How many people do you think have been eaten by Crocodiles in the last ten years? In Australia that is.

I reckon 90% of them must be tourists.

Why do they not believe the signs? Why do they think that the large crocs they see sunning themselves or swimming in waterholes would be fun to swim with? How do they not think of themselves as Hors D'oevres?

Which person in their right mind actually says "Hey, its midnight, its a beautiful night, lets go swimming"? And what is going through the mind of the other person(s) who say "Yeah, OK - Last one in is a rotten egg!"?

I think its unjust that the company who took them out on the jaunt are now going to be held responsible.
Caveat emptor baby.

Or Caveat Eater in this case.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/23/1034561549695.html

She just left my place a few minutes ago. She was sleeping on my floor, so I snuggled up against her. I enjoy it so much. I was paying perfect attention to her, and suddenly, I heard her exhale - and it reminded me of something. I listened again and again, until I was sure I heard the pattern perfectly. Have any of you played "Metroid 2: Return of Samus" for GameBoy? I have. It was one of my favorite games, way back when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. That was some time ago. Her exhales sounded exactly like the noise the mother brain makes when you hit her with a missile, and then freeze her with a missile. I mean it sounded exactly like that. It made me think about being younger again; about how much I had ahead of me then. It made me hope to God that I am not going to be a failure. Being reminded of being so young, so fresh, and so innocent, by something as beautiful as a girl's breath wooshing over my eardrum - it made me feel so deeply. I pray every day that people are living fully - I pray so much that I am not a failure. I would not be able to deal with letting my Mother down.

While Jennifer was sleeping, I watched her, and I felt so scared. I was so scared of not being realized - not being attained. I feel so deeply and badly for those who go through life, only not to have soared, not to have experienced fully the wonder of one's own existance. I hope and pray that she does - and I hope and pray that I do. I do the same for everyone - all of you, even if I may not like who you are.

I am so sad.

floating on this precipice i have clarity of vision. i can see for miles and miles and all i see is you. within and without, above, below, cradling tired limbs like half-sleep.

just another love node, like so many before and so many to come. a daylog of rapturous romanticism...

nahhhh, im sick of that shit...lets talk about monkeys. google eyed, mite picking, flaming assed baboons. yeah man....it's all about the baboons. now theres a party animal. if a baboon were a rock star who would he be? methinks george clinton, perhaps. he rocks and flails like the jiggiest of primates.

another day, another dollar, oh wait, nooooo, just another day since i am still unemployed. this is crazy, i'm good, baby. ive walked into dozens of restaurants and been hired on the spot. hey, it ain't programming or rocket science, but i'm a damn good waitress. and its not easy, despite what so many of you think. it takes highly developed focus and efficiency. i get your refills before you even know you need one, i can carry a ten table station and help out the new girl who's about to cry because her steaks all came out overdone, the guy working the fry station keeps looking at her like he knows what she looks like nekkid and she accidentally closed out a credit card slip to cash. after all, its just a show. and if youre having a good time then joe schmoe at table 214 is having a good time. well he will be when i upsell that third grey goose martini he didnt even know he wanted....

my point is this: i need a job, so if anyone is in the los angeles area and knows of any restaurants that are hiring (preferably ones with entrees starting at around $12), feel free to message me...

I discovered today that my roommate’s English-accented-Anglo Saxon-raised in Mexico-enlisted in the Israeli army boyfriend is nine years her junior. He has been visiting her since October 5th, and thus in a way visiting me as well, since our apartment is about as tiny as they come, and although they do spend a majority of their time in her bed with the door shut tight, the extra presence is duly noticeable no matter the location of this third body. He is an extremely charming and interesting individual, fluent in Mexican Spanish as well as being a citizen of Mexico for most of his life, but speaks English with a British accent (he was born in London for some reason and lived there for a while). And now he is living in Jerusalem, waiting to move out with the army. All at the age of twenty. So I suppose his chronological age does not encompass his experiences, although he does have a shirt that says Coma Caca (stylized after the Coca-Cola logo) which he wears with great pride, and he watches Dragonball Z daily as well as being a huge fan of the “Lonely Jew” song from South Park (he is incredibly Jewish despite his sandy blond hair, and he and my roommate usually speak in Hebrew).

Did I mention that my apartment is attached to the Jewish Resource Center at the University of Michigan? It is a fabulous gray-blue old Victorian house near central campus. I am the only non-Jewish tenant, and am therefore recruited to shut off the fire alarm on Saturdays when the tiny naughty Jewish children pull bright red levers to sound the siren (turning electricity on and off is similar to lighting a fire, which is not allowed on the holy day. That’s why I get to shut stuff off.).

I am in the middle of midterms, and have a Japanese exam tomorrow morning at ten sharp. I need to memorize one hundred ninety three kanji before then. I am procrastinating, as I have far too much time in which to accomplish this task at present. I work best under pressure, and there is not enough of it yet.

