you the most this summer.

I want to be home, but I don't want to leave home either. It's an issue I have yet to fully resolve. For now, though, all I can do is take a part of home with me to remind me of what I have to look forward to when I return and I know you'll be waiting, just as I am.

For just as I counted down the days to leave here, I'm already counting the days until I return.

Don't miss me too much even though I already miss you.

0 comments Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The calm before the storm.

I can see it clearly, edging ever so close but still distant. I see it, but I can't go back. As much as I want to run away and hide from it, my mind commandeers to remain in place on a course into the horizon.

And I feel it. I feel it within me. It's more than the twisting of my stomach into knots and my questioning of how I'll endure it. It's the familiar coldness before I become numb. It's the toxin that has entered my body that slowly, but surely, will kill me.

I'm only on the edge of ground zero and I'm already falling apart. I've tried to close my eyes and let go; to simply allow myself to be taken in the whirlwinds of fate and pray it scatters me close to shore so that I don't drown in my uncertainty. Yet, part of me fails to let go and accept it all; part of me strives to pass through the winds so that I soar above the sea and somehow, miraculously make it out safely.

One of them is the illusion; the other reality. Through time and my efforts, I have yet to see.

You live the life you're given with the storms outside
and somedays all I do is watch the sky...

0 comments Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Nearing the end of one road, and on to another.

Finals week. The week every college student crams all the knowledge they possibly can into a condensed study session in order to pass a certain class. Sometimes their efforts are worthwhile and very successful. Other times, however, their efforts are in vain. Condemned to wait until the finals are graded and the grades are in.


I'm nearing the end of this venture and it's got me wondering a lot of things that hadn't crossed my mind until recently. Testing of course, which I'll delve more into later. Perhaps most paramount is that of my favorite roommate Peter who moved out on Sunday. He now lives in an apartment with his nice, but somewhat creepy friend, David. While I'm ecstatic that he moved out and that I don't have to deal with his pious snobbishness, it has me concerned. Part of me says I shouldn't care, but part of me is agitated by how things went down this semester with him as my roommate. Originally, I wasn't even giving second thought to any of it until I talked to Sean, my other roommate, who mentioned the notable animosity between me towards Peter and Peter towards me. While talking to Sean, I learned that Peter basically thought he was better than everyone on the floor and was "displeased" with his roommates for not being as mature as him. Well, dear Peter, all I have to say is:

If you constitute: playing Diablo II, Starcraft, and Age of Empires all day, almost every day as mature; Playing video games incessantly instead of doing homework or trying to focus on school as mature; Not respecting your roommates when they ask you to be quiet as mature; being a self proclaimed "pious individual" as mature; snobbing everyone else because they aren't as mature; telling people what to do because it's not suitable or conducive to you because you refuse to compromise as mature; not upholding the obligation to keep the bathroom areas clean as mature; using your friend to spy on me when I'm sleeping or awake as mature; talking about me behind my back when I could clearly hear you as mature; being a hypocrite as mature, then I guess you must be God! Heaven forbid I found the holiest of holy and he lived with me! I should bow at your excellence and marvel in your benevolence. I am so incredibly sorry I ever wronged you by: telling you to keep it down from playing all your games and music with your subwoofer at just about the highest level possible; asking you to be quiet when I was doing my speech/debate and various other homework; being "inferior" to you; not snobbing people because I'm actually social enough to leave the room and talk to them; being able to compromise; keeping the bathroom clean until you dirtied it and didn't clean it after your "holy" mess; getting pissed when your friend spied on me because, after all, it's his right to since he doesn't even live here and has no business on my side of the room at all; allowing you to talk about me because I just thought it'd be better to let it go; and for being flawed but at least I'm willing to admit it. I'm not God, and I'm damn proud not to be. If I was, if...do you think I would ever have allowed you to do all the asinine things you did while you lived with me? Do you even think I'd spare your life for a second, if I were God? I certainly hope you think I wouldn't because there is no chance in heaven or hell that I'd have ever allowed you to do what you did and act the way you did to me, around me, and around my friends. You'd be dead.

