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Culture Journal

Racial Unrest and other news

It is 8:49 AM on Sunday May 31st, 2020. I have asked myself many times this year if things could get any worse. I quit asking myself that question months ago yet things continue to get worse. At this point I’m wondering if we will see a bottom for a while or if things will simply continue to decline along a steady pace as the months and perhaps even years roll by?

I’m on the verge of deleting Facebook again. I would love to do this but again, doing so would mean losing contact with hundreds of people around the world forever. I’m tried of reading everyone’s opinions but I have to say it is fascinating how quickly people will forget teachings of love and respect and choose a side. I was very disappointed in the boomer generation adult when I myself because an adult and now I am equally, if not more-so disappointed in the adults of my own generation. Adults are supposed to be smart and have answers. I’m realizing adults are amazingly dumb and this is depressing.

As with many things in this blog this explanation is so my ancestors can have an accurate representation. As there are no like buttons nor room to comment I’m not interested in feedback. It would seem that around ninety percent of Americans will just parrot their choice of propaganda and I could just get that directly from the source if I were so inclined.

So what is happening and why?

It is because racism is deeply ingrained in American society. It is not something a sports star nor black president can cure although the media likes to think it can. Human beings on the overall are very tribal and it is very difficult to eliminate the instinct. Humans have always mixed but the tribal instinct remains. Take the Arab Moors conquering Spain over hundreds of years and now most Spanish have black hair and black eyes. You know what else Spaniards have? Ancient hatred for the Arabs even though Arab blood is in their veins. Let’s stick with Spain and look at Mexican society. The rulers are mostly white and at the bottom of the social order are the natives. You go up in social class depending on how much Spanish blood you have in your veins. These rulers then do not care much for the natives although native blood also runs in their veins.

Here in America racism courses strongly through American’s veins and although diluted much over the past century is still as strongly present and real as a Spaniard’s black eyes. African Americans started out in this country as slaves and have had a very hard road since due to this racism. Simply put, it has been much more difficult for them to build wealth and prosper due to racism. If racism could be removed completely I imagine society would be quite harmonious and everyone prospering. But no, the racism persists and injustice after injustice is perpetrated on African Americans. The current unrest is the direct result of a racist society.

Reading the news today I see white leaders telling people they are dishonoring the legacy of George Floyd by looting and rioting. Well, let’s state things clearly here. Both peaceful as well as violent protesting has occurred many times int the past but it rarely does anything. Just a few years ago the Occupy movement had people marching all over the place, holding rallies and lots of people speaking lots of words up on stage. Then it ended and nothing changed. I remember the L.A. riots in the news and seeing video of a man being pulled from his truck and almost killed. Guess what came of those riots? A damaged L.A. came out of them and not much else. So what will happen with these riots? There will be damage, people will get arrested and pepper sprayed, they will end, and nothing will have changed.

The only thing riots serve is to harden the opinions of those who already hold racist views. But I understand the need to protest and even those that want to break things. They live everyday under suspicion, in a society where the feeling of being an outcast is always there although to varying degrees depending on the environment, socioeconomic status, and mindset of the individuals. This is everyday life for them and something that those who do not experience it really cannot empathize with since they have no idea what it is like. However, let’s not pretend that all of the protesters motives are pure. There are more than a few who are thugs, to cause chaos and steal. You see these thugs looting stores. But then I ask myself what is the difference between them looting stores given the opportunity and white collar executives looting their customers (or anything that can be looted) given the opportunity? I remember Wells Fargo charging customers for accounts they didn’t want and then calling it “deepening the relationship.” Perhaps these looters are deepening their relationship with Best Buy? Taking for personal gain is the American way! This is also deeply ingrained in the DNA of this country. The only difference is the ones on top can get away with it whilst the ones on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder cannot.

Let’s also be honest about the police and George Floyd. This is where I do not understand why white leaders keep saying “the legacy of George Floyd.” He was drunk and trying to pass counterfeit bills. He was not a role model. But here is the catch. When was the last time a white cop killed a white person for stealing? Reading the news I can count three times just in the past few months when extreme injustice occurred based on racism. Arbery, Edmondson and now Floyd. This is that native racism with the only difference from the past is it can now be easily recorded and shared when in the past it could not.

