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The Promised Land
"Gather the Flock"
This is the most troubled I've been in a long time. Not less than five years ago, I had already known that this day would come. It's going to be even tougher than my so-called time of reckoning. The ship is sinking and we need a plan. Fortunately, we have hope in the form of Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Unbelievable as it may sound, this book is going to be our guide outta here. What has happened, and why now? If you have read this journal, you have seen the incredible state of affairs that has developed over the last few months. The situation is now totally out of control. You can't even imagine what's been going on.

In two days, I read through the whole book. I sat in Kapi'olani Park with some brewskis and finished the last chapter just before going to the gym. I wanted to sit at One West Waikiki, but there were more pressing issues at hand. If any of you are (or have been) in a situation like mine, you probably wanted to go off the deep end. I know I do. I've made it through so far by the seat of my pants, but that won't happen again. Losers just cannot continue to live a pathetic existence. It's not fair. Most of us are just sheep looking for the shepherd. The shepherd never came. We have run out of time. So, I am going to try to be the shepherd. Let's gather the flock. We're moving on to The Promised Land.

Mission Statement
Tuesday February 16, 1999
I can't even stress how scared I am. I have vowed to carry Covey's book with me everywhere as well as the Good Book because we are going to need more than a prayer to get out of this mess. Most of this mess is psychological. It's a state of mind. However, it is a dangerous state of mind. The whole problem is that we've needed a plan all along. No one bothered to construct one. So, there are no contingencies either. This is the most precarious of situations. Enter Covey. He has drawn up a general plan for us. Why didn't I read this book ten years ago when it first came out?

The first step is to develop a Mission Statement. Here's mine:

  • To pay homage and give honor to Jehovah, Almighty God and Creator
  • To never underrate any accomplishment, no matter how small
  • To increase my life experiences by expanding my skills and interests
  • To live humbly and modestly within my means
  • To seek balance between work and leisure
  • To constantly redefine my purpose in life, transcending each prior level
  • To believe in myself and better myself
  • To abstain from any addictive behaviors (substance, alcohol, social)
  • To value the importance of family and friends
  • To be of service to others
  • To love, honor and cherish my mate (if I ever find one again)
  • To deflate my pride and not seek self-worth from any false sense of pride
  • To stop running away from everything
  • To become interdependent, not dependent or independent, upon others
  • To realize that the only person I can critique is myself
  • To never stop learning
  • There is a real sense of urgency that almost borders on paranoia. I can't tell you why. It's just a feeling I have and it has to do with the sinister kahuna. We need to be ready to mobilize.
    Strategic Plan
    Wednesday February 17
    Before I can implement anything, I realized that I needed a Strategic Plan. Here is what I have come up with so far: Mind you, this is only the start of the whole process. Can we go all the way? Do we have a choice? Let's face it, none of us wants to be victimized again by our own stupidity. Today, I want to discuss the matter of honesty, integrity and trust in the context of the journal. I have put my life on display for the world to see. All four of you. In my attempt to remain honest, I revealed my innermost thoughts especially during troubled times. I put my integrity on the line. Yet, somewhere along the line, things went awry. I confessed my own sins, but I went about confessing the sins of others. I conjectured about myself and interpreted my situations, but I also went about conjecturing about others and interpreting their situations. In essence, I betrayed the trust of others just to satisfy my whim of journalistic honesty. I made huge withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account. The Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that Covey uses to describe the level of trust that's accumulated in a relationship. There is no quick fix for the damage that has been done. I can only promise that it will never happen again. As I stated in my mission, I can only critique myself. And, I can only be responsible for myself. What other people say or do is of no consequence. Now I can see why I made only incremental progress beyond my time of reckoning. I didn't yet realize that I made all the decisions to be where I was. The time to rebuild trust is now. Finally, many thanks to Alana (alana@magma.ca) for writing in and thanks to Alyssa (rmouse@el-dorado.ca.us) for suggesting other good books to check out.
    Thursday February 18
    Did you work on your Mission Statement and Strategic Plan? I hope so. Some of you may be wondering why I have publicly posted my Mission Statement. It's because I want you to hold me accountable for what I have proposed. If you see me reverting back to old ways, you can tell me that I'm full of crap. After all, this is my integrity on the line. We all want to make changes. If we cannot be held accountable for those changes, what good are they?

