wow. first daylog of the day... woo...hoo...

today we learned that being sick is very expensive, especially when your insurance only covers the first $20 of your $80 prescription. now, assume there are three prescriptions, and the next two are $45 and $40, respectively, and the insurance only covers about $14 total of those.

the $45 one is recurrent...i get a refill every three weeks ... perpetually. and this is on top of the $220 i already spend on prescriptions in a month.

and my bills just jumped. connect is now $58 instead of $48, that'll be the first thing to go, followed shortly by my phone, for another $45... still won't pay my rent.

i have no money. at all. after my bills pay on friday, i have to make it through august 15 with nothing. no money, no credit, and only about another 5 days worth of food.

and friday's my birthday. happy fucking 23rd to me. maybe i'll get lucky and wake up either a millionare or dead. or both... ::smirk:: i should be so lucky, ne?

i never go out. i might eat out once a month... i saw one movie since last christmas. i live on ramen and beans... it's not like there's that much more to cut back. except communication. i can cut myself off from the world for an extra $103 a month.

if i hadn't gotten that goddamn tumour, everything would be ok. but sickness is so expensive when your insurance is bad.

if you get the urge to feed me out of pity, details are on my homenode.


have i mentioned recently how pointless downvoting daylogs is? you don't like it? be glad it's not you.
Today, I take my driving test.

Normally, this wouldn't be worth daylogging, were it not for the fact that a) I am 18 and b) this is my THIRD try at the coveted license. Getting a license in Utah is supposed to be easy; our governor even expanded driver license registration to include illegal aliens. Unfortunately, due to a combination of a strict teacher and indifferent parents, I still drive with a practicing license.

I had passed the written test just fine. It was the driving part which I failed - twice. The teacher had a strict judging criteria, and if you did the following things, you flunked:

  • Turning too wide
  • Turning too narrow
  • Failing to check your blind spot on a lane change OR failing to check your blind spot on a lane merge
  • Hitting something or someone
  • If the teacher hits his brake, you fail.
First Try

          |_____________|
_______|_____________|________
       | | (red turn   | |
       | |   arrow)    | |
       | |             | |
       | |             | |
--------._____________.---------
         |_____________|
         |   |  ||me|  |
         |      ||     |
         |   |  ||  |  |
         |       \\    |
         |   |    \\ | |
         |     
         |
            
mfk (thinking): Hmmm, I'm a bit too far from the white line here.
                Better inch up juuuust a tad--
Instructor (slamming on his brake): WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? IT'S A RED TURN
            ARROW! YOU FAIL IT!
Second Try
              
           
|   ||      \ road merging into one lane
|   ||       \
|   ||   |   |
|   ||       |
|   ||   |   |
|   || ^ |   |
|   ||me |   |
mfk(thinking): Boy, sure glad I didn't do anything stupid so far. Smooth sailing
               so far. I hope he doesn't ask me to parallel pa-
Instructor (scribbling on pad): Wow, I'm amazed you didn't even notice that you
                                failed.
mfk: Er, what?
Instructor: Didn't check your blind spot. Sorry. Thanks for playing.

So, after not driving to high school at all during my junior and senior year, and with college coming up, my parents agreed to help out with driving practice.

Wish me luck.

Wake with tears, sleep with smiles...

Manifesting themselves as a thin layer of tears over my eyes, and a feeling of bitter contempt deep within me, those thoughts of dreams ending are what awaken me from my slumber. I stumble out of bed and wipe the tears from my eyes. I look at them glistening mockingly, now on my hand, and realize what they represent:

Emotions spent on things past my control.

To think that through all this, those feelings and emotions that you knew were true to begin with would still remain with you even still... If they could weather this, why can't the rest of you?

I feel my heart, and it's in the pit of my stomach. The worst of heartache over the thought of losing something so true, it buries deeper within you. If only it could be ignored; everything is blurry when your world passes through that ever-present thin layer of tears on its way to you.

Through the day, distractions keep the pain away. Keeping busy with the things that will keep the pain from winning over, from being victorious in a place where it has no right to win. My heart is my own; that pain I feel inside of it does not belong.

Crawling into my bed, I somehow manage to smile. I remember what that love was, and how it feels to be loved just that way. The bitter contempt of this morning lifts and elation takes over. Thoughts of a future where all works out for the best smooth out the harshness of reality in its very presentness. Deep within my mind, I'm reminded that happiness will find me yet, as it has done in brief pulses, like the glow of a firefly...

Remind myself that
I've known of happiness. Caught in brief glimpses, or as whispers that would grace so sweetly, so softly, so briefly, my ears. Flickering as a firefly, its dull glow enough to make me smile for a night.

