Much has transpired since last I LJ'd. Eventually I'll record my memoirs of the most difficult period of my life, but for now I will proceed more modestly. Here is the list of things I managed to accomplish today:
1. Spoke with my third sister, Suzzanne, for an hour. I clarified some misunderstandings that had occurred between us and gave her support for the progress she has made in her pursuit of a counseling degree.
2. Advocated very well for myself with my medical insurance carrier. Based on the argument I made, I expect to save several hundred dollars on a hospital bill.
3. Made "Valentine's" reservation for dinner with my wife at Berkeley's famous Chez Panisse. February 17 at 6:00 PM was the first available slot, such is the restaurant's popularity.
4. Now I'm off to my biweekly tutoring session in the City.
More to come...
Amazing news: The Hawaiian queen and court have occupied the royal palace and are re-claiming sovereignty. And the State Dept. and Congress are actually trying to compromise with them. Many of us Americans don't realize that Hawaii was stolen from the natives by owners of sugar and fruit plantations with the help of American troops. What have we got to lose by letting them govern themselves? If you're worried about a drop to 49 states, remember that Puerto Rico has been clamoring for statehood for decades...
The following would be the case:
1. African-Native-American openly lesbian President of the United States
2. The 50 states and various territories would be organized into numerous tiny bioregional cooperative collectives.
3. Our police force and military would be composed of genetically-engineered "Huggy Bears" that are free of violent urges and only operate in defense mode. They would embrace felons in an inescapable but non-lethal bear hug. They would carry shields rather than weapons, a la Captain America.
4. Violent criminals who managed to elude the Huggy Bears would be dealt with by Tar Babies that get mushy when you hit or shoot them. Think Uncle Remus. The more one fights, the more one is trapped.
5. "Personal assault vehicles", a.k.a. private cars, would be illegal. Only public transit and foot-driven vehicles allowed in my Utopia!
6. Every city would have substantial, regularly tended gardens and "wild places" set aside for the chthonic, verdant powers around and underneath us.
7. Both energy and information would be free, but everyone has to work for the common good. Entertainment must be homemade from scratch.
8. Mandatory five hour lunch-siestas every day.
9. Computer programming would merge with Aikido: AikIT
10. No more pampered children and sullen teenagers! Everybody who wants to eat has to work!!!
11. There would be "silence shoppes" where people could literally buy a bit of peace and quiet.
12. Alternative sexuality would be encouraged by the government to improve public morale and lower the population. Non-breeders would receive tax breaks and promotions, rather than the current rewards for pumping out babies.
13. Those who do not wish to belong to my world will be permitted to retreat into virtual reality or go to outer space and create their own ideal way of life. The former will have to sign over all their assets to pay for a lifetime of state welfare and electronic sustenance.
Last Thursday afternoon, I was finally able to attend a diabetes information clinic. Although initially I dreaded this appointment, I found it to be very enlightening. Now I know how to use a glucometer to test my blood sugar levels, understand some of the weird stuff my body has been doing for the last couple of years, have a good idea of what comprises a sensible meal for me in my current condition, and am prepared for the event of an onset of hypoglycemia. Definitely a good use of my time (three hours with a short break).
What I did not expect was to be amused by the verbal hijinks of my fellow diabetics. Our lovely, patient instructor Irma Fernandez was presented with quite the motley crew. It was definitely a multicultural lot: a Filipina medical educator, one Tongan, one Hawaiian, one Hindustani, one Southern mutt (can you guess who that was?), an older African American gentleman, his prim and proper but extremely sexy middle-aged "Desperate Housewives" WASPy wife, an Irish American woman with a sharp redheaded tongue, a whiny blonde morbidly obese Jewish woman who resembled the Quaker Oats guy, a taciturn bald and bearded Eastern European wrestler dude, a crimson-skinned (I'm not kidding; although "Caucasian," he was the closest to a "redskin" I've ever seen in my life) type-A personality winemaker and his long-suffering spouse, and a deaf Frenchman. We seemed like the cast of an entry in the Sundance Festival. While half the group sat quietly and drank in the information provided by Ms. Fernandez, there were several notable speakers:
1. The Hindustani fellow to my left seemed to delight in finding slight errors in Ms. Fernandez' presentation and raking her over the coals. Fortunately, she recovered quickly from his verbal ripostes.
2. Mrs. Quaker Oats, a.k.a., Whiny Pants, kept telling us her life story and explaining why she is doomed to failure and thus should never try anything the medical profession recommends for her. She seemed to encourage the outbursts of
3. Paranoid Irish grandma, who freaked out routinely over her misinterpretations of the various things we learned. For example, she was dismayed to hear that organic, unmixed peanut butter was preferable to Skippy: "But there's all that oil on the top, and oil means lots of fat, and fat ain't good for ya!" At which point she was corrected about the chemistry of oil by
4. Bespectacled Southern teacher man, who had to give a few other miscreants lectures as well. I reckon I was the teacher's pet for the day, as she always looked relieved when I came to her defense.
5. Let's not forget the "deaf" French guy, who could hear everyone else just fine but claimed he needed Ms. Fernandez to come closer to repeat everything she said. Personally, I think he just wanted to cop a feel.
