Tales from the Past: Japan

Friday, October 29, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

in 2004 i went to Japan to teach english.  when i was there i wrote these epic updates when i was stuck in the office not teaching.  today is an excerpt from one of my first emails home.  Enjoy:

"Note to those who didn't know it.  The real Yoda is actually a 98 year old woman who lives in the mountains of japan. Im not kidding--spitting image.  The Japanese people in general have HORRENDOUS posture --always bent forward, so when they get old---and like turtles these people grow really old--they are extremely bent over and  curved forward (i hear it is a "spinal disease"--whatever).  But they are generally so short that it just makes them look low to the ground.  Give them a small walking stick--which they have-- and send them hiking up only the steepest mountains--which they do --and you have yoda.  Only the force could be keeping these woman alive.  In the words of home star runner--"its Cwrazy"

The toilets. Oh my god. This country will never be the super power it wants to be until they change there toilets.  Sure they hve some "western style ones" but the others.  Picture this.  And porcelin oval about the length of you arm set completely into the floor.  There is a little porcelin flap/windshield up by the flushing mechanism which is that of  a urinal. No squat boy squat. Oh, im sorry--are your pants in the way---you'll have to take those off--and the underwear too--so im friggin half naked shitting in a whole in a god damn 1st world country.  I mean what the fuck.  Only once have I managed to dump without taking all my close off and that's because the stall in the office bathroom is small enough that I can pretty much brace my back up against the wall with one have as I hold on to the flusher with the other.  But I still risk ruining my life by dropping an errant bomb in my pants.  Its scary.  Thankfully the toilet in my apartment isn't like that.  Actually, it's even got a heated seat.  And that's niiiiiiice."

Mourning Lost Posts

Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

It finally happened. 

It was bound to, really.

It feels like an initiation of sorts.

This afternoon I went to the coffee shop and wrote a long-ass post.  So long, in fact, that i decided to save the final bit to do tonight. 

And then tonight i went ahead and erased it and couldn't get it back.  Yes i tried Control+Z.
It's gone.  All that time and energy.  All the witty barbs and spastic metaphors.

I didn't even get to reread it.

Grim Poetry to Start Your Week

Monday, October 25, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

For no reason at all i decided to go with some early week poetry shares.  You may notice my poetry has a decidedly different feel from my writing.  what can i say.  im a mystery wrapped in an enigma.  that's why the ladies love me. 


Before the fighting began we were wide eyed lovers.
Like those anime characters.
And I know shit like “before the fighting began” is so clich├ęd,
But so is moving across the country for someone and then having them break up with you.
So im guilty on both counts.

her middle name

i could tell by her breath i would not know her shoes.
it wasn't that it reeked of alcohol or anything
i mean, it was morning
but the tinge of dishonesty in the expectedness of her morning breathe . . .
i wouldn't know her middle name.

A desire is not the ache in your belly
that is a feeling
that is something deeper.
You should deal with that on your own time
we've decided to work only on desire in this hardware store
don't change the rules
work with the tools you've been given
that measuring tape only stretches so far.
how dare you throw that wrench at me.

I turned, in a half-hearted attempt to hide the apathy in my eyes
her grasping fists didn't notice my less than subtleties.
Her friends glare with a knowing look of ignorance.
Like they've been given some insight about my soul which they can mutually snicker at.
They feel dominant in their closeness to her.
They try to show me that
they try to prove their dominance

but their stare only solidifies my impression of them
worn tennis balls looking to put some more zip on their forehands.
They haven't smelled her breath in the morning
they already know what color her toothbrush is.
And the think they know mine.
But its not green.

Your Diary

Its hypocritical
I understand that
but your poetry scares me
you behind the curtain being honest about me
even to just yourself
that scares me
more than you can imagine

perhaps it has something to do with the tangerine dandelions you can't omit from your dialogue,
those sugary bumps hide the demons that fester underneath

your poetry scares me
I understand that its hypocritical
as we swing back and forth 
smiling to the breeze
I wait for the rope to snap

and down comes baby cradle and all

perhaps its the suppressed spirit I think I caused that can only leak out onto pages hidden in a drawer.
your passion pressed like a tear in a pillow, muffled so mother doesn't hear

everyone's so guarded already
its hard knowing something solid is behind your back
when you don't let me feel
let me feel
let me feel

like I have the key in my pocket

Two-Face Tuesday: Return of the Locker Experiment

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | 6 Comment(s)

Sometimes you just have to admit the worst part of yourself.  that's what today's post is about. 