And I know, deep within my heart, that I will find that firefly once again, her glow as bright as ever. Each pulse, a second spent with her, with enough smiles for a lifetime.

I close my eyes, and dream of my firefly, a smile on my face and no tears in my eyes.

I got a play of mine back today along with a rejection letter from a theatre in Florida with a better than average history of producing new plays. I haven't been sending many plays out lately, but I have done so often over the past decade and a half, and thus I've developed a pretty thick skin about rejected manuscripts; but what was interesting about the letter was that while the first paragraph was pretty much the standard boilerplate of polite regrets, the second contained a hint of the disturbing, though completely predictable, trend in modern theatre away from doing any new works at all.

Dear Paul:

On behalf of everyone at Florida Stage, I would like to thank you for your submission of The Good Ship Manhattan. We read it through carefully and with interest. While we are aware of its many merits, I regret to say that, after giving it careful consideration, we find it does not suit our needs at this time.

Please be advised that our Literary Manager {_____} will be leaving Florida Stage in late July, and his position will not be filled at this time. Therefore, we are no longer accepting unsolicited works from agents or playwrights.

Etc., etc.

Sincerely

Etc.

In other words, “We will only be doing plays by famous dead guys or those which are spoon-fed us from New York.”

Ah well... in earlier posts I indicated that I’ve ditched playwrighting for a while anyway to try my hand at a TV pilot, which I finished this week. The normal post partum blues aside, I’m very happy with the piece, and writing it was a much more creative challenge than I dared hope. Of course, now comes the tough part: trying to sell the bitch, or failing that, squeeze some kind of paying work out of using it as a calling card. My most recent conversation with the L. A. agent who encouraged me to start on this endeavor was pretty disappointing. It turns out that instead of having a bunch of insider contacts and bright ideas on how to pitch this to them, he’s going through a mid-life crisis and sees this project as some sort of redemption for his otherwise banal career hawking actors to casting directors. Now, I’m all for redemption, but that’s why I write plays, not TV. TV I do for the MONEY!!! It’s not a total wash yet. We’ll probably end up having some sort of semi-public reading of it in Hollywood some time in late August. And everyone on the team will try and get as many higher tier actors, producers, writers, agents etc. as we know to either participate or come watch, and maybe, just maybe simply stirring the hornets nest will accomplish something, though the pessimist playwright in me strongly doubts it.

A large part of me would like to be able to say that I’ve almost cleaned my plate of writing projects, for if that were true then I could take some time to see how life would be like without it. But such is not my fate, at least for a while. Annex Theatre, here in Seattle, will be producing my play, An American Book of the Dead - The Game Show, next spring and I just heard from the director that they’ll be workshopping it this August. When they first told me they were interested in the piece, I decided to be determined not to hold my breath. And sure enough there was delay after delay in the offing. But now it seems to be for sure, and when I met with the director in my kitchen the other night, he had some good ideas on where he thought the play could use some tuning up. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any rewriting for this second production, but after talking to him I’m almost positive I will. For example, he grilled me on why The Bardo of American Poets, Patriot and Expatriate needed to be there, and I found I couldn’t defend it aggressively enough. It might just be time to murder at least one of my darlings. Always tough at first, but also almost always, ultimately, refreshingly liberating.

It's official. There's nothing left to save.

It probably began back in the early '90s when Michael Jackson, having outbid Paul McCartney for the Beatles catalog, went and sold the rights to Revolution to Nike. As though they needed any help selling more over-priced, made in China, Air Jordans. You say you want a revolution? You'll have to pay a child molester for it.

More recently, things took an even more bizare turn. Someone in the firm helping to craft the ad campaign for Royal Caribbean Cruises decided to use Iggy Pop's Lust for Life as the theme. They must have only paid attention to the title and the chorus, because the rest of the lyrics are about sex, liquor, and drugs. They've obviously never "had it in the ear before."

These were bad, but I could at least smile at the irony. Then today, rivers flowed uphill, birds sang the Lord's Prayer in reverse, the sun refused to cast it's light upon the world - and they used the Paris scene from Casablanca to market Diet Coke.

What's next?!? Will Sara Lee use Don McLean to foist Easy Bake Apple Pie™? Or maybe they'll use Gone With the Wind to show us 101 more uses for cotton!

So, it's official: nothing is sacred. Everyone and everything is for sale, and it's all going cheap.

