Yet Another Eponymous's Sporadic Not An Editor Log

I've been here a couple of years, with only a couple interruptions. I don't daylog often, usually when I'm either very upset or in a wierd mood. Every now and then, I like to travel through the nodegel, drunkard's walk-style. It's interesting to see how the shape of the database changes over time.

The results:

The distribution of Factuals as compared to Webbies and Nodeshells is up quite a bit, it seems. I was surprised, as always, by the number of Magic: The Gathering cards. Two of them in a smaple this small is either very significant or totally insignificant, and I can't tell you which.

I've been trying to quit smoking. I've gone from 1.5 packs\p/d to about 4-7 cigs. More than that today, though. Quitting smoking sucks. Cutting back sucks. Waking up with your chest aching and your throat full of black phlem sucks worse. I've been a smoker for 18 years, and it's time to go from addict to recreational.

I feel a little disconnected from reality these days. The holidays tend to get to me a bit, along with the lack of daylight here in frozen hell.

I'm afraid of nearly everything.

I've been having a hard time with Duel.
I'm not sure how to let the characters drive the story.
I'm entering an area where events are going to push it along, and will I be able to develop the characters once they walk into the killing jar?

Click, zzzzizzz, draw

AAhhh.

There is so much I want to say, but I am unable to, because some of it is confidential, some of it is not related to this site, and some of it is, to be frank, gibberish. There is so much going on in my life right now, and yet -- there's nothing going on in my life right now. I am on financial, spiritual, and emotional hold right now.

Today I discovered the worst feature of my new car. Picture this. I had just been cut off. I was in a fit of rightful rage. In anger and spite I raise up my hand and slam it down upon the center of my steering wheel. I am anger; hear me ROAR!

eemp?

HUH? What the hell was that? Surely that did not come out of my sleek, styling, black car? I mean, I didn't expect the magnitude you would get with an 18 wheeler I-eat-import-cars-for-breakfast type horn. But...eemp?? That...that can't be right. Hell, my old Saturn, which I admit is not the most manly of vehicles, had a better horn than that. Later, discreetly, I tested the horn again.

eemp?

Oh the agony! Oh the shame! My horn is a sound byte from a stepped on mouse! Then my mind started turning. Wheels began to grind. Smoke...I had smoke from the ears. If folks are willing to pay 80 bucks for floor mats...hrm...what about the upgrade on the horn? You could have different price points...the bigger, the badder the horn, the more bucks your gonna shell out. Now I just have to decide if I want to pitch my improved horns directly to the car dealer, or those car folks who sell the neon lights that go in the wheels. I'm gonna be rich I tell you. Rich.

When you go into the bathroom, you're a Russian.

Lag...
Cake stuck in my head, three different songs:

  1. You turn the screws
  2. Long line of cars
  3. Sheep go to heaven
And the fact that I'm stuck in holiday traffic is catching up with my sleeping mind.

You come out of the bathroom, you're American.

First time I heard this joke, in second or third grade I guess, the joke was phrased as You come out of the bathroom, you're Brazilian. And lately, I've found myself wondering if there is a deeper level to that version of the joke. If there is some addition to the pun I'm not getting. More likely, the guy who told it to me (Who was distinctly not Brazilian, was told it by someone who had evenly and deeply tanned skin, someone who spoke Portuguese with a lilting accent, someone who partied topless for two weeks straight on the streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Because if not, where the hell did that come from?

What are you while you're in the bathroom?

I shouldn't be surprised by holiday traffic, but I just wasn't ready for it today at 2 p.m., Sunday. I work at the Riverchase Galleria, a shopping mall that is the largest tourist destination in Alabama (Beating even the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center). I live ten minutes away, even in fairly hellish traffic. But there's never traffic on Sundays, not after the 3000 member churches unleash that fanatic horde onto the weary streets of Birmingham.

European!

Outside the door to the Starbucks I work at are three adults, two 10-11 year olds, at least seven toddlers on leashes, and a stroller. Because of the leashes, the toddlers walk into each other, fall over, get up, fall over, walk into each other. The entire ?Family? is wearing Navy blue Old Navy American flag T-Shirts. It takes the procession three minutes to get past the double doors, to allow me passage.

I'm at home. Dial up connection. Only one phone line. Thus I will not be on so much this week. (Yes, a full week vacation for Thanksgiving break!)

