I am thinking of you. It always happens at times like this. I feel like I need to write something to you once again here - that you are expecting it of me. I hope I can live up to expectations.

It is hard for me to think of what to write. Shall I go over the disappointments of the day? It wasn't all that bad here today. Shall I remember how you brightened up every moment I spent with you? You really did. Am I just repeating myself endlessly?

In another few minutes I will be coming back to you. I can barely contain myself. To hold you in my arms again, to pepper your soft cheek with kisses. I hope you'll be as happy to see me as I always am to see you.

The end of the day is always the best part of weekdays, because I can spend these few precious hours with you. The rest of the hours are lost to the endless clicking of keyboards at the office - wasted. If I could only record every waking moment with you and play them back when I am old.

Each day we make new memories together. I hope we can make these last.

A young man was driving to a town almost a thousand miles away. He was on his way to visit his son. He had parted with his wife, four months before, and they now lived far apart. This had been the first time circumstances had allowed him to come and see his child.

The entire drive out, he was filled with anxiety over the reunion. It had been a long time since his son had seen him. He was so young... The therapist had advised that the child might not recognize his father. This made the man wince to think about. It felt as though he had failed his son. "Would he remember me walking and singing him to sleep? Playing together in the park?"

After arriving and visiting with his family briefly, he went out to retrieve his son. Grandpa came along for the ride as well. The thirty minute drive was tense and anxious. This was his son's birthday, today, two years old.

The mother brought out her son, and handed him to his father. They embraced, and the child rested his head against his father's shoulder, like he had always done before. But then, confusion emerged, and he pulled back, looking at this familiar stranger. Then, he turned away, arms outrstretched to Grandpa. As he released his son, the man realized that the lack of recognition he had seen flicker in his son's eyes didn't matter. Just being here with his son, when he could, was all that mattered for now. The boy was beautiful. Golden hair and brilliant eyes. The way he laughed and played with his grandfather was an image he could not turn away from, even had he wanted to. The son was still hesitant about his father, and as they left, he kept his eyes busy looking in other directions, never connecting with dad's. The drive home, the child slept, and was watched with eyes needing this sight, this reminder.

The changes in his son since the last time he had seen him were subtle. He was much more confident and energetic, as he ran around. He played with the huge family dog fearlessly. He played with his aunts and uncles, and grandparents. He avoided the father, but the forsaken didn't mind, and continued to cheer and play with him when possible.

Bedtime was always a trial. As a baby, he had gone through a terrible bout of colic that lasted for the first twelve months of his life. And even after, bedtime was always an ordeal of screaming and crying. Many nights in the distant past, father and son had walked back and forth, baby swaying in arms that held him close, drifting to the singing that slowly lulled him to sleep. Bed time was a time of nervousness for the young man, this night. Either he would coax his son to sleep, or screaming tantrums would lead to sleeping with the grandparents.

The moment the lights were out, the screaming began. The child sat, crying, as his dad sat next to him. The dim night light was enough to see each other by, and the young boy gave his father a look of fear, empty of rememberance, and began crawling, terrified, to the edge of the bed, to run for Grandma. Sadly, the man did the only thing he could think of; he began humming. The baby stopped, still sobbing, and sat up, listening obviously. Latching on to this, he elevated the humming to singing.

While I'm far away from you, my baby
I know it's hard for you, my baby
Because it's hard for me, my baby
And the darkest hour is just before dawn

As he finished the song, he noticed his son was no longer crying. He continued on with the first song that popped into his head.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Oh yesterday came suddenly

As the chorus rose, the child layed down next to his father. His hand reached out to his father's cheek, and he stared into the eyes of this man he was starting to remember. Touching beard, cheek, nose... then grasping his fathers thumb. As he drifted to sleep, holding the hand of the man he recognized now, he never noticed that his father's voice took on a vibrato, not entirely by design.

The young man did not find sleep so easily.

The next morning, his son awoke rapidly, and suddenly climbed out of bed, bolting for the door. He sat up, startled from his sleep, and called to the boy, by name. His son turned, saw him, smiled, and crawled back, to cuddle a while longer. He placed his hand on the small chest, and recited his name. Then, he put his hand on his own chest, and said "Dadda". Small eyes watched intently, as the actions were repeated a dozen times. Then, it was time to go play.

That afternoon, auntie said to him "Who's your dadda?" Confidently, the child walked up to his father, and gently placed small hand on large chest.

Now I notice the streetlamps hum,
The ghosts of graffiti they couldn't quite erase,
The blank faced stares on the subway as people go home.
The parks lay empty like my unmade bed.
The streets are silent like my lifeless telephone.
And this is where I live, but I've never felt less at home.

--"The City", The Dismemberment Plan


The more I visit this place, the less I want to come back. I used to live in New York. It's not the people. Certainly not. If someone tells you New Yorkers are the least friendly, most pretentious people you will ever meet, they're lying to you. Leaving the Army-Navy Game on Saturday, an elderly man gave up his seat on the bus to Port Authority explaining that a Marine never allows an officer to stand whilst the Marine sits. As I walked back along Flushing Avenue, heading towards Marcy Avenue, I passed and greeted three people, and all three of them replied politely.

