Today is Friday the 13th. It is also my birthday. I will be 26 this year, and 26 just happens to be 2*13. Just a little trivial piece of knowledge for you.

It's always been a little strange to have my birthday on July 13th. When I was a kid all of my friends were away on vacation and so I never had birthday parties. And I never got to bring cupcakes into school like all the other kids because school was always out on my birthday.

But there are a few interesting things associated with my birthday. For one, my date of birth is 7/13, 7 being one of the luckiest numbers and 13 being one of the most unluckiest. And I am also a cancer, which means my sign is named after two disease, crabs and cancer.

However, my favorite thing about my birthday is that there is almost always a thunderstorm. And I love thunderstorms!

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This part written on the actual day, July 13th

Well, my first Friday the 13th birthday that I can remember has finally arrived. In my life I have always craved attention like no one else I know, but only the good kind of attention, not the bad kind. So today I am in heaven. So far I must have informed at least a dozen complete and total strangers that today is my birthday. I went to the DMV today, was there for about an hour, and jokingly tried to convince three or four people to trade numbers with me. No one bit though, considering they were now serving number 8 when I took my number 37! Ick! but the wait wasn't all that bad. It's funny how things that would normally bother you don't when you are in an extra good mood. When I got up to the counter and handed over my re-registration information I of course told the man that it was my birthday and asked for my birthday discount. I am sure that he didn't give me any such discount but I was very pleased with the total amount it cost me, I was expecting much more.

After the DMV I went to the bank to deposit my measely pay check. But even the small number written in big black letters and numbers didn't bother me today. Cos who the hell cares about money on your birthday? Today is my day off from all worries. When I pulled up to the drive through window the cutie pie teller at the window smiled and wished me happy birthday! It was so cool that he remembered :) Then I was off to spend the little money I made last week working at Starbucks. And where did I end up? Not at the bar like I would have wished. Not shopping for a new outfit....not at Media Play....but Monro Muffler. It's weird how my birthday has been so pleasant for me thus far yet writing this all out it looks horrible! Anyway, I walked right up to the counter and asked the guy if he could find time to look at my car, since it's my birthday and all :) And the woman next to me said, it's my birthday too! And of course that brought out the good ole 'They say it's your birthday...duuuhnanana nanannaa, well it's my birthday too ya!' song. Which reminds me, I need to get back to Monro so they can take a look at my car! But don't worry, I'll be sure to bore you with all the details of the rest of my day!!

And thanks everyone for all the birthday wishes! You're all so very sweet!!!

I'll write something here in a few days... in the meanwhile... I would just like to point all of your attention to the date the above write up was written...

Damn if THAT isn't planning early... i don't know what is.

Happy Birthday Deb!

After a crazy day and night (yesterday), today was kinda fuzzy. The demo I prepared for (with quite a bit of effort) was a disaster--even after we resolved some stupid routing problems on our end, it ended up that they had firewall issues. Bleh.

Meanwhile the box that I froze for the sake of, did end up being utilized as planned for another (upcoming) demo. It is mighty fast -- of the the 1.4G Athalons. We named it "hot" and boy is it ever. I can actually tell the difference between it and the normal boxen I work on...certain application startups are noticably faster.

Once the day hazed by, I walked from One Kendall Square all of the way up to Harvard Square with someone else from work. I've almost been here a year, and although I've been to Harvard Sq. before, this is the first time I actually walked through the campus of Harvard. It was pretty, peaceful, etc.

Once at Harvard square, I waited for the 86 bus, which was supposed to show up at 6:35, but it ended up coming at 7pm. Anyhow, I had a nice warm seat at the back of the bus (it was getting cold and close to raining). I got off at Cleveland Circle, and went into the theater, but the movie I was thinking of watching, Final Fantasy, had already started, so I took the T the rest of the way home (short).

Here I am, ultra-ready for the weekend. I updated pics of my nephew (you can see them at http://photos.yahoo.com/sgs1370 -- he's a cute kid). Now what to do? I feel like partying...yet I do have work early tomorrow. Sigh.

Got my new bookbag today...or rather, I purchased a used Swedish rucksack that I will use as a bookbag. It is unusually comfortable and has an internal frame that has been well broken in. It ridgidly curves to fit my back damn near perfectly. On the back it reads:


Furrer Andreas
Elohweg 8
8*****thur (almost completley unreadable)

I believe this was the original owner. So Furrer, if you're still out there uh....thanks for breaking it nice-like I guess. Bork Bork Bork

That girl wasn't mine. She never was. I was fooling myself around her, living in a fantasy world, which I knew would end, but couldn't accept. And now it has ended, she is back with the one she loves, and I am alone once again.

What is left is only confusion. Feelings for others shattered. Feelings for her scattered. Feelings of jealousy and rage scattered across thousands of people across thousands of miles across an endless sea of time.

What I did was wrong. I've now committed two major sins in my life. I do not regret things that happen in the past, and I cannot take back actions that took place in the past, but I can at least atone for one of my sins.

She should know this, know what I've done, how I've sinned. I haven't talked to her in so long. If I do not confront my demons now, they will forever overcome me. The darkness in my soul is spreading, changing me from the inside; making me into a new person - hateful, greedy, jealous. A few words are all it takes to destroy this blackness.

