Okay, now it makes sense.


One of the movie endings that has always completely irked me is the ending of Cast Away, after Tom Hanks character Chuck Noland is finally found at sea and returned home. He meets up with Kelly Frears, Helen Hunt's character, and there's an awkward moment. He is the love of her life, but, well, life is complicated. She wants to go to him, but doesn't, she can't. She walks away, he walks away.

I've always railed at that part of the story. If he is the love of her life, she would GO TO HIM. She would. How could she not? The love of her life! The one who understands everything, the one who listens, the one she wanted to grow old with, the one she told all her secrets to, who held her during those moments of pain, who waited for him, searched for him, couldn't speak when he finally returned - in the real world OF COURSE she would choose him.

In the movie, she doesn't, and it's always pissed me off.

You know, life sometimes throws you a curve ball. You're out looking for one thing, you find another, and then, THEN, you finally understand. Those moments of understanding suck. Sometimes you don't get to follow your heart. Sometimes the life you have is just complicated enough that, you know what? You don't get to be with that one person who made you whole.

You just don't.

And that ending suddenly makes a lot more sense.

My NYE fortune


I've been working intensely on my project, with the intent of releasing it to the world before I go to bed on Sunday night, and that's releasing it in whatever state it's in at that moment. No, THAT'S not going to be a scary moment.

While working on this project, I've been stalled by worry, just before I've pushed through the moment and continued. I can only hope the end might be somewhat worth it. Fate seems to be willing to give me a slight nod of encouragement:

You will be travelling and coming into a fortune.

I interpret the traveling to be my going to various conferences to demo my product. The fortune, well, that's success coming my way.

If it's about the journey...


I talked to Mom today. We chatted about various topics, and eventually came around to the topic of my project that I've been pouring so much time, effort, money and life into. After I gave her a status update, she told me how proud she was of me, that I found something I was so passionate about, that I was focused, and smart and going to succeed with this project. It's a great idea, solves the needs of many, and it was going to work well. But even if it doesn't work out, she's still proud of me, because it's about the journey.

After she finished speaking, and heard nothing but silence on the other end, she knew something was up. She waited for me to speak, which took me a longer time than she probably expected.

Kris had made the same comment, that the outcome doesn't matter, it's the journey.

It's the second time I heard that it's not the end, it's the journey that matters, and I have to say no. No fucking way. No god damned fucking way is this journey worth it. I can't sleep at night, worrying that I won't be able to raise the money soon enough to buy that land. My stomach clenches into knots when I tell people what I'm trying to do, and how quickly I need to do it, and what will happen if I fail. My head hurts most of the time. I can't run more than two miles given how out of shape I am. I've left bills unpaid, not because I don't have the money, but rather because I didn't think to send payment because the loss of that 30 minutes means one fewer bug, one fewer feature will be ready. I regularly curl up into a crying ball of fear of failing on this which means so much to me, before I realize that the fear isn't helping, that courage is moving through that fear, and I sit back down and start working again. I haven't spent much time with friends, and the time I do is peripherally when I'm in the same room as they are: they're playing games, I'm in the corner programming. The neighbors hate me because my yard looks like crap, I haven't had a chance to clean it up since harvest. My business clients are wondering where the hell I am half the time.

And all I can think about is how do I represent a multidimensional array with internal linked lists in a flat file with defaults so that I can reread it and generate it into another format. How do I add this feature or that feature or save this data in the database, and extract it again, and what the fuck is that bug? Shit.

I don't want this journey. I don't want to be sleeping fewer than 6 hours a night. I don't want my stomach in knots because I may fail. This is not the way I want to lose weight. I want to skip to the end. I willingly sacrificed my twenties to hard work, I should be sitting pretty. I should be coasting, happy with my career choices, two kids, working if I want to and, eh, whatever, if I don't.

So, no, it's not about the journey. This journey sucks. The only good part of this journey is that it's over one way or the other in 6 months. Statistically, that's only 0.5% of my life, but I feel like the stress of those six months are subtracting more than six months at the end. I've probably aged more in the last two years than I had in the previous 6.

Not worth it.

No, way not worth it.

So why not do it?

Because the alternative, the alternative of not trying, that's even worse.

Playing the hand I've been dealt.



These last few days haven't exactly been the best of days. I can name at least a hundred things I would have rather done than yesterday morning's adventure, and that's without trying too hard, and possibly without duplicates.

