Musings on my 100th writeup

I joined e2 just over two months ago, and now I'm writing this, my 100th writeup.

100 writeups in two months? Is that a lot? Who the hell knows. Compared to some folks out there, I'm moving at the speed of sound. Compared to others, I'm moving at the speed of a turtle pulling a U-Haul full of bricks. Eh, perhaps its best if I just stay away from comparisons altogether.

The 100-writeup mark comes just a few days after another watershed moment for me...my 25th birthday. I've spent a frickin quarter of a century on this planet, a revelation that has had me walking around this last week in a bit of a haze, wondering what I've done with my life in the last 25 years...wondering if the first twenty-five years of my life were spent wisely, or more specifically (in the broad scope of things) if they were spent in such a way as to even matter at all.

As I pondered weak and weary, the reflective mode I was in poured over into other subjects, and eventually I looked at the little 99 under "number of writeups" and thought:

Gee, I've subjected these poor folks to stories about my whacked out sister, past love affairs gone wrong, and the dangers of toothpaste, petting zoos, and racist tattoo artists. I went off discussing some random art museum, produced a volley of unpronounceable goofy shit from Stargate SG-1, and related my experiences with sleep apnea and going under the knife. In that time, I had the opportunity to make the occasional philosophical argument (or two, or three), teach folks about something near and dear to my heart, analyze one of my favorite movies, and review what is arguably the best film of all time. And so what everyone must be wondering is, "So Springs, what's next?" (Either that or, "So Springs, when the hell are you going to just shut the hell up and leave?" ... Hopefully it's the former rather than the latter.)
I probably spent more than a year as a lurker, using e2 as a research tool, never really considering actually submitting anything, because I never really thought I had all that much to say. And now I find myself here, becoming part of a community, part of a family. Hell, I even got to attend my very first noder's meet not so long ago.

Clearly, I'm addicted. Clearly, this is no passing phase. (Hell, I just got C! power a while back...there's no way I'm gonna just walk away now!)

So I gaze into my crystal ball (which we all know I don't really have, but just play along, okay?) and wonder, what will the next 100 writeups hold? And the 100 writeups after that?

The answer, friends, is "more of the same." More of the same fine quality writing (or "shit," depending on how you view my work), with a slightly higher empahsis on pr0n and warez, two subjects in which I believe the knowledge base is sorely lacking. (I may rethink this strategy later, but right now, it's GOLD.)

To those of you who have helped me along the way, you have my sincerest thanks. To those of you who have given me a good swift kick in the ass for posting something stupid, I thank you as well. To those of you who are still swiftly kicking me in the ass just for the fun of it, well, hey, different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Excuse me, as I'm off to go write my 101st writeup, to be entitled, "Wow...pr0n and warez are available for free on the Internet...you motherfuckers should really check this shit out!" I have no doubt that it will be a crowd pleaser—for, as you see, I've learned a great deal in my tenure here on e2, and now I'm (clearly) applying those wisdoms to my posting methodology.

Stay tuned and have fun...because I certainly am. :)

Meetings and Chinese women

Yesterday was my first day back at work after the forklift incident. It seemed like they saved all of the meetings for the whole week just for my return. First, I had a meeting with the electricians. Next, was the one with the maintenance department. After lunch, which, thankfully, went by pretty normally, I came back to a planning meeting to discuss the work orders and jobs that needed to be done next week in order to prepare for the annual shutdown.

I had figured this was the last meeting and was getting ready to go home at the end of the day when the maintenance coordinator came into the electric shop and announced that I needed to stay late to attend another meeting. This one was dealing with procurement. It was being held by a guy from corporate with a thick Spanish accent. The only things I gleamed from this meeting is that we have too much inventory.

Finally, I was able to go home. I stopped by the grocery store on the way home to pick up some salsa, green tea and other groceries. After putting all the items in the cabinets and refrigerator, I wasted the majority of the rest of the day on TiVo, Everquest and Playstation 2. When it was getting close to my bedtime, I turned off all the lights, lay down on the couch and had TiVo play one of the episodes of Stargate SG-1. After I got good and sleepy and was ready to head to bed, I received the phone call that made this day mentionable.

