(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye Quiznos

For about 85 percent of my commute downtown today, I was composing in my head a rather angry letter basically summing up my experience with my first job. Halfway down the hill though, something changed my mind.

Or rather someone changed my mind.
His name is Sean Fournier.

I got his free album from a Facebook ad the other day. I hadn't really listened to it, but it was free and referenced to me because of some of my favorite artists, so I'd figured why not?

I love this music.

It's the voice and the piano mainly (I'm a sucker for a guy who can play the piano), but it's also more than that. Something about this is just uplifting and made my spirit feel high. So I'm spreading the word. Check it out, get the 6 track album free and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Stupid Stuff I do to my body

I donated blood yesterday, like I normally do. every 54 days or so.

The experience wasn't really any different than any of the other times I've donated blood this year (I'm either at 5 or 6 donations), with the exception that they couldn't find a good vein in my left arm, so they had to start over in my right.

The process isn't really painful, and I'm not bothered by needles for some reason (but for those potential readers who are, I'll do you the courtesy of not going into detail), so the actual donating process was easy.

It was the next day (today) that I experienced problems.

I was biking to work like I usually do, when I began to feel lightheaded. This was worse than any of the other times I've felt as such after donating blood, so I made a point of finding the nearest place of food (McDonalds, but I went to the Subway across the parking lot) and sat down. My vision went blurry, and I saw stars, I started sweating bullets. Needless to say it was not an experience I would like to repeat.

I sat for a least an hour and a half, ordering food and drinking plenty of water and then continued on my way to work, albeit at a slower pace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


For the past few weeks, I’ve been attempting to teach myself cartomancy or card reading: Tarot’s idiot younger brother, and to say the least it’s an adventure. The closest I’ve ever gotten to divination before has been those little paper fortune tellers people made in elementary school, so I’m finding there’s a lot of history to this.

As an abridged version of the tarot deck, people have been using playing cards for fortune telling for almost as long as they’ve been around. No source is exactly sure whether they were developed first for games or divination, but the deck of cards have been around for at least 600 years and used for both.

Now, I know there are some who would argue that the mathematical laws of statistics make this kind of fortune telling a load of crock. Statistically speaking, you have the same 1 in 52 chance of drawing any one card first; however, I found one site that gave me some food for thought:

“Statistical laws imply that a deck, properly shuffled, will yield the same chance of a given Card being drawn. But the key to this axiom is that this is true – but it is a law of averages; if you draw a Card from a deck ten thousand times, you’ll find that each Card has roughly the same chances of being drawn … but for small numbers, the Universe has a method to communicate with us.”
- Excerpted from the Arcana Arcanorum

Pair that with the hundreds of different spreads used by those consulting the cards and there are near infinite combinations that can be interpreted by someone who knows what each card is said to represent.

Being that I’m a novice, I’m not yet very good at reading the cards. In fact, I wrote all the meanings on the cards to save me the trouble of looking them up every time I do a reading.

All the same, it’s a good distraction when I’m bored or unable to sleep or just have a nagging question that I don’t know who to ask. So excuse me while I shuffle up and start reading.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Just found out where I'll be dorming in Bellingham.
Nash Hall room 310.
I'm more excited to not have to wait than I care where it is, isn't that sad? I always tell people I'm a patient person, because I am, but the anticipation for this has been driving me crazy. Yay!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

October 16, 2008

I’m sitting in Seattle Central Community College, the SAM building. I keep telling Leasha that SAM makes me think of the Seattle Art Museum, but she just ignores me and maintains her position of Science & Math. Whatever.

It’s a nice place this cozy little college in the heart of the city. Out of the corners of my eyes, I enjoy watching the diverse mix of people walk by me in my spot where I sit invisible in this chair. I’m not an actual student here, but that’s not important, is it?

I’m spending the day with friends, doing something different. It’s a big school, they don’t care if sit in their lobby typing whatever words I may type. I’m not actively doing anything disruptive. If I was going to do that, I would have followed Stasie into her math class and shown the professor who the heck is boss. It’s numbers, plain and simple. Algebra, geometry, you never really learn much beyond the basics, it’s just different ways to do the exact same thing.

