Writers make choices. You've probably heard that a million times. As a writing tutor, I tell students that all the time. "You need to pick a thesis. You need to decide what to leave out here, and what to include. You need to refine your choice of topic, I think. You need to think about your audience here." Etc. etc. We all know very well from this.

I talk a good game. As it is, I'll be lucky if I can finish this day log. Last night, I started an e-mail in a text document (something I never do) that was verging on four single-spaced pages when I got done. I've been hammering away at the same short story for over a year now where I can't get past the exposition. I'm not really worried about any of this. I'm a busy kid, and I know I'll get it all out of my system sooner or later. It's the anxiety of audience that drives me up the walls these days; anonymous honesty has most likely already destroyed me, because it took me three years but I finally figured out that there really isn't any such thing, not around here, not anymore. And mind you, I like being known. I don't at all mind having friends who have access to such a wealth of information about me, and can still look me in the eye and say kind things - when they do say kind things, that is (and most of you do), I love it.

But those of us who've been around here any substantial length of time know that it gets a little messier. Two years ago I sat up night after night writing letters to an ex who wasn't speaking to me, letters I had no intention to send. Before I crawled out on the roof and burned them, I culled a few lines from that and other, similar letters (I really was a pretty sad teenager) and made a cut-up poem of them, which of course I posted here. E2 was pretty exciting to me at that time - because one of the worst side effects of a breakup is that you lose your venting buddy (uh, not that that's all they are to me; I'm in it for the sex too).

But E2 was waiting for me with a whole host of venting buddies, most of whom seemed a little more excited to hear what I had to say - and then somewhere along the line a lot of my venting buddies became my real buddies, and as many of us are now painfully aware, that's where things get messy. Cuz when you need to vent about your real buddies, where do you go? And when your friendships are founded on your graphophilic tendencies, what's to stop you from unleashing pages and pages of e-mailed drivel on people who won't deserve it? What's to stop you from writing angry day logs and homenode bios in second person? What's to stop you from telling everybody everything, even though they don't want to know? Conversely, what's to stop you from shutting up forever, when there is so much left to be said?

I've got diaries. I've got stacks of them; I'm a big believer in getting it all down, and keeping the worst of it to yourself. But supposing you want to share, how much do you share? How specific do you get before it gets indiscreet and uncool? How abstract do you get before you start causing gossip? And how and when on earth did you start caring whether you cause gossip on the Internet community?

Too many choices. What to say, and what not to say. These last couple of months, I have had so much to say and have been at a loss: who to talk to in the first place, what to include, what to leave out. How to be honest without being venomous. How to share without being scandalous. The list goes on. Too too too many choices. It's overwhelming.

The other thing I tell students all the time is that the way to learn to write is to do it. It's process. Everything is process. I'm process. I'll figure it out, and in the meantime, maybe I'll manage to get something finished, something said, get some choices made - the first of which is this daylog, a choice I deeply question. But it is a choice. Maybe it will lad to more productive ones. Maybe I'll actually get something done.

I was driving to TAFE this morning, with not much sleep. Anyways, I'm stopped at some traffic lights at Sutherland, and next to me this ute from Queensland starts creeping very close to the car in front of it.

You know, I hate it when trucks move intimidatingly close to the car in front. Of course, usually it is a bigger truck, but I still don't like it.

The ute kept creeping forward and bumped the car in front.

Oh, now that can't be good... Let's see how friendly they exchange details.

Instead, the ute driver gave the car in front the bird.

OK. I didn't expect that. But I guess there's no damage...

*BUMP*

Uh oh. Surely, there'll be some sort of serious road rage incident here.

The guy in the car (*BUMP*) showed little interest in the ute, and then I saw the pivotal point: the guy in the car was on his mobile.

*BUMP*

The phone-user raised his hand in question and anger. The ute driver responded: *BUMP*,*BUMP*

And so it went on, until the lights changed to green: bump, talk, bump, talk, talk, talk, bump, bump, talk, bump.

