Life imitates art.

I'm in the midst of writing up nodes on typical emergency first aid procedures, and suddenly I find myself smack dab in the middle of a situation.

Some friends were visiting, and they brought their kids and two boys they were watching. My kids hooked up with theirs and traipsed over to the park across the street while my wife and I chatted with our friends.

A half hour later, some of the kids come running up. Apparently, one of the kids my friends were watching fell, and another kid fell on his leg. Everyone heard a popping sound. He was laying on the wet grass crying.

I ran over, and "C", a 10 year old, was just as they described. I had read through a couple of reference first aid manuals for information to node, and the last thing I read was about broken bones. I assessed him, he was in obvious pain but was lucid and answered questions. There was no head or spinal injuries, he had landed on wet grass when he fell. His leg was twitching, which was causing him more pain. I talked to him and began to calm him down, telling him that sobbing was making him move slightly, causing his leg to hurt more (which was true). After a minute he was calm. I inspected the leg, and there was a swelling in the mid femur of the right one. From the look of things, it was going to be a hairline fracture. There was no obvious deformities to indicate a compound fracture. I had one person retrieve a blanket and another one call the ambulance.

I kept him calm by telling him it looked like it was rather minor, perhaps a sprain in his shinbone (luckily he was 10 and didn't realize you can't sprain a bone). I asked if he knew if he was allergic to any medications, and he remembered penicillin. I put the blanket over him to keep him warm and to ward off shock. When the paramedics arrived, I relayed his name, how it happened, what I assessed and that he remembered his allergy. They were able to get him up and on his way quicker, especially since he was calm and could follow their instructions.

All I can say out of this is refreshing my first aid skills actually helped a child today. The nodes I added here under first aid are really for reading interest or as a last-second refresher. Nothing can beat taking an actual first aid course or getting CPR certified. You just never know when you'll need to use those skills.


News from the hospital: hairline fracture. He'll be fine. They're going to put on a cast, and maybe he'll ask me to sign it.

Last night was fun.

The day began as most Saturdays do for me: lazily. In the afternoon. I spent some time writing code, playing games, watching TV. In the evening, I decided to rent some movies.

In what was perhaps an attempt to relive the desperate and immature humor of my middle school years (and because I'd never seen it), I rented Beavis and Butthead Do America. I also rented Erin Brockovich, because Steven Soderbergh is one of my all-time favorite directors and, believe it or not, I'd never seen that either.

Halfway through Beavis and Butthead (which was actually quite genuinely funny, now that I'm seeing it for more than just the lame adolescent boy humor), Tabor and Lillis (my roommates) came home and reminded me about a party at Sara's house. This was around 12am.

So I zipped over to Sara's house. There was indeed a party. I spent a good three hours there, enjoying the company of friends. Around 3am, Carlson suggested we all go get pie. This was a very good idea, and as anyone who knows me will testify, I will never turn down an opportunity to eat pie.

So the five of us who remained at the party (myself, Carlson, Loren, Sara, and Steven) piled into my car and headed to the 24-hour Thriftway grocery store. We bought three pies -- Dutch Apple, Banana Cream, and Key Lime. We also dropped Steven off at his house, since it was close and he decided he was tired.

At this point we all decided that it would not be in the spirit of things to merely eat the pie at someone's house. So we drove out into the country, blindly exploring backroads until we found a rocky turnoff. I parked here, and we hiked a hundred yards or so, in the dark clear night, through a hay field.

After clearing out a nice spot on a hill, we sat and ate pie and talked and watched the meteor shower. All in all, it was a beautiful night. Carlson proposed that we make this a weekly ritual, and I don't think anyone disagreed, but it later occurred to me that scheduled spontaneity just isn't the same as the real thing.

In any case, when I got home at 7am after we watched the sunrise, I was happy.

So in my dream, I am standing inside Glasgow Central station, looking up at the decorative wrought ironwork of the roof supports, when I notice that there is a staircase leading upward, with a sign reading "York Station". I'm naturally intrigued as York is a four-hour drive from Glasgow, and begin to climb the narrow open ironwork staircase. As I climb, I notice that the decorative work begins to resemble spider's webs, and that the air is warmer and more humid.

Finally, I arrive at the top of the stairs to find a landscape of tall trees resembling poplar, but bearing tiny carmine flowers. The air is redolent of honeysuckle, and I draw closer to the trees, the better to catch the scent. The ground is difficult to negotiate, being springy with deep leafmould, and the scent is becoming cloying, but I carry on nonetheless.

