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Some items of interest today, in case you have nothing else to read.

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ITEM: Filipino Table Etiquette Punished at Local School

What’s so sad is that this poor kid was being punished for nothing at all. Reminds me of a song they played us in my elementary school, an “alternative learning institution.” We had no grades, no classrooms, set our own schedules… It was awesome. They played us a song one day, probably when I was in 4th or 5th grade, called “Flowers are Red” by Harry Chapin (lyrics, iTunes). It was a protest song against conformity and cruelty, and it has stuck with me since that day. That it was also a brilliant little bit of propaganda against all the other schools in our district didn’t hit me until much, much later on.

Amongst the annoying Google search results linking to those annoying “FIND YOUR CLASSMATES AND SAVE MONEY ON YOUR MORTGAGE!!!!!!!” sites, I discovered that Open Living School is still around. I thought it had been closed long ago! It sounds a bit different now, but the basic ideas are the same. The page at Jeffco is here. Read the history: I attended the school in Edgewater and when it moved to Tanglewood in 1978.

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ITEM: Air Passengers Storm First-Class in Mutiny

I tell you, who hasn’twanted to do this kind of thing at one time or another? That 14 of the people were arrested when the flight landed shows a complete abuse of power by the crew. Ha ha ha! I know, that sounds ridiculous, but really, I know how testy and obnoxious flight attendants can get when passengers do any sort of free thinking.

I cheer these people. Imagine if the passengers on United 93 had been asked to please kindly remain in their seats while they get reamed to death.

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ITEM: Mickey D’s Makeover

Don’t forget to also watch the so-called slide show. This kind of thing is so long over-due. Really, it is. When I sit there eating a double cheese burger without mustard, feeling the grease ooze from the pores on my face nearly instantaneously, I would much rather be sitting in a cozy, loungy nook than on a fiberglass slab. I wish Ronald and the rest the best of luck on this makeover. We all know how well it worked for Denny’s.

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ITEM: The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density

I suppose any successful business’ pattern of growth would look similar, but because it’s Wal-Mart, I’ll enjoy calling it “nasty, viral, disgusting, and horrifying!” The video is part of some kind of paper, but I did not read it. Yet. Maybe after I finish my 900-page collection of Ray Bradbury short stories. Hmm. The viral pattern here is, in fact, reminiscent of one of his stories. Fahrenheit 468: the temperature at which a Wal-Mart catches fire.

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ITEM: Would Bush Rather Be Fishing?

I have been light on the Bush-hating recently. To be honest, it’s because I have been avoiding NPR news, which I normally listen to twice a day (that’d be on my ride into work, and on my ride outta work). Too much nastiness is going on, and it was getting me stressed. Bet hell, we’re all strong people here, sissy liberals with spines of jelly! We can take it! Read this little ol’ column and see if Bush ain’t still worth gritting your teeth at.

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THINGY: Lawsuit in the Sky with Diamonds

Late-breaking addition! An O! News exclusive! Did John beat Jobs at the vision thing? While Apple Computer won the lawsuit against them by Apple Corps (appeals not withstanding), perhaps this evidence demonstrates otherwise. If only there really were an Eyes Closed News channel. I’d watch that over E! or O! or WHATEVER!

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Thanks to Jimmy for some of these links!

Being worn out from the day, I fell asleep by 8:30pm, while screening a work-related DVD on my computer, and with my desk lamp on and bedroom door wide-open exposing my fully lit closing scene – Me in bed, cuddled with my blankets, still in my work clothes, exhausted. At one point, perhaps around 11ish, I woke up briefly and thought to myself, I should get up, turn things off, wash up and get undressed but instead I drifted right back to my dream…

Rooftops

… I was jumping from roofhouse tops to roofhouse tops (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon indeed) trying to find my way back home. I say trying because it was quite dark and I wasn’t quite used to the bird’s eye view yet so my path was unsure. Still, with no time to loose, I swiftly moved forward – with the belief that your destination unfolds itself when moving about rather than standing still. With loose debree crashing to the ground and dogs barking in the night, I finally made my way back to my room. Sensing that I might have an audience still, I immediately jumped into bed, not wanting anyone to notice just how hard I’ve tried in getting there. But at the same time, since I didn’t want people to NOT notice me, I deliberately left the lights on. As I waited and waited for someone to visit, I began getting frustrated at my dilemma. How do I let people know that I’m home without announcing it like the needy kid that I am.

Just then, I heard someone approach. I turned over. It was my mother… and as she has said many times before in my youth, she sternly but compassionately ordered, “Go to sleep. It’s late. I’m gonna turn off your lights and your computer for you.”