    Today, I'm going to talk about diversions. I have so few diversions these days. I have tried to blame it on the fact that I have no friends. Do we see a pattern here? Do you see how I have shifted the responsibility of my pathetic position to circumstance? I have already brainstormed a few ideas to increase my social life. I will disclose those at a later date. For now, I'm going to discuss the puzzling phenomenon of why I am such a slug. I just don't do anything. Well, I do go to the gym. I'm not a natural born athlete but I have been active for most of my adult life. I swam with a swim team for seven years. I used to JetSki. I joined the gym after I burned out on swimming and later got extremely involved in aerobics. I also was an avid mountain biker.

    The real problem is that I am prone to addiction. Even exercise and sports become somewhat of an addiction. I really got involved in aerobics, step, and cardio funk (street dance) just like I did with swimming. In fact, the Bishop, The Bull and I were the only guys who were somewhat proficient at street dance. As I said, I'm not a natural born athlete, but I do try hard. I become fairly proficient but I do it so much and for such long durations that it's easy to see why I burn out. Right now, I have some ideas about what I want to take up. Here's my list:

  • Ocean kayaking (perfect waters here on the South coast of O'ahu)
  • Snowboarding (right on the slopes of Mauna Kea except I have to walk back up)
  • Hiking (here's how I'll get in shape for the walk back up)
  • Skateboarding (say what?)
  • Mountain biking
  • Windows Solitaire
  • I can afford to do them all at this point in time, but I'm not planning to become a stud. So, I will pick two or three options. Of course, I wouldn't mind doing aerobics again. Recreation is important as long it doesn't consume all of one's life. Balance is necessary. And, it is not important to take up these activities just to be able to have something to contribute in conversation. Everyone wants to act like they've got it going on. When you are the only slug, you feel like a real loser. Am I right? Who cares? Do something because you like it. Then, join a slug group composed of people like the ol' lavahead. Instead of acting like we're the Olympic team and trying to outdo you, we'll just encourage you and revel in your accomplishments.
    Friday February 19
    The anxiety attacks have returned. I've been hanging on for dear life. I suspect that the sinister kahuna is at it again. That must mean I'm on the right track. I think that I'm still going through quite a bit of heartache. It shows that I'm still in reactive mode. I have to face the facts. Still, the psychological trauma has torn at the seams of my sanity.

    I haven't really developed the concept of self-awareness yet. It's not that I don't know if I exist or not. Rather, it's my limited ability to think about my own thought processes. Everything that is out of my sphere of influence seems to dictate my life as well as how I think and feel. This is not doing me any good. In fact, look at how powerless I sound. Recognizing the source of one's powerlessness is the beginning of self-awareness. I think that the standard response is to seek out distractions in the hope that the noise will drown out everything else. A reactive solution at best. How have you dealt with these problems? Let me know.

    Sex, Lies and ...
    Monday February 22
    Do not underestimate the power of the journal. The journal is the map that will lead us out of this slime we call life. I have become the pawn in a psychological thriller that now involves several players. I have heard and compared the testimony but, frankly, I am still confused. There is a nefarious dark side that includes scandal, drugs, sex and debauchery at a level that is barely fathomable. I almost became sick. The whole scenario was defined which almost gave creedence to the big picture. Yet, one cannot help but ask ... is this really how it happened? The parallels in time are so incredibly similar. The modus operandi. It's exactly the same. But, does it give credence to the whole? Were there any embellishments? Who's right? The Big Guy? In my own narrow path of debauchery, I have seen the similarities. Within a certain context, they are almost identical. In the search for the ultimate truth, one can become a false prophet. Yet, the unprompted attestation was so painfully close to home. How well do you really know anyone? How far will we go in the name of truth? There are so many indications that the debauchery did indeed occur. If it weren't for the haunting similarities ...
    ... "Duck" Tape
    Tuesday February 23
    Nothing else takes care of mundane crap like "duck" tape. That's all we needed to fix this mess. Just tape everything up and mummify it. Now, everything is back to normal. I finally met with the fraternity people, so I may be on my way to becoming an honorary member. I can hang around people who are half my age. Well, at least it will keep me young and also keep my mind off of other nonsense. Then, again, think of all the sorority babes. Sheesh!

