.journal 2001.01.12
A whole bunch of stuff to start the new year off with.

Now listening to: Recoil, Unsound Methods
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
Now playing: Final Fantasy VIII (Playstation)

Hi. No, I didn't forget about my journal, it's just that I've had other things going on recently, like finally getting that story published for you all to read. I take it your lack of response indicates it is stunningly brilliant and words cannot express how much you like it, ha ha ha.

Actually, I also came down with a protracted stomach bug just before the year changeover, and that kept me bedridden for a good week there. On the one hand, it meant not being able to do all that much in terms of work or other productivity. But it did mean I finally got to polish off Wormwood and Final Fantasy VII, so at least I've had the chance to start a new book and a new video game, and you won't have to keep looking at the same titles up at the top of the page every time you come here.

And that segues into my Christmas booty, since Exquisite Corpse was part of that. That, along with the Pulp Fiction and Independence Day Special Edition DVDs, were the parents' contribution to the pot, along with an ice cream maker that they're going to end up using themselves because thanks to the recent tightening in my diet, I really can't have ice cream anymore. Jeff got me a set of Powerpuff Girls keychains (to commemorate me finally getting my drivers license) and my other friends got me a whole bunch of cool stuff too. I really enjoyed myself this past Christmas, although due to the ecomony being what it is I guess you could say I went in with lowered expectations.

Speaking of my friends, I'm going through trouble with one of my friends right now, and of course I'm not happy about that fact. I said something that hurt her, but we haven't had a chance to discuss it yet so I don't know what it was that I said. And the worst part is that until I do know what it was I said, I'm going to keep going through everything I said to her in my mind, over and over again, until she tells me what it was.

She and I are still talking, and at the very least things look like they can be patched over. But it's kind of maddening right now because I don't know what I could have said to hurt her, which I know from experience on the other end must not be an easy thing for her, that I could cause such damage to her and not know how I did it. And also because I've had experience on the other end of the equation, I understand why she's having such a hard time talking about it and bringing it up. It's a maddening situation from my perspective, but as a friend I have to respect that she needs her time and space right now. Hopefully this will all pass over soon, but in the meantime it's kind of eating a hole in me.

Another friend of mine is going through some self-image problems right now, and I'm trying to help her out as best I can. But as I help her, I am all too aware of the fact that I'm still fighting self-image problems myself. Certainly the situation with the cavity in my tooth (getting filled this upcoming Tuesday, wish me luck) isn't helping matters any; even though the cavity is far back enough in my mouth that you can't see it unless you pry the lip back, I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror right now. I don't know if it's because I fear I may see other decay in my mouth, or just because I feel like I failed myself, like I haven't lived up to my own expectations. But I have this nice big, black bucket hat that I've pretty much been wearing all day for the past couple of weeks, pulling it down to hide my face, and I don't think I'm going to be taking it off until the dentist appointment.

But it's not just the cavity. As I mentioned in my Christmas Day update, I had pictures of myself taken around that time, and I was struck by how overweight I still am. I mean, there are pictures of me near my peak weight, and looking at those I can see how much better I've gotten in the past couple of years. But at the same time, I can't help but look at the recent picture of myself and go "I've lost a hundred pounds and I still look like this?" I realize that these things take time, but my ego wants things to proceed faster than they are. I shouldn't listen to my ego when it goes off like that, I know, but sometimes it becomes real tempting.

And I look at my friend, and I have a hard time seeing how she could have any self-image problems because she is absolutely stunning and exotic; I don't know what illegal acts I would commit to be able to have her body as my own, but they're certainly not the kind of acts I want to be documenting in a public forum like this. But it's all a matter of perspective, and in her own eyes, she has a problem with the way she looks, and it's not because society is forcing some kind of standard on her, it's because she is genuinely troubled by the way she looks.

And that's what really counts. It's one thing to want an 18-inch waist and a perfect face because that's what's on the cover of Cosmopolitan or something like that, but if you have a serious problem with the way you look, I don't think it's wrong to want to fix that. I've known several people who have had cosmetic surgery done to correct their self-perceived flaws, and every time I've supported them in their choices because they were done for the right reasons. I don't know if my friend would ever go that route, but I just want to support her however I can.

So the question then becomes, what do I do about my own appearance? Liposuction is out of the question, I've already proven I can lose the weight, the problem I'm running into is that I seem to have run into an impasse in my weight loss. I've already cut my diet down to reflect the misgauge I recently noticed in my frame size, but what else? Well, to be honest I don't really get that much exercise. It doesn't help that I have a job which is pretty much 100% computer work, and I telecommute on top of that. In the spring and summer it isn't much of a problem because I can get to Wildwood on a regular basis, but with all the snow on the ground right now and the temperature as cold as it is, that isn't a possibility.

And again, I find myself turning to my days at Antioch for an answer. Antioch actually has a physical education requirement, and so when I was there I took a couple of classes: one in ultimate frisbee and the other in yoga. Ultimate frisbee never really caught my interest (I suck at throwing a frisbee), but I really got into yoga. Unfortunately, like so many of the things at Antioch I enjoyed, once I left there I kind of fell out of yoga. So I'm hoping to get over to Media Play here soon so I can pick up a yoga boxed set I saw the last time I was there. If anything, it'll be a good start for me, especially since due to my previous girth I never really had the chance to develop the cardiovascular conditioning I'd need to start with something more strenuous.

Speaking of Antioch reminds me of L. I personally don't put much weight in the changeover of year; I prefer to save my reflections for my birthday, and new year's resolutions never really appealed to me. But as I sat here at my computer watching the ball drop in Times Square in streaming video, waiting to start taping the Iron Chef marathon for a friend, I had L.'s picture on my desktop and silently, I decided to make but one resolution fpr this year: to meet up with L. sometime. More than likely I'll end up having to fly out west to see her instead of having her come up to see me, but I won't mind that. It's been too long since we've had the chance to see each other, touch each other, be with each other, and I really feel like I need to remedy that soon, for my own sake if not for hers. Hopefully she and I can arrange something here soon.

Anyway, I promised you all a recount of my latest CDNOW order when it came in, and as you can tell from the top of the page I liked Recoil's Liquid so much I decided to pick up Unsound Methods as well. I also picked up Chemlab's East Side Militia, just because I seem to be in a real industrial mood right now. But the real gem of the collection was the Japanese edition of Björk's Selmasongs, with a bonus music video on the disc. I haven't inventoried how big my Björk CD collection is, but it's one CD away from taking a whole shelf on my CD rack now - and that's not even including Sugarcubes material, Kukl material, soundtracks, compilations or things like that. Yes, I am obsessed, thanks for asking.

I'd like to go on another CDNOW spending spree right now, but I'm getting real close to having enough money saved up to go used car shopping, and having my own car would mean an awful lot to me right now, in terms of the things I want to be doing with my life. So I'll put off the CD shopping for a bit here, hopefully now that I'm feeling better I can get more work done that puts money in my pocket, then I can get my own car and hopefully have things open up for me from there. Besides, I have enough books and music to tide me over for now.

But if I'm going to get that car, that means I have to stop writing here and head back to the salt mines, so I shall take my leave of you all now. And I promise, I'll be writing in the journal more often than I have been recently, now that I'm feeling better. But the spectre of that dentist appointment on the horizon ... brrrrrrrr. I will be fine, though, this is just another internal demon of mine I have to stare down. And I've gotten quite good at that recently.

I will see you all soon. Everyone stay warm and take care.

- Sean