It's already gone.

Would that there were
a machine (?) or a warm, lifelike prosthetic
appendage. Or something.
Some thing that I could place on your
shoulder, as I remove my hand,
that you won't notice as I slip out of bed,
silently find my socks,
sniff the chocolate-mint plant next to the empty frame
(on your altar)
and curse, silently, your instinctive antipathy towards
insomniac floor-dwellers.

Is it that
my sitting quietly
bothers you?

The clicking of my phone;
the occasional gentle sound of denim on wood
as I shift my weight;
my breathing?

The gods of Victimology and
shitty 8am chorizo hash (with watery-ass coffee)
have nothing on your unattentiveness,
garlic nothing on your breath
for unattractive.

Gigantes con Vivi

20 of us went to the taping of this late-night talk show and participated as members of the studio audience, clapping, laughing and shouting things on cue. I was in a black suit, so naturally someone spilled a pisco sour all over me. (We were sitting at sidewalk cafe-style tables with cocktails.) Also, the taping lasted 5.5 hours. When we tried to leave after 3 hours, security wouldn't let us. Boo. Other than that, it was fun, and overall a good experience. I'm told that it'll air this Saturday all over Latin America (on Telemundo in the US). I don't know if the camera ever panned by our table, but some of my classmates were sitting right behind Vivi. Let's watching!

in which Ramon is annoyed by incompetent folk

Embassy of Japan, Washington D.C. Representative: Hello.

Me: Hi. I'm American, 23 years old, living in Japan--
I'd like to know how much wine I can take home to Japan without paying duty.

EJWR: I don't know.

Me: I looked at the FAQs on your website, but it only said "a small amount"--no exact figures.

EJWR: MY website??

Me: The official Embassy of Japan, Washington D.C. website.

EJWR: Oh. Umm, yeah...I dunno.

Me: So, who has the info?

EJWR: Where are you?

Me: Santiago, Chile.

EJWR: Chile??

Me: Yes.

EJWR: Well, ask the Embassy there.

Me: They didn't have the info on hand, so I called you.

EJWR: See! They didn't know, either! [I swear--this is word for word]

Me: Also, the Embassy's website has a quote credited to "U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld".
(http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/index.htm -- Quote #3)

EJWR: It does not!

Me: Yes, it does.

Chile is still here, despite the quakes

I like it here. My fourth week has just begun. If I pass the test on Friday, I'll finally be in the high advanced class, where, I'm told, they spend hours debating religion, abortion, drugs and the like, and nitpick imperfect subjunctives and deictic terms of all sorts till the cows come home. Doesn't that sound like the place for me?

The food is fattening. Me gusta.

I'm in Chile

The last time I was this confused and lost was when I first arrived at the dairy farm in Saga when I was 15. @_@ My host family is lvely, though, and there's a bed waiting. Zzz again.

Update

1) Clinical depression sucks.

2) I'm leaving for South America on Tuesday. I don't know when I'm coming back, though my plane ticket is for mid-May. We'll see.

3) I still haven't done my taxes. Or anything much. I just feel like sleeping. Zzz. Bye.

Naked Man

I went to the Naked Man festival to get a strip of one of the participants'
loincloths, an act which is supposed to ward off any vestige of bad luck
associated with my yakudoshi. Yakudoshi ("evil/bad/rough/unlucky year")
come before, during and after the year in which a man turns 24, then again
at 42. (It's different for women.) So, they hit you both coming and going,
and with your pre-yaku, main yaku and post-yaku, the bad luck lasts for a
3-year period [each time]. This year is my main yaku, so, despite the fact
that I was feeling generally ok, everyone around me agreed that *something*
had to be done.

Enter several hundred men in loincloths, most drunk (several, in fact,
holding 2-liter cardboard cartons of cheap alcohol), many with
grafitti-like magic marker scrawl on their arms and backs (such as "I'm
gay!" [< a joke by a sober friend?]), all helping to carry a large,
cloth-bound bunch of very long, heavy-looking bamboo rods while being
cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic onlookers, in the middle of a small
city. Lots of running, yelling, falling down, cuts and scrapes--oh, and
some accidental banging of roadside food stands with the bamboo battering
ram. I got some cloth from the loins of a cute boy and made a early-ish
exit to beat the crowd.

It was interesting enough, but I had mixed feelings about the whole ordeal.
Anyway, for the price of train fare, I was able to ward off evil, eat some
cheap carnival food, attach a permanent date to my youth and gawk at a
veritable ocean of naked men.

new year's

...was spent in a hotel room in South San Francisco (on an unexpected 23-hour stopover), wearing a suit and eating junk food, and singing along to songs on Univision's "Caliente" special.

Happy New Year!