So I was dumped yesterday. Turns out I'm an asshole. Who knew? (shrug) This sort of event in your life is sure to get that measly little excuse for a life-processor churning in your skull. Damned if it didn't decide to make a call down south and get the heart all into it too. As if it didn't have better things to do, like pumping lifeblood or something. Ahhh, but unlike previous encounters with this kind of pain, the heart was largely absent in this whole affair. Hence I am the asshole.

She really is a beautiful little tube of wonderful. Everytime I am fortunate enough to enjoy her company it enriches me in some way. 'Well then, what's the problem', you ask? Hold on, let me confer with my associate.

OK, what does:

  • A wonderful person to hang out with, a great sense of humour and a nice smile.

  • plus
  • An awesome smile, big beautiful blue eyes, and a rockin' little body.

  • add up to?

Too much good fortune for one man, and a hell of a weekend, especially when said individual lives over 300 miles away. What does it not add up to? The love of my life. Hence I am the asshole.

While I pondered this turn in my fortune I have Chris crooning his Wicked Game into one ear, which transgresses to my other hemisphere to have Sarah bleeding the poetry of Sweet Surrender into my other eardrum.

This seemingly volatile combination brings me a sense of peace. I'll be damned if I don't have the most eclectic, caring and life-loving set of friends ever assembled on this rock. When life spits a loss out at you it's best not to dwell on that triviality. Take assesment of what you do have. Conclusion: Holy Fuck, am I fortunate.

I love women, I mean, I LOVE women, and I enjoy the chance to love them frequently. Man does not live on bread and water alone? No shit. Where does this ease of dealing with women come from? On past sojourns into my subconscious I came up with the inspiration that I have six sisters. Six beaming smiling faces all bent on teaching you the mystery of people. What they probably didn't realize was that the people they were referring to all happened to be of the feminine persuasion. Not that I'm complaining. I'll spend the rest of my days thanking them for their education.

Six sisters and no brothers gives you some motivation to balance things out. I now have two brothers, and they couldn't be more dissimilar, much to my satisfaction. Variety is the spice of life? No shit. One is a peace-loving, tree-hugging, drug-using spark of madness that rivals the sun with his vitality. The other is a marine; a disciplined, take-no-shit honorable spark of madness that rivals the sun with his vitality. I could as soon lose touch with them as I could cut my own arm off. I happened to be slightly attached to my appendages.

So what the fuck does it all mean? I don't know, go ask someone who can offer more wisdom than a simple four-word respone: and so it goes. I'm sittin' pretty, high atop my mountain, the offshore breeze carrying the scents of the world to my head while the affront of human civilization delights my eyes. It's a hell of a life each and every one of us is blessed with. I wouldn't want to discount a minute.

Happy Birthday to me. I'm 25 today.

I received a call from the head of my office here in Chicago. He called to wish me a happy birthday. It was a little strange, as I've never had a conversation with this man before, but was nice.

It has been a long, but good year. I got married, got hired, and sorted a lot of things out. For the first time, I've got a solid idea of what the next few years will bring. This is a little shocking to me, as I have a historical precedent of overhauling my life every couple years. I'm sure that, a few years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of an existence that is regular like clockwork.

My birthday seems to have been muted by the age of my wife and her friends. Since they're all older than I am, mention of my birthday usually summons rounds of, "Awwww, twenty-five? That's sooo cute!" or, "I remember twenty-five. I was so young back then." Not that I'm being trivialized, but it simply seems to point out that I'm considerably younger than they are, and I should be shunned for being in elementary school while they were sneaking cigarettes and fucking each other. I will inevitably get my revenge when I'm being a dirty old man in a nursing home while they're all very, very dead.

There are no plans for my birthday just yet, as we're very poor people. Transatlantic flights, while they were on my list, will certainly not materialize. Instead, maybe some sushi with my wife. Like I said, the clockwork life is sweet.

I walk my dog every morning at 5am. Even on the weekends. Ok, well, maybe 5:15 on the weekends. During the week, I end up on the train to work, then on a bus, and finally on a walk. This morning, on that walk, I saw a rabbit snacking by some bushes. There isn't much cover around - just manicured bushes and lawns in the business park, so I wondered where the rabbit would run if I chased it. I didn't want to chase it though, because it looked content with its snack.

Farther along, I saw a crow. I watched the crow. They never look content to me. Apparently, I scared the shit out of it when I said "CAWW!" and it flew away, feces dripping from its rear. It was funny to me.

Today is 7/11, which reminds me of two things. One is that tragedy and the other is a friend of mine who moved to the bay area. He used to date my sister and manage a (let's play pick-the-right-node-title:) 7/11 , 7-11, 7 11, seven eleven.