Nancy, I've been a coward. I've been running for these past 8 years. Running from my feelings for you. If I continue to run, I will continue to change. The darkness will overwhelm me.

I will stop running this weekend. I can't take back these past 8 years, but the atonement must start now.

Over this summer I've been taking a French at the Boston Language Institute, in order so that I can skip a year of it in High School and not fall behind. Anyway, it's entirely different then French in High School.

For one thing, there aren't any tests. There are about 7 of us in the group, so the French teacher (who is native Française, and almost relies on us to speak French to her because she speaks very poor English) can slow down for those of us who need it (mainly myself), but the group moves rather fast anyway. It also gives her a chance to kind of know us all personally.

Maybe she learned more then she may have wanted to know today. The French teacher asked this one guy in our group, Mike, a personal question inocently enough "Est-ce que vous aimez une fille?" (for the French illiterate, that is "Do you like a girl?")

At this point he kind of turned bright red, and said "J'aim un garçon." ("I'm in love with a boy.")

And the French teacher looked at him, kind of confusedly, had him repeat it two or three times before she kind of stared blankly and finally moved on to the next person "Thomas, est-ce que tu est marrie?" ("Thomas... are you married?")

"Non."

"C'est bonne." ("That's good.")

All this was followed by a bought of silence, then cackles of laughter from the entire class. Fortunately, I think everyone in the class had the right attitude about the situation; and it's good to know that people in Boston have an air of understanding about themselves about Homosexuality. Mike seemed like a nice enough guy... lent me a quarter which I wasted in the coke machine as it ate my change : P. Anyhow... I'm just happy that French class is different; High School French is really, very boring, by comparison.

Friday the 13th scares the shit out of me this month. I just know I've forgotten something horrible I was expecting to happen to me, and now it will probably come true. Probably a large number of things I've forgotten about will all come to pass.

July 12, 4:15pm: My roommate (as soon as I move into the new place, this Saturday) was supposed to call Sunday to ask me about getting a ride back from the airport on Monday or Tuesday. I've heard nothing from him in over a week and he's not at the apartment, and today I realize that rather than being dead or hospitalized, the damn fool probably got busted for possession while staying with his folks in Dallas. Having given up on the possibility that I'll hear anything from him while he's in jail, I call his parent's house and find out from his mother that he's en route to Tucson as we speak.
July 11, 8:00pm: I check my email, hoping to hear something from Jeeves, who is returning to America very soon. Instead, I find a letter from a former music professor. He may be going into the recording studio next week, and he says to call him on Monday. I emailed him over a week ago asking if he still needed an assistant in the recording studio (he mentioned this to the class on the day of our final, two months ago), and had just today realized that he hadn't replied in over a week, and that that opportunity was probably shot.
July 5, 6:00pm: I check my email to see if my former music professor has responded yet, and instead find correspondence from Jeeves, after realizing earlier today that he probably wouldn't be sending me any mail now that he was somewhere in Sweden
July 3, 7:00pm: A guy who's looking for a second guitarist for his band calls and asks if I can come jam on Thursday. A week earlier, he'd called in reponse to my voice mail (in response to his flyer) and said they were thinking of playing *that* Thursday, and that he'd call me back before then. He didn't call me back until after I gave up on the idea, sometime on July 3.
June 29, 8:00pm: I get a call from the ERP lab in the Psychology department, and they ask me if I'd like to participate in an experiment next Tuesday. I'd called in a week earlier to say I was interested in being a guinea pig. Earlier that day, I saw the flyer for the experiment again and noticed the age range it listed was 20-25. Since I'm 18, and I'd said so over the phone, I'd figured I was out of luck (ie, they wouldn't call me back).
June 28, 2:30pm: I put out of my mind all my prior bad luck with members of the opposite sex and ask the cute girl from my class to go to lunch with me. She replies, after a moment's hesitation: "Well... I'm married."

My roommate told me once that to make something happen, you have to focus your mental energy on making it happen, and then forget about it. He's unaware, but his explanation actually beared some resemblence to explanations of magick that I've been reading about lately. Earlier in the year, I was starting to convince myself that every belief system was just a fiction invented to justify one's actions and morals. Now I find myself thinking that believing in anything will cause it to become true. (maybe that's just because I'm a brain in a jar, and the evil scientist who owns the jar can read my thoughts, and has a fucked up sense of humor when he sits down to construct my reality)

it was an odd week all around, exhausting but noteworthy.

...

My father took a day off work to head down to Sedro Wooley (WA) to visit his sister, my Aunt Emily. Her condition had been gradually worsening over the past few years - from a silly and trivial injury, something along the lines of stepping on a nail, gone untreated leading to gangrene, amputation of the foot, higher, higher, not enough - leading to vague internal organ (kidney?) problems and either strong medication or reliance on machinery, intolerable either way.

The treatment was harsh. Too harsh, she finally decided. She'd decided to terminate the treatment, but the family was extended warning of a few days for peace to be made and good-byes exchanged.

He asked if I wanted to come down with him. Yeah, like dwelling on the imminent death of a relative will ease my depression. Nice try, Dad. Too bad I'm not better-adjusted, since this opportunity only comes once.

...

    Spent a day stomping around in the hot (and rare!) Vancouver sun with a human foot visting from Toronto and this database. I've been getting spoiled on great grand noder-conventions - I've almost completely forgotten how to interact with newly-met people in one-on-one situations. Fortunately my mouth remembers the motions, and my brain can fake it on demand.

