In Our Last Chapter...

Recently my wife was contacted with an offer to purchase a domain name she has held for a while. She's been emailing back and forth with this guy, trying to haggle on a price. He just responded to the latest offer saying that if he goes any higher, he'll have to wait until he can save up more money.

Enter the Google Search

We already knew that this guy, while a local college professor, is also the CTO of a large new media advertising consulting firm. So when he came back with this "save up more money" story, I got a bit suspicious. Since when does a CTO of any large company have to save up this amount of money? We're talking "new, moderately sized HDTV" level money here, not "new BMW" money. He probably drops more on a typical business lunch with clients.

I began to think the guy is trying to take the naive young suburban artist lady for a ride.

So I do a bit of searching on the name of the domain, and I stumble upon a little surprise: a tiny open source web development community (like Sourceforge), with a tiny project, with a tiny description line. And in this tiny description line is the name of our domain, and a reference to a new social networking site being developed.

Oh ho.

Out comes the whois. Our domain is a .net; he already owns the .com and .org sites with the name -- and surprise! -- they were last updated right around the time he first approached my wife. (Why I didn't do this the instant he contacted her is beyond me.) The .us domain is owned by somebody else, but I would bet good money that guy has been approached too.

So Here's The Deal

I'm not a big haggler. I never have been. But I honestly think that this guy is trying to get away with paying us a relative pittance when he really wants this domain. So I don't really know what the next move would be. She could play "cold feet," say that she's had the domain for a long time (which is true) and that she's having second thoughts about selling it. Or she could play indignant, tell him that we've discovered that he's planning to develop a business around the website, and that in light of that his initial offer seemed awfully small -- after all, we figured he wanted the domain for his own personal use, we'd say. And if he already owns the com and org sites, it seems pretty obvious that the domain is quite important to him.

Or we could just accept the amount he's going for and leave it at that. The old "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" response -- after all, we've essentially had a windfall drop into our laps, due to a domain that has basically sat dormant for at least a good three years now. But at the same time, to use an analogy, I don't want us selling a ring thinking it's brass and later learning it's twenty-four carat gold.

In the end, the decision is hers. My brother-in-law says "it's only money." (I find this somewhat ironic as he is living in my basement right now while he pays off debts accumulated while he was unemployed.) But when you have a ten-month-old daughter, a mortgage, and two car loans, on one salary... you don't really have the luxury of saying that.

I was at my grandmother’s house and pulled off my grandmother’s thumbnail after she handed me a rather ordinary-looking envelope. Embarrassed, I ran upstairs and entered a white Saw-esque kitchen. The room had a high ceiling with long cylindrical flourescent light bulbs. Stoves lined one side of the kitchen and the other side had some cupboards and cabinets. The two sides of this kitchen were separated by a long white table.

There was a crazy old man at the table who looked like the murderer in High Tension: bulky, dark, and unkempt. This guy was making a sandwich out of a large yellow centipede with long, spikey, thorn-like antennae protruding out of every circular section of its body. The dry body of this fiend was smashed between two halves of a loaf of long French bread.

I took the sandwich from him and started to eat it. I was halfway done with eating the whole sandwich until I thought, “Wait, this is disgusting. I have to pull all these thorns out or else I’ll tear my esophagus.” I put the sandwich on the table, told the guy I was leaving, and ran out the back door. The guy followed me out, but ran back inside saying that he “needed to make more sandwiches”.

Outside, I found out that the place I came out of was really not my grandmother’s house but some huge brick tower-like building that looked like an old fancy building from L.A.. It was nighttime. There was a parking lot across the street, streetlamps softly lit the pavement, and I was looking for a warm place to go. I could not see very far from either side of me, but I knew that the street was long and that I wouldn’t be able to find another place for shelter very soon.

I walked to my right alongside the building I exited in hopes of finding another entrance to it. Some people were walking down a flight of stairs on the side of it. I made my way up those stairs, through a small wooden door, and found myself in a circular lounge of some sort of university. The middle of the floor was a hollow circle and beyond a golden rail at the its edge, I could see a large double door that marked the entrance of this place (in my dream, I was instinctively supposed to know that it was the entrance). A diamond chandalier in the middle of the lounge cast a soft orange glow on everything. The floor was covered in a thick richly colored carpet of either red or emerald green (I don’t remember exactly which color it was) that proved to be quite plushy as I walked on it. A guy with an English accent was reading out of a book while students stood around and listened to him or whispered amongst themselves. I walked casually by and tried to find a way down to the first floor.

An old lady somewhere far from me in the room called my name and shouted for guards to come and get me. I dashed back to the place I came in from and found that the door I used had relocated itself to being high up on the wall. I found another door below it and opened it. As soon as I peaked out, I saw in the distance the faculty of this school armed with crossbows and ready to launch their arrows at me. I shut it, opened a different door next to it, and ran out.

Sunshine beamed on a grassy field of rolling hills that seemed to be used for hunting game in. The faculty stood about 30 feet away from me on a hill with their crossbows again. They fired their arrows, but they merely whizzed past me as I hit the floor and dodged them all feverishly.

