5:15 AM, Route 106/107, Jericho, NY.

Asshole Nassau County Police Officer: License and registration, please.
RimRod: I haven't received my registration card for this car yet; I just bought it three days ago.  I have my driver's license and temporary insurance card.
Officer: Okay.  I'll be right back.

The officer goes to his car and looks up my info, then walks back to my car.

Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over?
RimRod: Actually, no I don't.  I don't think I was speeding.
Officer: You weren't...but I saw you take a sip out of your beer while you were driving.
RimRod: WHAT?!  Oh...you must mean this bottle of water I was drinking from.
Officer: Let me see that.

The officer takes my bottled water and sniffs it, seeing that it is in fact just plain old water.

Officer: Hrumph.  Have you been drinking tonight?
RimRod: No.
Officer: Will you consent to a search of your car?
RimRod: Knock yourself out.

Officer Dickwad spends five minutes searching my vehicle.

Officer: Hrumph.  Would you mind stepping out of the vehicle?
RimRod: Okay.

I get out of my car and prepare for the Field Sobriety Test.

Officer: Walk along this straight line.
RimRod: Okay.

I walk straight.

Officer: Switch off touching each of your index fingers to your nose.
RimRod: Okay.

I touch my fingers to my nose.

Officer: Say the alphabet backwards.
RimRod: ZYXWVUTSRQP...O...look, I'm sober and I can barely do this.  I'm not drunk, okay?!
Officer: Hrumph.  Will you consent to taking a breathalyzer?
RimRod: Sure, why not.

I walk to the trunk of the officer's car and blow in the thin plastic tube of the breathalyzer.  The machine dutifully informs me that I have a 0.00 Blood Alcohol Level.

Officer: Hrumph.  I guess you can go.

I had noded here an odd free-verse poem that I had written and amended over about a one year period. The poem was just one of those cliche "I loved her and she didn't love me" groaners that just seem so immature and adolescent to me now. Someday in the far future maybe I'll dig it back up from my dusty archives and groan once more at the pathetic hormone-induced drivel that somehow passed for poetry.

Today, I was angry at the world. Many annoyed me, many pissed me off. Yet, I controlled my wrath.

It spawned a poem:

"An Anger Withheld"

Holding back anger
Fearing it will hurt those I love
Fearing it can't begin to touch those I hate

Holding it at bay for too long--
Letting it wrap itself around me,
Wishing to someday release it
Onto the world

I'm not all too sure if this poem is good... but the fact is that it gets the point across.

I've been feeling this way for way too long.

Driving to work this morning, I was struck with a blinding revelation. I need a pair of sunglasses. It was, almost literally, a blinding flash of insight, as the sun was shining directly into my eyes, travelling at 100kph, in peak hour traffic. It's kinda ironic that in summer, I could live without them, but now winter's here, and the sun is lower in the morning, they've become necessary. Actually, it's becoming dangerous not to have them.

So, come lunchtime, I took a walk into the city, my mission clear in my mind. Find a decent pair of sunglasses, not too expensive, but no cheap rubbish. Why I insist on spending a reasonable amount on sunglasses is beyond me - I've lost at least three pairs before, and what with Australian Standards relating to the things, even the cheapest ones must meet a minimum safety and lens quality level. Call me a slave to fashion.

As I get closer, I remember why I hate sunglass shopping so much. Spending money's one of the reasons I've been sunglassless for so long, but the other big reason is that you must endure the whole sunglass buying experience. And of all the shopping experiences, this is just about my most hated. I have trouble choosing sunglasses at the best of times - finding a pair that look half decent, and don't cost the earth, has never been easy. I don't know - maybe I don't have a head that suits most sunglasses, or perhaps I'm just extremely picky. Probably a bit of both. However the thing that I truly hate, is the ordeal of just getting your hands on a pair to try on.

Firstly, you get to look at them, folded up, on the other side of a locked glass wall. If you want to try a pair on, you have to ask someone to open the glass. Immediately, it feels like you owe the people in the store something, by making them do something to allow you to get your dirty mitts on a pair of the things.

Then, you're most likely not allowed to try them on in peace and quiet. The assistant will be standing, watching you, making sure you put them back where you found them. If you're at all self conscious about people watching you when you shop - like I am - then this is torture. I can't look at something like sunglasses, and pick the ones that will look good. I can pick the ones that will look really bad, or just the styles that I don't like, but so many times I pick up a pair that I think may look good, then wonder just what I was thinking once I see myself in the mirror. And all the time, I'm being watched...

The other thing, is the prices. I believe that people who are trained to work in these shops undergo extensive training in price tag camouflage. It's just about impossible to see a price from the other side of the glass - the only way to tell, is picking them up, and examining the tag.

