We're out. We left the Gulf some time ago, instructed not to write or tell anyone about the margin of safety we now breathe easier with. Another time spent flirting with destruction gone and someone else's bill to pay now. Strange air around the ship with being wound up for so long and then told that we could relax just enough to crack the valves and blow the dust out. That is we could if we did not know that they have turned ships around farther gone than we are right now to send them back for another turn at bat. That is if we did not know some of us would return, if the cycle would remain unbroken. It never is finished; we always go back for more. Strange thing about being an enlisted person, you take a huge amount of crap from people only to turn right back around and then smile and ask sir for more. Beyond all of that we are treated to slipping transmissions from a satellite bringing us news and word of a shift in presidents.
The tenuous link fades in and out between reception and the blank nightmare of not knowing anything at all. This includes our e-mail, the vaguely malfunctioning telephone and the televisions flickering in darkened spaces almost twenty-four hours a day. With bated breath and pent up angst we watch carefully for signs that the port calls outside the threatened world will be cancelled, thus denying the parolees a holiday. 'When I'm doing in blank' is a popular tangent of conversation as the crew spins the details of release from the confines of the steel ship. Small knots of disquiet still circulate every now and again when ears or eyes pick up new concerns over the attack on the Cole. Already we see it being downplayed by the media into a disaster, the talking heads unwilling to call a premeditated murder the senseless slaughter it was in reality. In a year the event will have faded completely from the collective consciousness, their names forgotten by all but the family and the dead themselves. Whispering on the winds they will cry out for a justice that will never be rendered outside for everyone to see. Funny, that after awhile they could show you the sun shining out of John Travolta's ass and you would react with such numbness. We know, the satellites watch, the networks listen and we still do nothing. "With the lights out, it's less dangerous." Kurt Cobain may very well have been onto something there.
Dealing with all of what is happening at home requires a well-timed and carefully calibrated attitude of apathy toward anything anyone ever tells you. If done right you can forget about home and then turn right around and forget about the last six months when you walk back up the front walk. Bright sun shining on your back, warm summer air drifting in even breezes with the scent of innocence lost drifting out of your clothes. The knob turning easily, no more war, no more death, catharsis with the last of the potential threats pointed for no reason other than politic. Mother in an apron baking cookies in the kitchen, Father in the den reading the paper with his pipe and Kid Brother running down the stairs with a toy airplane.
"Tell me all about it big brother. How many did you kill this time, how many did you shoot down, how many won't come home because your knife found them?"
"There weren't any, we're not at war."
"Oh come on Hero, who did you slaughter for democracy this time?" Coyly flirting, the night hiding in his eyes.
"I don't understand."
"But you're the monster in the closet, you're the most hated man on the planet. Everyone curses at you for even existing, even the ones you saved."

Now the problem is not the conflict outside the ship, just the one roiling around in my head. I have orders now, sending me out of the Pacific fleet and to another coast entirely for something rather different from working on the billion-dollar blender, as we not so affectionately refer to the bird. This is what I wanted to do, the end of the process. Now I just don't know if it was such a good idea.
"I won't love anyone but you."
"Go with me then."
"I can't. Not that far away from my family."
That is the point. That she won't go with me when I move. That much is clear. That sucks. That I cannot change. It was hard enough just to ask if she would be willing, knowing the eventual answer would be that I could choose a career in something that no one ever talks about or I could choose a stable life. What happens if I get out? I spend four or five years in school, graduate, and then spend the remainder of my life maintaining servers in some corporate dungeon someplace. If I stay in then for the first time in eight years I am going to be doing something that I want to be doing. Something that actually matters. It has come that far. They know what I am; they know which carrot to dangle. Faithfully, I will lurch forward under a desert sun and patiently follow the promise of reward.

Agonizing over this decision has occupied a good portion of my time for the last two days, two more and I will have to produce a satisfactory answer. I will leave a good portion of my soul behind when I leave her. I am unsure why it is that life has to be quite so difficult or why the resolution of the game has to run down to this conclusion. If I leave then I will wonder what would have happened had I stayed in the game just a little longer. If I go I am never threatened again, I will not have to worry about judgment for sins I may or may not have committed. If I decide to stay then I will fall down a rabbit hole of my own creation and walk away from the single most beautiful thing that I have ever held. I suppose I ought to be grateful that I have four days.