There’s a broom leaning against the wall across the room from me. It’s casual, like it’s some sort of cool cat over there next to the fire extinguisher. It’s seen better days since it was new. The black paint of the shaft is beginning to wear away near the handle, and the bristles all curve inward where you can tell it’s taken the brunt of the impact from sweeping the floor.

I wonder idly if it gets used. I want to touch it, to feel it, to acknowledge that it exists with something other than my eyes. But I won’t. I have no qualms being that crazy guy who everyone remembers for molesting the broom – I’ve done worse things – but it seems almost rude to disturb its peace. It’s sleeping over there in its corner. It hasn’t done anything to me.

I feel like it should be able to come alive at any moment and start dancing, or grow arms and start gathering buckets of water like in Disney’s Fantasia, but there’s no Mickey Mouse with a wizard’s hat here, just me, my imagination and a bunch of college students passing through on their way to classes. The fluorescent lights aren’t flattering to its figure, but it would be pole thin no matter what light I saw it in.

I want someone to spill something. A bag of chips or bread crumbs, give it a duty.

“NO FOOD in recycle”

The sign is just to the right of the broom, above the recycle bin. It’s commanding and forceful. Someone probably put it there because people were putting food in with the recycling. The three arrows in that familiar triangle mark the bin, each opening labeled. Glass, cans, plastic, paper. I wonder if people listen to it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A dissertation on the cross-demographical appeal of the Sailor Scouts, or why Sailor Moon rocks

Certain kinds of Japanimation always give me that nostalgia for childhood. Take for instance Sailor Moon; it’s exactly the kind of mindless cartoon everyone should love as a child. Sure, it was technically a little bit before my time, but there were still reruns on as I started my spending more and more time with that little thing called the television.

I will always remember the opening what with its cosmic crickets followed by simplistic guitar and drum riffs and lyrics. It was one of the first shows I really started to like, and I liked it even more than I liked Dragonball Z, which I guess in a way set me apart from the other little boys my age. They just wanted to see gratuitous cartoon violence. I wanted to see gratuitous cartoon violence and pretty girls. Not that I knew anything about sex at the time (not that it matters anyways what with the whole homosexuality thing I got going on), but still, there was something appealing about the one that the other just didn’t have.

This brings me now to my rambling musings and the point of this. Despite being just another crappy child’s show, Sailor Moon deserved a far better audience than it ever received. It had the kind of crossover appeal you just didn’t find in the other shows of the time.

For the girls, it had strong, albeit ditzy female role models in Serena (which I’m guessing is the Japanese approximation to Selena, which would be appropriate considering the whole moon thing. If that last sentence made no sense, look up Selena. If you get something about the late Hispanic pop goddess, keep looking) and the Sailor Scouts. In its continuing story arc about the reincarnation of the moon princess, the show also had the kind of romantic quadrangles that make preteen girls swoon.

For the boys, there was that whole gratuitous cartoon violence I mentioned earlier. People were always dying or getting kidnapped by monsters sent by the nefarious Queen Beryl. It was a little Scooby-doo how the girls faced a different monster pretty much every episode, but such was the ratings climate of the time. Besides, when you’re a little kid you don’t really notice how it’s exactly the same thing every episode, I mean duh, it’s a different monster. Also, pretty girls in skimpy sailor outfits, need I say more?

And finally, for the gays, well, I guess it’s kind of hybrid cross between the girls’ and boys’ reasons really. The pretty girls weren’t cool because they were pretty girls; they were cool because they were pretty. The romance was a little soap-operatic (How many times did someone’s name get screamed in agony as they died or get healed with a kiss/tear?), but it had to be that kind of over the top otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to the younger audience’s simple grasp of the romantic. Oh yeah, and in true classic anime fashion, there were always homoerotic subtexts to tickle budding gaydars. Ever notice how some of the Scouts could be (and were) mistake for boys or how in the one movie young Darren was just a little too friendly to the green alien boy who comes back years later like a stalker ex?

It had something for everybody if you bothered to look past the frilly pink exterior, and it was a damn sight easier to follow than half the stuff on primetime now. But it had a good run while it lasted.

