This place is getting to me. I think I'm ... getting the fear.

I've been thinking a lot about solipsism today. (Maybe it's because having a job in which you do nothing but speed-node annotated links of CGI scripting sites into a database inevitably leads to feelings of disconnection, isolation, and surreality.) I think everyone, at some point or other, has solipsistic thoughts. Some people are so self-centered that they might as well believe that they are the only real entity in the universe and that everything revolves around them. These people believe that nothing matters but themselves.

But there's a variant: you are real, but the world around you is a fabrication.

This idea has been explored in a lot of science fiction, from the stories of Philip K. Dick to old Twilight Zone episodes to The Matrix.

Some days, I find myself entertaining the nagging notion that this scenario could be real. It comes on when my life seems overly closed-in, when I feel disconnected, when my daily comings and goings and activities feel scripted. The events of my day and my interactions with others might as well be something from an advanced virtual reality program ... so who's to say they're not?

Classical solipsists believe that any harm they cause others is irrelevant, because all those Others are just figments of the beholder's imagination. It's a free ticket to act in a completely heedless and hedonistic manner.

But when I start feeling like I'm living in an artificial box of unreality, I can't shake the accompanying notion that it's a game. A test. A test you can fail.

That's not carte blanche to do much of anything, is it? Except twitch, worry about dotting your "i"s and crossing your "t"s, and slowly sink into paranoid madness as you wonder what the consequences of failing such a test might be.

So don't think about it, kids. I'm real, you're real, we're all real here.

Aren't we?

Today marks a minor milestone in the history of the E2 community:

At 01:11 Server Time, E2's 100th Australian noder was registered.

Today's Headlines

US News

Richard Gephardt Throws His Hat In Ring For 2004 Democratic Nomination
Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri announced his candidacy for President on Wednesday, kicking off his campaign with a strong anti-Bush stance. Gephardt took Bush to task on both economic and domestic policies and pledged that he would work for health care coverage for all Americans. Gephardt is the second candidate to formally declare his intentions to run for office, but up to ten others have announced plans to investigate running.

Ridge Launches "Ready Campaign"
Tom Ridge announced yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security is unveiling a major new advertising campaign on Wednesday that uses television, radio, newspapers and billboards to urge Americans to prepare for possible terrorist attacks. A major component of this campaign is an initiative to help Americans educate themselves about the differences between chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Judge Rejects Boston Archdiocese's Motion to Dismiss 500 Lawsuits
On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge rejected a motion by the Archdiocese of Boston that sought to dismiss nearly five hundred cases filed in the ongoing sexual abuse scandal by members of the clergy in the Boston area. The judge, Constance M. Sweeney, dismissed the argument by the archdiocese that the First Amendment's proscribed separation of church and state prevents the court system from getting involved with how the church supervises and punishes priests.

International News

302 Killed in Crash of Iranian Military Plane
A military plane carrying members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (an elite Iranian fighting force) crashed in Iran, killing all 302 people on board. It is cited as being the worst crash in the history of Iran. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but the pilot reported bad weather and heavy winds just before losing contact with air traffic controllers.

17 Senior Officials of Pakistani Air Force Die in Plane Crash
Chief of the Air Staff Mushaf Ali Mir and sixteen other senior officials in the Pakistani Air Force died early Thursday in a crash in the northwestern mountains of Pakistan. The air chief and his immediate staff were on route to Chakala Air Base in Kohat, Pakistan for a routine inspection. Bad weather is being blamed for the accident.

First 9/11-Related Verdict: 15 Years
In Hamburg, Germany yesterday, Mounir el Motassadeq was convicted of helping a key al Qaeda cell behind the 9/11 attacks. He received the maximum sentence for his crime under German law: 15 years. This is the first verdict anywhere in the world related to the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Business

FCC To Continue To Force Baby Bells Into Cooperation
The FCC plans to vote today to uphold a strong role for states to regulate local telephone service. This system has led to recent price wars between major regional phone companies and their rivals, but it forces the local systems to lease their phone lines to other companies. Without these rules, the Bells could refuse to cooperate and long distance calling could become prohibitively expensive.