I am about six feet from the nearest tree when I notice that it is covered with cobwebs, and there are tiny grey-and-red lizards scuttling around on the forest floor. I have to be careful not to tread on any of them as I walk toward the trees. As I reach the trees, I see thousands upon thousands of dun-coloured spiders, with unusually long bodies, which bend round underneath them. On closer inspection, each spider has thick, hairy, muscular-looking legs and bright eyes - each spider being about eight inches long, and with a leg span of over a foot. I approach closer to see their eyes.

The spiders sit quietly in their webs, watching me as I approach - all except one. This one is climbing down the trunk of the tree, and is intent on something I cannot see. I hear a faint noise, reminiscent of the noise of a train on the tracks. It seems to climb down for a very long time, and I begin to feel on uncomfortable writhing sensation within myself. Suddenly, the spider finds a lizard climbing the tree, and for no apparent reason, attacks it, savagely biting it behind the head and hitting it with its front legs. I shudder with the suddenness of the attack, and feel a strange throbbing vibration passing through my whole body.

The lizard seems not to respond initially, and I want to run to its rescue, but for some reason, I am unable to move. Then the lizard opens its mouth - it has a bright red tongue, and many very sharp-looking teeth. It slowly reaches for one of the spider's legs and bites down deliberately. I hear a crackling noise, and feel a pang of empathy with the spider, which screams as the lizard opens a huge gash in its leg. I am now unaccountably the same size as the spider, and am alarmed to note that beneath the spider's exoskeleton is human skin and flesh. The spider looks to me, mute appeals for help in its eyes, but I am falling from the tree.

As I hit the forest floor, I realise that I have become a spider, and that I am among the many lizards on the ground.

I awaken suddenly, sweating and panting. This dream scared me - the first in a long time to do so. I count my limbs to reassure myself, and trembling, get out of my bed.

what i did (or didn't do) on August 10, 2001
  • Send my cousin my new CV (yes)
    he even tidied up the html formatting
  • Send a CV and cover letter to Erricsons (yes)
  • update the dublin universities node wrt ryanos suggestions (yes)
  • email claire (yes),rob(no) ,eliana (no),
    really really must email these people !
  • go to Cork (yes)(yes)(yes)(yes)(yes)(yes)
  • read some papers on the train down, try to do a little writing on the train. (yes)

Things to do today

  • Ring the two recruitment agencies that showed an interest in my CV
  • Work on the poem
  • install MySQL and get it to read in a foxpro file
  • leave in some film to get developed.
  • talk to belinda
  • again again continue to tidy my house

13:09 What an earth shatteringly fantastic weekend. I arrived in Cork on friday night somwhat nervous about the encounter, I was a few minuets early and couldn't see claire, she came up from behind and we began to kiss again, she was more beautifull than I had remembered.

Amazing, Amazing, I can't describe the weekend, no words will come to me at the moment, This is the first that I have begun a relationship with an Irish girl. An Irish friend of mine who lives in London asked me earlier in the week whether I had discovered if the old saying about Irish girls is true, that they turn from saint to whore once they loose their virginity. Now let me be clear, this friend of mine is Irish but she was refusing to tell me. The phrase is not to be taken literaly but describes a delightfull penchant in Irish people to enter uninhibited into activities, and yes this was a delightfully uninhibeted weekend.

Met with friends of hers in a pub on friday night, saturday we went hiking in the Galtee mountains then to dinner with other friends at a restaurant called the strasbourg goose.

On sunday morning she dragged me out of bed to go and look at some cliffs. Now I am normally the one to go galavanting after the cliffs, but that bed had become a place that I did not feel the need to leave, however she read me right again because the cliffs were amazing, Roberts cove and Nohovis cove, I clambered around above the sea at the base of Roberts cove, hoping that the rock was solid enough not to break in my hands, it was good, I didn't fall, got to the top and through the relief of being safe again kissed and kissed and kissed again, really far too much kissing than can be good for one in a weekend

And then home again on the train, slept the three hours on the way back to Dublin.


last,up,next.

I hope my boss doesn't read this, because today I haven't done anything...



Drink more Wiener Melange, it makes you happy.

