Ah the joys of buying a new home. You see I bought a new house just back in September of 2001. I bought a fairly small house at the time, being single and having only a roommate and a cat as company.

But then in December I met the most wonderful woman in the world and by January we were engaged to be married. Which has been quite amazing.

Then when visiting my father he commented on the possibility of having the builder make a deal with us on building a larger home.

We went back to the model home and decided on a plan. The new house is a fair bit more expensive and our conditions on our offer are just about ready to be waived. We have a guaranteed, albiet low price on the old house, allowing us to proceed with construction and starting selling the old house later on closer to the closing date. It is a good oppurtunity as housing costs are about to go up and we don't have to worry about not being able to sell our old house.

Still I can't help but wonder if we are doing the right thing. On the one hand we get a new house suitable for a family and one which we could retire in. On the other hand it is more expensive and we risk getting screwed on the price of the old house; in any case I will be losing money (probably) on the old house although saving money on getting in before price increases.

I guess the only real dilemna here is playing it safe or taking a chance (even if it's a small one). I guess it is risk vs. reward. Hmmm I wonder if Verant has patched my life while I wasn't looking? As long as I don't nerf myself!

The last few days have been quite fun... my poor webserver is looking a bit ragged:

Monday 25th February 2002, approx 1100hrs GMT
Transfer Statistics: 83 hits per hour, approx 0.73MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 100%
Total hits today: 2,000

While spodding on Uberworld, a friend posts a URL of a directory containing .jpg images of all the Playboy Playmates from 1960 to 2000. It occurs to me that it would be cool to have something that would let you work out who was Playmate Of The Month when you were born, so I hack a quick PHP script to do just that, and put it on my website.

1300hrs GMT
I post the URL to the uknot mailing list, cos it's the kind of thing they dig. There's a bit of discussion but it's not a very big hit, so I forget about it.

Monday 25th February 2002, approx 2300hrs GMT
Transfer Statistics: 640 hits per hour, approx 2MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 771%
Total hits today: 15,395

Whilst I'm in the pub, an article I submitted to Slashdot is posted, and my website is linked to from the front page. Because it's not the focus of the article I don't get the full Slashdot Effect, but there's a noticeable increase in hit rate.

Tuesday 26th February 2002, approx 0930hrs GMT
Transfer Statistics: 1,092 hits per hour, approx 3.4MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 2,400%
Total hits today: 26,219

I get into work and notice the increase in the hit rate, but I don't know about the dramatic increase currently under way (log analysis is done automatically at 2300 each night). In hindsight, it seems clear that the subscribers to uknot have taken my link and posted it on bulletin boards, newsgroups, blogs and other mailing lists. So whilst I'm at work, the hit rate is rapidly increasing.

Wednesday 27 February 2002
Transfer Statistics: 3,992 hits per hour, approx 3.4MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 1,150%
Total hits today: 95,827

I'm busy all day Wednesday morning and assume that the hit rate hasn't changed much since yesterday, but at lunchtime I manually invoke webalizer to see what's going on, and get a bit of a shock. The link to my page has spread around the world, in the referrer logs you can see sites in .ru, .de and .nl. But I'm out in London with friends in the evening so after 5.30 I don't know what's going on.

Thursday 28 February 2002, approx 1000hrs GMT
Transfer Statistics: 10,416 hits per hour, approx 32MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 1,240%
Total hits today: 249,326

I log in first thing and get a shock! Now I start to worry, because my website is on a cheap rented box and has fixed bandwidth requirements. So I ask my host about the transfer situation, and it turns out that in the last 48 hours my one page has used up 3/4 of a month's worth of bandwidth. Time to worry!

1300hrs GMT
My host gets an e-mail from the hosting provider complaining about bandwidth usage. At times I've been using up to 10% of their total network capacity, and other hosts on their network are becoming inaccessible. Time to do something...

1430hrs GMT
Phew... we now have two mirror sites with DNS-level load balancing (using round-robin) to share the load - and I've dropped in an Amazon banner to try to offset the cost of extra bandwidth we'll have to come up with. America has now woken up and the hit rate seems as strong as ever - let's see what tomorrow brings!

State of play at 2115hrs GMT:

Total hits above expected: 455,761
Total amount of data transferred: 1.4GB

I'm not going to advertise my website here, in fact you'd be doing me a favour not looking at it! But if you feel the need to, it's on my homenode.

