I would like to travel back in time...

But I wouldn't do it so I could bet on football games and track games *cough, back to the future 2.* I would do it to find out one simple thing: Is there such thing as fate? I really don't believe in it, but in a way I do... It would be easy as hell to figure out if it existed. Just go see if I could make myself do something different. I think if fate is really what it is cracked out to be then everything should go by the book. So not matter what happens, it will all happen the same, even though that should be impossible. That, is why I don't think fate exists. I could just be wrong though.

I believe in Buddhism, but am not a Buddha reincarnated, and I don't believe that I ever will be. I'm going through my teen years of doubt no doubt, unlike the Buddha, I can't find a special place for things in my heart. I follow the 10 rules, errr, except for the last two. I try not to lie, I try not to overindulge, but it's just to hard. I meditate, I do everything I'm supposed too, but it's just too hard. Buddhism has made me a better person, but instead of taking away my doubts, it just has me making up new ones to be worried about.

I'm in the land of confusion, don't pull me out now.

Sometimes I look up in the night sky and see a constellation, maybe a patch of stars grouped together. They twinkle on and off, slowly, but surely. There is no doubt in the permanence of this twinkling. It is when I see these stars that I am reminded of times lost. Times I had, and times I will never have again for as long as I live.

All the days and nights I spent by your side, and all the nights on the phone. The days we would waste away just being together. I could come home, and rush to the phone.

I remember the one night I woke up to your face, and I remember how wonderful it was, and then I miss it, I miss you. I can replay every thing we did together in vivid detail.

From that first kiss, until the last one.

The times we would talk about all the little details of what happened each day. All the posters in your room, one time I ran upstairs just to count how many books I had, because I always told you the truth, I still do.

I still have the gift certificates I was going to use to take you out to dinner. The tickets from the movies we went to, I remember all those moments.

Ask me about any day or night, it"s still there, like an image burnt into my retina.

I hate it....

…because I will never have those moments again.

I will get to see your face, talk to you, and maybe even sit next to you.

I will help you out whenever you want, no questions asked.

I wish to shed a tear, I feel like breaking down every time I see you, every time I think of you.

I do not though, because...

I do not want you to know how much you have hurt me.

There in the sky every night shines a star. Hanging on the back of the picture frame, are the two bracelets.

Hanging just like the star, named after you.

I have experienced the stifling power of the E2 majority on its self-preserving course. I wrote up a node that was admittedly tongue-in-cheek, but it wasn't supposed to offend anyone with slightest sense of humor. Heck, I even do appreciate HLL and use them, I'm just not into the arrogant people who refuse to consider anything aside their tunnel vision. Well, the node went down like a deep sea sub. Voters seem either to reject anything they cannot penetrate, or to have different taste in irony (again, this is a majority), or to be the same arrogant dorks who can't mock at themselves with me.

This morning, when I logged on, I was presented with a message saying that the node is to be deleted as it's nothing more than poorly written facts wrapped in flamage. Dude, read anything on The Onion. May the meaning of the word "irony" reveal itself to you.

I guess, I'd better go code my own blog.


Everyone pats me on the back, saying that I should try again and write something better, something informative, something... conformant. Nothanks. I know better places for my thoughts than this oversized anthropological experiment.

You can't crush me! My preciousss ticket to LotR is with me. Today is the day!

A couple of weeks back, Charlie-in-my-writing-group was recruiting a semipro SF writer who'd just moved to town to join our workshop. In his email to the new writer, he described me as "prolific".

Prolific.

No, I'm not prolific. Not by far. Take Gary A. Braunbeck, for instance -- he's prolific. 200 published stories, three collections, four novels, and five contracts for more. He's one of the folks the book publishers call up and say, "Hey Gary, we're 10,000 words short for our new anthology. Can you send us a new story that length in four days?" And he sits down and cranks out a good, publishable novella in less than a week. And his output is nothing compared to the likes of Stephen King or Isaac Asimov -- Asimov could turn out a 50,000-word novel in a week. That's prolific.

What I am is persistent. I get a rejection, I revise my story (or not) and send it right back out again. I don't stop until my stories find a home. Sometimes they sell quick, sometimes it takes years and lots of revision -- but I don't stop until they sell. It's because I can't shake the notion that if a story never sees publication -- be that publication large or small -- it's useless. To me, an unpublished story is a story that doesn't really exist.

Lots of fiction writers -- the bulk of the folks I went to the Clarion workshop with, unfortunately -- hit a couple of markets, get their rejections, and quit, deciding their work is no good.

