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February 28, 2004

6 am post

did some drinking last night, with john down by the river, then with some friends from my restaurant job. made me feel a little bit better, or maybe it just helped me forget for a little while. most everyone i come in contact with has to listen to me spill my guts about how bad i feel about what happened. i'll stop doing that eventually, but right now i have such guilt, regret, embarrassment and lack of knowledge of how to deal with what happened that it's impossible not to think about, and hard not to talk about.

i read her site and i'm the exboyfriend who cheated, the one who lied and broke trust and who she'll never speak to again, and who she'll heal from and forget. part of me can't believe it, that i did such things and sabotaged something that meant so much to me. and i ask myself why i did those things, and the truth is they happened a long time ago, and i don't know why i did them then, and i have even less of an idea now. someone said maybe it was hormones, but that seems ridiculously ill-suited as an explanation. the truth is i have no explanation, no idea why. i never did it out of malice, and the absurdity is that the outcome of those fuckups wasn' that i loved her less, they made me love her more, made me realize what an amazing person she was, what i had, what i could lose, and in the end what i didn't even deserve. and i keep telling myself and any poor sucker i trap into listening that i would give everything i have to have not done what i did, give anything to be able to talk with her every once in a while. and that's the one thing that won't happen, and it keeps striking me during the day, and during the night since i'm up at 6 am writing about this stuff i can't stop thinking about, that she won't speak to me again. i guess it's what i deserve, but it hurts so bad i can't even say.

drew says i have to accept what happened, accept that i'm a bastard, accept what i lost. i know i do, and that i will, eventually. for some reason i keep thinking about some art on the wall at daveo's house that says, "the place you left will never be anything but empty," or something like that. it resonates.

drew, aaron, steve, and several others think i need to move away from this town. i have a job interview on monday, for a job that pays pretty well and more importantly would mean i was doing something good for the community, and me doing something good feels overdue. if i don't get it i think i'll be moving away, even though i'm most likely still going up to alaska in the summer again, a few months away. someone said that me leaving is like running away, and maybe it is, but i feel so bad and guilty that i don't want her to have to run into me in this small small city, and it's bound to happen. aaron says moving when you're sad is a good idea, cause you're miserable anyways, and at least you get to see new stuff. it sounds valid.
i'll make a point to try and write about some different things, it feels weird to bare myself in a public forum, and it's probably annoying. i always wrote this site for her more then anyone though. next time i write i'll try and compose some thoughts about israel and palestine.
guilty, undeserving and sad.

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February 26, 2004

i'm a lying bastard

i never deserved even to know shannen. words can't describe how shitty i am.

commence operation drink to forget.

first, some against me! lyrics:

"You Look Like I Need A Drink"

in the closest alley, in the first doorway, pushed up against her and closed his eyes. he said, "this is probably the worst decision that i've ever made." she laughed and smiled. she said, "i'm sure you do this all the time...right?" as the morning came and the city woke into the building people all went to work, as their rides out of town came they parted ways she said, "do you know when you're coming back again?" dig it deeper, deeper, and farther still, bury it up and over and into the ground, all these lies will grow in ways that we never thought possible. if you quiet down, it's so soft of a sound, you can hear it all coming back after you. now you want to take it back, you think you might have fucked up. waking dreams of concrete, deafening panic, cracked skull, there is yelling all around, get up, get up please start breathing and the moment will come when you finally realize the results of decisions and choices in your life, you hear it all coming back after you.

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2:30 am post

i read a very good interview with the weakerthans once. the interviewer asked if they had any regets. can't remember which member said that of course he has regrets, that we all have regrets, it's part of being human, and people who say they don't are fooling themselves.
been thinking about my regrets the last couple of days, a lot. all the if's, should haves, could haves, and what the fuck was i thinkings can't change anything though, and right now they are just making it very very difficult for me to sleep, which i guess i deserve. i imagine this will pass eventually, but how long is eventually?

so, since i'm pretty wide awake, i added a link to my author page for the news review. scroll down, check it out, it's below on the right under "links." there aren't many, but i take my accomplishments as they come these days. my next assignment for them is writing about rockclimbing for their "adventure sports" issue. should be easy. plus gonna throw a blurb in about against me! playing, i'm really looking forward to that show, gonna scream along till i have no voice whatsoever, maybe that'll help something.

thanks to all my friends and especially steve for hanging out with me these days, i know i've been so much fun to be around.

