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It was around 8 o'clock on the 21st of July when she messaged me on AIM. She said that she could come over after all, despite the company she was having at 11PM. I was elated. Earlier in the day she had told me that she might not be able to make it, and that put a damper on the day - she's all I have been able to think about since I met her.

And especially since I kissed her.

So, she said she would eat dinner, and call me when she was passing by the CVS. Great! I was thrilled.

Around 9PM she got online with another one of her screen names on AIM. She forgot my phone number! She couldn't call me to let me to have me come sign her into the building if she didn't know my phone number. Makes sense, right? Well, anyway, she was in my lobby at a kiosk, so I just slipped my shoes on and went to admit her.

She came up, we talked, we sipped on some of the champagne, and spent most of the time in eachother's arms. Another night to remember.

I wasn't going to node about this at all - nevermind a crappy daylog node - but some of you seemed actually concerned. So instead of noding it on the day it all went down, I'll node it today, when I feel well enough to share it all with you.

There I am, walking back to the parking lot from where I work. It's humid. I'm whistling Ben Folds, looking up at the nice apartment building in the distance, thinking how nice it would be to afford the accomodations. I see three women standing at the corner on the other side of the lights, with a young child (she is just over 2 years old, something I find out later of course) holding a balloon. It is red, ironically enough. The little white man is waving me across, but the red hand tells the three women and child to stay put.

I reach the corner. What happens next happens in slow motion, both then and now.

As I approach the sidewalk from the roadway, the girl (Stacey, 2 years old) loses her balloon. The women are facing the Tim Horton's on the corner. I take another step. The girl's face lights up as the chase begins. She takes two steps out into oncoming traffic, which is racing to beat the inevitable yellow light. I take another step, this time towards the girl. The three women haven't noticed anything yet. The girl takes two more steps (smaller than mine, but at a faster pace, as there is a red balloon's life at stake!). I take my third step, into the second lane from the curb, and I finally manage to shout at the girl as I grasp the sleeve of her T-shirt. The women finally notice.

Then Stacey loses her red balloon, I lose Stacey, and things really begin to slow down.

The first vehicle to strike me is the yellow pick-up truck. Luckily it was slowing down, seeing what was taking place. It strikes me in my right side, spinning me around, forcing me to let go of Stacey (who has wide eyes). The pain begins immediately, and I am pushed forward.

Stacey is pushed away from me, and we are struck almost simultaneously by the second vehicle: a white Honda Civic. I am falling forward, so it's my head that hits the hood of the car first, spinning me up the car towards the windshield. Stacey goes under the vehicle.

My last vision before things go dark? Stacey being picked up by what turned out to be her step-mother. She is limp, bleeding. I wonder what I look like, leaning against the Civic, throbbing and dizzy. Do I look like that?

My hospital stay was uneventful, due mostly to the fact that I made sure the nurses knew never, NEVER to skimp on the painkillers. The strangest feeling was that my head felt detached, not part of my body. I remembered reading D. E. Harding's "On Having No Head", and now know what he was writing about. I had severe bruising from where the truck hit me, and injuries to both my head and neck from the second impact. X-rays, CAT scans, examinations. No permanent damage. My hands shake and I can't focus my vision for long periods of time. I limp slightly and I can't bend over without help. It will go away.

Stacey's rib cage is shattered, apparently from being run over by the Civic. Internal bleeding, head injuries. I get information in little snips, partly due to my drugged state, partly due to the fact that her parents didn't talk to me, not once. She will be somewhat disfigured I would assume, but the good news is that she should have all of her faculties intact. She will live.

Should I be upset that I didn't make the evening news? I'm not really, although my friends think I should be. They called the station, the radio, the papers. I get no mention in any of them. Frankly, I don't want the mention. I know that I sent Rob out to inform everyone I felt fit to tell, and he did that wonderfully (getting me cursed on E2 twice, in the process, and feeding EDB well I hear!)... why should I care about anyone else knowing?

I got no thanks from Stacey's parents or families, maybe because I failed in saving their little girl. They didn't visit, they didn't call, they didn't talk to me. I expetced a lawsuit; apparently they just don't want anything to do with me. I know I would be upset if someone tried to save my loved ones, and didn't succeed. She didn't die, but I had nothing to do with that.