I guess the best part about leaving the dorms and not ever having to see you again under a purposeful or obligatory nature is that, although I'm not God, you'll finally be dead to me. I won't have to worry about your nearly gay nagging or you...ever again.
You're dead.

As for testing, I took my first final of four and I know it went well. I will miss my favorite class this year: Japanese. I will also miss my favorite professor who encouraged me to continue both Japanese and Debate when I was unsure about my progress. Japanese, of course was a given for her to encourage me to continue in, but Debate was not. She was personalable enough that she cared to listen to my Debate experience from Spring Break and say: "Don't let it get to you so much. What he said was unfair, but you know and I know that you're a good student and your better than what he said. You'll do better next year, I can see the talent. You just need to keep harnessing it and you'll succeed. Just let it go, move on, and come back with force in the fall."
Besides Lacey, Barton, and my family (of course), her words and encouragement helped me through. I will miss seeing her every week on Mondays and Wednesdays. I learned a lot and I'm most thankful that somehow there is some sort of guiding force that places certain people in certain situations for certain reasons. Be it fate or chance, I respect whatever it was it allowed me to meet some great people this year and learn from all the situations, both good and bad, I was in.

Only three more finals to go and I'll be on my way home, but away from home at the same time. One road leads to another, but the path goes in both directions. I'll return to some of these roads again, but there are many more I have yet to take that, hopefully, will lead me to where I want to be.

0 comments Sunday, May 09, 2004

The road I'm on; On my own.

This year is finally coming to a close, and while I'm ready to leave this dormitory forever, I'm not completely ready to go straight home either.

It's been an interesting year, perhaps the most interesting I've ever lived and endured. I remember wanting to leave Germany with a propensity like no other as soon as I crossed that stage at graduation. That was my one wish: to return to the place I'd called home the whole time I was with my family and friends in Germany. Maybe that's part of the reason why I don't miss high school as much as everyone else seems to; I was still very attached to Idaho and the friends I had there. I knew that the military would move me around, but I didn't expect it to leave me torn apart between two places: home...and home.

Yet, home, as I've learned, is not so easily defined. At least not for me, not after this year.

Home can be many things. To some it is the place you go back to everyday after school, where you do homework and sleep; To some it is where your family is and the place you can go to anytime you need anything; and for others it's the warmth you feel when you walk in the door. For some it is all of those things, and for others it is none of those things. For me, Idaho was home under the third condition: it was the warmth I felt from the place I'd learned to love. It was the home I wanted to be at the entire time I was in Germany. I had strong connections with friends in Idaho, I had things to look forward to, but most importantly I felt the warmth here. It wasn't until I returned on August 10th that I began to realize, once I stepped out of the terminal, that maybe things had changed more than I realized.

The people I had been waiting to see for two years had changed; they weren't who I remembered, nor who I expected. Most of them appeared to be the same people, but certain aspects had changed within all of them. It wasn't that unsettling to see the changes in all of them as part of me expected it. I think, though, it was the radical changes in some people that I had cared for a lot that became parasite to me. I thought, at the time, I could learn to deal with the changes and accept the different person, but the missing past between us had, indeed, separated many of us. In the end, the infestation of loss corrupted my mind and I ended up severing connections with many of the people I had came back for. Some, in seeing the changes I had made, severed them with me in turn. It hadn't occurred to me, until then, that I was chasing the deceptive hollow facet of home. Once I came to terms with this conclusion, I felt broken and I felt that way for a long time. I can't exactly quantitate the length of time, but I felt like there was something missing in my life. I would write about it and ask various people both from here and from Germany, but their answers never seemed to be the right fit for the gap inside.

I continued with school in this state of mind, wondering what was missing and when I would find it. I'd go to bed at night wanting to be far away from this falsehood, but wondering where I really wanted to be. When I woke up, I'd take steps back in my memory and question why I ended up here without noting the signs. This cycle continued like this everyday, some more vicious than the others, until early December when I realized I'd be seeing my family soon. The following weeks dredged on until it was time to fly to Germany.