Sure, it does no good to keep sending out something that's unpublishable -- if I've gotten, say, ten rejections on a piece, I take a long, hard look at it. But three rejections? Four? Five? Pshaw. 'Taint nothing.

The thing is, you have to develop the ability to objectively evaluate your own work -- and then you have to trust your own instincts. You have to have a little faith in yourself and your work.

And you have to expect rejections. Expect the worst and it won't sting you. Easier said than done, I know.


I decided to do a bit of housecleaning last night and started sorting some piles of paper I had in my filing cabinet. I weeded out:

  • 500-odd pages of old work that can be safely recycled
  • copies of two X-Files scripts -- "Ice" and "Little Green Men" -- that I'm giving to my housemate, who's been bogarting my X-Files Season One and Season Two DVDs since I bought them
  • a couple of novel chapters and a story I thought I'd lost forever

Finding the novel chapters made me do the Dance of Supreme Happiness. It was something I'd written on my old Powerbook 5300 and got nuked in a system crash mishap. I hadn't remebered ever printing it out -- but there it was, nice crisp hardcopy ready to be OCRed back into Word Perfect.

Finding the story was, in some ways, even better. It's a tale I wrote back in 1995 at Clarion during the week we had Tim Powers and Karen Joy Fowler as instructors. I wrote the story in a night, submitted it, and then immediately had misgivings. It was a silly piece, I knew. Fluffy. They'd hate it.

I couldn't sleep the night before the workshop, fearing the worst. When I went to the workshop room in the morning, Karen and Tim wouldn't look at me, and I knew I was in for it. They workshopped the other folks' stories first, then announced we'd break for lunch before my critique.

I couldn't eat. I was nauseated, dreading the worst. My friend Debbie found me in the women's restroom, and I cried on her shoulder. "They're going to tear it to shreds," I told her.

She told me it'd be okay, and we went into the critique room and sat down on the couch. The other 16 students came in, then the instructors.

Tim Powers took a deep breath and began his critique of my story: "This is a perfect example of what's wrong in science fiction today ...."

And he and Karen began to tear my story apart like Cenobites dismantling an idiot who'd accidentally opened the Lament configuration puzzle box. Everything I feared was happening right before my very eyes. Debbie kept casting worried glances at me, wondering if I was going to crack. But I was perfectly calm. Numb. Maybe even smiling.

The majority of the other students liked my story, but with Tim's and Karen's words ringing through my brain, I didn't hear them. And it didn't matter that a couple of the other students were furious over my treatment and gave Tim and Karen a piece of their minds later that day. When the workshop session was over, I went up to my dorm room and expunged every trace of the story from my hard drive. When I later received the copies of my story with people's written comments on them, I shoved them in a file folder and forgot about them for the next six years.

Last night, I found the file and re-read the story. And you know what? I don't hate it. I like it, in fact, and the critiques from the others who also liked it make sense. It can be a decent little story; it just needs a bit of a tune-up. It didn't deserve the broad damnation Tim and Karen laid on it.

I should have had a little more faith.

This morning at 7:00 a.m., while I was dropping off my son at daycare, the Repo people finally called.  They wanted to pick up his car this morning. This is something that I have been trying to take care of for nearly five months and I am glad they are calling because it is one more thing that is finished.  Still, it's sad that it had to happen at all.  It's another reminder of events.

I quickly made a few phone calls and arranged for someone to move the car out of my garage and hand over the keys.  It is gone now.  The car he loved, the car he drove to this gathering, this gathering, and lastly this gathering One more thing gone

My Memories of a Repo'd Car
The day after he got his car, he drove it to my office on his way to work, because he wanted to show me how pretty it was, and let me drive it.  We saw each other nearly weekly, for the kids, and other things.  About a month later, he had some problems with the temporary tags and a Montgomery County Police Officer, so I gave him my car to drive around to the dealership and the Maryland Vehicles Administration.  After he was done, we went to lunch.  I didn't know that would be the last time I saw him.   He spent the whole time telling me about the first two gatherings he went to, and how cool everyone was.  I was happy that he had friends.  I was happy and sad.   I missed him.  We talked about moving back in together, and whether that would be a good idea.  We loved each other.  I had really enjoyed being with him that day.  I hugged him when I went back to work and he drove off in the car.

On September 10, after all was said and done with the police, I went to his car, hoping to find anything that would give me an indication of his reasons.  I found a New York City magnet, his shoes, his CDs and directions to an address in New York City.  In the mail in the house that day, there were two speeding tickets. Both of them were from driving the car he loved the way he loved to drive.  I drove his car away to Virginia on September 15th, and it's been in my possession ever since.

