I slept in until 10 AM, which is hard for me, because I'm very sensitive to light, and the morning sun blasts in through my window every day, even when the blinds are pulled. Nevertheless, after working until 12:30 AM this morning, and coming home and forcing myself to stay awake so I could finish the story I was reading in the collected fictions of Jorge Luis Borges, I was pretty tired.

I worked on the pencil 'n' paper roleplaying game I'm writing. Over 20 noders are helping me playtest it, and their feedback is invaluable. Still, I seem to be having trouble coming up with a good piece of introductory fiction. I either make it too byzantine or too forced. I should have a new version to go out tonight, or possibly tomorrow, which will make me feel better about it, but I'll probably have to go back to the bullet-point background for the time being, just so it won't be the random hodge-podge of half stories that it is right now.

This lead me to think about my recent writing in general, or rather the lack there-of. Ever since I got back from Japan, I've really just stopped writing for pleasure. This might be because I've been very busy these last 18 months trying to finish up my double major / double minor / honors' thesis / president of the literary magazine time here at school, and that's a perfectly understandable excuse, but I also think I'm becoming afraid of writing and accidentally producing crap.

I'm stuck in that external locus of control mode, judging myself by the writings of others, both fantastic writers here at my school, and storyteller noders like Halspal and iceowl, and soon enough, I find myself spending my afternoons singing along to Ani Difranco and Soul Coughing tunes rather than writing my own.

I've also been thinking about whether I should try to move to Japan in a few years. I've studied the language for almost 8 years now, and I'm so-so at it. I feel like if I'm gonna put so much time into something, maybe I should try being a little better than I am. But I've got a whole life here in the states, and a nice relationship, and there aren't a lot of pencil 'n' paper roleplaying gamers in Japan, and I'd really miss that.

I'm working very hard to make "being creative" my job, but will I accidentally kill off my creativity in the process?

I woke up at 11:45AM and thought it was only 9:45AM until I saw the clock. Then I kicked myself for having a bad sense of time, yet again, thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

Breakfast consists of uncooked ramen and a small can of peaches whilst I check my e-mail and chat to the couple people who are online this time of day. Listen to Radio AOL because my WinAmp Playlist has gotten old and all my download programs are messed up. Get pissed off at Radio AOL but keep listening for the sake of the music.

Go to LiveJournal Support and see that everything is being covered by somebody else. SmileLoki is away online so I know it's not her, but that's ok. There are probably a few thousand support volunteers and only a couple requests are being posted every half an hour or so so I came here to write.

Get more pissed off at Radio AOL. Still don't turn it off. The music is needed. Avoid the knowledge of a counselor appointment I have in three hours. Nothing ever gets accomplished anyway. I'd ask what the point of the visits are, but I know that it's to keep me out of the hospital, so I bear with them.

I'm feeling angsty. Typical teenager feelings I suppose. But I'm far from typical. Perhaps I'll let myself be normal for a little while. Wander off into the 'net for cheap entertainment.

Time passes, as it always does. My node "The many, unmentioned, side-effects of Zoloft." was Cooled! by wonko. That was totally unexpected, but pleasing at the same time. I feel very strongly about how medicines are presented to people and believe that the truth about them should be told out front.

Feeling sick and thinking about anarchy. I love the idea, but given human nature it's impossible. I wish it were, though. It's sad that so many people have what anarchy is supposed to be confused in their heads. Especially the ones who go to protests. Anarchy isn't about violence and I don't know where they got that idea from. People are dissapointing.
Life. (Where is everybody?) It's Sunday, a day I'm not supposed to think about money, but what else is there?

I'm wondering whether contributions to the Roman Catholic Church are (or, should be) tax deductible, given that much of this money goes to victims of clerical sexual abuse. Since when is paying off victims tax deductible (which amounts to a government subsidy)?

My check to my parish today is very small.

and its made my life so much better.
i haven’t felt depressed since i started it.
i’ve been able to work through it so much more.
i think i’m actually getting better.
more normal.
more human.
(more whole.)

but then days like this come around.
and i don’t know how to feel.
i don’t know if i feel.
there’s just these tears

falling.

