Sure, there are plenty of other fish in the sea...

But you're not anywhere near the sea. You're in the desert. Alone.

2012-06-17
artemistech
I went home this weekend for Father's Day, and it was fantastic. I took my father out for a round of golf, and that meant so much to the both of us. Last time we were golfing together was five years ago. I was recovering from a shoulder injury, and had to skip the last couple of holes because I aggravated it. We were with his friends, too, and they cut off their day of fun so that my father could take me home. I was so frustrated, and I'm sure he wasn't particularly thrilled either...

My father and I had a rough start. And by start, I mean my life up until halfway through college. He's built stocky and muscle-laden; I had always been shrimpy even after my growth spurt in high school. I never was able to do the things he did; I was too weak for heavy manual labor, too impatient/unlucky for hunting and fishing, too OCD to get anything done with woodworking. In high school, he made an effort when he was home, but at that point I was an angry teenage kid who really didn't know how to learn anything that wasn't immediately intuitive or written down step-by-step in a textbook.

But when I really sat down and thought about starting a family, I realized I wasn't anywhere close to where I wanted to be. My father's brothers and sister are extremely close, help each other out, and function great as a unit. They always worked with their father while he was alive, and support their mother as the family matriarch to this day. What example was I setting for my cousins, of which I'm the second oldest? Was this the type of family setting to introduce a girl I loved into? Was this the precedent I wanted to set for my children? No, it wasn't; I needed to grow up and act like a true member of my family. And that starts with my father.

In retrospect, my father tried to connect with me, but I was too hotheaded or easily frustrated to do the things he liked. I must have been 7 or so when he bought me a 1 wood, a 5 iron, a 7 iron, and a putter from Goodwill, took a hacksaw to the shafts, put new grips on the ends and said, "Here you go." He was, and still is, incredibly resourceful, another thing I overlooked often. Now, a decade and a half later, I finally resolved myself to learning how to golf, and do it well. I've spent countless hours at courses and driving ranges this spring, working on my consistency, aim, and form. I even spent 3 weeks with a back injury because I drove 250 balls in one night, refusing to leave until I fixed the slice in my drive.

This weekend was the first time we had golfed together and enjoyed ourselves in as long as I can remember. We even went bowling and played racquetball, two other sports he introduced me to as a child but I never really grasped until recently. The best part of it all was when he said, in a way I had never heard him before, "I really enjoyed spending time with you. Thanks for coming home and doing this." In that moment, I felt like I wasn't just his son, but a friend, a peer, someone he could be with to just have fun.

I step back, and I'm beginning to like what I see.

2012-06-15
artemistech
I had passed out in the recliner Thursday night. When I woke up around 1:30am, I checked my phone and found the following text message from JL: "I have a Dr appt ending at 5 tmrw, you want to grab dinner with me before laser tag?" I had to think about this one for a while before responding. I was leaving for home on Friday night and had to be up early the next morning for a tee time with my father, so I wasn't showing up for laser tag or other activities with the group. I wanted to stay firm and just blow her off, but at the same time, would that really accomplish anything? She made an attempt to reach out to me alone, and while it wasn't an explicit "How are you?" or "I miss you," it was a step in the right direction. After much deliberation, I decided that I would go, on the condition that she would wait until I had taken care of my tasks at work, I would maintain my relatively deadpan demeanor unless warranted, and we would split the check evenly.

Work dried up early, so I met her at 5:15 at her therapist's office. We decided to go to a greek cafe, which are strangely abundant in the Milwaukee suburbs. We were seated in a booth, and after we ordered, JL asked if I would sit next to her on her side of the booth. After putting up the argument that we wouldn't have a lot of room for our meals, I ended up obliging. She said that she likes talking next to people; I'm rather the opposite, as I like to make eye contact and lean in because it seems more focused. Then again, maybe that's her mechanism of not becoming attached; seemed to work for me, as well.

Again JL led the conversation, trying to be rather cute and giggly, though not as sickeningly so as last Sunday. She even went so far as to ask my about my parents, even my father's name. It was actually a good conversation, but it wasn't the same; I used to really try to make her laugh, to make her think, to engage her and make a connection. But right now, that onus falls on her. I already put more than my fair share of effort into this relationship, and I'm willing to put in much more, but not until she shows that she wants to build it and can commit to it.

2012-06-13
artemistech
As today was Wednesday, we hosted our second night of DDR in a row. When I came home around 7:30pm after lifting at the gym, JB said that he, JL, and another of our friends who has started coming to DDR nights, were outside in the nearby park tossing the football around. I kept up the curtness, only briefly catching her eyes every so often and only talking to her when explicitly spoken to. Playing DDR, she arranged herself next to me in our rotation, letting me pick the first four songs we did. After each one, she made sure to throw out a "Whoooo!" or a compliment; she would also put out her hands for a double high-five, and would not drop them until I touched BOTH of them in unison.