Many of you who read the blog know of my little social experiment going on RE: A man who grossly  leaves his bathing suit hanging outside his public locker.  For a review, look here, here, and here.

Well, with my ever-healing back sealed (pun?) up enough to swim (now is it a pun?), i am back into the dark dank world of the locker room.   And his suit is still hanging there.  And it still pisses me off.  And it still has 11-some knots in it.  My first day back in the pool i put two more knots in this guys suit string.  I mean, one for that day, and one for all my missed time due to injury.  I indulged.  I have to admit that being gone for awhile and seeing all those knots still there . . . i kinda thought he might have left the area. 

But he hasn't.  I know because i saw him today in all his incredible hairiness.  As I described him to a interested commenter, "Additionally, i've seen him. Not particularly attractive, but VERY particularly hairy. Mostly on his back."  Moving on.

Here is the thing ladies and gentlemen.  The rub if you will.  The guy is super nice.  Not in a fake tangential way.  But attentive in a way that recognizes the moment without making it bigger than it is.  I've now had about 3 or 4 interactions with him, and he recognizes me, and we share kind words.

Which means, in a nutshell, that i am a two-faced bitch.  And all i can say in my defense is that this guy leaves his dirty gross swim trunks hanging out next to my locker!  But sadly, the truth burns its way past the bold and italicized feeling of outrage, and cuts to the heart of the issue.  This guy, this inhuman piece of poop who is unbelievably inconsiderate in his locker room etiquette, is not a bad person.  In fact, he's an odds on favorite to be one of the good ones.  And no matter how affronted i may feel, my knot experiment has some nastiness to it and is above the level of deserved revenge.  I am, at this point, mostly in the wrong.  And, with my friendly demeanor to his face, i'm even a bit scummy about it.

But the fact remains, when i am having a nice short conversation with him, i am also being present and attentive and genuine in that moment.  When i am viciously tying knots in his bathing suit, i am also being genuine in that moment.  And if i am judged for my deeds upon my untimely demise (which i doubt more and more everyday), i won't begrudge them? throwing this one on the "sin" pile.  But i really hope they have a sense of humor and at least give me one of those wry half-chuckle smiles that says "good one" implicitly.  Come to think of it, i'm gonna need them to have a sense of humor to even stand a chance.

Interestingly, i didn't touch his suit today.  Perhaps because it was all wet, but i like to think it was at least a little because i'm a good human too.

ps. I recently told someone that this blog is "an expose of me."  What do you guys think of that being the new "faking it til im making it."  i need feedback people.

Monday Conversation + one more animal!!

Monday, October 18, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

A quick Monday morning post.  2 points of business.

1) I forgot to add one animal picture which is currently serving as my computer desktop picture.  The photo credit goes to the amazing Matthew Freeman.

 Are you my mommy?

For those of you wondering when the aliens landed, and why you didn't hear about it.  Rest assured.  This little creature is an orphaned baby rhino, currently at an animal rescue facility in Africa.  All I really want to tell you about this picture is that i showed it to a coworker, and her reaction was, "It looks like a tree!"  That's been my favorite comment so far?  Gotta better one? Leave it in the comments.

Second point of order:
If you find yourself today awkwardly milling around the water-cooler, or whatever your office mills around, try this conversation opener:

Say, "Hey guys!  What is your mental image of 'hairy meat.'"  Then pause.  Then just walk away.  

At the very least, you'll have something to talk about over dinner.  You're welcome.

