Yesterday was the last day of classes at Illinois State University.

I stayed home, took a nap. Missed a lunch date.

I'm graduating in about 7 days (and 14 hours).

I majored in English, mostly because I knew that I couldn't do the computer thing my whole life. I love literature, fuck off.

In a week, I will no longer be a college student.

I've been here five years, delaying the inevitable. I had a minor in computer science, but realized I learned less in class than I did on my own. I dropped it. That's why I've been here 5 years. I planned for it.

I'm scared.

I also have a minor in Writing. I want to write. I wrote about 40 pages this semester of creative non-fiction, aka the fourth genre. I remember that doing this was my great joy though the semester.

I'm scared to death.

I know that in a few months I'll have forgotten my dreams, but I want to head to graduate school, getting maybe an MFA, but I'd rather do the PhD thing. I don't know. Maybe I'll get a job as a waiter or something while I prepare. I'm a nice guy. Probably won't happen. I'm dreaming. I need to get something published, because my GPA leaves something to be desired. (It's still over 3 (out of 4) in my major.)

Did I explain that I'm scared?

+++

I took a nap.

I could make a dream log about this, but I'm not going to. I dreampt that my roommate's girlfriend tried to have sex with me. I saw her naked yesterday. I feel guilty. A sin in the heart or something.

I miss my girlfriend, who hasn't e-mailed me in about 4 days, which is totally unlike her. I hope nothing's wrong.

+++

I have to write poetry, but I don't feel like it. I want to work on my novel. I want to work on my creative non-fiction. I want to get really drunk. I want to get laid.

I talked with this little Jewish woman from my poetry class yesterday for about 3 hours outside. That was the best time I've had all semester. I'm supposed to write a play for her, and she's starting a theater company in Chicago. I miss her, already, even though we've rarely spoken this semester. Another piece of regret upon me.

+++

I've ripped 6 of my own CD's to MP3. I got sick of hunting in my piles and piles of optical media looking for my music. Now their all on my hard drive. If the RIAA doesn't like this, they can suck it. I won Mogwai's Rock Action, why shouldn't I be able to listen to it on my computer?

I graduate in a week.

+++

They say that your regret is strongest with the things you did not do. I don't know if it's stronger, but there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. This can either empower or weigh down. It's up to the regretor to choose.

Fuck it.

Tuesday night, my boyfriend lynched me onstage as part of a performance for a special topics class. I protested the death penalty, much to the upset of my conservative parents. As a result of "my antics," I now have to locate a new apartment and support myself. Standing up for your beliefs has consequences. So my director's girlfriend offers to split the brand new apartment she just leased...since she's at the director's house all the time, I can have the master bedroom and survive knowing the rent is a fraction of what my parents were paying for me to live alone. Synchronicity and Karma are my allies.

Today we looked at the place. It has that new apartment smell and is just across the street from the campus...no more driving fifteen minutes to school in the morning. I am one happy bitch.

I've always had trouble expressing myself. I have to write things down so that I can actually understand these feelings in my heart and thoughts in my head. It's like they're fish swimming in a river and I have to catch them to know they're there. It's okay to eat fish cuz they don't have any feelings...

Things change all the time. Things change. People change. Times change. Everything changes. Do I change? I've felt exactly the same for as long as I can remember. Maybe we all just perceive everything else but ourselves changing because we are too naive to realize it.

Lately I've been falling apart inside. I ran out of Scotch Tape. Relationships I've held so dear to me are deteriorating. Maybe people realize that I'm no good. It's the hardest thing in the world to notice that someone who means so much to you sees you more and more with a tone of indifference. It's especially hard for me because I don't know how to fix things. If I only had some Scotch Tape...

I used to think that I knew how to deal with depression, all these evil thoughts that enter my mind. I don't know how to control them. The fear I feel everyday. My lack of self-control. They just pound away at me, and after a while it hurts. To look at your life and wonder what you did wrong. To wish that there was someone to talk to who knew what you were feeling. Why do things have to change? Does anyone notice anymore? Maybe not...

So--

Today was my last day of exams, and my last day ever as an undergrad. On Sunday I walk, and then it's on to grad school. Yikes.

The gods have it in for me, but at least they have a sense of humor. Today was my acting final (yes, yes, the professor I'm lusting after). Anyway, I hadn't practiced the scene (The Glass Menagerie, scene 4) with my partner for two weeks, because he wouldn't return my phonecalls or email. So I emailed the professor, who answered:

There is an element of "group" in the grade. More than anything it reflects how well you and your partner seem to be connecting in the scene, how cues are picked up, how blocking works, etc. Since you have informed me of your difficulty in rehearsal, I will be aware and take it into consideration. But there is also an emphasis on the individual actor work as well; the score you turn in, the specificity of your own movement and activity, your own intensity and perceived pursuit of objective. I don't think your final grade is in serious jeopardy as long as you come in prepared, and possibly prepared to work around any unpreparedness on your partners behalf. If you have further concerns call me this evening at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

So I get to the final, and the creep never even shows up! Everyone does their scene, and the professor holds me till last, and when my partner finally never shows up, the prof says, "well, do you want to just pick someone out of the class to read the lines?" Sure. The only guy who volunteers? A guy named Steve.