Some people (here at E2 and elsewhere in my life) called my actions "heroic." They weren't. Heroes demonstrate bravery, accomplish goals, make a difference. I just reacted, and I paid for it. Would I do anything differently? Will I dart out into traffic in an attempt to help a little girl with a balloon again? If I have to, yes. Does that make me a hero? I don't think so. Please don't cheapen the concept of heroism on my incident.

Again, I probably shouldn't have written about this. I felt I had to. Again, Everything comes to the rescue. I can write it out, and then get on with my recovery. An event in a timeline of events. But here I can share it, preserve it, forget it.

Ok, enough of the dark stuff. I started keeping a list of the people who sent me well-wishes and really seemed to care, but it got long and complicated. I used to think that E2 really didn't notice me; I was (almost) dead wrong. For all of you that messaged, tried to call, looked for me, or even cursed me, I thank you. Everything is a comm-, oh you know that already!

Wow. I just realized how ironic it is that I noded THIS the same day all of THAT happened. Wow.

UPDATE: Apparently I did make the 11 o'clock news the day after. They mispronounced my name. Whoot whoot.

The U.S. Coast Guard is at the moment a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (I thought they were part of the US Armed Services but was eddy-kated by VT_hawkeye, thx). They are sometimes known as the "Coasties".

As a result of the big shake-up currently making its way through Congress, the Coast Guard will probably become a branch of the Office of Homeland Security.

Personally, I'm in favor of it, but only because it means I will be able to call them the "Homeys" or even "Hi C's Homeys". When's the album gonna drop, Yo (Ho Ho)?

Today is a good day. I'm getting better physically and emotionally.

I know I'll never be 100% percent in in body. We always knew that. The problems that stem from Cerebral Palsy can be dealt with one at a time.

My body I may not be able to control. I have good days and bad just like everyone else.

Infections, fevers and other complications pop up unexpectedly. We deal with them as they happen.

My spirit is mine. I won't let any of it get me down.

I am truly blessed in so many ways.

It's exactly a month ago on this day that I became a member of E2. I learn something new every day. Yes. I am truly blessed.

8 days ago, I became a Father. People keep expecting me to be all estactic and blissfull and joyous 'n shit...but I am not that type of person. I am private, my joy is my own, I share it with few people, least of not with my co-workers or mere aquantainces. My kid is wonderful, but then again most are, I think its evolutionary. There are no ugly babies becuase ugly babies have been left to die on hilltops over the ages, ugly babies have been selected against. The kid, she looks like me, of course that is also evolution, if babies didn't intially look like they fathers, then the daddies would eat them. Its a fact.

So I've been trying to find a song that describes how I feel about Colin. I've come up with a couple. Sappiness alert: you've been warned.

I think Alanis Morisette's Head over feet more or less sums it up. Yeah.

...You treat me like
I'm a princess
I'm not used to
liking that
you ask how my day was

...what took me so long?

...I've never felt
this healthy before
I've never wanted
something rational
I am aware now...

Today, I feel more like Billy Joel's The longest time:

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the (wo)man that you are
you're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for...



Yeah, I'm gonna gush now. If you are disgusted by terrible sappiness, you can just disregard the rest of this writeup right now, because it's gonna be BAD. I have reached "Oh-my-god-can-you-just-effin'-SHUT-UP-about-the-guy?" stage.

He is adorable. He's sweet and cuddly and affectionate and goofy and funny. We have disgusted most of his friends almost to the point of making them kneel before the porcelain god.

When we went to Chicago and I was driving, he got so insanely irritated at the people being rude to me on the road. After a cabbie flicked me off and yelled "WHAT, YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING?!?!?!", Colin declared: "That's it. If one more person honks at you, I'm getting out of this car and kicking the $#|7 out of him." Maybe it was just him being all irritated at the hostilities thrown in our general direction, but I thought "Oh, how cute! He wants to defend me!" Yeah. I'm an idiot. I can't help it. I used to like Glory of Love by Peter Cetera. Yeah, I know, I'm pathetic.

