I've spent weeks of sadness and depression thinking to myself that It would be an eternity before I recovered from the heartache I was experiencing. Then one day I gave a friend a call that I had not seen in a long time to catch up, and I discovered happiness again.

I guess I took her for granted during the summer when I first met her. We were friends, and I knew she had a great personality, was smart, and on top of it all, drop-dead gorgeous, but it didn't truly sink in. When I called her and asked her if she wanted to get together, she sounded surprised by my call, but was very enthusiastic about it. It wasn't even anything special, I just picked her up and we saw a movie and I dropped her off, but she left a huge impact on me, and I saw in her face that I did the same to her.

It began with the knock on her door. I watched her descend the stairs to answer the door with a large smile on her face, and I knew at that moment that my happiness was coming back.

I was hanging on her every word on the way to the theater. She made me laugh, she made me smile, she made me happy. We sat down for the movie, and continued to talk about what we had been up to the past few months.

On the ride home, the conversation continued, and it seemed that everything I said made her smile, and vice versa. I walked her to her door, said goodnight, and was about to turn around, content on not pushing too far, when she hopped down the stairs to the porch and gave me a big hug. The smile spread like a fire across my face.

I have no idea where we're going, or even intend that we go anywhere, but she brought back a feeling of happiness that I've missed for so long. She is an amazing person and I thank her for a wonderful Saturday night and the feeling of happiness she has re-instilled in me.

It was a cold, windy afternoon. The day had been interesting.

A terminal hot-water-heater failure in the middle of the night before.. Standing looking at the shower head gushing forth frigidity to splash against the wall. Standing, looking, unable to summon the courage to take a freezing cold shower. In the end settling for a quick all over splash (to the pleasant accompaniment of a great deal of expletives) and a quick hair rinse.

Trudging into a headwind next to a fenced off golf-course and a busy road; the gentle tugging of the turbulence behind the trucks thundering past. Waiting for a gap in the traffic. Pausing in the middle of the road (not for long, honestly. A minute, maybe two) to send an SMS (or two or three) before moving on.

So. What staggeringly profound things have occurred to you today?

The road behind, the path ahead, the nature-strip, the kids on their trampoline; "Hey! Man in black!", shrill voices dopplering. The maroon milk crate, artistically balanced on the street sign. "Angle parking only"

On the grass

There, see it?

On the grass. Sitting there, innocent, nonchalant, innocuous. Minding it's own and nobody else's business.

A convolution of steel and wood, sinuous curves and lines. A tool, an implement.

It's a potato masher. One of those hand held wire things with which you pummel the unsuspecting potato into mushy oblivion. Hardly anything to worry about. Unusual, yes. As a kitchen implement lying on the ground outside, it's something of a rarity. Not something you'll find on Letterman's Top Ten.

Tonight's Top Ten - Kitchen implements found on the side of the road. Number Ten: A knife! Number . . .

472, Express to Williamstown Rd., oiling its noisy way down the road, scattering leaves, birds, and a dog. Running along the opposite footpath. Small, fluffy, reddish brown, looking pretty pleased with itself. One of those little mop things you're never sure is alive until it moves. Running. Run, Lola, Run! I wonder if it's running with $100,000? A blue commodore pulls into the driveway ahead. The dog slows, stops, uncertain. A plump 30 something woman steps out of the car, stands, hands on hips, glaring something nasty. The dog looks down. Shamefaced. Slowly crawls forwards. Striding , she scoops up the dog and places it on her shoulder of all places. "I told you not to run away. It's bathies time!" Entreatied for help by the forlorn silence of the dogs eyes, I can only sympathise. I hate bathies.

Damn you man and your treachery! See my plight! You have the power to end this! . . .

