Gray Flannel Dwarf


“…yi, er, san, si, wu,

…yi, er, san, si, wu, liu, qi, ba, jiu, shi!

I am gonna learn this goddamn language if it kills me. It’d be a goddamn shame and a goddamn waste of an opportunity not to.

I started off in a crazy way, early on, learned a fair bit. And then I forgot most of it. Not this time.


cswiii @ 8:42 pm


“How does anyone connect with

“How does anyone connect with anyone? The woman I was with recently is great but I see that I upset her balance. I have only good intentions but I feel intrusive and strange. I want to be with her but I think my presence stresses her out. It hurts to know I have this effect.” — Henry Rollins

Preaching the gospel, Henry.

Had another debate with my roommate. We have never yet had a fight, although this was the closest we’ve come. It was still far from one, however, don’t get me wrong. We were just coming from things at completely different perspectives. I was trying to figure out why thing were happening in my life, and she thought I was making excuses for things. Maybe she’s right.

I keep finding myself surrounded with negative, cynical, grey people, and it affects me. Now, there is no fate. We determine our own destiny. I posted a Rollins quote about this concept before; he said this in the pages I read tonight, and my roommate said it, too. She says that I must be only looking for the negative sides of people, and I’ve heard that before. It’s probably all very true.

But how come, when I had a helluva lot more problems, and was a lot more cynical, I still managed to find supportive, positive-thinking, interesting people? This is what I cannot figure out.

In other news… had an e-mail discussion with this cool cat, Jin Wicked. Well, it was more of a one-sided thing, but she wrote back, and I appreciated it, and understand that her current situation doesn’t warrant a lot of time for chatter. Please visit her site at the URL above. She’s a really talented individual.

Time to go.

Tags: — cswiii @ 10:39 pm


Canoeing the Shennandoah yesterday was

Canoeing the Shennandoah yesterday was pretty good. I’d been down that stretch of the river several times in my youth, and a few times when I worked at the camp, but it never loses its thrill.

Party yesterday was great, too. Met a bunch of cool new people, chattered, had good food and wine (and rum and coke, pina colada, etc., etc.) Reintroduced to two prior, one-time accquaintances who I found out speak Mandarin. This is a good thing. We’ll have to have them over for dinner.

Smile, You’re Traveling is turning out to be a great read. Rollins might piss some people off, turn others off, lead others to assume he’s just some washed-up middle aged punk rocker. Hardly the case.

Rollins inspiration for the day. Used without permission.

“…It’s amazing. I want a moment to myself, so I go to fucking Madagascar. Here I can open up my gills and breathe. Places like this is where I belong. Alone in a remote corner of the world. This suits me. I like staying out on the road for as long as possible. I come home and it’s always a letdown. I don’t want to hear about people’s little trials and tribulations about their car fucking up or their bullshit job getting to them. What did they expect? How can you complain that you’re bored unsatisfied when you surround yourself with mediocrity and a grind that slowly drains you of your will to live? You can have it any way you want or have a hell of an interesting time en route if you have the guts to go for it. Or you can let events run your life and determine how it will go. The concept of fate is hilarious to me. “It was fate.” Please. That’s just giving up when you can’t figure out how to make the VCR record something while you’re away… “

Tags: , — cswiii @ 10:04 am


* John Lee Hooker died

* John Lee Hooker died today. Crushing. I read someone’s words elsewhere: “Damn, this is not a good year for my heroes. First Gregory Corso, John Lee Hooker.” Couldn’t be more true.

* Went to Borders tonight. For some reason, slipped into my old self. Woman sitting next to me, a recent college grad, from what I could gather, researching the job market. Could have led to interesting conversation. Couldn’t get myself to talk to her. Geez — I couldn’t even get myself to ask if she knew the current date, as I needed it for some various chart I was tracking in my notebook.

* Bought all three of the books currently in Henry RollinsBlack Coffee Blues series. I’d read most or all of the first two, in bits and pieces, at prior Borders trips, across the three different Borders I’ve lived near in the past 2 years or so. Started reading Smile, You’re Traveling tonight. Just great.

* Isolated thunderstorms. Isolated just outside my condo, I think, they don’t seem to be going anywhere.

* Drano, bleach in the tub. I hate housekeeping.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 11:47 pm


I finally received my copy

I finally received my copy of The Nicki Gonzalez Band‘s album in the mail today. I ordered it from some local online music site.

I open the CD case. “To Corey with thanks! Nicki Gonzalez”, written on the CD.