Looking at my Facebook feed half have taken the side of police and half on the side of the protesters. None have written a post trying to understand both sides. This is the important point my ancestors. The truly intelligent can delve into and try to honestly understand the other side. This is not a talent that comes naturally and takes work. This also creates the ironic outcome where expecting to receive more answers you’re own viewpoints become less stable. The results in more reading, and the more you read the more questions you will have and it will continue forever. It can cause anxiety to never be steadfast in your own opinions, to never have an eternally correct answer. But it is also exhilarating!

You’ll soon see that those who are so sure of their answers are the ones that know the least. These are the ones who are the most vocal. In my own feed it is those who did not go to college and received C grades in high school that post the most and are absolutely sure of their own opinions. The Left side of the spectrum is smarter than the Right on the overall. But the Left is also blinded by their arrogance and smugness. They simply see the other side as dumb and that they must teach them. Well, the Right doesn’t want to be taught and hates the Liberals for it. The Right prefers tradition, the way things are and doesn’t want all this change. There is nothing inherently wrong in their opinion. They like sticking with their own group and do not want to be “sensitive” for every new snowflake issue that comes up. I remember myself hating how at OSU we were always taught to be “sensitive” to one thing or another. Exaggerating a wee bit it was like “Hey, this mess of a human wants to identify as a transsexual saucepan with a fetish for spoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but straightly bi-sexual on Wednesdays except on the weekends when she/he/we/it/us/they – please use whatever pronoun they would like – would just like to be known as asexual Bruce. For God’s sake’s man, you had to be sensitive to something new every other day and if you weren’t you were a neanderthal.

So yes, I can very easily see both sides here and seeing both sides is a mark of intelligence which we simply do not have enough of especially at the moment.

In other news I want to pick on religion a bit. The Orthodox Church in Greece uses the same spoon to dish out Communion. This means the same spoon goes in the mouths of the entire congregation!

Spoonful of disease

Contrary to what science says, the Greek Orthodox Church insists it is impossible for any disease — including the coronavirus — to be transmitted through Communion. “In the holy chalice, it isn’t bread and wine. It is the body and blood of Christ,” said the Rev. Georgios Milkas, a theologian in the northern city of Thessaloniki. “And there is not a shred of suspicion of transmitting this virus, this disease, as in the holy chalice there is the Son and the Word of God.”

It is quotes and beliefs like these that make me feel like Agent Smith from the Matrix.

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.

There is so much dumb in the world. I used to think we could trust the adults. As an adult myself I can see that becoming an adult is no cure for stupidity. I used to think that we could trust the President. Well, then I learned a lot about historical presidents. I learned that in a drunken rage Nixon ordered the atom bomb to be dropped a few times. I recently learned that Clinton is up to his ears in sleaze. And with Trump, well, it is something new with him everyday isn’t it. I also used to trust priests. Then I learned how many they abused even in my own parish. I was equally amazed at the nonexistent reaction from the parents. Since they were all absorbed into the religion priests doing something wrong just doesn’t compute. They say something like “Oh, well, he was a bad apple.” They are mentally unable to understand that the entire barrel is bad. Religion owns them, they are in a mental cage from which they can never escape no matter how much evidence is given. Jesus himself could come down out of the sky and say “You know what, this was all a joke.” The faithful would momentarily be shocked, unable to move until the brain swung into action. No, this isn’t true, you’re the Devil in disguise! This my ancestors is how religion works. Almost everyone will be the same religion as their parents. Technology, science and human knowledge will increase. Over time many more may be able to escape the mental cage of religion due to this knowledge or it could swing in reverse. The knowledge may be too much for many to bear and so they will cling to the familiar, to “the answers.” Clinging to anything is more secure than drifting out there in the unknown and usually all alone. As for me, I revel in it.

But going back to the spoon, it makes one want to say the trite phrase “Are you serious??!” This is akin to people of rational mind saying hey, you’re dishing out a spoonful of disease!!! And the response is, “No, no, the magic bread will gloriously remove any impurity!” Not only is this absurd but the thing itself is absurd. The magic break and wine was changed into flesh and blood and people want to eat it! I believe this goes back to pre-human times when eating that which you’ve conquered makes you stronger. Hey, Jesus, I am going to eat you. Jesus commanded us to eat him!

WTF

I really am in the Matrix aren’t it? People cannot get along due to the color of skin, the President is threatening to “release the hounds” like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons and some guy named Jesus is telling people to eat him and billions obey. Many of them with the same spoon. In a global pandemic.