Kicking acorns along the ground. Skip, bounce, clang, bounce. Kinda spongy things, they bounce pretty far. Turn the corner, skirt the puddles, watch a kid carrying his bike down the road, chased by another kid on a skateboard. Eh. The supermarket, the ritzy new entrance to the traditionally impoverished community store. The floor is so cold, even through my shoes. Butter, milk, Aero bar for the walk home. Pay the lady, don't catch her eye, don't say a word. Stalk out.

The pale horse meets us all one day.

Back past the puddles, the kids are laughing with each other on the side of the road, throwing stones at the street signs. Back around the corner. Back down the road.

There. On the grass.

Do you see it?

The potato masher is gone.

She smiles at me with those evil eyes. Black specks of unfeeling. I am wholly prisoner to her world. She laughs and I cringe. She wants and I scream with an infant's terror.

    Do not struggle, do not twist.

She holds my sex tighter in her fist. Now is not the time to panic.     

Enjoy the pain. Make it hurt more. Increase the pain until it is a bright blazing sun with the power to wreak blinding fury and render vast consuming sound waves of cacophany.

She lets go, and turns to them, distant from my infinite periphery, and infinitely closer than my own breath.

    She. Her. Hisssssssss. Them.

The waters surround me, and it is only then that I am aware of my escape into deepest currents of oceanic refuge. The darkness is absolute. I am a singularity, existing as only a pulse. The waves surround and caress me, sensing my pulse they harmonize in mine. Liquid bliss; an extraction from the single perfect lotus flower that lives in Mind. It cannot be taken, it cannot by given. It suffuses my pulse with the raw ether of perpetual memory, perfect in hind and future sight.

My pulse becomes the Pulse as all becomes forever, encapsulated in an instant.

Slice:tear - Shatter:fear

    Why didn't I hear the laughter in that pulse?

Caustic reunion is brought to bear upon my perfect little world. They oppose my unified peace with the rage of their hive-mind. I can hear the hunger mingled in with laughter that has never known humor. It is a hunger that has known eternity but has never know satisfaction. It desires to know light in the way that a black hole wants to know light.

    There is no escape.

I taste the acid of their sex. My senses are seized by their will. Their fingers/claws/arms rip through the doors of my perception and navigate the rivers of my soul. My every being is theirs. It begins.

    Soulrape.

Pain

It is born of fear and so horribly worse than any sensory pain could ever be.

Pleasure

Narcissistic pleasure born of only the purest selfishness. It is an orgy of violent lust and cold rage completely disjointed from all biologies. Eons brush past my eyelashes.

    Is this real? Is this really happening?

How strange that I can feel.

    They are gone.

The silhouettes of their cold passion adorn my mind. I am a stain on the fabric of time. I retreat into myself once again. My tears keep my laughter company. Each is savage and desparate in its own attempt to exist. I do not think I would exist without both.

Father time rises up, with his inexorable daughter, fade. The last tear slides down over my smile before the sweet and absolute mercy of midnight overcomes awareness.

Absolution

Acceptance!

To Durham. To everywhere I applied (seriously), actually.
I'm so happy. Also relieved. I wouldn't have minded living with my brother if I'd only been accepted into Seneca; in fact, it might have been fun. Although I would miss James. A lot. So it's better that I go to Durham and stay at home, where I'll feel more at ease.

So, hooray hooray hooray!
That's all I really wanted. Just to announce it.
Yeah..

I was standing in the supermarket, contemplating my tomato paste options, when I noticed a man a few feet away from me in the pasta sauce section. He was on a cell phone. He said, "I don't see it." Then he said, "I see the Paul Newman's, but I don't see anything with a white label next to it." Then he said, "I don't see it on any of the shelves. It's not here. What should I get instead?" I chose the organic Muir Glen tomato paste, one can only because that's all I need and I don't have room to stock up on staples. As I walked away, I noticed the man was now standing in front of the pasta section, scrutinizing the varieties and saying, "Uh huh, uh huh."