Friday, December 12, 2008


A little poetry to mix things up:

Mariposa moments removed by a gust,
a shimmer dissipating.
Soundless stomach-flutterings of doubt remain
in monarchal landmarks of the mind.
The subject to every object of affection
the dust, scales of the wing,
fall four times flight forever.
Citrus colors catch the attention:
a warning against the attraction.
Ensnared in nets and stifled in chemical jars
they are lost.
Put on display and paraded around,
but can they ever truly match the beauty
of the freedom lost?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Displace Me

On April 28, 2007, I displaced myself as part of a national demonstration on behalf of the peoples of Northern Uganda who are forced to live in grossly overcrowded camps due to the civil war that has been fought there for the last 22 years. Over 70,000 people took place in the event across fifteen cities, including myself and six friends.

For one night, we slept in ramshackle cardboard huts, shivering as the cold air from over Lake Washington settled over Magnuson Park and the thousands of bodies therein. For one night, we gave ourselves to the cause of peace, demonstrating in hopes that we could gain the attention of our elected leaders and affect them to make a difference half a world away. For one night, we were displaced.

I still think on what that event has come to mean to me. It marked the moment when my eyes were opened to the world around me. I’ve always known that there was suffering in the world, but like most suburban American teenagers, I had no true concept of what that meant. There was war and poverty and unfairness, but it was always remote, distant. Like a colony of ants in the backyard, it was never something you noticed.

But since displacing myself, I’ve felt that knowledge pressing on me, pulling at me to do something. You cannot remain apathetic when it is within your means to improve the conditions of the world around you. Doing so would be a gross irresponsibility.

I pre-ordered a copy of Black is for Sunday the DVD and bracelet set documenting both the displaced in Uganda, and those who forwent the comforts of their life for one night to help them. It was on the honor system. They would send it to me with no guarantee that I would make my donation in return.
At the time, I thought the $35 was nothing in comparison to the difference it would make. When the set arrived though, my family was not financially well off and as a high school student with no job; I was not going to rely on them to pay off my obligation. So the DVD sat unopened on a shelf in my room gathering dust for almost a year and a half.

I looked at it nearly every day, and felt not only guilt for not honoring my promise to contribute but also responsibility. It was a reminder that there was something else in the world that deserved my attention. The petty struggles I faced in school were nothing in comparison to the challenges in the world. It became a source of strength for me. If they can live their lives and survive in the conditions that they did, nothing should stand in my way.

I got a job this past September, and with my second paycheck, I went to the bank and ordered a check for $40 addressed to the Invisible Children organization. Only since that check went in the mail have I felt closure enough to finally open Black is for Sunday and start wearing the bracelet. I now wear my reminder around my wrist where others can see it and be inspired to make a difference.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jazz Inflection (Extended Version)

I’m listening to some jazzy smazzy whoop de dazzy music style of this and that for all of what? Seven seconds more than it used to be? It’s what I do but so are you, know what I mean??? Crack an egg and let’s make breakfast. It’s time to chill the so called flower of our youth, preserve it in the refrigerator with all the others, but no, let it grow. Find that field and plant it so young. Nothing is wrong. All of it’s gone. Why oh why? Because the sky so blue said so.

Hark, hear the bell? Let it ring and sing and keep out of the way as it travels on. Outward and upward, going nowhere but where it wants to. Feel the glass window break
bread with the song on my side of the mountain. I'd rather not. Fight fires with flowers when all the world's a pearl and I'm just an oyster ruminating in my cozy shell.

Clap top Lambchop, where'd your Shari go? This old man is going home. Left a word to the right that was down when we all up and went away. Bittersweet butterflies floating on a breeze carried one way, two way, three way, four score and seven years ago Mao took community to a whole 'nother level.

It's arbitrary evidence to suggest that evolution emigrated here from where it once sat in silence. Balloons can't escape this myriad monkey house of demolition.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Break it out

This little ditty is brought to you courtesy of the Rocket Summer, texting Alex and the letter G.