    A remark was made regarding something she'd observed - at a public Internet terminal within her eyeshot, someone accessing everything2 and her having had from somewhere the infernal restraint necessary not to greet the anonymous user. If they were noding from non-work/home space, chances are they were travelling... and if they were travelling, they ought to have dropped a line before leaving and arranged a lunch date or something. WHOEVER YOU ARE... know that my agents are everywhere, and spare no expense in the tailing of your shadowy movements. Vancouver remains my inviolate domain.

    Later that night, we mastered once again the secrets of water and fire, or, a node-to-be: How to produce large (meter+ diameter!) fireballs from tea candles using only a propane torch and a bottlecap of water. Photographs will be posted. Pho at dawn concluded, always one of the better endings.

    ...

    What were the crows doing? Wriggling, shimmying through the grass on their bellies with wings unfurled. We know crows engage in play behavior, but this looked like nothing so much as pathetic attempts at recovery after having their wings dislocated by some thuggish onlooker. Still, they hopped up and flew away neatly enough as I approached to investigate the matter. Were these just goofy birds (no stranger to the bather of Maxwell) or was there a substance on the ground they were rolling in, a kind of crow-nip? Ants, there are ants on my shoes! Stepping back a bit and shaking my feet I observe that the area of almost highest ant activity correlates almost exactly to the mysteriously favoured spot of the crows.

    After repetitions of this spectacle (never before observed, then a dozen times in a couple of days), our eventual hypothesis: the crows were intentionally seeking to introduce ants on to their bodies, insinuating them between feathers to eat or otherwise take care of parasites living on the crows. Shit, I knew them crows was smart birds, but if I was a crow I would be spending so much time in the air and trees that I wouldn't ever have even seen an ant, let alone been aware of their theraputic capacities.

    (My subsequent question: do they roll in anteaters to get rid of the ants? She swallowed the bird to catch the spider that wriggled and tickled and jiggled inside her...)

    ...

We were never particularly close. Well, aside from my playing Mendelssohn's Wedding March during the procession at her wedding.

My aunt died at 11:30 this morning. My father has extended another invitation to me, to come to her memorial service. Not having found sufficient will or interest to say good-bye with her, where might I dreg some up to say good-bye to her?

in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...

Today I confirmed that a patient my team admitted yesterday had consumption (aka TB or tuberculosis). This 20-ish year old man of Vietnamese origin had been sick for over two months with fevers, feeling unwell, coughing up brown sputum. Over the last two days, he started coughing up blood (haemoptysis) and came to the emergency department yesterday with an X-ray which his local doctor had presumably ordered. He had lowered air entry into his right upper zone and had a right upper lobe pneumonia on chest X-ray. For some god-forsaken reason, he was not immediately put into an isolation room with negative-pressure and started on anti-tuberculous medication.

Instead, he got placed in the general ward, where he ended up in a single room with the door closed. I saw him yesterday morning with my registrar and one of my consultants in the emergency department and we started antibiotics to cover community acquired pneumonias (i.e. we put him on penicillin and roxithromycin). The same evening, I got called to see him because of increased haemoptysis. I reviewed him and found that he had a temperature of 38.7C but was haemodynamically stable with good peripheral perfusion and a SaO2 of 96% on room air. I inserted another 18 gauge IV cannula, took blood cultures and more sputum samples and did a group and hold for his blood in case he lost more and did require a transfusion. I found out that, while he had been in Australia for more than 10 years, he had been born in Vietnam and did indeed know of a possible personal contact - his friend's wife was recently diagnosed with TB. In my mind the most likely diagnosis was definitely tuberculosis.

Handing off his case to the evening staff, I went home.

In the morning, I came to work to find that he had just coughed up a "large amount" of blood - approximately 200-300ml and his oxygen saturation had dropped to 70% on room air and 85% on 4L/min oxygen via nasal prongs.

He was given IV fluids and the respiratory team were called in. A mobile CXR was done. The ICU team were called in to assess him so that he could be placed in the ICU if he deteriorated further. A CT angiogram of his lungs was arranged. I bugged the people in microbiology to do urgent stains for Acid-Fast Bacili on his sputum samples.

Radiology showed a cavitating upper lobe lesion in his right lung but no involvement of bronchial blood vessels. Microbiology paged me to say that one of his sputum samples was positive for AFBs.

Well, this poor man is now in the ICU receiving anti-tuberculous treatment - probably some combination of rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol and pyrizinamide. The respiratory team will take over care of him soon.


What bothers me is the possible infection risk. He was not placed in a negative pressure room. Even though the door was closed and everyone who wanted to enter the room was instructed to wear a mask and don gloves and a gown, it's conceivable that, as he was coughing the stuff all around all day and all night, someone could have been infected by now ...

Which reminds me - I should go have a Mantu test and a chest X-ray in a few months time ...

The advantage to nightmares over real life is that you can wake up from a nightmare.


The Background: A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law came to live with us for a few months. He had drunk himself into a stupor on too many occassions and his wife was divorcing him. As he hadn't contributed anything to the payment of bills for such a long time, the judge decided that he should not be allowed to live in the house.