So, I'm remembering all of this as I walk into the shops, and the sense of dread is growing. So I decided to take my own little stand on the matter. Before I buy a pair of sunglasses this time around, the store must break from the mould, and not make the whole experience so irritating and painful. With this in mind, my quest begins.

The first store, is the Sunglass Hut. It's one of these kiosk style shops, the stock under glass in a bench type arrangement. I wander up to the bench, and the attendant is there in a flash. I tell him I just want to have a look - of course, it's practically impossible for him to leave me alone while I just have a casual look. I quickly glance at them, and then the major drawback of this place becomes apparent - not a single price tag is visible. Every single pair of sunglasses has been carefully arranged, so that the tags face the bottom of the bench. The only possible way you can tell, is to ask to try them on. And in this arrangement, the attendant has to pick out every single pair that you want to try on. I keep walking.

The second store is Grace Bros., a kinda middle of the road department store. After a bit of a search, I find their sunglasses. Anything half decent is behind glass yet again, but at least having a door opened will allow me to try on a few different pairs. So I find someone who works there, and get her to open the glass for me. She does this happily....and then just stands there. Like a statue behind me, hands behind her back, and she watches me. Every. Single. Second. It's unnerving - I wonder if she even blinks. Again, I say thanks, and continue on my way.

My visit to The Sportsmans Warehouse is brief. I find their small sunglass selection - they have Nike, Nike and Nike. While I don't have any major problems with their gear, I like a bit of variety, and choice. And I'm not a big fan of their sunglasses - it seems like they have one idea regarding how sunglasses look, and then slightly modify that idea a dozen or so times. So I'm out of there pretty quickly.

The last place I had time to visit today was OPSM, an optometrists shop. Again, the sunglasses are behind glass, but they're on those rotating stands, that you can control from outside the glass. I like this - it doesn't really matter what direction the tag's facing, you can rotate it to get a look. The attendant comes on over, and asks me if I want a look. I've been here with a friend before, and I know the way they operate. If I want a look, he'll unlock the cabinet, then leave me alone, to browse as I desire. He'll be at the counter, making sure everything's put back again, but he won't be breathing down my neck. This is a wonderful thing, but for one little detail. Their range sucks! They've got not much of anything really. It's not worth even getting the cabinet opened.

This is all the time I have to look today, it's time to return to work. However the quest will continue - I am determined to find a place where I can buy a pair of sunglasses with dignity, and comfort, and I will not make a purchase anywhere that doesn't fit. Damn it, I won't make a difference, but I can at the least know that my money's going to one of the good guys. Hopefully it'll be soon though....because damn that morning sun's bright...


I realise that theft is a real problem for shops selling things like sunglasses, watches etc..small, easily put in a pocket, valuable. So I understand that keeping an eye on people's an economic reality, that won't change any time soon. However, I think you can keep your stock safe, and still give the customers space to decide on their own. At least, I hope somewhere still believes this.

She.

Friendship never mattered to me. Regardless of the situations, I was always to be at a loss. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, things would never work right. She went her own way, away from the emotions and the bloody red heart I offered to her.

It hurt, but what else could I do? When you lay yourself on the line, and place everything that seems right on the winds of emotion, you have insurmountable odds against you. One strong breeze can either uplift you into a cloud of wonder, or whip you down into the depths of lonesome nights and empty coffee cups.

She gave me more than anyone ever has, and we were never even a part of each other. I believed we would finish our days together; we would die old and grey, yet the life left in our bodies preserved us just long enough to get the other a glass of orange juice, or pull the other up from their chair and dance one last time, waltzing to a tune from years past, remembering what we had then and what we have now.

Dreams come and go as we sleep, but losing the dreams that define us as people is one of the hardest things to accept. Every breath I take is a little more meaningless; every scent that rouses me does so a little less. My senses are dulled, my apathy increases, and my outlook on the future becomes more bleak and foreboding.

She. She was all I ever needed. And now she is gone.

I am a ridiculous person.

Allow me to back that claim up. Tonight I spent about an hour trying to decipher an email from Teruaki (my boyfriend who writes and speaks Japanese only) and then send him one in return. The deal is our birthdays occur in the same weekend, and that weekend is just two weeks from now. But he lives down near Nagoya and I live up here by Mount Fuji. Add to that the fact that he is in the Jieitai, or Japan Self-Defense Force (essentially, the Japanese army), and has to be back in his barracks every night, and arranging a meeting has been difficult. But we finally reached an agreement. We haven`t seen each other since Golden Week in early May, so I was willing to settle for nearly any plan that would bring us within sight of each other. I will go to Aichi prefecture on June 15, and we will meet on June 15 and 16 and celebrate our birthdays. He will have to return to his barracks to sleep, but during the day we can do the other things couples do. I feel this sudden relief.