I packed up my luggage to see my family again, somewhat relieved to be going back to Germany. With my roommates leaving, this place began to feel lifeless and cold to me, and almost anyplace away from it seemed like a better option. When all was said and done, I got on the plane and went to Germany and contemplated many things on the way back. Mainly, I wondered if I wanted to come back to college in Idaho after all of the events that had happened in the first semester. As I reached German airspace, though, I let go of these thoughts, reminding myself to think about and voice them before it was too late.

With that, I returned to where I had started, but I knew much had changed here too. I came back to my parents, the people I missed more than anyone else since I left to college over 5000 miles away. It was somewhat awkward to see them again after four and half months, but as soon as I stepped out of the terminal I felt the warmth I'd been waiting to feel. It was the warmth of family; the kind that is always within, but kindled when together. We were together again, and in that moment that's all that mattered to me. I wasn't thinking about Idaho or the people in my dorm or college. We finally got back to my house where I was most happy to see the rest of my family: my brother, my sister, and the mutts. It felt like everything was complete, and I began to feel less of the gap.

Yet, over break, I still struggled with the question of returning to Idaho. I hadn't told anyone, but for a time, I was absolutely set on staying in Germany. Everything felt complete, expect for finding things to occupy the vast amount of time I had to myself. I had friends to hang out with, I had things to study, I could watch television, and I could sleep, but nothing seemed to fill the time the way outings at college did. Moreover, it became profoundly paramount to me that, while I felt whole and warm with my family, I didn't feel it in the places I had associated with being in Germany. The place I ended up despising the most turned out to be the place I spent most of my time, my former high school. It wasn't the place I remembered. The faces I associated with it seemed distant, perhaps in part to my lack of communication with them or perhaps because I had changed and felt distanced from them. Either way, I began to feel that Idaho was where I'd rather be even though it meant I was far from the home I've always had as home.

But, as I said before, home is not so easily defined. As break ended and I returned to Idaho somewhat torn apart, I wondered what lay in store in the coming weeks. Silently, I told myself that I would let this semester determine a lot of what I wanted to do in the coming year, and it has. Being here on my own, and with the help of others, has made me feel a sense of home here in Idaho. It's not the same sense I thought I had of Idaho at one time, but rather, the feeling that I'm not as alone as I thought I was during first semester. I've found friends who are, in many ways, my family away from family; my home away from home. Some have always been here (or near here...or over 1000 miles away from here), and others I found this semester. Perhaps that's why I'm not entirely ready to jump on the plane to Germany. I've found home, or at least a trace of it here in the friends I have both near and far. I know that I'll be happy and warm while I'm home, but part of me will miss being here even though it's only for three months because it's my home too.

That's why, I think, I've ensured myself to keep as busy as possible this summer without being overburdened. Almost everything I plan on doing during this break brings me back here. It reminds me to keep focused on what I will be doing because it will affect what I will come back to. It's a long road and I can barely see off into the horizon to where it leads, but I feel reassured that on either end I'm in a place where I belong.

0 comments Wednesday, May 05, 2004

An empty room constructed to be filled.

Once lively and cared for.
Thought you home.

It sheltered the good and the bad
both inside and out
with a moving boundary
between the worlds.

Inside and separated
Thought you whole.

Outside and integrated
Thought you null.

Its foundation cracked
and the ends met in the middle
where the boundary
was another world of void.

Thought you home, but to fill does not make you full.


There is, as there was
an emptiness
that he could not place

The conversation: full.
The lines between: shaded.
The formalities: erase.

"It's a long way for an answer,
and only trial will tell
whether I stand or fail."

"All things in time,
before you really see
that in all effort to talent: no avail."

Breathed, it stood.
Tenacious and tangible;
salient and precise.

My words to hers
a muddled message: clear;
if there is lacking, nothing done will suffice.

