Saturday, September 20, 2003

Shaky Knees

Leaving in a couple hours for a strenuous day hike up to the top of Mt. Wrightson. I’m a bit worried about my knees, if they can handle the stress. My knees are buckling under the strain I have been putting them under of late. The combination of my powerful speed, brute size, and the severe lateral movements involved with playing on a speed soccer team and two flag football teams within the last week has been debilitating.

Yesterday, I played coed flag football. It was our first game. We won 24-15. We have a good collection of talent but we did not play well together. It’s easy to collect talented athletes when working at the rec center. Last season a rec center team won the national championship. We did not play as well as I expected but I will attribute it to being our first game.

Everyone wanted me to play on offense but after reviewing the first series of downs, I did not like the capability of some of our players to be able to defend especially when we started to lose. I switched to defense and single-handedly shut the other team down. I can take the fastest and best athlete on the other team and prevent him from ever touching the ball. I am a great cover man.

I had a friend who wanted to try out for the football team and wanted me to come along to accompany him. If he had not torn his MCL last spring I bet we both would have made the team. Our lousy football program needs all the help they can get.

Speaking of shaky knees … I can’t wait to meet Danielle again. I think I may come out of my shell and turn on my irresistible charm. I don’t use it often enough … it is too powerful a weapon and should be used with appropriate care.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A human trampoline

Speed soccer. Two balls simultaneously in action. Four quarters, seven minutes each. Seven men on the field, plus substitutions waiting in the wings for relief. Unfortunately, only six players showed up to play for my team.

Six players playing against seven. No substitutions for our weary crew. Six players running … running … and running. My team did not lack the fortitude, just the endurance. We lost 11-6.

Out of 8 penalties assessed. I accumulated 7 of them. It was hilarious. I swear I did nothing wrong. Honest. I’m running after the ball, the powerful sprinter that I am, and my opponents are running for the ball as well. I get to the ball and my adversaries run into me. They go sprawling, flailing their limbs in theatric fashion, and I stand there dumbfounded. “He ran into me!”

Just because I am the hulk and I do not budge when others run into me and they go a flying does not mean I should be penalized.

I was a human trampoline. I think the opposing players were deliberately trying to run into me, bouncing off of me, the human trampoline.

Last year, my team lost every game in the regular season only to go on to be eventual champions come tournament time. So I’m not worried. We just need to have a full squad show up to the games.

Immediately after the game I went for a workout and met an old girlfriend at the gym. We did a little workout together and then afterward I challenged her to a game of HORSE. I am a great basketball player but I have never beaten her in a game of HORSE. I was talking so much trash pumping myself to demolish her, so I kept telling her.

It was the quickest game of HORSE I have ever played. She beat the living tar out of me. All she got was a lousy H. She was making 3-pointers one after another. I have never met a girl who could shoot like her. How could I let a girl like that get away? A girl that can bust a baseline 3 in your face and then call you a little girl for your inability to follow suit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

A Fragmented Garden

Four sages enter a garden to further their enlightenment. They agree to all take differing paths and depart along four separate roads.

The youngest sage, unhurried, walks a leisurely pace. Unaware, he loses his way almost immediately. Not able to retrace his steps if he sought an egress, he is unconcerned for he is truly enraptured by the beauty of the garden.

Along his meandering path the sage comes upon a thick circle of weeping willows, the darkened bark furrowed and the branches hung in pendulous curtains shading the hidden and barren ground that lied within. Walking thru the thicket he notices the side of a tree sanded down; the surface used to carve out an engraving.

Dancing girl of powder and scent
The din of merriment grows faint
Little garden by years untended
An autumn moon brings faded colors

Once nimble fingers outline wilted petals
The dance of irony does not amuse
In her hair the flower goes

She dances in the lonely garden
Tears fall to the barren ground
In her hands are dying flowers
As each console one another

“A pensive little elegy. Don’t you think?” The sage turns to find within the shady enclave a squat little man, very plump, with a rounded face and extremely small eyes squinting hard at the light of the garden. Filthy and unkempt, the little man who more resembled a mole than man looked as if he had freshly dug his way to the surface of the garden having lived in the dark underground. A shock of brown haired his head and face.

“I am King. I have been waiting for you, now will you follow me?”

“I will follow,” said the sage, “where do you lead and what have you to show me?”

“Oh, things and things. Enough to satisfy your curious young mind.”

