Rules of Engagement

I'm talking about relationships here - engaged to be married. I have recently been through hell over this issue and it can't be overstated that the most important thing when popping the question is to be absolutely sure that it's what you want to do. This might seem obvious but trust me, it's something that should be remembered no matter what.

This means Don't do it because he or she wants too. Don't do it to shut them up and don't do it to make them happy. Do it to make you both happy, or you'll wish you hadn't said anything at all.



Oh, and it's not a good idea to do at a time when you can't afford the ring either... /me cringes/i>

That's all
Today is my fourth E2 'birthday'.

Lots of things have changed over the last four years that no one could have predicted. Douglas Adams is no longer with us, for one. Nor are Spike Milligan, Thora Hird or The Queen Mother (OK, so the odds on those were shorter). Sega and Nintendo are working together. Concorde is grounded. Windows is stable. We've almost run out of cod, permanently. Some buildings got blown up (I forget the date). The United States has become a plutocracy, although, fantastically improbably, many of the public have been distracted from this through the ridiculously simple tactic of appealing to a concept as meaningless and archaic as 'patriotism'. Most new cars are the size of small bungalows and about as safe as early jet aircraft prototypes.

It doesn't feel like four years. Although I'm not sure of this, I think that I first visited Everything (One) when it was linked to from a story on Slashdot announcing Douglas Adams' H2G2 project. (Looking back through the /. archives, it appears this story was run on the 28th of April, 1999. So either I tried to figure out Everything for two weeks before registering - unlikely - or there was some margin for error when Everything1 users account details were transfered to Everything2.)

The first few months were spent blindly stumbling through the (largely) unmoderated, catboxless wilderness that was Everything1. As more features were added, slowly (oh ever so slowly) I started to take a more serious interest in the project. But it wasn't a 'community' yet.

It was over a year after first joining that I attended the first UK noder gathering. Some of the people who attended have since fled, some have fled and come back, one has even (mostly) fled and emigrated to the US (was it something we said?) but on balance, most of those people are still involved with Everything2 as a writing project and/or as a community, along with many other reckless people since.

Then came a long period when I spent an enormous amount of votes and only sporadically wrote anything interesting. I then graduated from university and spent a year as a technological leper in Penarth (which, I hear, has finally been deemed 'worthy' of having their telephone exchange upgraded to ADSL a few weeks ago). Forced into a crappy job by well-meaning but stupid parents, I started to visit E2 more frequently at lunch times and evenings. It was at this time that I really got into Dem Bones' bad books through extensive rants against the gun lobby, although thankfully the whole sorry episode is now largely deleted. (If only the same editorial rigour could be exercised on the topic of American imperialism, but that's another story.)

Almost exactly a year ago, I returned to London, and after a number of weeks wrangling with BT to give me broadband and making up for lost time by downloading everything, ever (and also getting involved in a website that managed to put the smallest amount of content in front of the largest number of games industry insiders in the history of the interweb), I rediscovered E2 once again. There was a lot of talk about a bar being raised, which I was able to largely ignore (the prospect of rewriting 1,500-odd writeups as I had then being rather a daunting one).

I finally bit the bullet and began to observe the new standard of work on Everything2 last December, in the wake of the accurately-titled 2002 end-of-year bash. I remembered that I could, if I got down to it, write something longer than 200 words, of interest to people who are not already intimately familiar with the subject and without using the word 'fuck' every third sentence. (I once tried to up it to every other sentence, but nowadays I generally leave that kind of thing to the homenodes of frustrated high-school students.)

So in a way, I'm only just starting out on Everything2. Here's to many more years of elaborate jargon and poorly organised drinking sessions. It's been very interesting.

Dude, a freakin' CRANE collapsed across the 5 freeway this morning, knocking down a high-voltage power line! The 5 and 805 are closed and because of the power outage Amtrak can't run. Half the department...heck, half the company can't get to work! Given the increasing flight of San Diego commuters northward to more affordable housing, this probably means that most businesses this side of Sorrento Valley will be grievously undestaffed for the first half of the day at least. Crazy.

I mean a construction-type crane, by the way. We're fairly environmentally conscious out here in California, but not so much that we close all northbound and southbound traffic on major freeways because of one exhausted bird.

Mom found out yesterday that she has to go on dialysis. Within the month. She should find out sometime today or tomorrow when she has to go into the hosptial for the permanent dialysis catheter placement.

She called after I was in bed last night, in hysterics. Linda woke me, told me to call her back. I did.

She hung up on me.

Twice.

I finally go her to tell me what was up, amidst her screams through hysterical tears that I should go back to bed, and that she was not going to talk about this on the phone.

I sobbed for hours. I called Dan at Ross & Debi's - he said he'd come home. I couldn't call Carrie - her parents would have had a shit-fit. I didn't have a calling card to call RJ or Walter. Neither Nate nor Alicia were home.

The last thing I remember thinking as I passed out from exhaustion was, "How do nurses do it? How do they keep from going crazy when a close family member gets sick, and they can't do anything to fix it?"

I asked one of my instructors that today, and - of course - I promptly lost it in her office. I was sobbing by the end of the first question.

Mom is so lonely - so scared. And I can't help her. I can't fix it. She needs someone there with her more often. Tabitha and Sheila are right - she is alone too much.

And then what kind of daughter am I??? I can't even find the time in my 'busy schedule' to be her support... I am awful - who else should I expect to do this? Who else should I expect would find this important, if I can't find the time in my own life to support her???

Okay, I'm going to stop rambling now. I have homework to do, and it is hard to read the screen through tears.

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