I went to my first support group meeting today, which I am not at liberty to talk about in agreement with the rules it is run with. However, I believe it is safe to speak of what I talked about, as I would have done so here anyway, regardless of what was dragged out of me in front of strangers sitting around an antique table in a musty old room. I reluctantly spoke of my above mentioned roommate, and how she tends to take up all four shelves in the refrigerator and leaves none for me to put my meager rations upon. When I say take up, I mean stuff full, with no room left for anything. She is training for the New York marathon and thus eats like a horse, and rightly so. And yet I waste away by a steady two or three pounds a week, devoid of space to even attempt to fill with the nourishment I need to be buying at the store. At present I have some Motts apple juice, three fat free Yoplait yogurts (raspberry, Boston Cream Pie, and strawberry), two single-serving cartons of Egg Beaters, three bottles of Perrier, three pounds of leftover apples, a bag of baby carrots, and eight plastic cups of sugar-free Jello. All I want is half a shelf. Is that unreasonable?

It was kind of nice to be back in the support group therapy atmosphere again, as much as I hate to admit that. I was the thinnest there, which worried me. I was hoping to see girls worse off than me, as horrible as that makes me sound, in order to encourage me to be thinner yet. Now I have no one to compete with. Sick sick sick, I can see this in my thinking patterns without the help of anyone. I am still supposed to set up an appointment with a real counselor at the request of my physician, but that is not going to happen unless I get below one hundred ten pounds. I am not sure I will, as I have been doing remarkably well these past two weeks – I am eating at or above normal most days, and even incorporating such damning food as oatmeal raisin cookies (my absolute favorite) and Skittles. My mother is still threatening to send me back to Iowa, where I learned that being healthy is better than being subjected to endless needles and doctors poking at my bones saying“gain weight or die!” in their cheerful, no-nonsense voices while sticking me in a wheelchair. Makes me want to eat one more bowl of oatmeal in the morning instead of feeling the utter satisfaction of an empty tummy, as the second will certainly lead to months of forced oatmeal and a vacation to the ugliest state in this country. What a nightmare.

A snippet from today's news from the Netherlands..

Venlo, October 24 2002

The 22 year old man that was assaulted on Tuesday by two 18 year olds died this morning around 2:20. The student suffered a severe beating after he addressed the two boys on their reckless driving. Apparently, the boys nearly ran over an elderly lady in the parking lot of a local supermarket. Mr. Steegmans then told the boys to have some respect for the elderly. After bludgeoning Mr. Steegmans, the two boys went into the supermarket to do their shopping. They were arrested moments later.

Source: NOS news: www.omroep.nl/nos/nieuws/index.html

I got beat up once for no apparent reason, almost two years ago. Me and two of my flatmates were out in Delft, where we live. Delft is a small, but not tiny city according to Dutch standards. It has a population of about one hundred thousand people. About one fifth of these are students, including me and my friends. That night, we had been drinking. Badly. We don't get drunk regularly really, we are not frat boys, but for some reason the three of us felt frustrated with one thing or another and we went out and tried to forget about it.

Around 4 a.m. we wandered into a local grill to get something to eat. The owner told us that he was officially closed and that he would only serve us if we stayed outside. There were more people eating outside, so we agreed. At some point a guy walked into the street. He was completely wasted and unlike ourselves, he didn't hold up very well. He tried to pick a fight with .. well, with anyone who would really. With us not being the fighting type, we ignored him.

Some of the other customers did not. They could not take his racist remarks ("Go home! You people are eating Jewish food!", it wasn't even an Israeli grill, but what the hell did he know!). At first, I asked the grill owner to call the police, but he refused. Afraid as he was to get into trouble for serving customers at this hour. Eventually somebody, not me or my friends, chased him out of the street. There was no fight.

A few moments later we walked home. We were so out of it that we had to carry one another. As I said, this was one of those rare occasions when we really had a lot to drink. Once we were around the corner, we walked right into the guy who had been bugging us earlier. This time, he brought friends. Big friends. There was really nothing to do for us but run, or at least try. We were mildly successful: my two flatmates got away. I was the slowest runner and I got tripped. My friends never noticed. You can hardly blame them. I didn't anyway.

The kicking didn't hurt me much. I remember thinking that it was quite bearable. At one point I felt it had been enough and I got up and ran away. They let me go. I noticed a slight pain in my wrist, but apart from that I felt fine at first. One of my friends took me to the hospital and they X-rayed me. I had a broken scaphoid. I am a musician and a computer science student. Needless to say, I was not happy with a broken wrist. The next day I woke up with a very painful shoulder. Apparently it had been dislocated and now it started to hurt. After about a week, I started to notice the background headache that had been with me since it happened. I hadn't noticed it at first, but at one point I picked up the bus schedule booklet and I couldn't make sense of the tables in it. I just didn't understand. Then it struck me that I felt 'different' since it all happened.