The end of an era. 3 days and counting. For those who haven't been following my sporadic daylogs and don't know what I'm talking about, I've been in South Korea for two years teaching English, and I'm about to go back to Canada. 3 days is the number of teaching days left, not until my actual plane leaves. My sister is coming to visit and I'll be showing her around this lovely country (and it is a lovely country, some of my bad experiences notwithstanding... it's possible to have bad experiences in a lovely country) until August 12, 2003.

If I've discovered something in the last couple of weeks, it's that having a non-refundable plane ticket out of the country, set to leave in a few weeks, it is exactly equivalent to having a girlfriend. It puts you in a position where you are incapable of getting into a new relationship with a woman. This leads to a specific case of Murphy's Law, or maybe just human psychology, known as The Forbidden Fruit Principle. Put simply, women can't have you, so they find you irresistably attractive. Or maybe it's something different. Maybe it's that you know that you can't have them, and so you're relaxed, not trying to impress them, or get in their pants, which makes you more attractive. Whatever the cause, women start coming out of the woodwork when you're taken, or about to go somewhere far away.

First there was Nan Hi (see July 7, 2003), and then on Saturday, I went to Elvis (the local watering hole that has been the beginning of so many of the antics in my daylogs) and ran into my friend Yong, who had a new girlfriend. Mighty hot, I might add, although her name has slipped my mind. Anyway, I was chatting with my friend Stewart, an old British guy that I'm teaching to play Go, when Yong showed up. I told him that I'm leaving soon, and he insisted on bringing Stewart and me out for soju and some unidentified barbequed pig parts (might have been tripe). Yong and I handle the soju pretty well, but Stewart gets trashed (he's a skinny little guy) and the girl is not entirely sober either. I swear to God, I wasn't doing anything to provoke her, just talking to her in Korean a bit (she doesn't speak English) and suddenly, she's got her hands all over me, stroking my arm, rubbing my thigh, trying to hold my hand (normally Korean girls shun physical contact with guys, especially in public)... she keeps saying the same five things over and over again (in Korean... this is the best I can translate):

  • I've never met a foreigner like you before.
  • It's such a shame you're going back to Canada so soon.
  • Are you ever coming back to Korea?
  • If you do, do you think we can see each other again?
  • I'm sorry I can't speak English to you. Your Korean is so good.
Meanwhile, I'm trying (but not really trying, if you know what I mean... she was really hot, after all, and I wasn't entirely sober) to fend her off, and wondering when Yong is going to demonstrate the l33t Tae Kwon Do skills that most Korean guys possess by leaping over the table and kicking my teeth down my throat. Amazingly, he doesn't. Maybe he thought we were just talking, and didn't see what her hands were doing behind the table, or maybe drunken Stewart was distracting him enough, or maybe he realized that she was drunk, and I wasn't encouraging her, and decided to ignore it. He did, however, stop her when she took my cell phone and tried to give me her phone number. "He's got my phone number," he told her. "If he wants to meet us, he can call me."

When we left, he apologized to me (for what, I'm not sure, maybe on behalf of his girlfriend) and I apologized too. We stuck Stewart in a cab, and sent him home.

Meanwhile, my overall stress level is very high this week, due to several things.

Firstly, Jesse, the vice-principal has given me all sorts of things I need to do before I leave. Lesson plans for my replacement, class and student profiles for the permanent record, etc. All in one week.

Secondly, I have accumulated two years of stuff, and have to reduce two years to two suitcases. This wasn't aided when I made the larger suitcase too heavy and the handle broke off when I tried to lift it. Fortunately, my former roommate left a suitcase behind when he left, so I still have two, but this one is smaller than the big one, so I must cull the herd even further. As it is, I'm leaving almost all my books and videos and about half my clothes behind, to make room for my board games (which I never should have brought to Korea, since I never found anyone to play with) and my goban and Go stones.

Thirdly, a friend of a friend had agreed to buy my DVD player, which is useless in Canada, being Korean region only. She backed out on Friday, leaving me with no buyer, and nothing to do with it. Best plan I have now is to leave it with my friend, advertise in a newspaper in Seoul, and if someone buys it, get her to wire me the money.

Lastly, the school I'm at is in serious financial difficulties. I'm hoping that they'll have the 4.4 million Won they will owe me, come Friday, my last day. They assure me they will. Even if not, I'm sure they can raise it before I leave Korea (tuition from the parents will start coming in at the beginning of August), but I don't want to be stressing about it while I'm supposed to be enjoying myself touring around Korea with my sister.

Hopefully things will be smooth sailing from here and I'll be back in Canada, safe and sound, with all the money owed me, on August 12th. At that point, I'll remain jobless for at least two months, because I need it, and because I want to work on my writing. The current plan is to go to Ryerson University and study journalism eventually. They have a special program for people who already have other degrees, like my BScH in Astrophysics.