Output from webalizer:
|                         Daily Statistics for February 2002                         |
|Day|    Hits     |    Files    |   Pages    |   Visits   |   Sites    |   KBytes    |
|24 |  1140| 0.28%|  1008| 0.29%|  314| 0.24%|  130| 0.53%|  114| 0.62%|  8211| 0.58%|
|25 | 15395| 3.74%| 12621| 3.67%| 4355| 3.38%|  720| 2.94%|  691| 3.73%| 51919| 3.67%|
|26 | 26219| 6.36%| 21651| 6.30%| 8311| 6.45%| 1116| 4.56%|  974| 5.26%| 83618| 5.91%|
|27 | 95827|23.25%| 79030|23.00%|29181|22.65%| 4281|17.51%| 3710|20.03%|287036|20.29%|
|28 |249326|59.62%|207291|59.67%|82035|62.31%|16978|65.46%|13345|68.13%|784752|54.64%|
Friday 1 March, 2002 1255hrs GMT
Transfer Statistics: 1,833 hits per hour, approx 7MB/h
Percentage of usual transfer rate: 2,400%
Total hits today: 42,000 (est)

At some point the company hosting the images worked out what was going on and pulled the site. So my page has stopped working. Oh well. I've switched off the mirrors and put a low-fat page up explaining what happened, and I've already had people e-mailing me about hosting the page on their sites.

I just checked the logs from the mirror sites:
[jodrell@spod.uk.net]$ gunzip -c mirror1.log.gz mirror2.log.gz | wc --lines
I think that they went up a bit too late really, but they still soaked up about a fifth of the total number of hits.

Anyway, I think it's subsiding now. Obviously people won't circulate a link that doesn't do anything. But it's a lesson learned - the web works opposite to the normal rule - the good stuff gets beaten down because of bandwidth costs, and the crap gets left hanging around.

I'm in a better mood today than the last time I did a daylog. That don't mean I'm in a great mood because I was suicidal last time I did one of these. Not actively suicidal but still thinking about it nonetheless. Thanks to Christopher and of course Ed I'm not doing to bad today. I've got about 45 minutes or so until I have to leave for "work." I've got a job. Sort of. I'm tutoring a little boy. He's my cousin but I'm not sure he even knows that. His father's brother is my step-dad. I can't remember if the kid is in first grade or second grade and if he's 7, 8 or 9 years old. I just started this week and I'm really not sure it's worth it. The kid is a pain. The drive to his house is long and I've gotten lost on the way home both days I've gone down there. I was supposed to start on Monday but I was stupid and forgot about it completly. I started on Tuesday and got there late. I didn't realize how difficult it was and far of a drive for me. Oh well. I'm doing this as a favor. She is going to pay me however. I don't know why I bother though. My step dad told me "It's not like you're ever going to amount to anything anyway." and he's right.

Tommorow I'm going to Universal Studios Hollywood with my family. I'm dreading it very much. First there's the half hour to fourty-five minute drive with my mom, step-dad (who both hate me), my 13 year old sister who's mad because every friend she invited couldn't make it, my 11 year old brother, and his best friend. There's a fun drive for you!Once we get there...oh boy. Lots of walking and argueing. Then eventually we'll have to decide what to eat. There's a HUGE arguement. Just one of those days that seems like it will never end.

I'm close to level four on here now. I'll probably have enough nodes written by monday or tuesday but at least by the end of next week. I have a lot of time on my hands just not very much time of it is with a computer. So I search what I plan to write about, write them at home, in my room at night, then come back and search again and type and link them. I don't exactly lead the most exciting life.

Cookies! Girl scout cookies are here! I bought 3 boxes from my little sister. All of which have way more chocolate than I should have with the way my hands have been lately. Oh well.

So I think I'm a big, fat, ugly pig. It's called low-self esteem and depression and anxiety are all driving me completly insane. I hate life. Life hates me.

So are we tired of hearing my shit yet? Is it time for me to shut up and disappear and not come back? Eventually someone will tell me to go away, and I will. I'll find someplace else to whine until they get sick of me and tell me to go away too. It's a cycle. This isn't new. I'm used to it now. I often overstay my welcome. I just wait now and let someone tell me it's time to leave. Sometimes it's a person that lives inside my head and sometimes it's a person from the internet and sometimes it's a person that I've seen in real life. It doesn't really matter. I always get told to leave anywhere I go.

That's right, folks. Today is my E2 birthday. I have been a noder for one full year, with no signs of slowing. (Okay, well, maybe a little.)

My E2 history:

On Friday, February 9, 2001, my friend Jessica (a.k.a. winged panda) introduced me to E2, showing me some of her mysterious "nodes" (of which she still has only six, none since over a year ago). I groaned as she showed me the complexity of the place, and the community, and the utter rampant weirdness . . . because I knew it was only a matter of time before I ended up checking it out myself and getting hooked.