Cancer is an overloaded word. Given its place in our collective psyche, it's an ugly word, too. To our youth and health obsessed culture at large, the word means illness, badness, age and death to some degree. It also comes with some sort of judgement: lung cancer - you must have smoked; colon cancer - you must have eaten the wrong foods; prostate cancer - you must not have masterbated enough; skin cancer - you must have been outside without sunscreen on. There's an inherent implication that the cancer is the fault of its owner: if only they had done X, they wouldn't have cancer.

What a bunch of bullshit.

Step back and unload the word. Cancer is a group of cells which decided not to die. Nearly all cells in the body are specialized to do a small number of tasks, live for a while doing those tasks, then die. Sometimes, changes happen in those cells which enable the cells to continue living. During that extended lifetime, these not-dying-yet cells steal resources from the body to continue to live and multiply , often growing into a large mass or otherwise changing just enough to disrupt the rest of the cells around it.

That's it.

Take away all the fear, all the guilt, all the judgements, all the tragedy associated with the word cancer, and you have a bunch of rogue cells that aren't dying. Catch them early, and you have a good chance of getting rid of those rogue cells and continuing on with living.

It's that "continue on with living" part that intrigues me.

What part of having cancer means "stop living?" With all the fear associated with the word cancer, with that god damned overloaded term, everything stops until it's dealt with. Lives are put in order because you don't know what's going to happen next, and deal with the rogue cells. Find them, eliminate them without doing too much harm, and THEN start living again.

As if always wondering if it'll come back, if being ever vigilant, if being fearful for the rest of your days is living.

All of live is uncertain. Having a bunch of rogue cells doing their own thing doesn't mean a death sentence for the body, but it can be devastating for the mind. Always wondering... always checking... always obssessing... always dominating conversations because that's all you think about.

What a crappy way to live.

I choose not to live that way.

So, I'm going to play the cards dealt to me. I can't say I'm now imprevious to random outbursts of tears. I also can't say that I don't just want to have someone else take care of me instead of "soldiering on."

What I can say is that there are smiles to make, joys to experience, plants to plants, dogs to walk, sites to build, bills to pay, work to be done and a boy to snuggle. I can stop briefly, perhaps to cry, but after that, I'll play the next card.


Over before it began


You know, I've had my share of injuries over the last decade and a half of playing ultimate. I've rolled my ankles more times than I can count (and enough times that I don't donate my crutches, even months after I've healed). I've had discs thrown at my face. I've been crushed by male players, and broken my ribs under some. I've had my knees crushed, my hands kicked, my feet stomped on, my shoulder broken, my back seize.

This one, however takes the cake.

Early in this season (you recall, the season I "took off" by becoming a practice player so that I could concentrate on my confidence, my skills, my fitness and my health), I started having problems with my left achilles heel. I didn't think much of it, to be honest, having had pains with one or the other achilles tendon off and on for the last few years.

Lisa purchased an ankle stretching aid for me four or so years ago. It was one that Ben thought was dumb, given that it was only a piece of nominally unneeded, shaped plastic, he thought. "Just use the wall to stretch your achilles!" he'd say, but I loved it. I used it regularly that season, and ended the season with some other bizarre injury.

You know, I think it's to the point that people I've known for years will meet me on the sidelines and ask, "So, what is it this time?" with the understatement of, "why didn't you retire when it was still fun?" I can't say I'd think differently for anyone else.

So, this season, I've been struggling with my achilles. I figured the problem was with my shoes. When I originally purchased the style of cleats I wear now, the heel cup was so high that it pressed against my achilles tendon and caused some horrible pain. I figured out that issue fairly quickly, and cut a V into my cleats, removing the achilles hot spot. I do that with all of my cleats now, so I knew that wasn't my current problem.

After a few practices having the pain in my achilles, I started putting topical analgesic on my achilles, and kept playing. Clear case of "ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away." I mean, haven't all the other problems eventually gone away? Ribs heal, bruises heal, ankles heal, it all heals, just give it time, why not this one, too?

I gave up last week, and decided to have it looked at. I described the problem to my doctor. A few pushes here, a few prods there, and I was diagnosed with a crush injury to the ligaments and tendons around my achilles. "So the decision to continue playing on it was probably bad, eh?" I asked. "You could say that."