The change from 2019 to 2020 was also us entering into a new dimension, an absurd timeline where nothing makes sense. Oh, well, just like being adrift all alone with no solid answer to ground myself on I will appreciate the experience of living in such an absurd time. I will write in my blog and still appreciate the blooming flowers, a nice glass of wine (not blood) and the beautiful sunsets. As is often said in the Tale of Genji, “This would is uncertain and nothing is secure.”

My life is as short and insignificant as the morning dew on a wisteria leaf.” – MdC

I was going to end there but just opened up my news and The NYT has an article of a reporter being shot with the headline “I’ve been shot!” You know what, if you’re going to go into what resembles a war zone you should probably be better prepared and not expect special treatment because you’re the media. This reminds me of a highly uncoordinated girl being asked to do some sort of physical activity. If she is not completely supported through the entire activity she will fall down in very dramatic fashion for all to see. She is a girl that can do nothing for herself unless given so much special treatment that it is actually done for her. Likewise, if you’re going to go into a riot zone you better have someone prepared for it. Not some weak person who expects her media badge will shield her from all going on around her.

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Journal

COVID-19 – Coronavirus

It is 5:26 AM on Sunday March 15th, 2020. These are strange times. I wanted to get this post in because we are in the middle of virus hysteria and it will be interesting to read my thoughts many years from now.

The future is always uncertain and hindsight is always 20/20. This is so unusual and unique that I have nothing to compare these times to. The only thing that comes close is the financial crisis of 2008. At that time I remember seeing the DJI index counter outside the Charles Schwab office go down to the 8,000 level or something like that. The only tangible thing I experienced were that businesses suddenly disappeared in the skyscrapers whose maintenance engineers were my customers. I actually got to see the empty floors that just a few weeks ago were brimming with desks, people and activity.

At that time I didn’t have much money to invest as I had just returned from Vietnam where my salary was $22,000 per year. Very good for Vietnam but nothing for San Francisco. However, I did put my meager savings into a few stocks and they performed very well over the past decade. Those stocks are Bank of America, Costco, and GoDaddy. Unfortunately I sold Facebook and Netflix much too early and still kick myself for it.

During the financial crisis we didn’t know if we were about to face another depression that could last a decade or more. Perhaps there would be a return of the depression era bread lines. We didn’t know how bad things would get and people were scared. Eventually everything turned out alright and we had a decade of explosive growth.

Enter COVID-19 and all that growth has abruptly come to an end and is crashing hard. I waited for many years for stocks to come down again but just in the past two years I’ve put my money back in the market. Being a bit more savvy this time I put my money in blue chips that were already way down, paid dividends and are generally seen by the finance community as safe stocks. I also saved a portion in cash for when stocks did crash.

My moment came two weeks ago with the first major declines. Unfortunately, I “blew my load” too early and bought Delta Airlines, Boeing and J.P. Morgan. Well, I should have waited because stocks crashed hard last week. I’ve lost all my gains from the financial crisis and am currently down $14,000. This is a relatively small number compared to the devastation Coronavirus is causing Boomer 401Ks and my older friends who frankly have a lot more money than I do.

I am not worried about the stocks being down however. These are in buckets that won’t be touched for 10 to 20 years, are dividend paying and I’m confident will turn out very well.

What I have been growing more concerned about is the effect this is having on the economy. Life for the most part is pretty much shut down. Everything is cancelled or suspended. Mass gatherings are prohibited and everyone is wondering if we’re going to go into complete lock down like Italy. To the rational person this is most likely the logical next step although nobody wants it to be.

Just like the financial crisis businesses are going to start disappearing. This time the crisis is much more real to me because I’m farther along in my career than in 2008. The job I have has taken a long time to get to. I have more bills and responsibilities now. Unlike when I was 30, I cannot just ditch the job and find a new one as quick and easily as I used to. It is also much more real because everything is being cancelled and we’re on the verge of a complete lock down! This wasn’t the case with the financial crisis. Nothing was cancelled, people still went about their lives and I really didn’t notice much of a difference.

But this time is different. There are long lines in the supermarkets, everything is cancelled including school, there is the possibility of mass lay-offs and the Fed can’t fix a disease with liquidity injections. So here we are again. Does the future hold that things get better come mid-April / May or do we continue on our downward spiral? Forget everyone talking about a ‘recession’ how about a full on depression?