Of course, the noders of the city are the most hospitable people I met this last weekend. I stayed the night at The Compound where thefez shared his chicken, chiisuta shared her mashed potatoes, lumps and all, just the way I like them. WickerNipple shared his video game and some ideas for books that a young officer might want to read. perdedor even shared a moment to look up from his computer and crack a smile from under his hoodie. The Normally Skittish Grey Cat even provided a 6:58 wakeup call- two minutes before the alarm clock was going to go off. I guess it didn't want me to be late for my flight at Newark. Throughout the night, noders were dropping in to share music, a smoke, whatever they had. It wasn't much, but everyone brought something.

That's why I hate this city: it makes me realise just how much I have, and how unhappy I am. Everything I need or want is given to me. Food, medicine, a place to sleep- those are givens. Since I've been at the Academy, I joined one of those secret societies I guess. I've noticed my bank account randomly grows by large amounts. It's probably related to all those old graduates who drive their rebuilt 1978 Mercedes sedans around. I've been "adopted" by several. Heck, my bonuses were enough to pay cash for a fairly nice sports car.

That's the problem: it's a good thing I'm not a Zen Buddhist, because I'd be going to hell. I have too much. The midshipmen around me have too much. And none of us are happy. We're too busy trying to go up in our class rankings, trying to backstab one another to ensure an aviation billet at graduation, trying to out-train ourselves so we can be SEALs. And while most of us will claim we're happy, does someone who is happy try to undo the efforts of a friend to get ahead?

The people in New York look you in the eye. The midshipmen all walk looking at the ground in front of them.

The noders were happy- it reminded me of the best days I've had doing long distance passage races. A week from landfall, you start running out of food and water. Showers become impossible. The racks are covered in sails. But that's when you're the happiest in my experience. You start tying people up with the safety harness and pushing them overboard for a "bath". You start making explosions of Mexican/Italian/Asian/whatever else you can dig up in the pantry for dinner. And you start sleeping on deck, under the stars with a spinnaker bag for a blanket, rocked to sleep by the waves. You tell stories about what you're going to do in port. But once you get to port, that shave isn't so appealing anymore- in fact, it feels like outright awful because you realise one more chapter in your life is over.

New Yorkers don't have much. But it's theirs. And they share it. The man playing his guitar in the walkway from the E Train to the G Train didn't have much, but he smiled for the change I threw into his cup.

I was walking in Manhattan waiting for my bus at Port Authority on Sunday morning and saw FAO Schwartz- they had a big, life sized, overstuffed kitty in the window. I couldn't help it. I bought it and took it back to the Academy, and stuck it in the Toys for Tots box (the boxes are all over since the Marines run that program nationwide). I don't know why I was feeling such a guilt trip- I took out $20 on Friday night for snacks at the game, and wasn't hungry although I hadn't eaten since Friday, and I didn't go out on Saturday night like I thought we might. So I had around $40 in my wallet, and spent it all on the cat. And for a moment, I felt like the New Yorker I once was again because I didn't have a dime in my wallet, but I knew I had made someone else happy.

I sang this as I bathed my one and three year olds and I thought it was funny so I am sharing it.

5 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said "Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!"
And only pi little ducks came back

pi little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said "Rad! Rad! Rad! Rad!"
And only e little ducks came back

e little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said "Log! Log! Log! Log!"
And only i little ducks came back

i little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mother duck said "Root! Root! Root! Root!"
But none of the little ducks came back

Over the hills and far away
Mother duck cried many tears today.
Of duckling pie I am so full
(cause) e to the i pi plus 1 is null

** Ba da boom

The last line: e + 1 = 0

Hi I'm Jerrys brother. He asked me to put this here. I followed his instructions in typing this exactly, even the square brackets, he wrote this:

It ended like this: I was invited out to a dinner by the guy in charge of the computer forensics for my bust. This was five months after the first hearing at which the judge threw out my case.

Everyone else who got busted pled guilty and are doing six month stretches, but I was smarter and their raid on me was useless. I learnt my lesson in that particular brush with the law, I haven't even jaywalked since.

Five months later this guy phones me. Of all the agents I encountered there (most interstate crime is handled by the FBI) he was the one went through my ordeal calmly, like a game of go or something. As for the rest of them, they were assholes.

I wouldn't have gone but for my curiosity, and my arrogance. They still had six of my computers, four from my university and two from home. I thought that since they didn't have anything in discovery, and since they had nothing to present to the judge at the hearing, that meant that they had nothing whatsoever.

We are about half-way through a really good meal. He's paying. He's fairly short and has a thin beard and moustache. 'Till now it's all guarded pleasantries, and then he says: ''What you did with your computers. That was smart. An interesting principle.''

And I'm thinking, WTF? What do I say to that? He obviously has something to say, so I try and draw it out from him. ''And the execution?''

And now he has this half-smile on his face, and alarm bells are ringing in my head, very quietly, like a car alarm four blocks away, and he says ''There were one or two problems...''

''How...''

''I reverse engineered it.'' That strikes me speechless. This man dug through half a megabyte, half a million instructions, and suddenly I realise that I'm not as smart as I think I am, and I obviously have this frozen-cat-in-headlights look because he offers ''the key stays in swap on the disk...''

''It all stays in memory...''

''not when you send it the start signal...''

''but the swap wipes on shutdown...''

''controlled shutdown. When we raided you, we just unplugged everything.'' And that is it. Verbal sparring over. I lift my glass to see if my hands are shaking and they are, a bit. I look at my food, I don't feel hungry anymore but (and I almost smile at this) I get the impression I should really concentrate on enjoying this meal. We ate in silence.