Blog-o-versary!: Talking animals!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

So, yesterday was my blog-o-versary.  It's been one year and a day since i began this adventure into writing my craziness down.  And, while this is a personal accomplishment, i can't really get too worked up to celebrate it like its a "thing."  That doesn't mean im not supremely pleased at myself for pumping out a whopping 170 entries during my first year, im just not about to buy a cake.  So, be that as it may, lets turn to another subject i've been giving a lot of thought:  What would it be like if animals could talk? 

Scenario 1:  Let's say your dog or cat could talk.  But only for like 10 seconds.  What would that be like, do you think.  I think goes one of two ways.  Either A) the animals thoughts are vocalized into "i love you i love you i love you squirrel."  or  B) The animal, granted with the ability of speech momentarily, also gains a moment of intellectual clarity, and goes more along the lines of "my stomach is having shooting pain, i just like to walk funny like that sometimes, please leave a little more room for me at the end of the bed, im lonely." 
a comic by Justine Sterling, Darmouth '07 

Scenario 2:  Let's go one step further.  You may or not know that dolphins are one of the only other species that have sex just for fun.  They're smart, and we haven't been gearing any of our abstinence campaigns towards them, so they just go for it.  They also are one of the few species who have same-sex sex on the regular.  I wonder if we can get some of those anti-gay activists to protest gay dolphins out in the deep sea.  Deep in the deep sea.  Anyway.  Sometimes i like to think that in dolphin culture, homosexuality is treated in a very backward 1980's manner, a la that being gay is a choice and not a normative practice.  But those damn dolphins are cursed with that perma-smile and we think that they all love it.  When actually, they are thinking, "God dammit Fred, will you get off me, this isn't funny anymore."  Of course, two female dolphins is still widely accepted as hot.

Scenario 3:  Today my gf and i drove home after visiting her folks' house in approximately Canada, VT.  I felt like a NYC tourist as i got to stare out the windows at all the beautiful top-of-the-rainbow foliage.  I should say that northern Vermont and Mass are currently experiencing different seasons.  In VT, the temperature is 40 degrees and there are evergreens and a few yellows on the mostly bare trees.  3 hours later its 70 degrees and most of the trees have yet to drop their bundles.  I love VT more than most, but ill take as long an Autumn as possible.  How is this relevant to talking animals?  We're getting there. 

As my gf steers us down Route 91 toward warmer weather, all of a sudden a sizable hawk or falcon comes dive-bombing down at the windshield.  Both my gf and i make noises, neither of us screams, and she admirably keeps focus and, with only a minor swerve,  keeps us going straight along the road.  The hawk (im going to go with hawk since i definitely saw the speckled underbelly that i associate with hawks) seemed to catch a jet stream of air that carried it just barely over the car.  I swear it was a talon scraper.  If this particular bird could talk, or rather, listen, i would be like, "You fucking dumb bird.  What, you think you're going to catch this Subaru and eat it!  Wrong!  You might be endangered!  What would your momma say if she knew you were out flying into moving vehicles?  After all they've done for you, with the regurgitation and whatnot.  You really need to take some time to figure out if this "devil-may-care" lifestyle is really the direction you want your life to go in."  I would not take it easy on Senior(ita) Hawk. I would guilt trip it into depression.   No one dive-bombs my baby and gets away without an earful. 

f u hawk
Perhaps this is why animals don't talk to us. 

Either way, after we regained our breath and composure, my gf turned to me and said, "Man, the leaves sure look beautiful right now."  And she was absolutely right.

The Audacity of Hopelessness

Sunday, October 10, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

The gf and I bought art.  At a craft fair.  Actually, for all you local readers, there is the 3rd rated craft fair in the country going on right now in Northampton, MA.  Monday too!  While there is a cover of $8-10 dollars, there are online coupons and the place is really just a HUGE MUSEUM.  And most of it is pricey.   But not all.  Anyway, the gf and i walked around at a pretty good pace and it still took us 2 hours just to cover the grounds.  And that's not including the lobster roll i housed (not as good as the Cape, but WAY better than no lobster roll at all) and live music. 

And we bought something.  Well, we were going to buy something, but then my parents bought it for us as an early bday gift (thanks m&d).  So now we have art, and it makes me so so happy.