I'm very very lucky to see today! On Friday night, as I drove home with my wife (after picking her up from work), we were hit by a little car flying through a red light. Our car spun around 270 degrees and wound up on the sidewalk, about ten feet from a telephone pole, while the other car did a 180 and ended up across the intersection facing back the way it came. Amazingly, no one was hurt. My door was caved in, as was the back door on my side, the rear driver's side window was bent (YES, BENT) at about a 30 degree angle, and my front windshield looked like a checkerboard.

Wow. I felt wonderful just to be able to get up out of my seat. I stretched a few times, and didn't feel too bad! Especially given that my door had reduced the size of my seat substantially. My wife composed herself quickly, and the other driver seemed to be okay, except for the fact that his car will never drive again (the entire front end had been pushed into the glove box!) When we got to talking, it turns out he's a mechanic at the dealership where we bought the car! Not just that, he drives their courtesy vehicle sometimes, and he's picked my wife up before when our car was in for repair - he was always very calm, and very polite.

There was no alcohol involved, and there were no witnesses, so my insurance goes up based on the fact that its his word against mine (privately he admitted he was wrong, but he wouldn't tell that to the cop), but at least my little Honda Civic can be repaired.

When we got home, we realized our fridge was broken and that the milk was solid, and the freezer had melted all over the floor. So much for buying quality products! Honda Civic and Maytag Fridge/Freezer gone same day.

I'm going to stop saying I'm sorry. Because I've said it enough, I meant it enough, and there's no need to keep saying it if she won't accept my apology. A person gets dumped, they get sad, they wish it never happened, and they say stupid shit. That's not a sin, that's normal. She says how I acted made her feel bad, but I acted that way because I wasn't exactly feeling good myself. I guess she's not big enough to see it was all mutual and that there'd be a benefit to letting bygones be bygones and moving on maturely from this point.

I mostly think now about friendship and about how important communication happens to be. If one were to conduct a postmortem analysis of our failed relationship, for example, a rampant lack of communication was probably its demise. Furthermore, it's obvious now to both of us that I never quite won her heart. Maybe that was the cause of the communications problem? Maybe we held back our feelings because we were afraid of how the truth would affect things? She did say she liked me and enjoyed hanging out with me. And our dates were mostly happy just because she got to get out for a while. That sounds like the foundation of a good friendship to me.

I'm never going to just get over the fact that I couldn't win her heart. A bunch of time may be necessary for that, sure. But it's so hard to sit in isolation thinking about it when I'd rather have a nice friend to talk to. Since I figured we at least had the basis for a decent friendship, and since I sure could have used a friend, that maybe you'd think about trying that?

Isolation and hatred: bad. Communication and friendship: good. Okay?

Hm. The last few days have been curious, to say the least.

To start with, I've been in one of my rare periods of what I call "Sherlock Holmes syndrome". The thing is, I have a very well-developed gift for pattern recognition.

It happens, however, that this gift runs amok and leaves me in a slightly dazed half-dreamy condition where everything is significant. I'm not talking about imaginary significance - this is a real, measurable phenomenon. This is a state where I can decipher the petty details of the surrounding world to a degree that resembles paranormal powers (I'd like to point out that there is nothing at all supernatural or paranormal about this - it's just a detail-oriented mind tripping on its own power).

However, it is also a slightly uncomfortable state to be in, because it leaves me somewhat unconcentrated, overwhelmed by my quasi-ESPish realisations ("Gee! Look at the pretty dew on the leaf. It's going to be sunny tomorrow. And, hey, the wheat harvest will be below average this autumn...."1). As you can imagine, this is rather disconcerting. Like driving a car while stoned, I suppose. Fortunately, the state seems to be waning as I write this. Attribute any weirdness in this writeup to the tail end of the syndrome, please.

So, I've been walking around, feeling slightly disoriented - and around me, the world has been less than obliging. Instead of comforting normality, I've been surrounded with freakish events. I won't go into all the little details - but I would like to mention one event that took place on Saturday morning, as I was feeding breakfast to my son Noah.

Noah (who is not yet two years old), suddenly informed me that "Molly2 drive car."

With all possible calm and parental condescension, I corrected him: "Noah, honey, Molly can't drive a car. Molly is a dog. Dogs can't drive cars."

At which point Noah looked at me as if I were mentally deficient and unleashed the following piece of devastatingly syllogistic formal logic:

"Grandma drive car. Grandma drive Molly. Molly drive car."3

I'm not sure how long I sat there, gaping at my not-quite-two-year-old son. Amazed.