The bank usually gives an automatic $10,000 loan guarantee on all auto loans.  I gave the bank the death certificate, and was told, "I'm sorry ma'am, but under the circumstance the loan guarantee is null and void, so will you be paying for the car? Or shall we have someone come get it?" 

Now, it's gone.

Scene: a darkened nightclub, about 01:00. Many people dressed in black cavort under the coloured lights that flash from the ceiling. In the booth, DJ Kentifyr suffers horribly from flu induced delirium, and plays even better music than usual. Immediately in front of the booth, Y.T. frolics with her pretty little assassin.
Love's Secret Domain begins to play...

Kentifyr: "I've been told I should be embarrassing someone named {the assassin}1. {Assassin}, which one of you out there is {the assassin}?"

CJ jumps up and down, gleefully pointing at her compatriot, who has recently had a birthday, and needs an extra helping of torment.

CJ: Hey Kent! Right here! Right here!!

The assassin covers his face in shame, and looks around for a hole to hide in, laughing in that "if this weren't so entertaining i'd kill you" sort of way.

At this point, the song breaks into full stereophonic glory, and the two explore the limits of human flexibility.

i love my people; really i do...


Notes:
1. name removed to preserve some small amount of dignity.
5:32 - woke up to sound of roommate getting home, using restroom.
6:10 - woke up again.
7:10 - woke up to my alarm clock, slowly began daily process of preparing self for the world.
7:45 - set to work on my pre-lab.
8:45 - having finished the pre-lab, began work on eating cereal and playing Final Fantasy 8... a sort of mini-celebration in anticipation of finishing a successful week, as I rarely let myself do anything so unproductive as play video games without social reason.
10:25 - friend showed up. noted that his account had been overdrawn, and he would now be charged a fee. questioned location of roommate, who had expressed interest in joining our wake-n-bake. blew second hit his face, waking him up.
10:30 - roommate entered living room, slightly hungover, pissed that he forgot his alarm clock, and consequently missed work. took some hits. we suggested that he use recently broken car window as excuse. he asked if one of us would call his boss and report "an accident". were both too high already.
10:45 - roommate realized that his alarm clock was half an hour fast, that he could have been in time for work if had gotten ready and left right after waking up. we respond by playing Tekken 3 for a while. i suck at it when high, he let me win fairly often.
11:40 - roommate asked if anyone wanted to drive to Yuma with him, but we had classes and work respectively. he set to work finding someone to give him a ride to the rental car place.
11:50 - we left for choir, five minutes later than were planning.
12:05 - we arrived at the music building.
12:10 - entered rehearsal room, reasonably certain from bathroom check that eyes weren't red, faces weren't too goofy. i started singing along with group upon entering, glad to find had memorized first movement of our mass.
12:15 - saw her. smiled and turned away. too nervous for eye contact. she looked sad. i couldn't assess situation with any degree of certainty. quickly forgot to worry about it
12:40 - started to suspect was the source of all the problems in my section that the conductor stopped every 5 measures to point out. wasn't holding onto vowels long enough, was dragging out consonants, wasn't forming vowels correctly with mouth... as soon as realized was making each mistake, conductor stopped mentioning it. started to grasp what terrible idea smoking had been.
12:50 - as was letting class out, conductor said late arrivals had been increasing dramatically, and must cease.
12:51 - she left the room before i even remembered to think about it. friend was, as usual, maintaining full social form in spite of having smoked more than i. reflected on the fact that the more times i let her down by not acting on our eye contact, the worse things get for both of us.
13:10 - sitting alone in chinese restaurant, awaiting chemical redemption for self-induced mental pain, resolve once again to cut back on smoking. have realized in last 20 minutes that on most fundamental levels, smoking puts me in bad position to accomplish things i think are worthwhile. increases chances i'll engage in hedonistic excess, lowers chances dramatically for having meaningful interpersonal communication. slightly increases creativity, but not worth the cost. no short cuts. try to write thoughts down, put notebook away upon seeing people i know enter restaurant, ashamed of form and content of writings, and of projected mockery by them. they leave, thinking i haven't seen them, probably not wanting to have to talk to me (projection). write down "if you value the opinions of the closed-minded above your own, you're even dumber than they are." reflect on recent suggestions from numerous people to stop insulting myself so constantly. decide then and there to make productive use of time, devise script for talking to aforementioned girl when she gets out of 1pm class (which was next to my 1pm before I dropped it).
13:40 - on way to bike, realize i need a pen for 2pm lab. not enough time to go home (get pen) and go to her building and make it to lab on time. not on time to lab equals automatic points off. try to haul ass home with all possible speed.
13:55 - realize have been standing around house for five minutes not accomplishing anything. don't want to go to lab... had bad experience last week (also involving smoke). resolve to ditch, make it up next week, and go talk to girl. realize she's far away from class by now. ponder situation.
14:00 - begin practicing talking to her in front of mirror. can't even maintain eye contact with self or say 4 sentences without stuttering at first.
14:50 - mouth dry from talking, effects from THC almost entirely reduced to weariness. ride bike to campus, then up and down the mall, hoping to cross paths with her (as used to happen so very often before we caught each others' eyes)
16:50 - grow weary of loop, stop to rest for a few.
17:15 - finish reading second chapter of James Clavell's King Rat. pack up and start riding home
17:25 - stop at computer lab "just to check email real quick"
18:22 - (Don't display in "New Writeups"). Create it as a: Idea