I ordered a coffee. He's paying. A small price for his gloating. Outside there was a government sedan, driven by one of the fat piggy-eyed fuckers who stuck a gun in my face five months ago, and this time there was no bail. This time I plead guilty, because there was about 1K Gigs of warez as Exhibit A, and this time they won. The irony is that all my protective measures only served to prove in a very mathematical and absolutely incontrovertible manner that it was me and only me who was responsible for those servers and their contents.

Since then I've been using a pen that is - get this - actually tied to a desk, instead of a computer keyboard. It's tied on the right side, and I'm left-handed. My handwriting has become awful, but I expect it will improve with practice.

Thinking about it, I should've ordered dessert.

Jude called about ten 'til eleven. That was late for her, so I thought perhaps the electricity was off in her house, as it has some problems.

We both wish the power had been off in her house.

Our friend Ted Vedrinski was found dead today. His girlfriend found him dead in his easy chair, a pizza at his side.

Ted was a friend, one of the first people who welcomed me when I joined the SCCA. He worked as a tech inspector at Mid Ohio. He'd come around the corner worker campfire, and we'd drink beer and share stories. He was always kind, and he had a lot of stories to tell.

You see, Ted was a racer. He'd driven everything from winged sprint car to an ITB Golf. He'd driven for the Mitsubishi factory endurance team and had driven porsches in the 24 hours of Daytona. He'd won in everything and crashed in everything. And he was a fine driver. Anyone who drives for a factory team can drive, for few get that opportunity. He was a marvelous endurance racer, where the cardinal rule is Don't hurt the Car!. Even at night, you could put him in a race car, and a couple hours later he'd bring it back in, needing only a new tank of fuel. When he raced stock cars he changed his last name to Vedrin, because the NASCAR fans didn't like an 'furrin' drivers winning.

Until age and a stroke slowed him, nothing could keep Ted out of a race car. He'd promised one fiance that he'd give up driving then showed up in a sprint car. Waved to her from the driver's seat. Unfortunately, there was a race underway at the time, and he blew the next corner. When he woke up in the hospital, his engagement ring was dangling from the traction rig! But Ted couldn't be ignored. His fiance ended up forgiving him and they got married (and divorced) anyway.

When I decided to go racing, Ted was there as a mentor. He checked over my ITB Corolla like a mother hen, and tried to guide me as a driver. He also kept trying to fix me up. Unsuccessfully. To Ted, man was not meant to be alone. Even me.

I'm really going to miss Ted. But in that, I won't be alone. Though he loved the big pro cars, his heart was really in the grass roots of racing. On an SCCA race weekend at the end of Saturday's racing, the sponsoring region throws a big party. Everyone is welcome for food and kegs of beer. Beer is racing's lubricant, but the parties are the glue, the time where we who participate in road racing form lasting friendships. There's a lot of laughter, and Ted was always one of the people laughing.

A lot of glasses are going to be lifted to him this year. Which is as it should be. Our campfires will be poorer without him. But they will burn, stories will be told, and Ted wouldn't have it any other way. And when the engines burst to life, and the race cars move out from the grid Ted will be there, though we cannot see him.

The office smells like raw sewerage, and everyone is ignoring it.

I sit at my desk, feeling like my hands are chained to the keyboard. A dark and dank mood of tiredness, but artificially induced wakefulness from all the coffee I have consumed during the day, keeps my head swaying from side to side. The day is alternating between brilliant spring sunshine, and cold Melbourne drizzle.

The stench is making me gag.

Having been the only person 'caring' enough, I made the call to report the 'fault' this morning. Two men appeared and questioned me. I am on the 5th floor of an office block. How is it nobody else cares? These guys admitted that there was a bad smell, and tracked it to an broken toilet on the 1st floor. The toilets down there had backed up, and every time some flushed on a floor above it came out. Why did nobody down there report this sooner?

How can this be 2 weeks from Christmas. I know I am tired, but the mood is too quiet, and the weather abysmal. It should be _hot_, but it isn't. My typing is a loud noise, aside from 'the loud guy' who feels the need to share his opinion of TCP/IP tunnelling protocols AGAIN to the guy beside him (poor guy). Loudly enough for everyone to hear. SHUT UP. we call him PPP tunnel boy.

The smell is wretched. I will go home if I arrive and this is still here tomorrow.

I need sleep.


Level 5 came an visited me during the night. I have joined the Monk ranks of E2. When does enlightenment hit me? I want the answers. Funny how I still in may ways feel like a 'newbie' and wonder why nodes get down voted or {marked} .. *sigh*

home time now.

I miss you, Mike

Michael VanBeaclre: his name will always be remembered.  He holds that special place in my heart that I go to nearly every day to visit and say hello to my friend.  It seems like April 16, 2002 was just yesterday. I remember it almost perfectly; it was Mike’s birthday and I spent my time as usual that day, only to come home and find I would never see Mike again.

My phone rang at about 11:30 that night from my best friend Ashley.  I was excited to talk to her since it had been a few days since we had actually had a nice talk.  I picked up the phone and found that she was crying hysterically.  I had just figured she was upset about her boyfriend again, so I wasn’t too worried at this point.  When I finally calmed her down enough to speak, her soft voice cracked as she asked me, “Did you hear what happened to Mike?”  Immediately my heart dropped to my stomach, my hands became cold and clammy.  I quickly muttered, “NO, what?”  And before I could even begin to think what she might say, she busted out in tears again and cried, “He’s dead!”

Somehow between the time she said that to the time I could respond, I found myself falling to the floor of my room with tears welded up in my eyes. My heart was racing, but yet it felt like it was being pulled from my chest at the same time.  My face went pale and my arms started to tremble.  My mind began to ache as I tried to think of what happened and why.

