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Sunday, August 13, 2006


A pacifist has never won a war.



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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Imagined Opportunities

Dear Mory,

You, sir, are a bona fide idiot.

You keep making the same mistake, over and over and over again. Any normal person, or maybe a lesser animal, learns from experience. They'd figure it out after two, or maybe three times. But how many times do you have to make the same mistake before you figure it out? What am I talking about? Let me spell it out for you, in terms even you can understand:

If you get an opportunity you weren't expecting, then it's probably not real.

Okay, okay, I know it's not easy to be so skeptical. Everyone needs opportunities to offer something to others, be that a joke or a service or an experience. We understand this, you and I. And when you never get an opening, you get pretty desparate. When no one wanted to listen to your music in the Academy, you went and played in recesses anyway, pretending you would have whether or not your classmates were there. But really you'd reached the point where you thought you'd make openings for yourself where none existed. And what did that desparation get you? Did anyone in your class listen to what you were playing? No.

And with that desparation, it can be hard to be skeptical of openings that come your way. You want nothing more than to take it and for it to be real. But it never is. Those friendlier kids back there weren't interested in being friends just because they were willing to talk to you. Your sisters weren't really interested in Zelda. And they were never serious about getting that DS. And Dena wasn't really going to keep reading new comics, but did you ever shut up about these things? No! Did you ever figure out that you should stop getting your hopes up? No! And you know why? That's right, it's just because you're an idiot.

When someone is willing to borrow Myst, it doesn't mean he'll ever play it. When someone is willing to borrow Babylon 5 episodes, it doesn't mean he'll ever watch them. And yet you keep waiting, keep hoping that you can offer something. It never sinks in until after the moment of disappointment that the opportunity never existed in the first place.

Look what you've done now. The latest in a long line of idiotic emotional investments. The latest time you've left yourself open to disappointment by paying attention to vague hints. It started when Sammy mentioned on her blog that her birthday was coming up. You knew how hard it always was to understand what she was saying and you saw the part where she said it was in just a few days. And she's not even your friend, so you didn't really have any excuse! It's not like you know anything about her but for the ridiculously vague things she posts about.

Well, you were so desparate to get your music appreciated by anyone that you took this as an opportunity. "I never got anything for my birthday.", you said, "Maybe it would be nice to give a birthday present for once.". And that's all it took to fool yourself. Never mind that she never said when her birthday was, even when you flat-out asked her. And never mind that she specifically said it was in just a few days. You had to assume that since her blog went by Gregorian dates, the date she had used as her birthday last year was her birthday. And you got the ridiculous notion in your head that since she (you thought) played piano, you'd have an excuse here to compose something that someone else might play. What an idiot.

That date I was going by was the Hebrew date. Her birthday had been a month earlier. (She doesn't use the Hebrew dates on her blog presumably because she doesn't know she can, and not because she cares about Gregorian dates at all.) And to top it all off, she's not even playing piano anymore! And so I'm left, wishing her a happy birthday and practically getting ready to beg to give her a piece I've just composed.

It was quite humiliating, really.

And all because you can't get it through your head that these opportunities you're seeing aren't real. They're just mirages, the daydreams of the overactive imagination of a desparate idiot.

Please don't do anything like this again.



You know, as much as I wish I could deny it, you're right. At least about the one referring to me.

Which isn't to say that real openings never exist....only that they're not quite as frequent as we would like them to be.

But that leaves you with three options, see...
You can ignore such oppotunities completely, and by doing so miss out on the real ones.
You can try to sort them, figure out which ones are real and which aren't.
Or you can try them all anyway, even if they are naught but fata morgana.

Why would you choose such a thing? Because there's always a chance. There's a chance of success, a chance that people will see what you have to offer. It would be a shame to give up and lose that chance.

Me, I couldn't see what you're offering. I couldn't understand it. Because we're different people, see, and we see things differently.
But one of these days you're going to open up to someone who can actually appreciate you, and learn from what you have to offer. Are you going to give up on that?

When I look at you, I see this "mistake" you make - only I don't see it as a mistake. I see someone who tries hard to share with the world his knowledge, his experiences, his loves....himself, really. And despite the fact that there seem to be no takers, he resolutely continues spreading his message, himself.
I see it as something honorable, that I could not do myself. It seems strange to me now that you would want to change it.

Why wouldn't I want to change it? I keep doing this, and every time I do I end up terribly disappointed. I can't think of a single time that there was a happy ending to one of these stories, so I don't need to worry too much about mistaking real opportunities for imagined ones. So it's better not to set myself up for that.

This is confusing me....I thought this was a part of who you are, just like creating art for its own sake is. I was sure you knew the potential cost of your actions, and were acting in spite of it. I thought you were willing to risk almost definite disappointment in the hopes that another would understand. I looked up to that. Now I'm confused.

It's your decision, naturally, and as I stated above, I already made the choice you are seemingly about to make. I did it because I could not bear doing things the way you have...I couldn't cope with the disappointment. Until now, I thought you were stronger than me. Is this not the case?

If not, then by all means stop making the mistake.

I'm not sure where I was unclear. This isn't about strength of character- the issue here is stupidity. What I am saying is that I frequently think I see opportunities where none exist, and then proceed to run blindly into a dead end. That's not "honorable", it's boneheaded. You seem to think I acted this way by choice, time and time again, but I did not. Every single time, I regret it. No, I just don't think. Someone mentions offhand that they've heard of Zelda, and I can't get off their case for years trying to get them to play Ocarina of Time in its entirety. That I never "have any takers" is regrettable, but it's no excuse for making the same mistake over and over.