After DDR, JB took a shower, leaving JL and me alone. She suggested we play a game that only we really ever played together and used to enjoy. The entire time, she was trying so hard to be cute, making jokes and laughing when something silly happened. The most I managed was a weak smile and some sharp responses. Eventually, JB came out and played a different game with us; by the time we finished it was 11:30pm, and JB went into his room to talk with JS via voice chat. JL and I sat on the couch for a while, not really saying anything. She asked if she could charge her phone on my charger, seemingly assuming that she would be sticking around for a while yet. I told her I was leaving shortly to participate in midnight kickball at the gym, an activity that I had forgone the previous week to talk with her and ask her to visit my parents' place. She seemed a little surprised, even though she said that she had remembered I was going. Standing by the door, she asked if I'd be available on Sunday, presumably to get together with other people; I responded with a matter-of-fact "I don't know." We had another awkward hug at her car, with her yelling "Have fun!" and "Good luck!" at me as I walked to my car.

I don't know what I'll be doing Sunday, but at this point, I think I'd rather spent it with my family than waste the day being emotionally vacant when I can achieve the same result by just not being there.

2012-06-12
artemistech
Monday and today were nice, mainly because I didn't have to see JL. On Monday, I went weightlifting with DJ, something we're trying to do together two or three times each week. It's something I need to do more often and with more structure than I have previously, and doing it with someone who's stronger and more experienced than I am really forces me to push myself and keep up. Tuesday was the first of our two DDR days this week, and I've been making steady improvements in my ability to play songs closer and closer to the rest of the group. JB and the two other main guys in the group usually range between 8s and 10s, whereas I can pass a good number of 7s and some 8s. It's a vast improvement from my days of 5s and 6s, which admittedly was only a few months ago.

I've been tapping into my vindictive nature to keep me on this track; I want to change myself physically. I want to be better, stronger, faster than JL could ever imagine. I want to show her that no matter what trait she finds in some other guy, physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise, I can meet and exceed that. I want her to have no doubt in her mind that not being with me is the worst decision of her life. I want her to feel that sinking regret, to know that she fucked up, that I AM too good for her and that I DO deserve better. But I also want her to know that in spite of all of that, I still want to be with her, that I still love her. Because I know that with a little help, she can be a better person, a great person, a person I do deserve.

2012-06-10
artemistech
Well, it's working, sort of? I've seen JL 3 of the 4 days since I decided to cut her off. Gradually, she has become more aware of my change in demeanor, and appears to be reaching out to try and recover what she lost. Things came up on Sunday and my group of coworkers cancelled the laser tag event, so I was left to hang out with JL for longer than I had initially anticipated on this third day in a row. She brought her younger cousin, HB, over for a short while and we sat out on the porch and talked until her friend picked her up for a movie. After that, everyone decided that we should go on an adventure to Wal-Mart to see if we could find a version of Trivial Pursuit to play.

The car ride there, JB and JS sat in the front (they ARE dating after all, and it was JB's vehicle), leaving JL and me in the back. JL was sitting in the middle and constantly trying to strike up conversation with me; I gave relatively short, deadpan, or ambiguous answers. And yet she kept trying. At the store, I made a straight shot for the board game section, but after much looking and digging, we concluded that they didn't have the board game. During this time, JL wandered off, which a month ago I would have noticed and reacted upon immediately. Instead, I kept digging, and sure enough, five minutes later, she was back.

We eventually found an acceptable substitute, drove back home, and played a couple rounds of that. After we finished, I got up and went to the bathroom, came back, and flopped down on the couch; in the meantime, JL had said goodbye to JB and JS, and was standing between the couch and the door. I started talking with JB when he said, "I think JL's waiting for something," to which I looked over, said "Oh," and stood up. She asked if I would accompany her out to her car, and I replied with a stock "Sure." Once we got away from the house, she asked, rather pointedly, "Was I supposed to take some action from that?" At that point, there were a number of different things I could have said, ranging from "Yeah, unless you're happy losing me," to "No, I'm not expecting much of anything from you at this point," to "It doesn't really matter, as you've got at least 4 more weeks of this on the way," but in the end a short "No" was all I felt necessary. She looked at me, put her stuff in her car, and gave me a hug. I lazily put a single arm around her; she held on for probably 15 seconds, started nuzzling my shoulder, and finally let go after I showed no reaction. She slipped into her car, looking at me through the window. As I closed the door, I said "Have a good night," turned, and walked straight back to the house without looking back.