I wish I could time travel to the future to see how this plays out. Actually I wish I would have had that ability a month ago because I’m locked in at the moment with little cash to invest should things fall further. Looking back at the financial crisis I often kick myself for not investing more. But that isn’t fair to do to myself because there was so much fear, so many unknowns. Therefore, many years from now when I look back at this time I cannot kick myself because there are too many unknowns now! Yes, I would invest more and already have although I acted just ahead of the main bloodbath. I’ll invest the little cash that remains in those savings buckets just as soon as I think the corner has been turned. The thought is this could go on for a while so I’m not going to rush and wait until things start to get better. I feel we’re in the darkest part now as we’ve not hit the climax of the outbreak, are on the verge of a complete lock down and all of this is really going going to F-up the economy pardon the language.

As for cash not in those savings buckets I figure we could go for three months before I’d have to sell stock at a loss. This puts us in pretty good shape and certainly in better shape for a large amount of Americans that live paycheck to paycheck. Furthermore, my company is very strong but we are having pretty much weekly calls because like my personal finances, the cash reserves cannot hold out forever. My current thought is that there will be furloughs by May. I’m on the corporate side and we need to take care of our customers regardless so it isn’t as cut and dry as those on the operations side of things. If things get really messy then I’d still work without pay but would do so from Ohio or Japan. Might as well make the best of the situation and this one-in-a-lifetime surreal situation we find ourselves in.

But to summarize, there is real fear right now but for me it is due to what this virus is doing to the economy. I’m not concerned about the virus and we even went to karate yesterday. That is one of the few places that isn’t closed although it may this week. The Jiu-jitsu place across the street had closed. The reason people say this is worse than the flu is that there is no vaccine and the mortality rate is higher although some say it is only 1% higher than the flu while others say it is 10% higher. Either way it affects mostly the old and only those with underlying health conditions.

Therefore, I don’t need to worry much about the effect of the virus on my immediate family but I do have concern for my parents. I spoke with them a few days ago and they do not seem overly concerned. In fact they are still going to church which kind of irks me. Here we are with governments banning meetings with 50 or more people yet the church, slow as always, has yet to tell people to stay home. Yes, continue coming to the place of salvation only to be killed by a virus for going. How is that for irony? By the way, can’t people just pray harder and make coronavirus go away? No, no, God doesn’t work like that of course. Some preacher please tell me whose fault the coronavirus is. Is it the gays again? The Democrats? Yes, I know, God works his magic when the house has burned down but the Bible is left untouched. Yay Jesus!!

So where do we go from here and how long does this last? What will the markets reflect tomorrow? I’m sure it will go down again but I wish I could be certain. I’m starting to think that the market swings are my own fault. When I finally invest markets go down. If I sell then markets go up. There seems to be no certain logic to how the markets react except for a negative reaction to the actions I take?Perhaps life is all one big simulation and those playing are having fun at my expense?

If I were to predict, I think the markets are due for another big drop but will settle out following a larger than usual up/down pattern but not deviate too much from one more new bottom which will occur in the next two weeks. We’ll have the worst behind us by mid-April and things look better by May. If a vaccine can finally get out then the markets won’t be too concerned about a resurgence come the fall.

But then again, who really knows. This is my optimistic forecast and I’m sticking to it. I don’t want to think much about the alternative.

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Journal

Journal Entry 3.1.20

I just had a few things on my mind that I wanted to get down.

My mind has changed. Thought patterns, emotions, feelings, my entire consciousness has changed over the past five years. I think it is an extraordinary thing to be able to recognize this. My mind is everything and like an OS it should just operate as programmed without remembering anything about the prior operating systems. Yes, it is easy to remember what the prior OS did and what the outcomes were as there is evidence of past actions but it is quite another to be able to remember being it and how it felt since it no longer exists.

My mind has changed biologically with different levels of chemicals being produced as well as conditioned with the experiences over the past five years and under assault from the environment we live in today. We’re now under assault from our electronic devices, from the news, and from the pressure that comes with new responsibilities. Twenty years ago I only need be concerned with myself. Then I added a wife and now two kids. It is no longer only myself I need be concerned with but three other beings as well. I now look at finances daily when I rarely looked at them before. I watch the stock market fluctuations on a daily basis. I have to attend to their needs and I have to really be concerned with what is happening in my professional career as it is our livelihood. I need to pay attention to the development of my kids and make sure they stay on the right path. I need pay attention to politics as the USA seems to have become a much more unkind place to immigrants. I need to pay attention to a lot of things and this is all very tiring. All of this has also contributed to my current mindset.