6. The best indie film actor of us all was Karen, the Hawaiian lady. She seemed determined to reveal every dietary indiscretion, every departure she made from the recommended eating plan, as if our class was her confessional. The funniest bit was when she told us that she had gotten into the habit of not eating the baked potato that came with her routine breakfast of steak and eggs. When Ms. Fernandez expressed her concern that Karen was skimping too much on carbs at breakfast, she retorted, "But I didn't tell you about the muf-fin!" (emphasis on the final syllable) Vanessa and I have added this to our list of pet phrases.
With luck, none of my LJ readers will rip off my tale and make millions before I get around to filming my indie picture...
Read the article and all the comments. Mine are at the end. For some reason, the submission engine wasn't working properly, whence the duplication of my comment at the bottom of the page.
I seem to be one of the few people in this venue who recognize that the quality of our feelings is not necessarily the most important aspect of our lives. I would rather feel terrible about the wretchedness of human nature or resign myself to a life of habitual failure than sedate myself with a comfortable fiction. However, I consider this a false dichotomy; these are not our only options. I believe that the truth can set us free--that is, after we allow or force our fragile hearts to undergo the eviscerating pain of suffering. I know the truths about myself: that no matter how hard I try to reconcile myself to the mores of society, the vastly different perspective of a friend or lover, and the ways of this all-too-human world, I always will manage to be at odds with institutions, groupthink, and herd morality; that no matter how much time I take to frame my thoughts and ornament my utterances, no matter how many deep breaths I take to calm my nerves and establish a tone of equilibrium, that all but a very few will misunderstand my message; that I am a bundle of perverted perceptions, an awkward Aspergian autistic astronaught (decidedly not a yes man) who is asphyxiated by the thin air of ironic frivolity and suffocated by the heavy atmosphere of formality and conformity; that I ultimately will fail, as all we mortals do, and will give up the ghost back to the wardrobe shop from whence I borrowed it; that my own feelings are too much for others, that my joy and my rage alike terrify them, that my insecurity and resolve alike alienate them, and that I pose more of a threat to self-satisfaction than a promise of contentment; that, hard as the road I travel and treacherous the perils might be, I am nurtured by the earth beneath my feet and uplifted by the indefinite spaces that beckon to be explored; that I will fall down repeatedly, seemingly defeated by the powers and principalities of this world, only to rise the next day, hale and hearty, ready to assay another ride beside my lord and master Don Quixote. While I am riddled with flaws, betrayal, and sins of all kinds, I can hold my head high, proud to be the son of my mothers and fathers, still a member of the Free Companions, still a dreamer, an idealist, and a student of Tao. And the biggest of idiots and the most wayward of fools, I suppose...
According to a caloric analysis by FDA nutritionists:
Save 50 calories a beer!
Surprised? Most people think of Guinness as a beer milkshake: dark, thick, and rich enough to inspire guilt at first sip. But switch out a six-pack a week and you've just saved yourself more than four pounds this year. Extend those savings even further with Beck's Premier Light: At 64 calories a bottle, it doesn't get any lighter than this."
I got this from a Yahoo! Health story about healthier snack and beverage choices for people who wish to lose weight and belly fat. Guinness is relatively low on the glycemic index, apparently. :) In Ireland, living beyond "The Pale" always has been a good thing!
I can't believe I'm paraphrasing a second-rate Sheryl Crow song from 1997, but there ya go. Sometimes the eloquence circuits are a bit rusty and you've got to be happy with whatever random syllables you get.
At any rate, I probably expended said circuits writing the best resignation letter I've ever done. I began by complimenting the head teacher (our coop's closest equivalent to principal, although the role is really more mediator/facilitator/coordinator--wonder what the xp penalty is for this multiclass?) for his most recent email, then offered some important information about tomorrow's meeting. Having created a comfortable environment for attending to serious concerns, I then politely but firmly let him knew that I would not be returning to teach next year. Here are the three primary reasons to which my terrible journal entry title alludes:
"You're aware of some of the factors that have affected this decision, but there are three major new ones (one negative, two positive) that came up over the break.
1. Negative: Despite my efforts to get my health and diet under control this year, I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have begun taking medication. The sedentary teacher lifestyle and the long hours of full time commitment to Maybeck will impair my chances of turning this around.
2. Positive: On Friday night, Vanessa and I decided to get married on July 19. There's a lot to do toward this end; marriage definitely will change my insurance and tax status. I have to put her first above all other priorities.
3. Positive: I have been getting so much freelance work (yep, the "break" has been not so much a vacation as a chance for me to do more lucrative work) this semester and increasing demands on my time for paid artistic pursuits that I think a career change is in order. As much as I take pride in contributing to the noble mission of Maybeck and manning the helm of an engaged classroom, I am much more suited to working with people on an individual basis and in small groups. Wisdom dictates that I respect my strengths and weaknesses rather than continue reclining on the Procrustean bed and trying to be other than who I am."
I concluded decisively but sweetly and so it goes. Or went, I guess. We'll have to see.
I've been driving my girlfriend crazy with just about every emotion under the sun. Hopefully she's doing ok, but I suspect she's hiding in the Fortress of Solitude in order to get a few oxygen-rich breaths before my next burst of hot nitrous or sulphurous air. I'll try to leave her alone for the rest of the afternoon at least so that she can have a bit less stress.
All the signs, portents, omens, auguries,avian visitations, and Biblical prophecies indicate a favorable path for my tender, sweaty feet. Good luck to everyone else out there who is undergoing his or her own transformations and metamorphoses.
P.S. I am very excited to be married soon to this wonderful woman I think of as Home. :)
A magical performance by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band from 1969. YouTube, you rule!