All right, then. I simply seem to have been very wrong about you. Oh well.

By the way, just so you don't feel too stupid - I made the same mistake regarding Sammy's birthday. ^_~


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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pained by Numbers

On this day long ago our temple was destroyed. I'm supposed to get worked up about this or something. Okay, I see the significance. I see that we had a loss and should remember that. But I don't know what mourning is.

(Excuse me if this post is not a great work of art; I am fasting.)

How do I mourn? I learned a lot from Rav Ariel, the Rosh Yeshiva of Dvir and the head of Machon HaMikdash, but nothing that would make me want to break down and cry about losing the temple. My parents insist that the only thing that a person may do in the proper spirit of the 9th of Av is go to a lecture. Bl'bah! Well, actually, that's not entirely true- my mother did talk me into going to the walk around the walls of old Jerusalem last night:
"Did you want to come with us to the walk around the walls?"
"No. Why would I want to do that?"
"It'll give the day meaning."
"Okay, I'll come."

It didn't give the day meaning- it was just a crowd, and I don't like crowds. I said that if we were going in a crowd like that up to the Temple Mount itself- that would be inspirational. But this was so safe the police had even blocked off the area ahead of time and were watching to make sure nothing happened. It's not a spiritual experience if you don't have to fight for it. So that was a whole lotta blah, with me thinking about abstract world designs to occupy myself with.

Anyway, the rabbis who decided on the halacha knew that most people, like me, didn't have a clue how to mourn. So they implemented laws to force you to mourn anyway. Laws like fasting, and not wearing leather shoes (but why just leather?- Eah, that's a question for another time.) and that sort of stuff. My father read us some of the laws a few days ago. You can't play or listen music, which tells me to stay away from the piano. You can't dance, which tells me to stay away from platformers. You can't wander around for enjoyment, which tells me to stay away from most of my favorite games. The halacha also says you can't sit on a chair, so I was sitting on the floor and reaching up to my keyboard, but then I saw my father sitting on the couch so I decided it wasn't such a big deal if I ignored that law.

So what am I going to do now? Well, I don't think there was any law there that would prevent me from watching episodes of Samurai Jack. So that's what I'll do. And then maybe I'll play Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, because it has no exploration and meaningless controls so it's technically okay. This shouldn't be such a bad day at all.



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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fudgie and Willy

Sometimes around 10:00 my parents ask me to walk our dog Fudgie. And for some strange reason Pussywillow often tags along. It's the cutest thing, but I don't get it. Fudgie's there walking around the street because she needs to. I'm walking around the street with her because I was told to. (I don't use a leash- she's such an obedient dog that I don't need one.) But Willy- why is he there?

It's not like they particularly like each other. I mean, they never bother each other, but they never do anything else with each other either. Just these walks. So they're not exactly friends. They each know the other's there -------
What of it?
, in the same way they know the refrigerator is there. But they rarely have any sort of interaction with each other at all.

When do they interact? Well, Fudgie's pretty bossy, or at least she'd like to be. We used to have lots of cats going through our backyard, but now it's pretty much just the three stray cats Fudgie knows best. Anyone else, she scares off. She might have scared off those two early on if we hadn't made it clear that we like them. She doesn't try to do things which would make us unhappy- yeah, she's a really obedient dog. She loves Sukkot, when we're in the backyard all the time, because she knows we don't want any cats bothering us in the Sukkah. So she tries to scare away any cat who comes near, stranger or not.

By the same token, she never attacks Willy unless she catches him commiting a crime- most often sharpening his claws on the couch. Within a second she'll be there and threatening a vicious attack, and he'll be hiding under a table. She makes a good cop. She also sees the backyard as off-limits for Willy, so if he ever tries walking outside through the back she chases him back in. These are really the only interactions they ever have except for the walks.

Why does he come on our walks? He doesn't seem to need the company. If another cat comes near him to say hello, he runs away. Seriously, there was a while when this little black cat ran after him whenever she saw him outside, just to be friendly, so he stayed inside all the time. He's like me. Fudgie loves crowds, but Willy can't stand them. He spends his day exploring for resting spots (and resting in them), not playing with other cats or with people or with Fudgie.

He does what he feels like doing when he feels like doing it. If he wants to eat, he eats. If he wants to go out, we let him out. If he wants to sleep, he's probably already asleep. If someone calls him, he pretends he doesn't notice. (He comes only at such a moment that he decides for himself that he would like to be petted.) It's not that he's impatient- if he wants something he can't get yet, he's more likely to wait around and lick himself for hours 'til someone happens to be nearby than he is to bother us with his meowing. (This contrasts sharply with Fudgie.) But he doesn't let other people tell him what to do. Not exactly the type of personality I'd expect to go following someone around just because she happens to be on her walk at the time.

At first, I thought he was just following us because he wanted to get in the house and knew the door would open when we were done. But then a few times he actually went out of the house with us to join our walk, then went back in with us when we were done. Even now, I half expect him to stop following us at any moment, noticing that he's not getting anything out of it. I mean, he isn't, is he? I'm the only one who gets anything out of it, because I get to watch the cute little family scene in amusement. Fudgie eagerly walks in the lead, with me trailing behind her and Willy behind, with his little bell ringing at every step, trying to catch up. Or if Fudgie stops for a minute, Willy will walk on ahead and wait there for her.

I don't know- maybe he just doesn't want to feel left out.



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