JB went to bed shortly after I got back in the house, but I stayed up and talked with JS until 3:30am or so. She has stated that while JB suspects something's up, she won't convey the messy details we discussed. As much as I'd like to say I don't care, JB is the only real constant in my relationship world of variables right now, and I'm not in a position where jeopardizing that consistency yields enough benefit to outweigh the potential losses. Maybe soon.

2012-06-09
artemistech
I'm beginning to wonder how extreme I want to go with this.  On one hand, I could just ignore her to a degree... But on the other end of the spectrum, I could turn everyone against her.  JL made plans with us again today, again bringing ML into the mix.  I was again standoffish, though I think I came off less confident today and just a little more irritable; I need to work on that.  I did compensate by bonding a little more with ML, as I found he likes Southern Comfort, one of the few liquors I try to keep on hand.  I poured him a drink and we talked for a bit; JL said the smell of the drink was "giving her a headache..." ML and I proceeded to joke around and mouth conversations while she wasn't looking. Seemed to annoy her, which I'll take as a point in my column. I need to take ML out for drinks at some point.

I think JL noticed that I hadn't given her a hug on Friday night, as she explicitly asked for one both when she came in and when she left. I want to let this sink in a bit before I escalate, so I gave her a sitting two-arm and a standing one-arm hug, both half-assed.  At some point, I think I'll just say "No," "Meh," or "What's the point?", but I don't think I'm there yet.

Back to the turning people against her, I've generally tried to keep my friends off of her back too much, as I tried to handle the situation myself. Right now, though, I really don't care, and I'm willing to let the cards fall as they may. My roommate JB's girlfriend, JS, is the ONLY nonrelated female friend JL has, and I've tried to keep her out of the mix so as not to taint her image of JL. Which has been hard, admittedly, as she's felt that something was wrong with me for the past four months or so. So, while JB and JL went off exploring, JS and I ended up talking about the current situation briefly. Being a good Christian girl and generally a standup person, I wasn't surprised that JS thought JL's approach to relationships was unfair to everyone involved. It remains to be seen how this affects their relationship, and whether or not she brings JB into the light on this issue, as he's been a little more than clueless up until now.

Got another event with all of them tomorrow too, but I have a tactical laser tag "team building" event with some of my coworkers at 6pm, so hopefully I come back late, amped up, confident, and giving as many fucks as God made on the seventh day.

2012-06-08
artemistech
A few days ago, I was talking with my close friend DJ. DJ met me just before things started going places with JL (the "her" in 2012-06-07). I had given him an update on my situation with JL: I had asked her to join me the weekend after Father's Day for a trip back home to meet my family and do some sightseeing and exploring. At the time, she seemed apprehensive about it, but I was going to ask again on June 7. Immediately, he hit me with the truth you can only get from an observer. "Stop making excuses for her. At the very least, even if she knew she was busy that weekend, she should have sounded excited. Did she?" "... I guess not..." "That's a problem."

Up to this point, I haven't seriously considered a lot of my friends' advice when it came to me and JL, but that was mostly because it was almost always, "Leave her. She doesn't deserve a guy like you, and you don't deserve to be put through this." But after I talked with her on the night of June 7 and we agreed not to go through with the trip to my home, I resolved to follow DJ's suggestion: "Cut her off."

"You're always there for her, always going above and beyond, giving it all and somehow she stills takes more. You need to make her realize that your willingness to do those things stems from your love for her, and that your love isn't free. Don't contact her for a month, and see if she reaches out to you. And not with an 'I need...' or a 'Could you...', but with a 'How have you been?' or an 'I miss you.' At the best, she'll realize what she's missing out on; at the worst, you won't be wasting energy on her."

Now, our friends are fairly intertwined, and we get together at least once a week, so completely cutting her off isn't really an option without tipping off everyone else that something's up. Instead, I decided to make a concerted effort to pay her no special attention, even less than usual new guests. I was expecting to try this out on Saturday or Sunday, but apparently JL had texted my roommate, JB, to hang out tonight. Normally, I would've jumped at the opportunity, and convinced JB to go over as soon as possible to maximize my time with her. But thanks to my surly "fuck it" attitude over the last two days, I told JB, "I'm going to the driving range. We're going to hit some balls, and then go and grab some food. SHE CAN FUCKING WAIT." And that's what we did.