They drove off, and I waited to get the number plates (I'm a bit of a sticky beak). And do you know, the ute's number plate was: ###.EDB.


I hate stories with no end, but I'm afraid, I followed the two vehicles until they turned off into a public swimming pool parking lot. I suspect it got even more grumpy. Maybe the local newspaper will have more information on it. I'll get back to you.

    wow. where to begin...

sometimes things happen so fast it's hard to catch them before they fade

It was a strange day, long and slow and punctuated by excited gibbering about the upcoming vacation. Coming out of this last weekend my body was a wreck but my mind was surprisingly clear (due to the Great Mud-man Freakout Fest, which should be a node unto itself). The spattering rain outside promised a dreary walk home.
Donning my poncho, I ventured to the Lightrail. Seats were ample as I boarded, but were quickly filled with each progressing stop.

I got off the train singing. Rivers of Bablyon, i think it was. Guava Jelly came next, but this I repeated until past the inner harbor - voice cracking with the high, bellowing with the low, strangers passing by, wond'ring what I know.

Beads of water grew and bubbled down my glasses. Wet strands clung to my face. I looked up and saw a reflection of myself in the grey, looming clouds. "this has got to stop," I sighed.

Two blocks from home I come upon a place I pass every day, going to and from. I don't know if it was the weather, or if this had just been lurking in my subconcious, but today...today I turned and went through the door.

This fine establishment is the Tattoo Museum, home to some of Charm City's finest skin artists. I had already had this kind of planned out, but I wasn't sure I was going to do it. As I excitedly explained my idea, a strange look crawled over the employee's face, "You sure?!" YES "ok then..."


 _____ 
|_   _|
  |_|  

I now have my first marking. Located on my inside left wrist, it is not very noticable. Right now, I'm sure you're thinking I'm a little strange.
   Well, you're right.
   So what. We're all a little strange.

I forgot to mention that my friend Luke met me at the museum. He had been on his way to my place to meet up for tuesday night trivia, but luckily he called before he got there. He intercepted me at the museum and afterwards we made our way to the pub....


Oh yes, another thing I forgot to mention, while I was anxiously waiting for an available tattooist my phone rang. Rummaging through my back pack, I was sure it was Luke calling (he had not yet called at this point). I thought it was a little strange when his name didn't pop up on the lcd, but "eh" I said and answered anyway.

Hey tetrisboy, it's knile from e2."

      a moment of reflection

"Hey, whats up man?"   "Trivia tonight?"   "Sure...."


Stepping out of the car I notice a person talking on a cell phone. Glancing over as I step through the door, I hesitate...wait....double take.

"Knile...Neil...hi, it's tetrisboy."

I have finally met my first noder. Over a few rounds of inane questions, we shared a few drinks, swapped a few stories, discussed luring in other baltinoders... generally had a good time.

I was lucky that the crowd was good tonight, rambuctious and flavorful. I didn't want knile to leave with a bad impression of my local brew pub. we all got into it, razzing Trivia Master Adam, cheering for the two girls in a chug-off, and annihilating the best damn crab dip Fell's Point has to offer. At the end of the night, the fact we didn't win (or even come close) didn't seem to be of any significance.

We step back into the sultry night air, droplets pelting meekly at our clothes. He extends his hand,

"Great meeting you man."
   "You, too."
"See you next week?"
   "Yes. Definitely."

My roommate and I saunter home, absorbing the mist around us.

This is where I live, This is exactly how it feels...

"What happens is, you focus on what's happening here and now. You live in the moment and open your senses. You are aware of what’s around you. You evaluate what’s likely to happen next on a short term basis. Because of this, great conversations happen in lines at the airport, waiting for the shuttle, everywhere. "

Didn’t it seem surreal? I was asked when I returned. No, it didn’t. It seemed real. The gray cold fog and absolute quiet of the empty streets of my hometown seemed surreal, not the heightened sense of being vibrantly alive in a place you love.

We never know what's coming next. Most of the time, though, we don’t really know that we don’t know. In Israel you know that you don't know what’s next and that compels you to live in the present."