“Who are you and what is your function in this garden?”

“I am King, as I have told you. I tend the garden and all those who may enter.”

“Well, you have done a magnificent job in tending this garden. It is quite a wondrous place.”

“I have had no hand in the wonder of the garden and I’m not so sure if I have truly made a decent job of it. Sometimes I think I am largely ineffective in my duties. I am the superintendent of rainfall and sunlight. I tell the clouds the amount of rain needed today, but they have a mind of their own and pour when they feel up to the task. As for the sun, that blasted inferno, he seems to rise and set on his own accord.”

PART 2

As the two start down the path toward the interior of the garden, the young sage peers eastward and is able to distinguish what appears to be an apple tree with two small babes looking up from the floor of the garden raising their arms skyward, craving the fruit much too high overhead for them to get a hold of.

The first sage announces, “I think I am going to go another way to find what is out there,” pointing eastward.

“You do not even know what you looking for and if you found it you would not like it. It is best to follow me where you will be safe. Everything has been planned for you.”

“I am going to have to insist that I go my own way.”

“If you insist. I will wait for your return, but in the meantime I will tend to the snails. They help to aerate the soil. They are an important ingredient of any garden. I happen to be the inspector general of a snails’ progress.”

With a final farewell the young sage leaves King to find another path leading away from the interior of the garden. As the young sage leisurely ambles his way down the path he contemplates many things. He asks himself many questions that he could not answer, and thought of features he could not understand; questions of purpose and features of design as all young men are wont to reflect upon when finding themselves alone.

Turning a corner around the slope of a hill the first sage chanced upon an enormous tree. Without a doubt the biggest tree he had ever seen. He wondered how he did not see this tree at a distance and wondered what source of light could unearth such a burden to the sky? The first sage, tired from his wandering in the garden sat up against the great tree and rested his eyes. As the first sage nodded off, his last thought was that he would miss the garden that he was closing his eyes upon.

Unfortunate, the young sage would never open his eyes, falling into uninterruptible sleep. Dreaming his final dream:

The old cannot remember when or how it all began. Whispering young not knowing what passes as proper etiquette. The blades of grass bend to accommodate the throng. The treasured path to the old time monolith.

And the talk has been of the enemies that would destroy. Reports and rumor of enemy movement. Naive predilections towards believing the monolith safe. That no harm could come to this sacred relic.

And the signs are there. The six-legged footprints. Heavy prints burdened by their carried freight. Indelible prints – forever ingrained in the minds of everyone in attendance.

The story told and retold again. The treasured path long since overgrown. The stump that lies as remembrance of once having been. The remains of the mushroom monolith.

PART 3

Wandering thru the garden in a more expeditious manner than the first, the second sage is truly captivated with the garden. He is delighted with the rows upon rows of trees, hedges, and the carpet of flowers, red, violet, purple, yellow, intricately designed it would seem to create some semblance to the waves of a vast sea. The garden seemed to flow and ebb in an unending tide of bristlecone and ponderosa pine clad with glistening needle-covered branches swaying like foxtails in the wind. Indian paintbrush littered the landscape, apparently left behind by the creators of the garden as living reminders of the tools they used to paint with.

He thought that to try to distinguish the separate parts of the garden would be like trying to distinguish the waves of the sea from one another. If one could do so it would be fruitless for the waves would crash into each other and one must start over again. He then thought that one could wander thru the garden and easily get lost not being able to distinguish any identifiable markers to guide the way. Then he thought about it and realized that he was lost but was not concerned for this was certainly the most pleasant place to find oneself if one were to be lost.

Walking thru a forest of redwoods, lacking any underbrush to obscure their foundation and an abundance of cones as their crown, the sage noticed a door adroitly carved into the side of one of the leviathan trees. The second sage thought that this was a curious addition but that it could not be actually functional until he turned the doorknob and it easily opened. He walked in and found that he was being talked to, from what source he did not know.