Today I thought about the two or three times that I read something about someone introducing another person to a medium (usually on the net) that magnifies the value of the individual by providing them with either opportunities to learn or communication with valuable people like you all. It's very inspiring.

A few days ago I talked to a lady at McDonalds. She told me she used to be politically active and was a poli-sci major. I'm always looking for ways to get people to realize that we can change the way things are, that it matters, and that you can figure it out if you keep an open mind. She, like me, was already there, so I told her about my search for those ways. I told her about E2, and about the Approval Voting yahoo email list. A couple weeks ago a guy I used to work with found me on the Internet and told me a friend of his had started getting interested in politics, and that it was rubbing off on him. So I told him about that stuff too.
I've tried explaining E2 to quite a few people over the past month or so.

Most of the time, I just get bemused looks or an "Oh.". One of my teachers read a writeup I did on GCSE IT, though, which was nice (even though it nearly got me kicked off the school computers...)

But really...you can't really spread the word about E2 effectively. Say I talked to a friend about it...

Me: Hey, unknown generic friend, you heard of Everything2?
Friend: No, what is it?
Me: It's a website, where you write essays and have them voted on.
Friend: Really? I hate essays.
Me: Not really essays, more long emails on a given subject...
Friend: But what's the point?
Me: Um, er, ah...look, a distraction! Whee! (runs off).

See? You can't describe E2 well in words. It sounds like a dorky ass essay site (which it most definitely is not. But hey, I guess...

you cannot be told what E2 is...you have to see it for yourself.

A tale of chivalry

The night before last I was drinking, not enough to knock me asleep and make me miss my Tube stop, but enough to make me close my eyes for a rest and not notice as we went past my Tube stop. I got out at somewhere called West Finchley. I was only mildly put out, and crossed over to the other platform to wait for the next train back: only a few stations back, not far.

I paced the platform. Another person came onto it and sat, but I prefer to pace. This late at night (whatever it was) there aren't many trains, so I had time to pace and pace. The further end of the pacing took me right down to a region of weeds and an absence of prying eyes. The young woman back at the other end; maybe a station attendant on the other platform. I could invisibly relieve myself. Looking back now, I don't think I would have risked that if it had been water I'd been drinking, but never mind, I wasn't caught. So then I resumed my pacing.

After a while as I came towards the young woman she was standing up, and approached me. She asked whether I knew if there were any more trains coming. I admitted the worry had occurred to me too, and we crossed back over the bridge to the platform with offices and timetables and maps on it.

There was an attendant, but it became clear we'd missed the last train. I really hadn't thought it was that late. She was riled: she hopped into him for not announcing the fact so people didn't waste their time, then nicely apologized and said of course it wasn't at all his fault. She asked him if he could give her a local minicab number, and whipped out her mobile.

Meanwhile I was examining the local map. I wasn't particularly drunk, I don't mind walking at night, and there are often night buses anyway. We were at somewhere called West Finchley. Come come, this sounded hopeful. I know where East Finchley is, and I know I can easily walk home from that. How much further can West Finchley be? Call it another twenty minutes' walk. Oddly, however, I couldn't find East Finchley on the map, nor any other suburb, nor any road I'd ever heard of.

She was steaming. 'Where the fuck is West Finchley?'

I agreed we were in the middle of nowhere. Now me, I could just go out and start walking, but she was alone, on a fairly quiet street, trying to flag down cars even if they weren't minicabs. I forget what happened to the number she was given. Probably she'd had some bitter altercation with the controllers on the other end. And she had to get to Clapham. That's in South London. Her face dropped, briefly, when she learnt that West Finchley was in North London. She really had had no idea where she was. She was not at all drunk either, but she had also over-rested, by a lot more than I had. I told her I knew how she felt: I had had a terrible night of it a month or so back.

Well, I was safe, I was walking distance away from home, but she was in trouble, and really did need a reliable cab. I couldn't leave her.

She accepted this without demur and we stood outside the station, she fuming and trying to hail cars, me nodding. Eventually a minicab arrived. I think this might have been one she's ordered, not one just happening to pass, because I had already heard her name was Helena; and now I think of it, the driver asked for Helena. She offered me a lift part way, as she was going a long distance anyway, and I said I thought we were passing right near me, so there was no harm. I'd offer a contribution to the fare.

After a short time the driver wanted money. Helena waved her super gold banker's luxury cardette at him. They argued. She said she needed to get out and get cash. This she did, as soon as we got near shops. Then he wanted the money, up front. She said he'd get it at the end. She waved the notes at him and said she had the money, and what guarantee would there be he'd take her all the way? He insisted it was not him, it was company policy. I'm an innocent in these ways, I don't get cabs, but their argument raged. Eventually she said she wasn't standing for it, and said we should get out. I nodded my agreement, in defence of her, not really knowing what the etiquette was.

