Wednesday: 24.August.2005

Welcome to the Suck (Suk)

Noticed a poster for upcoming film JarHead, from the Academy Award-winning director of American Beauty (another dark film by Sam Mendes). Based on the book of the same title.

JarHead is subtitled Welcome to the Suck. I stood motionless while reading that phrase, thinking: now there's something I can relate to.

They should however, have spelled it suk. Suck is a verb; it's what you do with a straw. The word they want is suk, the noun. Everybody knows what suk means. We all go thru periods when life becomes, uh, "unpleasant".

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I've spent my fair share of time in the suk. Most people who've done time in the military become intimately familiar with it. I've noticed, the more time I spend in big suk (suk major) the less little suk (suk minor) bothers me.

Some people are better at dealing with the suk than others. The more suk you experience, the better you become at dealing with it. Some people spend so much time in the suk they actually learn to like it. It becomes their comfort zone.

I have since come to learn that the suk I experienced in the military was actually good suk, cuz afterwards, nothing seems to suk as bad. Irritating things that tend to annoy others don't seem to bother me nearly as much. When people get upset over seemingly insignificant things, I think, "They must not have experienced very much suk in their lives."

I'm looking forward to spending a few days at Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa: an oasis of tranquility in a world of stress .. out in the desert.

At Two Bunch, there exists no suk whatsoever. After much suk, it can take a few days (surprisingly enough) to feel comfortable in a sukless environment such as Two Bunch, which sucks the suk right out of you. It has a desukifying effect.

I think the healthiest people are those who can deal with, and operate effectively in, both the suk and the sukless, which requires plenty of experience with both worlds, appreciating each for its own unique & diverse aesthetics. So, whenever I see the suk coming, I say, "Bring it. Let's see what ya got this time."

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss."

So yes, it is possible to enjoy the suk. The Dog is the best person I know at dealing with the suk, and making it look easy, and helping others get thru their own periods of major suk, by finding & pointing out the silver lining in even the sukiest of clouds.

As a veteran of the suk, I've learned the best way to deal with it is to stand your ground and welcome it. If you run from the suk (drugs, alcohol, etc.), it will eat you alive.

Paul said it this way: We exalt in tribulations, cuz it helps develop perseverance. And there's a guy who knows a little about the suk. The suk has a way of making spiritual people more spiritual, and (unfortunately) the bitter more bitter still.

Here's another suky lesson I learned: as a general rule, the worse the suk, the less staying power it has. So it's generally better to encounter major suk than minor suk.

On a less-suky note, more people visited the home page yesterday than ever before in the site's history. Who are all these new Rad readers? Welcome.

Posted by Rad at Wednesday: 24August2005

Sunday: 14.August.2005

Battman sends photos from India

If you're a regular, you know about my buddy Battman, who left last October to tour the world. Today he sent word from INDIA, with six photos:

These photos are un-retouched, just as Battman took them: all 1024x768 resolution, 160-to-200-KB. They're too good to cut up in Photoshop. So if you're on dial-up, they might take a bit to download.

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Snake charmers - Couple of Indians entertain with their baskets of cobras for whoever would share a few rupees.

World's highest motorable pass (Himalayas: 17,350-feet), aka "the high road" - Hitch-hiking over the world's highest motorable pass (17,350-feet) involves encountering many repairs such as the one seen here.

Here a section of the pass is being quickly (relatively speaking) bulldozed back into action. It had been washed away by runoff from snow melt.

Yep, those are the legendary Himalayas in the background. Covered with snow in July. The air was so thin that simple walking felt like a sprint.

Group photo (Himalayas: 17,500-foot elevation) - At the highest point of this Himalayan pass, many stop for a group photo.

This a group of high-school kids I caught a ride with, along with military guards assigned to escort them. Lots of military along these border regions.

Prayer flags send a prayer to God every time they flap in the wind. I'm seated in the middle.

Nubra Valley - Other side of the pass, in the Himalayas. Here is the spectacular Nubra Valley, with its flowers, people, dunes, rivers and stunning vistas.

Himalayan Sand Dunes - What? Sand dunes in the Himalayas? That's right. Here they are. Sights along the road less travelled.

Call to Prayer: Himalayas - Every morning at 6am, monks call to prayer the faithful living on valley floor, using traditional conch horn.

Battman says, "Next stop: Bangkok (Thailand) including Cambodia & Laos."

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 14August2005