When tomorrow becomes today
Where does yesterday mumble off to?
Reluctant to retire, too heavy to stay
Hastily he makes his leaves much rushed to say:

Twixt the day before and the day after
Who knows what days will be thought of,
with sighs ... delight ... or laughter?
Some days I glory to be and parity forsaken
But I am an ordinary day clearly mistaken
Rushed quietly along till tomorrow awaken

A girl with brown hair curls and a dark-haired boy
I held secure this day
It was today their eyes caressed and met
To me they owe this day, a day of debt

I am an ordinary day
Quietly along I tread
Perhaps you will remember
By chance not forgotten and dead

Remember me
Today a day of sighing
Tucked away in your hearts
This day undying

Upon closing the door, the sage quickly forgot what had just occurred. He noticed a door intricately carved into the side of a tree – “merely a design, it could not be actually functional,” the second sage thought aloud. Without trying the door he quickly walked onward, and onward he was to find that countless thousands of the trees in the grove had similar door-like designs.

Behind one of these unusual trees an even more peculiar sight danced his way into the path of the sage. A filthy and plump little man in the middle of a pirouette let out an exclamation of surprise when he bumped into the second sage.

“I did not think you would be back so soon.”

“I believe you have me confused with some other fellow,” said the sage.

“Maybe you have yourself confused with some other fellow.”

Not understanding what this strange man meant, the second sage tried to humor him. “Yes, that may be it. That must be it exactly.”

“You did not happen to open any of these doors?”

“I did not know they were actual functional doors.”

“It’s better that way;” said King. “They are beautiful, are they not?”

“Quite so,” said the sage. “Who would take the time to create all these doors?”

“You probably would not believe me if I told you who, but I can tell you that it took countless lifetimes. Are you ready yet to follow me?”

“To where,” asked the sage?

“The heart of the garden. Where you will find everyone else.”

The second sage followed King toward the interior of the garden. As the first sage, the second sage voiced his misgivings about entering the interior.

“What if I am to enter the interior and end up not liking it?”

“It is quite possible,” decried an exasperated King. “Just look at those two.”

King points towards an apple tree, and underneath, two young children jumping up and down trying to reach the fruit much too high overhead for their undeveloped reach.

“I don’t understand,” said the sage.

“Exactly! That is why you are still welcome in the garden.”

“I thank you for the invitation but I should be on my way. I do not think that this interior appeals to me.”

“Why not?”

“It is where I will find everyone else in the garden?”

“That is true,” sighed King.

“Then that is why,” said the sage.

The second sage left the company of King and quickly found he was staring up a monstrous tree and beneath its sizable boughs he found the first sage dead in a sleep of peaceful countenance. At the sight of the first sage the second sage began to froth at the mouth and went insane, dying in a wretched spasm.

PART 4

The third sage fully enamored by the genius in the design and the layout and the contents of this magnificent garden began to run along his path desperately trying to take in the vision of it all. Running and turning, turning and running, he ran into two pre-pubescent teens that turned to him with running tears.

The boy and girl turned back towards the lofty branches of an apple tree reaching for the fruit much too high overhead for either to get a hold of. The third sage in an attempt to help the two youths shook the tree and it yielded one sizable apple. The two youths both took turns eating of the apple. Glaring at one another and at the sage, the two youths quickly became ashamed and ran off. Perplexed, the sage glanced at the tree and noticed an inscription made on its body:

Where did all the laughter go?
Hearty cheers of children yore
Spirit who can stir the frowning foe
Have you traversed the exit door?

Raze the gloom with your company!
Stay with us and keep us warm
Creep upon so gingerly
Or swarm us with your graceful form

But I know the reason for laughter hence
He followed his brother of innocence

Looking up from the inscription, the third sage observed a little plump man huffing his way up the small hill towards him shouting obscenities.

“Poison! Poison! You poisonous snake! What are you doing here? You must leave. You are poison here!”

“What may I have done to incur your displeasure?”

“You are no longer welcome here. Leave now!”

Not wanting to upset the man any further, the third sage set off unhurried until the little man began to throw snails. Running away from the unusual man with an immeasurable amount of snails at his literal disposal, the third sage found that the garden grew dark especially from the direction he had come.

It appeared that the garden agreed with the eccentric little man, conferring upon the third sage an unwelcoming censure to his presence. Even so, the third sage took it in stride and thought that he preferred the garden in darkness. Seeing as going back was not an option, it being pitch black from the direction he had come, the third sage continued his journey forward, toward the more illuminated part of the garden. There he would find the great tree and his two companions lying at its base. The first sage seeming to sleep in peaceful repose and the second with a wretched sneer washed upon his face.

PART 5

The third sage sitting in contemplation thought of the people that come into the garden. “We all have our eyes and ears occupied. We are but children here trying to find our role in this garden.”