It should not have to be like this at all, no one should ever have to decide between who lives and who dies, who stays and who goes. In the end we have to face the facts that we all volunteered to put ourselves here, every single one of us made enemies out of ourselves. The resolution of the disparity between what I am able to talk about publicly and what I actually know is a difficult thing. I am aware of why we were there and I can tell very few of those around me why. My silence self-maintained to preserve the secrets haunting half understood dreams floating out of the bowels of subconscious. Blood red lights at night to paint the faces of those not guilty the same as those beyond redemption. At night I fear the clawing hands at the back of my neck, coming to claim penance for wrongs I did not commit. Torn between the knowledge that I cannot do anything else and the loathing arising from doing the job, one last life hangs in these scarred hands. Either I force the question and tell her that if she loves me for who I am she will go, or I let her slip back under the waves again with everything else I have left behind. Cursory blinking on a laptop reveals no other answer than I do not know what to say next.
Sorry maybe? Sorry that the music is so far away and fading fast. Sorry that I can't make you love me for all of my flaws. In the end I will take the orders and walk out of your life because I cannot face the world without the pain and passion of working in this field. The distance and bitter cold provide a fair ratio of balance to a chaotic life spent trying to save lives. I used to wonder what the use would be of making everything better if my own life wasn't worth the effort. There was an officer I worked for once who called it professionalism on an early summer evening some time before I even began the journey that brought me the trail tread lightly at present. I asked him how he dealt with watching all of it happen and never questioning the fact that the next SAM over the skies of North Vietnam would be the one that claimed his life. It was a stupid question asked by a boy afraid of the larger world he was stepping into without due regard for cost. I apologized for asking such a blunt question at the time. Wrap the emptiness in uniform creases, shoe polish and component replacement. You can forget the fact that there is even a life to go home to if you work at it hard enough.
I am not sure which is worse, fighting and possibly dying in a war that does exist or trying to justify one that does not. No one shot at us, no one pointed a weapon at me, nothing happened that could even be construed as a conflict so why is it that I feel as though I have lost? Why is it that I have the right to complain in endless rhetorical arguments about something that no one else is even openly discussing? Is this the Armistice Day for people like me where we just unload the fear of being finally told that they are shooting now? The final seconds winding down with the CIWS roaring through the hull in a last ditch effort to keep the missiles at bay. We talk in little circles about whether or not anyone on the det would even survive the impact from a Silkworm. Bracing, teeth clenched against the impossibility that someone would actually fire off a salvo and start the end of the sanity keeping us in check. The silence of the guns as the last of the 3000 20mm depleted uranium rounds reaches the firing circuit, fuses and flies down the barrel in a dance of physics over chemistry. There is not a whole lot of hope for anyone in the hanger, one of the most thinly skinned parts of the ship it is also the largest uninterrupted flat surface. They turn the back end toward the missile so it won't hit anything important. Shockwave or blast that would be the end killer, would the sheer force of the warhead detonating or the fire that would follow soon after get us? Grinding silence slamming down over everything, the ship's engines screaming in the background in a last ditch effort to open the gap enough that the little winged killer will run out of gas in the last seconds of flight. My best friend Guy was saved by such a tactic when the Iraqi's didn't have enough gas to fuel their missiles past the halfway mark. Bet you never heard about that one on the seven o' clock news. The last calm moment, time enough for one last goodbye. Sorry sounds hollow against the winds of a southern Australia storm knowing that the old commander was right.
It's going to be an empty homecoming this time, not that there was ever anything to come home from. Odd that things work out this way, that we run with the guns loaded for so long and then just put them down for lack of anything better to do. It is a strange feeling to know that you don't have to do that anymore, that it isn't necessary to warily eye every fishing trawler within a mile of the boat. They keep telling us we can relax just enough now; somehow I cannot find the time or the space to do as much. After this I will probably be back out with another detachment training the man that will replace me before I transfer in the fall. One last dance, one last game faked for those who care off of the coast of southern California and I can take a breath again. That is until the next squadron asks for a hand in the air, for someone to go. Graceful bow of the head and I will rise to stand at attention and grit my teeth against another winter wind. Next command is sea duty again, wouldn't have it any other way. Just watch the hands move around long enough and anything can be wired together, repaired, replaced or tweaked. Just too damn bad I can't do her heart in the same way.
"Come brother, tell me about the knife again."
"I don't think I know that one."
"Pity. You will soon enough."
"Fuck you, kid."

