Holidays Journal

Journal Entry – 11.15.20

It is 6:52 AM on Sunday November 15th, 2020. It finally feels like the fall in Pacifica. Here on the coast we don’t have the type of foliage that change to beautiful reds, oranges and yellows signifying the arrival of Autumn. No, we have short scrub brush, Monterey pines and Eucalyptus trees. Our weather also only changes slightly instead of going from a hot summer to a very cold winter and all the gradual fluctuations as the transition happens over the months of September through January. For Pacifica, the only change we really experience is a slight drop in temperature and the arrival of rain.

We had our first rain two days ago and the last I remember getting rain was perhaps back in January. It also wasn’t what one would normally think of as raid with big drops coming down from the sky with a noticeable splash as it hits the pavement. No, it was more like the sky was sputtering a very heavy mist which gradually makes everything wet and is blown here and there by a heavy offshore wind. Oh how I miss the approach of an actual thunderstorm of the kind we’d get in Ohio in the summertime. You see nothing but huge black clouds on the horizon which seemed appropriate for the end of the world as described in religious texts. I would think of “The Nothing” from the movie The Never Ending Story” as the it was portrayed by the same type of storm clouds. The temperature would suddenly drop 5 – 10 degrees and then suddenly there was the onslaught of heavy drops of rain shooting down so fast that they would pelt you and leave everyone scurrying for cover.

No, the rain we often get is nothing like that. Unlike a good summer storm which makes people suddenly sprint for cover our rain only encourages a quickening of the pace. Furthermore, here on the coast it is rarely a 100% surety we will have rain. The forecasts are just OK in that if they predict at least a 60% chance of rain a few days in advance we’ll most likely have some precipitation. However, it is all too common that predicted rain always dries up and fails to materialize. It less often but we can actually get rain quite suddenly that wasn’t really predicted.

In any case, the arrival of rain is more than welcome, especially since California has just had the worst fire season in its recorded history. The air was so bad we had to all gather in one room with the air purifier on maximum for weeks at a time. In fact, we left the state for a while fleeing like refugees to Ohio for two weeks.

With the holidays approaching, it is also nice for the weather to actually feel like the holidays from my childhood. The weather around Thanksgiving is supposed to be cool, winter should be cold with snow on the ground. But not here in Pacifica. It will still be 60 degrees and sunny just like always except for when rain clouds decide to blown quickly on through.

Like most events in 2020, this Thanksgiving is going to be quite different due to COVID-19. The infection rate is rapidly increasing at a breathtaking (pun intended) rate due to the absolute and total failure of the Trump Administration to handle it properly. Instead of encouraging people to wear masks they encourage them not to! They want to fire the nations top disease expert! For my descendants reading this in history books wondering how Trump supporters could be so stupid, I tell you I don’t have the answer either and I know many of these people in person. My only thought is that movements come and go and are very hard to predict. I will say that the major cause of this one is people’s inability to synthesize and process all the information coming at them from technology. Technology has rapidly improved, human beings have not. The dumb ones are especially vulnerable and this is easily seen through the window of Facebook. The students with the worst grades in high school are the ones most likely to completely fall for a con-man like Trump. They just don’t have the mental capacity to discern fact from fiction, both fed to them in a mix from their preferred propaganda outlet. It starts out with a position on various issues which is perfectly fine but it has morphed into a cult like following where they have begun worshiping Trump. Most people need to be led, they need to be told what to believe and Trump knows how to do that very effectively. The virus gone by Easter, or it will suddenly disappear? They believe it even though they are thrown out of work and may have a dead relative or acquaintance. Still they follow and believe everything the President says. This is exactly what cults do.