Qantas Profit Jumps 130%
Australian airline Qantas registered a A$353 million (that's roughly $210 million in US dollars) profit over the first half of its fiscal year, from July 1 to December 31, 2002. The profit margin is an increase of 130% over the profit from a year ago, said Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon. This increase in profits is due to effective cuts in flights and staff at the company.

Chrysler Restates Profit Goal
Carmaking giant DaimlerChrysler stated early Thursday that it expected its US carmaking arm Chrysler to post an operating profit of two billion Euros this year. This goal was originally set at a company meeting two years ago, but the corporation still feels that a two billion euro profit is attainable.

Science & Technology

Melting Snow Postulated on Mars
Philip Christensen, a professor at Arizona State University, offered up a theory yesterday explaining the sharp gullies that cover the Martian terrain: they were caused by melting snow. Over the years, one of the Martian poles may have been tilted greatly toward the Sun due to a wobble in the rotation of Mars; the vapor produced by the melted ice caused some snow near the equator. After additional axis rotation, the snow was then melted, causing trickles of water to cause the observable gullies.

Microsoft Must Adopt Open Source Practices
Outgoing Microsoft executive David Stutz again reiterated his argument today that Microsoft must adopt some of the best practices of the open source movement without becoming open source itself. This could be done by adopting the development models and architecture principles from open source applications and operating systems, most notably Linux.

NEC To Offer IP Phone Service
NEC Corp. reported on Wednesday that their ISP arm BIGLOBE plans to start offering a cut-rate IP phone service starting on March 1, 2003. This follows a similar announcement by Sony of a similar service being offered starting on the same day. The monthly cost will be somewhere around 1,000 yen ($10 US) with calls between BIGLOBE subscribers for free but a cost of 8 yen for every three minutes with lines outside the network.

Health

Ebola Outbreak Confirmed In Congo
United Nations health officials confirmed today that a disease killing dozens of people in the Congo was an outbreak of ebola and warned that the highly lethal fever could still be spreading. "We're not suggesting that this is over or even contained. We're treating it as an active outbreak," said Iain Simpson, a World Health Organization spokesman. So far, 73 people have been infected, of whom 59 have died, according to WHO investigators; local counts have at least 100 infections and 80 deaths.

Sex Not To Blame For African AIDS Problems
Recent research suggests that less than one third of the HIV infections in Africa were caused by sexual contact, according to Pennsylvania anthropologist Dr. David Gisselquist. Gisselquist blames the AIDS epidemic in Africa on extremely poor medical practices on the continent.

Sports

Lakers, Bryant Resurgence Continues
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, his seventh straight performance of 40 or more points, in leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 93-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. After stumbling out of the gate this season, the three time defending champion Lakers are now 28-25 and with the win have squeezed past the Houston Rockets for the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference.

#3 Louisville Upset By Memphis
The Memphis Tigers upset the third ranked Louisville Cardinals 80-73 in a men's college basketball game that may give Memphis just enough of a boost to qualify for the NCAA TOurnament. After reeling off a 17 game winning streak, Louisville has lost two of its last three games and is finishing the season on a down note.

Entertainment

Michael Jackson Documentary Saga Continues
Video showing Michael Jackson's response to the controversial Martin Bashir documentary on Jackson's life will be shown in the United States Thursday evening on Fox. This two hour documentary is in essence a documentary on the making of Bashir's documentary, which Jackson claims is heavily flawed.

Fox Leads US Ratings War With Help From 24
On Tuesday night, much higher than average ratings for 24 and above average ratings for American Idol led to the Fox Network winning another night during the crucial February sweeps period in the United States. Bolstered by advertising during the heavily watched Joe Millionaire finale on Monday, Fox scored with 13.14 million viewers for 24 and 19.87 million viewers for American Idol. Fox's lead in February continues to grow, with a 5.7 share next to second place NBC's 4.9 share.