Usually when a friend shows me some cool Web site, I might go for a couple visits, maybe not even that, decide "it's cool but they can have it," and go back to my life. After all, I don't need all this stuff to be obsessed with, I have enough to do. But there was just something about E2. I fought valiantly against the inclination to come and look, and as you can see I was successful for about three weeks . . . but on February 28, 2001, my E2 hymen was broken, and I created an account.

As is the case with many new noders who are not idiots, I read the work of others, as well as scouring the appropriate beginners' documents. For my first node I decided to E2-ify one of the well-received essays on my Web page, making it a new writeup under ukyoCE's writeup I can hang out with guys without fucking them! I was pleased with the response; I got lots of immediate upvotes, a couple downvotes but then a couple messages, welcomes, et cetera. I wrote a couple more, two stupid ones called vendetta and moronitis, both of which were not very well-received (justifiably so) and one of which was looked at as a "don't make shit up" node. I didn't really care. At this point of course, I was still not sure how to treat E2 as anything more than a bizarre message board, so my first writeup was a glorified and well-received "me too!" writeup, and I didn't totally "get it" for a little while, but I kept my distance, read nodes, didn't take criticism too personally while taking it seriously, and kept noding.

I began collecting C!s from admiring people (my very first node was even C!ed, almost immediately!), and in the chatterbox a couple people mentioned to others that I had "skillz." I was flattered, and I had lots of respect for the group as a whole.

The community was tough. Occasionally I'd post something that apparently required more bullshit points than I'd earned, and got nuked, and got in a couple mini-arguments with editors and others. Nothing serious, since I can usually see other people's points. I was bowled over by the amount of variation I sensed in this nevertheless highly intelligent population; never had I seen a place with such high standards for being accepted which also valued intelligence and communication skills rather than social skills or physical attractiveness. Here was finally a place where most people thought being able to spell was important; where unjustified and unsubstantiated claims were laughed out of existence rather than given strength because of the number of people crying "me too"; where my anal-retentiveness for language, passion for ideas, and functioning frontal lobe would be rewarded with positive attention instead of "man u need 2 chill out n smoke a bud n get laid, u frigid nerdy bitch!" Hook, line, and sinker.

I added a few more well-received essays from my Web page, E2-ified. I noded fast and furious. I began noding some Pagan material since there was a lot I could add to the database. I noded some book synopses. I made Level 2 on March 14, 2001.

I noded my own prank metanode. I noded some Pagan holidays and went through a bout of noding Ween lyrics because they are my favorite band, yet more or less unrecognized except for a few popular songs noded on here. I made Level 3 on March 23, 2001. I discovered a couple of friends. I noded some recipes. I began to daylog once in a while. I wrote a few original essays that were posted on E2 first and later copied onto my Web page, instead of the other way around. I noded some more additions to other people's nodes. I noded some detailed uses for herbs. On March 28, 2001, I attained Level 4, and awarded my first C!.

I was pretty proud of myself for leveling that high that fast (little less than a standard month), but I recognized that a large number of Ween lyrics and uses of herbs do not necessarily indicate high node quality, so I slowed down a little and noded mostly when I felt like it. I noded some magickal tools. Some more lyrics. A couple opinionated essays. Some Pagan-oriented how-to guides. A bunch of stuff on Francesca Lia Block books. Er, more lyrics. Some funny stuff, daylogs, Lemony Snicket book synopses, slang phrases that didn't happen to be noded yet, some symbolism guides and some Pagan tracts that weren't there yet. I went through a phase where I daylogged my calorie intake when I was on a diet. And a bunch of nodes on types of faeries. Funny stuff inspired by working in a bookstore. Synopses of the Sandman comics. Recipes, grammatical stuff, Pagan information, daylogs, names of certain nationalities, et cetera. Somewhere in there I made Level 5, hardly noticed, and made Level 6, at which time I threw a picture on my homenode. I changed it not too long after.

I started with highly opinionated stuff, but found that controversial or opinionated nodes are usually answered not only with downvotes, but with messages and softlinks to the effect of "your radical opinion about . . . " such and such, even though I had figured as much and just wanted to say so. These types got the most attention, and probably the most votes, but I began to be more interested in contributing to the factual information of the database. Well, that and daylogging.