All that aside, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love the memories of holidays past, it was always a time of such joy and happiness that I want to recreate for my own kids. I do have to say that I practice some cognitive dissonance when it comes to Thanksgiving though because that story of the Pilgrims sitting down happily with the Native Americans is complete fiction. Instead of a happy story it quickly turns into genocide and is very depressing. This realization also fits perfectly in with our political situation. Thanks to Trump we now have white hate groups screaming that their cultural heritage is being diminished. The whites were always on top, always did great things and no criticism is ever allowed. But the truth is that the white man almost completely erased an entire people off the face of North America. Most people will read the fact and then move along without really considering this. But imagine if they could look into the past and see just one raid of a Native American village, while white men on horses slaughtered not only men but women and children as well. This should drive any human being to tears and great sadness. Unfortunately this is the age of Trump and even though seeing outright murder would hurt the hearts of even his most ardent supporters it is plain to see that it may not do so for much longer. The good ones will turn away from all the hate but his most ardent supporters will continue on the path to evil, when perhaps even murder of those unlike them in image or believe is perfectly justified. It could happen here.

For me, the genocide of Native Americans has affected me deeply. My passion is history, language and really trying to ‘feel’ that history, not just read about a bunch of facts. And here we are in the USA celebrating a “Thankful” day when it is really one of mass murder. So that cognitive dissonance? Well, I like to remember holidays past and present feeling the joy of everyone getting together and being happy. I love the American holidays, they are wonderful. But again, the pretext is to celebrate a story of fiction. You point this out to Trump supporters and just like evil cult members, they get very angry. They don’t practice cognitive dissonance; in their minds they moved to fantasy land long ago and any intrusion of facts are met with outright hostility. So although I still enjoy Thanksgiving immensely I know what occurred and it does affect me very much. So I decided to start contributing to the Native Americans. I received a simple postcard for a Native American college fund and contributed. Well that opened the floodgates to all kinds of Native American charities and so I have a number of options of where to send my contributions. Nothing can right the absolute atrocity of the past but given my intimacy with the past this is something that I need to do. I’m one who in the quiet of a sunset or sunrise will listen for long gone voices on the wind hoping they will whisper something to me. I believe the past, present and future is an illusion, all bound up in ways I cannot understand and only by quieting the mind can I have any hope of hearing the messages.

Changing the subject there are two other things I’d like to write about in this post.

The first is about my morning thought. I find that the best thoughts come to me either in meditation and just after waking up as the last remnants of my dream disappear and I lay there in bed. Now I often write about my thought patterns, or mindset and how I find it amazing that through my own writing I can remember a previous way of thinking. This is very hard to do, and if I were to compare it to computers it is like Windows 10 suddenly glitching only for an instant back to Windows XP then immediately back to Windows 10. My current mindset is Windows 10, but I have fond memories of the way I used to think (used to be!) My thought this morning was around the joy or desire to do some sort of activity. In my childhood I would think I wanted to play with my GI-Joes and that desire would suddenly make me very happy and this elevated happiness would be sustained as I played with my toys. Well, at 43 that doesn’t occur anymore. I am presented with a number of options today but they are all presented as any number of plain slices of bread and I am to chose one. I could: workout, read my book, play a video game, use VR, watch a movie, do yardwork, go to the beach, take a hike etc. Not one option gets me excited. Just like the slices of bread I could choose, all options are bland. And so in recent years it may take me a moment to decide as my mind strives to find an option which will release that elusive joy. The joy never comes and so it is just a matter of picking an activity as none will make me happier than the other. Joy as a motivator has been replaced by a feeling of accomplishment. If I feel as though I’ve accomplished something then perhaps I can get a slight trickle of that feeling of joy and so accomplishing something becomes my motivator.

At 43 joy is dead but the holidays are able to revive it a little as life support would do a dying patient. At the start of Halloween my joy breathes and has opened its eyes which is appreciated even though it isn’t running around jumping up and down with great laughter as it did when I was a kid. Due to COVID this holiday season has a lot less magic to it but what I’m discovering is that through the “spell” of right mindset I can create magic just as powerful to make the holidays just as bright. We will miss the essential ingredient of gathering with many friends and wonderful parties but instead turn to a different ‘spell’ and increase its power by being joyful myself and finding other activities which create memories.