And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

I am thoroughly disgusted when I visit a news website or catch a glimpse at a news network on television. Why? Because of a little feature that they've all added in the past several months: a little persistent graphic indicating the current "terror level" in the United States.

So, why am I bothered by the terror level? Quite simply, not only is it a poorly executed idea, but the idea itself isn't well thought out, either.

The goal of terror is to disrupt people's lives, to cause a persistent worry of terror in the minds of the American people. Thus, the best way to fight terror is to simply ignore the actions of terrorists. Terrorists want attention; they want people to watch and make sure that everyone is hearing their message of insanity.

So, when I see a newspaper prominently showing that the terror level is "high," or I see the persistent floating graphic on Fox News, my immediate response is similar to that of looking at the village idiot. I shake my head at the stupidity of the thing.

Can the mass media not understand that by constantly referring to the "terror," the terrorists win and are encouraged to do something again?

The real fool behind all of this is Tom Ridge. The only explanation I can come up with for Ridge's behavior since being named the Secretary of Homeland Security is that he loves to see his name in print.

Rather than investing money on useful homeland security programs such as an Air Marshal program (i.e., putting a US marshal on every domestic flight) or offering tax breaks to airports with high security standards, he instead invests millions of dollars on a color-coding scheme that alerts us all to the state of "terror" threat in the United States.

I pay a great deal of money in tax dollars each year to help pay for programs that are supposed to protect me from terror attacks. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a US marshal on my next airline flight, watching my back, than having a floating graphic telling me that the "terror" alert is high.

What a waste of money.

Well, another snow day here in the heartland for the kids, what is one to do?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. After making our obligatory trek through the snow to the grocery store to pick up much needed vital supplies and such, me and my kid wound up having quite the day.

The weather had sorta “warmed” up and the snow, all 15 or so inches of it, had turned into what’s commonly known as “good packing snow”. Most of you probably know what I’m talking about when I refer to that but for any novices to winter out there, good packing snow is not very powdery. It’s kind of wet and heavy and it doesn’t take too much if any effort to build all kinds of things. The only tools required are warm clothes, a shovel, a bucket and some good old fashioned imagination. So that’s what we started out to do, little did I know how much of it was going to get done though.

We started out to build ourselves a little igloo. Sounds simple enough huh? I mean, how hard can it be to build yourself a little snow house. Let’s face it, we’re not talking about something that an Eskimo would be proud to call home but rather something that a few kids can horse around in. And so we began, my kid would fill up a bucket of snow. I would then tamp down the snow and flip over the bucket. The result was a nice kinda brick. Not too heavy and easy to stack. We figured we’d make it about 3 feet high and in a nice circle.

Do kids have an internal radar or some kind of innate sense that there are goings on in the neighborhood? The reason I ask is that before we knew it, we were surrounded by about six or seven kids ranging in age from 6 to 10. It seems they all had their own theory about what should constitute an igloo and they weren’t shy about offering up their wisdom. Designs were drawn up in the snow and idea’s offered up that would have made Frank Lloyd Wright a little squeamish. For any of you out there familiar with project management in the software industry, you can see that the scope of my little project had just been greatly expanded.

To make this part of my epic a little shorter, the igloo, when completed, now stands at over six feet tall. It has a roof (some plywood I found in my basement and covered with snow), a couple of windows and a doorway. It can to accommodate four to five kids pretty comfortably unless they start getting too fidgety and wrestling around in it. It is, much to the chagrin, of many of the locals, white. (Some of them had the grand idea of mixing the snow in different colored food dye thereby giving said igloo a sort of Technicolor effect. An idea nixed by yours truly. Not that I thought it was a bad idea but the thought of sending kids home in a dazzling array of wet colored snow would probably not win me the endorsement of the neighborhood parents.)