The start of a new semester – nothing is worse. After getting all the final exams behind you and finally being free, you must return and stare down the long, long tunnel of déjà vu and misery. I just want to sit on my skinny ass all day and eat pumpernickel bread; is there anything so wrong with that?

My new class isn’t so bad. The prof has a PhD in something (the subject was left a little fuzzy during her introduction]. Her name is Madame Larsen, and she’s very sweet. I don’t think she is truly Français, but I will let that pass. She likes Salvador Dali, my hero, so I’ll let her be American for all I care.

I purchased all the required reading material after class, which included such titles as L’étranger by Camus (Shamoo what? Shut the fuck up) , Le Colonel Chabert by Balzac, and some other titles I am unfamiliar with. But I love spending $88.35 on books per class per semester. Especially when they’re all paperback.

I managed to walk all the way from my car to the bookstore with no coat and without a purse. I pride myself on my intelligence; walking around in Michigan in the winter without a coat, and walking into a store to buy things without bringing money. Ingenious.

Also today, I spent and hour and a half talking to all eight of my brother’s teachers to get the work he has missed by being sick this past week. Most of them were polite enough about it, while some felt the urge to bite my head off because I happen to related to their slacker-pothead-loud mouth-flirtatious-devilish student. One teacher, who shall remain nameless, even told me that Adam was so busy talking in class, he must be friends with everyone, so he could go ask them what the homework was. Very, very mature. Yeah.

My mother heated up some leftover cheesy potatoes and broccoli for me when I got home around five this evening. I even managed to eat some meatloaf *gag* without complaining overly much. She knows I don’t like beef unless it’s still attached to a living, mooing being. Poor exploited cows.

I gave my brother all the assignments I had spent the day collecting. He threw them on the floor without even turning his head from the general direction of the tv. Made all my hard work seem so worthwhile. I’m glad to know I’m appreciated. Or maybe he’s just sicker than I thought.

I watched the fish swim in the new fish tank for a while. Oscar, the cannibal, was eating his daily ration of goldfish for dinner, so I hurriedly left him in privacy to complete his evil, evil deed. Instead, I called the vet and made an appointment for my aging, senile cat of twelve years. He seems to have grown all sorts of bumps lately, and they have me worried. I’ve already lost numerous family members to cancer, and I’m not about to let Bean follow in that path. Bean is my equal, my friend. We have a dignified and sophisticated relationship that consists of long, intelligent conversations and several cuddling sessions per day where he is careful not to get too much fur on my clothes, and I’m careful of his brittle bones and severe lumpiness. I don’t know what I would do without him.

I am breaking down. Quickly.

Over the last week, I’ve almost broken up with Jessica, and flip-flopped on a decision of moving out on my own; No Jessica, no Charles, no Toronto, no Venk, just me and myself, alone, in a quiet downtown basement apartment.

I told Jes this, that I wanted to move out, and understandably, it did not go over well. We’ve been fighting constantly since.

I’ve been abusing my body with various methods of self-torture, be they physical, emotional, or chemical. I’ve pushed myself past my own limits, and made knowingly foolish drives at dangerous goals.

I left work today, to go speak with Charles. My brand-new batteries died half-way into the first song, I forgot my glasses, nearly passed out in front of a car while running across the street, and then waited for a half-hour in the cold. No bus.

I’m at work now. I came back, and rather bluntly told one of the senior staff to give me one of the much-coveted taxi chits. He looked like he was going to object, but he didn’t. Perhaps he had heard me screaming outside the building moments before.

While I’m on the topic, I’ve taken to yelling in public places, and talking to myself quite often. It’s really quite disturbing, especially to me. Catching yourself alone in a room mumbling to yourself is not the greatest sign of mental stability.