I ran into this on Richard Thieme's diary / blog on thiemeworks.com, I wish I could take credit for writing it,.

Posted with permission from Richard himself.

Today I wrote our CFO an email after having a discussion with him about our stock option plan. I had complained to him that I was SOL if a corporate transaction took place before the one-year anniversary of my employment. He agreed in our face to face meeting, but insisted (to my constant agreement) that it was a good plan. He kept saying that it was a standard sort of options plan and that technology companies everywhere did the same thing.

In my email, I explained that the corporation is an evolving structure and that one of its traits is the coersion of individuals into patterns of behavior that are good for the structure but not so much for the individual. The lack of a trigger in the options plan was my case in point. I proposed that employment agreements be affixed with a statement to the effect of "In order to make the company more attractive to potential buyers, stock options granted to employees hired less than one year before the transaction will vest only if the new owners want them to." I admitted that this would not be good for the company, but it would be good for the potential employee, and this contention highlights the point I was making.

A little while later, I was called into the vice president's office where I found the engineering lead for my team, the CFO, and the vice president. We discussed at length the possibility that my email contained some subtext about my dissatisfaction with management, while I continually assured them I had written everything I was thinking, and that Idid appreciate our management (it is a good bunch as far as I can tell). They seemed much more comfortable once I agreed that my email was "strictly in the realm of philosophy" and therefore had little to do with our present situation.

Anyway, I'd just like to write a small open letter to the jackass who started the trend of writing options plans without triggers:

Dear jackass,
You are a jackass.

Sincerely,
Some random employee


If you are ever in a position to take one of two jobs offered, consider asking if any options you are being offered will be useless to you in the event of a corporate transaction before your vesting cliff.

It's my 25th birthday today.

The feeling is somehow more significant than my 18th or my 21st. I don't know if it's the roundness of the quarter-century figure, or maybe my memory of past birthdays has faded. Whatever the reason, I feel more like an actual adult now than I ever did at any of the previous milestones.

How am I different from one year ago today? My personality has not changed, my hobbies and interests remain similiar, I am still haunted by the same unexplained difficulty in making consistent and direct progress towards my goals. My successes have slowed the process of growing up considerably, and that is not in my best interest. Change is motivated by necessity.

If maturity can be measured by self knowledge than I'm afraid I have a long path yet before me. If I've changed in the last year, it's a new-found determination to stop running, to turn and face my demons; to get to the bottom of my self. I have been to therapists before, but I think I subconsciously manipulate them to satisfy my own ego. My thinking is not obviously flawed, at least not in its outward manifestation. Rather I think I have deep ideas that could use some refinement. Ideas based on formative childhood experiences that do not satisfy my refined worldview, but are buried too deep for direct extrication. Is it futile? Perhaps damaged goods can only be replaced, and the older mind is indeed crusted over, indoctrinated into its own outdated thinking. Something inside me rejects this idea though there is evidence of its truth all around. Regardless, I have one question that I need to answer:

What parts of the self are its essence, and what parts are the result of experiences?

I realize the question is unanswerable by science. Communication itself is dependent on shared experience between people. The whole concept of humanity as expressed throughout history is merely layer upon layer of associations formed through sensory input. But, for the individual I believe greater insight is available through introspection. Not thoughtful introspection, but thoughtless awareness. To move beyond the physical buzz that permeates our brain and feel for the deeper meaning. Buddhist meditation if you will.

There are two things that have been problems for me as long as I can remember. The first is difficulty staying focused and concentrating tasks that are not urgent. The second is geeking out on things like computers and video games. Why I think these things are problems I'm not sure. Do I really believe they are problems or is it just that I've been conditioned to believe that? I know my family always had high expectations that I rebelled against, and I know geeking out on the computer didn't make me a spectacular conversationalist at the grade school level. But those things are meaningless in my world now. I have the respect of my friends and coworkers, so all that's left is to respect myself.

I'm not sure whether I do or not.

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