With that I woke up to see that indeed, my computer was still running, my lights still on, and it was now 1:30am. Half expecting my mother as well, I was dissappointed to realize that she was back home on the east coast and nowhere near to urge me to get proper rest.

And so I’m up now… wondering about my next move.

For life unfolds when you are moving about, not when standing still.

I have never seen any version of Love! Valour! Compassion!, either on the stage or on the screen. When fellow CCPT actor Colbert said the run of the version he’s in was extended, I thought I should go see it. I assure you that knowing he would be naked for part of the play had nothing to do with it. I also love seafood.

The set at The Attic Theatre was spare. The house was not quite half full. When the show began, it smacked immediately of “PLAY WRITING.” It had that cadence, that stage verbiage and shape that made it, well, sound play-y. None of these were bad beginnings, but for a night of theater in Los Angeles, you have to be prepared for the worst.

The show was going well. The characters were introduced with the sort of predictability one expects from a play, though the form of narration bleeding into action was interesting, promising. A bit into the first act, I was still uncertain what to think of the show, but was settling into it just fine.

The only person I’ve ever really truly loved in a romantic sense was Bryon Fear. I have loved others on a variety of levels, but Bryon was the kind of love you hear about, and the kind of love you think is impossible or bogus until you find it. Like all genuine, honest, reciprocal relationships, it was not perfect. One of the worst disagreements we ever had was over something so ridiculously misunderstood, it could only happen to two people who loved each other.

I had picked up Bryon from the Hollywood Hills, where he was working with a producer. I made a comment, hard to recall as I write this, but something regarding my having to pick him up. It made Bryon go quiet. He would not talk during the rest of the car ride to my apartment, where he was staying while in the States. I knew what I’d said had made him angry, but I honestly did not know why, and I did not have the courage to ask him outright.

When we got to my place, right after parking my green Honda, he walked to an art store that was many, many blocks away—which in L.A. is like walking from Miami to Poughkeepsie. He refused my offer to give him a ride. I waited in my apartment, confused and angry and sad.

When he returned from the store and the quiet became too much, we finally got into it. He told me what my comment had sounded like to him. I told him I had not meant it that way. We argued over the salient points of the misunderstanding, somehow ending up sitting in the floor of the bathroom.

The relief of the talking and the stupidity of the discord became too much. We both were crying. I can not say where his tears came from, but I know where mine came from. I was crying because I had hurt him and had inadvertently caused him pain. His pain was mine, and that was something that was kind of new to me, and that meant… something I balked at embracing.

About 30 minutes into Love! Valour! Compassion!—maybe more, maybe less—two characters, Perry and Arthur, who have been together for 14 years, get into an argument over Perry’s black, pessimistic explosion during dinner. Up until now, you wonder why these two are together, wonder how Arthur puts up with Perry’s bitter outlook. But they talk, and the writing, still with a theatrical conceit, belies honesty and reality.

Still on the bathroom floor but now past the most difficult stage of the argument, Bryon and I ended up in an awkward hug, crying into each other’s neck. He told me he loved me, and he was worried that I had not told him the same. I knew what I was feeling in the pit of my soul, but fear of it still kept me cautious. I had to tell him I did not know why I could not say it. I could not say it. I had to be sure, and could not say it yet.

Perry and Arthur, on stage, the structure of their relationship now more obvious to me, are winding down their tiff. “I love you, Arthur,” says Perry. “Don’t give up on me.” Me, clutching Bryon tight, my fingers digging into his clothes, my head filled with his sobs and his scent, can only say, “I don’t know. Don’t give up.” “On what?” Bryon asks. “On anything.” “Does that include you?”

“Yes.”

I loved Bryon, and I knew it. I knew it then. I could not say so. I was afraid of saying so if I did not believe it would be true forever.

The remaining 2½ acts of Love! Valour! Compassion! were mesmerizing, funny, and genuine. I could not help but see myself, my life, people I knew, the companionship I had and lost and long for again. This introspection made it difficult to talk to people during the two intermissions. (I went to the show by myself, yet ran into three people I’d met before.)

I thanked the actors genuinely after the show, and Colbert and I talked for a while outside in the chilly, dense air. He asked me what I think is the best way to meet someone, but I didn’t get to answer fully. I don’t know what the answer is, really. But I wanted to tell him love can happen any way, without warning or expectation. It can happen and you won’t know it until it’s already begun. Trite but true.

With Bryon, I eventually got over the fear of semantic expression. I told him I loved him, and it was true. The honesty of love was exhilarating.

I have not had that kind of love since, but I know I will someday. When I do, I hope I will have the guts to ignore the doubts that overthinking creates and be able to say “I love you” with elated heart. And I hope I never again have to say “don’t give up” because I will know he won’t need to.

Thanks to Robbyn for pointing this one out to me.