Notes:
1) Both of these examples are made up. Don't blame me if you lose your shirt in wheat futures. I decline to provide real examples.
2) Our dog, a Tibetan Terrier, currently staying with Noah's grandparents
3) All of this translated from Danish - in Danish, the word for "to drive" is identical to the the word for "to be driven in".

Today is my second day in London, England. I've just spent two days in Amsterdam, Holland, for which I attempted to node a quick daylog yesterday but was thwarted by the timer on the internet terminal in Schiphol Airport ticking off the end of my time before I finished and pressed "sumbit".

It's the second week of my three week holiday and it's been a good time away from work. I've already spent some time in Singapore, some time home with parents in Kluang (Malaysia) and now am far far away from both work and home.

Amsterdam was good. I managed to visit the Rijksmuseum (Rijsmuseum?) which is a must see for anyone wishing to see some really good paintings, some examples of Dutch history and some interesting things including a good 'treasury exhibit' full of expensive stuff -- all under the same roof. A must see are the Rembrandts, especially his Nightwatch, a wall filling exceptional piece which is the pride of that museum. Vermeer's Milkmaid was missing and was apparently in London while I was there - (I shall find it!). I found the van Gogh museum to be a bit disappointing. The guy was good but somehow I don't appreciate the big strokes as much as the Rembrandts ... and he did go mad at the end of his career after all...

The red light district was also interesting - prostitutes standing in windows facing the streets showing off their assets, trying to entice potential customers. There were all sorts - black, white, blonde, brunette, Asian, fat, slim, voluptuous, slim, you name it, there was probably one like that. There were also many sex show places and sex shops but the funniest was one 'Casa Rosso' place where there was a giant penis with rotating balls (suspended by water) in front of the shop.

Also got to see the flower market, the other street market, the canals and the architecture of old Amsterdam. Quite interesting. The most efficient form of travel there must be on bicycle. Cars are limited by the small width of the streets and the many one way streets around the canals. Taxis are surprisingly allowed to go where other cars are not allowed, including on the tram tracks and on the wrong way through one way streets.


Today I saw the British Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum was boring. Well, it probably would have been really fun for a 10 year old but I knew most of the stuff anyway. The most interesting bit of that museum for me was the exhibit on minerals. They have a really impressive collection of stones, gems, rocks of all sorts filling up many many cabinets in a rather large room. There was also an interesting corridor full of stuffed birds (including extinct dodos) and dissections of interesting birds. Quite interesting to see, for example, the ridiculously long plumes of a bird of paradise that extend from its head to beyond its tail and which, presumably, has no function other than to attract mates.

The Victoria and Albert Museum was more interesting. There was a room full of Raphaels! Big cartoons of biblical scenes, each probably more than 20m x 5m and all great to look at. Like the Rembrandts in Amsterdam, the Raphaels take you in and you keep on seeing more detail the longer you stare at them ... and you keep on seeing more things as you go up close. There was also an interesting exhibit of glass sculptures by some contemporary artist which included an amazing two-three storey structure in the courtyard which looks like many pieces of red, yellow and orange glass long twisted pieces tied together in a vertical column. It must look wonderful at night if it's lighted from within, which I'm sure it is.

I am not doing the V&A museum justice by just the above paragraph but will probably have to leave it at that. My day out ended with sitting in deck chairs in Hyde Park by the lake, which was a thorougly restful way to end a long day.

The plan tomorrow is to visit the National Gallery (got to find that Vermeer!), Tate Gallery and Trafalgar Square (and all the nearby famous structures). A visit to the Millenium Eye is planned too but that might take place later this week.

Good day from London!

Unusually productive day at work today. I'm seriously trying to squeeze as much work into my last remaining days in America before I begin my year abroad in the most expensive place in the world, or so I've heard

During the past two weeks, some New Jersey driver hit and killed a deer. Someone was kind enough to drag it off of the road ... right on the pavement at the edge of the sidewalk where I must walk every single day. The smell wore off after about the first week, possibly because of drying due to the extreme heat we've had here in the Garden State. Recently, we had unusually huge amounts of rainfall. Returning to work by my usual path today, I passed the dead deer. The rain had opened it's eyes, which now have now through the magic of nature become bright, almost flourescent white. Walking past the deer, I saw these piercing white eyes, and what appears to be an open mouth post-mortum grin pointing in my general direction. It looked like it was laughing at something,possibly of all things me, or perhaps a stray beer can by the edge of the sidewalk. Very disgusting none the less

I got my wish, the summer lasts forever again. This is the third year in which I have endured the trials of soccer pre-season, and it never ceases really, really hurt.