Here is our new art rooting for Michigan football soon after arriving home (unfortunately it was not our art's first Michigan victory with us).
Get Denarded!!!

For those of you who aren't experts at the removal of hats from pictures, i will describe our new art.   It is a heart, made out of what looks like an industrial sized bike chain.  It's pretty big.  The heart is, as my mother pointed out, not symmetrical.  in what i can only describe as a moment of brilliance, my gf replied, "Love's not perfect."  How well she knows me.

The funny side story here is that the artist, who was a large sized guy (tall not fat) had a personality that was bubbly.  Well, as bubbly as a 6 foot 5 lumberjack sized guy, can be.  And as soon as we asked about the price of the heart sculpture, he started talking about how he knew this sculpture would be bought by some hopeless romantics.  Almost everything he said to us after this point ended in hopeless romantic.

I am not a hopeless romantic.  I am decidedly hopeful as a person, and even more-so with love (cause i got lucky).  But it became obvious that the sculptor had his mind set on where his heart should be going, and i didn't want to disappoint him.  The piece is pretty heavy, and the artist volunteered to carry it to the car for us (because on my back surgery, i felt it best to accept the offer--gf had to pull her car around).  As he walked our art through the fair, he stopped at probably 7 or 9 different stations, every time saying, "this was bought by some hopeless romantics . . . Look what some hopeless romantic's jsut bought."  It was juuuuuust starting to get a little creepy when we got to the tent's entrance/exit.  He obviously loves love.  And he seems like a genuinely happy-go-lucky guy.  I may not be a hopeless romantic, but im not so jaded that i can't enjoy his hopeless romance with our art/love.

Friday Poetry

Friday, October 8, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

So, just like when a new relationship starts and you try to hide your crazy and let it out little by little, so too am i with my writing.  And it's only now, almost a year in (blogiversary coming up!), that i reveal that i write poetry.  Sometime.  And while the consistency with which i produce this stuff isn't at all consistent in terms of day to day or month to month, even; it has consistently stuck with me over the years.  And so, on this friday with the sun shining, i give you three of them.  An intro poem then a point and counter-point.  And for those of you who are my gf, these are both old poems.  Fear not.

ps.  in sharing these poems these is a footnote that must mention that the style of my poetry is what my brother has coined, "blunt emotionalism."  It's pretty accurate.  


My poems may not be good
but they are

Not the One

I never meant to not be the one.
For you.
For us.
I thought I was too.
I thought we were one.
I just kept tripping up, but never falling.
In love.
I never meant to not.
Be the one.
For you.


I like how we kiss
our lips slide and mesh so well
its not like a game or a fight
its like justice
like we are taking our just desserts out on each other
trying to find our retribution inside the softness of the others embrace.

her eyes look at me
like their listening to the reality I stating with my corneas
not the constant babble from my mouth.

I feel special
I haven't felt special in a long time
it feels good
I feel good

Fuck you Bret

My eyes are burning.  The back is feeling sore.  Today is not one of the good days.  Today is one of those days where you don't reread your post because you don't care if there are typos.  Today is a day when even your rebellious sentences are just plain wussy.

And you know who im gonna take it out on.  You'll never guess.

Bret fucking Michaels.

Fuck you Bret Michaels.  Fuck you right to hell.  Oh no, not for Poison.  Poison was a revelation.  If you don't like Poison the terrorists win.  You're not an American.

And its not even a "fuck you" for Rock of Love, where you got a whole bunch of *cough* skanky? *cough* women to fawn over you right up to that "soft core porn" line.  All for your journey to love, of course.  And, while i didn't follow the show, i can only imagine you found quite a bit of love during that show. 

Not even for seasons two and three of Rock of Love where you do the whole slutty liquid-filled adventure two more times.  HOW MUCH LOVE DO YOU NEED MAN!!!  If STD's can combine and form a mega-STD, it's in Bret Michaels.

And Bret, I don't even care that you went on Celebrity Apprentice.  Because frankly Bret, I can't even pretend to care about that show, and neither can America. 