Since February 28, 2001, not a lot has happened, yet it has. I'm still in the same job . . . just being paid better for it. I've had about four different bosses, they come and go so quickly. I thought I had an eye infection or something back when I first started E2; in the months following, I tracked it down to being a chronic sinus condition that is easily controlled with over-the-counter medication. I finished writing a novel (and noded about that too). I had a lot of friends. I have a few more now, and even less time to work on the even more stuff I want to do; frustrating, but necessary. My Web page was stable. Now it's in jeopardy because of a bunch of stuff. I was an AOL chat room host for Hecklers Online. Now that's folded and I've just been hired as an AOL chat room host for SpeakEasy, a trivia gaming room. My sister was graduating high school and my parents weren't speaking. Now my sister's in college and my parents have agreed to get a divorce. And my mom's royally pissed at me for stuff I won't go into here. I kept a journal. I still keep a journal. I wasn't interested in sex or having a boyfriend. Ditto now. I was twenty-three. Now I'm twenty-four. I spent too much time online. I still do.

I hope I'm still here come February 28, 2003 to write another node like this one.

Dear Prof. Morton:

It's come to my attention (i.e. I found out when I went to go cash a check) that the grades for all incomplete courses are due this afternoon in the registrar's office. As it's around four in the morning and I've already collapsed on the keyboard twice this evening, I highly doubt I will be handing you my paper prior to the grading process. Maybe it's lack of sleep, maybe it's the head injury, but I think, at this point, That it no longer matters to me. Please supply me with whatever grade you feel is necessary. I won't argue.
I will most likely be living with my parents for the foreseeable future, of course, when they yank away my financial aid, but at this point, the only thing I care about is being alive, healthy, and mostly sane. Do not take this as a disparagement of the course or yourself; no, rather, think of it as the realization and acceptance of my own incompetence. I will now go to sleep, where I can finally find some blessed peace.
Feel free to talk to me after German, if you feel it's necessary. I will be as cooperative and unhelpful as possible. I enjoy learning, but I prefer living much more.

This concludes our rant for the evening. Thank you, and good night, folks.

Yrs, JMM.

Here is the executive summary of this node: I met radlab0 and claypenny and they are utterly charming, as is claypenny's young son Michael (though the top-secret nature of his work may require him to keep silent about certain activities of his). If you ever find yourself in their company consider yourself very fortunate. They rock.

So: I have to ask myself, why the HELL does anyone pay attention to me? I don't mean in general (though that is a very compelling question), but specifically when it comes to planning and leading the day's activities when people come to visit me in San Diego. At the first noder get-together here we ended up wandering through La Jolla looking for a karaoke bar that turned out to no longer exist, and I was woefully uninformed about places to get hammered. Then when Roninspoon and his SO visited, I lost my car in the Balboa Park parking lot for something like two hours. And now this.

See, radlab0 flew into town for an academia-related thingy and had a night free, and claypenny revealed that she just recently moved here, and I thought hey! Why don't the three of us get together in La Jolla where radlab0 is staying and hang out? We met at 8:30 P.M. in the lobby of the Empress Hotel where I, sure that I had an idiot-proof plan of action for once, suggested we eat at local Mexican hole-in-the-wall Porkyland. We got there just in time to admire the big CLOSED sign in the window. I sent up a silent prayer of thanks that mean-spirited and unforgiving mocker-types like Roninspoon and Chihuahua Grub weren't around and collared someone to ask where one DOES find sustenance in the Village after 9:00.

We ended up at a decent place called "The Spot" where we had chocolate malteds and french fries and potatoes layered with some sort of unbreakable super-cheese, and cracked each other up for the next two and a half hours. claypenny and radlab0 and Michael are very warm, smart, funny people with excellent taste in Stuff. I really couldn't have asked for a better evening, or better companions.

I do have to share My Lamest Moment with you, though. As part of my hurried attempt to familiarize myself with everyone else who was showing up I went to claypenny's sister witchiepoo's home node -- only I didn't type "witchiepoo" in the search box, I typed "wuukiee". Right, I thought, college student, neo-pagan, no kids. Remember that. WHY did I do this? I'm not sure. They both start with "w", and I think I became aware of them both as noders at around the same time, and frankly I'm just not that bright. Ennyway, this led to me saying things like "She's your older sister? But she looks so young on her home node pic!" and "Wow, I had no idea she had kids!". I am SO dang smooth sometimes.

Today was my wife Angela's birthday. She was scheduled for the night shift so I took the day off and we had breakfast at the Mission Cafe, browsed through the Sumner and Dean gallery where she got nifty green-and-silver earrings, did some window shopping at the Mitsuwa Japanese department store, and opened presents at home. While she was at work a co-worker bought, wrapped, and gave her a copy of her favorite movie on video, Wings of Desire. Yay for birthdays.

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