The front of it is adorned with a couple of old Halloween skulls that I found laying around in the basement. I guess these are meant to dissuade any likely intruders (other kids from other blocks) from entering this humble abode and thereby signifying their fate. To deter any intruders from entering the igloo from the roof, target practice in the form of snowballs was used to knock down icicles that grew to about 12 inches in length from the neighborhood rooftops. A somewhat “menacing” snowman guards the rear against other forms of attack. Another legion of snowmen (snowpersons for you pc types) numbering eight or so guard the backyard in the event of a sneak attack.

Many pictures have been taken of the igloo and the various kids for posterity sake. If the weather forecast is correct, the igloo is destined to either collapse or melt in the next couple of days. Although my back is killing me today, I’m happy to report that the same thing can’t be said about the memories. Hopefully they will remain with us for a long time to come.

Good thoughts go out to all friends and family, past, present and future.

My job is easy. I work in a donut shop. Tim Hortons. Actually, I have two totally different jobs: first, I work in the front. The can-I-help-you guy. There's only one other can-I-help-you guy besides me, and he's the store manager. The other job I have is baking muffins, and preparing donuts.

The front is easywork. Clean up, serve customers. Fill sandwich counter. Menial, but fun. I get all my shit done--aside from serving whatever customers there are--by, say, 1:30. Two and a half hours.

The back (bakery) is not so easy. You're constantly rushing. Five hours to tend to dozens and dozens of muffins, and also the croissants and danishes. It's not hard work, by definition. In fact, it's downright simple. But you have to work quickly, in order to get all your muffins out front in a decent time, so that you can have time for cleanup, and smoke breaks. This particular job does not leave time for breaks. At all. You're constantly moving. It's usually wise to bother one of the front people to get a drink or a sandwich for you--that's how deep it is.

So anyway, last night, I was muffin man. Everyone did a fair job of leaving me alone all night--it takes time away to even talk to other assholish cow orkers--so I did great! I finished early, had time for a somewhat decent cleanup of the place, then donuts arrived at 4:00. We don't bake the donuts at our store. They are sent, plain, from another store, and it's my job to fill them, top them off, powder them, whatever. This is pretty easy work, in comparison to the rushrushrush of the muffinwork.

This doesn't mean that you don't have to move quickly--indeed you do. You've got six hundredish donuts to take care of, in various ways, and three hundred Timbits. Not bad. If you move fast-fast, you can have most of this done in the last three hours of the day (today it took me until 6:10 (two hours and ten minutes). I would have been done much more quickly had I not had repeated interruptions by my dumbish co-worker, who we'll call "Jane". Jane, it seems, has difficulty associating with anyone. Her social skills are clearly subpar, even though her ability to work is stellar. She works very well, but has the unfortunate habit of making passes at every single male who walks through the door (or drives through drive-thru), despite the customer's comfort level. Some days, you can hear a man's thoughts, as if transmitted directly into your forebrain, just by the look in his eyes:

uh...yeah, sure lady, ok, go away now

But she doesn't give up and never learns from her actions. It's as if she's slightly outside the rest of humanity--incommunicado in some ways. To make things worse, she flaunts her physical attributes, by stroking her brastraps unabsently, and playing coy for people who don't care. Mostpeople don't care or don't notice, but otherpeople do, and are moderately discomfited by her displays; I know for sure that I am.

Jane comes to help me when I am having troubles baking. I haven't been baking for very long, so I haven't found The Beat yet. Believe me, once I find The Beat, I am telling her to Fuck Off, and Don't Come Back Into My Kitchen. But for now, she helps. Mostly. Today she did not, however.

Today, she was all over the place, topping donuts, getting in the way. When I had just about completed a tray, she decided to take donuts off of it, to top them. This is a nono. You don't get in the baker's way when he's feeling the groove. Especially when said baker is sick and tired of your lame displays of affection towards strangers who don't really care who you are. I tried to explain the problem to her.

"I'm trying to fill these and you're getting in my way."

"I know," she says, "but you're behind, you're supposed to have all of these donuts out by five o'clock. It's past that now."