I'm tired, I can't sleep, and I have a ton of work to do. Not to be complaining, of course, just that it makes things different. I can't seem to node while at home.

In my last daylog, and to some people, I had vaguely suggested that I might do a mini-nodermeet in conjunction with my senior art exhibition. The beginnings of it are on my scratch pad.

It's not going to happen. Sorry. I just have more important things that have to be done in the next two weeks, and I don't have time to organize a nodermeet. I'd still love to see all of you, and show you what I have been doing in the way of art, but I just don't have time to organize something. The offer of space to sleep and good food still stands.

I wish that I could write more, more profoundly, but I just can't seem to write while at home - what am I going to do in grad school, when I am living here full time?

Got some good work done on the paintings that I was doing as an independent study project today - they will all be done for the show. Worked some on bookbinding - would really like to get the Christmas present books done before the break is over.

Tons of reading for my short term class - 1200 pages and a zillion papers in three weeks. Still not sure why I am doing it - 20th century Eastern European History? Why?

Maybe I just need sleep. More likely, I need a real hug. Note to self: be more damn social.

Ack. Enough of the whininess. Will not be around so much, as noted above. Contact information on homenode is incorrect, /msg me.

Antarctic Diary: November 25, 2002

Sling load

We're in separate helos. Tony gets one, I get the other. I'm flying with Barry, a pilot I've had dinner with a bunch of times.

He shows me how to open the various compartments. Where the gear will be stored. Where the survival kit is if we crash and I survive.

We load the stuff in the pod on the skid. I hop in the front, squeeze into my white helmet and plug in the intercom jack. The helo tech hands me my belt straps over my shoulders. Can't reach backward that far in the red parka without him.

Barry makes a bunch of radio calls. They tells us the tail rotor is clear. The engine winds up. Then we're up. He flies over to our box hovers over a helo tech holding a cable with a hook. The guy attaches the hook to the bottom of the hovering machine and steps away.

With a twist of his wrist we're up. I can't feel the 700 box lifting below us. A sling load as it's known in helicopter terminology.

We head out over the Sound. For the next thirty minutes it's me and Barry over the ice. Then over the land. He considers taking me over the mountains instead of down the throat of the valley, but the clouds at the peaks are dense and he's not flying where it's not VFR conditions.

Over New Harbor, Barry makes sure I have a good view so I can get pictures of the camp. Up the valley to Lake Bonney. He gingerly lowers us until our cargo touches the ground, releases the cable, and then we're off.

I get out at Lake Hoare. There are some old friends here. They're heading out to another glacier to take measurements. They get into the helo I get out of.

I wave "bye" to Barry as if he's just given me a ride to the hardware store. I unload the pod. The glaciologists hop into the helo and they're off.

It takes me a good two hours to erect my tent. I'm missing a tent pole so the door kind of flaps. And I positioned the opening near a large rock I'll inevitably trip over getting into and out of. (or not).

It's below freezing and I'm going to be sleeping outside for a week.

There's still snow on the ground here at Lake Hoare. People are more quiet than they were last year.

My tent is at the foot of the Canada Glacier, in the shadow of the great blue ice. I'm back in its world, and I admit a part of me is uncomfortable with it. Maybe even afraid.

The sun circles overhead. It's never dark.

Everything is blue, white, and gold. It doesn't feel real. It doesn't translate into anything I'm used to. I feel like a cat walking on a plate glass window. I feel like a ghost.

This is really far away. I didn't feel it last year. But I do now.

I knew her online, and even then I was irresistibly attracted to her. They called her Sherri-neko; Sherri-cat. I secretly called her my Angel, because of college major; Religion, and the fact that I liked her. We have had many a fine debate...


I did something stupid this weekend. I left the comfort and safety of my dorm to travel into a different state and visit a couple friends. One of which, Tori, I hadn’t seen since High School, the others I had never met at all. The bus decided to be an hour late.


She was sleeping there, in the chair; curled up, and wearing cat ears. It was too cute…


I arrived at the Greyhound bus station in Charlottesville, and immediately recognized my ride, Sherri, despite never seeing a recent photo of her. I knew her through Tori, and through our several chats, had gotten to know her. I got the drift that she liked me as much as I liked her; in that way. But it was a forbidden interest. Tori was literally a psychopath with a crush on me (who still hasn’t gotten the courage to tell me, but it’s fairly obvious), who also owned a baseball bat, and if she found out I was in the least bit interested in Sherri, Sherri and I both had to fear for our lives.