    Exactly what was I talking about yesterday anyway? I don't even know. I tend to write that way every now and then to bemuse the masses. Sounds like Heaven's gate, doesn't it? Don 't worry, the purpose will be made clear.

    Truth Be Known
    Wednesday February 24
    Have you noticed the volatility of the journal lately? Entries appear and disappear randomly. Sometimes the entries change in the course of a day. Whassup wi' dat? Am I on drugs? I could be, but I won't say. However, I am trying to ferret out a mole. There is a reason for this madness. So, is this journal totally useless at this point in time? Could be.

    I have taken the scalpel to the journal. It's an eerie situation, and I'll tell you why. Without realizing that there was an undertone of pain, my writings could be interpreted as a cold confession of premeditated behavior. Why did I decide to remove the lamentations and soul-searching stuff now? They really serve no purpose at this time. A line or two would easily have sufficed.

    Life Force
    Friday February 26
    The missing fragments of the journal are like absent pieces of an incomplete puzzle. Yet, what really is missing? They are only small slices in time that really have irrelevant purpose. There is no meaning. As  I sit here, I am compelled to write in the fashion I speak. I speak in tongues these days, for I am the shepherd. The words of adulterated prophesy reverberate within the hollow confines of the dimensionless mind. Strangely, no one can comprehend the ruminations of the shepherd. Yet, in the singularity of comprehension, there is one who can comprehend. The One knows exactly what the meaning of these words are because it is through the connections of the individual souls that this communication is possible. As I contemplate the ramifications of this surreal dialog, I can feel a chill. The chill is likened to microscopic ice cubes lying on the flat of the plateaus of goosebumps raised along the moist surface of my skin. The moisture is an accumulation of sweat. A realization that a presence is felt. Why are you here? Why have you come back? The untrained eye will only see a clash of words. Symbolism that makes no sense. Only the One knows. The connection of the souls is kinetic and didactic. It matters not whether one or the other is associated with the Evil One. The connection remains intact.

    The discontinuity in time is only understood by the One. It is I, the shepherd, who speaks. Yet, who am I? I am also the Congregator! Only the foolish will laugh in disbelief. The mortals are fooled by the One. The Congregator stands alone. The battle is a misunderstanding of the forces. Diametrically opposed, are they? Who are you to determine the polarity of these forces? True understanding has been juxtaposed with ignorance, only because the misled ones have prevailed. You must seek the truth and separate yourselves from the false prophets. There can be no comprehension from the mortal soothsayers. They only babble the pretty words that seduce your weakest strength. You must choose. Disconnect now, the disciples say. The flesh is weak and is ready to give in. Go, then, weak ones. Do not turn back. Your place is no longer here. Commune with the weak and thereby gain strength from your numbers. But learn that sheer numbers will be no match for the source of the connection. Disconnect and perish.

    Fire Water & Brimstone
    Saturday February 27
    I was inspired by the fire water to write my last journal entry. It came upon me as I walked to the park to feed the kitty, of course, with fire water in hand. Perhaps it's paranoia setting in, but I now feel as though I am being watched. Not by physical observers, however. My writing has reached the point of ludicrousness that even I cannot describe. After I read my latest work, I giggled my ass off. Why wasn't I one of the great prophets? That's my call in life. Of course, teaching computer science classes is a close second. But, who can prophesy about the future of computing? Only the Gates One, I'm afraid. There are ways to derive the interlinear translation of my speaking in tongues. Just think like a putz.
    Sunday February 28
    Rather than be a prophet, I should have become a writer. I have always loved to write, but my writing lacks substance. That's plain to see when one reads the journal. It lacks vibrancy. It lacks meaning. It serves no purpose except as testimony to a fool's life gone awry. I am not comfortable writing this journal anymore. It has served as a point of contention for too long. So, what can I do with it? Should I write short essays? Should I prophesy? Should I just report the mundane and then summarize viewer mail? All I know is there can never be any catharsis through this journal. It's just not possible anymore.