Time to change subject again and this is rather sad.

I’m at the age now where aside from three or four early exceptions death’s gaze is starting to look in our direction. There is a Facebook page for my high school and one of the albums is dedicated to those graduates who have passed away. I learned yesterday that Joe Estep passed away and it was a shock. We were good acquaintances and played on the same sports teams but other than that I didn’t know him well as he was also one grade below me. He was a very good looking kid and I’d say royalty as far as popularity goes. So I thought I’d write one of my memories about him and that was on our way back to school after a baseball game. We both had Cameros although his was the cooler IROC. We were somewhat racing, somewhat harassing each other buy cutting in front of each other or “brake checking.” This was all complete teenager stupidity and something no rational adult what ever do but as a teenager we were laughing and having a ball. I had just brake checked him when he threw a dip (smokeless tobacco) on my car! So then it was war and we did the same to him. The it wasn’t just a used dip but the entire spit cup! For those who weren’t friends such things would have made any driver very mad but we were on great terms and so it became a fun, story of the like you’d find written in a school yearbook.

After high school I never really thought about him again until he popped up on Facebook. It looked like he had a hard time after high school and eventually those hard times were too much to bear. So, I wish you peace Joe wherever you are and hope you find rest in finally being released from all your trials and hardships.

Journal Politics

Journal Entry – 11.11.20

Today is Veteran’s day which is a time schools and federal agencies are closed but everyone else has to work. However, nobody really wants to work so the day can often be slow.

This year continues to bewilder and looking at the calendar it is quite shocking to see we’re almost at the end of 2020. Everything was going along normally, then in April everything shuts down. Since that time it is as though I’ve been in a daze. So much has changed and the world is a different place now on an even bigger scale than after 9/11. We not only have the pandemic to deal with but also politics and the two are closely related. Since Republicans are unable to wear masks due to absolute stupidity, the country cannot get the virus under control. Now, we’ve had an election where Biden has clearly won but Trump will not concede and looks to be making dictator moves by scaring everyone with his Pentagon firings. I always thought there were adults at the wheel who would ensure everything was OK here in the USA but as it turns out there isn’t. Nobody thought Trump could win and cause the damage he did but here we are. Now, I believe the military wouldn’t intervene in politics like in third world countries yet here we are. Due to Trump’s narcissistic inability to admit defeat he has created a very dangerous situation where anything is possible. I’ve seen news articles but I wonder if they aren’t holding back how dangerous this really is so as not to cause a panic. I wonder if I’ll soon see US military jets streaking across the sky. Too much you ask? I never thought my old friends would support someone who makes fun of the handicapped, supports white supremacist groups and is willing to tear the country apart for his own gain. But here we are.

An entire world can change overnight. We become comfortable in routine, in the familiar and then suddenly it can all be gone.

As for my mindset I’m doing OK but I have not experienced sudden, euphoric joy in a long time. My mind has been even tempered for the most part through the pandemic but thanks to politics there are many dark clouds rolling through. I have to be cognizant of my thoughts and I use mindfulness, meditation and exercise to keep my mind more on the positive side than the negative.

What is really disheartening is the loss of many friends. So many of our Japanese friends here in Pacifica have gone back to Japan. This was five families in our inner circle! These were the people we celebrated birthdays with, had cookouts, and saw each other quite a few times a week. All gone! Well, there are others and we will strengthen other friendships but with the pandemic it is hard to do at the moment.

I also was on the verge of losing old friends due to the election. The Republicans post so many things that are not true that even the very platforms had to start putting labels on their nonsense. Well, I got tired of this and spent two weeks letting my opinions be known. The difference is my opinions are factual, and I’m on the good team. History will show that under Trump the Republicans have dragged the USA as close to fascism as it has ever been. They would ruin all the good America stands for to see their aims achieved, even suspend democracy itself. It is exactly that they are trying to do now.