Now, I don't like Steve. No, that's too strong. I find him irritating. He's not a jerk, just somewhat obnoxious. Anoying. And so, a month ago, I went to my professor and said, "Please, whatever you can do so that I don't have to work with Steve!" He said no problem, and so I didn't.

That is, until my partner never showed up. So who does the scene with me? Steve. The gods do love irony. After the final, the professor and I were talking, and neither of us could get over it. It was just too much.

Anyway, the professor also told me he's in another play, this time one by a local playwright; it's called Grendl-Cain, and the papers are giving it rave reviews. So of course...

"So, how are you?"

If I hear that one more time, I swear I'll......I'll...I'll do something bad, evil and painful. I just haven't figured out what yet.

I'm fine, I guess, except for everyone AND my mother pussyfooting around me like I have leprosy. Maybe I do. Maybe I'd have a better chance of being treated normally if an arm just decided to fall off. Who knows? Not me.

"She's gonna blow! Everyone stay calm and back away slowly from the Kir. Don't make any sudden moves, and you won't get hurt."

Please. I think the storm has calmed and the worst case scenario would be that I move again. Take up a few offers. I do partly own the farmhouse in Missouri, I could go there if I felt the need. But I kinda just got here.

Yes, I am a serial re-locater. So what? I'm used to moving every nine months at least, I get itchy after the first two. But there's paperwork to be filed and goals to be set. What better place do I have in a place that practically guarantees I'll get things only half done. Ah well, such is luck.

I came, I saw, I failed. Now shut up, quit reminding me, and pass me a beer.

New Mexico......my sister, Santa Fe, and living in a yurt....sounds tempting but....
Long Island.......not for all of the money in the world, I don't care ow fucking cute he is.....we had our live-in time, I think it's done now.
Florida......NEVER AGAIN!
Nawlins......probably as tempting as Phoenix. Feasible, but what exactly will be accomplished but more drunkeness and more miles.
Phoenix......there'll be plenty of time for that later.

I think I'm just ansty and disillusioned. That's different from any other time, how?

I think a little booty will make me feel all better. I'm sure even my father would prescribe that. On that note, g'nite.

Well. Interesting week. Shall we?

  • We met. From what I could tell, it went swimmingly. Then again, I could just be reading too much into it. Y'see, this is my problem. I've done my best to be not-insecure, and I'm pretty decent at it, but this sort of thing just cuts all that away. I've pretty much been a bit of a wreck after wednesday, worrying. About what? Anything, really:
    • I'm taking it too seriously. I was a jackass.
    • I said about two dozen dumb things.
    • She prolly think's I'm a dope.
    I reread that list, and I realize it's probably absurd -- I mean, would things have gone that well if she thought I was the villiage idiot? But I still find myself fixating on something along those lines. Silly weasel.
  • Other than the amazing weekend and subsequent obsessive thought processes, little has happened. Test, lotsa homework, blah blah blah. Methinks I need to be dipped in cheese

I've never believed in fate. Any attribution to "fate" is merely our monkey brains putting patterns and meanings in where none exist. But events like the past month really test me. Not two weeks after the last chapter (where flamingweasel is finally told what's up, and feels really, truly better for the first time in a year) of the breakup closed, this new thing pops up. It ain't fate, but it's weird in any case.

Mmkay. Sleeplog....

time |         X     |
   8 |         X   X |
     |   X     X   X |
     |   X     X X X |    
     |   X     X X X |    4-29: 4:30am-10:30am - 6
     | X X     X X X |    4-30: 3:30am-11:15am - 7.75
     | X X X   X X X |    5-01: 4:15am-10:00am - 5.75
     | X X X X X X X |    5-02: 5:00am-10:00am - 5
     | X X X X X X X |    5-03: 2:30am-11:00am - 8.5
     | X X X X X X X |    5-04: 2:30am-09:30am - 7
     | X X X X X X X |    5-05: 3:15am-11:15am - 8
   3 | X X X X X X X |
     | X X X X X X X |
     |_______________|
       s m t w t f s

On Friday, she told me to dream of manatees, but instead I dreamt of us on a gondola in the canals of Venice. What does that say about me?

11:22

(Posting this from Windows. Strange, that. Well, I used NS4 yesterday, so maybe not. =)

I played a bit of B&W today... and sent my own review of the game to the mag. They had a competition about this. One way to deal with the mighty Discussion about Whether Or Not Black & White Is The Greatest Game Ever Made, I guess. =)

Nothing strange is going on...

Maybe I should node the yesterday's IRC log. It had some randomly interesting points.

::yawn::

Sorry, I have not waken up yet.

More to come soon...

15:56

::yawn::

I have still not waken up!!!

I'm tired. Tired tired tired. Kids, remember that sleep is gooooood. Don't let this happen to you.

I've now read Usenet stuff and Slashdot... Lots of good news in Slashdot. And then? K5, I guess.

20:29

I don't know why I'm so tired... <<snore>>

I...had... something...to... node... but...

zzzzz...