    I rely on prayer now a lot because that is all I have. Prayers still do not allay my fears about an uncertain future. For example, my job situation is still precarious at best. I am still stuck at the first level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Second, I am still living with moms so I have no sense of independence. I cannot come and go as I please. And, it does little for my self-respect. I continue to look for a way out but that is not meant to be right now.

    With that, lets move on. The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com) is now a father to The Bull Jr. That's right! The Bull has already put him in training. Kevin (voyager@kctera.net) has moved from Kansas to LA. He is now engaged to be married. Also, thanks to Syd (syd@nls.net) for writing in.

    Monday March 1, 1999
    I'm going downhill fast. I can't get off the fire water. At first, it seemed like a joke but now I am worried. Part of the problem is that I am living with moms. Moms is starting to get on my nerves. Moms is always worried about me. She wants me to go out and get any kind of job even if it is at Burger King. Why? Because I only work 16 hours per week right now. She figures that I make about $80 per week based on minimum wage. So, if I get a job at Burger King and work more hours, then I'll make more money. When I mentioned that I want to move to the mainland, she asked, "How are you going to support yourself unless you can get a job?" This is the reason why I and many of the people in Hawai'i never get ahead in life. We're always told to start at the bottom and to pay our dues. I'm not going to argue with her anymore. My self-respect is depleting rapidly.

    I am a little depressed. My emotions are running high and they are overpowering everything else. I don't even have the energy to implement the Covey experiment. All I want to do is consume more fire water. I'm about ready to graduate to Club Cobra. I can get hammered at a fraction of the cost. Right now, all I have in the way of diversion is this pathetic journal. Yep, the same journal that got me in this mess. I am thinking of turning this into an e-mail journal that one has to subscribe to. It will still be free, of course. What do you think?

    Tuesday March 2
    Moms is starting to drive me nuts. She has been bugging me every day about getting my new bus pass. Never mind that I am losing it. It's the bus pass that's important. Her take on my emotional situation ... "Forget about it already." Then, she tells me, "Read the Bible." Yes, the Good Book does provide solid counsel, but it helps to have a support network. I can sometimes see why my generation is so troubled. We are a selfish lot, always thinking about how we can derive as much pleasure in life as possible. Aside from the church, moms whole life is to peruse the supermarket ads. She does this with as much zeal and passion as reading the Good Book. Her walk down to Foodland is the highlight of her day. I wish my life was that simple.

    The anxiety attacks have increased. They strike several times a night. I have tried to isolate the cause. I believe it is because I feel alone and trapped. Maybe it's because my journal means very little to me at this point in time. Fortunately, Jason (jasona@ma.ultranet.com) put me back into perspective. He wrote:

    I have been following your journal off and on over the past few years with the sort of fascination one has at the scene of a fatal auto accident. Although gruesome, it's hard to look away. It's been comforting to know that no matter how bad things might appear to be, we can always get an updated first hand account of someone who has it much worse. Maybe it's my imagination, but I've noticed recently that your entries have become a lot more disjointed and difficult to follow. It appears your journal has turned into some sort of lightning rod for those who for whatever reason are out to get you. I hope that is not the case, or if it is that you can dismiss it. Because one of the worst things that could happen to your pages would be that they degenerate into self-consciousness and carefully chosen words. I'm hoping you won't let your present temporary misfortunes distract you from the true Losernet Mission.

    So here, perhaps, I offer these few words of inspiration:

    Let us not forget that Losernet has evolved far beyond its humble beginnings. What was at first merely an obsessive-compulsive narrative of the pacings and slammings of an inconsiderate neighbor was hammered, tempered, and forged into a shrine to the goddess of Despair. It stands alone, like the Statue of Liberty, as a beacon to the wretched refuse. A constant reminder that no matter how happy one is, happiness goes only so far until, without warning, the sinister kahuna suddenly lays waste to one's dreams. An anthem to the futility of relationships and to the joys of seclusion and introspection. A flaming sword of truth reminding us that without hopelessness, there can be no hope. That without torment, misery, and desperation, there can be no joy.