This is not the first time I have witnessed cellular-transmitted shopping instructions in the supermarket. The first time I encountered this phenomenon, the man was more mission-driven and sounded like he was part of a team striving to exemplify excellence in distance-directed shopping. I got the sense that the person on the other end of the line had a list and was directing the man through the store. I saw him in the dairy section, in the cleaning products section, and in the produce section, where he was describing the firmness of a cantaloupe to his partner.

I don't know if this is a commonplace occurance. I am not really tuned into the whole mobile phone thing - we've got one cellular phone in our two-person home, and it's a prepaid deal and I bet the battery is dead. It hasn't been used in weeks. So cellular phone culture really isn't on my radar, which makes witnessing these types of interactions particularly bizarre for me.

"To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due."

Neil Gaiman

It’s snowing outside.

Big wet flakes that look like marshmallows are wafting down haphazardly past my window to cover the ground still wet from the weeks showers. It’s March 31st and by all logic it shouldn’t be snowing in Maryland. The snow feels fitting to me somehow, not surprising. It doesn’t shake me. Nothing’s been able to shake me, nothing’s been able to truly startle or surprise me for a year now.

The first clear day of spring last year came on April 2nd, 2002. I didn’t wear a jacket for the first day of the year, but other than that things seemed as expected. In the double block of Biology we had a guest speaker who was giving a talk and I couldn’t help but look at the empty chair next to me thinking what a shame it was my lab partner Emily was sick – she would have liked this change of pace. Biology let out and I went to go eat lunch. All the teachers were rushing through the hallways with nervous expressions on their faces – they were informed there was an emergency faculty meeting at noon. Teachers and students alike, nobody knew what had happened, though it was quite obviously nothing good.

Not more than five minutes later, a friend came up. “Emily Holman killed herself.” There was a barbed silence as it tried to sink in. Tears came to my eyes and I stopped functioning normally. The rest of that day is a disorderly collection of flash-frame memories. I remember teachers noticing tearstained faces and asking if we knew what had happened; I would have to speak up and explain because everyone else was at a loss for words. I remember going outside for a walk and seeing her boyfriend laughing; I remember debating whether it was my place to tell him what had happened, and I remember choosing not to, knowing it’d be the last time he’d laugh for a while. I remember seeing the first crocus blossom of the spring; the first flower Emily would never see. I remember the wrenching sobs in the assembly as the words “hung herself” seemed to echo through the theater.

I later found out she actually did the deed on April first. That seems the sickest April Fools trick ever played, and secretly I am hoping she’ll come back tomorrow grinning to reveal what would be the greatest prank of all time. Such foolish wishful thinking is still somehow comforting. It’s scary thinking that a year of my life has passed since her death and barely a day goes by where I don’t think of her. I can still remember sound clips of her voice but the memory of her face has faded.

White is the color of mourning in some cultures and the stillness the dusting of snow brings to the ground feels eerily appropriate: it was hard to mourn her last year when the flowers were in bloom, the bright colors were a distraction. The snow is truly fitting. I miss her.

Every now and then, I get sufficiently annoyed about something to write a letter. Not all that often mind you - but every now and then, I'll be peeved enough to make the effort.

In this case, it was music. Specifically, the Copy Control Protection that has been popping up on new music I purchase. I buy a fair bit of new music - well, as much as my budget will allow. I love walking into a record store, browsing around, and walking out with something new - one of my simple pleasures. So it gets me pretty annoyed when I go to listen to a new cd in my work computer, after picking it up at lunchtime, and it won't play properly. I take it home, fully intending to listen to it while browsing around E2, or noding, and it takes a good five minutes before I can even get the computer to recognise it.

So I decided this was worthy of a letter. I didn't really know what type of response I'd get - the album was Placebo's latest, Sleeping With Ghosts, and their management company had thoughtfully included a contact e-mail address on the back. I figured they'd be the best people to contact, and sat down to put something together.