Curious as to who would call at this time of night, I picked up the phone and was greeted by a Chinese voice. It turned out to be my girlfriend’s ex-husband. How he acquired my number and why he called at 11 pm, I have no clue and am still a little disturbed by it. He told me of how she left him suddenly; she told me they had talked about divorce for over a year. He also told me how their divorce papers went through two months after she told me they had. He related to me that she was desperately seeking a visa so as not to have to return to China. All of these things taxed heavily on my mind. This is a situation that should only occur in soap operas.

So now my thoughts are torn. Should I believe the woman whom I have grown to love, or the complete stranger / jealous husband calling to warn me that she is crazy and just using me? She has not had a good history of being forthcoming with information, she did not mention her previous marriage until after we had been dating for over a month, she did not tell me about her new job until after she had already accepted it, she never mentioned things that irked her until they built up into an explosion of anger. Now with this new information that I know I will need to confront her with, the doubts that had previously subsided have arisen again.

My mind is screaming at me to take a step back and consider the situation, but my heart is wanting to write it off. She is supposed to be coming into town for a visit next week, so I guess that will be the deciding point. I met her in the MBA program I attended and we have been dating for four months.

Needless to say, we didn't finish that purity test. He kept saying he was sorry. Finally, my voice started working again. I heard my voice tell him I needed some space. He paled slightly. He should go home, my voice continued calmly, and I would call him tomorrow. He just nodded and headed for the door. My feet walked him to the door, my hand waved goodbye, and then closed and locked the door after him. Eventually, I turned around to face the apartment.

I should be doing something.
My feet carry me into the living room.
Her cactus squats near the darkened window.

I know I should be doing something.
The wall clock chops away the seconds.
A picture of her grins at me from the bookcase.

I'm not doing anything.
I'm not even blinking.
What should I be doing?

What do you do -
- when your girlfriend boffs your best friend -
- and hides it from you for over a year?

I'm in the kitchen getting a second look at what I ate for dinner in the sink, my face slick with tears and snot. I don't know how I got there. Must have been my feet again. My stomach has nothing left in it but it spasms a couple more times for good measure. My mouth tastes like I feel. I rinse the sink, my mouth, my face, my hands, then watch the water run for while. I guess this is what I was supposed to be doing.

Well, I've had a pretty good day on the jobhunt front. Sent out five job applications today, mostly for publications-related positions. Got a call this morning from a headhunter, and I got a callback late this afternoon which has resulted in a job interview next Tuesday. Yay! It's for a software reviewer position ... a local .com portal is looking for someone to do a ton of short reviews of CGI scripts and other webbie tools. The pay's not great, but it's a sight better than unemployment. The risk of a .com like this suddenly folding is pretty high, but the work seems interesting enough and they seem like a pretty laid-back place.

I'm hoping that if I'm offered the job, I can work out a telecommuting arrangement. The company's offices are way out in Gahanna, Ohio (right near zot-fot-piq's parents' place, for anyone who went to Hot Damn 2 this past summer) which while not a terrible commute would be nicer not to have to do when the roads are icy.

For some reason, Eun Jung decided to cancel on our ski trip. I asked her two weeks ago if she wanted to go, she said yes. I asked her again on Tuesday, to be sure. Then I called her Thursday night to tell her when and where to meet me to get the bus. Our conversation went like this:

Me: To-yo-il a-chim-e oo-ri-neun ski ta-reo ka-yo? (Saturday morning, we're going skiing, right?)
Her: A-ni. (No.)
Me (surprised): Wai-yo? (Why?)
Her: (something I didn't understand)
Me: Ta-go ship-ji an-ha? (You don't want to ski?)
Her: Ye. (Right.)

Anyway, being my usual paranoid self, I couldn't help but worry that this was a sign that there was something wrong, but we went out drinking with my friends last night and everything was good, she was affectionate, etc. We made new plans to take a bus to Gwangju (an hour away from Suncheon, where we live) to see a movie, since not many English movies play in Suncheon. It's not as exciting as a ski trip, but it's certainly better than spending yet another weekend in Suncheon, going to the same bar every night.