He called my wife (his sister) and asked if he could come and stay with us, while he went through a drug treatment course, so he could regain his driver's license. My wife, being the sweet woman she is, said yes and the living nightmare began.

Ronny, my brother-in-law, moved in and I immediately set some ground rules. NO DRINKING was rule #1 - it had ruined his marriage, his career, and most of the relationships in his life. I told him he could drink all he wanted, just not and live with us. I also told him that he would have to find a job. Not an unreasonable request, I thought.

Over the next five months, we went through a number of conflicts. He drank. He argued. He made a general nuisance of himself. Finally, I had to physically move him to the apartment of one of his co-workers, before one of us ended up in the hospital, either me from stress or him from me beating him.


The Nightmare Returns: My brother-in-law is back. His live-in accused him Tuesday morning of beating her, and the police picked him up. Neither of them is the most stable person in the world. We bailed him out of jail yesterday, and because of the judge's decision, he can't go back to his apartment, so he is sleeping on my couch.

The stress and general feeling that all is not right with the world is back. I didn't sleep well. I am back to playing father to a 38 year old. And I can't seem to wake up.

Oh, bother!

    I think I'm done here.  

    I don't really know anyone on e2, I never really found a niche. I'm not a computer whiz, a well-read scholar, or some amazing writer of prose. I'm just wasted bandwidth on e2's precious servers. 

    I've been looking over my  year and a day here, and I haven't added much to anything. A lot of crappy, short nodes about nothing in particular; and I fear I can add nothing but that. Everything2 is a great experiment, and I get the overwhelming feeling that it would be better off without my input.

    Whenever I'm on e2, I feel like there's this great joke that I just don't get. There's familiar and fun dialog in the catbox; there are people with actual friendships here; and I was never able to share that. I never connected with anyone, aside from a quick note /msged about a write-up. The best aspect about e2 is sharing human experience and knowledge with others, but I never was able to do that. This isn't complaining or an attempt to blame anyone, I guess I'm just not cut out for this environment.

    I learned a hell of a lot here, and I wouldn't trade my time here for the world. I just wish I could add more, be a part of something. A part of Everything.

Two of my very close friends had been rather happily going out for the past few months. I'm sure you are all familiar with that situation where, despite common sense and cynicism, you honestly believed that this high school relationship would actually last. My other friends and I thought that it would. Sure, we talked about "the split" every now and then, but it was always a hypothetical, formless doom, lurking somewhere just beyond the shadows, in the sense that Ragnarok had already been determined, although it had not yet happened. We were never sure what would happen; and we didn't want to lose either one of them.

And then yesterday, I was at the gym, feverishly trying to get back into shape after my school's three-week trip to France, when my friend Mark told me that our friends were going to split. I am still in a state of shock over this. The worst part is that the girl in question has not broken up with him yet, but she told Mark she was going to. So I was talking to my friend in question last night, and he was in high-spirits, and he had no idea what was going to happen. I felt so guilty knowing that he was going to be heart-broken in 24 hours, and I felt so weak knowing that there was nothing that I could do to help him. I feel even worse knowing that I already want to go out with her after they break up, and I feel awful knowing that. Even down the road, if I should ever be so lucky as to go out with her, I know that I will be letting him down. I don't want to feel like a rival with one of my closest friends.

Never before in my life has a friday the 13th been unlucky. Today, however...yes...today...has been and promises to be...hell.

I woke up this morning next to masukomi without realizing what today was...it was just a normal day like always. It was just a friday, therfore it should be a good day. After all, tomorrow is saturday and sleeping in becomes an option on saturdays.

Everything seemed normal...that is, until I went to walk into the kitchen...and saw how our dog, Hama, had graciously decided that the garbage had no right to be in the garbage bag and that it looked much better all over the floor. Masu and I cleaned it up...rebagging it for the third time this week, morons that we are, and went about getting ready to walk the dogs.

Before walking the dogs, however, we discussed the missing keys, the lost bank card, and how there were no more checks in the box when we needed checks badly.

Walking the dogs, Hama, the garbage lover dog, decides that she doesn't feel like waiting to shit until we get to the park and deficates on the sidewalk. Not too much of a big deal; she's done this before...just gross. Walking...walking...lalala...get to the park and things go normally...Masu lends a friend a bag for her doggie poo since she forgot one...and we head home. On the way home, Ebony, the once angelic-never-do-anything-wrong dog, decides to take a second shit...in the middle of the road...and us without another bag. So home we go, Masu saying that she'll grab her scooter and clean it up on the way to work. We get home and she leaves for work with a baggie.

About 20 minutes later she comes online...and says that she got a flat tire on the way to work and had to push her heavy metal scooter over four blocks to work.

After awhile, I look down at Hama who is between my feet, and she's twitching oddly. I watch her a little more, trying to figure out what's wrong, and she stands, shakes and walks off. Blinking, I watch after her, thinking she's ok...and then I hear the most disgusting sounds coming from our bedroom...and run off to check it out.

Hama had thrown up garbage all over our bed.

I cleaned it up and went to check E2...and saw that today is Friday the 13th.

Oh, yes, Virginia...there is a god. And when I find out what his mailing address is, he's going to get a nice snail mail bomb with his name all over it.