"I'm well aware of that, and I don't give a shit." I don't; I'm not fast enough yet to do that. I'll get them out at five when I'm able.

"Well, that's a great attitude to have."

"I know that, now, leave my donuts alone, please." Meekly, she trundles away.

I am left alone for twenty minutes or so, when Jane comes back, and starts grabbing shit out of my hands. "What the hell are you doing?"

"I want--"

"Okay, I don't care what you want, Jane. Seriously. I'll get these out when I get them out."

"Jeez, you don't--" At this point, she starts to carry my fondant away! (The fondant is the topping for the donuts.)

Now, I'm finally upset. I raise my voice, and I rarely ever do that. "Okay Jane, get the fuck out of here, you're totally in my way. I don't need your help, you choose to come back here. I'm busy, I'm working, and you're fucknig it all up, taking things from my hands, no less, and you expect me to get to the backpatting? Fuck that."

She stands there for about three seconds, like a deer in the headlights. "You don't have to yell."

"I wasn't yelling."

"Whatever, Devon. Whatever." Then she leaves. I yell, "Thank you!"

I'm done the rest of my work in twenty minutes.

I work as a commission salesperson at a Furniture store.

It being February, the slowest month of the year, we end up being over-staffed and under-customered. This gives us a lot of free time on our hands.

Now to be fair, I WARNED him not to steal my nametag. I said, "Look, Turpin, don't steal my nametag. Don't mess with me."

But he stole my nametag.

And ran off with it, and kicked it under a couch.

I was forced to go into his locker and steal his ray-ban sunglasses. I think they had a huge sentimental value so I just placed them inside a cup on top of his locker.

In response, Turpin took a random padlock and locked my locker with it.

So I took a bunch of crumpled up paper and threw it in his locker. Just a light sprinkling, really.

I had a few days off, and yesterday my locker was filled, head-to-toe, with no room for movement, with long strips of shredded paper. (though he had found his sunglasses and since removed the padlock)

Turpin is so afraid of retribution that he went through the length of going to the drugstore and buying a lock-and-key to protect himself.

I was forced to widen a small hole in the top of his locker with my screwdriver, so that I could spray an entire can of silly string in, followed by the dumping of horrendous amounts of confetti (hole-punch cutouts).

My next plan is to toilet paper the inside of his locker and gently mist it so it sticks.

I told him not to mess with me.

A few random thoughts since I've been up since 1:35 a.m. EST and my brain is useful for not much else.

*****

What to do with annoying people: It is helpful to remember at times that everyone at one time was a child. They played with their favorite toys and lost themselves in imaginary universes. They had a Mom and Dad who (hopefully) loved them and thought they were precious beyond definition. They may have brothers and sisters who look up to them or who they love deeply. Cut them some slack. At the very least, just ignore them.

The fact that I just wrote that astounds me since almost everyone pisses me off.

*****

The belly fairy has been visiting me more than usual lately, depositing globs of fat around my middle. I am not yet unsightly, but I should not be suprised. I've been powerlifting steadily for almost two years and running little. My diet consists of substantial portions of wholesome food with an emphasis on meat and dairy products.

In a brief fit of overreacting at about 3:16 a.m. I thought about selling the weights and just rely on running and yoga. Then I remembered what my niece Nicolette said a few days ago while I was moving some heavy boxes at TinyGranny's house, "Look at Uncle Lovejoyman, he doesn't need any help. He's a beast!"

An ego stroke, I know, but I take 'em where I can get 'em. Besides, I've put on about 30 pounds of muscle, and approaching geezerdom, I'm stronger than I've ever been in my entire life. The body I had as a marathon runner has vanished, replaced by one resembling a middle linebacker.

"Lighten up, you pansy," Supervixen said. "You have a figure better than most men anywhere."

She said "figure" because she's a loon and knew it wouldn't be as complimentary as "body". But getting a compliment from her is like dynamiting gold from pickles so I was pleased that she noticed.