The other news is that there are rumors spreading like wildfire at our hagwon (private academy). I've heard people say that the owner is going bankrupt, and we're changing ownership, although I have yet to hear any official confirmation of this, and someone said they traced the source of the rumor back to some student's mother... probably not the most reliable source. It's true that there's a new guy who's been wandering around the school, introducing himself as a "laser specialist," although we assume that he's really just mispronouncing "leisure specialist," since our school is part of a building with a swimming pool, golf driving range, health club and Korean sauna. I've heard that he might end up being the new owner... I've also heard, from Sam, that he's the most boring individual on the face of the planet. Not that our current owner is the life of any party, anyway.

As for E2, I'm proud to say that I hit 1000 XP today, and, as of this writeup, just 5 writeups shy of finally being able to C! things. :)

ghah. Why do people write their momentary feelings on the Internet? And so dramatic.

According to my homenode I've been here 2.5 years. It doesn't seem like it has been that long but then again there have been some stretches here and there that I wasn't around much. The first time I came here was a particularly boring day at work. I had recently discovered Slashdot and was starting to read it on a regular basis. As many users here have done before me and since, I clicked on the little link that promised to blow my mind. I was in for more than I ever expected.

Fast forward a year or so and you come upon the first time I met a noder. It was an odd situation but it happened and it wouldn't be the last time. I'm not going to keep rambling about all of my E2 firsts. I just think a little background was good for what I'm about to address.

I've made friends here. I know some of you are thinking, "Well so fucking what? You want a cookie?". No, I just never expected that I would make friends on the internet. Not just friends, but people that care about things in my life that only my closest of friends cared about before. I'm not going to make a list of the friends I've made. I'll forget someone or put the list in the wrong order or do something wrong. What I am going to do is relay a story of sorts that sums up what I'm talking about. If you want to call this an aftermath, go right ahead but it might be a little late. I think of it more as a thank you note.

This year was the first time in my life I wasn't with my parents and sister for Thanksgiving. It wasn't that I was too far away or that I had a fight with them that led me to Nashville for Thanksgiving. It was just a simple invitation. I had met Scott and Julia before on different occasions and counted them among my friends from E2. I found out they were having Thanksgiving in Nashville and I thought it sounded like fun.

I arrived in Nashville the morning of Thanksgiving and drove straight to Scott and Julia's house. When I got out of my car I noticed a ramp that led up to the door. It was built to fit over the concrete stairs. When I got closer to the ramp it became apparent that it was new. I could still see the pencil lines on the wood from where someone carefully measured each plank. I knew that this house had been in Scott's family for some time and I wondered if maybe the ramp was built for the benefit of an elderly grandmother that liked to visit or some similar situation.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Scott and Julia built the ramp for me. Let me emphasize that in case you missed part of it; RAMP BUILT FOR ME!?! Sure, upon questioning, Scott played it off saying that it was a good project because Julia got to learn to use the power tools and they had fun working on it together. None of his excuses changed the fact that they built a ramp for a visitor who was going to be in town for a couple of days. There is nothing I can say to properly thank them for what they did. The funny thing is that it really wasn't the convenience that made it touching. I can get up and down stairs. The house I grew up in had five steps up to the front door. I'm floored by the fact that the idea even crossed their minds. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for having me at your Thanksgiving. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you.

Last night I got myself wasted and partied til the break of dawn. Actually, this is not true. If you really knew me you would know that as far as partying goes, I am the most boring, squeaky clean guy you'll ever meet.

First, a bunch of my friends and I got together and decided to go shopping at the Goodwill for awhile. You can find some of the most rockin' T-shirts at the Goodwill. Ones that say something like, "This is my costume." After we left Goodwill, we went bowling. I bowled a 113, which is absolutely amazing for me. I don't think there is one bowling alley I have ever been to that hasn't had the unique blended smell of smoke and vomit. This one in particular had an extra smell of B.O.

After that, I talked for a little bit to my best friend. Brian is his name. If you have never had a friend who can make you laugh and whom you can tell your deepest darkest secrets to, then you're missing out. Brian can do both of these and pull off being extremely odd at the same time. I am the complete opposite of him. He is outgoing and very comfortable around many different kinds of people and I am not. He can crack out oneliner's like no tommorow and I cannot. I am very sympathetic towards others needs, he is not. I am prone to hard rock and punk rock music, he is not. But above all these things we have been friends for 10 years.