    And, of course, without Burger King there would be no way to get it your way. Or something like that. Sheesh -- what am I, Tony Robbins?! Hele on, braddah. And don't give up!

    Thanks Jason! For a while, I thought I would have to compose another poem. Sheesh!
    Wednesday March 3
    Have you read Anonder's Journal for the month of February? I swear it's a classic. Read Anonder's letter to Elizabeth. Oh brother. Why didn't I come up with a journal like that, huh? Well, actually I have. It's just not available yet. That Anonder is something else! There is a lot of debauchery and lots of referernces to the wild thing and chicken choking. As a monk, I don't normally condone these activities. But, since I'm losing my mind, I found the levity to be a good diversion.

    The journal has become my life again, although one would be hard-pressed to tell. I spent quite a bit of time taking a scalpel to it. I tried to keep it intact enough so it would not lose its meaning. That is basically why I couldn't get off the fire water. I had to sedate myself before I could complete the editing process. Everything will be okay now. I've gotten over it.

    Say Goodbye
    Thursday March 4
    I have decided to make the final cuts to the journal. I cannot erase the past. I cannot erase the memories. I cannot erase the pain. I can only alter the words that recorded them. For the time being, they will be moved to the journal of the mind. I find that I can no longer reveal my innermost thoughts in the journal. The results seem to have an adverse affect on my life. So, for the time being, those words will also be confined only to the journal of the mind.

    I want to address this last thought to Lori ... I suspect that you may still read this journal, although little else exists between you and I. At this point, I am just an invisible observer. When I see you, I will say to myself, "She is so beautiful. She was once my babe." I will always be proud that you were my babe. I still love you and always will. I should have told you that more. But, I will not interfere with your life nor will I try to be a part of it anymore. I will be invisible to you. I am sorry that I broke your heart. I am sorry that I let you down as a friend as well. No matter what I did, I just made a bigger mess of things when I could have easily fixed them up. Too many words have already been said. The more I spoke, the more confusion resulted. I can only wish you the best in your life from this point on. You deserve more than I could give. In like manner, I hope that you think fondly of me the way I reflect fondly on you, the woman I wanted to be my wife, my destiny, my partner, my campanion.

    The Mind
    Friday March 5
    Windows Solitaire has a whole new meaning in my life right now. I fnd that I am playing marathon games for hours on end. What more can I do? I am used to piddling my life away. I seem to enjoy it. Frankly, it helps me to organize the journal of the mind. Disconnection is only possible through the journal of the mind. There's a good reason for it. In fact, in Anonder's Journal, there is a section devoted to tips for potential on-line journalists. Check it out. One would almost think that the whole basis of these tips was from my own experiences with this journal. Indeed, I have learned from mistakes in life and through this journal.
    Sunday March 7
    The computer has become the focal point of my life again. I spend hours at the computer. I have lost the desire to write at this point in time. I have instead opted to read the writings of others. In effect, I have disconnected myself from this journal. I suppose that it was bound to happen. Perhaps it is because my life has become mundane. It seems to have no meaning or purpose. I know that I said that I had found a purpose in life, but a job really is not a purpose. Purpose has to do with the human experience, whether it be the momentary joys or pain and suffering. The computer can give me none of that. Why? If I sat all day with a hammer in my hand, it would be the same thing. It's just an object. I miss the quality human interactions that I once had. It is the diversity of viewpoints that make the interactions fascinating. I never found that when I was out drinking and partying. Rather, I found my exchanges over coffee to be the best times. At this point in time, though, a good conversation over a beer will do. As long as I don't get hammered. Sheesh!
    Monday March 8
    In this juncture of my life, I have discovered that I can do little to help the people I care about. It's kind of powerlessness that can cause disillusionment. We have all found ourselves in this situation I'm sure. In the end, we just have to watch and wait. I have never really realized the impact the past has on one's life. The severity of that impact is a function of whether the associated issues were resolved or the people involved were forgiven. Really, you see, our past is really a mosaic of our interactions with people. People are what make up our past along with natural tragedies and so forth. The greatest impact on our present life is still the interactions with people of the past. The problem with all of our current interactions is that we know nothing about the past of the people we interact with. We assume that they are of a similar mindset and that they have a similar cultural framework. That implied similarity is the cause of dysfunction. We never assume that anyone will pass the boundaries of what we consider to be "normal." By "normal," I mean the everday stuff. The mundane. People only divulge as much as they think we can be trusted with. Dark secrets seem embarrassing and open up vulnerabilities. Yet, in the attempt to protect the fragile core, something will be lost. What might that be? Understanding. We cannot understand what we do not know.