The very next morning, not half a day later, I received a reply, and it actually surprised me, and encouraged me. I'll definitely be writing similar e-mails to other bands, letting them know that I didn't buy their new album because it included Copy Control Technology. I've included my e-mail here, and the reply I received from Placebo's management company, in the hopes that others will see that this is not a futile effort - enough people putting pressure on band management, will translate into pressure on the distributors - not just from disgruntled fans, but the bands and their management themselves.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the management company concerns are relayed to EMI - I hope they let me know.






From: Orpheum
To: info@riverman.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 9:19 AM
Subject: New album by Placebo - Copy Control Technology

A few days ago, I purchased the new album by Placebo, Sleeping With Ghosts.

Firstly let me say that it’s a great album, that I’m enjoying greatly. Unfortunately, my enjoyment has been tempered somewhat by the difficulties that the Copy Control Technology on this CD are causing me. The Australian distributors, EMI Australia, have implemented this technology on the CD, and it has caused nothing but frustration.

I have already written to EMI, outlining my frustration – in summary, I listen to much of my music while on my computer. Apart from the annoyance of not being able to store the songs on my computer’s hard drive, it is proving extremely difficult to simply play the CD from the computer. At home, it can take me at least 5 attempts to get my computer to simply play the album. At work, I can’t listen to it without suffering through crackling and pops in the background. Technology to foil pirates I can live with – technology that penalises the people who have actually done the right thing, and paid for the music is simply unacceptable.

The reason I write to you, is to say that I will not be spending money on another Placebo album while this technology is used on their CD’s. Which is a shame – I like the band, I own all of their albums to date – but I’m not going to spend good money on something that barely works.

I truly hate being forced to take action that will cause artists and bands to lose money, however that is the irony of this situation – measures which are supposed to put money back in artist’s pockets are surely going to end up working in reverse.

I believe it is up to those with true influence – the bands themselves, and their management – to take a stand on this issue. I can’t imagine that any band would be overly pleased to learn that people are trying to listen to the music that they have worked so hard on, yet are facing frustration such as mine. I’m sure Placebo don’t imagine that people are taking their new album home, and rather than concentrating on the music, are angered because they can’t enjoy it properly.

To put the icing on the cake, the technology doesn’t even work properly... Browsing through Internet forums on this issue, I’ve seen several methods of defeating the technology. So nothing changes as far as pirate copies of music being downloaded goes, while those who like to support bands they like suffer. It doesn’t sound like the solution to a problem to me...


Orpheum





From: mailto:info@riverman.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, 1 April 200310:22 PM
To: Orpheum
Subject: Re: New album by Placebo - Copy Control Technology

Hi Orpheum

Thanks for your e-mail, probably not surprising to you that you are not the first person this week to air your concerns to us about the anti-copy technology problems on the new Placebo album.

It is very disconcerting to receive e-mails like this from true fans who are going out and buying the album legally and not abusing file sharing sites to access their music. But as you pointed out it doesn't discourage this behaviour when you have such problems in playing a genuine album.

We will be bringing this issue up with EMI and pointing out the flaws in this technology and concerns from the bands supporters. It is good to have feedback from the record buying public and no doubt there are quite a lot of people who have the same problem who will not air their views therefore going unnoticed, so therefore appreciate you taking time to write.

Thanks for continuing support on Placebo and if I have any updates i will keep you posted.

Best regards

(Riverman management)




I'm still waiting on a reply to the first letter I wrote, to EMI...




Update - EMI Replied! (yes, I was surprised to get anything back..)

In their reply, they made some interesting points:

  • We understand that some people might find a reduced audio quality when played through the CD, but this is continually being enhanced and implemented as we obtain updated to the technology itself.
  • (So, if I've already bought a cd with the unimproved technology, I'm stuck with it? Even though you freely acknowledge that your technology is - in essence - broken, you've still released cd's using this technology? Then not cared when people have paid good money for it, and had trouble playing it legally?)