I have no patience, right now, for anyone or anything, much less my own problems.

I’m coming apart at the seams.

I don’t know what to do. Half of me wants to fuck the world, and move to Holland tomorrow. I could. The other half wants to stay here, but I don’t know what to do, where to stay here. I could get a place with Jes, and end up just fucking ourselves both really hard if we break up, because I need ‘space’ or whatever. I don’t know if I’m stable enough to handle living with anyone else right now, let alone someone who can so easily spin my world around.

I don’t know.
smush, smush, smush.

It's cold and abandoned throughout the campus. The rest of the students are in the underground tunnel system. Each building has a distinct buzz, some guttural and others squeely, other combined with knocks and thumps. A couple stands alone among the cars in the lot. As I approach I know they are not having a quiet conversation but screaming at eachother.

I helped E with his resume. He "stuck it to the man" in Japan and is now looking for a life that offers more freedom than that of a salaryman. He wants to go into software development!?

"Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Yup"

What can I say?

I saw one of my favourite Profs from years past and I ran up behind him and said:

"Hi, I used to be in your class," he examined me blankly, "I just wanted to say thank-you because you are one of the best Professors I have ever had!"

"I see..."

Then I left. I felt painful currents shocking my whole body. This exchange went much better in my head than it did in execution. It certainly seems like the right thing to do ideologically but it was nothing but awkward.

In the morning, 8.30 local time

Something sad happened to me on my way to work. This young girl came to stand next to me on the bus. She was maybe 8 or 9 years old. Suddenly she picked up her mobile phone and called someone, probably either of her parents. Discussion went on: "Will you pick me up after school?" "I'm scared to be at school, will you pick me up after school", "So you will pick me up after school, so I don't take the bus". I usually don't eavesdrop, but she was standing right next to me in a bus full of people. Not listening wasn't an option. But just think about this "I'm scared to be at school", and I heard from her voice that she really was scared about something. I feel so sad now.

In the evening, 18.00 local time

Had a busy day at work, i feel really tired now. I think I'll get really early to bed today. Although I have some little things I should do; Part of my friends songs I promised to master to cdr, are still to be done. And I have some interesting books that I should read (couple of java books, for example). I think I'll choose those books for today. I've stared monitor long enough.

IN A NEW MILLENIUM, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE DIFFERENT.

instead, everything stays the same, except you forget to add the "1" to the date.

i want my flying cars and wireless networking that actually works now, goddammit.

new years resolutions:

  • floss every other day
  • continue working out every other day, but add sit-ups to the routine
  • stay as happy as i was when i decided to write resolutions

so, allison's grandfather died last week. incidentally, a day before the anniversary of my grandfather's death. so, i've spent the last week (our first week back together after the laughably short holiday break) with her almost every night, just being there. sometimes, that's all you can do. just be there.

this weekend, we're going to pittsburgh, just to get out of town. it should be fun.

after being turned down for an over-ride into a class i was waitlisted for, somehow i managed to fanagle an independent study with the professor. so, my role in the 'class' went from "anonymous student" to "research bitch". which is much better, i think.

i can tell that oscar-time is approaching; there's now almost a new record for movies out or coming out that i feel could be exceptionally good: TRAFFIC, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, and SNATCH. plus the potential guilty pleasure ANTITRUST.

nothing like a good movie to make my week.

back to hiding in the real world....

12:33

Morning.

I'm feeling, um, a little bit weird. Technically, this should be described as "boundless laziness" with whole lot of "need to do something useful" thrown in.

I should get up and go to the Town and stuff... but I'm too damn lazy to do that.

This is what you get when the Christmas vacation become non-vacation...

14:20

Got the new issue of Pelit - looks like MechWarrior 4 has been released...

::twitch:: ::twitch:: Must... resist... the... urge... to... run to the city and... buy... my... copy...

...no, I can't help it. I need to go...

16:08

Phew! The shops here don't seem to carry MW4 yet, which is good because that snapped me awake from that zombie-like state of Needing To Get That Game. =) Maybe next week? ::does another zombie impersonation:: Haaaaail Miiicroosoooft... ACK!