Since the problem is recurring, over many years actually, the doctor suggested I consider different shoes (since the thought of stopping playing ultimate wasn't even suggested, even by the doc). Originally, he told me to lay off running for three or so days, and start again after that. That was last week. When I couldn't walk at all the morning after this Tuesday's track workout, he told me that all running was out.

So, here's my recovery process, what I'm supposed to do to heal my achilles, given that ligament healing takes longer than muscle healing and this is going to take a while:

1. Stop running. Stop sprinting. Stop jumping. Stop all ankle impact exercises.

2. Keep the cool looking kinesio tape on as long as I can (wondering what kinesio taping is all about?), probably three days.

3. Heat my achilles for 30 minutes every 2 hours. That's a lot of heating.

4. Walk. Swim. Exercise in ways that not only don't hurt, but also don't aggravate my achilles.

5. Lots of vitamin C.

6. Wear sandals.

7. And stretch, as long as it doesn't hurt and doesn't aggravate the injury. Any discomfort at all and I'm supposed to stop.

That, and in 3-4 weeks, and I can try running again.

Three to four weeks.

THREE to FOUR weeks.

That's 21 to 28 days from now.

No running.

No, this isn't going to be hard, why do you ask?

I've been trying these last few months to go with the flow of life. Instead of forcing things to be the way I want them to be, I've been trying to accept things for what they are, to make things as good as I can given the way things are outside my control.

For the record, I need to say I've been trying this without much success. This injury is an example of how I just couldn't accept that I was done for the season, this time in June. I didn't want to believe it, I refused to accept reality, and managed to make my injury even worse.

And now I have to accept it, because I can't walk from my bed to my desk in the morning to get to work. I struggle to the bathroom in the middle of the night, knowing that any step in going to wake me up fully with a rocket of pain up my leg. I need a long time to get going after sitting for any time greater than fifteen minutes, as my ankle stiffens up so quickly.

Sandals. Like my feet aren't already cold enough.

Learning to be bold


Kyle and Emily often take pictures of themselves with entertaining expressions. The pictures of their being goofy crack me up. I love them.

Probably helps that they're both beautiful people.

I've been wishing for the courage to not only taking photos of myself with goofy expressions, but also post them. Funny how posting artistic photos is easy, but entertaining photos isn't. I guess some traits run in the family.

I'm going to try to be more bold as part of my new year's resolution to live deliberately. One of 26 resolutions, I forget which number this one is.



Working alone is going to take some adjusting. Some readjusting is more like it. I haven't worked by myself, telecommuting, on a regular basis for over five years now, no, six years. Telecommuting, sure, here and there, consulting, yes. But I've had Mike and Doyle to work with for the last three years, and VA before that. It's been many years, and many friends ago, since then. I feel older, wiser, and, oddly enough, less interested in embracing the singular lifestyle than I used to be.

Never one to consider myself a social person, I've tended away from the big groups and large parties. Yet, if these past few years have shown me anything, it's the amazing group of people who are in my life, the friends I've made and, holy crap, the friends I've managed to keep. Guy once told me how he selected his friends: they're the people who make him a better person, make him happy. If I look around at all the people in my life, the friends I have around me now, I have to say, I'm doing pretty well, because these are incredible around me, every one of them making me a better person.

Not really where I intended to go with this. I was going to spend 20 minutes complaining about how, now that I don't work with Doyle, I have no exposure to any good music stations and have no idea where to start looking. I just listened to Doyle's music at work, bought the 5% I liked and brought it home to Kris, who then thought I was a music maven with all my song goodies. Now, I'm music-less and have no idea where to start to look for the good stuff...

Instead, I'll just wallow in the goodness of the amazing people around me, and fall asleep smiling.

Biggest problem with growing old


The biggest problem with growing old is having to deal with loss.

Loss doesn't mean just the obvious of the death of friends and family that most people think of when they think of growing old: most people think of the elderly when they think of "growing old." Loss happens much sooner than those twilight years.

Growing old means you have to accept you can't perform athletically where you used to be able to perform. You're that half step slower, the split second off. You have to become crafty, and wiley to compensate for that loss. That is, if the small nagging injuries don't build up to something much worse in the mean while.

You have to deal with the loss of knowledge. All those equations and facts and formulas and processes you learned in school, the techniques and stories and details that you don't use everyday or at least every week on the job or in your passions, they disappear, to be forgotten. You look at your child's homework, recalling when you learned the same things, and think, "I used to know this." You realize you have forgotten more than you currently know, more than you realize.

