Yeninko of the Umlaut

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Two Bits

Because I’m busy, I’ll just leave you with a few links and let the internet baby sit you. First an ode to the power of blogs. Police solved the double-murder of Simon and Sharon Ng based on Simon's last entry in his blog which identified the killer as his sister's ex-boyfriend. Blogs, great as an avenger, not so hot as a prophylactic.

Speaking of prophylactics, I present a classic. The funniest thing I have ever found on the internet (barring the video of the monkey passing out from his own stink finger). It is none other than The Vice Guide to Anal Sex. (NSFW)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Mr. X. And The Promise of Five Babies and Ten Years.

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone I hope isn’t reading this blog. He mentioned how he was divorced and how he felt at least part of the reason for the divorce was that his wife had her tubes tied after the birth of their third child and she didn’t tell him. See, he and his wife had agreed before they got married that they would have a large family, five children to be exact. He had had many brothers and sister growing up and wanted the same for his children. But as we have already mentioned she was done after three, had the operation and didn’t tell him till much later. And this bothered him a great deal. They had spoken about it and they had both agreed and he felt betrayed, he left she had gone back on his word. Which to some extent is understandable.

But the thing is, we change. It’s not even a matter of choice. A friend of mine mentioned how she was in a classroom and one of the students was a much older woman. And my friend was thinking that for this woman, it seemed like the years of sex were over. That she had moved on in life. Or to use her fantastic analogy, that when we were kids we were all about jump roping for example, and the thought of making out with anyone was as gross as gross could be and the thought of not being able to jump rope or run around in circles at recess was the worst possible event. But now Jump roping is something we don’t even think about and sex has become the primary concern of..., well I don’t want to speak for others but I think you get the point. So basically at some point in the future, playing with grand kids or playing golf or some such thing, that even now we can’t imagine or only can imagine with distaste will be our ideal activity.

And so it goes back to the promises we make that we can’t keep. This woman had wanted five kids, but at some point your mind changes itself and the things you wanted and love aren’t the same. And there isn’t much to be done or said. You can’t go back, but you can’t continue. The position in untenable. And that, I think, is the only promise we can make to each other. I think maybe we can promise today, and maybe next week, but the promise of ten years is a promise I hold no one to. I may hope for it to be true, for them to hold themselves to it, but as they say hope springs eternal even in the face of overwhelming experience and evidence.


I lost 13lbs. somewhere. I don’t generally weigh myself but I recently was down in the Occupational Medicine department and asked if I could use their scale. Turns out I weigh less than my last year in college. Which is odd, I sort of expected the inexorable slide toward more rotundish features and yet here I am, thirteen pounds slimmer. The thing that gets me I that I’m pretty thin to start with, I’m not sure I have much more than that to lose and in addition I’ve taken up surfing and cycling about four miles to work (which wouldn’t be that much but for the damn SF hills) and I sort of figured that I would be putting on more weight what with the muscle mass being built. Anyhow it is a mystery to me. In case there are any of you worried about me starving myself, last night I had a bag of chips and a bunch of cookies for dinner and today I’ve eaten four and a half donuts for lunch and breakfast, which while not typical should give you some idea that I’m not fasting.

Peoples – In the last week I received messages from three different old friends who managed to track me down via this blog (two are married to each other but still!). And really, while that isn’t what this blog is really about (I don’t know what it is about, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t it), it is a pretty awesome side effect. I’m not sure why this last week was the special week but it may have to do with the fact that this blog is finally the first hit under my name on Google. Speaking of hits, you all need to check out if you haven’t already. For some people there isn’t much info but my name proved to be very accurate. In any case if there are any of you out there reading this that I know or don’t know, drop me a line. I don’t generally give shout outs but Hello Robin, Rob and Smadar, thanks for dropping by.

Dream Machine – A few months back I moved out of my old apt and having no alarm clock of my own I went to a thrift store to purchase a nice new used one. Lo and behold* there was nothing less that the Sony Dream Machine® Circa 1989. It is the exact same machine, for example, as the one I had when I was hanging out with Robin back in middle school. And this is a good thing because I’m not the swiftest at learning how to operate these things when I’m asleep in the dark and this seems to be the time when my alarm clock skilz are in the greatest need. But with the Dream Machine, well I’ve already been through the learning curve with this bad boy back in the ‘where is all this hair coming from’ stage of my life...ah who am I kidding, I’m still wondering where it all came from.