I don’t really have a thing for her, but I get jealous knowing I’m not number one. I hate being left out of whatever. Jokes, parties, laughing fits. I am the kind of person who gives up trying. Good old J has the horrid trait of constantly trying to get involved, to be the centre of attention. For Christ’s sake, the guy flirts with my ex-girlfriends, both of which I would probably talk to if it wasn’t for that little fuck. Why, oh why, would you make best friends with your best friends ex girlfriends? Evil is his name. Jesus, he has to be centre of attention all the time, about everything! He doesn’t deserve my friendship. I am a loving companion when I’m treated right. J to most repects is a pathetic guy.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: I’m a complete pushover when I have emotional attachment for a girl. Also if I am genuinely happy in their arms without even having the slightest sexual thought or motivation to pursue a relationship, then I will crumble at anything negative they say. Even if it’s a joke, the simple notion that they would even say such a ludicrous thing breaks me in two like I’ve been dumped.

I hate the fact that just because a girl and a boy are really good friends that they are expected to go out with each other. It is stupid… I feel the same way about my female friends that I do about my male friends, except friendlier and more open. I’m not feminine, but I’m not a bloke either ya know? I can express myself and I can tell people how I’m feeling, but I don’t scratch my balls in public. Does that make me less of a person? I act like my female friends to some degree but this is only because I spend so much time with them that I can’t help it.

I also act like my male friends.

I am not attracted to my female friends sexually or physically. And believe me, these girls are not ugly. Not. Ugly.

It’s ok to acknowledge that, I’m sure.

I have never done a daylog before. I try to concentrate on factual nodes, although sometimes I lose my concentration. Why should anyone care what I did today, how I felt, or anything like that?

Almost a year ago, I went to an E2 gathering. For the first number of hours, I do what I always do when around people I don't know that well. I lurked. Then, thanks to lots of people---too many to name here---I started talking. And, well, I had fun. I was happy, truly happy. If I could have stayed there forever, I would have. . . Everything is made of people!

Then I began my last year of university in August 2001. The stress started to get to me. I could barely afford to pay rent, let alone eat. I dropped a third of my classes that semester, and failed another third. I started doing drugs on a regular basis to relieve the stress. This did not help me afford rent. I was, in short, burned out

The worst thing about the past year has been my noder's block. It has the same source as all my other troubles: when I have too much to do, the stress keeps me from doing anything. Sure, I had lots of ideas, but they would take hours to properly research and write. Hours I could be procrastinating.

I took the path of least resistance. I wanted to improve the nodegel, but couldn't bring myself to expand it. So I started throwing out my chaff. I've had something like thirty or forty of my writeups deleted over the past year, mostly by my request. I dropped from level 5 to level 4. I don't mind, though. I think that, by having my old bad nodes nuked, I have made E2 a better place.

Having talked with some noders, I have discovered that people like my nodes. Even though they're just scripts, Gritchka's and Rancid_Pickle's homenodes gave me a fuzzy feeling. While editing is one of the most important parts of good writing. . . so is writing.

So here's the deal. . . I graduate in May. Then I have a job, a real job, a 40-to-80-hours-a-week don't-have-to-think-about-it-when-I'm-not-there job. One that won't be anywhere near as stressful as my current situation of school plus two part-time-jobs that don't provide enough hours. I will have time. So, come May, expect me to node a lot more than I have been recently.

Just to make sure, I am making a vow today. By HOT DAMN 2, which is in the beginning of July, I will have 300 nodes under my belt. 300 good, quality nodes---no noding for numbers. Even if I don't write any more nodes until I am out of school, that's only a node a day. I think I can handle that.

If you care, and if it's after April when you read this, bug me about it. Give me ideas. Nuke my bad nodes so I will have more to do. And, if you're in Columbus in early July, I might just give you a hug.

I am not logging what has happened today, but catching up with the last few days.

On saturday I moved all my stuff to an unfashionable part of London, West Ham in the East end. It is a small and damp room, but it will do for the next six months or so. The flat is modern and well-connected by tube, close to the city, and the two flatmates decent and not underfoot too much.