To cut a long story short, I had suffered a severe concussion. I had to stop studying for six months on doctor's order. Those were the most excruciatingly boring six months of my life. I couln't read, I couldn't watch t.v., I couldn't have a conversation with any depth for an extended period of time, I sure as hell could not play any musical instruments with one hand. In fact, I couldn't even cut cheese to put on my bread with one hand. I was forced to just sit. Like a vegetable, only with the burden of conciousness.

Perhaps I should add, as a little background information, that 2000 wasn't exactly my lucky year to begin with. At the end of 1999, a man had beaten my 77 year old grandmother to death during an argument in her own home. Granted, my grandmother could be an unreasonable pain, especially during arguments, but this was clearly unnecessary. Two days later, he did about the same thing with his own mother. He plead insanity and was acuitted. They told us that he would spend the rest of his days in a mental institution. The last thing I heard was that he was elligible for a weekend leave a few months ago. My grandmother is still dead. She never gets a weekend leave. As if this wasn't enough, in the months between these two events, my stepfather's brother died of unnatural causes (on which I do not care to elaborate) and my two year old niece was diagnosed wit leucaemia. Luckily, she has been declared 'cured' now, to the extent possible.

My point. Well, I guess the point is that my guess is as good as yours. I find it increaslingly difficult to cope with all this. I am a nihilist. Not the belly staring, black dressing "life sucks and then you die" stereotype, just somebody who doesn't believe in an afterlife, a raison d'etre or a governing force. I am an optimist, although I really know better. I enjoy life and all and I am surely not the quitting kind, but I carry a knot in my stomach about all of this.

I used to believe that all people had at least a sense of justice in them. I used to think that respect was just a matter of common sense, of "I won't bug you if you don't bug me". But it isn't so. Apparently, some people find it very reasonable to beat other people to death over a petty argument or to just shoot at random people from a hidden location without any particular reason, really. Of course, I have always known about this, but it seems I have never fully realised that we are really confronted with these people everyday. They are around us and amongst us and even if we can catch them, there is no appropriate form of retribution imaginable. Perhaps this is the hardest thing to accept in a person's life. I am talking about the fact that justice does not really exist. It is just a very good idea, but nothing more than that.

I understand you religious folks. To an extent I even envy you. I just wished it were that simple..

Slowly one by one and sometimes even in pairs they enter the corridor, gliding awkwardly scanning the doors and walls searching for clues as to where they are headed. They stop at the end of the corridor where all the others who came before had stood to a halt. There are no seats some slump against the walls others just collapse on the floor as if standing was too much of an effort. They wait in silence.

Some bored already, after a few minutes, rummage through their bags desperately seeking refuge from the uneasiness of being surrounded by complete strangers. Many have a book at hand for such situations, others find entertainment in their mobile phones whilst the rest choose to stare at the walls avoiding eye contact.

Whether they are “reading”, sending an SMS or staring at nothing they are all fully aware of what’s happening around them yet they try and seem as uninterested as possible. Whenever somebody walks up the corridor heads turn, and the victim knows they are being judged.

The sound of footsteps comes from the stairs a young man appears at the opposite end of the corridor. Heads turn slowly as they hear him coming. He is wearing trousers several sizes too big, his hair in blond dreadlocks. However unlike many of the others he seems confident, he walks casually up the corridor hands in pockets and as if time did not exist. When he reaches the end of the corridor he leans against the wall and smiles to himself for he knows he has fooled everyone. He knows he’s made an impression the others think he’s laid back and more importantly not intimidated by the others and maybe even think he’s cool and all he’s done is walk in.

The next person was a woman she walked in but stopped casually to glance at a sign on the wall. Her stride more relaxed and slower than some of the others rather like that of a woman in her forties. Her long coat and shoes like that of a mature woman but; when she turns; her face shows something different, there are no signs of ageing as you’d expect from seeing her fuller figure in those clothes. Her complexion is that of woman no older than 25. But in the corridor of this establishment she seems out of place. Out of place when compared to the other skinny girls in their tight bootleg denim trousers, tailored jackets and chunky boots. She is aware of the icy glares from the other women yet they don’t seem to bother her, she knows she’s different but she accepts it.

A few minutes later the door opens a dozen young people walk out. Those already in the corridor stay hovering whilst the others rush out. Slowly they make their way in carefully selecting who to sit by. Those already seated make an effort to seem friendly hoping somebody sits beside them so they don’t end up looking like a looser.

Once the door closes everything seems different. The people seem much more at ease. They’ve all been brought together by this common goal. Now they have accepted each other and their differences. Now the first lecture of term can start.