We made small talk on the way to Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her...


We got to Lynchburg and went to Tori’s dorm room. The watching of movies began after a while. Tori was in her bed, Sherri and I were on the floor, right behind the dresser, and just out of Tori’s sight. We watched the some Anime Music Videos, some episodes of Invader Zim, and the first two movies in The Crow trilogy, and then went to bed. I slept on the floor, and Sherri slept in the top bunk, vacant that night.


She was absolutely adorable as we pseudo-cuddled wherever we were watching something...


We began the next morning (err… afternoon) with a rigorous tickling of Sherri’s feet. We then crawled to the floor and watched the third Crow movie. It was then, while scratching her head and listening to her purr as she rubbed her head against mine and we watched The Crow kill some one, that I think I did quite possibly the stupidest thing I could do at that moment. I fell in love with Sherri.


And suddenly the only thing I could think of was just kissing her beautiful lips. They looked so soft...


It was stupid of me. Tori has a very delicate psyche, and if it breaks, it takes years to repair. I don’t think she has fully healed from high school, but if she hasn’t, she’s close. Sherri and I had agreed to be just friends for Tori's sake. But... God, I'm stupid. More people arrived in Tori’s dorm; Dani, the roommate; Liz, Dani’s girlfriend; Leigh Anne, from downstairs; and some chick from across the hall, Amy, I think. They all knew about Tori’s crush on me, and of Sherri’s and mine agreement to ‘stay friends,’ that we told Tori, so that Tori would stop shunning us. So no more pseudo-cuddling for Sherri and I.


She sat just out of arm’s reach. Mostly so I couldn’t tickle her, partly so no one would figure anything out. How I missed her so...


As it grew later and people left, I became slightly more intimate in my touchings, but she never got back to the level she was at before Dani came. I went from head rubs and tickling to rubbing her shoulders and back. She also purred for these. I liked it when she purred. It made me happy.


She was the absolute most prettiest girl I had ever seen. But I couldn’t have her. I couldn't have her...


Sherri and I fell asleep on the floor that night. She was wrapped snuggly in a blanket. I was just outside the blanket, but I eventually intertwined my feet with hers, the only kind of cuddling I could get away with. I had trouble sleeping, so every so often I would sit up and look at her. She was beautiful in the moon light coming in through the window. My breath was taken away several times.


How I wish I could just lean over and kiss her...


When I did manage to fall asleep, I dreamed about Sherri. I think it was a dream. I dreamed that she was stirred from her sleep by something, probably my feet. She rolled over to look at me. Our eyes met, and I leaned in and kissed her. Then she rolled over again and went back to sleep. I don’t remember if/when I awoke from the dream. But I do remember later sitting up and going ‘did what I think just happened, happen?’


I finally devised a plan to kiss her. I was psyched about it, and couldn’t wait. Now to only wait till she and I ride, alone, to the bus station tomarrow...


Sunday morning we had to wake up at 10. I woke Sherri up by again tickling her feet. She got her things ready and went to take a shower. It was 40 minutes later that I realized the coughing and hacking coming from the bathroom was her; she was throwing up. She would throw up twice more, before we finally came up with a plan to get me to the bus station, an hour and a half away with only an hour to get there. Liz would take me. Liz the speed-demon. Liz got a $172 speeding ticket because of me. And we had 40 miles to go with 20 minutes to get to the station before the bus left. Looks like I missed my bus. Liz took me back to the college before heading out to where she needed to go. I hope she made it.


I was very saddened when Liz and I left, because I missed Sherri so. But I was smiling on the way back. I would get to see Sherri again...


Sherri was asleep when I got back. She was stirred by the noise I made coming into the room, and looked at me all confused like. I told her to go to sleep, it would all be explained later. Since I had missed my bus, my options were very limited. And none of them would work. But we had time to figure them out. I sat against the dresser and sort of watched anime as I rubbed Sherri’s head and combed my fingers through her hair. Eventually I just laid down next to her while she slumbered. That’s when Tori and Dani left the room to go do work in a library with Leigh Anne. Leaving me and a slumbering Sherri alone.


‘Kiss her!’ I told myself. But I replied, ‘No. I cannot, she is asleep, and it would be meaningless for her unless she knew it happened...'