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February 25, 2004

after some good advice

from my mother and my friend lauren, i chose not to give notice at work and go fleeing from this town. i am miserable, and it's never good to move when you're unhappy, it starts everything off badly. i know why i'm unhappy, and more then half of the blame for it rests on me, but not all of it. and the rest doesn't all rest on the other person, i chock some of it up to the things that happen to you in life that have to happen, but that hopefully work out for the best.

i'm going to write about israel soon, had a long messenger chat with jenka and luke today about palestine, gave me some new thoughts.
things will get better. now, how to sleep?

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February 24, 2004

not that she'll read this

but i hurt someone i love, somehow, and badly. and she won't talk to me again. i thought yesterday was the worst day since my parents got divorced, but appears today is the day.

giving notice at work today, moving away from this town.

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February 23, 2004

a long trip with lots to think about

so my flight out of tel aviv was scheduled at 12:40, and we sat around, looking at the clock. finally at 12:35 they mentioned to us that there wre technical difficulties, and that there would be a delay. well, nearly 5 hours later, after they got a different plane, one that had just flown in from china, we took off. our 10:30 arrival in l.a. turned into a 3 oclock arrival, and when i finally hit ground in reno (i slept through the landing i was so exhausted), i'd been coming home for more then 30 hours. ouch. specially considering that i probably slept 5 to 6 of those hours. the rest of the time was spent thinking about my trip and stuff back home.
luckily, i'm scheduled at work this morning (goddamnit), i'm gonna try and escape early and go take a walk or something, breath some real, unrecycled air.
have tons to spout about israel and especially the "situation" as they call it, that will come in a day or so, as my mind digests all that i saw.
in a way, it's really good to be back.

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February 20, 2004

soon on the wing

sorta baffling that this is my last evening in israel. part of me is sad, especially since i finally broke the bike out of the box and put it together and rode around tel aviv a bit, should have done more of that but next time will suffice. i'm at ran's house, had dinner with him and his father at his father's office. ran's father provides security stuff for the israeli defense force, metal detectors and portable lighting rigs and stuff. after posing a question to senior rimon about whether israel is worse then it was 3 years ago, i learned where ran got his oratory ability. the answer was insightful and way too complicated to go into here. while he was talking part of me realized that i will have to go home and attempt to translate this experience into spanish. gonna be a challenge.
last night we went out, hit some bars, ran into evan from the tour with some soldiers he made friends with, then played some pool (i'm way off my game, steve is gonna rock me). got in around 4 am, so i slept till 11. glad that i'll soon be away from living at that hostel, it's full of people who live there almost full time, men who work in restaurants and stuff like that, not really a rough lot but just kinda weird.
so some more interesting observations about israel:

every building has to have a bomb shelter built into it. every house, every shop. ran's mother said they couldn't get their dog to go down into the shelter until the shelling from iraq during the first gulf war.

many people over here see the u.s. invading iraq as a good thing. i still don't, but it was interesting to hear their perspective, that they truly believe it's lowering terror. my perspective continues that it was done in such a duplicitious and slimy manner, notwithstanding the question of whether the u.s. has any authority to begin with to make such actions, that it will make things worse in the long run for both the arab people over here as well as us back home.

i hate not being able to read street signs. a lot. if/when i come back to learn, i'm gonna focus so hard, just so i can know which sign is for the bathroom.

ran mentioned that he thinks hebrew is pretty worthless for me to learn, outside of wanting to do so because of my heritage. he's totally right, but hebrew makes more sense then basque, which i was considering learning, which is even more useless.

tomorrow we're going to see the retaining wall they are building between here and palestine. i never made it into palestine, jenka will surely give me shit for that, and i'll deserve some of it. i think i'll feel more comfortable doing so next time, especially if i have hebrew on my side to communicate.
after that we're going to a mall to look for used tshirts. from the wall to the mall: the multiple personalities of israel. hehe.

for those outside of reno who read this, i got my first cover story. check it out.