The hours fade into days, and each day is a day to be lived, a day whose end I would not covet. I don't think or ponder, that's for people who have free time. I wake up in the morning and I know exactly what I will do and how I will do. My goals are nil, and what I hope to accomplish is to survive, to achieve medial things like not getting hurt and being lucid enough to stare at my computer screen for the hours each day that I can.

At 9:00 am I arrive at school and run, work, sweat. My much-too-sedintary lifestyle does not afford the same degree of uncleanliness that hours of hard activity each day do. Clothes worn when you never break a sweat are still good - they can be worth another day. Yet in 3 hours I totally exhaust the usefulness of the shirt and shorts I donned before leaving. I stagger back home at 11:00 and shower, put on a nice shirt and long pants and go to work, arriving at 12:00. My biggest dilemma there is whether I should actually let on that I'm not really staying until 5:00. Part of the benefits of being a migrant, teenage intern is that no one knows when I'm supposed to be coming or going. No one checks on me, I can lie. The power unnerves, but I need the money. I don't like lying, but what man, given the chance to be dishonest and get away with it entirely, would pass it up?

I leave for home at 4:00 pm, an hour earlier than I normally would. I change for the second time and depart for the school field again. This time, the workout is not running. It is soccer, for two and a half hours. At 7:30, again sweaty, tired, and sore, I meander home and shower for the second time, change for the third. My thoughts and worries are no longer on such abstract concepts as future, creativity, or friendship. My consciousness is work, pain, and inertia. Soccer is a game, and games are supposed to be fun? But this is not one of the games I would spend hours playing in front of my TV or monitor had I any time to myself. This is high school sports, overblown and ridiculously competitve. Sometimes I wonder why I still retain this antiquated, barbaric bastion of my childhood. I haven't the willpower to change, it is familiar in a world in which so little else is. I wrote this node as the expression of what little creative impulse I can draw up from my tired, numbed mind.

When I go to sleep, I would normally look forward to things to come tomorrow. But, I neither dread nor await tomorrow, for I know beyond a doubt what it will bring. This temporary bout of masochism will be over soon. If I can endure this, there are many other things I can endure. I can forget my larger struggles for a smaller, simpler struggle.

I went to the Iowa State Fair today. I nearly met my match in the midway. It was a ride called Extacy. I must say, I was awed, as this is the only amusement ride that has ever brought me close to the Technicolor yawn.

Let me describe this ride to you: There are four arms radiating out from the center hub. At the end of these four arms is a hub with four cabs, each cab having two seats. A restraint comes down over your head and torso to hold you in. The arms orbit in a clockwise direction, and the cabs orbit the hubs at the end of each arm in a clockwise direction as well. The rider is facing forward. The ends of the four main arms are able to rotate 360 degrees, so that eventually, the riders are upside down, and then brought rightside up again.

I got on this ride, thinking it was a different ride I had seen from a distance. I had no idea what I was in for. I had just recently heard the song Tilt-A-Whirl by Insane Clown Posse, and it was running through my head. I was clueless to the fact that this ride was going to take me to the brink of blowing chunks. Mind you, I've ridden more than my fair share of amusement rides, never feeling sick from them. But then, I had never been on this ride.

As the ride begins, you being going around, and the hub is elevated off of the ground. The ends of the arms begin to rotate so that at first, you're dipping up and down as you turn around and around. When the arms get to a 90 degree angle, you're seeing ground, then sky, then ground. Finally, you begin to be inverted, seeing everything around you upside down. Then, for about a minute, I think, we were all upside down. The blood rushed to my head, and I could feel the pressure from my stomach contents wanting to spill forth. I don't know if we were upside down as long as everyone else is, or if the operater was just toying with the very few people riding this amusement at that time of day. I do know I was silently praying that that I wouldn't spary the immediate area with chunks of foot-long brautworst and grilled onions.

As we began to be turned rightside up, the pressure ceased, and I thanked God for my intestinal fortitude. As I got off, I was definatly awed: for the first time, I was brought to the brink of vomiting by an amusement ride, and I was impressed.


Yes, I posted this writeup on August 15th, 2001. I went to the fair on the 13th, and was too tired to finish writing then, and just finished the writeup tonight.