0 comments Sunday, May 02, 2004

I'm sure you know
as if you couldn't tell
that I'm ready to leave
this place
that left me with you

I'm sure it's been obvious
for some time
that I've hated a lot of the things
both of you do
I guess it's part of living
or should I say suffering
with you

I wasn't sure from the beginning
but in seeing it to this end
I can easily say
I hope we never cross paths again

You with your pseudo life
centered around a digital screen
and a distant lover
with mere communication as a filler
of the means

As you stay locked away in the room
every night
constantly clicking away in respite
for a life you cannot live
and to the world
that you never give

Perhaps, the worst
of everything
about living with you
was the fact
that you claimed to be more pious
and holy in every action you do

Or maybe it's the fact that you never clean
leaving the bathroom
in the shittiest condition
I've ever seen
Not to mention the shower room
where your towel was carelessly placed
on top of mine
How I wanted to kick your ass
upon you forcing me to live in your swine

And the hairs on the counter
which you left all over from shaving
along with the bowls in the sink
from your fucked up oatmeal craving
The fork by the toilet
the blood from your nose on the counter, sink, and floor
how truly fucked up and disgusting it was
to ever walk past the door

And you with your stenchiness
like no other
that was, indeed,
by far worse than Wee
made me contemplate suicide
or ponder a shooting spree

As you leave the room
to people I could care less to see
perhaps the most annoying
like Cinco, David, and Asswee.

Perhaps, the worst
of everything
about living with you
was the fact
that you and your ADHD rambunctious lifestyle
kept me up many a night for more than "just a while"

Or maybe it's the fact that you "borrowed" my stuff
but it never returned
like my batteries, lunch bags, and forks
Not to mention the fact that you stayed up
almost every night
playing something like Shinobu or FFX
because you felt the time was right
(and I'm sure that the game you played
until 7 am
when I told you I would be memorizing my speeches
was worthy of the screaming, chanting, and riot
that never ended
even when I asked you to be quiet)

And the fact that I had to buy Lysol
to neutralize the room
because you obviously didn't care
that others nearly died crossing the hall
in total despair
Refer to the time Shauna and Camille
sprayed down the room
because your stenchy ass
was causing Cinco's nasty gin' stench
to smell like perfume

I know I haven't been easy to live with
but like you made it all the more enjoyable
I think not
Rather, the things I'll remember from you,
from this semester,
will be the all of those things
and how many times you let the fucking phone ring
because you were too busy
with your stupid games
to get off of your asses and pick up
leaving me to answer and wonder

So, pardon me if it sounds like I hate you
because if you couldn't tell by now
I think I have since day two
I don't wish you the best
but rather
I wish you hell
for all the things you put me through
and all of the simple things you could've done
but never did care to do

Adieu and FUCK YOU TOO!


Ms. NaraWith the war between the two countries and the dissension rising, the dolls were soon forgotten in terms of sentiment and friendship almost to the point of nonexistence. It wasn't until after the WWII had ended, specifically the bombing of Hiroshima, that Japan and America came back together in the beginning of peace and understanding. Granted, the war was of an entirely different subject matter than the dolls, the fact remains that the dolls tell a history from a perspective no one else can really tell. They tell a story from both sides, not just from one side as history tends to do. However, as Takaoka-san noted, their voices can't be heard. Instead, their stories must be voiced through the actions of those who saved them and held on to them during the rough times.

After the war, some of the Japanese Ambassador dolls surfaced, but not all of them. Upon finding more information about the dolls and their history, Takaoka-san decided to make it her life's work to find out the history of these dolls and their current whereabouts. As of now, Takaoka-san has documented the recovery of 44 of the 58 dolls from Japan and estimates that the remaining 14 will be found in the coming years. Their stories, however, will take longer to be voiced. Currently, Takaoka-san has published a book about the dolls that documents their history to today and talks about the hardships they endured and their survival.

Perhaps, more important, is the fact that these dolls stand as a testament to the enduring bond that America and Japan share. These dolls, like pristine glass, have been smudged by their owners, some shattered, but for those that remain they tell of a time when America and Japan were distant to a time when America and Japan are dependent on one another in many ways and bound by the history they each share.

0 comments Saturday, May 01, 2004

I attended an interesting lecture on Wednesday about the "Ms. Nara" friendship/ambassador doll from Japan given by Michiko Takaoka-san. In a study of both culture and international relations between both the United States and Japan, it was most interesting to see that while both our countries differ greatly there are some treads that hold us together. One of which, as Takaoka-san pointed out, is the history that, although chaotic and distant at times, binds our country's together in way few other countries are bound.