I will node more after TV stuff. I promise.

01:31

Updated stuff, noded old but still somewhat funny stuff, but dammit, I think I'll sleep a bit before mentioning that stuff here, OK?


Other day logs o' mine...

Noded today by y.t.: Magic Carpet ... and more, to be told about tomorrow.

09.35 bst

Just because I don't look like a lazy slob doesn't mean I can't be one...

Yesterday looked like it was going to be a bit of a waste of a day - maths tutorial at 9, and the 11am lecture was cancelled. So we just headed back to Kelvingrove Park to play frisbee again.

I did have stuff to do in the afternoon, though - Glasgow University recently elected a new rector, and he was being installed. I was part of the tech crew covering it for the student tv station, and turned up at 1 to help out set up. Mostly lugging cables and stuff, but after a while, I was given a camera, a microphone and Sarah, and told to go out and film things.

There was a bit of a fancy dress parade around the area before the ceremony, and we followed this round, Challenge Anneka-stylee. We also managed to do a few interviews with me walking backwards, holding the camera. A £7,000 JVC broadcast quality DV camera, which was a little nerve-racking. and heavy. We also got a chat with the man of the moment, Greg Hemphill (he would be the new rector)

After the official ceremony, there was the fun that was de-rigging. Some of that stuff - like reels of camera cable - is very very heavy. It all had to go back to the office, where I flopped out for a while afterwards.

Nothing exciting happened last night - I was too tired to go out. But I'm going to see Ash at the Barrowlands tonight, more on that later...


00.20 bst

Well, I went into town to do a bit of shopping, and got a shirt, some shoes and shades. And some exercise - I walked into the city centre.

The gig was pretty good too - although I managed to lose my glasses just minutes into it. I'd imagine they're currently in little pieces on the floor of the Barrowlands, so I'm wearing an old pair just now, and I have my contacts, so life is good. Although Monday is a bank holiday, so getting a replacement pair may take a while.

My sister is having a big party tonight - this I am fine with. She wanted me out the way, but I had nowhere else to go, so my plan was to come home and stay out of her and her friends' way. I also didn't want anyone in my room, so locked it. Just in case, I left a post-it with "FUCK OFF" on it near the door, and "didn't I tell you to fuck off" near my CDs.

And what does she do? Get the key (it's the same key as several other doors in the house), go in, and take my music. It's currently playing loudly downstairs.

The bitch.

Alas, I digress. I think I'll just go to my room and watch the entire first series of Trigger Happy TV on E4.


updated today: Glasgow Underground, and, er, May 5, 2001

If there is anything that should be in a day log, it's whats going on in the world. So for now on, I'll be keeping the top headlines from around the world here. If there are any sources I'm not using that you recommend, please /msg me. Do you know an english language paper in South America, Eastern Europe, Africa, or Asia that updates daily? Let me know please.

Today is a light news day, as half my sources seem to not be updating.

Without further ado, here is today's top news from around the world:

The BBC's Top Headlines:

  • Pope builds bridges with Muslims
    Pope John Paul begins a four-day visit to Syria aimed at promoting religious harmony, as part of his pilgrimage in St Paul's footsteps.
  • Concern over GM babies
    The body that regulates UK fertility treatments says it will consider techniques which let scientists alter a baby's genetic make-up.
  • Zambian protests turn violent
    Angry protests break out after police fire tear gas at a crowd in Lusaka following President Chiluba's decision not to stand for a controversial third term.
  • Report criticises Israeli settlements
    An international commission calls for a halt to Israeli settlement expansion, according to leaked details of its findings.
  • Afghan refugees offered hope
    UN refugee chief Ruud Lubbers tells Afghans living in a makeshift camp in Pakistan that he will work to improve their situation.
  • White House website attacked
    The White House website goes down for more than two hours in what appears to be the latest attack by Chinese hackers.
  • UN imposes sanctions on Liberia
    The UN decides to go ahead with sanctions against Liberia, citing a lack of evidence that Monrovia has severed ties with Sierra Leone rebels.
  • Action to prevent Nigeria oil fire
    Experts in southern Nigeria prepare to spray foam on a huge oil spill in the Ogoni region to cut the risk of fire.
  • US spy plane 'could fly home'
    US officials say the spy plane grounded in southern China could be repaired - but Beijing has not yet given approval.
  • Mass graves found in Peru
    Dozens of bodies are found buried on a former army base in southern Peru - a discovery which could affect the country's election.
  • Arroyo promises return to normality
    Philippine President Arroyo says she will lift the state of rebellion, imposed after last week's violence, on Monday.
  • Wahid's faithful fight their jihad
    The Indonesian president's last bastion of support are his followers in his political heartland of East Java, who remain a formidable force.
  • Macedonia bombards rebels
    Macedonian forces unleash a fresh assault on ethnic Albanian rebels, who are accused of holding human shields.
  • Sexy shots shock Swiss
    Switzerland's ambassador in Germany faces calls for his resignation because of the publication of racy photos of his US-born wife.
  • Girls' secrets aired in Egypt
    A new film about pre-marital sex and teenage pregnancy is breaking taboos in Egypt.
  • Palestinians say base hit by missiles
    Palestinian security officials say their intelligence headquarters in the West Bank town of Jericho have come under missile attack
  • India war games begin
    India launches its biggest military exercise in over a decade near the border with Pakistan, practising its response to a nuclear strike.
  • Afghan women appeal to French
    The French National Assembly hears from three veiled women that that the Taleban authorities treat women worse than animals.