WARNING: Lot's of pathetic whining.

I think I need to vent

I'm totally stressed out right now. My step-dad has put so many restrictions on the computer and I'm so behind in my Psychology 101 class. I can't concentrate on anything due to lots of things.

  • I've had a hard time sleeping lately and am very tired.
  • The computer is in the livingroom and so is my family.
  • The tv is really loud.
  • My headphones are trying to quit and I need music to think
  • I'm really anxious
  • None of my friends are online right now
  • My parents want to know all my passwords
  • I feel weak and shaky
  • This "home" don't feel like home because my family don't want me here
  • I have so much school work but it's so hard to concentrate.
  • I miss Ed
  • I could go on and on...

I just want to curl up in a ball and die.


I'm sorry for such a whiny node. I'll work on doing actual informative/non-daylog nodes. I promise.
I went to sleep at my usual time at 4:40 A.M.

I usually wake up around noon earliest, but today I thought I was gonna die. I would awaken at 7:20 A.M., with a lack of breath, dry mouth, and sharp stomach pains (not to mention bloating). I walked slowly to the bathroom, tryin to make it as least painful as possible. At first I thought I was going to throw up, but after ten minutes of nothing I proceeded to the can.

NOTHING

I remembered that I was thirsty and took a drink from the sink. A minute later the runs hit me and im on the can for a good half hour. One of the most painful and longlasting events of my life.

Now what caused this?

I'll tell you what caused this. That night before I hit the sack, I was doing the usual (watching Conan O'brien and reading nodes on E2). I remembered eating more than half a can of Planters Cheese Balls. What I think caused this hell to emerge was not drinking any fluids. I was so tired, as I usually am around this time and decided to go straight to bed.

Kids, please drink something before you go to bed, especially if you ate something. Then again I did have some Chinese fastfood from a grade B restaurant that day.

My weekend consisted of 3 parts on 3 days, yet I view it as a whole, because it feels as such.

My Weekend: Part I – Thursday Night
(Or, “A rather normal quiet Israeli weeknight”)

Thursday I finished work at about 20:30, working with a friend who is an ex-Chromatis worker and now is a sysadmin at a company hosted at some kibbutz.

On my way home I took a hitchhiker, He was the settler type, looked like he came from Kiryat Arba or such, was on his way to Jerusalem. Big hitchhiker’s back-pack, M-16, some kind of police or Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross / Paramedic) jacket, long beard and a yarmulke that kept falling off.

We barely talked, I asked him where he needed, told him where I could drop him off, went a bit out of my way and drove home via Ramat Gan instead of directly. The two or three sentences I did swap with him surprised me, when he used not only very young Israeli slang, which wasn’t surprising in itself (Sababa and Achi are rather broad terms) but his intonation was that of a “Shanti” type Israeli.

Since I was driving into Ramat Gan anyways, I decided to go to “Sakal” the duty free store to return a pair of Reeboks my mom bought me in the airport, they either are very honest about refunds or made an error, but I wound up getting full price refund on shoes that were 50% off… since “Sakal” are such known assholes I decided not to inform or ask too much, I tried to buy some stuff and get out, but I couldn’t find anything I liked. (Nice selection of Timberland, Nike and other sport fashion but still) I did get a new basketball for 60 shekels but I paid cash, as I didn’t want them running my refund in the computer again yet.

After which I watched Mickey Blue Eyes on DVD, which I had rented the day earlier with Sharon and we neglected to watch…. I even returned it on time… I think.

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