One thing that helps me remember the past is this very blog. I can look back and read my thoughts from decades ago. In doing so I can catch a glimmer of that previous mindset. I ask myself questions such as when was the last time I really felt good. When was the last time I felt a bit of euphoria just by looking out over the ocean, or seeing the blossoms of a flower. I would say that my mindset these days is much more even. I do not “feel” anything as strongly as I used to. The only time I really feel fantastic is after a workout. I wake up and still feel tired. Previously I would wake up and go hit the gym. These days I just want to stay in bed a few minutes more before I have to being anew all the daily activities my life requires.

I remember I used to be very motivated to interact on Facebook with old friends and classmates. That has passed and I no longer feel the drive to do so. I used to love hopping on my mountain bike and heading up into the mountains. I don’t feel like doing that much either. It is as though all my motivation and energy have been completely drained.

Perhaps this is also partly due to the responses I had expected but didn’t receive. When Facebook was new it was amazing that I could reach out to just about everyone I had ever known. I had expected lots of discussion, lots of catch-ups. The responses I got were disappointing. I started a class page and the response there was lethargic. There is so much technology now that allow us to do just about anything but it seems like there is less interaction than before.

For example I could now enter a room in virtual reality and hang out with people in cyberspace. Yet, nobody does this. Another example that pops out is that NASA has a “frequent flyer program” where you could have your name on a silicon chip sent to the planet Mars. I let the principle know about this but got the response that she probably couldn’t make it a class activity due to privacy laws.

I wrote the music teacher with some really great music that had inspired me. The response was tepid. All of this mediocre feedback has numbed by enthusiasm to reach out any more.

This also extends to politics. I used to do my research and be excited to go vote. Now, I’m getting bombarded with texts and calls for various candidates and it makes me put my phone on mute. I listen to the messages left about “special interests” in Sacramento and how candidate so and so is going to fight that. Well, I’ve voted faithfully ever since high school and not much has changed. This is the first year I don’t think I will vote at all.

So as you can see my mindset isn’t very good at the moment. I’m on autopilot, have no energy and not really feeling the joys I once felt of simply being alive. Perhaps it is all just chemical levels in the brain.

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Journal

Journal Entry 9.13.2019

It is 4:56 AM on Friday September 13th, 2019. The weather is warm, even here on the coast. You know it will be a hot day when there is no need for a jacket in the morning here in Pacifica. At the moment there is no wind, it is already warm, there is no fog and there is a wonderful silence that will slowly and steadily begin to be broken as the town awakes and turns on the motors of their cars.

This silence really is wonderful. I feel calm as I sit here in the dark, the only light being from my laptop, three electric candles and my electric fireplace. I can hear the ocean which is just over a mile away and see a couple of stars. It makes you realize how the majority of our lives are filled with noise. The invention of the motor has been great for transportation but an absolute disaster for mental health. One could say the same for lighting which in their relentless electric glow blot out the stars and disrupt our natural sleep cycles formed over a millennia.

I have about 30 more minutes before the motors start. When I went to Ohio this past summer I sat out on the porch swing as I usually do but this time was acutely aware of all the motors. In Ohio everyone has a lawn and that lawn needs cut very often. But the cost of aesthetic beauty is that even a moments quiet is lost. Your eyes feast but your ears are completely shattered. Even if there is nobody cutting the lawn there will be cars, airplanes, helicopters, some other source of noise to break the fleeting serenity. And so it begins this morning. It is 5:18 AM and I hear the beeping of a truck backing up. Shortly after a car driving by. The first one of the morning rush.

What will I do to combat this noise? Well, add more noise to cover it up of course! I’ll play music through my speakers or in my headphones. There will be no more silence unless I’m able to wake up in the very early morning again. This is the first time I’ve been up this early in a while. My body does wake up early after hard karate lessons the day before but for the past couple of months I haven’t gotten out of bed preferring to fall asleep again. It is at this time I have weird dreams I don’t care to remember.

But going back to lawns and the motors involved with their upkeep I found this video from the New Yorker explaining that the manicured lawn is a relatively recent invention going back to the early 1900s in America: The Great American Lawn: How the Dream was Manufactured.