And i should take a second here to mention that I heard that you almost died.  That is regrettable.   And I'm not sure what happened, but you must still be close to out of your fucking mind to come out with the piece of shit you call  Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It.  Now my first thought was, "this has to be a docu-drama about him fighting off a number of STD and drug related symptoms."  And I thought, "good for him, teaching our kids to wear condoms."  But sadly, that's not what the show is about.  It's about Bret and his FAMILY!!! I can't stress this enough.  Bret, his wife/gf/ihavenofrigginclue?, and his kids!!!  Little kids.  

Fuck you Bret.  That's too far.  Fuck your Bret with one "t."  Don't slosh around in a cornucopia of women on national t.v. for YEARS and then come at us with "Bret all in the family."  That's gross.  I mean, it's not even that i'm morally opposed to it.  I just can't ingnore the feeling that someone's shitting on me when they put out a show that it so insulting that it feels like it must be shitting on me.  You are not a "family man."  I feel icky seeing you around innocents after seeing what you did with all those others.  

A wise man once said that every rose has its thorn.  Well Bret with one t,  yours is gagging me and i won't Open Up and Say... Ahh! No, I just won't Swallow That.


This One Goes Out to the Wonderful Glorious Gays

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

There is still a part of me, past the sarcasm and wit, that is still the thirteen year old Matthew Zimbler (I changed my name right out of college) who got picked on and threatened and chased home.

I remember one day in particular that Jeff Hart and Dan Sheldon (i'm pretty sure those were their names) laid into me pretty hard all day about kicking the shit out of me.  I was a scrawny, glasses-that-change-color-in-the-sun-with-strings-attached wearing, sweat pants to school wearing tag-along geek.  My life, at that moment, revolved not at all around finding my happiness and completely around survival.  I'm not sure if it was my lack of self-confidence, my jew-ness, my parents upper-middle class-ness, or my intelligence and lack of ability to fight back--but regardless, i was a target.  Jeff and Dan waited by my locker in the back of the school all week.  Half that week i hid in the gym locker room til they got bored and left.  The other days i casually worked up a conversation with the Print-Making teacher so I could stick around until the coast was clear.

The worst day was later that same year when the rumor got started that I had called Ajamu, the one black kid who also had a pretty violent reputation, the n-word.  It goes without saying that this didn't in fact happen.  Not only is that not a word i use, but the idea that the skinny geek at the relative bottom of the barrel socially would pick a fight with one of the biggest and toughest kids, is insane.   Someone was obviously fucking with me.  And i was terrified.  I remember actively watching my back for 2 days.  Nervous that around any turn i would meet my untimely demise (blog shout out).  Nothing ever came of the rumor--except for my terror.  I'm not even sure Jamu ever heard the rumor.  Doesn't matter.  The fear was real.

I tell you all this because I'm a straight white male, and i almost had more than i could take at 13.  Through the fear and social abuse (i once was made to sleep in a separate room with my "friends" dogs, while the rest of the sleep-over party participants stayed elsewhere and froze my underwear), i considered transfering schools, running away, and even harming myself.  That said, I can only imagine how much harder it must be for if i had been gay or a minority at that time.  And if i'm being honest, i can't say for certain that i would have made it.  We've had a flurry of teen suicides in the gay community lately, and they have broken my heart.  The Rutgers freshman, the middle school girl--tormented and humiliated to the point that they were convinced that either the world was better off without them or that this pain was too much to bare for any longer. 

This is our failure.  It is our failure as a society if we create an environment where kids, KIDS!, feel deviant and outside.  And additionally, we lose out because like every group this country has marginalized, we gain so much from their presence.   Our understanding of homosexuality (while still extremely young) has allowed us to re-examine gender (metro-sexuality doesn't happen without the gays), love, acceptance, family--all the important stuff.  It infuriates me that a country founded on the principle of acceptance has so consistently been behind the global community on legislating against social discrimination (um  . . . slavery . . . cough cough).   We are making homosexuals go through the  EXACT same societal abuse that Blacks had to go through (and, let's face it, still do).  It's as if we have no ability to substitute different groups into the sentence, "Discriminating against a group of people based on their ___________, is wrong." and see that the sentence still remains true.