Ashley went on to explain that Mike wanted to test drive her boyfriend’s motorcycle.  It’s weird because I can even remember Mike asking Tyler just last weekend if he could take the bike for a spin.  Tyler would always tell him no because he didn’t have the proper license or knowledge to drive.  But, being that it was Mike’s birthday, Tyler let him take it for a ride.  He had promised Tyler to only take it down the block, but that’s all it took for something tragic to happen.

Mike and I grew up together attending the same grade school, middle school and high school.  He was a bully to the girls in grade school, but he always had a sense of humor that made all the girls laugh anyways. Plus, he was one of the cutest guys in our school.  One trait Mike had that will never be forgotten is his smile.  He had a big smile with big white teeth that he always showed.  I can’t remember him ever frowning about anything.

We grew apart in middle school and in high school, but just weeks before his death, something changed. Mike and I shared a lot of the same friends during our senior year and just the past weekend before he died, we spent our whole weekend hanging out with a big group of us.  It was just a blessing that I shared one last weekend with Mike before he passed away.  It was great talking to him and being friends all over again. Although it was a short time to rekindle our friendship, it was long enough for Mike to leave an impression on my heart.

My senior year was never the same after his death.  Every time I went to English class, his seat was empty and there was an absence of laughter.  We lost conference in tennis because Mike was our number one player and the team struggled to overcome his death.  However, most of all, the senior class just missed a good friend who was supposed to graduate with us in less than a month.

Finally the day came where we had to say goodbye to Mike, it was his funeral.  I walked in the large church to find every pew full and every eye filled with tears.  I looked up towards the ceiling to find a slide show of Mike’s life. It killed me to see all those pictures knowing his life was over.  The funeral started and his mom, his brother, his tennis team, and his “clan” of best friends all stood before us telling all the funny stories and memories about Mike and his life.  He planned to join the Marines after he graduated and his recruiting officer and friends came dressed in full uniform to honor Mike’s decision and say farewell to a good friend and a good Marine he would have become.

I will never forget Mike and the lesson he taught each of us.  We learned the value of friendship, humor and most of all, life.  He showed us to take life and make the best of it and to always keep your head high and never give up.  He showed us to go for our dreams and always remember to laugh once in a while because life tries to pull you down and it’s up to you to keep on going even when it gets rough.  Mike was a friend, a Marine, and someone I will always look up to and admire forever.  Michael VanBeaclre’s name will always hold that spot in my heart and he will never be forgotten.

And tonight you'll try just one more time to leave it all behind and to break on through...
So much for breaking on through... so much for Anne. It seems, at this juncture, that I have learned something new about dating: if you're in awe of someone, for whatever reason (in my case it was her incredible skill with the bassoon... I'm a sucker for music. sue me.), stay the hell away. It's definitely a bad idea to pursue any sort of romantic relationship.

See, it's like Paul Simon said, everything looks worse in black and white. They never match up to what you had imagined... what you had no legitimate reason to believe, but believed anyway. Imperfections display themselves. You get in arguments. You end up burning bridges.

...and no matter where you sleep tonight or how far you run...

And you end up wishing you hadn't burnt the bridges, you end up wishing you had just kept your distance and admired her from afar. Too late. I guess I had to try though... I just had this feeling that things would work out okay.

...whoa, she's the one.

Antarctic Diary: December 10, 2002

Shut up, I'm dreaming

They all went off to bag drag. That leaves me. Alone for a few days.

Bag drag is when you bring all your stuff, and yourself, and you report to the Movement Control Center to have it all weighed. They need to get an accurate weight for loading the herc.

You're allowed 75 pounds of stuff when you come here--50 of which is taken by the Emergency Cold Weather gear they give you. Scientists get around this by declaring "scientific cargo". Anything you declare scientific cargo must be brought to the ice and back again.

Anything.

We brought two crates weighing 1000lbs each.

I brought 70 lbs of camera gear.

So you have all this stuff when you get here, and then when you go home you have to bring it all to MCC for weighing before you catch the plane, usually eight hours later.

Naturally MCC is located at the top of a steep hill. This is done so you have to haul everything uphill.

It must be.

Now I have to try to tell you how this feels. This. Sitting here writing. This.

This is sitting here alone staring across a frozen harbor. Mountains. Volcanos.

So little of this universe is inhabitable. This place hardly qualifies. This is what it is like when you are not here. Before you were born. After you die.

This is sitting here alone beside the Hughes glacier when the winds shift, and it goes so calm the loudest sound is the blood rushing through your ears, and then the katabatics rumble down from the plateau like a thousand fighter jets, like a million trains, like the sun exploding -- a sound so big it reminds you of the denial you develop every day so you can go on with the mundane and the cheap. Because if you believed that wind for one half a heartbeat--you would live the truth, like these were your last days.

That wind reminds you there will be an end to your world.

Zen

Nothing.

This is standing beside the glacier with the angel in my hand, touching water frozen when the Giza pyramids were under construction. And realizing it doesn't matter we can name the dates in numbers.

So many miles.

So many years.

So many meters high. So dark. So deep.

These are what the scientists write sitting in their tents in the endless daylight.

You can believe the numbers or what's in your chest. Swallow hard and breathe the cold dry air. Months from now you can read the papers and believe what's written,the graphs and lines. Tables. All real and right.

But you can remember that in life you make an imprint on the land and it makes one on you.