So now it looks like the “D.C. Sniper” has been caught. Perhaps some of the hysteria people have experienced over the last few days will finally die down.

One of the cases Michael Moore makes in his film “Bowling for Columbine” is that America is a violent society because the news media creates a culture of fear. There’s no greater example of that than how the local media here in D.C. has treated the sniper case. The general message has been: “There’s a sniper out there folks, and he’s after you and your children.”

But the reality of it is that more people in the D.C. area die a month from things like cancer and traffic accidents than they did from the sniper attacks. One woman came into my office yesterday saying she thought she personally was going to get killed -- or our boss’s child. I tried to calm her down and explain that she has a better chance of dying from being hit by a drunk driver, or having breast cancer than she does being killed by the sniper, but she wouldn’t back down.

“There aren’t people in cars trying to hunt me down,” she said. “But there is a sniper hunting me down. It could be anyone he gets!”

”But anyone could also die in a traffic accident,” I replied. “I could walk outside for lunch, and someone could hit me in an intersection. It happens all the time.”

(As an aside, just two months ago I was walking back to work from lunch, when I saw a car turn a corner and flip upside down, crashing into a parked truck. If I’d been in the intersection where it happened, and they’d hit me, I could have very well been dead -- I thought about bringing this up to my coworker, but I doubt she’d get the point I was trying to make.)

After about a half hour of arguing she was getting progressively angry with me, and I could see I wasn’t getting anywhere. It’s terrible how the news can generate such terror in people -- they’re really irresponsible in how they report these things. The implication is always that you, the viewer, are destined to be a victim. If it’s not the sniper that gets you, then you’ll die in a terrorist attack. Maybe al Qaeda has a dirty bomb they’re prepared to set off on K Street during rush hour?

It all reminds me of a great skit on Saturday Night Live a few years back -- Jerry Seinfeld was the host. They spoofed a local news program, and the headline was “Your furniture may kill you -- find out how!” Of course, they held back the “headline” until the end, when it turned out to be of little importance. But watching the local news, you can tell that fear is what gives them their ratings.

“Do you know where your children are? They may be at the local ‘ravedanceclub Buzz -- doing drugs and having wild homosexual sex. Find out more tonight on Fox News!”

That’s a real headline -- though I’m paraphrasing. The sniper reports were like that, too, only they gave updates every fifteen minutes or so -- even when there wasn’t any news to update. “The sniper is still out there, Bob. And he’s hungry for blood!” It’s ridiculous. I really hope it’s over. I’m sorry those people died, and I’m also sorry that so many others (including myself) have lived in terror for the past few weeks. But the news media could have been more responsible about how they reported it -- caution is one thing, but selling people fear is quite another.

I am constantly amazed by my ability to think logically, coolly, and reasonably about a subject, know all the right answers, and have a very legitimate thought process and still thoroughly tie myself up in knots about it.

The most recent case is my 20th high school reunion this weekend. I attended a small private high school in my hometown where many of the children of wealthy, upwardly mobile families attended. It was the early 80’s so there were Polo shirts, Bass Weeguns, and khaki pants as far as the eye could see. There were new cars that were replaced by newer cars when Biff or Muffy got tired of the old one or wrecked it.

I came from a less moneyed family than most of my classmates, although I had the brains to hold my own. I always felt like the red-headed stepchild at my high school because I drove an old VW and none of my clothes were designer made. Also, the fact that I was painfully shy and had the social graces of a wounded cape buffalo makes me remember the whole four years as a painful blur.

So it is twenty years later and a lot of things have changed. My complexion has cleared up. I can talk with women without trying to impress them with my charm, wit, and good manners. (Now it just happens naturally, I don’t have to try.) I have had sex. I have a good job, a loving wife, and friends who care about me. I live a comfortable life and make a difference in the lives of others through the work I do with my church.

So, why in the world do I feel like I am fifteen years old who has just been called on to stand up in front of the class and give a book report with a raging erection and tight pants? I know that these people’s opinion only has as much weight in my life as I give it but I am still quite nervous about the whole thing.

Life is weird like that.

A letter to an ex:

Dear J,

Well, you're gone, or about to be gone. I feel thoroughly unsatisfied. Nothing is ever perfect, and with me, it’s usually far from it. I hate thinking it, and I feel so guilty saying it, but when you get on that plane tomorrow, the feeling I have will be one of relief.

I'm not perfect. I haven't treated you anywhere near as well as I could. You came to Australia looking for an escape. You found an escape from San Francisco, but not from yourself, nor me. In hindsight, moving was not a wise idea. Maybe we'd have done so much better if we’d had a "normal" relationship. Far too many factors made little things that much bigger.

