Semi-Charmed Life

30Dec/090

A Letter to His Love

Read it this morning. A letter written by the late physicist Richard Feynman two years after the death of his wife:

 

Arline Feynman died on June 16, 1945. The paper on which this letter was written is well worn, and it appears as though he reread it often.

To Arline Feynman, October 17, 1946

D'Arline,

I adore you, sweetheart ... It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you'll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing. But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and what I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector.

Can't I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the "idea-woman" and general instigator of all our wild adventures. When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn't have worried.

Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want to stand there.

I'll bet that you are surprised that I don't even have a girlfriend after two years. But you can't help it, darling, nor can I — I don't understand it, for I have met many girls ... and I don't want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you. I love my wife. My wife is dead,

Rich.

PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don't know your new address.

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29Dec/090

Christmas and Diamonds

Is it just me or does anyone feel like Christmas is a secular holiday? My family has never traditionally celebrated Christmas, but when I was younger it was always one of my favorite holidays. I never received a lot of gifts, but Christmas in New York always felt enchanting.Maybe it had to do with the movies they play on tv around Christmas time ("You'll shoot your eye out!"), or maybe it's the lights and decorations that start popping up seemingly earlier and earlier each year. Or it could be that the positive feelings I associate with Christmas is really because of the days off from school I used to get.  17 years of school is sure to develop some type of Pavlovian response to Christmas.

Anyway. There was a conversation about who celebrates Christmas with their families, and although there was a mixed response, it seems Christmas is kind of a big deal to the majority of my friends. Not to say I'm shocked, but something one of my friends said struck me.

"I feel bad for you poor orphan kids that don't celebrate Christmas."

He was kidding, but that got me thinking. Is Christmas something that I'm going to celebrate as a tradition with my own family, when the time comes? Would I be depriving my children if I didn't give them the whole Christmas experience? Some of my friends said that there parents only started celebrating it annually once they had kids. Would it be wrong of me to celebrate Christmas purely for the "festiveness" of the holiday?

Which leads me to a similar subject . . . diamonds.

I hate them.

This article is nearly 28 years old but it is still very relevant and sums up everything I hate about them. If you don't know much about the insidious diamond cartel, this is a fantastic read to bring you up to speed. Fair warning though . . . it's a very long article.

If you're too lazy to read it or already think you know my reason, let me say that it is not because of blood diamonds. I view conflict-free diamonds with equal contempt. I won't go into a long diatribe about how diamonds are evil and will simply say that diamonds represent the height of superficiality.

So what the hell does this have to do with Christmas anyway? Well some weeks ago I was talking to a friend about engagement rings and what not, and he told me he what he would get if he was to propose. I was surprised because I recalled him saying in the past that he would not get a diamond for various reasons. I asked him why the sudden change of heart and his answer made a lot of sense. He said that if he were to get engaged, he would not want to subject his future wife to the pettiness and mockery of others. It would just be asking too much on her part.

This made me think. Marriage is not even close to being on the horizon for me, but it's something I think about from time to time. It's probably naive of me to think that I would be able to find a woman who would not want a diamond, but in the off chance that I do, would I want to subject her to the kind of secret ridicule that can only follow after something terribly embarassing has happened to someone?

I'd imagine conversations going like this:

"Oh my God congratulations! Let me see the ring"

"Thanks!" [shows ring]

"Oh . . . it's nice."

Would I want to subject her to that? To the words that aren't said, but heard between the "Oh" and "it's nice"?

Anyway . . . just some thoughts.

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19Dec/093

Super Saturday

Had an awesome day today.

I woke up early to make it to my 11:45 no-gi class in the morning and then doubled up and took the mma class afterwards. I don't usually do classes on Saturdays but lately my work schedule changed so that I was not able to make to any of the evening classes. I work in downtown Brooklyn and my gym is right by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. It takes roughly half an hour for me to get there, and if I leave any later than 6:50 it's pretty much guaranteed that I will not be able to make it.

So for the past 2 weeks I had to put jiu jitsu on hold because of new position at work. I was reassigned from one group into another group, and with that came a dramatic change in hours. I was used to getting into work at 6:30 in the morning and leaving by 4:30 in the afternoon. Now I have to get in at 8:30 and stay til at least 7, which blows.

So making it to jiu jitsu on weekends is kind of a big deal now because it's basically one of the few chances I get to train. When I left the gym, it had already begun snowing. Everyone at work was saying how it was supposed to be a blizzard this weekend, but I was not impressed.

Now, seven hours later I'm looking out the window and damn is it snowing hard! I don't know why but this blizzard really lifted my spirits up. Nowadays everyone I know bitches about the snow. Maybe I'm biased because I love snowboarding, but I only associate snow with positive feelings. Probably all those times back then when they closed school because of heavy snow. Those days were the best!

This is going to be an awesome weekend because I'm getting to do the two things I love most: jiu jitsu and snowboarding.

Anyway, I came across this article and I thought it was pretty inspirational:

“If you can’t spare one hour of your day to do something you love, there really is something wrong in your life”

I thought it was motivating because so many times in life people say they do not have time to do this or do that, but this guy is pursuing two of his favorite passions at the same time, jiu jitsu and medicine. I think it can be argued that getting your black belt in jiu jitsu is just as difficult as getting an M.D. or PhD.

It's also great because he is both a teacher on and off the mats. On one end he's researching about diseases and teaching graduate students, and on the other he is the jiu jitsu coach to one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and is also opening up his own gym in the coming year.

I have not been updating this thing as much as I would like to. Part of it is lack of motivation. When I had a blog on Xanga it was more fun to blog because, let's face it, secretly we are all attention-whores and it was cool to get all sorts of comments. Now that I blog on my own domain, it's like living on an island.

Ah whatever . . . here's to a good weekend!

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8Dec/091

I Will Do Nothing Lightly

"I will do nothing lightly. When I walk, I will walk heavily. When I fight, I will fight with conviction. When I speak, I will speak strongly. When I feel, I will feel everything. When I love, I will love with everything." - Evan Tanner


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