Oh, and, btw...it did get worse...Masukomi got home and we had to take the garbage eating dog, Hama, to the vet for chocolate poisoning, where we stayed for four hours, because a hamster with a broken leg took precidence over a poisoned dog.

You know what? Fuck you, world.
Fun on a per-contract basis, Blasted Tool, and Multiprocessor Woes

Well, apart from DD350s, DD1057s, ACSA Reports, and other fun Contracting-related business, I've succeeded in doing virtually nothing with my time at work. This, of course, is a difficult-to-master form of art. To achieve satisfaction with the boss while remaining completely "phased-out" is a skill which has taken me years to acquire. Over the few weeks I've been working summer hire at the contracting division, I've learned a few items that can specifically help the lazy employee act out on his instincts.

  • Alt+Tab alot. That keystroke is your friend. Also helps when you have auto-hide activated for your task-bar.
  • Keep a folder sitting on your lap most of the time. It also helps to keep your finger pointed on a block of numbers whilst intensely concentrating on the screen. Also, be sure to note that this folder should be exchanged a few times during the day in case anyone is actually paying attention.
  • Make up work-related questions every now and then and go ask your boss. He/she will think that you're motivated and inquisitive, instead of doubting your potential as even a future organ donor.
  • Pace yourself. If you do too much work at once, your boss will know what you are actually capable of and will try to enforce that higher standard upon you in the future. If you go at a nice, relaxed pace then you will have more time to do nothing.

    In other news, whilst writing my newest song ("the beauty of imperfection"), I've noticed that, ever since I began listening to Tool, I have been unable to write a song in a normal time signature or in a normal format. Whatever happened to Mr 4/4 and the Verse/Chorus/Verse/Bridge/Chorus Family? Oui.

    My dual P-IIIs haven't been much of a tool lately at all. One of them just refuses to let the operating system recognise it's existence at all. After long periods of usage, it won't even show up in the BIOS messages on reboot. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I don't have a fan designed for the P-3 installed on one of them. Oh well, only time (and a lot of money) will tell.
  • Quick and Dirty WU

    Leaving work early to take my son to his first hip hop concert. He's seen some free stuff, but never bands he loves. He asked if he could bring a friend - of course. So this is going to cost me $35 - ouch! But Incubus will be playing, and I love them - and Moby will be playing - they're pretty good - and I might end up liking Outkast and Roots, which was the first one on his list. Yes, I made him write me a list of his fave bands just for this reason. I thought - hmmmmm. I've taken my nieces and nephews and my other kids to shows - but never this son. What's up with that?

    So I'm pretty excited about it, hopefully there will be some cheap beer available so I can sneak off and have a smoke or two....I went on a date recently with some one cute and it was fun, although I was feeling inordinately shy around her. I had fun. The fact that I was so nervous and shy brought the realization that I don't really know how to do life as an integrated, whole person. I forget that sometimes, think I'm okay, and everything is just fine, then something like this pops up and I realize how far I really have to go before I am whole. I am so good at faking it that I just forget that's what I'm doing.

    A good reminder. So we chatted, I'm relaxed about the whole thing now (being nervous for the entire date, that is) and have let it go, and next time we see each other, I anticipate we will both be more carefree and easy. I'll just be myself, and she'll be herself, and who knows? Maybe we'll be able to share some laughs and some confidences and begin to be friends. That would be so cool. I would love that. And I don't have to worry about anything further than that, if it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't. Period.

    I just told a woman I went on a date with (a few weeks back) that I wasn't interested in casual sex with her - that I realized it wasn't the right thing for me at this time; that I would prefer friendship. But if she wasn't interested, that was okay. She called today and said essentially that I was silly, she'd much rather be friends, that was way more important! And of course, she's absolutely right. Duh!

    So I'm going back to Brooklyn next week to visit. I go to school there, and I'll be moving back this fall to be a sophomore at Pratt Institute. Brooklyn has become home, but I haven't seen it for over two months since I left for summer break. Now I'm going home. I'll be there for only four days, but in Andy's words, I need to feed my soul.

    It'll be weird to not have my own place to go back to, seeing as they're probably still trying to clean my old room out for the freshman who'll move in next year. I have plenty of places to crash, including with Andy and with this really cute girl from school named Danielle, who I actually didn't hook up with at school, but who I know is interested, so that's no problem, but it's still weird to be coming home to someone else's place.

    I briefly considered comming back today.

    I wrote a node Don't feel bad to call him black. Then it went to -1 and someone softlinked it to boring. Someone else, (After I had read 31 messages and found that some new bot notifies you when your favorite nodes are sent to Node Heaven.) told me that my grammar and syntax in it was not so good, without any explanation or suggestion. Hell, I don't even know what they ment by Syntax!

    All and all it seems whenever I come back I remember why I left. Editors like Jet-poop who are always have been and always will be convinced i'm involved in some major conspiracy, even though they are actually seven diffrent people living in a secret base under Quebec City that share a collective conscious and memory. (If you ask me, thats a much more intresting conspiracy than accusing me of posting nodes for other people.)

    I suppose the thing that keeps me away the most is all these messages, softlinks, emails, and the like that make me think me, and my writing is just not welcome. I suppose the most frustrating thing is that when I took a break which has now lasted approximately 7 months, I was about 40 nodes into level 7, and now i'm about 56 nodes away from level 7. The constant accusation to the ghost that is my message box that I am an ardent practioner of meme.