*Lo and Behold? It sounds like bovine behaviour.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it." -Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman won a Noble prize in physics for his work on quantum electrodynamics and helped in the development of the atomic bomb. While researching his Ph.D at Princeton University, Feynman married his first wife, Arline Greenbaum, who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, a terminal illness at that time; they were careful, and Feynman never contracted TB. During his work on the Manhatten project in New Mexico he visited his wife at a sanitarium in Santa Fe every weekend, right up until her death on June 16, 1945. After Richard Feynman's death in 1988 his daughter found a letter. According to her, the paper on which the letter was written was well worn, and it appears as though he reread it often.
To Arline Feynman, October 17, 1946


I adore you, sweetheart ... It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you'll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing. But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and what I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector.

Can't I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the "idea-woman" and general instigator of all our wild adventures. When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn't have worried.

Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want to stand there.

I'll bet that you are surprised that I don't even have a girlfriend after two years. But you can't help it, darling, nor can I — I don't understand it, for I have met many girls ... and I don't want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you. I love my wife. My wife is dead,


PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don't know your new address.

Love is out there boys and girls, don't give up the hunt.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Late Night Movie

So my roommate came home with The Notebook tonight and for no good reason I watched it with her. I have one observation and one anecdote. First, The notebook is what is generally called a chick flick, but this flick was more of a romance novel version (or what I imagine a romance novel would be like having never read one). I’d even go so far as to call it chick porn. Guys are generally very visual, which explains stocking, chokers, and the like. Women generally are more imaginative, for lack of a better term. Perhaps romantic is better. Anyway, The Notebook is chick porn is my observation.

The anecdote is that we were watching the scene where they are in the row boat (of course) and it starts to rain (of course) and as they get to shore Gena Rowlands runs for cover as Ryan Gosling pulls the boat in and my roommate yells out,”Jump his bones! I would totally jump his bones if I were her”. To which I reply, “If I was him I’d jump her bones too”. A moment passes and then I say to her. “So basically if we were as hot as them we’d be doing right now”. And that my friends, is the anecdote.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Don't Just Stand There!

So there is this flick called Touching the Void. It is the story of two young mountain climbers who decide to climb this big ass peak in Peru, one that has never been climbed before and it is basically the story of how wrong something can go.

What happens is they climb the mountain, which they find to be way harder then expected and while descending the weather turns bad and they run out of supplies. To make things worse as they are descending one of the two guys falls and breaks his leg in three places. Generally this is accepted as a death sentence. Dude A would usually say to dude B with the broken leg, “Yo, I’ll be back with help ASAP” with the understanding that 1) That broken leg dude is going to be dead way before help ever arrives and 2) that no help will come looking knowing he is already dead on the mountain.

In any case, for crazy man-love reasons I don’t want to go into because I tear up, dude A (who we will now call Simon) begins lowering dude B with the broken leg (who we will call Joe) down the mountain on a 75% slope by rope. Basically letting Joe slide down 100ft at a time and then walking down to him and sliding him down again. Mind you it is like -1000 degrees and joe is sliding down a mountian with a broken leg. At one point for reasons we won’t go into, the line snaps and Joe falls 100ft into through a patch of ice and into an ice chasm. Simon looks down into this tiny hole, calls out Joe’s name (which there is no way anyone can hear because of the screaming wind) figures Joes is dead and heads back to base camp alone.

But dumb ass Joe isn’t dead. Joe has fallen into the ice chasm onto a tiny ledge. To his left is a vertical ice wall and to his right is a vertical drop into darkness. So he does what any same person would and takes a nap. In the morning he realizes a few things: Simon must think he is dead, because he really should be at this point. He is only 21 years old and dying on a ledge in an ice chasm in Peru is totally lame.

And he realizes one last thing that I have carried with me. He realizes that at this moment in his life, he is better off making choices that will turn out badly for him than making none at all. Because by making no choices he is going to end up at least as badly as if he making poor choices. And sometimes life is like that. Sometimes you don’t really know what is going on or what something is about or if the risk is worth it, but sometimes just knowing that doing nothing isn’t going to improve anything is the nudge you need to act. Also you shouldn’t climb fucking mountains.

Back to Joe, knowing there is no way he can go up, he throws his remaining rope off the ledge into the dark abyss below and lowers himself further down. And I’ll leave the story of Joe there for you, you can rent the movie, and if you find that kind of thing fascinating you might want to try reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Too Many 'Armies Of One'

Drug addled high school drop goes to Army recruiter. Recruiter tells the kid to get a fake diploma and hooks the kid up with some toxin maskers to pass the drug test. The drug addled high school dropout turns out to be an honor student with a tape recorder. Halarity ensues.