The Scar

Some people have mentioned my loss of weight as inspiration for their efforts, and of course I feel very happy that I could help in their efforts in some small way.

However, if you just looked at me without knowing the history, one would probably assume that I was skinny all of my life. This is what happened to me with the pool on Friday, when a gentleman of Japanese ancestry struck up a conversation with me and assumed that about me.

I told him my story, but it was only really in part because he had a much more visible story to tell, in the form of a one-foot-long scar on his chest.

He had undergone triple bypass surgery roughly half-a-year ago, and had taken up swimming as a way to not only get more active but also to get the weight, cholesterol and all those other factors which caused the surgery under control.

So far so good on his part - he has changed his diet and has lost some weight. He mentioned he would like to lose about 20 pounds or so more.

I said keep up the good work. And I told him my story paled in comparison with his - if anyone needed that final kick in the butt to get off the couch and get their fitness in order, all they needed to do was to look at his chest.


Unity Of Purpose

I, like many others, had the opportunity to watch Barack Obama as he was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States.

I'm sure many of the people who watched were visibly moved by his ability to deliver a speech - Mr. Obama's eloquence has been well demonstrated in the past, with his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention acting as first exposure for many in the public at large.

And many were visibly moved by the event itself - I'm sure numerous people had their doubts that an African-American would ever be elected to the most powerful office on the planet, not to mention elected in their lifetimes.

Yes, I too was moved by the moment playing out before me on the television screen for the reasons mentioned above, but it is my nature to view things with as unbiased and as objective an eye as possible.

What Mr. Obama laid out was a beautiful in nature - people taking personal responsiblity for their actions, and breaking down the barriers that tend to divide us, such as those the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (to whom our current president owes a huge debt of gratitude) alluded to in his famous "I Have A Dream Speech" 45 years ago, to function as a working whole. As Obama stated himself in his speech, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

That is a wonderful vision - people joining together despite the differences to overcome the obstacles which now face us all as a country.

But is it possible? Is it really? My objective mind says I'll believe it when I see it. However, my heart ever slightly tilts more to the hopeful and optimistic rather than the skeptical and pessimistic.

I wish our new President and we as a country the best over this first term.


Damascus Doings Pt. 2

Well, upon second thought, I just figured I might as well post the link to my Syria experiences blog. If you'd like to read about it, you can check it out here

Whatever Happens In Damascus...

I hope you enjoy the read :)


Looking Over Bellatrix

The constellation Orion has always held a special fascination to me. The pattern is quite distinguishable, and it gives me an odd comfort when I am able to spot it in the night sky, unlike some other constellations whom others insisted resemble things like telescopes or lions.

It also marks to me that winter is here in full bloom. I don't have any particular love or hate for the season, but it does make me aware that certain things like rain and early nightfall are going to be the norm for awhile.

I remember seeing a graphic somewhere about how the constellation would look in the skies thousands of years from now. Other than looking nothing like the perfection it seems to have now, I tend to think that if we're still around then we'll be viewing it, and its resident stars like Betelguese and Rigel, from much closer in from spaceships or colonies.

Recently though, I caught it in the sky glimmering in a crystal clear, chilly night sky, just days after I was literally thousands of miles away in another country. It made me realize that I was home again, and that made me happy.

Damascus Doings

I've started my blog about my experiences in Damascus, Syria, during the latter part of 2008.

If you would like to read about it, just contact me and I'll send you the link