I am the man who will fight for your honor
I'll be the hero that you're dreaming of...

Yeah. I can just see it. Soon I'll be writing fantasy stories in which we discover a passage to some dangerous parallel dimension with monsters and evil nobility, and he'll be my hero defending me from perils that confront us.

"Run!" Colin yelled at Jade as he rushed forward to attack the evil monster with big teeth, his katana drawn from its red sheath. Who would've thought that a decoration in his room in rural Wisconsin would save their lives on so many ocassions in such a short time? It was pure luck that she had been holding it as the portal to the mystical world of Nador opened beneath their feet in a tarot reading gone bad...

... They held each other in the pale light cast on the clearing by the twin moons that adorned the endless dark infinity above. The night was too bright and the stars weren't very visible, but even if they were, they'd be no consolation. Jade could not recognize any of the constellations, no matter how hard she tried. A single tear slid down her cheek, and Colin wiped it away with his thumb.

"I know, Jade, I know... But don't worry. I'll find a way to get us back home, and I won't let anything happen to you in the meantime."

Okay, that's enough. I think I must go to the bathroom and cough up my lunch. I disgust myself.

I am so full of clichés.

Things are just fine. They are safe. I can move on.

Alt-Tab and messanger is a great thing. Especially when I am resolving all the issues at once.

"I met this guy, he's great" "you deserve great" Alt-Tab "is he good in bed?"

"You kicked me too hard, and far. It hurt" "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shut you out like that." Alt-Tab "Why did you say that?" "I was trying to say I could always leave, like it made me so powerful, I am sorry"

"You care too much what other people think, there is nothing wrong with having emotions" "I know, I just try to maintain a certain amount of dignity." Alt-Tab "You are so judgemental, at least everyone respects your job" "I know, people say that what you are doing is great too... I just have to fully understand the spiritual path you are taking before I can totally support you. I just worry about you sometimes."

"You really helped me through the worst time, when I had no furniture, no friends, just a phone and a computer on the floor, thanks" Alt-Tab "It makes me sick to my stomach every time I think that I am not going to be there to support you on your day. If I could turn it around I would, but I can't."

"I want to call you, do you have a minute?" Alt-Tab "You are still my most valued friend. I know you will be there with me in spirit on my wedding day."

After that, all of my problems just floated away. All I could do was look at the ceiling and smile until I fell asleep.

Something strange happened to me this afternoon while I was waiting for the bus...

Ok, the truth is, strange things usually happen at this oh-so-high point in my day, however, this time, it just -- Got to me.

I'm sitting there, waiting, and this pleasant looking, older, black woman walks up and stands about a yard or two away. As always, I smile, then go about and mind my business.

As soon as I smiled, she looks me in the eyes, and starts going on, "Ignorant mofos, there are so many ignorant asses all trying to ruin it for everyone.....".

I nod, in empathy, and ask, "Did someone do something to you?" You know, like trying to help or listen.

Her eyes widen, "Are you talking to me? 'Cause if you are, you can just lick my Black Ass!" She calmly walks away.

I guess, in a way, I didn't realize that for some people, there is this divide. In a way, she is right; perhaps I will never understand it. I will also never be able to understand the hate people can have for total strangers. What this lady said to me hit a nerve, yet it did not make me angry. Instead, it made this question stick in my mind, the question I wanted to ask her before she walked away: "Well, what have you done to dispell the hate?"

bored to tears

weill in japan: day 20

Tomorrow in class, we're going to watch some grass grow and some paint dry.

Once again, I thought that I had all my homework completed, but I had forgotten one semi-major assignment. The assignment, which I had neglected to put on my To-Do list, was simply to rephrase the assignment as a presentation. Effectively, this consisted of just placing the student's name at the beginning (as a "role play") and parroting the same material that we've been studying for days. How is this supposed to help us with anything? Will there ever be real situations where we're given an article and asked to recite it repeatedly as if it were our own? I don't think any of us is studying to be a news anchorman, so these "skills" are completely worthless.