And so concludes what may be my very last daylog written in Korea. If I get a chance to, I may write one more at some point during my sister's stay, and let her add her take on things. If not, I'd like to take this chance to earnestly thank everyone who reads about my experiences, and particularly the ones who have /msg'd me to tell me tha they enjoy them. South Korea has had its ups and downs for me, but it's been an experience the whole time, and even the worst moments are worth it for the stories that they allow me to tell, as long as I have an audience. Thank you all, along with my friends and family who read my emails, for being that audience. I hope it doesn't end here. Back in Canada, or wherever I end up later, I will continue to write daylogs, and even if the setting is not as exotic as it has been, I hope I continue to have adventures worth reading about.

See you back in Canada.

I wasn't expecting him, and I asked if he hadn't gone off on vacation.

"Something urgent happened, so I couldn't." He grinned.

In the middle of a game of squash, my teacher had to run off to get a phone call. When he came back he was even more jollier and more bouncy than before. 9-2, 9,4 and he exited the court with a short, "good game!" behind smiling glasses and a wide smile. He's one of those people whose outward happiness varies by the inverse square of his inner turmoil. After we shook hands, I noticed the unsmiling, stoic faces of everyone else around us. A 'stuck' face, they call it. He left shortly after five.


Nobody fully notices breaking glass, especially if it isn't theirs. In restaurants, you can occasionally hear the shattering of a cup that slipped or a unbalanced plate that fell, coming from the loosely closed doors of the kitchen. If you happen to be lucky enough not to be caught in the instinct to look, you can see dozens of heads swivel in unison towards the source of the sound. Its as if someone dangled a fresh fish in front of a group of cats and meowed. Everyone watches. Personally, I find the instant to be infinitely comic. If you're lucky enough, you can even catch the expressions on faces. Shocked ones, droopy-eyed ones, mouths half closed over a fork, waiters serving food, cashiers giving out devilishly uneven change after an 0.05% sales tax. An instant lull in conversation. Its as if someone cut the film and replaced it with a one-second shot of everyone looking sideways. No one talks about breaking glass. NO ONE. A passing comment or joke suffices, and then everyone returns to the previous topic.


I remember an comic explaning the phrase, 'mixed feelings'. It showed a boy wavering between two tubs of strawberry ice-cream and banana ice-cream. What if your flavor is strawberry-banana? This all seems like a giant drain, in tornadic swirls that make loud sucking noises. Counterclockwise, is it? Nowhere but downwards. Inwards.

Flush.

Just when I think I have this whole “parenting” gig figured out, along comes a little incident that makes me glad that I don’t.

About a week or so ago my little one was off to spend a week away at a sleep away camp with some of her friends and members of her brownie troop. She was kinda nervous because she was going to be gone for a “whole” week and I imagine that the prospect of meeting new people in new surroundings might be a little “scary” for an eight year old. Both me and her mom did our best to reassure that things were going to be ok but even though she put on a brave face, we could still tell that she was nervous about the whole event. She promised she would write us a postcard.

Now, I don’t know about you folks out there but when I get an image of what a sleep away camp is and what they do there, my mind creates a certain picture. Said picture would consist of things such as swimming, horse back riding, canoeing, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires, s’mores, roasting marshmallows, counselors, games, food, other kids, and so on and on.

I got home from work yesterday and lo and behold, there was indeed a post card addressed from someplace called Camp Willyloma. At first a smile crossed my face because the first thought that crossed my mine was that she had fulfilled her promise. I turned the card over and expected to read about any of the subjects that I’ve previously mentioned or something related. Any even bigger smile crossed my face when I turned the card over and saw the scrawl of an eight year old that simply read….

Dear Dad,

Camp great! I keep on dreaming that a possessed apple is chasing me! I’m having a great time!

Love,

Anna T.

Huh? I’m not much into dream interpretation or anything like that but I can’t for the life of me fathom what the heck this was supposed to mean. I’ll leave that kinda stuff to the “experts” in that field. In the meantime, I pick her up today and she’s with me through Sunday so I’m sure there will be much to discuss about the more traditional goings on at camp. I’m sure at some point we’ll get to the dream…

I wonder what the hell she sent her mother?

OK, task update-if you want to recheck the task list, please go here.

