Monday, May 26

still a kitten

I'm trying to read...

Narcissus and Goldmund

"Oh how incomprehensible everything was, and actually sad, although it was also beautiful. One knew nothing. One lived and ran about the earth and rode through forests, and certain things looked so challenging and promising and nostalgic: a star in the evening, a blue harebell, a reed-green pond, the eye of a person or of a cow. And sometimes it seemed that something never seen yet long desired was about to happen, that a veil would drop from it all; but then it passed, nothing happened, the riddle remained unsolved, the secret spell unbroken, and in the end one grew old and cunning like Father Anselm or wise like Abbot Daniel, and still one knew nothing perhaps, was still waiting and listening."

Hermann Hesse. I've read Siddhartha a couple times already, now delving into his other works. He has a way with reverence and asceticism that implies a connection to the earth, to life. So many spiritual authors are so vague and ungrounded, so self-righteous, but not Hesse. It's inspiring.

Thursday, May 22

big little surprise



"Juji Gatame"

Kitties should come in pairs. We've been telling ourselves that for a while now, and today was the day we made it happen. Abra gets lonely (we think), so we found her a buddy. This little kittie's working name is Juji Gatame (Joo-Jee Guh-Tom-Ay). That's actually the name of one of my favorite Ju-Jitsu techniques to throw on Rebecca when she gets out of line. Rebecca loves Juji Gatame.

So this kittie was FREE (and you'd better believe I looked in her mouth-she has all her teeth). Kinda just fell into our laps. She's a bengal. So we have the deadly combo of bengal and mainecoon. As I understand it, the bengal will get bored and devise new things to do while we're out of the house, and the mainecoon will be quite eager to lend her considerable talents to any project. Can't wait for those surprises.

Right now, however, we have our two gatos living in separate rooms, getting used to each other's scents. In a few days we'll have a face to face meeting where each animal will be given specific tasks to complete on a daily basis in order to run a clean house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming etc)...

By the way, we are not cat collectors; we're done accumulating animals!

two spoons

Rebecca and I just had lunch in a nice little vegetarian restaurant down the street. It's the kind of place we always forget about when we're brainstorming places to go, but everytime we walk past it we kick ourselves for letting it escape our consciousness.

Today we finally made it there, and had some good rice and veggies. A bunch of pigeons were walking around on the sidewalk outside the window.

We ordered a slice of vegan chocolate cake for dessert. It arrived, with the word "Faith" written in chocolate syrup on the plate. The self assured Indian woman who was our waitress told me that faith lives in my heart, if I let it.

When I saw the huge chunk of rich cake, I was immediately reminded of the orgasmic chocolate cake scene in the Matrix: Reloaded. I kept this thought to myself.

As we were slowly devouring the giant slice, we had a typical conversation about the world, the tao, life, etc. Rebecca looked outside at the birds, and commented, "Isn't it funny, if this was the Matrix, those birds would just be programs..."

I replied, "Well, they are." I was thinking about DNA and survival instincts, etc. Meaning, yeah, we kinda are in a matrix. Rebecca agreed with me, "They are. They have been programmed. But then, what about us? What kind of programs are we?"

Wheels turned, as I tried to reconcile my undertsanding of the world with the limits of the English language. A coherent description was nearing completion, but my soliloquy was pre-empted as I looked at the cake plate. We had devoured most of the cake, and sucked the F T and H out of FAITH. What kind of programs are we? The answer was written on the plate, clear as day, in vegan chocolate sauce: AI.

(cue the spooky music.)

Tuesday, May 20

Tire.

Displays of manhood are not as common as they used to be, or so I'm told. What with gender equality blurring the lines of our respective roles, and so few times when action is really necessary, it's difficult to know if you're really a man, and what that actually means.

Yesterday, I was driving with Rebecca. We had just gone to Buffalo Exchange, and a used book store. (This successful errand was inspired by a vision I had the night before, of owning a few titles I really enjoy). As we were driving I heard a strange rhythmic Fwack Fwack Fwack. Anytime I hear, or smell something weird when driving, I always assume it's the guy in front of me.

This time no one was around, so I pulled aside to check out my tires. There it was, my first flat. What a gift!

Most people don't like getting flat tires, in fact, I'd say most people find it rather inconvenient. Well, I have been feeling a little stuck in my routine, so an excuse to be late, to bend my schedule, gave me the same satisfaction I used to get as a child when there was a snow day.

Besides temporarily liberating me from my routine, the flat tire opened up an opportunity to make a manly display, and with my female in the car! I asked Rebecca, "Do you know how to change a tire?" "Nope." Perfect.

I learned how to change a tire a long time ago. A group of friends and I got a flat once, and we teamworked it. I worked on my brakes a couple years ago. All of that was clearly practice. Rebecca was a little nervous, "Should you just do this on the side of the road? Cars are coming?" A confident man answered, "Don't worry about it. This'll only take a minute."

I grabbed the doughnut out of my trunk, grabbed the jack and tire iron. I loosened the bolts on the flat, jacked the car up, swapped out the tires, lowered the car back down, and tightened the doughnut up. All while my faithful woman watched out for inattentive drivers, internally stewing with desire from the feat of man she was witnessing.

Small problems come along all the time, but often they are blessings in disguise. The shopping errand only happened on a whim. Had we skipped that, I most likely would have realized I had a flat while driving to or from school, alone, on the freeway. That scenario would have been a little different, assuming I could safely pull over. No one to silently watch me work, inattentive drivers aplenty, at high speeds.