She then traced a nail down my spine in the valley made by my erector spinae all the way to my butt-crack and set a play date for later.

Note to self: continue lifting, continue eating, just run more.

*****

My favorite book at the moment is C for Dummies: Volume Two. A refresher course since I've never coded for a living, am mostly self-taught, and I might actually get a job doing this. Another dream come true. Really.

*****

I miss football season. This is made harsher since my team won the Super Bowl. Arena football helps a little. I try to get my boys to toss the ball with me, run some routes on the front yard.

"Ok, sprint toward the sidewalk, then cut to your right. I'll hit you by the azaleas. On three. Ready, break."

"Daddy, can we just play soccer?"

Sigh.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you look at yourself and think: How did I get here? I had such a moment last night, well really early this morning. I hate it when my mind acts like a particle accelerator, thoughts flashing faster and ever faster around until they eventually smash into something and stop altogether in the bliss of sleep. It makes for some late nights that I really don't need.

Recently I've been talking a lot with a friend of mine. She is such a deep person, with many insights on a great many things. She is creative, spiritual, and very smart. She has a spark that I haven't seen in someone for a good while.

In our dialogs I seem to be lacking in these things. She will ask my views on a subject and I'll come up with a blank. It's not like this is an unimportant topic to me, but I just haven't thought on it. I have no view as of yet. I used to think at great length on a great many things... now I do not.

She shared her artwork with me, something I truly appreciate. Ideas and symbolism spill out of each piece, some I catch others she has to point out. Each is creative and interesting. I used to attempt such things. I was never very good at it, but I tried regardless. I've tried to take up the practice again, but to no avail. That wellspring I used to draw from has dried it seems.

I used to look at the world with wonderment and awe of simply being a part of the world. Now, well I'm not sure anymore. Somewhere along the line I've lost something important to me. I wonder at what point it was that I lost it. It was still with me as I graduated High school years ago, despite all it's attempts to break me. It must have been in college. How ironic that a place of learning squelches the creative soul. Perhaps it was a combination of college and then real life that seal the deed.

I don't know, but I want it back.

I love Office Depot. I love the paper aisle, the pens and pencils aisle, highlighters, markers, index cards. I love the smell, the weight, the plastic wrap, the purity. When shopping for my employer, I invariably bought a little something for myself. Usually pens or paper. Beautiful paper.

When I got home, or to class or to work or wherever, I would attempt Creation. Just as I had countless times in my childhood. I would reveal, as a magician, the piece of paper from its hiding place, and gently place it before me. So smooth, wrinkle-free, cool, and soft. I would sometimes touch it lightly, to affirm its existence, and my mind would be racing. So many possibilities and only one fate.

And so it would continue. I would stare at this sheet of paper, lying perfectly still and cool and apathetic, upon my desk. So pristine, so much potential. My pulse would be slightly elevated, my eyes wide, my mind the noisiest place in the universe. The pencil or pen, phallic and dirty, would lie next to the sheet of paper. It was the means by which this sheet of paper would reach its fate, but I felt guilty being its vehicle. Eventually, I would nestle the pencil in my left hand, against the callus on my middle finger, and make imaginary strokes, closer and closer to this virgin paper. To reach the light, you must first pass through the darkness, I would tell this sheet of paper. You must submit to be Created.

But not once have I dirtied, wrinkled, and soiled a sheet of paper and felt I had Created. My expectations are raised so high for this pitiful sheet of paper and this pencil, that somehow the pencil should guide my hand and Create something fabulous and unseen, something the world would love. These sheets of paper are inevitably wasted to the 7, 9, and 11 point stars, lightning bolts, hearts, and other scribblings of the shallower recesses of my bored brain. I am no artist, no Creator.