And so in sharing my opinions I obviously upset some people. But given the hate they support I’m fine with ending some friendships and went ahead and defriended some old acquaintances that never commented or liked my posts except to put a comment in support of Trump on my political posts. Just because I was acquainted with them in the past is no reason to give them a window into my life. Bye bye. And I’m not done. I’ve found it feels very good to get rid of those people. My tolerance absolutely depends on our level of friendship/interaction in the past. If it was relatively light then they quickly find themselves defriended. I don’t like them and I no longer want to hear from them.

As for the pandemic there is talk of a vaccine as we go through yet another huge spike in cases thanks to stupid Republicans. You know, Trump Republicans are like that idiotic family member that you never want to be around but you cannot get rid of either. As for me, I think we’ll see some signs of normality by May. That is still a long way to go but at least we have a little joy to look forward to with the holidays.

We’re fine here in our little seaside village of Pacifica. I wonder and worry for households across America though. Everyone suddenly got terrible trial which is going to rupture so many families. Not only does everyone have to be around each other most of the time but the financial devastation will also cause a lot of divorce. Many children are experiencing very bad environments from which they cannot escape as they could with school. This pandemic kills and maims but the vast majority of damage is going to come in the form of psychological damage, broken homes and a whole year lacking in development for many. And with the way Republicans are spewing out poison a good part of America is learning, and liking, how to hate.

I can only think that with the raw hate and anger of the Republican side America will never again be whole. This divisiveness will continue until there is some type of split, just like social media is now splitting along political lines. I think a civil war will happen eventually, unless political leaders (Republicans) stop accepting that ripping the country apart is OK so long as they retain power.

And that is 2020.

Holidays Journal

Journal Entry – Halloween 2020

It is Friday morning the day before Halloween 2020. I always like to write a post before the holiday season begins as this is my favorite time of year and these final months always seem to fly by. I still try to summon that childhood holiday magic and writing a post helps me focus on that instead of everything else adults need to concern themselves with on a daily basis.

So here we are, the holiday season is upon us. They have come more quickly than usual since life has seemed a daze since the lockdowns started in March and we’ve mostly been confined to our house. I’d usually have a number of reference points throughout the year such as my own trip back to Ohio, the trip to Japan and various gatherings of friends. But instead those reference points are much fewer as well as dimmer since any interactions have been with only a few people or one family.

This year has also been rather sad for other reasons. We’ve lost no fewer than FIVE of our close, “inner-circle” Japanese family friends. I’ve learned that it is difficult to keep long term friendships with the Japanese here in the Bay Area since they are quite transient due to a number of factors. The first is that Japanese “Salarymen” are usually only sent to a specific location for three years and then are transferred elsewhere. This happened to two families that lived here in Pacifica. Another reason has been the affordability of living in the Bay Area. This is an issue for everyone, not just our Japanese friends and because of it some family friends have moved away. The third reason is that some Japanese wives over 50 simply decide that living in Japan is more important than keeping a husband so they decide to move back and the husband can do what he will.

Let this be a warning to all you young people who marry someone from another country. Every country is different but over the past century the trend has been to move to the USA and stay. With the election of Trump I think we’re seeing the beginnings of a reversal as far as the first world countries go. Trump is just the symptom, it is the eagerness of his supporters which really causes alarm. One of the major underlying themes that his supporters *mostly* do not want to emphasis is they prefer a white and Christian America. These are not smart people but they are numerous and Trump has shown he can really whip them up into a frenzy.

Aside from that Japan is a country where older Japanese women seem to want to return after passing 50 years old. This is in stark contrast to Japanese men who are usually quite content and happy to live elsewhere. Like one of my old bosses in a major Japanese company told me when I asked him if he was looking forward to returning to the office in Japan after 5 years in LA, “It is like going from heaven, to hell!”

