Monday, July 25, 2005


Looking out over the balcony railing, slowly pulling on a fresh cigarette, watching the shifting pastels. Contemplating the beauty of the scene, marveling in the never-ending beauty of these surroundings, it's hard to imagine not being happy living in a place like this.

Hard to imagine, but easier to accomplish.

The juxtaposition is striking -- I stand on my balcony, smoking a cigarette, watching the ten thousandth "most beautiful sunset I've ever seen" -- meanwhile, my monitor flickers with a conversation with someone I'd easily trade for such fantastic surroundings. I'm sure she's reading this, now. Hi.

Here's the thing. I harbor no false concepts of love lost, etc. Yes, I used to date her, yes, there will always be some lingering connection beyond that associated with mere friends. But when I say I'd easily trade her for this beauty all around me, I'm making no reference to such things.

Austin is fantastic. Incredible, in fact.The parks are green, the weather is perfect, and the sky is unbelievable. As I've said, every sunset is georgeous, but even during the day, the few clouds speckling the light blue sky make for an equally incredible scene. I've never been so fascinated by the sky as I am here. It would be easy to watch the passing clouds for hours, only t be followed by a brilliant sunset, and finally gazing into the bright-lit starscape.

Combining this with the parks, the rivers, the rest of this oasis in the desert, and it's hard not to see why Austin is growing so rapidly. Add in the cultural scene -- fantastic music everywhere one stops, a thriving art community... and it's hard to resist the draw.

Maybe I'm just doomed to never be satisfied. Maybe I just want too much from life. Maybe I expect more than this world has to offer me.

But here's the thing -- I'd trade perfect weather and beautiful landscapes for intelligent conversation any day. It's not that the people here are stupid; rather they just aren't intelligent. All in all, they seem to be rather... bland. Maybe it's living in such a fantastic climate that does it; comfort breeds complacency, right? Whatever it is, no matter how much I talk to anyone, no matter how intelligent they seem, even the bright shining stars of brilliance here do little to compare with those I knew in Pittsburgh. I miss the intelligence. I miss the spark. I miss the quirks. I miss the life. The people here -- they are quirky, some of them are perhaps even moderately intelligent, but... the spark is missing. It seems as though I am truly the stranger in a strange land.

Eight months from now, my lease will be up, and I'll leave Austin. Perhaps I won't even wait that long, perhaps I'll sub-lease. But either way, I won't be here longer than that. I'm not completely certain where my next stop will be in this unending travelling -- perhaps Charlotte? -- but I'm not sure that I'll have as high hopes upon my arrival there as I did here. I've realize that a location is only part of the equation, and to me the people matter more than the scenery. If this means I'm doomed to return to the northeast, to suffer through the frigid winters and the unending greyness, I've finally come to the point where I can accept it, and gratefully, for if that is the tradeoff, I'll exchange sun and green grass for coffee and cigarettes, exchange sunsets and stars for conversation and enlightenment. No matter the cost.

Don't abandon me yet. There may be salvation left for even one as scarred and broken as myself.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Where are you?

... are you out there somewhere? I don't know where you might be. I haven't heard from you in forever. I've tried calling... I e-mailed... I dreamed...

I looked out off the balcony tonight, saw the moonlight casting that curious glow across the scattered clouds. Semi-obscured by the clouds itself, it was surrounded in a halo, the beams piercing casually but persistently through the masses. The light bounced and scattered over the rippled cloud bottoms, the land below alive and lighted by it's own. I thought of you, wondered where you were, wondered what had happened to you, wondered why I hadn't heard from you.

Why you hadn't returned my calls.

Why you hadn't returned my e-mails.

Why you seemed to disappear.

I hope you're still out there, somewhere. I hope you're happy. If you've left me behind, moved on with your life, I understand. I won't persist. I won't pierce the darkened clouds. I just want to see that light a little bit, to know it still exists. To know you're alive. To know you're happy.

I used to care about so much. I had passion, I had fire, I had love.

Time heals all wounds, but it also deadens all senses.

I wonder, now and then, about the life that could have been. More often, I wonder about the life that might be. What will happen as the twilight grows nearer? What will happen as the light fades, as the passion dies? Will I live still, only to live, not to experience?

I wonder, on these nights, why I'm bothering to wonder.

I quit drinking for a time. I quit drugs. I quit sex. I quit so much. I find the focus, the purpose, the singularity of thought and importance of action, but only by denying myself all the "pleasures" can I bring it all out. Only by ending the feeling can I renew the purpose.

Is this, then, the point? Am I meant to slowly deny myself more and more? To forego this and that, more and more, every pleasure, every escape, only to end with nothing?

Should I embrace the pleasure instead? Should I live the hedonistic life, foresaking determination and accomplishment in favor of pleasure and release?

Am I weak to want to indulge? Or am I dead to deny my self the indulgence?

The answer may seem apparent. A balance, they say, a middle ground between. All good things are the result of compromise, to go to the extremes results only in self-destruction. But is the middle any better? Is it safer only because of a sacrifice of true existence? If I strive only to achieve a little of this and a little of that, don't I in the end achieve nothing at all?

Maybe coming here wasn't what I needed.

Maybe escaping it wasn't what I wanted.

Maybe all I've achieved is a pill, a temporary offset of the problems. Maybe in the end, I'll always be haunted by these visions.

I wake at night, screaming without noise, sweating and heart racing, for no reason. What dreams I remember are not of terror, are not of danger, not of violence, rather they are only of the same thing I see in the day. They are of mediocrity, of repetition, of pointlessness.

Life is my nightmare, it seems.

What a fucking disappointment.

I hope you're out there, happy. I hope you aren't thinking about these things like you always did before. I hope you've found that comfort you longed for. Perhaps if you've found it, I can take some solace in knowing I haven't. Perhaps I can rest easy knowing the universal balance required me to know no peace only so that you might know some.

Perhaps... perhaps...

Right now, I desperately wish I hadn't quit drinking.

Let this be the end, the beginning, or whatever else you might wish to take it to be. For myself, I'll take it to be nothing more than a continuation of the rest.

Sleep well, my dear.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The CIA is wonderful.

So I'm reading this book on how the CIA supported the Afghans against the Soviet Union. Well, actually, it's about how a Texas senator and a single CIA agent almost single-handedly increased the annual funding from 14 million to 1.8 billion in the span of about three years. Interesting stuff.

But here's an interesting thing to note:
The CIA considers a guerrilla war successful if it causes damage and continues to recruit in pace with casualty rates.


If you're confused about why I'm mentioning this, you should refer to my last post. Yeah.

Have fun with that.