Sometimes, you just gotta break out, because you can, because if everyone did, things would be better, things would be different. It takes courage. It takes faith. But really, it’s just a matter of doing it. Don’t think. Don’t consider. Do.
You can’t expect change to be pretty. It isn’t. It’s far from it. The inside of a cocoon is probably as appetizing as caterpillar puree, but the end result, that butterfly, that beautiful crawling insect that flutters into your life out of nowhere and scares the bejesus out of you until you realize it’s harmless, is all that work and effort put to good use.

I’m not saying go out and start a riot, that would be irresponsible of me, but waiting on the world to change, I’m sorry Mr. Mayer but that’s crap. Carpe diem! Seize the day! Si se puede! It can be done.

We’re all injured in some way. We’re all lost and lonely. The world itself cries for the pain and suffering that surrounds us every day. But that doesn’t mean we’re without hope.

I’ve learned this time and again, but the key to finding happiness is to be happy. Well, if that holds true, then it must be that the key to changing the world is to change it? It’s so simple.

When people talk about chaos theory and the butterfly effect, it’s always disaster: The wing beat that turns into a hurricane, well who’s to say it can’t work the other way? What if a smile here leads to the end of a war there?

Would it hurt to try?

The thing is we’re all such strangers to each other. Even as the internet familiarizes us to people halfway around the world and a continent away, we’ve lost touch with those living in the same house or on the same street.

It's a small world after all, break out and see how big it really is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being a GBF

11:46 pm, I get a text that reads:

“Oh my god. I could watch Frasier for my entire life.”

You’d think that this close to midnight my text messaging would be limited to emergencies, but it’s not. I get this first text because “(I’m) just the only one who would care, or pretend to.” Thankfully I’m awake. I can’t deny it though, I’m intrigued. She’s dragged me from whatever I’m doing into conversation.

“The show with Kelsey Grammar (sp) that’s already ended?”

“Yes, the spinoff of Cheers. It’s awesome.”

But I won’t recount the entire conversation, I wouldn’t let you read the private correspondence between me and my pen pals, would I? Actually, I might, but that’s not my point. You wouldn’t read them or ask to read them unless they were already in front of you, save if you discovered them after I’m dead… which I’m not.

The next show in MYQ2’s schedule is Will & Grace. The personalities involved are different, but a similar dynamic exists, it’s too appropriate to miss. I leave the comfort of my bed to watch.

We text through the entire episode, commenting on things like Will’s hair and Karen’s voice. We come to a consensus, Will and Grace should have gotten together at the end of the series. Maybe not as a couple, but they should have ended up together. The other consensus, Jack and Karen need to get married, they’re “both so gay that they’re almost straight.”

And then she goes to bed. It’s the quiet moments we share that I enjoy so much. I stay up a while longer thinking how glad I am that this Grace to my Will isn’t as pathetic as the television character. None of the ladies in my life are. Sure, they have their problems, but they wouldn’t be the girls I love if they didn’t.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A lesson in relaxation

Life is a crazy, stressful place, so when all else fails you, take a moment and breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Feel your chest rise and fall as your lungs expand and contract. Wherever you hold tension in your body: let it go. Relax those muscles as many times as it takes until they stay relaxed. For me it’s the back of my neck.

Close your eyes if you’re comfortable enough and it’s safe for you to do so.

But why does this work? It’s simple really, we don’t do it enough. In our everyday lives, we’re running, always running, and don’t take the time to stop and smell the proverbial lavender (really, it smells better than roses, just doesn’t look as pretty).

Now, I’m not saying we go around oxygen deprived, but deep breathing of the kind that calms? It’s nearly non-existent.

So do yourself a favor, pause your busy life and breathe.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When my mind speaks and no one listens

Yesterday I slept in until well nigh noon, and while some would call me blessed to be able to do so, I'm not so sure.

I'm a morning person by nature. If I get up at 5 o'clock in the morning, I'm awake. There is no grogginess to compete with being aware; that only ever happens if I sleep too much. The idea of sleeping the day away itches at my sense of responsibility. Who am I to stay in bed when so many around me are up?

In my defense, I did wake up at 4:30 on Thursday and in the subsequent hours afterward took many buses and a train, traversing many miles across and to the greater metropolitan area around Seattle. Travel makes me tired. So does disappointment. I wasn't quite in time to see Alex or Sam at their school before they had to get to class. I got home about twelve hours later only to be in time to leave for an admittedly short three hour shift at Quiznos.