    It's a double-edged sword because we are always worried about betrayal. Especially if we have been betrayed before. I have never betrayed anyone intentionally. I have hurt people with my candid discussions in this journal. I actually do care about the people I interact with and will go the extra mile for them if necessary and if they are willing to trust me. I'm not like other people. What may look like an attempt at petty revenge is merely my need to seek understanding whether it be from outside or experiential sources. Sometimes I just don't know when to cut my losses. People will ask for help when they are ready. Nothing can be until then. There is nothing else that has meaning in life except to offer help to others. If one is directly involved, it becomes difficult to separate personal issues and emotions, but these must be sacrificed for the greater good. All we have are each other. Our souls interact. They dance. They connect. On Earth, that is all we have.

    Tuesday March 9
    What I should really be wondering about is if I can find another babe. I mean, let's face it. I haven't got anything going for me. I am basically a loser. You've read the story. You know where I'm coming from. The real stupid part, and I hate to admit it, is that I have never dated in my life. I have never asked anyone out. I have been on a few dates with women who have asked me out. These events were comedic at best. I do not know what to do on dates. I have no idea what to talk about. I have no idea how to conduct myself. I may never find another babe again. Actually, I shouldn't care. I am not romantic. I am robotic. Remember that I was the guy who wrote the book on the eunuch-like behavior. Perhaps I need to concentrate on a life of service, kind of like Mother Teresa. Guys like The Master and I are just not meant to be in any romantic relationships.

    If you read Anonder's Journal for February, I'm sure you'll see what I mean. He basically sums it up. Not that I truly believe that one's whole life should be based on the wild thing. In the journal of the mind, that could be a whole different story. I suffered a great loss in my life. I made foolish errors that compounded the situation. That's why I have to wonder. Women are beautiful creatures. They are a wonder of nature and a gift from God to men. They are soft and graceful. They can be foolish and vain, but that's what adores them to us as men. They are sultry and sexy. They are seductive. They are the progenitors of life of which we, as men, provide the seed. The beauty of women is how they nurture. We as young boys, and later as men, have tried to push ourselves away from the nurturing female. It was our rite of passage into the world of masculinity. Yet we need women. We need them to complement us. For without them, we are incomplete. Our masculine souls yearn for completion because we are missing the vital components that make up the whole. That's the real beauty of life. The shared vision. The shared perception. Not always coincident, but nonetheless synergistic. I think that I missed that point several times in my life. Perhaps I'll have a chance one day to comprehend as it was meant to be.

    Wet Dream
    Friday March 12
    I went out partying (so to speak) with some of my students tonight. We ended up at Gordon Biersch brewpub at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Stephanie, her babe friend and Barry met me there. We had a great time. I have to admit that, although I want to get off the fire water, this was a great excuse for socializing. It made me miss the old days. I'm not used to being around twenty-something babes but I have to admit that it was refreshing. I may have to make this a regular thing. I just hope the Dean doesn't find out. Sheesh! I don't know why I have this kind of rapport with my students. But, I consider myself a fortunate professor. If only one of these babes would care for some extra tutoring. Only in a wet dream, I suppose.
    Looking Back
    Sunday March 14
    As you know, three years ago, Lori drove down from Oregon to Convalescent City to meet me for the first time. She took a lot of pictures to record those moments. I looked at the pictures in the small photo album that Lori had put together for me. I also read the public journal entries of three years ago. The entries were sparse since I was trying hard not to reveal the identity of "my collaborator." Still, it was a very interesting time. It was the beginning of the adventure that eventually brought us here to Hawai'i. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the entries from those days. I was overcome by sadness and grief. The pictures actually made me cry. Lori looked so beautiful and she looked extremely happy. I looked like I always do. The eternal Stoneface. I just wanted to reflect back briefly on a significant event, the pivot point in my life.