17:09

Saunalahti seems to have put up their "nu an impruvd" transparent web cache. Pretty "interesting" cache, because during the last few days, I have seen pretty weird things. I have seen GigaPixel's front page a few times. Or, if I got lucky, my own front page from yesterday.

Strange.

18:17

Hot coffee? What the hell? This actually *tastes* good!

(...you know you have been hacking too long when you notice when you drink coffee warm, not cold...)

20:08

...Ahh, forget it. I will never be loved.


Other day logs o' mine...

Noded today by y.t.: The Tao of Internet Relay Chat H! (Was nuked. What a surprise. The world is too cruel for editors to allow the Light to shine...) Pelit

Updated: PSM You know you've been noding too much when...

There are two ways to prepare yourself to enter a pool of water… That's what I was thinking when at the heated pool at Beaton Park today. Well, it's supposed to be heated, but it somehow seems colder in summer. Of course the temperature difference between the ~~~air~~~ and the ~~~water~~~ is greater. I don't suppose they actually lower the temperature of the pool water in summer (hence increasing the temp. difference further).

The first method is to get myself HOT, either from the weather, or after a degree of exercise. Considering that I was going to the pool for my weekly dose of exercise, it didn't seem a probable preamble.

The second way is what I did today. I had a warm shower. On exiting the shower, I began to loose heat, and started to feel the cold (think of the energy of evaporation)… so by the time I reached the pool, I really wanted to get into the water. It's all relative, you know.

It worked today.

Is this a crossroad I have reached?

School is starting again, and I confessed something to a friend yesterday that I thought I would never tell a living soul. When asked if I would join him at college this semester, I told him no, that I was scared.
Being a true friend, he offered his aid when the classes got difficult. I then told him that it's not the classes I fear, but the people.

I don't know why, but large groups of people intimidate me. When I first developed my heart condition the Dr. gave me Buspar, because he noticed that the only time I really got upset was around groups of people. So he put me on a social anxiety drug. I took it until the condition subsided. I haven't taken it for several years now. However, I am scared to death of public places.

What should I do?

today i noticed that i was a little battered, a little bruised. not emotionally, although there might be some of that too, but no. i am scraped up like a little kid...

starting with my right hand. i have a big scabby burn on the back, right above the first knuckle on my middle finger. i touched the top of the oven when i was making dinner and although i know my shit, and did all the proper first aid things, the oven was so damn hot that the would-be blister broke immediatly. there's going to be a scar.

i also have a nasty papercut from the other day when i was stacking short stories. it's right on the webby part between my thumb and pointer finger. some people pierce that. i would, but i need my hands..

my arms are fairly okay. scarred, but nothing recent enough that it might heal and go away. um, what else. my feet, the skin on them is all broken and raw. i think that might have come from walking around the underground parking without shoes or socks. i also have a former-blister now scab on my heel from my old shoes that bite me.

i have a big fat bruise on my thigh though, and that's what inspired this writeup. i don't know where it could have come from.. it doesn't hurt, but it's big and purpley-black.. i must have really banged it against something. but i don't remember what..

The maths test results came out today. Mine wasn't on the sheet. I was slightly worried by this. Eep. Can't be as bad as the 33% I got for Materials, can it?

I got talking to someone on sparkmatch recently, who lives locally, and I got on pretty well with. Then I sms'ed her a bit. Then she called me last night, and we talked for about an hour and a half. More text messages today. And I'm going to call her again now-ish - and meet her next Thursday.

I like her.

I'm happy!

8:43pm

I am depressed today. Today I feel like I'm back to the old, unspecial me. I am not special; I am not a beautiful and unique snowflake. I am nothing to somebody; I am something to nobody. I thought I could leave this place forever. Welcome back, my mind tells me.

I got to work at 11am, and I left early at about 4pm. I didn't do anything important today. I listened to music to try to cheer me up, but it was useless. My friends tried to cheer me up, but it was a futile effort as well. Nobody seemed really interested in talking with me; not that I felt good about talking about it anyway.

I went home early and went to sleep. I couldn't stand being around other people today. These other people all seem to have people who really care about them. Why am I so odd?