Sometimes I wonder.

Tired.

The lovely Abra-Cat has made so many changes to my life. She is so sweet and loving, and sometimes playful. It's cool to walk in and see her waiting to say "hello." Another effect she's had on me (and Rebecca) is that we haven't been able to sleep a full night in the last two months due to her incessant meowing.

Like clockwork, she becomes severely deranged when we attempt to go to bed. Relentless MOWMOWMOW from the other side of the door. Let her in the bedroom with us? No problem. She'll be cool for an hour or two and then decide it's time to wake up. MOWMOWMOW! We leave the door ajar so she can pass through. We make sure there is food. We make her exercise during the day. Nothing. We've tried acupuncture. No change. We've spent a string of nights ignoring her completely, hoping to break her habit. Every night it's that same damn routine.

She is especially active from 4-8am. This is not a range, this is the duration during which she directs all of her energy into making sure we are awake. Rebecca cracked first, deciding she didn't like the cat. I hung on for a while, but now I'm feeling the same way. Sometimes, in my half state of consciousness, I will snap to attention and shout "Jesus Fucking Christ Cat!" She has made a blasphemer of me.

The latest strategy, since it's been so hot out, is to shut her out of the room, and place a fan outside of our door. The drone of the fan is loud, but constant, almost soothing when compared to the rapid staccato trills of the late night mainecoon. This worked one night, a little bit. Now, she just raises her voice, maximum intensity, to cry and whine and shout us awake. My dreams are becoming more and more violent. Last night I sprung out of bed, grabbed the nearest large soft thing (a towel and a hoodie), whipped the door open and threw them at the cat.

This technique worked, because Rebecca couldn't get the image of my display out of her head. She was laughing, and couldn't go back to sleep. So, she went out in the living room, keeping the cat company. I did not have any problem with laughter, so I went back to sleep.

I've done a fair amount of research, and none of the reasons people give for cats acting this way seem to apply here. I think she decides that she's awake, and wants to be in the living room. She does not want to be there alone, so she gives her best effort to rouse up some company. It makes no difference whether or not the people she wakes up are harboring visions of putting her in a pillowcase and throwing her out the window.

Some solutions that are still in the works:

-Drugging the shit out of her. This can be done nicely with homeopathics. Rescue Remedy has been suggested to me. Some for the cat, some for the doctor!

-A pet psychic. A friend referred me to this woman, after having some cool things happen with her dog. Also, she doesn't look like a nut job, so that's good.

-Another cat. I think little Abra needs a little buddy. She's a social creature, and has a slightly needy personality. I think gatos should come in pairs anyway. The big risk here is that the new cat may become her midnight backup singer, and I would be compelled to commit a double animal homicide. I don't want to be a killer.

I think we'll start with the homeopathics. That's definitely the cheapest solution.

On the bright side, this is a cat, not a baby.

Sunday, May 18

The sweet old mexican lady...

...that lives in Rebecca's apartment complex said it was going to be chilly out today. She was especially bummed. I guess 84 F could be considered chilly? The point is, it's hot out here, and only getting hotter. I'm feeling the effects of the climate change, and super sunny San Diego is not the best place to be as temperatures rise. In having conversations with people around here, I tell them I'm moving to Chicago. They tell me it'll be hot there too. Sometimes people around here try to discourage me from leaving. I can't tell if they're pro-San Diego, or just anti-everything, and don't want to see someone else make a change.

At any rate, I am not fleeing to escape the heat, I can just tell that my time here is up. It will be bittersweet to leave everyone that I've met, but I was never going to stay here permanently.

Besides, it's frigging hot out here...

Sunday, May 11

All work and all play

Two weeks into this semester, and I am still not sure I've come to terms with my schedule. It looks rather daunting, some days blocked off from 9am-8pm, others a little less occupied. I have committed my time to various things for the next few months. My initial gut reaction is to head for the hills. I find consolation, though, and even enthusiasm, when I actually look at what I'm spending my time doing.

To look for the accomplishment, or to only think of the end of the road, is to miss the point entirely. But looking at where my road is taking me makes the journey all the more inspired. I am nearing completion of acupuncture school. I'm now pretty competent, and pretty confident, regarding my patients. I'm still a student of the body, and I always will be. The class time is enjoyable, but I have a pretty hard case of senioritis. I'm sure I will use up my absences this term! The material can be fun to talk about, but how many times can we sit and talk, when the best way is just to do it?

So I'm taking 5 classes this term, and three clinic shifts. That adds up to 27 hours a week of school time. I've also committed myself to tutoring other students for 6 hours a week. So I'm at school a lot.

Despite all this time in academia, my mind is mostly busy unravelling the principles and mystery of Ju Jitsu. I have the god fortune of having a very thorough and precise Sensai. I appreciate my situation and, at his directive, am trying to take full advantage while I can. I'm practicing 6 days a week.

I also have some projects I'm into. Some self-publishing, and some miscellaneous chores that I am obliged to undertake as a member of student council.

Has my relationship suffered with my new schedule? I don't think so. I spend most of my free time with Rebecca, and she has a lot going on herself, so there is empathy there.

All in all, I'm enjoying my last few months as a Californian, fingers crossed that the big earthquake can wait at least until the fall...