Loss means the loss of people around you. Not only the loss of death, for that is the biggest of all losses, but rather, the smaller losses of distance when friends move away, or change. Or the losses that occur when a friend moves on to a new phase of life with weddings and children and promotions. The loss can result from a joyous event, but it remains no less a loss.

You have to deal with the loss of childhood. No longer can you just let someone else just take of you. You've made this life you call your own, and you have to deal with the consequences. Each of your actions has consequences, a fact most people try to forget. Every time you have to be an adult and face your life, you are recognizing the loss of those carefree days when someone else provided food, and shelter, and as much love as they were capable of giving. Many people never acknowledge this loss.

And, you have to deal with the loss of your dreams. At some point, you have to wake up from the fog of not thinking, and realize that you haven't achieved your dreams, that this isn't the way you expected life to turn out, that this isn't what you signed up for when you were a kid, hoping, and dreaming and plotting.

And at that moment you have a choice. You can change. You can fight for what you believe in. You can learn to say no. You can learn to say yes. You can become mentally stronger. You can stop worrying about the little details, the pieces of life that others say are important, and focus on the parts you believe are important.

Or, you can choose to accept the loss of your life. If you make this choice, you've already died.

Drizzle on the seat


Last month, some time, maybe the previous month, Kris and I went to the movies with Heather and a bunch of other communal dinner people. I don't recall what we saw, maybe Kris or Heather will remind me. What I do remember, however, is going into the bathroom, into a stall and seeing piss on the seat.

This happens a lot for some reason. Women aren't willing to put a seat paper/cover on the seat, so they hover over the toilet and pee all over it. I find it annoying.

Sometimes, however, the liquid isn't from the previous stall occupant, but rather an over-ambitious flushing mechanism that sprays water up, turning the toliet into a poorman's fountain.

This particular trip to the movie's restroom reminded me of a my first trip to the restrooms at the Metreon. I went with Nancy Fenner to see a movie, one that was playing in a limited engagement or on IMAX or something similar.

As with any event that takes longer than 10 minutes, I needed to go to the restroom.

And, as with any event in a new popular venue, there was a line for the women's restroom.

After waiting in line, bladder near bursting because, of course, I waited until the last minute to even seek out a restroom (well before I wised up), I entered the next available stall, and was quickly annoyed: the previous woman had peed all over the seat. Grrrrr, I thought, wiping off the seat before putting a cover on it and doing my business.

As I was finishing up, and flushing the toliet, I noticed the mini toilet fountain from the super-sonic flushing mechanism, and watched as the seat was sprinkled with fresh toilet water. Ah, ha, what I wiped up earlier was not from the bladder of the previous woman. Well, that was good to know, and I left the stall.

As I left, another woman rushed into the stall. She opened the door, looked at the seat, and glared at me with such an intensity I should immediately melt to the floor in shame for peeing on the seat. Having just experienced my own toilet fountain revelation, I didn't say anything to the woman at the time. In retrospect, I wish I had.

To this day, I wish I had been standing outside the stall when she opened the door back up, and asked her, "Do you really think I'd piss on the seat and leave it for the next person?"

That, and glare right back at her. Maybe with one eyebrow raised.

Yeah, so why the random post? I had a note on one of my index cards to blog about that incident. At the same movie outing, I heard some not-good-looking guy make the comment, "Man, why are there so many ugly people here?" The irony was somewhat humourous to me at the time. Enough to write a note on that card to blog about it, even if the actually writing did take me six weeks to do.

Calls like today's


Jessica called today.

It's spread. It's worse, and she's due for more surgeries. More pain, more healing, more, more more.

She sounded almost cheerful over the phone. She's been given a crappy hand in life, looked at death in ways women less than 90 should never have to, been down this road three times before, and sounded almost cheerful. Strong for the rest of us, so that we can be strong for her later.

A tennis ball sized cyst on one ovary and precancerous, turning cancerous, cells in her uterus. Time to have it all removed to be done with it. The risks of the last cure. When does the cure become worse the disease?

The problem with a too full life is that it can't accomodate another event. Not without removing a previously planned event, anyway. I'm glad I've started getting rid of the clutter, removing things I don't need in my life. At this point, statistically, my life is approaching half over. Statistically. I like to believe I have until 121 before I croak, but sometimes I wonder.

Usually after calls like today's.