On sunday afternoon I took the Jubilee line into the tourist district and walked around: Emabankment to Covent Garden to chinatown to Trafalgar Square to St James park, across the bridge to Waterloo, then back home via the tube. Very nice.

I have a face-to-face interview tomorrow, which is a big step on the slow process of getting employed in this unfavourable IT climate.

I haven't felt inspired to node, and have very limited access to the internet. here I am in a contractor's center in Hammersmith, using a windows dumb terminal to suft the job boards and while away the day.

Apologies for my first 'daily log' but I've been moved to write and feel this is the best place. I should come clean at the start that I am an Englishman and usually proud of it. I'm also a newbie and pretty proud of that too. Today, every day for me since I found this place last month, I decided to read a few random nodes and contemplate. Via today's log I came across anglophobia. StrawberryFrog's writeup was interesting though towards the end I was disturbed with: "I hope... I never learn to speak like that, or pick up some of the drearier aspects of their culture"

I was going to reply, maybe even flame - the pride of the English was at stake. Rather than suffer a tide of downvotes though, I thought I'd have a read of SF's home node first and calm down a bit. SF has an interesting home node and reading some of his writeups was informative. A good writer and something I'd like to aspire to if I have the time on E2. I noted with interest the rant on trolls which made me think SF was being slightly hypocritical and it made me think of my experience of SF's home.

Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to spend several months in Southern Africa including four or so weeks in post-Apartheid pre-Mandela South Africa. It was a fantastic holiday to a marvelous country and I will never forget the trip. Being a rugby player, I received quite a welcome from the Afrikaans community although all races were marvelous - a really friendly people on the verge of real nationhood. I look forward to going back. Saying that, two specific conversations that I had whilst there stuck in my mind and the memory's been rekindled today:

The first conversation was with a black seamstress in Johannesburg. I was invited to a dinner, needed to dress smartly (I was backpacking) so bought a suit off the peg in a departments store and had to go to the seamstress for adjustments. She argued that, although Apartheid was over, I shouldn't have come to her country. I shouldn't have supported the whites and I wasn't welcome in her country. She was full of hate and wasn't ashamed to let me know. I felt bad. I felt she hated me. I tried to explain why I was there but nothing seemed to justify my tourism. I left her feeling disappointed with the new South Africa - where was the forgiveness.

The second conversation that sticks in the mind was whilst hitching between Cape Town and Johannesburg. A couple of middle aged Afrikaans guys picked me. They were from the Orange Free State which I understood to be a conservative stronghold. The spent the next three hours duration of my lift explaining how they weren't racist at all but the problem was that... and here they filled in with any prejudice they could think of from "they are all lazy" to "they are naturally thick" with they being anyone who was not white. I was begging to be set down...

At the time I concluded from these two conversations that the South African situation was far from sorted. I judged quickly and I judged harshly. It wasn't "dreary aspects" of culture that I was scared of, but the volatile mixture of national pride and prejudice that seemed to affect all sided of the cultural divide. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. I felt superior. I felt glad to be English. I felt glad not to be South African. I hoped we never had those sort of problems. I guess that I still felt that way to this day. SF's write up, although only loosely connected has made me revise my thoughts. We have those problems. We have that prejudice. SF has said that he hopes not to pick up some aspects of the English culture. Instead of flaming I agree. I have learned something today about myself. Thank you E2. Thank you StrawberryFrog.

If someone should ever come to me, and ask me how they should live, ask what rule they should keep close to their heart, I would tell them this:

Love yourself, love your neighbour.

...

However, if someone should ever come to me, and ask me what I've learned of the world, ask what I know to be true, I would tell them this:

Expect no mercy.
I know everyone says it, but I rarely write daylogs. I think I am going to use them to keep track of the next few weeks. It is an interesting time in my life and it will be nice to have something I can go back and look at when it's all over. I have 32 days until I graduate from college. I have been there for 4 years and now it all boils down to a little over a month.

Needless to say, I'll a little nervous and confused. For starters, I've always lived with my parents or in the dorms. I've never had to do any of this stuff that all of a sudden has become the center of my attention.

I have to buy furniture?

I have a big to do list on my wall in my bedroom at the dorms. I'm slowly checking off bits and pieces of the list but it seems like it will never be finished. Luckily I already found a new car so I don't have to worry about that. I've also found an apartment so that's off the list. I feel so busy.