No sooner had I fallen asleep than Tori, Dani, and Leigh Anne came into the room and decided that NOW was the time for me to figure out how the hell I was getting home. I couldn’t spend the night at the college. It was a Women’s college, and any girl housing a guy for more than two nights, or if a guy was in the dorm after 1 a.m. Monday morning, the girls of the dorm would be given a hefty fine. So waiting for Monday to catch a bus was out. The next bus that would have been cheapest for me to take was leaving at 8:15 p.m. from Charlottesville, but if that bus were even ten minutes late arriving back in Washington, D.C., I would have been stuck in DC’s Union Station with no cash and no ride home until 5 a.m. when the metro opened. Getting a friend to pick me up at the bus station at midnight in DC... well.. No. Not going to happen. That’s like asking for a homicide.


Sherri wasn’t taking me to the bus station again... I was severly depressed again; I wouldn’t get to enact my plan to kiss her...


We got me to the bus station in Charlottesville two hours before the bus was supposed to leave, because Leigh Anne, Tori, and Dani had kidnapped Sherri’s car (the only one available), and Sherri still had to make it home at a decent hour. I played pinball. But the game was so broken that I lost three balls to tilt (they got stuck and woudln't come out) and my last two to non-working bumpers. My score was 7,559 (the high score was well over 100,000 times that). The machine decided to be nice and give me a free game. I got the ball stuck in a pneumatic pump thing and it wouldn’t come out because the trigger was broken. It would be a half hour before I finally got it out; by nearly tipping the machine upside down. I lost another two balls to tilt because they got stuck. When I was finished, the game was no longer bolted to the floor. I had broken the 30 year old bolts in half. After I wasted another quarter on Bust-A-Move (yay!) I decided to sleep. That’s when I remembered what chair I had first seen Sherri in. I sat in it.


I fell asleep for an hour. The entire time dreaming about her. Nothing but her. She appeared to me as an angel in almost each dream…


The bus came, and I got on and left for D.C. I couldn’t think about anything but Sherri. Her big, brown eyes. Her curly hair. Her wonderfully shaped lips. Her small button nose. Her ears. Hell. Everything about her is absolutely amazing. I dreamed more. I dreamed that she and I went to an Otakucon dressed as Zelgadis and Amelia from Slayers. They had a secret relationship. You just know they did. At the end of the series, they actually show that there defiantly was. When I woke up, I was in D.C., thirty minutes early with an old stream of tears running down my cheeks. I wasn't aware I had been crying. I got on metro and went back to my dorm.


I’m sitting here. Still thinking about her. Wishing she were in my arms...


I did something stupid this weekend. I fell in love with a wonderful Angel that I’m not allowed to date because she and I both care about Tori’s fragile sanity. An Angel I cannot be without. An Angel I only wish to love dear. An Angel whose own feelings for me I do not even know...



How I wish I could be a nekozuki...

You know it. The day after. The great misanthrophy. The point where you realize that you're totaly pathetic.

It's not a special day, not a time in the life or a certain point, such as the midlife crisis, it rather is a state of mind that occures to you, a point of non-fluency in thought and mood. A possible trigger event can be a hangover, or a longer period (lets say a week) without any activity, social or otherwise, that has any significant value or output. Than, suddenly, you lay on the sofa, staring at the ceiling, thinking:

"Shit, I done goddam nothing usefull, I have no talent what-so-ever. I am totally pathetic.

When you reached that, there seems no way out, just like a severe depression, like there is a shining button on your head that says "I suck". You invent reasons for why you suck ("Failed math-exam"; "That girl i like hates me"; "My poetry reads like obsessive teen crap"; "Even my goldfish hates me" etc.). You write about how stupid you feel, and take the outcome as proof for your theory.

Reason: Obvious. Something makes you feel bad, physic or psychic (for me, it is drinking or doing nothing), and you are also kind of bored, leading to a very misfortunate mood, similar to teenage angst feelings.

Cure: Send those kids to a decent war, or so. Let them prove themselfs the opposit. Frickin' do something. The best to do is to meet up with some people, get some fresh air, and also to fall in love, get a job or at least have sex.

I've seen it with other people, mainly drunk or some kind of down, but my main source is myself.

I can't sleep. Too many things on my mind.

