Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bad News, Bad Health, Good Movie, Fox

I recently learned that a college friend died this past fall. I just found out that it was cancer that took him. He was 33. I didn't know him super well, but I liked him a lot. The last time I saw him was at a mutual friend's wedding a few years ago. I had meant to e-mail him, and keep in touch a bit since then, but I didn't really. It isn't possible to do that with everyone... but still, I feel like I took his existance for granted.


I haven't been blogging much lately. I haven't been swimming much lately. I haven't been working much lately.

Something is wrong with my stomach. It started bothering me a lot shortly after I got back from Japan. I've had a bunch of tests, and I've been through a course of antibiotics (to get rid of H pylori, the main cause of ulcers). An endoscopy showed that I have inflammation in my stomach, and a hiatal hernia. I'm supposed to avoid eating and drinking certain things: Coffee, chocolate, alcohol, mint, high fat, citrus, tomatoes... Rather challenging to stick to these restrictions over the entire holiday season... especially since I didn't completely believe that I needed to avoid these things. Through some trial and error, I now believe... but it is still hard for someone who loves food as much as I do. Oh, and I've been having lower back pain a lot lately too. Lucky me!

Enough complaining!


I went to Slumdog Millionaire last night. It was intense. I liked it a lot! It is about a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" in India, and mixes the game show with flashbacks of his life growing up in the slums of Mumbai. There are some violent/hard to watch moments, but they are important to the plot--not much that you'd call gratuitous. Did I mention I liked it a lot?

On the way home, just as we were turning into our neighborhood, we saw a fox, running down the street ahead of us.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year, New President

Matt and are are going to the inauguration, even without tickets, just to be part of the biggest celebration of our lives.

Because I'm so excited to have the president I really want for the fist time ever, I thought I'd enter the essay contest to get a really good seat.

Here is my entry:
As a child, I learned that our democracy was the birthplace of remarkable progress. By the time I was born, Americans and American businesses had created innumerable inventions. From light bulbs, to microwaves, to airplanes, Americans were responsible for advances that improved lives around the world. Not only that, the American space program had achieved one of the most remarkable feats in history: putting an astronaut on the moon.

I also learned about slavery and abolition, segregation and the civil rights movement, and in my naivete, I thought that this marvelous country had already overcome the dismal parts of our history, that the horrors of slavery, Jim crow, and discrimination were all things of the distant past. Yet, as I grew older, the past seemed to come closer. It wasn't long before I learned that this history was too recent and the scars still showed in the form of discrimination and economic inequality. I have heard racist words come from many quarters, witnessed stereotyping that denigrated people of many colors, and heard the story of a classmate being harassed by police in his own yard--just because they refused to believe that a black youth belonged to that particular neighborhood. At the same time, the faces of power in this country remained mainly caucasian and male through my formative years.

Despite my pride in America, I found that there were still things I wanted to change.

Thanks to my pride in America, I had faith that things could change. Whatever else happened, this country was founded on the principle that we are all born as equals. As time passed, I could see signs of change: presidential cabinets were gradually becoming more diverse, more women and people of color were being elected to congress.

So here we are, a nation with a mottled history, of great achievement and great shame.

This is a moment of great achievement. It is this critical moment which decisively illustrates our movement beyond slavery and segregation toward realization of those shining ideals that make this country great.

Yet this piece of history is not the only reason that I want to attend this inauguration. Mr. Obama is more than a symbol of our growth as a nation. I believe that the job the president faces is harder now than it has been at any point in my lifetime. Fortunately, I also believe that we have the right person for the job.

I have faith that Mr. Obama's policies will be good for me and my small but growing landscaping business, and good for the people that I employ. More importantly, I believe that they will be good for the American people as a whole. I believe we are inaugurating a man of integrity, insight, and hope.

I know that no single person can right every wrong, no single event can wash away all our past sins, but each achievement, each piece of history is part of a wave of change. This event is the crest of one of the greatest waves in history.

One event may not change everything, but this event will change the world.