The New York Times' Top Headlines

  • U.S. Jobless Rate Rose to 4.5% in April
    The American job creation machine went into reverse in April as companies shed employees across much of the weak economy.
  • In New York, Millions Pile Up While Welfare Programs Wait
    Millions of dollars in federal welfare funds earmarked for programs to help the poor leave the welfare rolls have not been spent state budget officials say.
  • Serving on the Front Lines of the Battle for Bush's Washington Agenda
    The real work being done to redirect the federal government toward "compassionate conservatism" is being done by Republicans within the Bush cabinet.
  • Studios Make Deal With Writer's Guild
    Negotiators for Hollywood's film and television writers reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with the major studios and networks.
  • Babies Born in Experiments Have Genes From 3 People
    Some babies born from a new method used to treat a rare form of infertility have genes from three different people in their cells, researchers are reporting.
  • Both Sides in Forest Debate Await Administration's Next Move
    The White House's decision to put in place a Clinton administration rule to protect national forests but allow changes to be made locally kindled a debate over how the rule would be carried out.
  • European Media Lash Out at Leading Italian Candidate
    Italy finds itself subjected to a wave of bitter media attacks from across Europe aimed at the leading candidate, Silvio Berlusconi, the media baron-turned-politician.
"Pope builds bridges with Muslims" made me say something very silly when my wife read it out to me earlier. I shall refrain from repeating it in public...

Anyway, today we knocked down part of what was left of our front garden wall (the one separating our property from the street). Half of it fell down last year and we'd just left it there (annoying the neighbours, but heh...).

Then we rebuilt it. Well, we dry-run rebuilt it, anyway -- just to make sure we had enough remains to do it with. This involved reducing its height by a third and improving its looks by 100%. It still looks ugly, but there's less of it now! Tomorrow we will get some sand and cement to mortar it all together (and hope it doesn't rain).

Surprisingly, the above only took four hours before lunch. The rest of the day has been a touch idle, really.

Breaking News

That is to say, our shower has broken down. Bit of a crap end to an otherwise good day. Sigh.

I just handed in the last exam of my undergraduate career, and I feel oddly empty. Like I should feel like I've accomplished something, but I don't.

I felt like I'd accomplished something when I finally handed in a more or less complete draft of my thesis on Wednesday. I felt like I'd accomplished something when I went to pick up the cap and gown I'll wear at Commencement. Even printing out, copying and spiral-binding a few copies of my thesis by hand felt like an accomplishment, even though I didn't print it out correctly so now the margins are going to be weird on the final bookbound version, but it's just too bad, since the server went down and I didn't have a chance to print again.

But then I tried to get the source files for the thesis to the math department's thesis coordinator (my advisor, whom I admire more than almost anyone in the world; see earlier daylogs for a rant about how cool she is) and it took a really long time and then it was 4 when I was finally done and I was supposed to be at a linguistics department party (partly to hand in my last phonetics paper, which wasn't done) and somehow take my ecology final and finish my psych topics in gender and sexuality paper before 5. Hyperventilating with stress, I emailed what I had of the psych paper (no list of sources, much less references in its text), added a few sentences to my rampantly incomplete phonetics paper, and tried to call my ecology prof to apologize and say I'd have the test in as soon as I could, but ended up sending him email instead, and decided there was no way I was going to study for and finish the two-hour takehome test without missing the ling party and maybe the math department's celebration for seniors as well.

Skating to the ling department party instead of taking the ecology final was surprisingly hard (plus it felt like I hit every crack in the sidewalk and pothole on the way), but things started getting better once I arrived. I got a "cool senior" prize and my very own copy of The Origin of Language, plus general good vibes and love. At 6 I got a ride to the math department's party, which involved yummy grilled salmon, homemade ice cream with fresh strawberries, and copious amounts of champagne (real champagne, not the California sparkling wine served at the college president's reception for graduating seniors, which I ditched to go to the ling party). After all that I was finally starting to feel like life was ok after all, especially when I got back to my room to find a message from my ecology prof saying "Ok! Hang in there....", at which point I chose to do a little yoga and sleep.

So this morning I got up slowly, studied for and took my ecology final by noon, and it went really well, leaving only a two-hour gender and sexuality final between me and being allowed to walk at Commencement (I'll be finishing one last class off-campus in the fall). I decided to take it during a mega-croquet game organized by my friend Chris. He'd set up a giant L-shaped course using the wickets from three sets and invited some twenty people to play (about a dozen ended up sticking around). Between turns, I finished the test, and I just went down to hand it in. And now I'm done. And I feel weird. That's all. I can almost feel myself suppressing my emotions about this, and I'm wondering when the reality of this'll hit me. I think I'd better go let myself cry soon. Yeah.