I have decided to drop the GNOME requirement from the "build-your-own-distro" task. For starters, I hate GNOME and I'm the only person who uses Linux in this house. So, in that case, I have finished the Linux task-scanning involved a kernel upgrade, and those wonderful people at the Linux Printing website had a package which FINALLY made my printer (a Lexmark Z13) work. I've also decided to drop the requirement for staying up to 24hrs rather than 48. 24 is hard enough, 48 would probably kill me.

Scoreboard

Total no. of points attainable: 47
Must attain to pass: 39
Days to complete tasks: 40
Number of points already got: 15
Percent of points got: 30%

If you want to set me a task, /msg me. I'll accept a lot of things!

A day in the life of the All-Seeing Eye,

Or

Too much pop culture will rot your brain.


Act 1, Scene 1
Not Venice. A bed.

Enter ASE, Joker the Kitten, Alarm Clock

Alarm Clock: 5:34, the time the first infinitesimal ray of light crests the curve of the earth behind drawn blinds and thick dark blue floor length curtains in my part of the world.

Joker, tiny beast forged in the bowels of Hell and shipped in an ebony crate made of the bones of madmen to the local pet store, awakes. The sleeping ape who feeds him must pay.

ASE: "Zzzzzzz".

Joker: Brrrt. Meeeyou. Brrrrrrrt. Purrr. Snikt*. SHRED SHRED SHRED! - *tiny noise made by 20 little razors popping up.

ASE: "What the!" - It sounds like the bed is being feed into a shredder inches from my head. Diagnosis: Kitty.

A Benny Hill-esque chase ensues. Kitty is captured, but struggles like an escaped Nazi war criminal. His reward? Locked out of the room... at least that was the plan...

ASE: "HA! Now to close the door and squeeze a few more precious moments of sleep out of the morning".

Door: Thump. Thump. Thump. - the door won't click shut.

ASE: "Grrr!"

Door: THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! - no click for you.

ASE: "Aw screw it." - Back to bed.

Seconds later:

Enter Joker the kitten.

Joker: PUURRRRRRRR.

Exeunt Joker and ASE to Dreamland.

Alarm clock: Click! "This is CBC Radio One News. The time is now 7:00. Today in ....Zzzzt" - Snooze is pressed in a forceful manner.

ASE: "Zzzzzzz"

Alarm clock: 7:24

Alarm clock: 7:36

Alarm clock: 7:58

Joker: Meow?

ASE: "AH CRAP!"

Late for work, but luckily nobody is in the office to notice. I work work work till lunch, after posting a node on my morning break. I ask my coworkers if their animals are sunlight activated. The conversation strays into the weird little subgutteral noises that Joker makes. My fiancee calls it "Marge-ing out", ala Marge Simpson. When he is frustrated or mad, he'll gurgle at whatever is ticking him off. Seems to be a particular oddity in my cat alone.

Ah Lunch, greatest of the daily meals. Breakfast and I had a falling out many years ago and we rarely talk anymore. Down to the little food court and back in record time. Caesar salad demands the consumption of Clorets. Clorets precludes the consumption of Coke. Drink Coke anyway. Minty yet disgusting.

Work Work Work. Pop the catbox open and watch the fun. Think of what spend my retroactive paycheck on, thank you Union. Shop for computer parts. Wonder why Roninspoon hasn't been on Star Wars Galaxies much often. Conclude that he must have a life. Day dream.

Back on the bus with the horrors of 1666 London to keep me entertained. Enraptured, almost miss my stop 45 minutes later. Try reading while walking home. Stop. Tie shoe. Survey my front lawn from the street. It is decidedly a different shade of green than that of my neighbors. A more olive drab to his forest green. Plan to call Weedman tomorrow.

Mmmm. Barbecued porkchops. Mmmm. Cauliflower and cheese sauce fresh from Green Giant. Ahhh, the finest milk the grocery store has to offer. Watch "The Young and the Restless", feigning disinterest. Mmmm, soap opera vixens. Make "Dun dun duunnnnnnn" cliffhanger noise at show's end to fiancee's amusement. Clean the kitchen. Change out of work clothes. To the garage!

Ah, a man's domain. The black monolith of my latest project sits in the middle of the floor freshly painted. A MAME cabinet, cabaret size, lovingly restored and adapted from an abused old video poker machine. I begin sanding a few salvaged bits of hardware, wire up the marquee lighting fixture and screw kick plates and speaker covers on. It is nearing completion and it looks bad-ass. A few minutes with a power sander, a few zips with the power drill and a bit of mopping up. Till tomorrow.