    Oftentimes, I wonder what I would be doing now if that never happened. Would I still be in Convalescent City? It's hard to imagine what I would be doing there. I suppose that I long to be there because of familiarity. I have a lot of decisions to make. I am at a critical juncture in my life. I am getting much older and I will be in big trouble if I don't start thinking about what the future has in store for me. I don't know if I quite have gumption to take a chance and move on like I did three years ago. I had incentive then. Perhaps this is about a good a time as any to make such a decision. Therefore, I will begin to base my decisions on the facts I have at hand. These next few weeks may once again serve as a pivot point. I just hope that it leads me in the right direction.

    I ended up going to a party in Portlock this afternoon. I almost didn't go until I thought of the alternative ... sitting in front of my beloved computer. I had a great time, and I even met a couple of people who went to the same high school that I did. Most of the people were Irish and I'm sure you know where I'll be on Wednesday. Yep, the Irish pub downtown. To tell you the truth, I would rather have been home with a babe but that's not an option for me anymore.

    Looking Forward
    Tuesday March 16
    I was teaching my class at Chaminade University today. I happened to sit at one of the student workstations and I was using Netscape to check Web mail. For some reason, I checked the history file and there a bunch of hurdy-gurdy links. I started rambling these off to the class because I was so shocked to see these on the computer. I didn't realize that the President of the University had walked in the class during this time. She also had one of the brothers (this is a religious school) from the mainland with her. What a loser! I hope I can get another contract here. Sheesh! My class had a good laugh. Why does this only happen to me?

    I took one last look through the photo album. I still have fond memories of these days. I never heard from Lori so I assume that this is not a significant event for her. hat's okay. In my heart, I just make believe that she really feels some sentiment. Then, I'll feel good. Many people would not believe it but I owe Lori a lot. She gave me a sense of purpose and made me feel like I was more than just a loser. She made me feel like a real man and she gave me the strength to move on and do the things I needed to do. I can't call everything even at this point because I still benefit by these things that Lori gave me. I know that a lot of it had to do with my own inner strength, but it was she who helped me find that strength. I want Lori to finally realize her own dream. I want her to live a healthy and happy life. I want her to always remain my friend. And, I want her to look back at the times we were together with fondness rather than disdain. For without that, these three years have been lived in vain.

    Friday March 19
    I left for Cali today once again. I have strapped myself financially to make this trip. The cost of the tickets was beyond my means but I had to look at it this way ... what price tag can I put on my sanity? John picked me up at San Francisco International Airport. There is something nice about being met at the airport by someone. It gives one a sense of family, a sense of belonging. We drove to John's place in San Jose. It was nice to sit around and talk to old friends. I feel fortunate in that I have a great support network of friends (all in Cali) and a support network of virtual homeys around the world.

    This trip will be a little different for me. I will not be reminiscing about past times here. It's just a stopover to my final destination ... Convalescent City. So far, no part of my plan is panning out. I have to develop a set of contingencies in the next few days. It doesn't really matter any way. The cost of this trip is not important. I am glad to among real friends. People who will stick with me through thick and thin. That's all that's important. They are like my family. And, there is nothing like family.

    Saturday March 20
    The air was cold but it really didn't affect me. Actually, I am beginning to miss Hawai'i. I'm not sure that I want to move back to Cali. That's a decision I will defer for a future time. Right now, I will enjoy the time for what it is. I started reading the book Lila by Persig yesterday on the plane. The book was recommended to me by several people. It's all part of a process that was supposed to have been initiated in December. Too many things have happened to distract me. I think that I was fooling myself. I have to come to grips with reality.