Unlike most of my daylogs, this is almost exactly what I would've written in my paper journal if I'd had it at hand. I apologized for its incoherencies and inconsistencies and most of all for any upvotes it received upon submitting it, but since I didn't ask to have it deleted in a fit of embarrassment shortly thereafter, I'll be letting this live.

I'm an empath.

And despite the fact that I have chosen words as the tools for my artisitc expression, I can never manage to adequately convey exactly what this means for me, and ultimately the people around me.

I'm emotional. Not really in the conventional sense, though. People who don't know me well often think I'm kind of cold because I have a tendancy to be quiet and withdrawn. That is, when I'm not nattering on at 100 miles an hour on some trivial topic that I happen to know way too much about that has no applicable use in the real world other than for having conversation fodder. No, I'm the sort of emotional person who will cry at the sad parts of movies or tv commercials, as well as a beautiful sunset or the joy of happy endings.

Most noticibly, I care about people. I care about people I know. I care about people I only know online. I care about people I've never interacted with, but through some agency learn that they are hurting somehow.

I want to help.

I want to do somehting for these people that will somehow ease their pain. Suffering is anathema. I know that suffering and pain are often necessary for growth, but that doesn't mean I like it. I want to reach out, to somehow make things better, to be a positive force in the lives of others.

But as most of the others I know I only know online this is a difficult proposition at best. The most I can offer is virtual hugs and be there as someone to talk to.

Often, just being there is helpful.

Normally I wouldn't feel that all of this rambling is anything for posterity, although my periods of melancholy are a facet of who I am. But in the scheme of things, it's not something that I need to put up for the world to see unless they're looking for it, which is what personal websites are for.

The reason today is different is due to the fact that my current mood is a direct result of the actions of some borg-wielding curmudgeon in the Chatterbox.

Other than the pain of an abcessed tooth, I've been in an extremely up mood for the last week or so, which followed about five weeks of introspection, which I realized today was also partially caused by Chatterbox curmudgeons.

Today, I logged on, as I do most days, and proceeded to make my presence known. As most people who hang out in the Chatterbox know, I have a habit of hugging people, virtually. It's cheesy, harmless, and for some people makes their day a little brighter. But to at least one person, I must assume that this activity is somehow offensive. I can find no other logic to the two times I was borged today other than that, as both incidents happened directly after I typed the phrase "/me hugs " into the Javabox.

After the first incident, one of the people I had been chatting with asked what it was that I had done that would earn me a borging. After both incidents any and all conversation ceased for at least five minutes. There was neither warning nor explanation given for either incident.

I have had people express to me before that they prefer not to have so much huggy stuff going on in the Chatterbox. In response I've replaced at least half of the incidences where I would have hugged someone with a wave, which I have yet to receive a complaint about. Obviously, for someone, this is not enough. For whatever reason, be it that he or she doesn't get enough hugs in real life, or perhaps this is some decendant of The Grinch, but whatever the case, this person is punishing me for bestowing virtual hugs to people in the Chatterbox. And the worst of it is that they can't even be bothered to let me know why I'm being borged. I don't know if they are somehow complimenting my intelligence by assuming I can figure out what's going on or if they just want to have more opportunity to borg me. I find this even more upsetting and perplexing in that I am the only one so punished for this act as shortly after my second borging, someone else in the Chatterbox did the same exact thing with no punishment. This is not the first time I've been borged for an offense while others committing the same offense are not. If I were paranoid, I'd think I was being persecuted.

Either way, it's disheartening and damaging to my will to node. I know that E2 will survive without me if I go. I'm only one person in a vast sea of faces. But I do make a contribution and I would be missed, even if only by a few. It was this sort of thing, although not as forceful, that caused me to leave the site and not return for a period of five weeks. My next two writeups after my return happen to be daylogs, both about being borged. There seems to be some sort of trend developing....

Anyway, for those of you who like being hugged by me, prepare for a dearth of such. I have too much to say to people to spend my time in the borg's belly. It's frustrating. Let's just see how many of you out there actually give a rat's ass...


At the end of the day, I attended a small gathering at a small pub to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. On the way traffic stopped and we crawled past a 5-car accident, blocking three of the right-hand lanes. The backup would have been exponentially worse had it not been for the fact that the accident took place some small distance before an interchange, so there were still 4 lanes remaining. Once past the accident, but before the interchange there was a highway message sign. This one actually bore a message. It read:

ACCIDENT AHEAD - RIGHT LANES BLOCKED

This morning the three-hour drive from Baltimore to New Jersey took ten hours. I left at 10pm yesterday night, and I expected to finish off the trip to my parent's house at around 1am, drop a load of laundry into the conveniently coin-free washer and dryer downstairs, and head off to sleep. I didn't realize how much my work day had taken out of me until about half an hour after I got onto the road and could hardly stay in my lane. By that time I was already through the Fort McHenry Tunnel toll and psychologically committed to continue northward, but there was no way I'd make it up without some sleep.

At around 11:00 last night I pulled over to the Maryland House rest stop parking lot and fell asleep in the drivers seat.