Test the jury-rigged controls upstairs on the spare computer. Add a few layers of paint on some miniature projects, and toss back another Coke. Retreat to the basement. Try for 45 minutes to beat the Water boss in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for my fiancee on the PS2. Quit unsuccessful, foiled by a jumping puzzle. Fire up Star Wars Galaxies. Take the shuttle from Bestine to Mos Espa and hike to Fort Tusken. Log out. Watch the Fear Factor with Miss USA contestants on it. Wonder why I bother with TV anymore. Surf surf surf. Play with the cat. Wonder why it is so quiet. Notice it is midnight. To bed, perchance to dream.
Just like Red Warrior, Idi Amin's life force is running out. No matter how much food he eats he will still die, having not seen any of the secret levels because he didn't save his super shots, he wasted them instead. Pol Pot and the Duvaliers are off the scene and the hardcore 70s generation of literally insane murderous dictators have passed, to be replaced by a wave of slightly-more-sane dictators, and undirected mass murder of the kind that came about in Kosovo and Rwanda and the like, either produced by collective madness or by a lot of little big men. Is this progress? The motion of power from individuals to the state to non-state groups has made evil less accountable, harder to target, easier to spread, albeit not so ferociously.

And Kurds, they come to mind, because I'm typing the appeal of a Kurdish man. I remember when 'Three Kings' came out, it was trendy to complain about the plight of the Kurds in Iraq, because Papa Bush had led them on and stood them up, but what did the complainers propose to be done, and where are they now that Baby Bush has let the Kurds have their revenge? Did the moaners want to help the Kurds at all, or were they just exploiting other people's genuine misery to bolster their own self-image, their credentials as dissident activists? Having said that, I'm no different from the people I criticise - I don't care at all about the Kurds, I'm just using them myself as a way to anger and frustrate the Left - and it's a shame that this kind of self-awareness isn't present in most political commentaries on the internet, the ability to recognise that one is not necessarily right all the time. A man's gotta know his limitations and I know mine.

Liberia. I type a lot of cases from Liberia. I have written about the place before in my daylogs, even before it was in the news due to the current phase of bloodletting. My conclusion was that the international community should try to make things worse there, so that eventually the few survivors would be sick of war - the 'Brewster's Millions' solution. It is as good a solution as any. As I have said, people want America to act, and they do not want America to act, in the same thought, and if America had any sense it would clap its hands over its ears and refuse to listen, lest we drive it mad, like the shapeshifter from Ray Bradbury's 'The Martian Chronicles' that was driven mad by too many people wanting it to look like their heart's desire.

I believe that America should require that each citizen of the nations they - and thus 'we', because we are all American - invade or plan to invade signs a contract stating either (a) "I am an implacable enemy of America and will not complain if I am shot" or (b) "I want the Americans to help me. I will not change my mind and attack the Americans once they are here. If they then leave, I will not ask nor expect for them to come back again". This would solve a lot of problems. It seems to me that once America sends lots of troops to Liberia people and the BBC will immediately want them to leave again. Perhaps America should station troops half-in, half-out of the country. They should do the hokey-cokey and then turn around (but not before giving the country a hug and saying something to fill the period between coitus and sleep, e.g. "Crow is the death of the fish" or "I thought 'Thunderball' was better than 'Goldfinger'") because that quite literally is what it is all about.

Also, America should send troops to Mary Archer, to protect her from Jeffrey Archer. They could strike up base camp in her fragrant cleavage and send patrols over her shoulders. If a man was miniaturised to the size of an Action Man figure he could be used as a dildo, although he'd have to wear an aqualung and a rubber suit so as not to be suffocated or absorbed. I think North America on the map looks like a ghost, a spirit raising up from South America like a big wisp. It would be the ultimate Freudian metaphor, the man-dildo, the mando, short of perhaps a woman managing to insert her own frickin' head up her fanny and suffocating at the point of orgasm, thus completing the lesbian/masturbation/birth/death/penetration continuum.

Whether or not the United States' State Department reads Everything2 or not - I surely hope so, because I know for a fact that I have to be stopped, and soon - it would appear that America's plan for invading Liberia is greatly inferior to my own. Instead of sending in a WW2-surplus aircraft carrier, a Sea Fury, and twenty or so programmers, they have instead send in 71 Marines, who I assume are under strict instructions not to leave their embassy, because no matter how well-trained and equipped they are, a random bullet or rocket grenade could make that 70 Marines or 65 Marines and eventually no Marines.