Then it's gone.

Through no great feat I have been able to stand where few men have placed themselves before. It didn't matter I had helicopters to haul me out there. I didn't matter I hiked for hours, well supplied, well dressed, well equipped. When you put yourself somewhere that doesn't know humanity, you feel the comparitive agelessness of the great mother earth.

This must be how explorers felt. This must be how the first sentient beings felt.

We are each so small.

There is something greater. It's huge and nameless. Terrifying.

But you stand up to it: it knows who you are. Not a giant mirror, but someone old and familiar.

It's all I could think when I hiked to the glacier root by myself and the wind came. I wrote it fast because I felt like running.

It's this:

We are not alone. There is something out here. I don't know for sure. It might be God.

I don't know why, but I'm in an incredibly good mood right now. I mean, I haven't felt this good since I was on Prozac back in '95. I'm just all smiles and no one is here at the cafe, really, to share it with. Everyone's gone home by now (it's 4:15 AM)- maybe that's one of the reasons I'm so happy; I like it when it's quiet at the cafe. Quiet Christmas jazz is playing on the jukebox at the moment (sure to be followed next with something by, I'm sure, The Smiths- life is good, not perfect) and it's doing nothing but lending to the atmosphere of quiet that has fallen upon the cafe like a warm winter blanket.

I am in the smoking room, with half a pack of recently-bought cigarettes, sharing the ten-by-ten, stucco-walled room with a quiet, cute college-aged couple who are talking with each other while looking at the Internet via the wireless connection here. Staff bustle in and out of the room to wipe down the night's mess from the tables or to clean the Men's room. And I'm just sitting here, typing my happy little heart away, sharing it with you, my friendly noders.

Today has been a day of extremes. I woke up with sixteen cents to my name and an empty stomach. I did a website for someone last week and was expecting to get paid $100 for the trouble (it was a small gig) at the beginning of the weekend. I had actually budgeted every last dime I had in my pocket to account for the payment I should have received on Friday. Unfortunately, the client decided not to use the site. No big deal; that didn't mean I wouldn't get paid, just that my work wouldn't be used. The problem was that the client had invested most of his money in an ad campaign for one of his projects and was financially tapped until today (Monday). That meant that I would have to get to and from work with virtually no money- it costs $5 a day in gas alone for me to go to and from work.

I ate one meal a day all weekend, smoked considerably less than usual, spent a lot of time at home and pretty much stewed in my own juices until today. I was an utter grump all weekend, feeling about as depressed as I could possibly get over the situation I was in.

But tonight, after going all day without food or cigarettes and just barely making it to the cafe on an empty gas tank, I got paid. Well, only 1/4 of the money owed, but it'll be enough to hold me over until tomorrow, when I can cash a check I got today for a web design consultation gig I had earlier in the evening. Luckily I had the day off from work today, but I had to sit at the house all day again. I got some sleep (not much, due to the stress levels I was feeling) and worked an awful lot on my computer.

Which brings me to yet another reason I'm so happy right now... as previously mentioned in my December 8, 2002 daylog, I've been working on my first original 3D mesh. Today I got a lot of the stuff that's been bothering me about the mesh fixed and started working on the details. She's really beginning to "flesh out" and look like she has serious potential. I've also started working on one of the hardest elements of a 3D Trek ship: the nacelles. You may be surprised to learn that a starship's nacelles require a great deal of thought and design work. They're not just a couple of cylinders slapped onto the nacelle support pylons. The nacelles are supposed to have character, grace and fine details. They're supposed to be as unique as the overall ship itself and, in a sense, they're almost twice as complex and troublesome to create as the entire ship. After getting started on the rest of the ship's details with such positive results, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the nacelles are going to look like when I'm done with them. But... right now, they're just a couple of cylinders slapped onto the nacelle support pylons. Go fig.

Another thing that has crossed my mind tonight is that I no longer give a shit about being single. Either I've gotten so used to it by now that I've forgotten what it's like to be attached or I've become so comfortable with my own personal freedom that the prospect of a relationship seems like more trouble than it's worth. I dunno. Knowing me and my Gemini tendencies, I'll end up singing a different tune inside of 24 hours, bitching and moaning about the fact that I haven't been laid in two years. But for now, I'm diggin' it. For now: fuck relationships.

The day has been up and down, stressful and relaxed, broke and financially stable- all in one day. Tomorrow is another day and I'm not sweating it anymore. So many people have no idea how much of a relief it is to realize that no matter how bad a single day can get, the great thing about it is that it'll eventually come to an end and a whole new day is waiting to be discovered. Today I realized that. I've been saying it in a joking manner for years, but today I discovered the reality of that little truism.

Making lemonade out of lemons. That's what it's all about, baby.

Eun Jeong called me last night (see December 9, 2002 for who this is... long story short, a girl I'm falling for) and asked me to come out and meet me and her sisters. We had a couple of pitchers of Hite (Korean beer) at a bar she likes. She said she quit her job at Parthenon (the bar she used to work at) because she wants her evenings free. This is good news for me, since I want to make her my girlfriend, and I think she feels the same way. Only being able to see her after 2 AM or in the morning/early afternoon would be a pain.

She and her sisters speak not a single word of English, so my Korean always gets a good workout whenever I see them. She's one of those rare Koreans who actually understand how to speak to a foreigner who is learning Korean. She doesn't speak too quickly, enunciates clearly, uses simple words and rephrases herself if I don't understand. Yet another thing to love about her. Her younger sister, on the other hand, mumbles, and I can't understand anything she says.