By 3:30 in the morning I finally felt well enough to drive again and got over the bridge and 30 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike before I had to pull into yet another rest stop and sleep for another hour until I felt ready to finish the trip up to town.

I wanted to be here by 8:00 so I could get to the weekly Ham and Eggs breakfast at the Holly Park Diner on Park Avenue with my old friends. At 7:58, I pulled into the driveway and footed it over to the diner for a nice mushroom and pepper omlet, and the fine company of some grande old hams.

After breakfast I spent a nice domestic morning alone in the house doing laundry and out front washing my car in the beautiful Spring weather. Around 11:30, just as I was spraying the last few bubbles of soap off my Civic, Seaya pulled up in my driveway in her big ass truck. We hung around the house for a few minutes while I switched over my whites to the dryer, figured out directions to the Raritan Expo Center and then headed out to the event of the day, the Trenton Computer Festival.

The $12 admission fee seemed a little steep at first, but by the end of the day both of us agreed that it was totally worth the price. After a couple of hours of wandering around, Seaya picked up a bunch of classic computer games from a display for real cheap and I found a nice discount copy of Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen.

It may not seem like much, but usually when I find a book at a flea market or local bookstore, I jot down the title and author and go to Amazon.com or another online bookseller with my monthly book order. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person that enjoys killing off local businesses and merchants, but it's just what I do. But today the guy behind the table from Caravan Booksellers of Holland, PA took a a good ten minutes to stand with me and Seaya, listen to how both her and I have enjoyed the personal company of jonlasser in Baltimore (while waving around the single copy of Think Unix we discovered on his vendor table) and recommend me some related books on web design theory that he had recently got in from the publisher. Basically he totally impressed me with his desire to actually help me instead of just being a grumpy money-collector behind the table. So he got my sale.

At 1:30 we wandered outside to drop our stuff our at the car and discovered that there was an entire outdoor flea market in the adjoining parking lot. As we got over that way, it was already starting to rain a little, so everyone out there was putting their stuff away and packing everything back into their cars and trucks. All the merchandise out there was the kind of stuff you would expect to be sold from the back of trucks at a computer flea markets, so neither of us were too disappointed.

Then, as we were walking around the outside edge of the lot, when I heard a little kid screaming over and over again. It was that annoying way that little kids scream that sounds just like the bleating of an annoyed goat.

Then I turned to find myself face to face with a frustrated goat.

Yes, I'm serious. In the middle of Edison, NJ, tied with a short leash to a post in the middle of a parking lot at the Trenton Computer Festival was an increasingly wet and vocally annoyed . . . goat. I don't think we ever figured out exactly how a goat got there, and this haunting feeling tells me I'm probably better off not knowing.

At around 2:00 we finished getting wet and gawking at the goat, so we moseyed on back into the Expo Center to catch the keynote address of the festival by Emmanuel Goldstein of Off the Hook and 2600 Magazine fame.

Now, a little background: back when I grew up in New Jersey, Off the Hook was the show that I listened to every week on WBAI radio out of New York. I mean, imagine the joy on the face of a little 16 year old unix.turd like myself when I could spend an entire hour listening to the voices of two real, honest-to-God hackers and phreakers talking about lots of fun exploration into the world of gray-hat computer and telephonic exploration.

My teenage dream of sitting in a room filled with hackers, actually able to see the face and body behind this legendary disembodied voice was about to be fulfilled.

Then, as we rounded a corner, an unfamiliar voice called out to me. It was none other than ahm. This is the guy that basically started my entire career into into the world of Unix many moons ago with his addictive Waffle BBS in Dunellen, NJ. After a few corny jokes like "Hey, you look just like the picture on your web page!" and "God, I bet I look just like the ones on my web cams too!", I introduced him and Seaya to each other. Of course, the first damn question out of his mouth is "So in which post on vees.net did I read about her?"

And the worst part is both Seaya and I blurted out the answer a second later.

So there in a room with a couple hundred balding and pot-bellied hackers, Seaya, my mentor ahm and one of my many idols, Emmanuel Goldstein, I scratched another item off of my list.

In about three minutes, this guy had the room in the palm of his hand with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. For a guy that had his eyes glued to his speech notes the whole time, he did a marvelous job with timing and emphasis in all the right points. My feeble memory couldn't really do his speech or delivery justice here, but if I manage to get ahold of a copy or transcript, I'll update this node and link to it. Needless to say, this was the right choice of keynote speakers for the audience. In spite of some really fallacious pro-hacker rhetoric ("Yeah, Kevin Mitnick pretended to be someone else to gain access to computer systems, but is that really a crime?) he made a lot of good points about the future and our rights within it.

After we got back and spent a few minutes decompressing at the house before we went out for pizza down the street at Salerno's, and some italian ices at Rita's on the way back. Then we headed out to Menlo Park Mall to pick up some stuff. Actually, when I got in the car, I thought I was driving out to Woodbridge Commons, but my car decided it didn't like that idea and the next thing I know, we're in the Menlo parking lot. I knew the old van had a good memory, but how my brand new car knows exactly how to get to the mall, I don't think I'll ever figure out.