I'm determined not to make this letter a laundry list of what you did wrong, nor to justify my wrongs, though I'm sure at points it will sound like that. I just need to say some things, to clear my head. Your blatant double standards, your insatiable need to be right, even when provably wrong, self-centeredness, to outright hypocrisy at times. Your attacking of me for making an issue of things when really it was you making the issue.

You would stay up all night on the `net. I could live with that. I did the same. The difference was I didn't bitch or make snide remarks when it suited me. You would complain about me doing it and then sleeping half the day, but seemingly failed to make the connection when you did the same thing twenty-four hours later. I won't even start on the money - I would like to believe that, all told, things worked out evenly, and I'm nearly content to leave it at that.

You cheated on me. On more than one occasion. And though I've been less than perfect in that regard in the past, I wasn't with you. I flirted with some girls on IRC, I even 'played' with one or two, both of whom knew I had a real life girlfriend. You did the same, and demanded I stop. You then went out, arranged to meet a couple, and only cancelled when you brought up the subject "as a hypothetical" and I expressed vehement opposition to it. Then it was mysteriously cancelled due to you "not feeling well".

And then, the time I do know you cheated on me, your excuse was quite implausible. "Staying out with some people to get the first tram home to save $20, and then someone saying at 6am that ‘Oh, but I have a car’" like he'd just realised? The thing is, J., I was out in the courtyard that night. I couldn't sleep. I saw you arrive home with him. I saw him four hours later when he surprised you by turning up on our doorstep, and you disappeared for the weekend.

But what hurts most now, knowing you did, was that after turning up at the house at 6.45 am, and getting into yet another argument, you vehemently, viciously and venomously denied do anything wrong, and "how dare I even suspect you of such a thing". And I believed you, for a while. Your denials were so emphatic that I thought maybe I was wrong.

But your world revolves around you. I pay the majority of the rent, but its your apartment. I pay 99% of the phone bill, but it's your phone line, and how dare I use it the way I wish. And it's no secret that since about New Years Day that our relationship was in a decline. It hasn't even been a relationship for a while now. We are just two people occupying the same house. Literally. We pass each other in the hallways, we speak superficial niceties when we must, and other than that, we may as well lock ourselves in different rooms. And we do that, too.

And I feel so angry with myself, so guilty and ashamed, that I'm counting down the days, the hours, until your plane leaves, so I can close a chapter of my life. But somehow, I feel you're doing the same.

But we had some good memories, and I will always remember them. They'll be there forever, but, for now, I'm afraid the anger, the upset, the disappointment and bitterness are the most potent tastes in my mouth.

Love always,

R

Here I go again..sorry but I can't resist this.


Ok, so it is just me or has anyone else noticed the latest string of anti-drug commercials that have viciously seeped into the world of television.

I am referring here to recent commercials created by the Youth Anti-Drug Campaign. For example, there is one advertisement on T.V. that shows clips of a guns, car, etc, and throws statements at the audience like,

"Where do terrorists get their money? If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you."

Are they SERIOUS?

Again, as in other nodes related to this topic, I question their logic. I question it because, like every other paranoid reaction to the September 11th attacks, it is a display of pure and utter ignorance and stupidity.

First, the threat of terrorism is not a new phenomenon, and the U.S. government knows that and has for a long time. Why the American people didn't realize this, well we can thank good old mass media propoganda and laziness for that.

Second, the connection that any possible terrorist or terrorist group may have to illegal drugs and their distribution, well, the government didn't seem to care about that before, and further, if the government has all this information about illegal drug distribution why haven't they acted on it yet?

Obviously I am ranting, but this new campaign is just ridiculous. Another advertisement is a poster with a picture of a kid on it, and he is quoted,

"Last weekend I washed my car, hung out with a few friends, and helped murder a family in Columbia. C'mon, it was a party."

This kind of bullshit just has to stop. The hypocrisy of our government has got to stop. Don't they realize that most of the pot that is distributed in this country is either local or from Canada? Don't they realize that their rules and their regulations perpetuate the very activities that they are trying to combat? Don't they realize that their involvement in Colombia, like in Mexico only allows other drug cartels to access and profit from the drug trade in America and the world?

I just don't understand this culture anymore. President Bush, what a fucking moron. Why doesn't he focus on the dwindling economy, the poor state of public education...need I go on...before making a fool out of himself and his administration by forcing another tool of control towards the people of this country. I know that a lot of you noders are American, and you may not agree with me at all. But I hope that you can at least see just how ridiculous this new campaign is. How insulting it is to our intelligence and how it is nothing but an instrument of control.

I can picture Bush with his aids, "Hey what kind of bullshit can we convince them of next! Hahahahaha! Hell, I got the Supreme Court to go against the very document it is supposed to uphold when I got elected, betchya I can convince these folks of a drug/terrorist connection. Muhaaahaaahaaa!"

Here again, I might be pushing a few of your buttons, but I am just trying to be realisitic, just trying to put this shit on the table, and stir up the pot. The discussion pot that is...