I have suspected for some time now that I have some type of mental disorder.
I know I can be intelligent and rational most of the time, but all too often I make a stupid obvious error of judgment, misunderstand things etc. I realise that everybody 'has their moments' but mine happen all to often for me to be comfortable with them. I suffer some sort of 'brain freeze' where my brain locks up and my mind clouds over, and I have trouble understanding whats going on, whether I'm reading a book, attempting to solve some problem, typing code or listening to someone talk.

That's another problem, my hearing. I'm not sure whether its my brain or my ears that are screwing up, but sometimes I have trouble just understanding/hearing a conversation. I cannot always make out what someone is saying, even if they're only 2 meters away from me or less. But I can hear perfectly fine, phones ringing far away, knocks on doors, etc. that other people don't hear. I've thought that it might be due to a lack of complete concentration but I have not been able to find a solution.

Another to add to the list, I have a speech impediment, your average dyslexia I guess, although only mildly. Too often words slip from my mind, even if I've used them frequently or recently, and I'm left standing with a half-finished sentence and people waiting for the punch line.

I feel as though I have the potential to be smarter than I am, but something keeps blocking my path, and I don't know what it is.
All I want is to be better than this, so I can live my life properly as a better person.


Thanks for listening...

Is irony dead? I have to wonder.

On Friday, I put up a Mad Magazine parody movie poster of “Gulf Wars: Episode II, Clone of the Attack” on my office door. If features George Dubya Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powel, Donald Rumsfeld, Saddam Hussein, and George Herbert Walker Bush in various dramatic movie poses, with a large rocket (possibly carrying a nuclear payload?) taking off in the background. It’s modeled after the Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones movie poster, and the moment I saw it I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s one of the most brilliant, ironic criticisms I’ve seen of the Bush administration -- it’s really quite funny.

It’s not flattering -- it’s clearly opposed to the war. If you read the fine print you see statements like “And reprising their roles from Episode I ...” and “A Production of the Second Bush Administration in association with the First Bush Administration,” and my favorite line of all: “And featuring Osama bin Ladin as the Phantom Menace.”

But no one in my office gets it. The conservatives call it “cute” and “cool,” and the leftists think it’s beating the war drum. A friend of mine who placed it in his cubicle at work is also getting similar reactions.

Am I insane? Is this poster with unflattering photographs and a green-tinted Dick Cheney Yoda really pro-War? It doesn’t look like it to me. And what is it with people, anyway? What happened to a sense of humor?

This is what happens when you work with professional journalists, I suspect. Inverted pyramid bleeds it out of them.

We spent the Friday afternoon through early Sunday morning in Atlanta, Georgia at my cousin's wedding. I had been asked to read during his wedding, so we did the rehersal, rehersal dinner, wedding, and reception. I am not that typically social and find long strung out events where I have to speak with people I don't know difficult, but for family, I guess you just suck it up and deal with it.

By the way, on a side note, during the wedding reception dinner, I saw a tradition I was unfamiliar with. While we were eating, some of the guests would begin to tap their glasses with silverware and the bride and groom seemed to be compelled to kiss. Now, it is probably just my cock-eyed way of looking at things, but I don't think having the guests of honor act like trained monkeys and kiss on command is really that great of a tradition. I come down firmly on the side of seeing this tradition disappear.

The only downside to the weekend is that we had to be back early on Sunday, because of our participation in an event at our church. This required that we get up well before dawn to make the three and a half hour drive back to Columbia. Since we were committed to being at church until about 12:30 in the afternoon, we opted to go and collect Sophie, our five month old Maine Coon kitten ( picture available on my homenode) from my wife's folks on the way in, rather than spend another two hours driving in the afternoon, and cutting into our nap time.

The path we took to my in-laws cut into rural South Carolina about the time the sun was coming up. Some of the images that greet you on a back road in South Carolina are:

The whole drive made me realized that a simple drive in a rural county in my home state can provide me with noding material for a week.

Well, it's 3 days away from Thanksgiving and the beginning of the anxiety-and-despair-with-a-smattering-of-innocent-joy season. Thank goodness I have a wife and children or else I'd probably remain drunken and unwashed until Valentine's Day. And then start all over.

Supervixen wants another table-breaking spread which would be fine if she was doing the cooking. Though I make 95 percent of the meals at home, Thanksgiving dinner is the one meal over which she has total control. "Here, chop this," she'll say. "Stay out of that." If I try to fiddle with anything, it's "Who's making this, you or me?"