I’d spoken to Nicki briefly, after the band’s recent set at Revolution, not that I’d expect her to remember it. Hell, I don’t even think I mentioned my name. She took the time to personaize the CD. Now, I’m sure I didn’t get any special treament; I’m guessing this is a pretty common occurance. But this typifies what local, independent music is all about.

Loyalty, from any angle, is a good thing.

cswiii @ 11:55 pm


Rented a few movies this past weekend, we’ve been watching them, bit by bit over the last couple of days.

Movies are one of my weaker sides, that is, I never watched many movies growing up, or in college, etc. So I’m not as “well-read”, in this respect. I think it’s healthy to play a little catch-up.

Wonder Boys was really great. A friend of mine told me about it, we listened to the soundtrack (great!) on the way to the beach. It was really, really well balanced, with humour interspersed with drama and the like. Michael Douglas is a really great actor, I think.

Chinese Box was not what we expected it to be… not that we (or I, anyway) knew really what to expect in the first place. It was interesting; I think I liked it better than my roommate, although I think she enjoyed it. A social study, commentary on Hong Kong and its history. At the same time, it was more than that… two different histories come to an end in this movie, both trying to figure out what can and can’t be left behind. I’ll let you rent it to learn what these are.

The latter movie left me in a contemplative mood. Since I haven’t watched a lot of movies, I think they tend to affect me more, make me dream, I guess. “It’s just a movie”, and I know it’s only a movie. But sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be that happy, if only for five minutes.

cswiii @ 10:10 am



Regarding the previous entry:

* People want help
* People don't want to hear the truth

* People want a solution
* People want a solution handed to them on a platter.
* People want a pill they can take to get rid off all their miseries

When someone asks for help, too often they are asking for a solution. And they are asking for a solution that tells them what they want to hear.

Of what redeeming value is any such "help"?


cswiii @ 6:52 pm

I’ve decided that I have

I’ve decided that I have a not-so-nice personality trait… I tend to have short patience for peoples’ foibles. Now, it’s not just any old thing, though. Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies. It’s what makes us human.

Also, I used to have crazy issues. Really pretty nasty. But I learned to work them out.

Now, when I see those same weaknesses in others, I can’t stand it, if they continually surface. It’s a strange mentality. Kind of like, “Geez, I got over it, why can’t they? Why do they just sit there and bitch about it rather than do something?”

I know too many people, resource-rich, who can’t handle their own finances. I know too many hypochondriacs, paranoids, too many people insecure with their own existence. Too many people who readily blame someone or something else rather than look to themselves to make a change.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not truly insensitive to the needs of people. This is hardly the case. But I think there are two issues I’m trying to reconcile here. First, a lot of people that I meet have some sort of dysfunction, and second, a lot of them aren’t willing to take any responsibility upon themselves to resolve it.

But for every person I’ve met who is muddled down in this quagmire, I’ve met another who has encountered far more radical circumstances and has emerged with some degree of victory.

Again, the fact that I’m so impatient is my own issue. And I take responsibility for it. But that’s the difference. I take responsibility for it.

We exist in a truly fucked-up culture. But you can only blame the culture so much. The culture is only minimally responsible for what you don’t like in yourself.

I can’t think about this entry anymore, right now. I’ll continue it later.

cswiii @ 3:47 pm

Some thing make you lose faith…

…this is one of them:

Brief synopsis: Guy sexually abuses girl for years and years. Girl finally reports it. Guy goes on trial. Guy convicted. Guy marries girl’s mom. Five minutes later, guy sentenced, goes to jail.

cswiii @ 3:32 pm


Observations – 10 Jun 2001

Observations – 10 Jun 2001

Reston Town Center, early afternoon.

Another incidence of peace, calm. Reading Franny and Zooey at the fountain plaza. I was constantly interrupted — yet not disturbed — from my reading, watching the things and people around me.

*      My chicken salad sandwich was great; the roll itself was perfect… floured, thick crust… I really enjoy that. Simple pleasures.

*      The two little girls wearing identical dresses. Bright oranges, yellows, blue, purple… I actually saw another pair in the same situation, but it’s the former that really stood out…

*      The little 14 month old Chinese boy, running around by the fountain’s edge. He couldn’t have been more than 1 1/2 feet tall, and was yet so visible amongst the backdrop of people.

*      The women who asked me to take their picture in front of the fountain. I obliged. “We’re not tourists, we’re from around here, we just don’t come out here often.” Me neither. Afterwards, the one asked me what I thought of Salinger. Her reading group had just finished reading Catcher; we exchanged impressions of the issue-ladden young Holden. I said it was an “accurate impression of how disenfranchised adolescents can feel,” all the while wondering what made me decide to use the word “disenfranchised”.