Me and all my friends don't really know how to deal with this. We all sit around and drink and talk like usual but the conversation always turns to "isn't it going to be weird that everything is going to be different". It's just life. We won't all be living together or on the same hall. We won't be in class together. We won't work on projects together. Some of us are getting married. Some of us are breaking up. Some of us may never see each other again. Some of us are just going through the motions and hoping that everything turns out. Who knows? Someday it will all be a fond memory?

God, I hope so.

On living without private automotive transportation:

While cars are of dubious value as commuter transportation given short walking/cycling distances or reliable public transport and local shops and facilities, there are times when you really need one. Such as when transporting bulky items that cannot be carried easily on a bicycle, bus or train.

A particularly painful example of this is when purchasing consumer electronics goods. Without a car to transport them, there's no good way to get them back home. How else is one supposed to, say, replace one's television then?

Well, there's always the option of having it delivered. But this itself is far from ideal. First it implies some delay. I may be a child of the eighties, but when I buy a new television, I want it in my home now, dammit. Now now now!

Delivery times are awkward too. You normally have to stay home for at least half of a useful day; usually a week day (which may involve taking a valuable day of holiday from work). Sure they can be delivered and left somewhere like a hallway or something, but that puts the package at risk from thieves. A large, unmarked,widescreen-TV-shaped box left outside someone's appartment only ever means one thing: valuable consumer durables. Not something worthless, not something dangerous. Never, say, a box of ninjas.

Sleep-deprived noders somewhere in Balham,
early Saturday morning.

As I was waking up this morning, I heard a knock on my door. I was not for getting up. Feeling ill, tired, and cold despite the mild weather and two duvets, I remained exactly where I was for a good while more. When at last I had arranged to be warm enough to get out of bed, I peered out my appartment door, to find a very supsicious looking package in the hallway.

I brought it inside. US postmark. Anthrax? Trademark 'Columbian padded mailer'. Drugs? I shook it. It rattled a little, but didn't explode.

I let it sit there for a while... silently waiting for me to open it. I approached, dagger in hand. Opening it carefully, to my horror, I discovered...

A box of ninjas!

Thank you :)

There's nothing like a good scare! my husband said with mirth as we ran through the labyrinths invented by a dream. A snail it had no shell, so maybe it was a slug, crept along the walls as we tried to get away. Deciding to split up, the slug marked the middle of my back with a scent so it could track me after it was done dissolving my husband. There was a room with a swimming pool filled with saltwater. Plunging in and swimming to the bottom I held my breath. The shadow of the relentless snail on the wall was blurry though the water; it was waiting for me to come up for air. This is where I woke up gasping for air. Husband is zzzing away, is that a smirk on his face? oh yea?! There's nothing like a good scare!

*plots revenge*

We had a nice Easter with ham and turkey, scalloped potatoes and mashed ones too, along with fresh bread, corn and asparagus then topped the feast off with sneff's sticky toffee pudding yummy! It was two Easter's ago that we had snow here in Tucson which was so remarkable it was front page news. I came home from church jumped into some warm clothes and went outside to play with my kids. Number Two Son was too young to remember the last time it snowed. He was running around with a laundry basket trying to catch it, while Number One Son clambered up on the roof to make a snowman. Neighbors came out and talked about it and Brandon's mother Tammy joined us. We moved into this neighborhood when Number One Son was eight months old and he and Brandon were playmates for a short time. Then tragedy struck. A few days before his first birthday Brandon fell into the backyard pool and suffered a near drowning accident that left him a spastic quadriplegic.He wasn't suppposed to survive past his fifth birthday yet every spring the news people would come to our street and Tammy would talk about Brandon and pool safety.

On Halloween I would get to see Brandon for trick or treat and visit with his mom. He LOVED Michael Jackson and would hold up a silver gloved hand and sing out Beat It, with all his heart. He knew only a few words and he had his own unique tune adding his own words and interpretations. His speech was unclear; often people would stare at him. Sometimes whisper and point or even laugh at him. Brandon didn't care he continued to sing in his own way.