When we showed up, she was wearing short jean shorts and a tied-back T-shirt, exposing everything below her rib line. Though difficult to not steal glances, I did my best to be nonchalant and not focus on her. At minigolf, she stood on the obstacles and kissed her sort-of-ex, ML, seemingly daring me to watch. After not paying any measurable attention to her, I noticed that she found excuses to pat my head or touch my shoulder as I drove. Getting back to her place, I stayed outside and talked with her mother while she played games with the guys. By the time I came in, they were halfway through their last game, so I didn't join. I noticed her looking at me in my periforal vision on a few occasions. When we finally left, I said goodbye to ML and the other guy LG, and made a concerted effort to walk out the door before JL had a chance to get up and give me a hug. It's one less thing, one less interaction, to concede to her during this month. Not sure if I like it yet, but one thing's for sure: it's going to make things interesting.

2012-06-07
artemistech
Not really sure where this is going to go, but I've decided I need to do something. This was actually her suggestion, of all things, but it's the only thing I've got right now, so here goes.

This is the second time she's told me, "Don't wait for me." And, as before, I ask myself, "What choice do I have?" She's everything I've wanted in a girl, in someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. You hear stories about haggered old men, sitting by themselves drinking at a bar that's long since passed its prime, mumbling to themselves or anyone within earshot about some dream girl they gave up on years ago. I don't want that, and unless something drastically changes about my goals or her demeanor, it's not like I'm going anywhere fast without her.

I don't know, maybe this is some form of mild shock I'm feeling, where I feel sort of dazed and not really sure where I should go or what I should do. It's almost like those survival books they made you read in middle school; you're flying high in a two-seat plane, then before you know it you're in the middle of god-knows-where surrounded by the smoldering wreckage of what you initially thought was a vessel that was meant to take you places. What are you supposed to do again? Find shelter, secure basic needs? I seem to remember a nagging reminder: "Don't wander too far away from the wreckage, or they'll never find you." I suppose that makes sense, but it's really a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation. I mean, you're banking on the fact that someone, anyone, will come looking for you, or even notice you're missing. So you could move on, trekking through the emotional wilderness alone with no idea where you're going, but... I'm going in circles here.

My reluctance in writing this out had stemmed from my concern of how the feelings would transition into words. For the past months, years even, my emotions and internal dialogue regarding my situation have shifted dramatically within the span of weeks, days, hours, and minutes. One moment, I would be talking myself through hypothetical happy conversations with her, or reliving wonderful memories together, and the next it would fade into doubt or jealousy or aggression. I don't want to hurt her, and I want to be happy together, but there are times when I wish she'd feel, or at least comprehend, the pain I had endured for the sake of the possibility of "us." The lack of reciprocity at times was frustrating. I understand that she has other options (it's a "buyer's market" after all), but would it hurt to entertain the possibility of a healthy, stable relationship? Everyone else seems to get a shot at her, multiple shots even, but "you know the rules are different for you, right?" Yes, I know I'm looking for more than most of the other guys, but honestly, FUCK the rules. I will take those rules and beat them so fucking backwards you'll think they were written in Hebrew (language reference: Hebrew is a right-to-left script).

And there it is, the pent up frustration. I feel the urge to raise my voice, to get indignant, to spew it all out in front of her and rub her face in it. Apply the backhand of truth directly to her forehead and knock some sense into her. But when I look into her eyes, when I stand next to her, I can't bring myself to do it. I can't get over the fact that I'm together with her, that we're conversing, connecting as easily as we do. It's a feeling I've felt with only one other person before in my life, and I don't know how else to describe it besides love.

I think that's where I'll leave off for today. I'm hoping to do this regularly (like that's worked well in the past), but due to the fact that everytime someone asks me, "What's wrong?" and I respond, "Long story," I feel I might have enough content to actually make this work for awhile. We'll see, won't we?

Reboot
artemistech
Haven't used this in awhile, but given current events, I've called upon it once again. Note that every post prior to this is, well, old. Read at your own risk.

Shippai!
artemistech
So yeah, I've been swamped ever since Christmas, which has sucked pretty bad. I wanted to make this post back in March, but we didn't get the content off the camcorder, formatted, and posted to YouTube until just now. So, without further ado, I present... me making an ass of myself in a Japanese skit! Yaaay!



URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxEvtwqgt-A

(If you don't remember what I look like, I'm the guy in the black polo shirt and blue jeans who's generally loud and well, making an ass of himself.)

This skit was the final group project for our Japanese II class, and we did pretty good. If you follow the URL above or search YouTube for "kojimanokurasu", you'll find the other four skits in our class. I also don't know how much you guys will be able to pick out, but I can post the translated script of our skit if you'd like.

I'm finishing up my last week of actual class this week, and next week is all exams, so look for more posts after that. Hope you enjoy.

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