  • You are correct in that the CD was created to be played through it's own embedded player located on the CD itself and not any other player that is currently available to the PC.
  • (So, when on the back of the cd, you said that this cd was compatiable with Windows operating systems, what you actually meant was kinda compatiable with the specified OS's. As long as you use the useless bundled player. And don't care that the sound is terrible. Then everything will be ok.)

  • Sincerely EMI
  • (I think if you were sincere, you'd actually give a fuck that your customers are screaming at you 'this doesn't work'. EMI closed down their Copy Control forum, because people were posting ways of defeating the technology, and using the forum to "propagate untruths about the playability of EMI's copy protected cd's". If you were sincere, you would be using the forum - which, incidentally is moderated, so people posting ways to circumvent the technology should not be a problem - to talk to your customers, and provide your side of the story. It would seem to me, that the only feedback EMI are really interested in goes something along the lines of fuck you.)

Where do I start?

On Friday night I saw One Minute Silence for the third time. The gig was held at The Garage, a little club in my native Glasgow. One Minute Silence gigs are interesting, because the mosh pits are just as important a part of the entertainment as the music itself. We're not talking your average "nu-metal" pit filled with whining, black-clothed teenagers, this was hardcore moshing for experienced, capable pit lovers.

I headed up with a couple of friends - Barbour, who has his name tattooed across his back in a Spinal Tap sort of font, Andy, my DJ and assorted of other people. We got down in the pit, having a couple of circles, slamming matches, generally going crazy inside that little circle of chaos. At the last One Minute Silence gig I ended up needing four session of dental work to repair the damage done by someone's boot in my mouth. This time I was pretty happy to come away with just a slight knock to the head. Before heading home we had intended to go to Rufus T. Firefly, a fine drinking establishment where we planned to enjoy some light refreshments, but some of us were asked for ID. Oh well, life sucks.

Before I went to bed I started to feel pretty sick and a little dizzy, but it didn't bother me. As far as I was concerned I was going to wake up in the morning feeling fine and ready for my judo class. It didn't quite work out that way.

I woke up with the mother of all headaches. My vision was blurred, the room was spinning around me and I felt like I would throw up if it weren't for the fact that I hadn't eaten anything. I tried to stand up and fell out of bed. I didn't even manage to get my arms underneath me as I fell, I just hit the floor, face first. I pulled myself upright with the aid of my bedside cabinet and made my way to the living room. My mother was sitting on the couch. She took one look at me and said "you're going to hospital."

I wasn't about to argue, but it wasn't until I caught a glimpse of myself in the wing mirror of her car that I understood her concern. I was completely white. I don't mean a little bit pale, I mean my skin was drained of all colour. #FFFFFF.

I got up to the Accident and Emergency department, where I was immediately put on a trolley and wheeled into a room for some tests. I tried to follow a little flashlight with my eyes, but the beam was blinding me. I tried to squeeze the doctor's fingers, but I had almost no strength in my arms.

Then I was wheeled down for an X-ray. The ceiling above me looked as if it was racing by at a tremendous speed, then I found myself in a white room lying under a massive, mechanical contraption which moved around me and buzzed loudly.

The results of the X-ray came back - no cranial fracture. That's always nice to hear.

I was diagnosed with a bad concussion and admitted to one of the wards. Lying in bed, watching Wales take a beating in the big international rugby match on TV, I noticed strange things happening to my perception of time. Sometimes a few moments would go past and the game would have moved on by ten minutes. Other times I would stare vacantly at the screen for what seemed like a very long time, but only thirty seconds or so would have actually elapsed.

I was in the ward for around five hours. I know this for sure, because I was under observation, and this meant that every hour a nurse would come in and take my blood pressure, ask me to follow a flashlight beam with my eyes, ask me where I was, what year it was, where I was (did you already ask me that?). This happened five times before I started to regain my balance.

Eventually the doctor who I had first seen came in to see me. A bearded man in a green sweater was with him. The doctor told me that he was with Mountain Rescue, and I told him that I had never been up a mountain in my life and he must have the wrong guy. They laughed at this. I later learned that he was there for training in the treatment of head injuries, and that this had been explained to me at some length.