On that note, I leave you all with the wise words of Bill Hicks:

But I'll tell you, I never heard one reason that rang true why marijuana is against the law. That rang true, now I'm talking about the reasons the government tells us, because I hope you know this, I think you do, that all governmnets are lying cocksuckers. I hope you know that. I mean marijuana grows everywhere, it serves a thousand different functions, all of them positive. To make marijuana illegal is like saying that God made a mistake, you know what I mean? It's like God on the seventh day,looked down on his creation and said,"There it is. My creation. Perfect and holy in all ways. Now, I can rest..Oh my eye! I left fucking pot everywhere! I should never have smoked that joint on the third day. Shit. If I leave pot everywhere, that's gonna give people the impression they're supposed to use it. Shit. Now I have to create Republicans!


www.theantidrug.com This website is run by the Youth campaign, it is highly deceiving.

www.theantidrug.org This website is a source that argues against the new campaign, it is a really informative site and raises many good questions.


www.billhicks.com

Maybe it builds up so slowly that you don’t even notice. Maybe it comes in the form of a revelation. Maybe your life circumstances dictate the feeling. I think I’ve hit it though. It’s the thing I’ve always seemed to be in denial about.

For the most part, I think its bound to happen to everybody at some point in their lives. It doesn’t care about what you look like, it doesn’t care about what God you have chosen to worship. As a matter fact, it couldn’t care less if you’ve chosen to worship one at all. It doesn’t care about who you’ve slept with or what partners you might have had. It doesn’t care what you eat, drink, snort, smoke, shoot, or pop. It doesn’t care about who your friends are, who they were, or who they’re going to be. It doesn’t care about your past or your future. It doesn’t care about your accomplishments or your failures. It doesn’t care if your healthy or handicapped, or if your deaf, dumb, or blind. This thing that I’m going on about seems to be a very fickle fellow. I’ve got the feeling that some day’s its going to go into hiding and some days, with increasing frequency, its going to rear it’s head and the feeling is overwhelming.

I was sitting at my favorite watering hole last evening and while sipping some libations, I began to take notice of my surroundings. The music, the crowd, the conversation that surrounded me, the sound of games and laughter all seemed, I dunno, kinda different.

The music was too loud, the crowd was too young, the conversation wasn’t anything I could come close to comprehending. The games I couldn’t play and the laughter seemed, well, young.

As I glanced up in the mirror that surrounds the bar, I took notice of myself. I didn’t look any different than the day before or the day before that. No radical changes in hairstyle, weight, dress or demeanor. I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I decided to leave rather early (for me anyway) amidst much discussion from my friends. They wondered if I was feeling all right and with the best intentions inquired about my state of mind. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn't "belong" there anymore.

I made my way on home and amongst the quiet of my house the thought hit me. I’d finally arrived at the moment I’ve been dreading. I’ve hit middle age. Hit it head on and at full speed. This was not your run of the mill mid life crisis. This was more like a feeling of surrender to my youth, of days and events long past that won’t be recaptured. In a way, I envy you younger folks, in a way I don’t.

Why did it happen then? Why not a day, a week, a month or a year ago? Why did it pinpoint that exact moment? I don’t know if I feel contentment or defeat. Just another one of life’s little mysteries I guess.

Kind thoughts go out to one and all.

The Tale of The Mouse
Part the First

Yesterday TheMouse posted her very first write up on the subject of How to write poetry for E2. It was written with satirical intent to draw attention to two peculiarities of E2,

  • firstly that whereas self-penned poetry seems to get short shrift on E2, the exact same old guff carefully crafted content, when recast as prose, appears to be warmly welcomed and,
  • secondly the common practice within E2 of creating titles for these pieces of such monumental pretentiousness it almost defies belief.

TheMouse was not overly surprised to find that such a challenge to orthodoxy and was greeted today by the voice of Klaproth

Klaproth says I ate your writeup How to write poetry for E2. Life sure is complicated.

Perhaps the citizens of Everything are not yet ready for satire. In any case I have included the offending writeup below for the sale of posterity. (Or at least for as long as the powers that be discover what I've done and delete this as well.)


Of course you are terribly creative and talented, your English teacher told you so. Naturally it is your bounden duty to share your talent and creativity with the world at large and what better place your verse than on dear old E2.

Don't.

No I really mean it. Don't. You'll get downvoted to hell and back, and even worse tou may find those chilling words "Marked for destruction" will appear across the top of your write-up. Sorry and all that. It's just the way it is. People on E2 do not seem to like poetry and that's all there is to it.

All is not lost however, you simply need to follow these two easy lessons to learn how to post your poetry on E2 and survive to tell the tale. So listen up boys and girls because I believe in this, and it's been tested by research.