We got back, decompressed some more, I finished my laundry, and enjoyed an evening out on the porch in the beautiful weather with my notebook. In a few minutes my parents should finally arrive, and out to a bit more more eating and some introductions all around. Then a good night's sleep for the wedding tomorrow, but that's another story . . .

I woke up early this morning and made last minute preparations for my trip to South Plainfield, NJ to visit vees. I am here this weekend so that vees can have a date to his friend's wedding.

Before I left I explored e2 a bit more, and had the opportunity, finally, to speak with nine9. It turns out we have mutual acquaintances and friends, which is hilarious as I picked him out at random from his handle, then enjoyed his writeups, then thought he was cute. The reason we have mutual friends is because I studied abroad at Edinburgh Uni my junior year in college.

Anyhow, the appointed hour came, and I set off, dodging crazy NJ drivers, including traffic weaving trucks!

Finally, I arrived at his place and vees was washing some cars.

I went on irc.slashnet.org on #playadelfuego for a bit, and pet some cats and listened to his loud, mentally disturbed cockatoo for a bit. I was also surprised by another bird who could whistle the theme from the Andy Griffith Show. Then we were off to the Trenton Computer Festival. (which incidentally was in Edison and not Trenton, but I digress).

We browsed about when there and I got 3 games for 5 bucks:

a Deep Space Nine game
Monty Python's complete waste of time
Some weird shoot em up with bizarre art and industrial music

We went to see his ARRL friends, then went on the the keynote speaker, Emmanuel Goldstein of 2600 fame. He was an awesome speaker. He gave a colorful detailed account of his early days as a hacker and the dangerous trends in society and government that have been happening of late. He spoke in particular about the DeCSS script. His main point about the paranoia going on now was that instead of making laws against exposing security flaws, the exposed in question should take the time to make themselves more secure. Restricting information as in the case of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and treating encryption programs like munitions would only seek to stop the progress of greater security measures and inhibit freedom for individuals.

He of course put it more eloquently that that with some amusing anecdotes. For instance he told of his questioning and trial for figuring out that the password for several sensitive government areas and account was the letter "A" back in the Reagan years. That gave me a guffaw to say the least.

He also spoke of sadder incidents of people getting arrested for telling others about hacking incidents that they didn't even do. Talk about paranoid.

Anyhow, this talk was very enlightening and made the show. I got to meet vees' friend Andy as well. One weird show incident was seeing a goat in the flea market outdoor area. That was funny.

We were highly thrilled at one point to see jonlasser's book, Think Unix sitting out on a table among other neato puter books. And just as I has surmised, we found a link in his index and glossary to beer. I do have his book at home, it's just that I hadn't scrutinized it that deeply until right then.

We came back here after the show, had some pizza and Rita's water ice, then went out so I could get a black strapless bra for the wedding tomorrow, as I lost mine. I always lose these sort of bras and end up having to buy more.

On the way back from the mall, we were talking and I found out for the first time, that vees' dad is a minister. I still haven't decided whether or not I'll go to church tomorrow. It kinda weirds me out. I guess with a Dunkin Donuts across the street from here and numerous stores about right near here, I could walk around for a while tomorrow instead. I wonder if there are blue laws here. That would suck.

Maybe I'll see some more Jersey girls. I find them amusing.

We are waiting now for vees' parents so we can go to a diner. Today I've been to a mall, a convention center, and a diner (soon). What a Jersey day.

Just a little over a month until I become a Baltimoron. Yay!

Tonight my college student was home doing his laundry. All’s well except he had a paper back book in one of the pockets. What a mess! Take home lesson, only wash books made with a better grade of paper.

Teenagers’ doing their own laundry is a mixed bag and a good example of one of those “easier for me to do 'it' myself” type things. If I was a “good mother” I’d probably let them “learn from their own mistakes” but this is my machine, my water and electric bill and my last nerve. So, I’ll continue to be the “ inconsistent bad mother” and do it myself except when I’m too tired and then I’ll expect them to do it and be dismayed by the predictably bad results. Oh well, at least I’m consistent in my inconsistency.

On this, the anniversary of my mother's birth, I ate toast.

I used to never write daylogs, however I find it important to my sanity to make this day known.

My mother and I share no lost love. She sees me as whatever she wants her son to be. I see her as the last remnant of whatever is was they wanted me to be.

She woke me up today and announced a trip to the beach had been planned. A wonderful day just me and my beloved parents; watching the Pacific Ocean for 8 hours. Then she said that I didn't have to go; because she knew that I hated just lying on the beach. A surprise to me, seeing as on most of her birthdays I have to enjoy the activity planned no matter what. With a forced happy birthday hug and a melancholy tone, I declined the offer. I stayed in bed as my parents got ready and left for Laguna Beach.

I called up my friend Michael, who had previously planned a song writing session for the two of us on this day, and told him I would be able to attend after all. He picked me up at 11:30 AM, and after a short stop at the hardware store we proceeded to his house.

Michael has a sister with whom I have been courting for 2 months. As soon as I got to their house, I went upstairs to see her; however she was cleaning. Disappointed, I went back down stairs.