But, and this is where the ridiculous part comes in, I may not even be in the country in two weeks. My tourist visa expires tomorrow, and my work visa is still not processed. I have the receipt saying they are processing my application, and I know other gaijin who have stayed in Japan with just that receipt. But I don`t know for sure that I can. I don`t know when the work visa will come. I don`t know why it has taken so long. I don`t know what I will do tomorrow. And the worst part of it is, my boss doesn`t know anything either.

So I have been considering my options. I could pack up and fly to Amsterdam or Slovenia, where I have friends who would take me in. I could stay here illegally and work, say, as a bar hostess. I could backpack across Asia with a durian. Any of these seems as likely as the others.

But of course, what I hope is that I will call the immigration office in Tokyo and get a person who speaks English on the line, and they will tell me that, indeed, my receipt is enough for me to stay legally in the country until the actual visa is processed.

Whatever happens, I am totally going to Nagoya for my birthday.

Ridiculous.

I have these neighbors who don't take very good care of their in-ground pool. Because of the fact that they don't ever take the pool cover off and they let it fill with leaves and bugs, their back yard provides an excellent habitat for frogs.

It's not that I'm against frogs. I like them, generally, unless they're on the dissection table. But lately my capacity for interspecies benevolence has been seriously tested. A huge colony of frogs moved into the unused pool in mid-May, and every night since then, they've been serenading me with a not-so-subtle ostinato of twangs, chirps, clicks, bleats (I never knew that frogs could bleat) and even the occasional "ribbit." It really began to interfere with my regular sleep pattern after a while.

But no longer. The pool has now degenerated into such a deplorable state as to make it the perfect home for waterfowl. Last Thursday, a little brown duck flew in and made a nest. That night, the amphibian chorus was noticeably quieter. By last night, the only sound in the darkness was that of trucks on the highway. Sigh... all is well in suburbia once again.

(Apparently, ducks eat frogs.)

Heh. I hate having my home node display a Daylog as my last written node. Good incentive for me to write something else today, but I doubt that I will get to it.

Everything is not a BBS is a big philosophy here. But, sometimes it is. I added a writeup to the Power Kill node, disputing what Erik Fish said. Two opposing viewpoints, a small discussion about them, both of which enhance the database by saying that there is indeed some disagreement as to what this "game" is all about. After that, I ended up in a conversation with Erik about the game. It turns out, we actually agree. We just presented our opinions on different aspects of the game. Both of us understand that the game's subject isn't to be taken literally. However, Erik thinks that some of the statements in the "game" could be harmful to the hobby. In particular, he quoted the "Is there not something wrong with a storytelling hobby that glorifies criminal behavior as the primary protagonistic component?" line which could be construed as damning the hobby to "Jane Doe, mother of four."

Truthfully, it might be. I don't think I'd introduce someone to the hobby with Power Kill. I believe that it's intended to be something you use to break up preconceived notions about your character as an established roleplayer. My mother, who was originally anti-RPG, had no lack of material to damn the game. So, one more bit of "bad press" about a game isn't making it worse. If she's looking for something bad about RPGs, though, she's not likely to pick up an RPG. So, there's little chance that my mom is going to run across "Power Kill." (she's more likely to run across Terror in the Toybox.) I've had this same debate with ardent gamers about exactly how damaging the movie Mazes and Monsters was to the hobby. I can watch that movie and see it as "pro-gaming." I might be high, but honestly, I saw a game with three "normal" players (each with their own problems, unrelated to gaming) showing concern for each other, enjoying a few hours of gaming a night, breaking a few laws unwisely (the no-tresspassing laws get broken by non-gamers too, and anyone watching that movie should have that perspective), and then having one of their close friends lose grip with reality. The movie then showed how they coped with their friends situation. It didn't seem that gaming caused Tom Hank's character's unhinging, just that he was unhinged and that he lost sight of reality when immersed in fantasy. Gaming isn't the only thing fantastical in life: Heck, movies are another case where you immerse yourself in fiction. Or video games. I find it simple as heck to explain Dungeons and Dragons to preteens. They understand the concept of playing a character, you only have to explain to them that they don't control the entire scenario, just their character.