However, this year she's working a double at the airport. So it's just me and the boys. Therefore, I thought I had a good argument for changing the yearly feast from a genetically-modified Butterball to something simple yet just as filling. Something like spaghetti carbonara. Or lasagna. Perhaps an elaborate breakfast: belgian waffles with sausage, eggs, syrup and strawberries. Shrimp etouffe. Blackened grouper with red beans and rice.

"For Christmas," she said. "Or New Year's." Then, gazing out the kitchen window, "Hmmm. Maybe I'll make three stuffings this year..."

So I will succumb again to the wishes of Supervixen. My job will be to have everything timed perfectly so when she comes breezing in from work we can all sit down to a sumptuous feast and she can regale us with more stories of rude, psychotic airline travellers.

SweetfaceBoy and Vonda MaShone will tell her about the floats and balloons from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. RunningHammer will eat tiny fistfuls of sweet potatoes and remove his diaper. SweetfaceBoy will kindly state that he does not care for turkey and could he please have some more macaroni and cheese. Vonda MaShone will eat only gravy. Supervixen will finish her plate and then pick from the boys'. She will glance at me with a contented smile. I will be full in many ways.

I came in this morning, started Outlook, and one of the first things I saw was an email from my supervisor with the Subject line "New employees". The message read: "What did you two decide?" It was sent on Sunday evening, so obviously this was something that had been preying on her mind all weekend.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

So far the whole day has been like that.

I had to make a run up to A to Z Printing, because one of the pages that needed copying somehow didn't get copied. Penn Station is just a block down from there, so I brought home subs for dinner (plus fresh cut french fries and fresh squeezed lemonade). While waiting for my subs to be made, I went next door to the St. Vincent d'Paul thrift store and bought a vaporizer. We own two, one of which is lost and the other of which mostly doesn't work. This new one is great : it holds two gallons, and in just a few hours brought the humidity in the bedroom up to a much more comfortable level.

The tricky bits at work today involved pulling urls out of the javascript found in random urls, without actually attempting to run or even parse the javascript directly.

I received my last two graphic novels from amazon.com, Sin City and Batman: Year One. I hereby swear not to buy any more for a long long time. I shouldn't be spending the time or the money on such things right now.

Happy Birthday Amelia! You are 17 months old today!

When I picked up Amelia at school today, she had moments before been bitten on the hand by an older student (older meaning maybe two and a half). They had cleaned the site of the injury, and were icing it when I got there. Amelia seemed content to stay with the teacher who was caring for her, so I sat down next to them. I wasn't there but a few moments when another little girl came up to me, said "hi", and sat in my lap for some attention. Moments later I was informed that this was Julia, the one who bit Amelia. I tried to muster some anger or something, but she really had no idea that she had done something noteworthy. I said a few things to Julia for the entertainment of the adults nearby, such as "Usually my rule is 'you make Amelia cry and I make you cry' but I'll let you off this time". Said in a loving tone, however, and only made Julia smile.

Packing to go to Jacksonville, Florida for Thanksgiving. We leave way too early tomorrow morning. We come back Sunday, and I don't even get to leave the airport before flying out again, this time alone, to San Francisco for work.

I discovered Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic quiz at http://beliefnet.com/story/76/story_7665_1.html today. I highly recommend it.

Ruth Anne has been busy all day creating scrapbooks, in memory of her mother, for her sisters and other relatives. Once all the pages are gathered together, she binds them with an old Japanese technique that you can read about at http://www.sff.net/people/Brook.West/bind/bindit.html

Wow, all that and I'm still going to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Who'd of thought it.

It's so easy for a computer person to get tired of computers. I remember a time when I was up coding at all hours of the night, playing around with Java or knocking some Web page or other up, quick-as-a-flash.

But today - and it's been a tough day, played out entirely in the real world without so much as the support of a mouse click - I found myself reflecting on what I want to be. Or, to be more accurate, what I want my life to be.

I have an honours degree in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh, and that's great. It's a poorly-designed, cheaply laminated piece of paper that symbolises five years of really tough work for me; after the sweat and the tears you'd think I'd want to use it. But I don't; I see my friends and people on the Internet spending their lives looking at Linux windows or designing content management systems, working ten hours a day and coming home to an empty house.

Please, God, don't let that ever be me.

But if that's not me, who am I? And where am I going? And finally, perhaps most importantly, what can I possibly offer the outside world?

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