“That the block is uncarved the stonecutter is born. That the tree is strong the axe is made. The desire to do so will always be made evident in this garden. It is this desire that binds us to the garden. And yet I myself cannot go back. It is dark from whence I came.” The third sage in a fit of rage attempted to set fire to the garden starting with the great tree.

The fourth and oldest sage hearing the screams of the third sage, witnesses the great tree alight in a blazing inferno as his companions are engulfed by the flames. The tree topples over consuming his younger companions in the process.

The fourth sage does an about face and retraces his steps along his path back to the entrance of the garden. On exiting the garden, a crowd quickly surrounds him asking from him questions of enlightenment. “What did you see?” Who did you meet?” What should I do when it is my turn?” Above the roar of the crowd a booming voice, from which direction no one could determine is heard and asks of him, “how is it venerable sage – how is it that you were able to walk out of the garden? No one has ever returned from the garden.” The fourth sage quiet until this moment looks about him – looking for the body behind the voice and looking into the eyes of his admirers surrounding him exclaims: “I was able to escape because I hated that fucking garden.”

Danielle

I worked late last night at the rec as security. There was a new girl at work named Danielle. She was flirting with me all night long. I saw her one time before as I was talking to a friend a few days ago. I was talking to my friend as Danielle and I could not stop looking into each other's eyes. There seems to be chemistry. I think she is a seriously hot item. She is a gorgeous brunette, dance major, with the most amazing eyes.

She kept purring at me about how I was the security guard. I kept telling her that I was not a guard, just security. Then she started begging me to be her security guard, “I want a security guard … I want you to be mine.” I cannot believe how forward she was being. Is she just a flirtatious girl or am I having a genuine affect on her? After work as everyone was headed home she snuggled real close side-by-side seemingly interested in me.

My friend who knows her says she is available and that she is really feisty and that I should go for it. We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep my options open.

In other news … I got invited to play on a speed soccer intramural team. I asked if it was a physical sport, hoping that I could use my muscles to our team’s advantage … a hired thug if you will. The reply, “When has any intramural sport been physical … I know you always try to make it that way.”

Last spring there was an intramural floor hockey league. The team I got invited to play for was losing every game usually by scores like 15-2, 10-0, and 12-1. I was invited to play for the last game of the regular season. I did not know what I was doing out there but I learned quickly. We lost 6-3, a more respectable score.

Once understanding the rules and what I could get away with, we entered the tournament as the second to last seeding playing the same team that beat us in the previous game. I took over the game. I was an animal creating chaos and carnage. Sure, I may be tagged for penalties but there was method to my madness. The opposing team was scared of me. We won 3-2 against the number two seed.

We lost the next game 2-1, our opponents scoring the winning goal with a few seconds left in regulation as I thought we were headed for overtime. After the game the officials told our team captain that they had never seen any player so feared. I am a hired thug I tell you. We will see what I can get away with in speed soccer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Siddhartha

Emily has reminded me of a book I read a long time ago. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. And in domino like fashion it also reminds me of a short story I have written. It is a story with the ideas of enlightenment and reincarnation in mind. I will post it tomorrow morning.

I know all of you out there are salivating. Be patient while I stitch the seams together for your reading pleasure.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

A good start

Intramural Flag Football season has begun, playing our team’s first game this morning. My team won 76-0. As a sign of mercy we played a man down for the second half and yet one side of the football field, 50 yards of football pasturage, remained untouched. It was a sickening match as the opposing team could not muster a drive into our territory for the entire game.

As a great short and long snapper I played center the entire game deciding on whether to block for the quarterback or bust off the line of scrimmage for a short toss where I can turn the short toss into long runs with my fleet of foot.

My greatest play was on 4th down and goal, backed up by penalties to the 25 yard line running for the end zone on a timing pattern, catching up to the ball that was laid out in front of me just in time, smacking into an opponent who went sprawling as I looked on menacingly, standing over him in triumph as I looked down to see that I had crossed the end zone.

Last year I could not commit to the football schedule because I was off gallivanting all over Arizona on outdoor type trips practically every weekend. The team I would have played for ended up winning the university championship and went on to win the regional championship going on to the national tournament.

Two years ago my team ended up losing to the eventual champion, the school’s rugby team, defeating us in an intense triple overtime.

This year I would say we are off to a good start.