At visiting time my mother returned, and I asked if I could go home with her. I was told that there wouldn't be any problem with that, but that I could expect a headache and symptoms lasting up to two weeks. I was also advised not to practice martial arts for three weeks.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have an unhealthy obsession with martial arts. I practice judo, taekwon do and aikido and spend every spare minute practising my turning kick, working with a punchbag or studying some new technique in my fairly substantial library of martial arts books. I've got a respectable collection of Hong Kong action movies and some Extreme Fighting and Ultimate Fighting Championship tapes that I watch whenever there isn't anything good on TV.

For me, three weeks with no martial arts training is going to be like hell. I'm going to miss an aikido course which I already paid for, and this means I'm going to have to wait until the next grading comes around before I can progress through the belt system. I already feel like I'm out of shape from sitting around the house. I don't know how I'm going to keep myself out of the dojo for another two and a half weeks.

I guess I should look on the bright side. My parents bought me some stuff out of sympathy, like a couple of books, including "When the Emperor was Divine" by Julie Otsuka, and I even got a new Ultimate Fighting Championship video which has some interesting fights on it.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much about my situation. At least I'm not out in Iraq getting shot at by my own side. Peace everyone.

Orpheum's writeup regarding the Copy Control technology piqued my interest because I had the opportunity to hear James Boyle speak at Duke University recently. James Boyle is an intellectual property professor and is basically at the forefront of the concept of public domain.

The presentation was conducted in an interview format and the bulk of it dealt with the definition of the public domain and the current state of affairs. To break it down into it's barest components, the public domain is all information and ideas that the public should be allowed to view for free. As of now, we have very little access to so much material because of the fact that it's all tied up with copyrights which claim to be a method of promoting innovation. The primary concept is that innovators will have more motivation to develop new ideas when guaranteed that they will receive fair compensation and will not be ripped off. The irony, as I understood it from Mr. Boyle, is that such laws actually hinder innovation and artistic expression. All of this material is lost to those who wish to use it in other forms of expression. By no means was he expressing support for the free exchange and pirating of others work, but rather expressing a displeasure with how long material is protected.

Information was cited that 99% of copyrighted material loses its marketability in approximately 6 to 7 years. However, protection is there for an incredibly long time after that period. What this ultimately leads to is a lock on information that people could be exposed to if it were freely available; they would never desire it enough to pay for it or they would be incapable of paying for it.

A great analogy was that The Library of Congress is like a giant bowl of pudding. There is so much information locked away from public view. So many great pieces of work with no one able to experience them. Now, the marketable portion of this pudding is equivalent to a small raisin. So we have a giant bowl of the greatest tasting pudding ever created, and we can't consume it because of a singular forbidden piece. What possible end can that serve besides the deprivation of human growth?

The bottom line is that the internet has created both an opportunity and a liability for the world of intellectual property. Currently, it's not being employed as well as it could be.


I would like to say that this presentation was probably the most interesting and entertaining academic activity I've attended. The quality of this writeup does not reflect the extremely high quality of the presentation.

Reading too much into coincidences

I’m in a very strange state right now.

My job is confirmed for about another year, but I’ve been furiously searching for another. Pantaliamon and I had big plans regarding having a child in the near future, and we’ve been forced to shelve them while I wait to see what my financial state will be. Although I’m not being pressured to find something more secure, I feel the pressure to do it nonetheless. I didn’t attend college so I could live through same kind of financial instability my parents did when I was growing up.

So, I’ve been sending out resumes to little effect, but yesterday I got a sign that someone has actually read it.

My work has a conference on international affairs and journalism planned for May, and my email box is where all the online registrations end up. One of yesterday’s registrations just happened to be the VP of Communications for a nonprofit I applied to two weeks ago -- the very person who is hiring for the position. Since I know we haven’t mailed anything to her regarding the conference -- she’s not even on our mailing list -- the only way should could have found out about it is when she saw my resume. Our URL is listed under my accomplishments.