      Another woman in the group had a little Chinese take-out box. I don’t know why that stands out so much, except that maybe it was quaintly amusing to see a relatively attractive, nicely dressed, tanned woman, walking down the town centre walkway, carrying an otherwise nondescript container of Chinese leftover between her thumb and forefinger.

*      The Asian woman in the wheelchair. It occurred to me that I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Asian in a wheelchair, certainly not a young one. All sorts of social theories that could be drawn from that observation, I suppose, but I wasn’t in that kind of mood.

*      The sparrow who hopped over from the lamp next to me, beneath my chair and across over to the fountain.

      The fact that I got the sandwich and enjoyed it so much, the fact that I had such a relaxed excursion to RTC, are both pretty good examples of the essence of Tao, albeit not orthodox. I am sure that sounds funny. But consider this: Lunch was going to be Pho from the nearby Vietnamese joint, until all the sudden, I had a burning craving for a XandO pizza. I drove over to RTC to find that, alas, these are not available until 5:00. At this point, I considered going back home to do pursue Plan A. Instead, though, I decided to stay on the path I was currently walking, which led me to a cafe never before visited.

The reward? A great lunch. A rare peace.

* * * * * *

In Franny and Zooey, I spent most of my time reading the spirited, thickly-barbed bathroom dialogue between Zooey and Bessie. What an exchange! Zooey, bitter (for good reason!) and sharp-witted, is amusing. Bessie, the disheveled, weary, mother. Dysfunctional, both of them.
And yet, amongst all this chatter, Salinger manages to intersperse brilliant, vivid descriptions of setting and nuances; the cigarette ashes, medicine cabinet… the clarity of his narration reads like a Norman Rockwell painting.

cswiii @ 6:30 pm



Went on a long weekend trip to Hatteras. It was great, a real recharger. Nevermind that I am bright pink — still — four nights after the original burn — I had a great time. I think we all did. I did most of the cooking, which seemed to bother no one. Cooking is a hassle for some people, but for me, it’s a relaxing thing. It was also good to be able to use a real grill again.

Did some thinking, writing while I was there. Glad I brought the iBook to scribble down the thoughts.

Morning thoughts. Rough Outline.

3 Jun 2001

Personal Traits

Everyone has traits about their person, physical, emotional, etc. Likewise, everyone has something “good” amongst those traits. However, these traits are handled and observed differently by third parties, specifically, how quickly they are believed, “admired”.

Let’s cite a few examples. Athleticism — you can see someone sprint 100 metres, lift a lot of weights, and immediately trust your instincts they are athletic. Likewise, you can see someone walking down the street, person looks good, and your eyes immediately tell you — and you trust your own eyes — that this person looks good. Finally, you can go to a lecture, or read a book, and trust that a person is intelligent, based on their output.

But what about kindness, being “nice” — benevolence? You don’t just see someone “be nice”, do a good deed and immediately trust this. Regardless of whether or not it was a faux act, or genuine — the person could very truly be nice, trustworthy — however this person is not immediately accepted based on the merit of his/her true worth (traits), unlike the other examples cited.

Part I – What is to blame? Societal changes? Or is it instinctual?

Did people, early on, tend to trust someone more readily; perhaps even on first impression? Granted, I think we are less trusting today, than years ago, but was it common to have immediate trust in someone, based on their initial kindness?

How much of it is instinctual? It seems almost logical that the instinct of self-preservation would keep someone from granting trust in someone’s benevolence from the beginning, despite this person’s actions… but I can’t shake the notion that such acts of kindness were more apt to influence another’s trust, in the past.

Part II – Can this have a major effect on a person’s interaction with others?

(Can’t think of a right way to title this right now.)
But let’s go back to the athlete. A person can see an athlete perform, and use the trust achieved in that interaction as a basis for formation of a relationship. He sees the athlete. He believes, knows this trait (athleticism) is for real. He pursues an acquaintance based on this trait.

Yes, it can be said that a relationship based on seeing someone perform a good deed is possible. But it’s that trust issue, again. You can’t/don’t/won’t place the same amount of immediate “trust” in this display as you would in that of a scholarly or athletic trait.

(Section added, 4 Jun 2001)

If someone is impressed to the point of acquaintance immediately by, say, athleticism, then it seems to me that someone whose most prominent trait is that of benevolence would have to achieve much more to gain someone’s kinship.

Someone whose best traits are emotional might run the risk of not appearing as “personable” or approachable, simply because his/her traits are not those which are most readily trusted or recognised.

Logic Breakdown: (4 Jun 2001)




cswiii @ 11:03 am