The old house where I used to live growing up is now the site of a haunted house. Well, okay, not exactly a haunted house, but more a haunted field. It’s called “Field of Corpses.” According to the intro at the website, Torrance White, the man who built the house in the 1880s, and his family “found something” during the harvest of 1801. They started disappearing. And then the question is asked: “Why has everyone who has since lived on the property suddenyl [sic] died?”

Well, I haven’t suddenyl died, and neither has my family! So I guess we have to allow them some creative leeway.

I always thought, as a kid, that we had the perfect house to do a haunted house, but the farthest I ever got was stringing up ghosts and bats and things, rigging them with fishing wire so they’d move every time the front door was opened. Now, while they have not gone and made the house itself a haunted house, at least my childhood home overlooks the terror of Torrence’s discovery.

As I grew up in the house, the vast fields around it gradually were torn up and turned into housing developments. You can see that in the satellite image. My dad had the idea, back when I was in high school, to try to save our house from this fate by turning it into a restaurant. People had always been curious about the house and would sometimes stop by and ask for tours (which we didn’t give them… it was our home!). A restaurant would be a good way to save the house and let people see it.

The running and eventual losing of the restaurant is a long story for another time, but the house has since been a place for spacial events (wedding receptions, parties, etc.), and the garage/barn my dad had built behind the house became the new home of a locally-famous pastry shop, Das Meyer. I used to go to the original Das Meyer in junior high, on French class field trips. That the now-old new Das Meyer barn is called the Das Meyer Fine Pastry Chalet gives me a case of the smirking titters.

My mom and sister and others swear that our house was haunted. As a small kid, I made up stories about it being haunted, but I never really saw anything like that. Apparently, the ghosts became more active after the house became a restaurant. My mom said lights used to turn on when no one was in the room. A couple of the waitresses refused to go into the storm cellar, where the wine was kept, because they said it was haunted. My sister and a boyfriend witnessed the sudden and violent opening of a closed door that, after our rec room was built, led to nowhere.

One night, when the house was abandoned and being readied for conversion to the restaurant, some friends and I went up to my old bedroom and gave a Ouija board the ol’ college try. Nothing interesting happened. No lights flickering or doors flying open or wine bottles being stored. Figures I never got to see anything like that.

Well, real hauntings aside, I can not tell you how hilarious this is, this new event at “my house,” and how… bizarre it is. There’s my old haunt (ha ha ha!), being seen by all! I guess my dad’s plan worked.

Random Matt Chun Memory of the Day
Category: One That Makes You Smile and Hurt at the Same Time.

In high school, not only was I a closeted, frail, and an almost-straight-A kinda kid, I was also a huge Mariah Carey fan and I was not afraid to show it. So when the coolest guy in our church youth group had asked me to be the MC at one of our regular revival nights, I was tickled with inspiration.

So much that I replied, “Oh and you know what, being the MC is perfect for me because first – M.C. can stand for Mr. Chun…

Hey, that’s right!” the coolest guy interrupts with a generous chuckle.

“… but it can also stand for Mariah Carey.”

In that moment of sharing my seemingly clever thought with the coolest guy, I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of – being. Being connected. Being meant to be. Being right. Being of purpose. Being the perfect fit. Being where I needed to be.

It’s amusing to see how a simple lame thought like that could easily make me feel that way but at the same time, it pains me a little and scares me a lot that I just can’t seem to feel it anymore.

How bizarre is it when someone you went to high school with ends up in prison for having sex with a minor? Pretty bizarre. Kevin was always kinda rowdy but a fun guy.

Man, what a weird fate.

So I wanted to add my own entry regarding John’s pack-rat post.

During my apartment overhaul, I have also come across many items stuffed back in closets for many years. Most movingly, I re-discovered my stash of items from my first ever—and so far only—true love. I have every letter, story, drawing, and note ever sent to me by Bryon Fear.

When we broke up (a long time ago now!), I had put all this stuff away where I could not see it. The breakup was mutually painful, and I needed to cut Bryon and all these mementos out of my life while I healed. What I did not do, even though a tiny part of me wanted to at the time, was throw the stuff away. I could not have done that. I never would have.

Items like these are more important to life than things like DVDs and a new sofa and lamps that look like they belong in a medical office. Memories are more important than other of life’s “stuff.”

Bryon and I are friends now and talk and visit and all those good things. I think we will always love each other, though our time to be together has passed away. Keeping the evidence of our mad love was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t care if it takes up valuable space or if I never read every one of the letters again, just having them there to see and hold and glance through is important to me now and forever.

So John, pack rat all that stuff! Tax forms? Toss ’em. Documents from work years ago? BURN ’em! But always keep the real stuff.