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February 18, 2004

Tel Aviv

so it's early morning in Tel Aviv, around 7:30 or so. i've become even more of an early riser over here. just walked with nate to the bus stop to catch the bus to the airport, now pretty much all of the folks i met from the tour have returned to the states or went to kibbutz, cept for evan, who flys home the same time i do.
did a lot of walking around yesterday, i met up with ran rimon, my good friend who i met in honduras, and he showed me some of the cooler neighborhoods.
tel aviv as a city has a good feel to it. several people have told me that since the second intifada was declared things are much quieter, plus it's winter over here, which still means long sleeve shirts are fine to wear but it's no 100 degree summer heat. the architecture varies widely, ran was telling me about how in '48, when all the immigrants were arriving from all over the world, how one solo architect designed all the housing, and though his design was fairly generic, they boxed it up even more, so that many neighborhoods look, in a word, bleak.
but the bleakness does not extend to the people. i sat watching them walk around yesterday, like i always find myself doing in foreign cities, wondering that while they are living their actual lives, i'm playing the role of a traveler, visiting and watching but not accomplishing much towards the contemporary "normal" goals in my own life. this is a role i quite fancy, but at times it feels suspect.
ran is a political science major so i naturally quizzed him about the domestic politics of israel. he speaks eloquently and frankly has amazing english, a bigger vocabulary then anyone i've met who wasn't a native speaker. his vocab is probably bigger then most americans, not that i'm knocking americans, but when was the last time you heard someone back home use the term "ethos" to describe the feelings of the populace? ever?
anyways, it was a lot to absorb, but i feel like my perception of the domestic situation is rounding out, that if i was to move here in a year or so to learn hebrew, i could tell someone beforehand and after i got here about the divisions within the jewish population of israel, about the history of the conflict with the palestinians, about where i stand on such issues as the barrier fence first as a jew thinking of what this land stood for after world war 2 and secondly as a human thinking of human rights abuses.
yesterday before nate and i dropped jessie of at her bus full of american environmentalists heading to a kibbutz to study the environment, we found a veggie restaurant called taste of life. everything was vegan, and it was owned by one of the original 101 black jews i'm pretty sure they were who moved here to israel from chicago in 1969. he said there are 2000 of them now, all living in a vegan community. pretty cool. their restaurant kicked so much ass i can't tell you. homemade vegan icecream and tons of fake meat goodness, i can't wait to eat their again for lunch.
one thing i haven't written about is the cab ride that justin and i had from dahab, egypt on the sinai peninsula back towards eilat in southern israel. as soon as we got in the cab driver launched us into a political discussion that spanned the entire 2 hour cab ride, his face glued for a disconcertingly long part of it to the rear view, watching us as we spoke to him.
it was good to talk to someone with such a different worldview. he felt that hezbollah, hamas and islamic jihad ard fighting the good fight, that jews control congress and masterminded sept. 11th, that the arabs will never let america steal the oil, instead preferring to fight to the last death. justin and i tried to get through that jews aren't evil like he'd been taught, but it was so indoctrinated, and made me wonder about what i've been indoctrinated with.

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February 17, 2004

law of averages

so i'm back in tel aviv from egypt, that whole trip was very good. yesterday we dove to 30 meters, inside of a coral feature called the canyon, at 20 meters you dropped in and swam up and out through very narrow walls, i loved it.
i did make the error of having lunch at a bedouin camp. all of us did, and i awoke this morning sick to my stomach. all i had was a salad, so i got off light, evan is still in eilat in southern israel cause he was vomiting too much to catch the bus. that's what you get when you order a tuna sandwich from sand people.
it's funny, cause i was bragging just a few days ago about how after all the countries i've been to, i've never ended up sick from eating local food. guess i was due.
anyways, gonna meet up with ran tomorrow, that will be great, haven't seen him in ages.
more later.

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February 14, 2004

egypt again

crossed into egypt today from israel. was in jordan yesterday, over in asia. crazy stuff.
egypt is better then jordan i think, less armed guards and razer wire at the border. i am going diving 4 times here, total cost of 155 dollars. cheap as hell. gonna do the famed blue hole dive, though not gonna go all the way down to 50 meters to go through the arch. too dangerous.
petra was amazing the second day as well. been having good talks with my traveling companions, this is the first time i've traveled with all jews. it's good.

so one night on the tour we got to see this weird jewish banjo player from australia who'd migrated to israel. his music was ridiculous and he had a wispy nerd beard that made us all uncomfortable. after seeing him, jacob from santa barbara couldn't help but belt out impromptu banjo billy ballads about meeting truckers in truckstop bathrooms and punching whores in tijuana. funniest guy on that trip, that jacob.