So, it was good to have that conversation with Erik. I enjoyed it, which makes me think that E2 is a Wonderful Thing. And I got to state my opinion, which is great because I love to talk / write. And I ended up emailing John Tynes to see what he had to say about our discussion about his game. "What did you mean?" I mean, I am just excited at the possibility that he might reply. I'd love to get back a response from a game designer. I once got a reply from John Wick (L5R, I've talked to Mike Mulvihill (Shadowrun), frequently get replies back from Steve Jackson (GURPS), and every one of them is saved in my Geek Fun folder. These people are some of my idols. I know they're fallible, but they did something I have not yet been able to do: They published a game. And they have a reason to email me back occasionally, due to E2. (I get official "advance copies" of the L5R fiction due to the fact that post it to this website. If it weren't downvoted to all heck and back, I'd keep posting them. But, Rich Wulf think that it's valuable to put up here. So, I might go back to it.)

Wishing for order!
I spent most of the day tracking down a fencepost error in my code, only to find out that somewhere down the line something (a telnet client) was inserting a LF (new line) character after every CR (enter). It was appearing that I was leaving a character in the buffer that my code should be eating, but it turned out that i was just sending out of spec. data.

That is one of my biggest pet peeves in terms of programming. Little inconsistancies where half of the time it's done one way, and half of the time it's done the other. My other pet peeve is time zones and daylight savings time. If I had my way everybody everywhere would set their clocks to UTC, and be done with it. I would just have to get used to the fact that it's four (or five) hours different from "traditional" time. Then there would be no more stupid errors in databases everywhere causing general mayhem twice a year. All time based things could be simplified immensely.

Our human way of accounting for time is entirely arbitrary and artificial anyway, so we might as well make it regular and machine friendly seeing as we rely on machines to deal with it for the most part. It would save us time and hassle in the end. Fools, all of them!

Today I finally got an appointment to se a therapist. I’ve been thing I needed to for a long time. I don’t feel sane—and I don’t mean that in a cute way. I feel like I have no control over my actions. Fortunately I don’t seem to be terribly destructive. I write a lot or draw—I know I should try to go out and meet people, but I feel so distant from that. Everything in my apartment must be in just the right place or I feel like my life is spinning out of control. When people talk to me all I want to do is run away or scream. I spend hours doing things I later find odd and pointless. Like polishing all of the pennies in the penny jar so they are all perfectly shiny. I think “that was a huge waste of time why did I do that?” But, I have no answer. Sometimes I feel very alone. So, I wish I could talk to someone. But, I feel like I could not explain the way I see the world to people. So I stay on my own. I can still go to work and get the rent paid. But, I have stopped moving forward. I’m not planning for grad school or trying to do better. I have no friends and I have no way to make any. This used to bother me but something has changed.

And at last I don’t care! That scarces me. I feel like I’m packing up my bags so I can go for good. Every day I think “this is the last time I will ride this train.” “This is the last time I will buy some luckies.” Of course it’s not—but it feels so nice to think it is.

I was lying in bed last night and I began to think about suicide (not that uncommon for me, I’ve been morbid for years, it’s not so bad really) but this time it was different. Mostly I wish I could die out of childish desperation. “I’d rather be dead than put up with this life anymore!” This never scares me because I know that the misery is temporary and so I just wait it out. I even laugh a lot because I find the whole thing funny. “Susan?” I think, “You’re wanting to die? AGAIN?! Ha ha, Dumb Bitch!

But this time was different. For the first time ever it actually seemed like a good idea. Like it would solve things. Clearly, there was no way for me to ever be happy. So what was I bothering with living through all these days for? What am I waiting for? Where is the finish line? Nothing. Nowhere.

I waited for myself to find it funny again. But, I didn’t—in fact, I felt sort of peaceful since I knew that I could at least look forward to life being over at last. No more waking up. No more seeing objects. No more talking to people. No more thoughts. No more dreams. No more cars or buildings. No more light or darkness. No more anything. Not even me. Not even a trail of thought. It would end.

Well, I’m rational. I know I won’t always feel this way (most likely). I may even be happy someday. Who can tell! Life is pretty random. So it’s worth the risk of enduring life, for now. There is no heaven waiting for me. So I’d better see what I can do with earth: I give myself two years. If in two years time I’ve not found a way to be happy then I’ll find the exit to this world and not come back. I think that’s fair. If I can’t brighten up in two years I doubt I ever will—even with the chain smoking I’ll last another 30 at least… 30 years in hell? Or oblivion? You choose. Two years in exchange for a chance at feeling alive again? Well, I’ve been through 22 years of hell so what’s two more?

Let me make a note of the date so I can remember to reevaluate living when this time of year comes around again. “June 3 2002” so it’s “June 3, 2004” then. I feel confident that I can get it together by then. But one must have limits, you know?

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