Time is running short and soon the household will be awake so I wanted to get a few different thoughts down.

Pure Joy

I’ve been thinking of the ’80s; I’ve been watching old cartoon introductions, videos on “sounds every 80s kid would know” and so on. It got me thinking about the happiest times of my life, those times when you feel pure joy. For me, there are three that stand out.

The first was in the summertime going to the Grandview pool, playing with my friends and then coming home completely exhausted. I would lie down on the orange/brown shag carpet with the fan blowing on me and I’d fall asleep.

The second is swinging both at Trinity Elementary and next to Pierce Field (Oxley park). At the Pierce Field park I remember swinging while looking at the Columbus skyline and just being so happy. I think that being able to remember not only the memory but how I felt is something that isn’t very common.

The third is the summer of my 8th grade year when my Mom would drop my best friend Ryan and I off at Wyandot Lake which was a water park. We would walk around, ride the rides, play games such as Paperboy in the arcade and of course check out all the girls in their swimsuits.

When I compare that to today, that pure joy of childhood no longer exists. I’ve heard that recovering heroin addicts will no longer feel joy in their lives as they’ve destroyed the parts of their brain that create the chemical that causes joy.

Well, I think age acts the same way in destroying the pure joy felt as a kid. Adults have too many worries. I’m worried about my kids. Are they doing well enough in school, are there bullies, are they safe? I worry about America overall with half the population cheering on a complete conman. I worry about the planet and all these records being set whilst those Trump supporting morons continue to deny the fact that is global warming. It truly is that monkeys have taken hold of the ship and in their stupidity are steering the planet towards the rocks. But perhaps most of all, I worry about finances.

In my line of work the numbers must continually go up. I’m always anxious about losing an account, having my numbers go down and so on. It comes with the territory and I can deal just fine with it but this worry eats up any pure joy that might have been felt. I think to experience that pure joy you need not have a care in the world which is possible when you’re a young kid. It is not possible now. Even though the finances are strong there is always some unknown out there.

There is the unknown of home/car ownership. When will I have to replace the fence, or roof? That will be between $5K – $30K. Car maintenance, I just had a bill for $3K. There is insurance, karate fees, the Japan trip, property taxes, bills, bills, bills and above it all, the threat of recession. Recession means not hitting goal which means less money. But the bills only increase, even if we are responsible. That is the way of capitalism, bills, spending and so on must always go up, not down.

I miss the feeling of lying exhausted on that shag carpet in front of the fan after returning from the pool, or swinging at Oxley park looking at the skyline all without a care in the world. Those were times of pure joy. Unfortunately, like the recovering heroin addict I no longer feel that type of joy now.

The adult way of trying to get that back is to drink alcohol which does bring on a very nice feeling but unfortunately as we get older the debt owed the next day is too severe and I have half a mind to not drink anymore at all. In fact, I don’t drink except at the various social functions but even then have cut way back as I don’t want to feel bad the next day.

So I look for other ways to try and feel the joy and have found meditation and quieting the mind is a way to feel good. The mind is everything and by simply quieting it life takes on a beautiful quality that is hidden when the mind is distracted by too many random thoughts, by noise, by pressures and by the lack of alone time.

Perhaps swinging on that swing as a child while looking at the Columbus skyline was a form of meditation. I was in-tune with myself and experiencing the pure joy of simply being alive. Maybe as adults we lose that because life is not new anymore, we are loaded down with all types of baggage and so what once came naturally now must be worked at to achieve. As a kid I could experience euphoria quite easily but as an adult I need to sit down, quiet the mind and meditate to make it happen.

The time is now 6:00 AM. My oldest has woken up and come into the living room. It looks like he has fallen asleep again though on the couch. The wife will be up in 15 minutes and cars are now passing by in 1-2 minute intervals.

Friday has begun and the weekend schedule. Weekends used to be fun but not necessarily anymore. We have karate from four fifteen to around 6. Then it is time for dinner, watch a little bit of a show then bed. Saturday is Japanese school for Kai and karate for me and Ren. This weekend however, there is a karate test I don’t need to go to since I have an upper belt test the following week. So I’ve been thinking of heading down to the Renaissance Fare with Ren since I’ve missed it the past two years! Our schedules are just too full on Saturdays and Sunday is really needed for relaxation and/or other activities already planned. In fact, the next two Sundays are already planned out. There is the upper belt test next Sunday and then the following Sunday is the karate BBQ. I really don’t want to miss another Renaissance Festival.