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February 12, 2004

israel entry 3 (finally), plus jordan

so i finished the israel outdoors program yesterday, overall it was so amazingly good and i felt very very fortunate to have been able to participate.
probably the best day was my birthday. it started out with a jeep tour in the golan heights, during which we went to see fields of wildflowers and also the various israeli lines of defense against the syrians and lebanese during the 6 day war and the yom kippur war. at that moment, similar to many times in israel, i found myself reflecting about all the battles and wars and bloodshed that have occured in this part of the world, beginning thousands of years ago and continuing up until today. the wars israel went through in the years following it's creation were hairy, more so then i knew, and several times they held on by the seat of their pants, scarce kilometers from being wiped out.
after the jeep tour went on a 4 hour hike through some amazing canyons in the golan. some of the canyons were full of a bamboo like plant, some were bare except for the ubiquitous basalt that inundates this part of the world, and many had waterfalls flowing down. it felt so good that it was on my birthday, we stopped next to a waterfall and our guide ornit made sugary middle east style tea and we sat listening to the water. that evening we went out to dinner and i was tricked outside, only to walk into the dining room of the restaurant to hear everyone in the group sing me happy birthday in hebrew. they were so excited they sang it twice, plus once in english. thanks guys. we then retired to the hotel bar, where i fended off attempts to get me puking drunk.
the second best day may have been the one day we actually rode bikes. it was in the north as well, i think i liked the north part of israel the most in terms of variety of geography and beauty of scenery. the desert still calls though. we rode bikes in a long line, looking down into stream canyons and over verdant green rolling hills, and near the end the sea of galilee came into view.
we dropped off the bikes and went for a dip in some thermal hotsprings, very egg smelling but nice after a nice ride, plus they had a waterslide that reminded me of a toilet. that evening we went on a weird "disco" cruise on the sea of galilee, the best part being when the boat captain got drunk and ran into a parked boat as he brought us back into port.
i wish i would have been able to update this more often, there are so many things to mention. here are some other highlights:

the wailing wall: seeing this in jerusalem was pretty important, if you consider that it's the holiest place in israel. it was teeming with "black hats," orthodox jews who bustled everywhere, always looking harried. after viewing a video about the history of the wall that included cheesy animations, we went out there. i went down to the wall but didn't put any prayers in or anything. one thing visiting israel has made me feel is a connection to the cultural and ethnic heritage of being jewish. personally i am not interested at all in the religion, for a variety of reasons, so i was very happy to see a cultural aspect, someone spoke about being linked with the jews as a people as opposed to just the religion, i very much agreed with that. anyways, don't see myself going back to the wall, but it was cool to see. also, seeing the al aqsa mosque in the background, on top of the temple mount made me think of how crowded that city is with history and religions and, yes, strife.

Yad vashem: the holocaust museum in israel was heavy, not as graphically as the one in washington d.c., but more in the feeling that so many of the few remaining jews fled to here, in hopes of a nation of their own.

the other kids in the group: i was thinking about it on the last day, that it was probably the last time in my life that i'd ever be around a group of folks who were all jewish and my own age. made some good new friends, had many good laughs, especially sitting in the back of the tour bus while driving around the country. it will be hard to see many of them again, but going to try. a few live in s.f., so that shouldn't be so hard.