They continued their slanging match on the pavement, he drove off, and we started walking... we knew not where. South, somehow, waiting for another cab to come along.

She was quite good looking, and I was enjoying the company. I could give her the odd touch around the shoulders to express concern, and she almost reached tears once, just briefly, before strength and determination took over again.

A cab did come along, a black taxi; he sucked his teeth and said it could be £40, but he'd make it no more. Fine by her. The price utterly startled me: I'd have expected about £10 within London. Well, I don't know cabs. I waved away the renewed offer of a lift: I was within walking distance of home. We hugged and kissed lightly, and off she went, poorer but safer.

I remembered that little embrace and instant amity very fondly. And yes, of course, I fantasized, as she'd seemed to be saying I could go to Clapham if I wanted, though I think in reality that was only because she had no idea of where my home lay. So I began walking in the warm, balmy night, with a spring in my step.

Turned out I had no fucking idea where my home lay either, or why West Finchley had that tell-tale word West in its name. The main road south from it doesn't, unsurprisingly in retrospect, come into East Finchley, but diverges off towards... somewhere... After an hour's walking I knew I was in trouble when instead of the familiar landmarks I kept hoping for I found I was in Finchley Road. Heading towards... oh I don't know, but the wrong side of Hampstead. I cut through and found it was Golders Green I was on the wrong side of. Kept telling myself it was worth it: insight into human nature, a nice kiss, didn't have to be up early in the morning, exercise is good for you. Arrived home 2.45 a.m., spring in my step distinctly autumnal.

There are certain streets that appear shorter than they actually are. It feels like a warp in space-time; these streets that, reminiscent of a piece of string, can be arranged to allow an ant to travel from point to point without crossing those points in the middle. It is an issue of perception. These lengths of certain streets deny the visual monuments necessary for us to note them closely. Distractions may be present in the form of more interesting destinations at either end of this length. What I describe is the perceptual equivalent of a highway passing through cornfields, but in an urban setting, if for only a scant few blocks at the most. Such an area is that section of Shattuck Avenue, a few blocks north of University Ave, in Berkeley, that I met a handful of noders for dinner.

I had arrived a few minutes early, and entertained myself by perusing a nearby gallery of ceramics and blown glass, which had the advantage of large windows through which I could keep an eye out for -- that does look like pictures of ac_hyper and MrFish, I shall step out an introduce myself and awkwardly not offer any change from my pockets for the parking meter as I have none. We introduce, I stand about uselessly as the parking meter is placated, we move to the restaurant. We approach the restaurant and come to the attention of a perky goth, her black hair curving under her ears mushroom-like wearing a black top, wide black pants accented with pink and white striping, and, we later discover, silver boots. This is oakling. We get to know each other a little, as we mill about waiting for ClockworkGrue, ducksauce, and bindlenix. I avoid the ignominy of a nametag.

Our intended venue, Cha-Ya, is a very small (seating for under 20) Japanese restaurant. It is neither a teriyaki house nor a sushi joint, but rather serves vegetarian food. Several of my friends (and oakling too) have sung its praises. I had not yet gotten a chance to try it.

ClockworkGrue and ducksauce arrive and we talk some more. oakling presents ducksauce with a piece of toast, a star cut from the center. The waitress gives us an ultimatum over our table, we must sit now, or we will lose any chance of seating for at least an hour or more. So we take seats, have a space set for bindlenix, and are bewildered at the size of the menu, in comparison to the size of the restaurant. The menu consists almost entirely of small dishes, some 25-35 of them, the implication being that 2-3 would be adequate per person. Mugi-cha, potato dumplings, tofu chawanmushi, vegetable gyoza, vegetable sushi tempura, vegetable tempura sushi, inari sushi, fiddleheads, horse beans, and agedashi tofu, among others, are ordered. And what a feast once it all began to arrive! It was necessary to gorge ourselves, if only to keep up with the rate at which dishes arrived. After the gluttony, we headed south for gelato.

It is a warm summer evening, none of us have anything in particular in mind than hanging out. bindlenix observes that it has been a long time since either of us have met a group of noders for the first time. And that it is refreshing. As refreshing as two scoops of gelato, one caramel one cinnamon, with espresso poured over the top. As amazing as the transformation of a cane-wielding babushka into a 3 year-old ballerina at the mere taste of gelato while generic european dance music attempts to drown out verbal conversation. ducksauce is a quiet observer of people, dress, action; her eyes constantly dart among background humanity, her assessments betrayed by a smile or raise of eyebrow.

We peregrinate, and eventually settle at a nice café that will allow us to linger for a pretty hour. There are conversations to overhear, technology to enviously comment upon, artworks that must be "appreciated" and "put into perspective", and wandering discourse.

Thank you, oakling, for arranging a very pleasant evening. I have found a new-favorite restaurant and made several fine acquaintances.

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