Gray Flannel Dwarf


Thoughts and observations – 7.30.01

At Borders. Left home with intent to study zhongwen, but couldn’t concentrate. Saw too much around me. Grabbed a napkin, scribbled a few thoughts.

*1. Seen on a t-shirt: “America: The land of corporate greed and the enslaved“. Well, I can sympathise, somewhat. But the latter part, worn by suburban teen, just doesn’t seem right… There is a lot of corporate greed in America… and to some degree, Americans are overworked (less vacation time, on average, than any other industrialised nation) — and especially the working, “lower” class(es). I don’t disagree.

But “enslaved”? Anymore, that seems a little too hyperbolic. Enslaved? Compared to whom? Low-caste Indians? East Africans? Afghanistans under Taliban supression?

Are we becoming too cliched in our disapproval?

*2. Guy, girl looking through discount books table.
Guy, obviously bored: “I’m gonna go look at Playboy.” (Walks off.)
Woman: “no, wait…” (shuffling more quickly through books)

Is this the asshole attitude that women want? Now, I have little sympathy for the typical “nice guy” (read: non-assertive guy) — and I used to be one — but is this the alternative? This is what women go for?

*3. German women talking. Politely, quietly, but very animated. It almost looks like sign language, sometimes…

*4. Will she call me back…..?

cswiii @ 8:54 pm


Pretty damn accurate.

Ok, I’m generally not into the whole “lists” thing on LJ. However, I ran across this site on someone else’s journal, and decided to check it out.

FindYourSpot — a website that gives you a pretty in-depth survey of your interests, and gives you a list of which cities/areas in the U.S. might be best suited for your tastes, should you decide to move somewhere.

This said:

Biloxi/Gulfport, MS
Gainesville, FL
Tallahassee, FL
Chattanooga, TN
San Marcos, TX
Greenville, SC
Deland, FL
Kent, WA
Hickory, NC
Olympia, WA
Charleston, SC
Bloomington, IN
Knoxville, TN
Clarksville, TN
Bryan/College Station, TX
Jacksonville, FL
Hattiesburg, MS
Ashville, NC
Johnson City/Kingsport, TN
Athens, GA
Maryville, TN
Tuscaloosa, AL
Ocala, FL
Albany, NY

I always said I like TN, but the fact that three of them listed are both near my college town — Knoxville (~1 1/2 hours), Maryville (2 hours) and Johnson City (1/2 hour) — pretty much confirms it. Not sure where Clarkesville is; Chattanooga was nice, for the few hours I was there.

Greenville SC, and its suburbs… very nice, too.

A lot of Floridas on there. I’ve never been to Florida.

Really curious.

cswiii @ 5:37 pm

ARGH *whimper*

My back is killing me. There’s no other way to put it. I feel a little better now, but the fact that, from last night until about 3 hours ago, I wasn’t able to get up out of a chair faster than oh, say, 2-3 seconds… this is not a Good Thing.

I tweaked my back about 2 months ago (?), and to this day, dunno what caused it. It seemed to be better, finally, but volleyball yesterday destroyed me.

Doctor’s visit will have to be scheduled this week. Of course, then the doctor will send me to a specialist, who will send me to get tests done, all of which will culminate with some chiropractic quackery.

I hope I don’t need surgery :(

Other than THAT…. volleyball was fun! Too bad I tore my contact and had to drive from Vienna to Sterling and back to get new a new lens or two. I have always loved volleyball, but I haven’t gotten to play it much — and the first few games yesterday showed this :). I simply cannot serve overhand anymore, bleh.

Time to find some dumplings, or something, to eat. 3:00 and I haven’t eaten more than a few Starbursts today.

Speaking of starbursts — go to and make sure that the Lemon flavour stays, and the green apple goes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the green apple, but the lemon is a helluva lot better, and there’s no reason to lose it.

cswiii @ 1:48 pm


After reading this, I’m convinced

After reading this, I’m convinced we need more politicians in America like Australia’s Iain Evans.


“These creatures are not toys. In the case ofthe great white, they can be extremely dangerous and it is clear the state government will need to look at changing the law in order to protect people too stupid to protect themselves,” he added.

Way to go! I’d love to see a politician in the U.S. criticize a constituent for his or her blatant stupidity.

cswiii @ 9:23 am


Some things are just plain

Some things are just plain wrong.

“Dylan, Bob” ending up between “Dying Fetus” and “Dynamite Hack” on the CD rack is one of them ;-).