The Deputy Director was delighted when she saw that the VP had registered. “I wonder how she found out about this?” she asked.

“I dunno,” I replied, innocently. “Maybe she just visits our website regularly?”

Of course, it could have just been a coincidence. It’s not like I’ve actually been called in for an interview, yet. Nonetheless, my heart stopped for an instant when I saw that registration in my inbox.


Pfc. Jessica Lynch has been found. I can’t describe how happy this makes me. She’s the reason I wrote “Expecting other peoples' children to make the sacrifice,” and I’m so glad that she’s alive.

One of the journalists at work -- who is normally very sensible -- told me today how angry she was about the coverage regarding Jessica’s rescue.

“The media is so biased,” she said to me. “They haven’t even reported that Jessica was in a hospital -- the Iraqis were treating her for her wounds.”

Now, I’m a cynic. I question the media and the government on a regular basis. But the fact remains that Jessica was being tortured in that hospital. She had at least two untreated gunshot wounds, as well as other injuries. The war in Iraq may not be just, but that doesn’t make the Iraqis saints. They torture prisoners in hospitals for a reason -- so it appears to the Arab world (and naive American reporters) that they’re treating the people they’re actually inflicting terrible agony on. You’d think that someone who covered the region for over a decade would have a more realistic view of things. But then again, I guess the recent controversy over Peter Arnett’s coverage is proof that experience doesn’t make up for stupidity.

I informed her that no, the media was reporting that she was in a hospital, but also that she had been tortured by the Iraqi “feyadeen” there. Something my reporter friend refused to believe.

What is wrong with people? Why can’t they grasp the concept of a nuanced world? Yes, the war may be wrong, but it doesn’t make Saddam Hussein and his forces angels, either. It’s like people pick a side and say, “These are the good guys” and completely ignore the established facts about the other side.

I know it’s painful for some people to admit, but both sides can be wrong. I know that makes it impossible to pick a side, but that’s why you have to create your own.

It's not officially spring yet...not in my book, anyway.

I dunno. Maybe I've just read too much Kerouac, but it's not springtime for me until I see that first blonde, driving down the road in her convertible. Hair flowing, confident, but not conceited. Relaxed.

It really is a sign of spring, though, you know? I mean, we're all human, and it's human nature to try and exude sex appeal -- some of us exuding what little we can -- and when you see the blonde drive down the road, you know the seasons have changed, with the most comfortable of us shedding our winter skins first.

Say what you want about these qualities yourself - love them, hate them - doing either at this moment implies that you're kind of missing the point here. Just think for a second about the Platonic forces currently at play... the blonde, the car; the beauty, the raw power. Exposed to the chaotic but gradually improving elements -- what a better time than spring, to display such instinctual, Dionysian qualities?

I saw a blonde today, driving a Mustang... but it wasn't a convertible. It simply didn't elicit the same feelings, either.

I'm sure she'll be pulling out onto the road any day now, though... maybe some of you have already seen her.
"Do you have kids?"
"No, not unless you count these 60 mine, because I do."
"Yeah, that feeling, imagine it all condensed into one kid. That's being a parent."

I had this conversation tonight. I teach sixty kids from three different classes ages 10-11. I never teach for work. I never teach for money (obviously). I teach because I love to teach. I have also discovered the joys and pains of teaching: emotional attachment. I leave: I worry about the kids. I wake up: I worry about the kids. I constantly have nothing but deep concern for these kids.

The woman I had this conversation with is a teacher and a mother. We were discussing what it is to love to teach. Then she opened my eyes to what it is to be a parent. This condensed emotion and deep bond is something I simply cannot comprehend. When she gave me this analogy, however, my heart clenched and I felt the hair stand on end. Things made so much more sense to me in the world.

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