I watched the Super Bowl today at Dan's, in high-definition television (HDTV). It was an awful game, a textbook illustration of what happens when, for whatever reason, you're not into what you're doing. It was like the Raiders just weren't there: four interceptions by the Buccaneers that looked like the Raiders quarterback threw to the other team on purpose, and thoroughly incompetent offense in general. The last of those interceptions happened in the last minute or so of the game, when one of the Tampa Bay players caught the Raiders pass and ran something like thirty or forty yards for a touchdown. Lame. The detail on the screen was amazing, though.

There were these awful anti-drug commercials during the game about how drugs ruin your life and the money surrounding drugs kills people (they lay off on the terrorist angle specifically). Except, if I buy marijuana, and I know the guy in Berkeley who sells it to me, and I know the guy in Humboldt County who grows it, how exactly is my money hurting anyone? If I buy MDMA or LSD from a grad student at Stanford who makes it in her spare time to get some extra cash, how exactly is my money killing anyone?

The best one was a "marijuana impairs your judgement" thing that implied that doing drugs would lead to you getting pregnant. Which, you know. "Fuck you." I wish people would apply some semblance of reason to some aspect of their lives.

From this article about the post-Super Bowl rioting:

"It's the Raiders fault. Blame it on the Raiders," Akela Thomas, 19, shouted. "If they would've won, we wouldn't be doing this."
I can't even express how much is wrong with that statement. I shudder to think what would have happened if the Raiders won.

I've had a lot to think about recently, between my visit to see Ondre on Friday night and conversations I've had before and after. I'm starting to see a lot of my relationship behavior in a different way, as coming from some place of anger inside me. It's sort of creepy, because I don't know where it comes from or what exactly I'm angry at or how far back this developed (probably a very, very long time). Much like with understanding in Zen, I'm starting to feel the shape and scope of this shadow in my mind, running my hand over it in the dark, and it's an ugly thing. It seems to be largely dormant most of the time, manifesting only where relationships are concerned and especially when faced with the prospect of intimacy (whatever that is, exactly--I'm discovering that I don't quite know, I just know when I feel threatened). I change when it surfaces--I've noticed that sometimes I get a sort of papier-maché over my personality, and I become, very convincingly, something I'm not; but because it's not real, it eventually collapses, with predictably disastrous results. It's not yet clear to me why this happens or precisely what triggers it.

One thing I do know for sure is that a month ago I couldn't see this, because I was caught up in a lot of thinking and worrying and being concerned about the judgements of myself and others. Like one of my favorite samurai sayings--"How can you fight if you're worried about dying?"--all the thinking blocks us from the clarity we get from focusing on the present. With all my attention occupied by mourning everything I've thrown away, hating myself for doing so, worrying about someone else hating me, I couldn't see my reactions to things. Now I can notice what I'm feeling and ask questions about why I feel that way, and try to uncover my motivations for my actions and the origins of my feelings.

I find myself wondering if, historically, I spend more time shielding myself from people and deflecting them away than I do connecting with them on some level. I think I do; I'm quite good at that sort of deflection and manipulation, and after all this time I still feel really awkward about connecting with people. My grandmother was suggesting I might do something to meet more people (I think I mentioned I sort of miss playing tennis/racquetball), and I'm not sure she understood that (a) I already have over a hundred people that I like and see pretty regularly, and (b) it usually takes a lot of energy for me to be with people at all, and it takes much more to meet new people (especially when the overwhelming majority of new people I meet are not people I feel compelled to get to know). A couple of people I've known for a long time have told me that they don't believe I'm an introvert, because I'm generally sort of outgoing and friendly and (especially for an engineer) socially graceful. But social skills aren't the barometer: everyone saw me be really fun and active and a good host for seven hours during my first cocktail party here at the house, but nobody saw me completely exhausted for three days afterward from the effort of being so engaged with people for so long.

I miss aikido. The movement is still with me, but I want to get back on the mat and reinforce it and feel whatever it is that I get out of it...some kind of release or calmness. That hasn't left me, but there's nothing like regular practice. Maybe by Tuesday my knees will be well enough: whatever Ondre did seems to be helping, so we'll see.