August 13, 2001, or 'How was your trip to San Francisco, TallRoo?' -- Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

God, I fucking love my job.

I'm sitting in a 25th floor room in the Hilton, San Francisco, looking out across the city. Magnificent. I vow to ride up to the top floor later. From the 46th floor I will be able to see more than just this glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I arrived yesterday evening after a gruelling journey from England. A whole day without rest. The only advantage was that I had time to read the whole of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Air travel is boring but at least its a great chance to engage in mammoth reading sessions like that. Jet lag is a bitch though; it woke me up after only 6 hours sleep last night. Look, internal body-clock. I need this. Don't you understand? It's not midday, it's four in the morning. No sense reasoning with it I suppose. Best just to gradually adjust.

I'm here for a conference. I am speaking at a 'Technical Developers' conference. (There are non-technical developers somewhere? Keep them away from me.) Today is a dead day as far as the conference goes. Food and drinks will be served later, so I shall go and network. I have business cards with me. These will go to deserving people only. Business card whores, who feel the day is not complete unless they get through a stack of 50 cards, annoy the hell out of me. I couldn't do that. I brought about 20 with me. Most of the reason I'm so frugal with my cards is that I hate it when people contact me after conferences. I'm a developer. Conferences are strictly a side-line.

I briefly visit the conference center. About 9:30. No rush. I register - enjoying as I always do the ever-so-slightly surprised look in the eye of the staff when I (looking no older than my 22 years) register as a speaker. Internally I'm saying Yes. I'm speaking. Yes, I probably am the same age as your son. I'm sure he could speak in public too if he wanted. I have never had a problem with speaking to audiences.

The cinema one block from the conference center opens at 10 am. It was a Loews Cineplex. I watch the 11:30 showing of American Pie 2. Not quite as funny as the original but pretty watchable. The hour between buying the ticket and the start of the film I spend wandering and eating. I found a Burger King. It took an age to find the right change. "A dime is 10 cents, right?" I'm still not used to this currency. I will never know why the nickel is twice the size of the dime. That's stupid. My favourite coin is the quarter. Pretty, pleasantly sized and a reasonable value. We don't have 25p coins in the UK. The 20p is the closest you get. Mind you, we gave up on £1 notes a while ago too (we == English. They still exist in Scotland). Dollar bills don't annoy me though. It's fun to hold a wad of cash and not know how much is there until you've checked every note. Does the Federal Bank think that different colours and sizes for different valued notes would be too radical?

San Francisco feels like a real US city. I was in Minneapolis two weeks ago (another conference) and it felt much more sterile. San Francisco is dirtier. It has more homeless people. I felt more threatened as I wandered at dusk last night but, wow, it's more real . It's far more alive than Minneapolis. You're ON the streets rather than 20 feet above them in a glass-covered walkway. Oh, and the roads really do go up and down hills just like in all those driving games. I havn't seen anyone leave the ground yet but I'm sure with just a little speed it would be possible. Perhaps I will rent a Porsche and try it later. Or perhaps not.

I spend some time working. I have some Java to write.

The dinner at the conference center is good. Buffet food and free beers. I feel lonely and lost at first. There are over three thousand people and not one person I've ever met before. I wander around with food and beer looking for a table. When I sit down randomly at a table it is next to a young couple from Australia. He works with the software product I used to test. We talk shop, interspersed with pleasant small talk about the differences between Australian, American and English cultures.

He wants to mingle some more, so I continue to wander. I get chatting to two very friendly guys. They have recently signed a resale agreement for the brand new software I am here to speak about tomorrow. We chat happily about its features when suddenly it hit me. I am networking. It hits both of us at once, and we exchange cards.

The guys want to watch an American Football match at their hotel (the Hilton. It's my hotel too), so we go there and get a few more beers. Conversation is varied. American Football. Rugby. The Kyoto Protocol. Hunting. Planet of the Apes. South Africa. Max Payne.

As I get to bed at 11pm I send my wife an SMS message. She replies straight away. She just got up. Of course, it's 7am at home. Very weird.