    I keep trying to come back but i'm disheartened every time, through, I suppose, nobodies fault but my own. I'm washed up at Seventeen.

    Maybe i'll try to come back again, maybe not today, maybe not tommorow, perhaps not this year, but some day, and after i've figured out what they mean by Syntax. In the meantime I think i'll just keep playing Cuxuit on Medievia, a statement which in many quarters is enough just cause to call me a traitor, scoundrel, thief, or something else.

    I decided not to sully up my perhaps still famous node, Things that will make you happy other than XP (At least I think it was called that.) with an update that mentioned that there were also Things that will make you said other than XP, but I decided I didn't want to sully up a node which just might mean something important to someone else.

    I wasn't originally going to write something like this, but I didn't want to leave everyone hanging who might still be hanging around. You know, the people who still remember who the heck I am. Amazing how long Seven months is, isn't it?
    If you are a noder currently in university, for the love of all that's holy, stay until you finish. I repeat: Stay until you finish. You shall know when this happens because they mark the occasion with a piece of paper (preferably with your name and such on it) that signifies you do not have to come back unless you are crazy enough to want yet another piece of paper.

    Because I warn you - if you do not, in fact, finish with tangible proof, you may feel the pressing need to return for said proof. Being unemployed in a sad sack of a job market, I thought actually finishing my university education would be a good idea. Actually, it just bugs me that I haven't finished. It also bugs me that there are people who did finish, people who are completely and utterly worthless as employees, who have job security right now because they happened to get in at the right time.

    I talked with an advisor today who mentioned roughly a zillion course names and numbers and certain other bits and pieces that, when taken as a whole, implied that I would in fact be in school forever.

    The scary thing is, I was nearly done. Damn university transfers. Really, it's a pain in the ass to even think about dealing with this again. I look forward to it in certain ways, but ... well, anyway. This fall and next spring I'm doing Internet-based courses at home, and then something like 500 semesters after that, full-time. Fie!!

    Aside from that, I'm trying to watch Million Dollar Hotel, but it's...not really working for me. I finished Gaiman's Neverwhere and started on Stardust. I've seen A.I. and Final Fantasy this week, and may see Legally Blonde later on. Can you tell I'm unemployed? It still feels weird.

    I have a vase of 12 roses here, and apparently, if one wilts, you're supposed to remove it, cut its stem under water, then place it in warm water, up to the petals and by itself for two hours until it revives. I've done it with four now, since Monday, and it works. It's kind of silly how proud I am of the whole thing. All twelve look great.

    It's too easy to blame it on an arbitrary date...

    My daily visit to Cow Of Doom's nodetracker sent me to an old daylog. It was a fun experience, re-reading my old words. It was made more amusing by the blissful ignorance I was living in during that time; just a couple of days later, my wife entered my life. The only mention she gets at first is "Pictures, she wants pictures. (ack!)". Of course, I read on further, remembering the feelings I went through as I fell in love with this amazing woman.

    All the while, Katyana was going through her pre-work routine of bathing and combing out her long red curly hair. She looked happy and puzzled as I walked out to her and hugged her tight. One thing lead to another, and an hour later we sleepily decided that today is a good day for her to skip work. Reading a self-help book to me as I soak in the bath, she argued against the positive attitude quick-fixes she finds on the pages. We discussed whether it's possible to create love where there is none, as the book espouses, and laughed together at the silly diagrams this book has to illustrate concerns and responsibilities. As I dressed, again I smiled in wonderment at just how stupendous my wife is. :-)

    Now tell me again about the poor value of daylogs?

    The decision is made to take a trip to the local petting zoo. I'm still not sure if I am having my chain yanked here, but I'm assured this 'Domino's Farms' is owned by the guy in charge of the pizza delivery franchise of the same name. So we gathered up some different foodstuffs, bundle them into our wedding present cooler (complete with wheels and handle), and prepared to leave.

    At the farm, we drove around the cryptically signposted roads and eventually find the zoo. Here we see pigs, calves, turkeys, llamas, goats (and kids) and many other lovable, pettable creatures only too happy to rub against us. I believe we were the only couple there without a child, something that we didn't think twice about. Yet we gained some strange looks from other adults, as if to say 'I don't see a child attached to you, why are you here?' Like we need a baby to see the cute animals? Hmph. Of course, those weren't the only glances; at least one said 'Oh, you can't have kids. How awful!' Nope, wrong again. However much we both want kids, we know that they cost a suitcase full of money. It would almost be cruel to bring a child into this world without the means to provide for her wellbeing, security and happiness. Of course, I was overflowing with paternal twinges at the duckpond, watching fathers smile at their toddlers' try to lean even further into the water to touch the wary ducks.

    More lovely feelings: Katyana reading excerpts of 'The Color Purple' to me as I doze in front of her. Eating the food she prepared in the shade, smiling at her interpretation of Celie's voice.

    As we drive out of the car park, listening to Dennis Miller ranting about immigrants, Katyana suggests a visit to The Humane Society as a suitable followup to the cuteness we just experienced. I'm not sure why I agreed, possibly because I had never been to such a facility before.