Returning briefly to politics a few old friends support of Trump has seriously damaged if not all together ended friendships. It is not a huge trauma as they all live far away and I never see them but once every couple of years. Life goes on and people change. The difference here is they are on the wrong team having been completely brainwashed by Fox. It is really quite something when you take a step back and think about it. These people never gave a thought to politics before now it is all they want to talk *argue* about. The spell Trump, Fox and a decade of nasty talk radio have put on the nation is surreal and now we have a bunch of older, lightly educated, middle aged white men who feed off this poison put out by Fox and are in serious danger of being angry for the rest of their lives. The smart ones are liberal and the dumber ones are conservative, just look around it is quite obvious and normally I wouldn’t be so blunt but now hate groups have become a part of their Conservative team. There are places in the USA I’m no longer comfortable to go due to the racism. Furthermore, stupid Trump declined to give my state (California) aid for all the fires until he realized those areas most in need of help where Trump supporting areas!

So in short, if friends / family still support Trump then I no longer want them as friends or family. They themselves might not have anything against the Jews but they still support Hitler. They are on the wrong team and history will surely show it. It is all so highly disappointing to me as I had thought quite a few were so much smarter. Many have never been smart so that is no surprise.

It feels very strange to bluntly state all of that. Given times of great unrest most prefer to stay silent, just wait to it all blows over. I’m not one of those people and I have a very long memory. Even if my memory were to fail I still have this blog and can re-remember. “Remember the time you supported a lying, narcissistic con man who ruined America’s international reputation?” No? Well I do. Hey China Virus; Screw US states in a major disaster if they didn’t support (or didn’t realize they did); Hey Proud Boys stand by!; Hey handicapped people, how does this impression look?; Hey kids, get into these cages!

And so on and so on. Trump supporters are mostly Christian and how amazing it is to see how quickly they are to support someone who embodies everything they are supposed to be against (abortion aside). That is also so very disappointing, you would think a Christian would usually choose the side of good. Nah, too much effort to actually think. Just go to church a bunch and give some money. It just takes money to resolve everything in America, even buys out hypocrisy.

Well, I really got into it there. But it does have a purpose and it perfectly illustrates my mindset during life under Trump. It is a disease eating up my thoughts and energy. I want to be free of it but it is all around us and there is no escape. Should Biden win the hate will continue and I imagine we’ll finally get to a civil war at some point. This state of things is 100% the Republican hate machine’s fault.

I’ve written quite a few paragraphs and notice I haven’t even mentioned COVID? COVID has changed the world but for me and my family we are content to stay at home. We have a nice house, live in a nice town and thanks to the internet have abundant entertainment options. Imagine if a pandemic lock-down had happened in the 1980s! I think we would have all gone crazy! Thank goodness for the internet.

But regardless of the internet the pandemic is/will destroy many families. Pre-pandemic the familial contract was that only a limited amount of time spent together was required. Now that we all have to be together all of the time I think many families are realizing they really don’t like each other. There is something called the coronavirus divorce but since we all are very hesitant to make big moves I think the magnanimity of this isn’t yet realized. As for me and my family we all enjoy each others company so all is well.

OK, returning to the holidays, I now have my pre-holiday post written and as you can see 2020 has greatly changed the contents when compared to the same post I’ve written in previous years. But before I go, let me relate some holiday plans.

For trick or treat we are going to a friends house and their court will be quarantined so the little ones can still do some trick-or-treating with limited exposure. It will be nice to see our friends again too, they are the only Japanese family (wife) that still remain here in Pacifica!

Halloween is also the time I remember to look at Christmas gifts and get ordering before the major toys sell out. What I learned is that there is only one gift out of the popular toys that I think my kids would like and that is Baby Yoda. I ordered two, because as I know my youngest will love it, I don’t want my oldest to feel left out. Fourth grade is a time when you’re spending most of your free time with older kids entertainment such as video games but the pull of some toys can still remain although it gets weaker with every passing day. My oldest is Fortnite all the time and I’m hoping he will burn out on it sooner or later.