And, if i may soap-box for a second, in my mind this is so utterly tied to our failure to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.  If we look beyond the fact that the law's repeal is actually favored by the majority of the public and has STILL not been struck down, we still end up sending citizens to fight and die for us around the world, as long as they don't accept who they are as people.  We have even kicked Arabic translators who were gay out of the military, thereby weakening it (how many people do you know that speak Arabic fluently and wouldn't mind translating for the US Army in the middle east?).  As far as i can tell (and i admittedly know very little about the ins and outs of the military), army units are based on trust.  How can you create trust, a trust that may require you to sacrifice yourself for your unit-mates, without allowing the humans who comprise that unit to be truthful about who they are.  And as our government sits on its hands, instead of pushing to repeal DADT, they are silently sending out the message that its ok to abuse gays.  It's ok to dehumanize people who like their sex differently than you like your sex (pun--count it).  Kicking honorable soldiers out of the military makes us a worse country.  You discharge a solider for being gay, and you send the message, silently but clearly, that maybe its just a funny prank to video-chat your roommate making out with guy.  Maybe it's ok to make the only male, black gay cheerleader's life in high school a living hell.  Your saying its ok to see gay as lesser.  And, considering our whole, "all created equal" foundation, i'd say that's downright un-American.

And on the off chance you stumbled upon this blog and you are gay and are suffering because of it, there is help.  One of the best is the Trevor Project.    You are all too wonderful to live in pain and silence.


Monday, October 4, 2010 | 3 Comment(s)

A perfect moment.

My gf was about to get in bed and was holding her water glass.

i was lying on the bed.  We were talking.  Laughing. 

I felt an air bubble in my tummy.  Simultaneously I saw that my gf was going for a sip of water.

I timed it perfectly. 

The breaking of the wind came both by surprise and with crisp force.

I added a sly look.

She didn't stand a chance.  She giggled very briefly as she attempted to stifle what was coming.  But almost immediately she let go and accepted the inevitable.  She snarfed the water.  A fart induced spit-take.

I'd love to tell you all that i didn't take off up the stairs into a victory lap.  But, alas, i cannot. 

Savor the moments folks.  Savor the moments.

How to Survive and Thrive in New England from the Bottom Up

Friday, October 1, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

Have you seen that its raining in the Northeast?  It is.  Bucket-style.  And while the leaves are also beginning to turn, aka the epic beauty that is this area, it would be a lie to say that there are not things about living in New England that take some getting used to. 

Take this rain, for example.  Will we get a random freeze and have to deal with October ice?  Will it continue until everyone's basement is flooded?  Or will we get a heat flash and watch the visible humidity rise from the soaked ground?  All are possible.  Or none.  New England is a roll of the dice.

But, as usual, i'm here to help.  And this help comes in the form of a two part blog series (which im sure will go more than 2 posts) dealing with shoes.  I am a bit of a shoe-"lover," and while i don't love them quite like the sex in the city girls, i do love both form (aka colors) and function.

And today's post is about function.  the secret to enjoying new england weather is  . . . . wait for it . . . . . . water-proof sneakers.  Not water-resistant.  Not "but they're pretty good in the rain."  I'm talking "i'm confident if i submerge 3/4th of my foot in this puddle my foot will still be dry" water proof. 

And i'm sure the response to this is: but i have these great Wellies (rubber boots) that i wear in the rain.  And while they are great and all, you hate to have to walk around inside with those suckers.  The first thing you want to do is change into other footwear.  And that takes effort, and that gets annoying, and that makes you hate the new england weather.  The beauty of water-proof sneaks is that you no longer have to worry about your footwear ever again.  I have a pair of such sneakers (on my feet currently) that have filled this role in my life for the past 6 years or so.  I haven't even bought winter boots.  That's right folks, water-proof keeps the snow out too.  (this is where i give you the side note that warm socks are also essentials in winter).  Now when there is bad weather predicted, i just put on my Vasques and I'm go to go.  I am foot loose and fancy free.  And you can be too.

The "Neo" of bad weather shoes