So I was tired the night before.

Part of me says that that is no excuse to laze the day away, but I didn't have work, I didn't have school and I didn't want to get up. In a sense it was balance. I wake up extra early Thursday to wake up late Friday. My body is rather skilled at doing that.

I've noticed the world always seems to work in balance with itself. When one event goes to the extreme, another counteracts it in some kind of cosmic enactment of Newton's third law of motion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I wish I were a punk rocker (with flowers in my hair)

If I were to live on a deserted island for a year, I wouldn’t take with me people or modern conveniences. I’d even forgo a toothbrush and entertainment if it came down to it, but the one thing I don’t think I could live without is a supply of pens and paper large enough to last me my stay on the island.

I’m a compulsive writer. When I can’t sleep, I write. When I’m bored, I write. When I’m inspired, I write. When I have homework, I write. There’s just something satisfying to me about putting ideas down on paper, or has become the case since I got my laptop, on my hard drive.

I keep a diary most of the time, though there are stretches of weeks, even months sometimes, between entries where I forget to write or start writing but then never finish. And yes, it’s a diary, not a journal, not a log. To me, those are travel diaries meant for keeping track of adventures. A diary, despite the feminine connotations most people associate with it, is for writing about your mundane, everyday life whether you’re a man or a woman.

I also have a higher than average number of pen pals. An actual number is hard for me to give because I have a tendency to be the more reliable correspondent – which is just my passive-aggressive way of saying write me back, you dorks – but I’d hazard a guess at around seven depending on how long it’s been since I last heard from anyone.

Letters are by far my favorite thing to write, because unlike these essays I post or my private diary, they’re meant for a specific person to read. Sure there are easier, faster, more superficial ways to keep in touch, and I suppose in this I’m a bit of a throwback to the ‘70s (thank you, Sand Thom), but e-mail and facebook and the like lack the warmth of a real paper letter that arrives at your door/mailbox in an envelope.

Every once in a while I’ll find a Dear Abby rant or something similar by a baby boomer talking about how writing a letter is a dying art, that today’s youth don’t appreciate handwriting. I beg to differ. They just haven’t been introduced to the concept as they’ve been wired since birth. Look at me, I started the summer after my ninth grade year and I’m hooked. Sure, I don’t have my own personal stationary or anything and my handwriting could stand to be a little more legible, but I enjoy it, and what’s more, the people I write to enjoy it.

There’s a reason that acceptance letters and wedding invitations arrive in the mail and not over the web, and no, it’s not just to support the United States Postal Service. Receiving a letter in the mail is like receiving a package from the Unibomber, only instead of homemade explosives, you get happiness.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Washington Vote

Almost everywhere I go, it seems like I hear McCain-this or Obama-that and Palin-scmalin, but as a semi-educated young voter (I got a 5 on the AP Gov test, but I’ll guiltily admit that I get most of my political news from John Stewart, Steven Colbert and The Stranger) I’d like to hear more a little more Gregoire-what? and Rossi-Republican, going on.

Let’s face it Washington, as important as the presidential candidates are, it’s the governor and state legislators and the levies and initiatives and propositions on the ballot that will have the most direct impact on our daily lives.

This is going to come across as jaded, which I know probably isn’t something most people are used to hearing from the crazy optimist kid (or deluded fool, whichever you prefer), but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter who wins the presidential race. To a scary majority of Americans, all an election means is more annoying commercials and road signs to ignore and a different nut in the white house to blame for everything once it’s all over.

Talk to these same people about their neighborhood or local taxes or their commute and they’ll be able to tell you exactly what they don’t like. Most of those decisions aren’t made by the boobs in the District of Columbia; they’re made by the boobs in Olympia.

A special concern of mine comes into play when we talk about the “prior review thing” in the Puyallup School District. That decision was made by the superintendant and school board, one of whom is running for the state house if I remember correctly. These are good people with good intentions behind their decision, but they fail to understand the impact of what they’ve done, and the only way we can show them that is to prove to them that we are voting constituents worthy of their attention.

If you’re voting this November 4, vote for your candidate, but take the time to look at the rest of the ballot as well.