Brandon didn't get to go to school, but Tammy insisted that he have an education of some kind. The school district resisted her idea at first, but she approached the principal and said Brandon was entitled to an education under the law and by golly the special education teacher began coming to the house to read to him and play ball. When I did playground duty at the school across the street I would look at his house where he lived and wonder what it was like to hear the young voices of children at play come floating in through the windows. Every milestone Number One Son reached would bring me a sadness and guilt. I can see Brandon's home in the background of the pictures snapped just before Number One Son left for the Senior Prom. The school district gave Brandon an Honorary Diploma for High School graduation, but he didn't get to go to the ceremony. Tammy worried too many people would stare, kids would be cruel and make fun. We talked about these things the Easter it snowed. Tammy called it a miracle as Brandon laid there in his wheelchair singing out his unclear words to the snow as it fell on his happy upturned face. Even when he could not sing and didn't know how to sing Brandon sang anyway. His Grandmother and aunt had passed away from cancer a few months before Tammy explained to us. I marveled at her inner strength as she told about taking care of them. How the family had struggled through the painful decisions. Her mother suffered to the bitter end eaten up by the cancer, two weeks later her daughter took her own life as her cancer overwhelmed her body.

This Easter dawned warm and brimmed full of hope for me. As I cooked Easter dinner Brandon succumbed to his injuries.

The neighbors say it was for the best. Brandon is in a better place, his body is whole now and these things bring comfort but no satisfaction. I see his grandfather as he sits out front a shrunken man his life is on pause. His hair unwashed and hangs in his eyes, he calls out in an empty voice,
How are you?
I tell him,
Great! How are you ?
He says he's doing alright all things considered.

There was a small fire over Easter weekend in the wash at the end of the cul de sac. No one seems to know what caused it, but there is a little white cross there now and a blackened mournful cholla hangs sadlike over a little grave as if it is praying for what ever little life was lost. Yesterday someone pulled the cross out of the ground and tossed it carelessly aside. So Sam and I pounded it back into the ground with a rock and gathered a small bouquet of desert wildflowers on our walk to place there when we passed again on the way back home. I can't help but think of Brandon and why him? How could I have coped if it were one of my sons? Why have so many others died and yet I survive?

These things ran through my head like a white noise this morning on the way to the gym. I was late and didn't want to be; begging,
God, Please, please help me get to the gym on time.
(I should know Him well enough by now to not expect a serious answer.)
Three red lights later,
So okay Lord you're not helping me out here.....

U2 is singing on the radio:

    But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
    I believe in the kingdom come
    Then all the colors will bleed into one
    Bleed into one
umm yea it fits the mood, so I turned it up.

A white Tacoma passes by with a bumper sticker that says,

Peace Be With You

grrrrr... roadwork, bleepin' snowbirds!

Did I mention I was late for gym God ??? Please help me.

A bright red Camry blasts by,


Jesus Rules ! ! !

proclaims the frame around the licence plate.

Suddenly everything changes perspective and I laugh.

I get it now Lord.

in memory of Brandon Harley Ryan (1982- March 31, 2002)


He put a new song in my mouth. Psalms 40:3

Devotion


Update: I would like to thank all of you for your kind messages. E2 allows for closure in a wondeful way which helps alot.
Today was a fun day. I went to Hot Topic with my friend and her mom. I wish me and my mom were as close, but she simply adores my sister and barely listens to me. I've tried to tell her this, with tears streaming down my face and her laughing at me and telling me how stupid I am to think that way. Nothing has changed since that night.

I love my sister, but she always gets all the attention. Whenever we are with company or family, they all pay attention to her. "Oh what major are you in?" and lots of questions like that. For me its more like, "How old are you?" and then the talk slowly turns onto my sister again. I'm smart. I get decent grades and yes, I may dress a little funny, but thats just the way I am.

When I went to New York to see some relatives that I haven't seen in 10 years, the girl cousin that I thought was really nice, glared at me. She seemed to really like my sister. She glared at me and sized me up. Everytime I'd try to talk to her, she'd look like she was going to spit on me.

My grandmother is being a pain in the ass, as usual. And this is the first time in months that I have written here, and I am really rusty.

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