Now, back to last night. I then went to crash at my friend Ezra's house. Went to bed at 3:00 AM and then woke up at 10. I came home and now I'm talking to you.

Earth shines like a star to the radio listener. Since 1919 we've been using that particular band of the electromagnetic spectrum for everything from TV and audio broadcasts to wireless networking. Over the last century the volume of our emissions has increased vastly, to the point where our radio signals - even the ones not intended to be heard by extraterrestrials - are audible over a sphere dozens of light-years in diameter.

One would not have imagined this would be a problem.

The first thing I learned from the aliens' reply message (reprinted below, with the dull preamble omitted) was that despite the fact that they're a few thousand years further along the technological development scale than we are, they haven't sussed interstellar travel yet. Now, either that means they're a bit slower on the technological uptake than we are (I mean, who knows if the technology explosion we've seen over the last seventy years happens to every species?), or space travel just can't be done. Which is kind of a lucky break for us, because the second thing I learned from their message is that they can hear radio signals.

Not using instruments. With their ears.

It would appear that they are somewhat irate about this.


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Hey, it could happen.

The couch was comfortable and soft, and we sat facing each other, legs touching. There was a blanket, large enough to keep us both warm. Though I couldn't say so, I wished she would turn and lie against me beneath it. Or maybe this was before the blanket, when I sat cross-legged and she leaned back against the arm. The memory is jumbled and cozy.

She told me she'd like to see the Pacific, that she never had. I wanted to offer to take her there, to bear her across the country at speed under the next summer sun, if only she would tell me more of her wonderful stories along the way.

How did she spin such tales? What loom had she, to shuttle past and truth through poetry and weave a wish to kiss her storyteller's mouth, a notion to set music to her words, to her smile, and to her laughter? A golden ring, the trace of a scar, places I will never see but which feel like distant homes; every story fantastic for her having told it, every word drawing stolen glances to her lips, her ears, her eyes. I studied her face, her small features so beautifully set, the gentle dance of her expression, and I tried to hide my wonder.

The night moved surreptitiously, a child who hoped and perhaps believed that we, the grown-ups, hadn't noticed his sneaking through the room. We had, of course. Three o'clock. Four-thirty. Six. We knew, but we loved the night, and we as we watched it we would whisper to each other of its passing and smile. Then we would turn back from the clock to each other and hunt for the dropped thread of her thought, that she might continue her weaving. And so we left the night to tiptoe on, innocent, while we fell.

When the sky began to lighten, she said, we would not be able to ignore it. I thought, there is more than the passing of time that is making itself known here. I only thought it, though, and when the dawn finally came and she went into it, I gave her only the thought of a kiss before I watched her go.

My brother cried today.

I had a long talk with my brother tonight while my other half taught my dad how to set up the computer he just bought. It has been such a long time since my brother and I have talked, when it started he opened up like a dam, words pouring spilling over each other. He had nobody to talk to the way he used to talk to me when we were kids. He was depressed, and stressed. He had no outlet. So tonight, I gave him the opportunity to talk. He took it.

Grace, I miss being a kid. I just want to be a kid again and fix all the things I couldn't fix then. I want to tell that kid that it's ok and that I am good enough, I am more than good enough. Grace, how do you fix something that's been broken for so many years?

Grace, I miss you.

Grace, why does life have to be so very hard? I am 25. I am not giving myself enough credit and I feel like I could do so much more... why aren't I doing more?

Grace, I have fucked things up with my girl and I don't know how to fix it. I love her but I can't marry someone who can't trust me and I know this is my own damned fault. How do I make her trust me again? How do I trust myself again?

Grace, remember when we used to play Peter Pan? And we would hide under a blanket and pretend we were eaten up by the alligator. Grace, I want to hide under that blanket again.

Grace, I don't say this enough, but I love you. You're the only sister I have and I only now realize what Mom and Dad were saying all those times they told us to be kind to each other, because we were the only siblings the other had.

Grace, I'm sorry for all the mean things I did and said. You know I didn't mean it. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

My brother cried today. My brother made me cry.

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