LESSON ONE

Do not write..

the emerald glint of your eyes
reflects the moonlight and
dazzles my heart
time freezes over
stops
clicks
tumbles over itself
I find myself caught
in their brilliant embrace...

etcetera etcetera

That's poetry and it will get downvoted to hell and back.

And it does not matter how much you play around with the formatting; it will still be poetry and you will still get downvoted to hell and back.

Listen up; this is what you do, you write;

The emerald glint of your eyes reflects the moonlight and dazzles my heart; time freezes over, stops, clicks and tumbles over itself as I find myself caught in their brilliant embrace.

Now that is not poetry, that's prose, and prose is OK, prose gets upvoted. Prose gets C!s.

You will naturally need to pay a little attention to basic grammmar, but not that much,and sprinkle in the odd comma, semi-colon or full stop. (Sorry, I meant period.) Maybe even add the odd "and", "when", "so" or something like that so that the whole piece flows into something vaguely approximating a sentence.

But you're not quite ready to roll yet, you need.....

LESSON TWO

Pick titles carefully !!!!

Do not give your lovingly crafted piece of a screamingly obvious title such as "Emerald Eyes", people will just assume it's either a write up about a Neil Sedeka song or even worse, some boring factual write up about gem production in the Phillipines.

That simply will not do.

You need to choose an impressive title, a title that correctly identifies your write up as a piece of lovingly crafted creative writing.

Something like;

my heart is dancing as your eyes reflect the moonlight shining over the azure bay

Now that will do just nicely!

Note that your chosen title does not have to make sense. In fact the less sense it makes, the better; as the less sense it makes the less likely it is that anyone else will have thought of that particular combination of words and the more likely that your chosen title will be brand new fresh virgin nodespace!

Now you're ready to roll! No longer will you feel embarassed by a negative reputation!

This has been a Public Service Announcement on behalf of the E2 Creative Writing Support Clique.

Coming next; How to write fiction for E2: Why use of the break tag is prohibited.


TheMouse also thinks that some people take this way too seriously.

SQUEAK!

Two years ago today, I joined this crazy place.

Blame it on Beltane. He dragged me here kicking and screaming.

Over 150 Reasons Why I Have Stayed This Long (AKA I LOVE YOU ALL) list may be incomplete

achan Ahab ailie akasha archy Aresds atesh

Beltane bexxta Billy bindlenix birdonmyshoulder* Bitca bongy booyaa briiiiian Byzantine

cahla Cletus the Foetus ccunning Chiisuta Chihuahua Grub Chras4 Chris-O claypenny CowboyNeal Cow of Doom Crux czeano

dann dannye deeahblita dem bones deep thought Devon_Hart Dis discofever Djuxtaposition donfreenut dustfromamoth

edebroux Electric Mollusk etoile etouffee evilrooster

factgirl flamingweasel flyingfish

gahachino Girlface grundoon

Halspal hamster bong hemos herbman Hermetic hughash

iceowl icicle ideath Igloowhite Indra363 Infinite Burn

Jane jaubertmoniker JayBonci Jennifer jethro bodine jessicapierce Jet-Poop Jinmyo Joyquality juliet junkpile Jurph

karma debt karmaflux Kensey KillerPenguin Kit Lo kmcardle knifegirl

laconic LadySun LaggedyAnne lailoken legbagede liha Lometa Lord Brawl Lost and Found lost sock center

Magnas mat catastrophe mischief Mitchevious Mitzi mkb ModernAngel mordel moxie m_turner

nate NatchLucid n0b0dy

ophie Orange Julius Orpheum O-Swirl Ouroboros

panamaus perdedor piq Pseudo_Intellectual pukesick

qousqous Quizro

radlab0 Rancid_Pickle Randir rischi riverrun Roninspoon ryano

sakke Segnbora-t sensei simonc siouxsie Skoob SophiesCat sparkleface stand/alone/bitch swankivy

tandex Templeton TheDeadGuy thefez theonomist ToasterLeavings

Uberfetus Unstrung

Walter wertperch wharfinger WickerNipple wilco witchiepoo WonkoDSane wuukiee

xdjio

yam yossarian

zot-fot-piq

Thank you. All.

Our African Queen is going home. She fled a revolution, leaving all her worldly goods. She arrived in the US with her family and not much else. She built a life and became the nurse you would want to care for your family member. She danced and sang and made a home. She cooked for us; interesting things like sweet potatoe greens and strange, spicy fish dishes. She told us stories of Africa; the beauty, the wisdom, her childhood, the ways of birthing and caring for children. She worked, partied, smiled and hugged like she meant it. She enjoys receiving as well as giving. Bring this girl/woman a home cooked meal or a few flowers and she made you feel like a Queen yourself!