I am mindful of 'Aliens', which also had US Marines, although fewer in number, and they all came to sticky ends (Hicks and Bishop, of course, were killed in 'Alien3', the one with superscript in the title). Although, having said that, Vasquez and Gorman did not meet 'sticky ends', they had heroic, self-sacrificing ends - in Gorman's case, a redemptive end - and we never really saw what happened to Hudson, he was just dragged away. It must be tempting for comics writers to create a sequel based on the possibility that Hudson managed to survive the alien assault and also the blast, because he was a memorable character. Indeed, most of the marines were memorable characters, even the boring ones, the Wierzbowskis, the lady pilot, Ferro? Dietrich? Frost? Poole? Kaminsky? Hunter? There used to be a website called 'The Wierzbowski Hunters' which compiled sightings of this most mundane of Marines - he was blown up in an ammunition explosion - but it is long gone now, shame.

If I was going to war I'd want to watch 'Aliens', even though the Marines get killed. I'd want to live in a world where there is an enemy that can't be negotiated with and can be killed without a second thought. Why can't we live in that world? All it would require is willpower, the will to believe that our enemies are subhuman, but not subhuman in the same way as dolphins or meerkats, but submammal, even worse than insects, or lizards, or snakes, like viruses, irredeemable. This must be the wet dream of governments, to virus-ise the forces acting against them.

Also, if Devil Child Bush could persuade North Korea to declare war on Liberia and Iran, that would kill threes birds with one stone and would be fucktastic. He could phone up Kim Jong Il and tell him that Charles Taylor has been saying bad things about him to whoever is in charge of Iran. They could nuke the site from orbit.

~

I found a copy of 'The Sun' on the train into work (it was lying there, on the Metropolitan Line, northbound out of Wembley Park, heading for Watford although I changed at Harrow on the Hill for Uxbridge, by which time I had finished the paper, although I was actually going to Raynor's Lane, and not Uxbridge, although Uxbridge is very nice and posh and I would like to go there, but no matter how long I spend in that town I will never own it, which is why I never go on holiday). The Sun was the defining British tabloid newspaper of the 1970s and 1980s, perhaps the finest example of its ilk, and was a work of evil genius, hated by many but nonetheless more popular than its competitors, a position it retains to this day although the Daily Mail is increasingly seen as the modern tabloid successor to the Sun because it has a slightly smaller print size than the Sun and is thus aimed at a more middle-class audience.

Yeah, I read (i.e. past tense) the Sun (just this once). Big deal. I knocked them dead because I'm the king and my imbalance was minimised. Everybody's thought about reading the Sun. It seems that society is hipper to it now, but that might be because I'm older, and I've seen more things, scary things, things that would make a white man transparent. The substance of the newspaper - zany stories about taxi drivers having dolphins fall out of the sky into their taxis - have been greatly surpassed by the Onion, the Weekly World News and the like, whilst the news reporting has self-consciously adopted a much more liberal, tolerant tone than before, which is probably why the Daily Mail is so popular. Liberia, for example, had a little block on page 2, whereas in 1984 the troubles in Beirut or Angola, for example, would have not even been in the paper.

My thoughts on the newspaper are that Page 3 has improved immeasurably. It used to be bleak as hell, absolutely drained of everything human - no offence to the models involved, but the glaring photography and blank smiles just seemed off-putting and robotic, I assume it was deliberate - but now it is at the level of, say, Maxim or FHM or the like. Staring for five or six minutes at the semi-naked lady whilst on the train has no effect on my cock whatsoever but it brings me peace. I find that looking at pictures of attractive women has a tranquilising effect. Presumably if I actually was a woman I'd be in a coma all the time, like the captain in 'Dark Star'. Flo-til-la, light of my life, fire of my loins.

The newspaper itself thrashes the Daily Mirror, and also the drums, and I saw a couple of other people on the tube also reading the Sun, and I am mindful of all those people who said that e-Books were going to hit big in 1999, because if they had, people would not read newspapers, and all those people were wrong, those big clever people in their suits and ties, they were wrong, and they are wrong now, and they will be wrong, because they want to believe and make us believe that what they are doing is and will be right even if they and we know that it is not.

All there is are sandwiches and apple juice. The rest is speculation and hearsay.

Well then, this is my first ever E2 writeup. I've been along this site for a few days now, and I think I'm slowly getting used to the workings. And I must say, this site is quite unlike anything else I've ever seen. What do I think? Good or bad? I'll soon decide after my first few attempts at posting a writeup in a non-daylog situation. But I think I'll leave that for another day.

But amung my "Internet life", there are a lot of things that have been on my mind lately. For one, my best friend has been in California and various other places the last three weeks, doing some touring, and I'm eagerly awaiting his long awaited return. I wouldn't normally miss a friend like this, because that's just the way I am, but he's been a good friend the last couple of months; there's just no way I feel like I could repay him for it, and I probably take for granted everything he's done for me.