Ok, I better get back to work.

Bay Area California Journal

COVID, Fires, Smoke, Heatwaves and Power Outages

2020 has been a terrible year. I wrote a few posts in the beginning of the year wondering if “anything else could go wrong,” and I really shouldn’t have said that. Things can always get worse and they certainly have, so much so, I’m afraid to say that phrase anymore.

Yesterday was a first in my life in that the sun was completely blotted out by smoke and fog. There is always sun here in California unless there is fog but even then it is still bright out. I remember terrible thunderstorms in Ohio and not seeing the sun for quite some time but those are natural events. Yesterday was unnatural in that it was day, yet very dark with nothing but an eerie, ominous orange glow.

September 9th, 2020

The picture doesn’t do it justice. The camera automatically tries to brighten the image and even if I manually reduce the brightness it still doesn’t show how dark it really was. As I write this at 6:55 AM on September 10th, I can see the fog and smoke but the day still slowly brightens unlike yesterday. The air quality has shifted from yellow to orange and back to the yellow zone again and I’m hoping that an onshore wind will kick up.

It is very odd to experience the weather here in Pacifica these past few weeks. This is normally a cold, decently windy place. Yet recently, it has been hot, there is little wind and thus the smoke fills the air and doesn’t move. It is as though we’re experiencing some divine retribution because at minimum we would have a slight breeze if not a full on wind. Not these days, the wind is absent.

As for COVID those first few months were like a novelty. Everyone went on walks, we got projects done and caught up with long lost friends through Zoom meetings. As we enter the 7th month of the pandemic it is no longer a novelty. There is more activity in getting out of the house, no more complete lockdown, but it remains low except on hot days. On the hot days Highway 1 becomes jammed as it usually does with everyone seeking relief from the heat on the beaches. Pacifica closed the beaches this past Labor Day but Half Moon Bay did not so everyone went there clogging our portion of Highway 1. Due to that the COVID cases will now spike.

So here I am, sitting in my living room on September 10th, 2020. Our inner circle of friends continues to shrink, the pandemic persists, and now we’re surrounded by fire and smoke. My mood is melancholy and I need to make a mental effort to get out of the slump. It will be another weekend at home where I may not even be able to workout due to the air quality. I do have a computer project but sometimes the air quality gets so bad that we all need to retreat to the family room and stay by the air filter. If the Pacifica onshore wind would just return then we would be fine but again, there is no wind. Weekends in 2020 are nothing to look forward to.

San Francisco on September 9th. – It was dark and the phone camera couldn’t capture it properly.

I forgot to mention that through all of this PG&E has threatened power outages from the grid being overtaxed due to everyone using their air conditioners as well as major wind events blowing over power lines. I’m waiting for this wind event and hopefully it blows the right way. But God forbid a pandemic, heatwave, poor air and then a power outage? We cannot go outside, cannot open our windows and then just sit inside and roast? Luckily we are in Pacifica so it is not as hot as in other parts of the Bay.

I should mention that I’ve learned something with my air purifier and air quality sensor. Closing windows to avoid dirty outdoor air does absolutely nothing. The dirty air will still sleep in. The only thing closing windows does is give the person inside a false peace of mind. The air quality sensor shows it makes no difference as indoor air will be as polluted as outdoor air regardless if windows are closed or not.

Secondly those $200 air purifier models everyone buys do work but are only good for cleaning one medium sized room. Furthermore the windows and doors must be shut for it to make progress. We use it in our family room and there is a big entry way with no door coming from the living room. In order for the air purifier to actually purify the air I need to put up a sheet to cover that big entryway gap. If I do not, even though I run the air purifier at full speed it will only reduce the pollution but does not have enough power to clean the air completely. That is to say pollution levels will be better than outdoors but never reach the healthy, “green zone” levels. We will get slightly cleaner air but also a huge electricity bill.