Anyway, times up on my peaceful early morning. It is time to start the day.

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Journal

The ’90s and where we are today.

CNN has created a fantastic program that explores each decade through a number of episodes that drills on on specific aspects that occurred. As I’m currently a bachelor I now have time to watch things that interest me and I finally made it to the ’90s which interests me the most as it is when I came of age. I graduated high school in 95 so the music especially brings back a lot of memories.

As is apparent from this blog I have a fascination with time. The episode that focused on music spoke of Nirvana, NWA, Doctor Dre, Snoop Dog and so on. They really explained all the societal aspects that made these artists a success. This was all very interesting but the thought I had when watching all of those young people dance is what has happened to them?

In the ’90s they were dancing, were cool, were in love with N’Sync and so on. Well, we’re now over 40 years old and I imagine they’ve stopped dancing and all that youthful enthusiasm faded long ago. Those kids are my peers and to be honest I have no idea what they are up to except through the magic of Facebook. In high school you had an entire population of people the same age around you everyday and knew what was going on, what was popular and what the best music was. Well, that “being in touch” with society ended for me in 2001 when I want to Japan. My life took a huge turn. I spent 3 years in Japan, 2 in Vietnam and then moved to San Francisco which is one big adult playground. Seems that age is no longer that important and I couldn’t tell you the last time I spoke to a person between 20 – 25.

Through Facebook I can tell you what my peers are doing instead of dancing and being enthusiastic. They are posting about being nominated for the “Softball Mom” of the week and posting endless pictures of their kids. Some are getting divorced, some have decided they really like Jesus and others simply are becoming even more lost than before. I think that when we’re young we just assume life will have something special in store for us but as it turns out that isn’t the case for most, but year after year they get older and older.

One girl from my high school found out that she really liked the club scene when she turned 18. I saw her at a place called “The Edge” on The Ohio State campus back in 1996. She has been in love with the club scene ever since and even became a DJ. Well, we’re now 42 years old, I imagine it might be a bit difficult to keep up with the ‘cool kids’ when 50 is swiftly approaching. She is still DJing away but who ever heard of a 50 year old DJ?

I just saw that the CNN program came out with a series on the 2000s and you know what? I have absolutely no idea what went on during that decade except for 9/11. I came back to the USA in 2006 but was in my little cocoon of San Francisco. Then I got married and had kids. Time became a blur and I find it hard to believe it is 2019 already. I have no idea what went on in pop culture for this decade either as I mostly listen to music from the ’80s and ’90s or foreign music.

I did try to reconnect with high school by creating a class Facebook page and organize a 20 year reunion. For me it was not a desire to return to the past but rather re-read a previous chapter of my life and ended in 2001. What I learned is the majority of old classmates were not as enthusiastic about getting back together as I was. Sure I still have some old friends but only 1/3 of our high school class bothered to show up. Almost nobody posts on the high school class page. To me this was a big surprise as I thought there would be more interest.

I think that as we get older that youthful enthusiasm dies for most of us as it is scrubbed away by the monotony of daily life, going to a job and raising kids. Many do not want to remember the past or consider themselves to have ‘moved on.’ Well, nobody I grew up with has traveled as far and wide or has experienced all that I have so I remain perplexed as to why so many who didn’t go very far want to seem as though they’ve ‘moved on’ or are just too busy to reminisce about the past.

At 42, I’ve finally had my fill of the past and wanting to reconnect. I’ve had my fill of always wanting to return to Ohio or posting on the class page. It seems their lack of enthusiasm has spread to my own thinking. It was fun for a while but that fun has ended.

I’m now motivated again to learn new things, explore new music and especially learn about new technology. Luckily I have time in the summer to do this as my family is in Japan. Breaking out of routine is so refreshing and makes me feel alive again. The technology available such as virtual reality is amazing and I’ve got the time to find new foreign music mostly from Japan and China. I have no interest in the current pop music/rap and never linger for more than three seconds on that particular radio station.

I’ve continued to grow while many others from my hometown have not. My interests are not theirs and the conversation is dull. I do not feel old and feel it is through a way of thinking, traveling and doing things that interest both me and my kids that keep me young. I have no intention of turning into a boring, middle aged guy that complains about everything.

Ok, back to movies or reading The Tale of Genji.