Although the main purpose of the lecture was that of the honorable Ms. Nara herself, Takaoka-san focused on many other interesting themes and ideas throughout her speech referencing to Japanese Subjugation during the early 1900s and World War II, and the affect of WWII on U.S. and Japanese relations. To start, Takaoka-san talked about how the Japanese grow up seeing the world from a different perspective, literally. Takaoka-san noted to the audience to "look at the map" that was posted on the wall and notice where Japan was placed in reference to the maps we, as Americans, usually see. Japan was placed in the center of the map with America to the east and Europe to the west. A traditional, normal map to any Japanese person. But to Americans, Takaoka-san noted, we're used to seeing the map with Europe/America as the center, and everything else is around us. In this, she noted, that both of our countries see ourselves as the center of the world. Where, to the Japanese, America is to the east (although it's a "Western Country") as the currents flow and wind blows. As such, she noted that the Japanese have always seen America as a second home, just as the currents from Japan find America. However, our histories have been in conflict in the past, both on the part of America and Japan. This is where Ms. Nara and the other friendship dolls originate and where their stories are voiced without words.

Ms. Nara, a hand crafted doll roughly a meter tall, was one of the original 58 dolls sent to America during the 1920's as a show of friendship for what Dr. Sidney Gulick started. During the 1920's there was much subjugation of the Japanese for coming to America and "reaping the land" only to save up money and return to Japan. Many America's built resentment for the Japanese coming to America and taking away business prospects from them where the Japanese proved to be more resourceful than Americans. As such, resentment formed and lead to a bill that sought to ban Japanese from coming to America and causing problems. Dr. Gulick, appalled by this assertion of resentment, tried to stop it but, as Takaoka-san noted, his personal power alone was not enough. The bill was passed. However, Dr. Gulick believed there was a way to make both the American's and Japanese see that there need not be resentment since we both relied on one another.

"If world friendliness is to be achieved, the children of the nations must know each other better..."
-Dr. Sidney Gulick

So, it was his idea to send some show of friendship between the two countries. Understanding that the heart of the elder Japanese was already decided for the atrocities that occurred in America over the years, Gulick sought to send something to the children of Japan whose hearts were innocent and, hopefully, not tainted by hate. This lead to the creation of American Dolls that were roughly the same size and build of a baby doll today. Most of these dolls were blonde-haired and blue-eyed, since they were both attributes that Japanese rarely saw in their lifetime. After obtaining lots of funding from people who sympathized with his cause, 15,987 dolls were made and shipped to Japan, Taiwan (part of Japan at the time), and Russia(a small part was part of Japan) where they entered various schools, and museums. The Japanese children were very impressed with these dolls they called "blue-eyed" that they and their parents wished they could send something to America to let them see part of Japan. Eventually their wishes came true. Within two years of receiving the dolls, Japan requested that Japanese dolls be made to send to America. Although 100 total Japanese dolls were made, only 58 were accepted as "good enough" to go to America. Moreover, each doll was the same height and posture/build of a normal five-year-old Japanese girl during that time. Each "state" and various big cities in Japan each got a doll to name and thus, sent them to America to show their appreciation and joy over the gift.

Each of these dolls toured around the United States, sometimes in packs, sometimes alone. As such, they were worn down a bit by the constant moving and, subsequently, some of the dolls' identities got mixed with others because there were no identification marks as to which doll belonged to which city/region. Regardless, the dolls still circulated around America and Japan and continued to do so until World War II when America found out Japan was involved in the war. This, obviously, lead to a great divide in American-Japanese relations with both sides resenting the other, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As a result, besides the history we already know, the American Dolls that were sent over in the 1920's were ordered to be destroyed...and most of them were unless, somehow, someone protected them or hid them. In America, the Japanese Dolls were hidden from public viewing. Many people that had them personally either put them in storage or still had them presented, but with their backs turned so as to hide their faces in shame...