Covid 19 – 10th Update

It is Friday September 4th, 2020. I sit here in my shed breathing in moderately polluted air from the fires that burn the state of California. My mood is on the melancholy side lifted only slightly by thoughts of a three day holiday weekend.

It is difficult to be happy these days for a number of reasons which I’ll explain in no particular order.

Trump is still the President and there seems to be no limit to the depths in which he and his supporters can go. There is a danger of him losing the election so they try to limit the vote by stifling the post office with the mail in votes, they encourage their supporters to vote twice which is illegal and there is a possibility that Trump will declare victory even before all votes are counted! America is in its very first kleptocracy and it remains to be seen if it can pull itself out of it. One would never have imagined that so many, otherwise very rational people, would fall for such a conman. They are seduced by the propaganda from the right wing and their anger grows daily. Even my own friends and some family have fallen for it. If Trump wins again then we’ll continue on a very dark path to very bad ends. Democracy is already under threat through the President’s actions meddling with the votes. There could be a devastating war although America has always been very good at starting wars for the past 70 years so not much difference there. My thought is that Trump could start a devastating war where nukes could be employed. Americans know nothing of suffering having never been invaded and so many enthusiastically support war even though they could not even describe the adversary involved let alone the neighboring state. But even if there was a devestating war and many Americans died, they would just be losers right Trump? Sadly, nothing will shock his base. These are dark times for America.

Another reason for the melancholy is that we remain in a pandemic and the state of California is on fire. We are not too threatened by the fires but we sure have to deal with toxic smoke. Iv’e never run my air purifier so hard and I’ll have the energy bill to prove it. There have been times where I had to gather everyone in one room and block off the entry way with a sheet as the pollution had spiked up near 200 AQI levels and the purifier just couldn’t keep up. The fires continue and most times we cannot even go outside due to the smoke. We are lucky that we live near the ocean because we just need the wind to blow a certain way for pristine air. Others in the state are not so lucky and have smoke coming at them from multiple directions. The world changes and I find it strange that I now it is only the quality of the water I must pay attention to but the air as well. I remember when bottled water and water filters came on the market. Suddenly our water wasn’t safe and we needed products to purify them. I asked myself, what is next the air? Yes, yes it is! Smoke from fires aside the air pre-Covid was mostly yellow in all the places I frequented which are The Bay, Columbus, Ohio and Japan. All yellow all the time. Now I must spend money to ensure the air we breathe is not shortening our lives.

I’m also down because I was just served a summons for jury duty. I’ve never had to do jury duty and I’m not enthusiastic for the first experience. I’ve been more on the liberal side ever since studying abroad but all I had to do to convince myself to limit government involvement was think about my distaste when I have to deal with the government myself. I do not like taxes, immigration, the DMV and now jury duty. With all the talk of socialism being bad coming from the right, isn’t jury duty a bit socialist? Why, in a capitalist country can I not just pay someone to go do it for me? America is all about money, power and the individual best exemplified by our President isn’t it? Well, if I were to follow that example, why do I need to participate in this social ritual and be threatened with jail if I do not? If I were to follow the American example of individualism, I do not care about the person on trial right? Work it out themselves through money, prison or execution, why do I have to get involved? Because it is our system and how our system of justice works??? Excuse me, have you been paying any attention to our current President? He’s got the entire Department of Justice under his thumb.

Wait, my apologies, we only “say” nobody is above the law, but any person with a modicum of intelligence knows this is a silly phrase.

Finally, my spirits are down because we are about to lose more family friends. Our tight circle of Japanese friends all seem to be finding their way back to Japan over the past couple of years. This weekend is a farewell party for yet another family in our inner circle. When before, our circle of close friends was abundant, it has now become sparse.

Time goes on, everything changes. Before long, the world we know is nothing more than old memories preserved in photographs.