    I'm still trying to shake off the despair and sadness I found there. So many kittens, puppies, cats and dogs pleading, begging with me just to touch them. Each cage looked smaller and smaller, a little box of vacuum that stole a piece of my happiness. By the time I got to the larger dogs, I felt drained and isolated; I was retreating into myself at all the emotion around me. Although she probably didn't realise it at the time, Katyana's tears on my shoulder saved me from a greater depression than I have had in a long time. I wanted to take almost a dozen cats and two dogs home straightaway. We couldn't take a single one, our cat already violates a rule of our apartment complex.

    I had never completely felt a bond with Thena, our cat, but she surprised me after we returned home. As I laid in my wife's arms trying to come to terms with my sadness, Thena softly headbutted me, played quietly with my fingers and looked serenely into my eyes. She soothed me as much my wife's words did; I realised that I already had all I needed here, I didn't need to go searching cages for feline attention...

    Don't go looking for negativity on a certain date; you'll be sure to find it. Today is a wonderful day

    THE STORY SO FAR

    2352.1.23 A pirate band offered valuable information in exchange for passage through our territories. They are fleeing after I conquered their home worlds. Their meagre fleet entered our space days later. Clan Leader Talos, a veteran warrior who offered his services to me after four years of fighting in the Engazo nebula, led a fleet of corvettes in the vicinity, and it was this fleet that intercepted the pirates. Their destroyers were no match for us and we suffered no loss. My agents tortured the pirate captain and he revealed his secret: that a valuable trans-galactic shipment was leaving shortly from the Shinari Republic to the Iberon Empire.

    2352.3.14 A small scout force found more debris near the planet of Mordor--armor from the ship of T'ral the warden. Years ago, T'ral was a homeless Krakhen eager to prove his prowess. I gave him a fleet and he proved useful. However, he met his end in our campaign to eradicate the pirates a few years ago. Last month, we developed the anti-matter ray and my scientists informed me that a more powerful weapon is in development. In three months' time we will have this weapon, dubbed the Destructor Ray. This fearsome weapon would fit well on our newly developed Heavy Cruisers.

    2352.9.12 The Fleet of the Fist located the heavily-armed convoy with the valuable cargo transports that the dead pirate captain had said contained valuable cargo. I ordered the Fist back to their garrison in Cair Andross. I reserved the task of eliminating this to General Talos. The ambush went well and all distress signals were jammed. We suffered no significant loss. However, the cargo was only worth 100,000 credits. A lesser Lord would find the prize a bounty, but for the Krakhen this is but a small drop hardly worth our attention. Just as well that we executed that pirate captain.

    2353.1.4 Our long-range stealth radar picked up the signals of a decent size Solarian Fleet passing near one of our planets. It was travelling at a warp factor of 16. This could mean one thing: the Terrans have discovered the secrets to the Mk 5 Warp drive. Their ships now rival the speed of our cruisers and heavy cruisers. These Terrans have become stronger.

    2355.4.24 We received the news a few days ago: the Toulen Empire is no more. Though I do not grieve their demise, I wish that they had fallen before the Krakhen. Instead, their worlds are now ruled by the Solarians. I now think that we may have seriously underestimated these humans (damn them!). However, we are not yet strong enough. In the east there is still the Shinari Republic, and to my south, the Iberon Empire and the Cheblon Clans.

    2355.7.6 A scout disguised as a trading vessel confirmed what our long-range scanner had told us: the Solarians have colonized the world of Tor 7. How dare they. They have occupied a world clearly within our unspoken borders. Our own terraforming ship and a colonization ship were already on the way to Tor 7 when we found their fledgeling colony, so our ships had to be diverted to a less habitable planet. With Tor 7 under their control, Cair Andross would be isolated from the rest of the empire. No doubt the Solarians would use it as a base to spy on our activities. I must make sure that Tor 7 is one of the first planets we attack; atacking them now would be easy as the colony is new and undefended. However, I am not sure of the Solarian's strengths, so I have ordered my warriors to ignore their presence for now.

    2356.2.20 The Solarian Federation has declared war on the Iberon Empire. I have sent my newly formed Imperial Fleet from their garrison in Isengard to Osgiliath, near the Iberon border. This new fleet contains all of our newly develped cruisers and heavy cruisers--the pride of the Krakhen empire.

    2356.3.1 I witnessed the battle between the Federation Fleet and the Iberon Fleet. The fast Solarian fleet of about 12 capital ships clashed with the Iberon fleet of about 40 vessels. The Iberons were numerous but our intelligence indicates that their fleet was composed mostly of destroyers and corvettes. They were no match for the Solarian ships, the composition of which is still unknown to us. Our best estimates suggest that they have cruisers and heavy cruisers, equal to my Imperial Fleet, but more disturbing is that they may have ships more powerful than our heavy cruisers. This is of course, absurd.

    2356.3.3 The Solarian fleet emerged victorious, losing one capital ship and some fighters. The Iberon fleet was annihilated. This troubled me a bit but I dare not show this in front of my warriors. They seemed to relish the chance of fighting a worthy adversary. Well, later on we will have a chance to test our strength against the Solarians. I have ordered the Imperial Fleet to "save" the now lightly-defended Iberon planets from the marauding Solarians. We are not at war with the Terrans and my seers think that they do not want a direct confrontation with us...yet. If we joined them in the war with the Iberons, we could lull them into a false sense of security and bring a few more planets into our control. Better yet, by conquering some of the Iberon planets we keep them from falling into the hands of our undeclared "allies", the Solarian Federation.