After the beer, we decided to go to a norae bang. For those who have never been to Korea (most of you, I imagine), this is a Korean singing room, or karaoke parlor. I sang a few songs, and managed to do a pretty good rendition of Sarah MacLaughlan's "Angel" (the Westlife version :-P ). Meanwhile, Eun Jeong and her older sister tormented the younger one by randomly increasing and decreasing the tempo whenever she was trying to sing.

Today it was Tuesday, generally a very good day for teaching. I taught algebra to my incredibly gifted student Michelle, who is in second grade, and speaks English and does math better than most sixth grade North American kids. As I promised last week, I played a game with my 5:00 class. I taught Canadian geography to my lower-level returning class (Korean kids that have studied abroad, and consequently speak English fairly well), and lastly did poetry with my genius returning class. Bella almost cried when I read "Ten Years and More" by Miriam Waddington. So did I, for that matter.

Playing Go on the Internet in the morning, I discovered that my rating on IGS has slipped to 15k*. This is annoying, because I don't like playing against 15k* players, and it's hard to get stronger players to play against you. I've noticed a strange difference between the style of play at different kyu levels. The 21k players still haven't grasped the concept of attacking to make territory, rather than attacking to kill. So those games tend to get determined by whose groups die. At 17k, players know how to attack to make territory, but are scared to fight, so the games are passive. The players who are 15k got there by winning fights against the timid 15k, so again, things get complicated, and games are often won or lost because someone dies. The 13ks are the ones I like playing against, because they don't let things get complicated when they're winning, and win their games by finesse. I learn much more by losing to them on technique than I do by winning or losing against a 15k because someone blundered in a complicated fight.

In the middle of the day, I went to a local bookstore, to try to pick out English textbooks for the next semester. The vice principal, who'd driven me there, had to suddenly rush back to the school, and I was abandoned there for about an hour. It only took me 15 minutes to look through the available textbooks, so I picked up a comic book version of Anne of Green Gables in English and Korean and tried to understand the Korean without peeking at the English. Unlike the last time I tried one of those English-Korean comic books, I only had to peek once every three pages or so. I was so pleased that I picked up a similar version of Beauty and the Beast to continue my reading practice at home.

11 days until I get to go back to Canada for Christmas vacation.

Jailing scallies...

Some of you might remember my previous rant, where I was "slightly" angry for being pickpocketed? Well, I still am. But things took a turn for the interesting.

The police got a tip about a few guys, about some burglaries. They got a search warrant, and searched his house. They found my wallet - or rather; My card-wallet that was inside my money-wallet. Of course they got rid of my visa and my Switch / Solo card. But they kept my Drivers licence (!) and various other cards. Don't ask me.

Anyway.. I got my drivers license back, and I might have to do a video-parade and/or appear in court.

Hmm.. Getting scallies locked up.

A Good Thing, if you ask me.


On a completely different note, I think I will be coming out of my E2 hibernation soon.. I need try and not fail my university course. Not really a problem, I'd say.. Except for the fact that I need to get my act together and do my photography assignment (hard news picture story). Except that I am basically fucked, cause I haven't got a clue what to do my picture story on, and a horde of organisations (RSPCA, Greenpeace.. You name it) have turned me down. Oh, and did I mention this needs to be in on the 13th?

If there’s one think I’ve noticed over the past couple of days its that trying to type (amongst other things that I normally take for granted) with a cast on your hand can be rather trying.

I wish I had a glamorous story to tell you about the incident. Something along the lines of being injured while rescuing a person in distress or that I gotten into a scrap at my local watering hole while defending the honor of some beautiful woman who was being harassed by someone who had a few too many. In the latter case, at least I could use the line “Well, you shoulda seen the other guy” while explaining the circumstances that led to my (albeit, temporary) impairment. Alas, it is not to be. In a fitting example of what can best be described as the drab, mundane events that seem to dictate my life of late, I will now try to explain, in an entertaining way, these circumstances. To do so, we have to move back in time a couple of days, Saturday, December 7, 2002 to be precise.

The day started out normal enough here in good ol’ Columbus, Ohio. I had taken my eight year old daughter (who seems to have a much better social life than yours truly btw) to yet another birthday party for one of her schoolmates. This one was hosted at the Center of Science and Industry, affectionately known as COSI to us locals. A rather cool place to host such an event. Most of the displays are of the hands on variety and are very educational and entertaining. I dutifully dropped her off and later picked her about four hours later. During the interim, I did the daily chores that seem to fill most of my Saturdays. You know, laundry, cleaning, blah blah blah. I actually found it a little easier since she was gone and was not underfoot while I moved about the house.

The afternoon progressed along normal lines too. I had the television on (sound off) with a mind to keep my on the latest scores coming from college football, a very big deal here in Buckeye Land. The stereo was on and playing some jazz tunes, the exact artist, I can’t recall. I was content, had a couple of beers and started to prepare dinner, a baked chicken with rice and corn on the cob. My daughter though, she was getting bored.

Her:Daddy, Why do you like football so much?”

Me: “Jeez, honey, I dunno. I guess its sorta like a tradition.”

This statement is true. For as long as I can remember, football had always played an important part in my weekend rituals. Often times, whole weekends were planned around “the game” and I guess there was some sort of male bonding going on. Anyway…

Her: “Will you teach me how to play?”

Me: “Yeah, sure honey. What part do you want to learn first?”