Michael and I decided to set up and practice in the garage. There we stayed for 2 hours, plucking out authentic ditties along with some Chuck Berry. Michaels sister came in occasionally to get a mop or put some rags in the basin. It was as ordinary a day as possible, and the laid back feel of it was too pronounced to be just that. It was lunch time.

Around 2 PM, I went inside and made lunch for myself and Michaels' sister. Chicken Top Ramen and toast it was, and it was damned good too. She and I went upstairs to the room her and her sister share, and laid out a blanket and pillow on the floor. Standard procedure, we had done it a 20 times before. We kissed a couple times. Lazily, we watched the fan blades whirl on the ceiling, and the tree outside her window shake with the stirring of the birds. Casual and broken conversation lingered, as it always did between the two of us. We share a need for silent exchange, sent from our eyes and our fingertips. I rested my head on her stomach. As I munched my toast away, slowly littering crumbs onto her shirt, there was a peace I had known before, but never this strong.

On this, the anniversary of my mother's birth, I fell in love.

Happy "Cinco de Mayo" to everyone. Here in Boston, we "chilled out" compared to the rest of the week, which was pleasantly warm (for me, anyhow...but then again, I'm from Texas, where 90-95 degree summers are the norm, and 50 degree weather is freezing.

Tonight I went to a party sponsored by the Texas State Society...I was hoping I would recognize some people from Texas A&M there, but alas, I didn't. However, the beer tasted just as good, regardless.

Well, another day. Today was interesting in a couple of ways. The first was when I was sitting in front of the big bay windows in my parents house, with the cat resting on my lap. I was on the floor, with my back to the window, looking into the room. I suddenly has a vision of a bullet coming through the back of my head from outside and splashing my brains all over the room. This slightly unnerved me, and after a few minutes, I felt I absolutely had to get up and move away from the window, so as not to be seen from the outside.

I went out, and later returned, and I wanted to work on my parents computer, which is near those big bay windows. Since it was still sunny out at the time, the drapes were still open. I still felt uneasy about the windows, and had to close the drapes to work on the computer in relative comfort. I think this is the first time I ever felt that kind of paranoia. It is sort of scary.

I know logically that there is no one out to get me... well I can think of one candidate, but I don't think he's the assassin type. I feel sort of ashamed of myself for succumbing to my paranoia.

Today was also the day that I went and visited my second cousin, who I haven't seen since Thanksgiving (at least, I think he's my second cousin; my Dad is his Dad's cousin). When we arrived at his parents place, he was putting a D4 Cat back together after having painted it for his Dad. I helped a bit to put the blade back on and some other bits and pieces, and then we went and ate blueberry (no saskatoons for may a season) muffins and drank tea with the rest of the family that was there.

Well, other than my heightening neurosis and ever fluctuating levels of depression and happiness, I'm proud to announce some goals for the summer (in no particular order):

  • Learn sockets programming
  • Become proficient in Python
  • Read Lord of the Rings
  • Get Python to play nice with Apache
  • Learn to use multiple processes and threads properly
  • Learn a lot of linux kernel stuff in preparation for my 4th year design project
  • Go hiking every weekend
  • Cycle to work every day
  • Ask for a raise

So, there is much to be done!

Yesterday being May 5, 2001, I had to deal with the fact that I was having another birthday, and didn't really care. My birthday is no big deal. People ask me how old I am and I just tell them I'm 30. I've been 30 for a while now, and I'll stay 30 until I'm 70.
My wife's birthday is July 4. How cool is that? I get Cinqo de Mayo or however you say that. I also get the dishonor of sharing a birthday with Karl Marx. Good thing John Rhees Davies and Tina Yothers are there to share it with me, too.
Exuberance of kids hanging out of limo sunroofs at two a.m., shouting. We're walking a bit of sobriety into ourselves this cinco de mayo so we can drive home; arms around each others' waists, singing Wake up Little Maggie and Powder Blue Sedan all through downtown and to the waterfront. Behind chain-link, concession tents are dim and deserted. The fireworks are all long past. The ferris wheel is unlit. The cut-paper garlands feature Disney characters. It's someone else's independence day. We're pretty happy.

Ferris wheels make me think of two songs. One is Jad Fair, when he talks about the scene in East of Eden where the ferris wheel stops when they're at the top & they are alone together, up in the sky. Put on your yellow dress. I picture swinging at the top of the ferris wheel, looking over the Willamette, with a bit of a chill. All the cars on all the bridges are little lights, full of people. The second song is Laurie Anderson; she dreams she's dead and her life is turned into a theme park. In the water, there's a ferris wheel, half in and half out, full of her ex-boyfriends and their new girlfriends. When they come back up, they are laughing and gasping for air. I think i would like to have that dream.

I laugh when they shout "dykes!" at us. The disturbing thing is that M does not remember the shout the next day (seis de mayo!). Where she was unconcerned at night, it angers her in the day.

I can touch those kids as much as i can touch the cars going over the bridge. I can teach them nothing except that i am here, singing, and unafraid. They don't want to learn, they want to enjoy their night! If cinco de mayo is about winning when outnumbered, and about liberty, then i will pick my battles. I think i'm winning. Pbbbbt!

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