    2357.2.5 The Iberon Empire is no more. Six of their planets fell easily before the might of our forces. Unfortunately, our new holdings are interspersed with planets of the Cheblon Clans. These lousy Iberons know nothing of defensible borders. I fear that the new territories, a very welcome source of revenue, would soon become a liability when the time comes for us to deal with the Cheblon clans. The rest of the Iberon Empire now lie in the hands of the Solarians. I wish I had acted sooner, for now our nemesis possesses even more resources.

    2357.7.12 The young and over-eager general of the Imperial Fleet made a fateful decision two days ago. When the victorious Solarian armada wandered suspiciously close to Osgiliath, this young general ordered an attack. The account of the battle confirmed my fears. The Solarian fleet had one ship that exceeded our heavy cruisers in size and firepower: a Battleship. My young general's fleet had heavy cruisers bristling with torpedoes and were equipped with the yet untested Destructor Ray. The Imperial Fleet caught the Solarians unawares. Our own fleet wiped out their armada, including their new Battleship. Our losses were minimal. My young general could hardly contain his pride when he apologized for making a bold decision without obtaining my approval. I shall not punish this upstart...but I will wait. He has forced the Krakhen to a war with the Solarian Federation. We've destroyed their fleet but their planets are well fortified and though we can dominate space, our own ground forces are not strong enough to assault their planets. With most of the former Iberon and Toulen Empires in their hands, they have vast resources and it would not be long before we face another Solarian armada.

    2357.7.15 The Shinari Republic has declared war on us. This was not a surprise. These Shinari cowards are reputed to be weak in battle and hide behind their Solarian allies. I look forward to subjugating these weaklings, but already I fear that we may have over-extended ourselves. The Krakhen are now at war with two empires. Only with the Cheblon Clans do we maintain a semblance of neutrality. A large Shinari fleet of nearly 60 capital ships is suspected to be close to Cair Andross. General Talos's Fleet and the Fleet of the Fist are on the alert.

    Today was the start of my first vacation in about 1 year. I flew to San Diego from my home town New York, to visit the city as well as my girlfriend's parents. I had to go in to work in the morning but was able to leave early to catch my plane. After a long subway ride to JFK Airport, we made it to the Delta terminal.

    Now, here's a nice thing: since my girlfriend's mother used to work for Delta, we get to fly on a "buddy pass" - a ticket that allows you to fly at less than half the regular price, and will get you into first class or business class if there are seats available. Yay! I had a comfortable flight to San Diego in First Class, enjoying a nice dinner and excellent wine.

    Excellent wine, I hear the regular readers ask ... Yes, I put my July 4, 2001 resolution to stop drinking on hold for a week during my vacation. I could not resist the nice Merlot that was offered on the flight, and I also knew that part of my vacation would be spent in Las Vegas, where it's almost impossible to avoid having a drink here and there ... Well, maybe not impossible, but when a scantily clad coctail waitress offers you a free drink, it's just so hard to decline. Maybe it's weak, but I decided to enjoy my vacation and have a few drinks. I'll be good again when I get back home.

    Anyway ... Nice, comfortable flight to San Diego, landed and was picked up by aforementioned girlfriend's parents, who are totally sweet if slightly weird.

    My first impression of San Diego was very positive. Looks like a gorgeous city with the most beautiful weather I ever experienced. So very, very different from New York!

    After we got to their house, we pretty much went to sleep immediately. More tomorrow...

    Hey, not bad for Friday the 13th!

    Funny thing about the obvious-- sometimes it only slaps you in the face in that dead zone between the past and the present. I had the same sense of impending doom with a double-scoop of ambivalence as Diomedes (a close personal friend who has regrettably chosen to spend his time in Poughkeepsie.) That Friday the 13th was a strange time for me, and as I sat on the phone with the mine and Diomedes' mutual male gossip queen friend, I was filled with the very same excited guilt. As you might have imagined, I wanted her too. In fact, I believed that this girl might have been the solution to at least a handful of my scads of problems.
    But it's funny how the space of two school years and an entirely new life can put the past in perspective. This girl, of whom Diomedes, myself, and our ill-fated friend were all enamoured turned out to be an entirely different person from who we all thought she was. Looking back at this node now, a crystalline memory of how things were, I know the truth.

    Not too long ago I found out that the very night that this lovely young woman suggested that she and my friend needed to "spend some time apart to test their relationship," she got somewhat inebriated and proceeded to fornicate with two gentlemen who were a good six years older than her and whom she hadn't even met before that night.

    But it gets better. The following spring, another close friend of mine confessed to this girl that he was in love with her. It is important to bear in mind that he had been a loyal friend to her since before I had even known him, and that he couldn't keep the feeling inside of him any longer. She then proceeded to hook up with him for an hour or so and then push him away in disgust.

    For weeks and months she would neither talk to him nor acknowledge his existence. A few weeks before graduation (a humble ceremony coupled with a well-rehearsed speech by a well-paid speaker), this very same girl approached my very same friend, a smile cracking her porcelain face. She hugged him, and asked him to carry packages.

    That summer after junior year in high school, she was beautiful and perfect. I always beg for the truth, but I sometimes wish I could live in the blissful lie of Friday July 13, 2001.

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