As well as he being gone, a lot of my other friends have left for vacation as well. Not surprising, summer here in Southern Ontario isn't the most exciting way to spend your time. Even if just leaving up to the cottage for a few days, it's still a good process of getting away from the daily routine of bordem. Of course, while all my friends are out having a good time, I'm stuck at home with my MP3 collection floating around my Winamp playlist and programming books scattered across the floor of my sty vaguely known in my household as the "computer room".

And don't forget, where there's bordem there's likely to be a struggle for finding that special something to keep yourself occupied. Recalling last summer, I wished this summer I had a bright and hopeful idea of at least a productive way to use the computer. I took up programming, lots of it. And now I want to, sadly, relive those moments of concise joy and a strict definition of accomplishment. If you think you've experienced ultimate frustration and annoyance, you obviously haven't lived the day dedicated strictly trying to find an original idea for a website project or other form of programming. And it's hard for me too so much emphasize the need for originality: every idea is taken, especially in the world of web projects. Places to post art. Programming tutorial websites. Lyrics websites. Everything. It's all taken. Not a single original idea left for me. Ah well... I'll just do another public blog. Heh.

Something has to change. Undeniable dilemma. Boredom's not a burden anyone should bear. - "Stinkfist" by Tool

This is an obituary for my cat, Ivan. He was ten.

Ten years ago my fiancee called me and told me I had to come to our cat groomer's business and see these kittens. I was skeptical because we already had three cats, but Katy persuaded me I would like them because they were long-hairs. (Though I have never had one, I have always thought the Persian-Siamese cross known as "Himalyan" is the most beautiful breed of domestic cat.) Sure enough, there were four (4) very cute boys, who I dubbed the Brothers Karamazov. Two of them had identical markings except different colors: "Alexey" was black and white and "Ivan" was gray and white.

I insisted upon getting both Ivan and Alexey. They were our "wedding kittens" (we were married July 16, 1993) and the two of them were truly delightful. I loved holding Ivan on my lap. He would butt his forehead against my arm until he had hidden his face in my armpit, then fall asleep, with me stroking his long, gray and white fur. He comforted me this way many times in the past ten years.

When we moved out of our tiny apartment on the University campus, out to a big house in semi-rural outskirts of Albuquerque, we thought we could safely let our cats roam free. We were wrong. Alexey simply disappeared. Perhaps dogs or coyotes got him: I don't really know.

A few years later, Ivan almost got killed by dogs. About five years ago my wife lost her favorite cat to a dog attack, right in front of her. Shortly after this occurred I heard some yapping outside and ran out to investigate. I was not going to lose any more cats to dogs. In my haste, I didn't bother to put on clothes or shoes, but I did grab a stick we used to secure our patio doors. We live on a desert mesa, and out in the clumps of dry grasses and weeds, Ivan was being attacked by a couple of pit bulls. One of them had my fluffy gray and white cat by the tail. They took off like a shot when they saw me coming. I guess they sensed my murderous intent. After I made sure Ivan was alive (he lost the white tip of his tail, but otherwise came out unscathed) I realized I was naked, out in the middle of the field of prickly weeds with no shoes. Ooo. Ow. Ooo. Ow.

For years, Ivan has been my companion. Up to now, the writeups on E2 posted by me were almost all written with Ivan lying on my desk next to the computer. When he wanted to irritate me he would lie there with his butt facing me and flick his tail over my mouse: the one thing I will not miss about Ivan.

In the past few months he has seemed particularly affectionate, crawling in my lap almost every night, like he used to when he was a kitten. In retrospect, it was probably because he was feeling sick and needed comfort. Cats, however, are rather stoic when it comes to illness. By the time they let you know they are sick, they are often passed the point where you can do anything about it. Then , however, it suddenly became apparent that Ivan was greviously ill. He would not sit in my lap, and gave up his precious spot on my desk. (This was a serious sign: there are five other cats in the house and they are extremely territorial). He suddenly lost weight, and finally stopped eating altogether. The vet couldn't come up with a firm diagnosis, but all the possibilities were likely to be fatal. When we finally decided it was time, and took him in to be euthanized, he was very close to death and only need the slightest encouragement: his heart stopped only seconds after receving the shot. Even in death, however, he was able to comfort me in the way he always had, by stroking his beautiful, long, gray and white fur as I carried him home to be buried.

I thought maybe now that I have children, a pet's death would not affect me as much, but it still hurts. While our cats are no longer a pathetic substitute for a childless couple to dote on, they are still our close friends. Ivan in particular was my friend, and I will miss him.

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