Everyone in class understands how pointless these drills are, and how little we're actually learning. If this gets any worse, as the current situation suggests, I'll talk with the professors about it. In the meantime, I have my pile of work to sit on and sulk about. All of this underscores that at least for my class, "study" isn't the key word in "study abroad."

sayonara, files

To all those people who say Macs and PCs can co-exist just fine: I've got something to show you.

On Saturday, I bought a FlashDIO USB memory device, with the hopes that I could transport files between my Windows XP laptop, my host family's Windows Me (Japanese) computer, and the computers on campus running Mac OS 9.1/9.2 (Japanese). There are also a large number of Windows 2000 computers on campus, but summer course students aren't permitted to use them. It's a shame, because I now have very good reason to hate the Macs on campus.

I'm no stranger to using, say, a PC-formatted floppy disk or Zip disk with a Mac. The Mac OS handles the files fine most of the time, although it creates annoying extra folders with wonderfully verbose names like "TheVolumeSettingsFolder" on the disks. This time, though, I was dealing with an entirely new device. I loaded my web page updates onto the device, along with a couple of utilities and a report of mine. In case of any problems, I also copied this data to a CD-RW. While in the library, I was able to access the contents of my memory device, although the Microsoft Word documents wouldn't open. I copied versions over from the CD, and they opened fine from there on out. I even downloaded a couple of files from the Internet to the device, hoping to open them at home.

I got home, turned on my laptop, and plugged in the memory device.

EVERY. SINGLE. FILE. WAS. CORRUPTED. Gone, kaput, useless. Even files that I hadn't touched on the Mac were irreparably damaged. After running CHKDSK a few times on the disk, I can now delete the files and start over. All of the file names are there, but the files' contents have shrunken considerably. The two MP3 files that I downloaded onto the disk are now a horrible mishmash of samples reduced to mere fractions of their original size. The minor changes that I made to my Word documents now need to be re-made. Time saved: zero.

I have no choice but to use the Macs on campus for Internet connectivity, so I'll try this again tomorrow -- backing up everything several times over, of course -- and see what happens. If I get corruption again, I have a very light paperweight. These memory devices are supposed to be very easy to use across platforms: a friend of mine has a similar device that he has used since last December across both Windows and Mac platforms. His situation is not perfect either: when removing the device while it was still mounted, having failed to "eject" it, Mac OS X 10.1 displayed its rainbow-colored wait cursor ad infinitum. UNIX-like stability my ass. Windows 2000 and Windows XP merely display cautionary messages when the device is removed before it is unmounted.

With homework forgotten, data lost, and the heat still bearing down on Tokyo, my mood is anything but good. This is likely the second low point of the psychological progression of people going abroad: first initial euphoria, then initial shock, then understanding, then resentment at one's surroundings. I don't think my case fits the mold exactly, but it's nice to look at it that way. Next and final stop: finally understanding and co-existing in one's host culture.

change is good

So tonight I had relatively little homework and a bad mood. The solution? Spend some 5 1/2 hours walking around the tourist-trap neighborhood of Odaiba with my older brother Kei and his friend Sheru. The crowds were very thin as the shops closed early on Monday, but we still had a fun time walking around and seeing all of the vast expanses of shopping, fun activities, and so forth. Odaiba also includes Joypolis, Sega's giant arcade and virtual reality palace, which was closed when we arrived. I must go back there to see it, even though it must be the most expensive arcade in the world.

Odaiba also features a small rendition of the Statue of Liberty, the famous Rainbow Bridge, and Leisure Land.

Leisure Land.

Located in the shadow of the world's second-largest Ferris wheel, Leisure Land is an arcade with everything. Just about every type of video game available, from pachinko to V.R., dancing games, driving games, typing games, photo booths, you name it, they've got it. There's even bowling and karaoke also available. The kicker: Leisure Land is open 24 hours a day. Since the trains don't run all the time, I could seriously see myself wasting a whole night -- and ungodly amounts of money -- at Leisure Land.

The evening ended just after 2:00 AM. I'm tempted to call home just because I can (it's 1:00 PM Monday in New York) but I think I'll try for my 4 1/2 hours of sleep tonight. My mood is improved, but I think that limited sleep and ill-preparedness for class will fix that on Tuesday morning. Good night!

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