Also saw another weird thing.. that Vonda Shepard woman (the one who’s always singin’ on Ally McBeal) has an album out; it was eye level, right near a Carly Simon Album. Both albums featured big face shots… and the two looked at least fairly similar, almost as if they were sisters or something.

Anyway. That was my exciting Sunday, heh.

cswiii @ 9:39 pm


Nothing exciting tonight. In a

Nothing exciting tonight. In a tough bit of hanzi right now. Of the ten or so I am learning, I have to keep straight two characters for three different ji-s, not to mention jia, jian, jiu and jin.

Almost as bad as all the *ou/*uo words I’ve been trying to keep straight.

cswiii @ 10:18 pm


All that stuff I said…

…forget it. Or, at least up to the part where I said “I may be wrong”.

Because I was.

Things are good…the only thing I should have trifled with was my self-confidence. :D

cswiii @ 9:33 pm

Self-fulfilling prophecies: redux

I get the distinct feeling that someone is making an effort to avoid me. This bothers me; I hope it’s not true. I have immensely enjoyed those shorts bits of chatter, and it certainly seemed to be reciprocated.

All the sudden, I am wishing I didn’t quote Rollins in the June 25th entry.

I may be wrong about the whole thing, and perhaps just over-dramatic. We’ll just have to wait-and-see. But it’s that waiting and seeing that seems to always cause such strain.

This entry seems pretty primitive. But being overly-verbose in times where emotions are high can sometimes just irritate things. You don’t eat a T-bone when you have the stomach flu; why use too many words when the underlying thoughts and feelings are already raw?

cswiii @ 6:31 pm


Bad things happen in threes

…I said this a few weeks ago.

Simply put, I’m pretty damn convinced that someone got into my truck this weekend, while it was parked in Tyson’s Corner, and stole all my CDs. I can’t find them, and certainly don’t remember emptying the CD box. I’ll check in the morning, elsewhere in the truck, but I’m about 90% positive someone did. Even though I was pretty certain my doors were locked. In fact I even remember assuring myself… weird…

Anyway, the funny thing is that most of my cds out there are/were Dylan CDs. Now, so many of Dylan’s songs include references to “noble”, cultured criminals, or those otherwise incarcerated. “Joey”, “Hurricane” immediately come to mind, as does Dylan’s ‘Jack of Hearts’, amongst a lot of others.

So this crook who stole my CDs… he got a lot of Dylan. Maybe he’ll get some culture, heh. In this sense, I really don’t care that they got stolen.

But it makes the whole situation, Dylan’s magnificence, seem like a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Really weird, eh?

cswiii @ 1:33 am


Too loud

I don’t know. Maybe, for all the past few years, across the three Borders or so that I have frequented, I got the impression that the cafe area was a place to eat, drink, read, maybe have some quiet, occasionally animated chatter. Maybe my impression of what a cafe is, has been wrong all along.

But goddamit, that effin’ group of 6-8 soccer moms sitting smack in the middle of the cafe was so loud, it really started to piss me off. Made it very hard to study.

And it went on…and on… I mean, sometimes, you’ll get 2-3 teenagers in there, they’ll sit there, chatting loudly at each other or on a cellphone. But teenagers tend to have short attention spans. They’re there, they’re loud, they’re gone in 10 minutes

These women, I’m convinced, were cemented to their chairs. I just wish it would have locked their gabbing jaws as well.

Not all is bad in my world, though. New York tomorrow, it’ll be great fun. After thinking I’d not much enjoy it, I found that I loved the city when I was there in late Jan./early Feb. Although I don’t think I’d want to live there, I can see why it attracts the tourists.


cswiii @ 10:56 pm


thirty down, seventy to go

In the past three weeks, I have about memorized 30 chinese radicals, quickly accelerating to accomplish my resolution to learn 100 characters… My own little “racing towards…” campaign, I guess. The most recent 10 or so have come quite fast. Now I wish I had been studying earnestly since the beginning of the year :-/

The book says something to the effect of “mastering these 100 characters will allow the average reader to understand approximately 45% of an everyday Chinese publication” (newspaper, etc.). That’s crazy talk. But I hope it’s true! :D.

cswiii @ 10:14 am


The August 2001 issue of

The August 2001 issue of The Utne Reader (print version) is great. Articles this month include bits on the following topics:

* interfaith eco-warriors
* being a global traveller
* an Ani DiFranco interview
* a short bit on Thomas Merton.

Sometimes the UR is ever-so-slightly too far left-of-centre for my tastes, but I still tend to enjoy it. You might, too.

cswiii @ 10:37 pm