I’ve only been in the dorms for a week, and I’m beginning to adjust to my new life; however, drastic changes in environment shouldn’t be taken lightly. What I don’t understand about living in a dorm is that I’m always tired, I always want to nap, or I always want to lay down to sleep at twelve thirty. However, during the day I’m not particularly active, nor do I have a very rigorous class schedule. I think it has something to do with getting accustomed to living inside a machine that is an institution (don’t get me wrong, I want to be here), but the adjustment is rather bumpy.
To be honest, I didn’t think that college (and dorm life) be a drastic change for me. I thought that moving into dorms would hardly interfere with my regular life, my regular friends, and my daily activities (this is mostly due to the fact that I’m going to college in the same town that I grew up in).
I love Asheville.
I’m comfortable in Asheville, I’ve been here forever. Sometimes when I sit in my utterly bare bedroom I wonder what I’m doing staying in Asheville. I stare barely focused at the wall, and tell myself that I’m no good at making changes, but that’s just natural.
I’m meeting new people at an alarming rate, which seems rather unnatural to me. I’ve never been put into a position where meeting people is not only a social perk, but something that is entirely necessary to a pleasant survival during the college years.
Solitude is beautiful.
I’m happy to be alone, although I bloom when with friends. Loneliness and solitude are different things, but I treat them the same. Being alone makes you feel a certain way; solitude makes you feel lonely. I like the idea of being in control of reaching a state of heightened emotion.

"Bad girl, drunk by six
Kissing some kind stranger's lips
Smoked too many cigarettes today
I'm not happy when I act this way"

Madonna, "Bad Girl"


Lately I've been spending at least a few nights a week having a drink or three.. at my local neighborhood bar! Heh.. I don't know what's worse.. being motivated to see a boy.. or that being the only excuse I find acceptable for the behavior..

Going downtown lately has caused me to run into some people I dig, and don't dig so much.. As I was being forced to shoot pool the other night I wound up running into my high school bully.. basically the guy who made high school sexual harassment more than just an article in Seventeen magazine.. back then I was too scared to even be noticed for the "wrong reasons" .. I was loud only when I found it appropriate.. I kind of forgot about this person and their daily torture.. I forgot how I felt back then..

Not only did I run into this person.. I didn't even recognize them at first.. they approached me.. and reminded me who they were.. "Yeah I sat in front of you in health class!" .. uhh.. is he retarded.. all he had to add in that sentence was "yeah, I was the guy who used to try to grab your breasts, and put my hand up your skirt during those stupid health class film strips.. " All I could do was smile.. and pretend his face wasn't one I recognized.. "Oh.. really how weird!" .. I guess that was all about power.. and my refusal to let him have any in that moment..

The same night someone pulled aDr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde on me.. maybe I do read too much into things.. I've realized my "niche" is full of people who think too much.. I never realized this.. I figured everyone was as strategical/analyzing as us.. I don't think most people take things so seriously.. "it makes me want to laugh.. makes me want to cry.. makes me wanna tear the stars from the sky" heh..

So I wonder if I have the guts to call or ask either one of my confusing situations out.. I am so 1950's..

Miss Cleo sent me email.. hahaha maybe she would know what to do!@#!@
Whilst doing some screwdriver surgery on my little camera (removing the battery that ran that blasted date/time stamp that liked to turn itself on and ruin pictures) I guess I hosed the little gear that advances the film. Long story short? I'm back in Bangkok for a couple of days to pick up a new little snapshot-takin' camera. Man, I forgot how hot it can be here. I mean, yeah it's hot in Lao too, but I forgot how a city "holds" onto heat.

Two forty-five this morning... my train finally pulls in (please do not read any Hitchcockian suggestiveness into that statement) to Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station (which, no foolin', is a dead ringer for the SuperFriends Hall of Justice — the outside anyway). The clock strikes three and I'm in a cab heading for a guest house. Three-twenty finds me turtle-esqe with my backpack looking for a guest house with an available room — rooms are hard to come by tonight which I blame on it being summer rather than yesterday being Queen Sirikit's sixty-ninth birthday.

A helpful woman on the street helps me track down a guest house with a room. I'm a little puzzled when she has a key to the front security gate — although I later learn she also has a room there.

Ten minutes later I find myself saying

"No, seriously, I need to go to sleep in my room. There's your room right there... you should go in there...
And as I finish speaking I look back up the stairs that now separate us — me standing in front of her door, she a few steps from mine — and I see her standing there; looking down at me waiting for a response; silent. While I had been talking she had pushed her jeans and underwear down past her knees.

"Thank you for finding me the room — it was very helpful. And thank you for the kind and generous offer, but seriously, I just want to go to sleep."

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