The first week of my postmaternal life is done. I'm back at (my new) home, and back at work. I keep waiting to fall to useless pieces in reaction but nothing continues to happen. I wonder if watching her deteriorate for those many months, when I was so morbidly depressed and angry, was in fact my period of deep mourning - as the woman I knew as Mom drifted further and further from us, mentally and physically. If by the time she stopped breathing there was nearly no Mom that hadn't passed on, and been awkwardly released in turn.

Hi ho.

In a completely surreal moment, I was doing my bimonthly surf through the movie trailers on Apple's Quicktime site when I came across a film starring Frank Langella entitled Starting out in the evening. It is, apparently, about a writer at the end of a decade-long fallow period, sitting in his recluse apartment and trying to write, who is interrupted by a young female scholar interested in his work. So much, so familiar.

The problem is that it was filmed in the apartment I grew up in, from age 2 to age 18. It is dramatically changed in some ways - someone who owned it moved the kitchen to where the master bedroom was, and stripped the decades of white paint off the wooden french doors, for example - but it is my apartment. The strangely-built security chain on that massive front door - that size because its metal panels cover wide swathes of windows from back when front doors could be glassed too.

Just to ice the cake, Langella's writer character writes in the room that my father, a writer and author, used as his office. I think the desk is turned ninety degrees, but that's about it.

The week my mother passed away, I spent an hour sifting through the celluloid panes of memory writ in the background of a movie trailer, spinning backwards to catch the moulding on the living room wall; freezeframing to realize that the cabinet next to the door was where the turtle tank was.

I finally heard from an old neighbor in the building that yes, in fact, the movie had been filmed in our apartment. It wasn't a set. It wasn't a happenstance resemblance. But I knew that from the views out the windows.

I can't go home again.

To all those who have /msged me with voices of support over the past weeks, thank you. More than I can say.

On being me.

Seventeen, coming up to eighteen, nowhere near a man. Or even an adult. I've known for a while that there's no magic button or switch that marks the end of transition, of ageing and growing up, but if anything I sure wish there were a milestone. Anything to give me a hint.

Here's the deal. I can't decide what to do with my life.

Wait no that's not it. I have several options, sticking to the straight and narrow and opting for the (expected-of-me) Uni course or diving off and doing something, which has all the tones of foolish romanticism and idealism. I'm torn. For some reason, these two paths can't hold themselves in parallel, as if they were mutually exclusive. There seems to be no compromise. The longer I keep myself in this state of limbo, the worse I feel.

Oh yes. Hark at the young man who has so many opportunities (that others may never catch a smell of) and can't bring himself to choose. For his life is really pitiable.

The decision is complicated by several things. For a time now my interest in the chosen subject and my ability to focus on college work has been deteriorating. Not enough to be noticed by tutors, but enough to the extent that the congratulations people give me leave me with the sensation of being a fraud. I can't pin down why this is the case, or whether or not I'm just lazy. I didn't use to feel so apathetic, but in the past, things were just different. More simple.

It's clear to me that if I go on to University with the inability to focus I'll fail and will have wasted time and money. I can't muddle through and expect to get by anymore. Until this problem clears I don't think I am yet ready to go.

And I'm not even sure I want to go. This could be fear talking or it could be something else. But I can't help but feel that my affinity for the subject is due to having always done it and having not done anything else.

Or perhaps I don't want to grow up.

Sometimes I'm just sick of all the crap that gets heaped down your throat by the wonderful force known as education. I remember GCSE year, thinking that it seems so strange that for many years you're expected to toe the line, back straight, shirt tucked in and then suddenly, they want you to think for yourself? Holy crap, want a quantum leap that is...

I didn't have a particular good state education. Not to say I didn't enjoy myself, but I learned more about human nature then what Government would have like me to have learned.

As for the other choice, that's mired by even more by fear then going the straight and narrow. Perhaps because it requires me to plunge myself into the deep end of life or because it may not work or because it would involve having conversations and talks and looks from people that I don't particularly want to have.

So I have a choice. But God only knows what I'm going to choose.

On being Level 3

So I'm level 3 now, which around here is a sign of being a permanent member of everything, no longer just admiring the furniture but actual sitting in it now. This has taken me nearly three years.

I don't know many of you. This is primarily out of awe and respect and the fact that I'm bumbling idiot in conversation through text or otherwise.

I can tell you why I stayed here though. One of the reasons, is that here I feel my exact age. 17 Years of experience living, no more, no less. There is no condescending tone in these nodes, but wisdom.

I feel as if my time here has made me a better person (maybe not a better writer...). I get the feeling a lot of people say that.

What I've liked best overall however, is the amount of support people have given me. I don't think I've ever received a message that has been unproductively critical (then again maybe I haven't given you any reasons to do that yet... just kidding). Even when I've buggered up, complaints have never been rude. So to this I should say: thanks for putting up with me.

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