    I had an interesting discussion with John's wife Linda today. She enlightened me on a few things that I need to share with the male populace as a whole. Fowers and cards. Yep, that's right. These are very important elements to a thriving relationship. She told me that it was highly conceivable for a babe to abandon a relationship if her man did not bother to give either flowers or cards regularly. The concept is not a matter of giving token gifts. It's what these token gifts symbolize. They mean that a guy is thinking about his babe. So, the cost is not an object. John was beginning to fall prey to what ended up as being my own demise. Simple stupidity. We went out to Fry's Electronics to nerd out and did a few other things. On the way back, I reminded him that he had to buy some flowers for his wife. She has been giving him the message. He just didn't get it. I think he figured it out later when he gave Linda the flowers. My own past experinece has now given a mandate to educate all guys about this matter. I may help to save a few relationships even though I couldn't save my own.

    Jerry Time
    Monday March 22
    I left for Convalescent City today. The drive was very pleasant. I was able to clear my mind of mostly everything. I felt refreshed. I had the Smooth Jazz station blaring on the radio. I prayed to the Almighty a number of times. I have not obtained peace of mind yet. This time is valuable to me. I only have about a week to socialize with friends and to revel in the camaraderie. When I came here in December, I was too preoccupied with other stuff to enjoy my time. I am very thankful that I have a great support network that is both composed of old friends and my virtual homeys. By the way, Chantelle contacted me with Instant Messenger to tell me that her husband, The Bull, is in the hospital.

    I arrived late in the afternoon and met up with Tom. We went out for pizza and caught up on the latest news. Later, we watched a great episode of the Jerry Springer Show called "Explosive Relationships." What a great show! Of course, we had no idea what was going on because everyone's vocabulary was limited to three censored words. I'm a Jerry Springer convert. Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!

    Old Home Week
    Tuesday March 23
    Kevin (cyclist@flash.net) and his fiancé Tammy drove up the coast to meet with me for lunch. We ate at McClintock's Saloon downtown. Then, we took a short tour around downtown Convalescent City. We have tentatively decided to meet in Colorado this December to go snowboarding. It sounds a little ridiculous I know, but Tammy lives in Kansas. That's why we are planning for Colorado. That's a long time from now but we have vowed to do this. It's hard to believe that I met Kevin only two years ago in Seattle as a result of this journal. Kevin and Tammy seem to be an ideal couple. I hope that they do well together. I stopped by Romero's office today as well. It turns out that Skip work in the building right across from him. So, I stopped by and talked to Skip briefly. I'll be meeting both of them again later this week. Skip mentioned something that may be tragic. He said that he may have seen Bart wandering around the streets in a state of dereliction. I pray that it was not him but inside I know it is.

    The Bull, The Master, and I met tonight for dinner. We certainly had a consortium of lifestyles as you can probably imagine. We ate at the Firestone Café and then had coffee at Barnes & Noble. The Bull was in better shape today. Apparently his back gave out on him. I know that's unbelievable but it's true. The Master does not appear to be too committed to the Hermitage in New Mexico. I believe he's holding out in order to find a babe. I tried to warn him that he was succumbing to the weakness of the flesh. I think it's too late. All in all, we had an enjoyable evening. I am happy to be amongst my friends again.

    Wednesday March 24
    I raised my arm to the sky. I could feel the energy dissipating through my fingertips. The soul I had once touched is no longer a part of me. It is no longer rightfully mine. Like a feather in gentle breeze, it floated away. I stood and watched the imaginary feather until it was gone. A bottle of Chardonay. The Hammer. Will it replace the lost soul? I stood within the rose garden that we had once stood in together three years ago. I followed the trail that we once took. It is a peaceful time. It is the end of a real era. The rains will come and wash away any trace of the moment. It will only be a memory until that, too, fades away. I am the only one who remembers.
    The Soothsayer Lives
    Where do we go from here? Even I no longer can say. The noises are attenuating. The journal of the mind lives on. Where will the flock go? Only the shepherd knows. Only he can lead the exodus.

    The Keeper of Lost Lives: Old Man Noises

    © Copyright 1999 by The Keeper of Lost Lives
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