i'll surely reflect more on my trip at a later date, now though i should mention that i'm in the country of jordan. last night got dropped off in tel aviv with evan from l.a., justin from brooklyn and nate from the s.f. area. the tour bus drove the kids who had to fly home last night (poor bastards) to the airport, and we waved as they left. we took city busses to the center, where we dropped jessie off in a good hostel. she's watching my bike while i'm over here, i send her a big thank you for that. we hung out a got an expensive beer, and i rung up ran, who sounded pleased to hear from me. i'm gonna meet up with him when i get back to tel aviv. a 10 minute cab ride brought us to a bus heading south towards eilat, and we spent a horrible night trying to sleep as the bus lurched and the rude israeli high school students chattered away behind me, oblivious to the myriad of dirty looks we shot them.
this morn we disembarked, got our bearings, and after changing our plane tickets, slipped through the border control with little problem into jordan. haggling with the cab drivers proved fruitless, and we settled on spending 40 bucks on a 2 hour ride here, to petra. we dropped our packs at valentines hostel then caught a ride out to the site. i used my very expired student i.d. to get a discount, and we entered in, exhausted but anticipating some amazing stuff. of course we weren't disappointed, the treasury blew me away, i had the same sense of wanting to sit there and just stare as i did when i went to the acropolis and to tikal in guatemela. the things they carved out of pure stone were intricate and at times frankly unbelievable, and we found ourselves jaws gaping and awestruck. we hung out for a few hours, but fatigue drove us back here, to the hostel. i'm in a room now with a bunch of arab guys playing guitar and hand drums and singing and clapping, it's cool but the cigarette smoke is murder. they keep picking up these 2 weird israeli girls and making them dance, they have some rhythm but always revert to shaking their asses. funny stuff.
ok off to sleep. be well.

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February 07, 2004

israel entry 2 (abbreviated)

so i'm in some weird little town in the north of israel, full of jewish mystics and singing and dancing. it's a side of judiasm and israel we haven't seen yet, reminds me of sedona arizona.
since my last post i've been to the wailing wall in jerusalem, the yad vashem holocaust museum outside of jerusalem, and to several other places in and around jerusalem.
the trip is going very well, looks like i'll be going to the sinai peninsula in egypt as well as some old ruins known as petra in jordan. 3 new countries, i'm excited.
more later, have a lot of thoughts, just no time.

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February 05, 2004

israel entry 1

sorry i haven't written, been away from computers completely, and the phone cards i brought from home don't work with this phone system, or i can't figure out how to make it.
so the flight over was 18 hours, we got stuck in a canadian airport waiting room for 2 hours. i arrived delirious but excited, met many new folks on the plane ride over, all from the west coast, then a bunch more from the east coast when we got in.
the first day, 2 days ago i guess, we went around tel aviv, saw the birthplace of the modern jewish state, then headed south toward the negev. yesterday morning we awoke and went on a camel ride. it reminded me so much of riding camels in morocco with the spain kids, this was even more sedate, we were all tied together. after that we went to masada, walked around that a bunch, learned some history from out guide. apparently a bunch of jewish zealots held the romans off for 3 years, and the night before they were overrun, the all comitted suicide to deprive the romans of a victory. we then walked down the snake trail towards the dead sea. the bus picked us up and we drove to a beach where we all bathed in the dead sea, it was the highlight of the trip so far, almost hard to describe. the water has such a high salt content that you float very high in the water without having to swim at all, we all paddled ourselves around using our hands like oars, i felt like a canoe. for years my father has related the story of when he went there, now i know why he felt compelled to bring it up, it was amazing.
today we awoke and went to a ein gedi nature preserve and saw ibex and a rabbit like creature that climbs trees and travels in "herds" as our guide said.
now we are in the old jewish quarter of jerusalem, i'm taking a minute to update this, the street walls are narrow like morocco and hebrew is spoken loudly.
ok, a list of observations since i'm having trouble writing lucidly.

it's very weird to travel in a country again in which i don't understand the language, and can't even read the street signs because they are in hebrew. it's good for me, things were getting too easy in the spanish speaking countries.

i'm in a group of 36 people, plus our two female armed guards, so we move very slowly and take forever to do anything. everyone is greatful because this trip is free and i feel so lucky, but this style is very different from the solo traveling i'm used to. i'm glad i'm staying later so i can be on my own again, i like it more.

being around jewish kids is a totally new thing for me. many of these kids grew up on the east coast, where everyone was jewish, in a way i'm jealous, but not really.

i've been having good political talks with people about israel, palestine, and the u.s. getting a much better picture of the israeli side, later i'd like to see things from the palestinian perspective.

after we finish on the 12th, i think i'm heading down to the sinai peninsula in egypt to do some scuba diving, then on up to jordan to see petra. it will be roping in a lot to do all that, but while i'm over here...

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