I didn’t really know what to expect in the way of an answer. She’d been exposed to football before and I figured maybe she wanted the rules to be explained. I certainly didn’t expect….

Her: “Tackling!”

Me: (rather guardedly) “Hmm, what do you want to know about it?”

Her: “How do you do it?”

Its at this point where I probably should have just offered up an explanation of the finer points that are involved when throwing a person to the ground or trying to take their head off. Instead, being a proponent of the theory that one learns by example, I felt obliged to put on a display.

Me: “I’ll show you, let’s move some furniture aside.”

After shoving aside some chairs and a coffee table we were now ready to get on with it. I told her to stand across the room and start running towards me when I gave the signal. I got into my three-point stance and memories of the days when I played football began flooding my brain. All those neighborhood games that we played and touchdowns that I scored as a youth seemed like yesterday. I think I actually got an adrenaline rush.

Me: “Ready, set, go”!

As she came running towards me my mind filled with thoughts of how to bring her down gently. I certainly didn’t want to hurt her nor did I want to spoil any of the father-daughter bonding that was going on.

Borgo’s brain: "Whoa, she’s moving kinda quick – what am I gonna do?"

She started getting closer and closer. Time seemed to slow down. Her laughter got louder as she got ready to be “tackled”. At the last second, she decided to jump.

Borgo’s brain: "Damn, wasn’t expecting that! Gotta catch her!"

And I did just that. The only thing was, I forgot how out of shape I really am. Her momentum kinda spun me around and I was in danger of falling on top of her. All 215 or so pounds of me would have landed right on top of her and undoubtedly caused some type of injury.

Borgo’s brain: Shit!, try explaining THIS to my ex-wife, the hospital and the eventual investigation by children’s services.”

So I put my hand down to break our fall and she landed, laughing all the while, on top of me.

SNAP! The unmistakable sound of bones being broken

Me: “Uh, honey, do you think you can get off daddy? I think I broke my finger.”

Her: (knowing my penchant for teasing) “Yeah, right.”

Me: No, I’m serious honey, please get off me.

It’s at this point where she got off me and we both got a good look at my pinky. It was now pointing in a direction or two that didn’t seem possible.

Her:Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” I’m so sorry!"

Me: “Don’t worry honey, its gonna be ok!”

Well, after gathering my thoughts and dropping her off at a neighbors house, it was off to the emergency room. After a couple of hours, it was determined that my little ol’ pinky was dislocated in two places and chipped in another. I’ll be in a splint anywhere from four to six weeks.

Not much of a story huh? Or is it?

In retrospect I’m kinda glad that it happened the way it did and not in one of the so-called “glamorous” ways that I originally envisioned that would make it a better story. Those ways might have been only fleeting moments and involved total strangers. This one involved family.

One day, if my daughter grows to have children of her own and I’m lucky enough, I might be able to tell the story, or, if I’m gone, she can pass it on in her own words. I think it will be forever known as “The day I broke my daddy’s finger” or something like that and its kinda nice to keep it in the family. A sort of immortality...

Family and stories, what a nice thought...

My life is at Home

When this song comes on my old mp3 player, I scroll the repeat button and listen to Davey sing it over and over again.

I was just thinking most of last Wednesday, I hope we’re together from here until doomsday and we could be in each other’s arms. Keep each other free from harm. Because when it’s all stripped to the bone, my life is at home.
His raspy voice makes me think of you and how much we’ve both changed. I wonder how it is so easy for me to forget about my wasted potential while you lament yours. When it’s bedtime, I am all comfy in my pajamas and happy at the prospect of sleep, but you are still talking about how you didn’t get that great job and how you could be doing so much more. I remind you that you are so young. Things will change. You will feel useful soon. You are already achieving so much for someone your age. You don’t like this response. You don’t want to hear all the positives. The positives don’t change your mind.
Spring cleaning is coming, lose the cold weather. So put away your long johns and all the thick sweaters. And we’ll cut off all our winter hair and sit out on the lawn chairs. And as the sun forgets that we’re here, we forget our careers.

What makes it so that I can forget that I wanted a career? What makes it so that the silliest things make me happy. Things that I completely enjoyed this past week include: feeding a black bird who landed on my office window sill, watching Jeff Corwin let a huge octopus attach itself to his arm, how my new sweater is the exact color of mustard. All of these things made me stop and think about how happy I am with me, with the world, with you. Do you have these moments? Are they overshadowed by that nagging feeling that you aren’t living up to your potential? I hope not.

All the lukewarm weeks, at 60 degrees. Now we’re hoping it’s humid, show us what summer means. Once in a lifetime, once in a while, the sun will shine on me. It is Thursday, I’m leaving. Skip town, I’m running. Cars and new faces and jokes that aren’t funny, but we laugh at them anyway. Do anything to kill the day. No matter how far that I go, it’s not so far away.

And as the sun forgets that we're here, we forget our careers... because when it’s all stripped to the bone, my life is at home.

I have lately become obsessed with World War II. So much so, that I’ve rented most of Band of Brothers on DVD, read the book the show was based on and even bought another book by Stephen Ambrose -- D-Day.

My interest comes as a result of playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Battlefield: 1942 on PC. World War II deathmatch on the internet -- young men whose grandfathers fought in the war (and in some cases, great grandfathers) pretending to fight in the safety of their bedrooms and home offices. I never imagined I’d be one of those guys who plays online games an hour a night -- never thought that those self-same games would get me interested in history. But they have. PC games obviously can have an educational influence -- most of the guys I play with are also interested in history now after being exposed to it in-game.