This peculiar habit of mine only matters because I feel the same way about myself. My youth, my naïveté, the white sheet of paper of my soul, are doomed to fast come to a close on me. I shall soon leave this place, for better or for worse, and there is but one path I shall take in my life. But for now, I flitter about from place to place, a Butterfly waiting to find a place where I will Shine before someone or something or I myself rip my Wings off and slice them up with the Exacto blades of life. In the background of my mind, I hear those Exacto blades being sharpened. Where shall I go?

And more importantly, how long before I realize that I am the artist holding the pencil, and not the sheet of paper?

On the 18th it was academic review day at school - which is a fancy way of saying open evening during the day. I must say that I did kind of well. I am academically 31st in the year group out of around 300 or so. I knuckled down this year and I am proud of myself. I want to get the good grades and I am determined to get them. I can, I know I can. I’m kinda geeky, eh?

On the 19th I finished filming my very own episode of Eastenders. I will admit it was pants but I really enjoyed doing it with my friends, we had a laugh.. I played Sharon, I mean, really, do I look like Sharon?! Watching it in front of the class was less embarrassing than I thought. I actually laughed along with them.

I want to say a sorry to you all too. I have been acting kind of strange recently, asking questions that none you can probably answer. I probably don’t want you to answer them, I think I maybe need to answer them myself and I will, someday. Everyone seems so much more grown up then me, more sorted out, I kind of wonder how you all got so much older than me, so much more sorted. It doesn’t matter, my time will come and when it does I will be ready, maybe I aren’t now but I am young, I need to live my life first.

I worked a lot of stuff out in my head this week. I’m coming to terms with a lot of things. I’m getting over stuff too. I finally realise that I don’t need to stew over things and I certainly don’t need to stew over you. You aren’t important, well, you are, but not as much. I’m dealing with it. I moved on from you - nearly. You finally showed me nothing will happen - maybe that is good. I don’t know what I am supposed to think anymore, I don’t know what you are thinking. The fact is, you probably don’t even care, I’m fine with that - or am I? I just wanted you to tell me it didn’t matter, that is all I ever wanted, that and some form of friendship. I got neither, what a surprise.

There is something that really bugs me. I know that we all have problems and I know that I moan about mine too much but have you ever thought maybe you could listen to me instead of yourself? I have an opinion too! Yes! I do! I want to talk about what worries me and you just are obsessed with her, get over it. That was harsh. Sorry. I love you, really, I do.

I had my interview with an alumnus from Brown today. He stressed that the interview was not that important, and spent most of our time together talking about his experiences at Brown. I listened, but I was diverted a bit by his mode of presentation

He was very tall, but he had too much clothing on for me to tell if he was well built; he was a former baseball/football player. He talked as if there was something immensely painful about life, as if his wife had just died or something.

After he talked about why he had chosen Brown - his family had a lot of kids in it and Brown offered him the best financial aid package - I asked him what he did not like about Brown. He said the place was overly liberal; though at the time he attended he said he was fairly openminded, although now he has become a conservative in reaction to what he encountered there. I wanted to say that I was neither, and in fact hated politics, but he left no gap in the conversation. He talked about how a group of people had stolen newspapers because there was an offensive ad in it, and how the minorities had been polarized - he used the term brainwashed - by people beforehand into distrusting whites.

He said that these experiences did not make him dislike Brown, yet he said everything with such a pain in his voice that it made it sound as if Brown had personally injured him.

At the end of the interview, he asked me if the interview had affected the way I thought about Brown. I said no, but now I realize I had lied: I probably won't attend Brown if I get accepted.

We went to choir practice at St. John's Unitarian Church for the first time today. There was much sight reading, but we were told that this is not the norm. We were given a lovely arrangement of Let Us Break Bread Together to perform on Sunday.

After a little counting on my fingers, I realized it had been over twenty years since I did any singing of that sort, meaning four or more part harmony and such. They managed to line up some child care for us during rehearsals, so we should be able to make it a regular Thursday event, not to mention getting there early on Sundays to perform the stuff.

The weather in Cincinnati is still nasty, with more nasty expected. I can't decide which is worse : cold and rain or cold and snow.

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