I never get email from friends without initiating the conversation. The only unsolicited email I get is spam.

I got an email back from Sara. She simply wrote back the minimum requirement for not being rude. She basically echoed my email to her. What did I do wrong? Things were developing between us, and then bam, back to nothing. I was so happy the day that TC told me she was excited that I asked her out. Finally, I assumed, there was someone who made me feel special AND who I was special to. But that seems to have fallen through. I am so tired of experiencing unrequited love.

I wish there were someone who I could just pay money to, to tell me what the fuck is wrong with me, in clear plain english; someone who can help me get myself straighened out and be as interesting and accepted as everyone else.


1:43am

After talking with some people on IRC and stuff, I feel better now. I'm going to try to open up a regular channel of communication with her and build it up to the point where I can just ask her how she feels. Then there will be no room to sit around and wonder. Either her response will be good news and everything will be great, or it will be over and I won't have to wonder about it anymore.

I hate lusers!. I hate having a luser as a sysadm under my supervision at the office. And what I hate most is that this particular person is a luser with initiative.

I have just spend 1 hr in his machine, debugging a strange behavior, half the deamons died shortly after starting them. Weird. Several problems showed up with his setup, including a missing localhost entry in his /etc/hosts.

All the bad deamons were having permission denied errors while trying to open Unix ports. He did a "chmod 770 /tmp". I'm almost sure that he thinked something like "Oh!, the security on my machine is too lax.". Why, oh why didn't I think of that first?!!??. "But I did that yesterday" he said justifying his stupidity, "that can't be the problem, because the machine worked fine all this time since the change".

Oh!, how would I love to get rid of him, but sadly that power is not under my hat... yet... someday... someday I'll be able to get my hands on him. BUUUAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!.

Leah in Germany - 11 Jan 2001

I had a nice Frühstück this morning, not in the Cantina (see January 10, 2001). I think I should go grocery shopping at some point and get some things to stock the apartment with, so I have some food and coffee around, at least. The apartment is very brown. The couch is brown, the bed (the very small bed) is brown, the floor is brown, the doors are brown . . . Maybe I will have to find something colorful to decorate the couch with.

It stopped snowing today. I have predicted an earthquake will come next. It would be interesting to see an earthquake in Germany. It would probably be pretty bad, as Germany is not really designed for one. All of the brick buildings would be the first to go. Let us not forget all of the tiled roofs. It seems there is some strange German law that requires anyone building a building to put a tile roof on it except in very strange circumstances. Even with strange circumstances, you need to have a signed approval from 50% of the townspeople, the Pope, and the manager of the local Biergarten. The tile roofs are quite nice, and look very pretty, but I don't think that they would last very long in a major earthquake.

Arg. I had already added the rest of this day-log, and then my X11 session crashed before I had saved the changes.

The rest of the day was not that exciting. I went and had lunch at a place called Doner Kebap. They have garlic, and they are not afraid to use it. I got some more power adaptors while I was out so that I can now plug in my PowerBook without always constantly having to steal Olaf's power supply all day long.

After this, I went to dinner. Marc showed me this nice place to have potato soup and listen to depressing music (and drink bier, of course). They had a really nice sound system. All the better to depress you with, my dear.

I went to bed quite early, as for some reason I have been getting tired around 7 or 8 at night or so. This makes no sense at all, as it is 3 or 4 in the afternoon Pacific time. At any rate, I have been getting wonderful amounts of sleep as a result, and have lots of energy. I think I am beginning to scare the German people.

so... i bought a car today!! i am sooo excited right now. i just got back from the DMV after shelling out 500 some odd bucks for registration, and now i have the new car. it's a 1989 4Runnner, and it's sweet! almost perfect condition too. only 125k miles which is actually really good for that year of car. time to go drive it. vvvrooom.

oh yeah, and i'm also going climbing with my best friend that i havn't talked to in a long time. he and i had somewhat of a falling out about 6 months ago, but he called me up the other day, and we're going climbing. it's so nice to have your best friend back. in the imortal words of Homer Jay Simpson: "Woo-Hoo!!!"

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