What is it that makes the World War II setting so appealing? America today is such a corrupt country -- our elected officials maintain power through bribes from large donors, most policy is written to pay back special interests of all sorts (religious, corporate, labor, etc.). We’re about to invade a country that hasn’t attacked us -- justified by trumped up “evidence” that basically amounts to the President and his cronies suggesting there’s a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that clearly doesn’t exist. I have a cousin in the Army Airborne, and I’m scared he’s going to die in Iraq.

By contrast the World War II era seems just. The Axis powers were bent on conquering the world, and Hitler was committing genocide. When I was a kid growing up, I never understood it when people talked about the “sacrifice” of the men who served in that war, what they gave up so we could be “free.” The words were just abstractions, meaningless. Now I get it. Now I understand.

All because of a video game. Joe Lieberman would be appalled.



The government is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
So they sacrifice our freedoms and rights, the reason why the hungry die.
But. of course its for our own good, the reasons hidden by our greed.
So gun shots and cocaine still rule the street.
And god forbid that something drastic should be done.
To many suckers, they wouldnt know their ass from a gun.

I slang coke to fiends, and so on. They missed the message that
a great man tried to instill on his African American people,
so they gunned him down in the street.

A hidden message, shrouded by hunger and gunfire.
Supressed by the same self-righteous mother fuckers that claimed they were the ones who could save us.
But the greed and stupidity turned them on the man that would rescue us.
He could have united the world, if his message hadn't been ignored.
And if I wasn't high I'd probly' try to blow my brains out.
But to this day, we still live on. Crack and cops still plague the world.
And even thugs cry, but do the Lord care.
Something about his life, it rings clear in my mind. Something familiar that
I can't escape, that I can't deny. And yes, even thugs can cry.
These fucking streets cry blood every day, and like the man
said. Someone gets shot in China, and we go to war.
Someone gets murdered on the streets, and it's just one
less drug dealer, or thief, or prisoner. But they fail to
realize the potential in that dead man. A father, cholar,
son, President. But the greed for public opinion is what
drives them. And all the time, a single man, from the
gutter, the absolute bottom, the world that politicians
tried to hide, rose up from the concrete and made
a statement. His message, the word. A united cause lost in
deception.

Day two of the demonstrations for justice in Louisville. See my daylog from yesterday for a background of what is going on.

Despite temperatures in the mid 30s and sleet, a crowd of about 150 turned out today for a second day of prayer and protest in front of the police department headquarters. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth was there organizing the marchers, and today instead of simply standing in a mass, he had us marching in a loop from Jefferson Street to the alley behind police headquarters, then across 7th Street and back. After a while, once again, 7th Street was blocked off by demonstrators. Young and old, black and white, workers and the unemployed -- a wide variety of people turned up to raise their voices for justice.

Among the groups represented were the following: Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Oppression, Rainbow Coalition, and the Justice Resource Center, EarthSave International, and others. Also ministers and representatives from a number of area churches were there.

After the marching, singing, and chanting, Rev. Coleman of the Justice Resource Center called the crowd together in the middle of 7th Street. He led us in prayer, then he passed the bullhorn to Rev. Shuttlesworth. Rev. Shuttlesworth encouraged us to be vigilant and to not be intimidated. He said he hadn't been to jail since Ronald Reagan was president, and he wasn't afraid to go now. Many in the crowd erupted that they were not afraid either. Then the bullhorn went to a woman from Smoketown, a poor part of Louisville where the killing of James Taylor took place, and she shook the walls with an angry, passionate diatribe against the police and the administration of Mayor Dave Armstrong.

After a closing prayer, the crowd dispersed peacefully. Traffic along 7th Street resumed. We all promised to return tomorrow for the final day of demonstrations. On schedule to attend is Rev. Martin Luther King III.

Time for scheduled maintenance on Ruth Anne's Saturn (48,000 mile service), which means it's also time to get my hair cur. Supercuts is across the street form the Saturn dealer, so I always do both things at the same time. Today's haircut was free, because I had gotten eight marks on my frequent cutter card. The first was on January 2001, so I seem to average about three months between haircuts.

Shopping at Sam's Club and Biggs on the way home. This afternoon I made a batch of curry. It's a simple recipe that starts with lots of ginger, garlic and curry powder, adds potatoes, onions, chicken, and any vegetables that happen to be lying around, and ends with some S & B Curry Mix. Plus, somewhere in the middle, the secret ingredient : a great big sploosh of maple syrup.

I just finished reading The Infinity Gauntlet a graphic novel from Marvel Comics. Not something I would normally own, but when shopping at amazon.com for other graphic novels (e.g. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Watchmen) it kept being recommended to me. I don't think I'd rate it as high as the others, but it's a good read. Perhaps it's just the Marvel Universe that doesn't do it for me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002, 3a.m.
a collaboration, work in progress by ocelotbob and cami

Today was the day she fell
...she smelled of oak, she tasted like rain
we breathed lilacs, smellt of honeysuckle
she was vanilla, and I, columbine
we grew together, we reached ever higher
I overtook her, leeched from her being
she perished alone, leaving but a seed

Tonight was the night we spoke
she breathed velvet, she was cloaked in mystery.
she greeted me in silence, told me of dreams
her eyes held mine, she silently sang
she gave me her hand, we drew close
the roses of her lips neared mine
we froze, forever anticipating, eternally admiring
...hope was her name
.

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