She returns to Africa with her wonderful husband who gazes at her with such open love! Their grown children are all planning to visit for Christmas. Meanwhile it is second honeymoon time. No empty nest trauma here. It is time for life's next stage.

She has a such a happy heart that she glows. She claims she is retired but I expect I'll find her quite involved with her community when I visit, and visit I will. I need to know her world.

It is absolutely amazing how easily people in American are buffaloed, manipulated and taken for fools. And when they buy the package, then they are fools. It grows more and more disturbing with every day. So much so that at times I long for a long and bloody violent war to shake things up enough so that people actually wake up and come to their senses. Something has to be able to shake these robotic wage slaves to the point where they see how marketing and advertising is taking them for dupes on a daily basis. Something has to be able to disturb them to the point where they start to see instead of just blindly following the leader.

The greasy, disgusting and filthy motherfuckers behind Proposition 6 in Florida (designed to eliminate smoking in public places to "protect" non-smokers from second-hand smoke) really make me want to paint the town with projectile vomit. This is the worse kind of human being. The kind that manipulates, uses and twists truth just enough to bend you to their point of view. And they use children as part of their manipulation. "Smoke-Free for Public Health" is inundating the airwaves with highly biased and manipulative advertisements that border on comical. A rather disgusting overweight man in a restaurant in coughing up smoke and obsessively puffing away on a cigarette as if he were sucking cock. He blows the smoke everywhere, especially towards a young and attractive African American family whose wimpy little daughter doubles over, gagging on the wisps of smoke that come her way. Yes, the message here is that second hand smoke is indeed the devil. They've learned these marketing techniques from the success of organizations like "theantidrug.com" who effectively use children to manipulate emotion in viewers and sell their point of view.

How do politicians win elections in the USA? Name recognition. Put signs up all over the lawns of as many people as possible. Why? When they go into the booth there are many candidates for many offices. Not all these candidates are of interest to every voter, and they will tend to to pull the lever for the name that looks most familiar. They do what they are told. They walk out onto the assembly line and become as much like everyone else as they can. They fit in. They allow themselves to be conditioned. The wimps and whiners are taking over. People vote to stop things that bother them and they do it with blanket movements. Extremists seduce the moderates with marketing and effective use of advertising. When PETA started using pictures of cute little animals to fill their bank coffers, other groups took notice. Here was an organization with extreme viewpoints that very few people could actually embrace, but they brought in millions by promoting the angle that they were helping cute little animals. "Socially concerned" teenaged girls were especially targeted in their marketing schemes. Need to get widespread support for your extreme master plan? Use children and cute animals in your advertising. What's next? Beer drinkers pushing old ladies down in the parking lots of gas stations to get to the beer they desperately need? Outlaw the sale of alcohol in places where nice, pleasant law-abiding citizens purchase good things like Coca Cola and Snickers bars. This campaign is coming to your television set in 2005. Let the good times roll.

If there is supposed to be a free market system in the USA, then why won't anyone let it work? A large population of non-smokers wants completely smoke-free restaurants? Why isn't someone capitalizing on this by opening a chain of smoke-free restaurants? Instead, it becomes important to push for laws that tell private business how they must operate. A privately owned restaurant is not a public place. What if someone wanted to open a restaurant just for smokers? Not possible. Restaurants are for non-smokers only. The backlash is coming and it won't be pretty.

Sorry to break it to you, but if a couple stray sniffs of smoke upset your delicate nostrils and keep you up at night having "second-hand smoke" nightmares then you are the one who needs to see a doctor. Don't you have something more important to worry about? Toughen up. Either experience and live your life or crawl into a plastic bubble and be a widdle bitty bubble boy. Or girl. Or person. Or widget. Or whatever the "correct" thing to call people is these days. I can't keep track and I'm a guy who wears skirts for crissakes.

Sorry. Just had to get that out. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming... Open your eyes, people. If you spend a measurable percent of every day trying to figure out how to live forever, then you've just wasted another day. One day they'll remove all the people and replace them with robots. I'll be dead long before then, a fact I am very glad to be aware of, but I wonder if many will even notice the switch...

End of semi-annual Dead Guy pissy mood phase.

Mom had more bleeding problems than we realized yesterday... Her blood count was so low when they checked it today that she had to have 2 blood transfusions to fix it. Again, the hope is that she'll be home tomorrow. I'm not going to hold my breath - Mom just doesn't bounce back from surgery that well, thanks to the diabetes, I suspect.

However, we had the added wonderful time of learning the my uncle John is in the ICU with an unspecified "very sick." My aunt called me to let me know, and she couldn't tell me any more than that - just that he was sick, and if he gets too much worse, that he could join Mom up in Columbus.

Gods, I can't do this... I'm starting to break, and if I have anything else shoved behind my wall, it is going to crumble. It cracked a bit tonight, and I called Rev. Diane. Mom and Uncle John in the hospital, new clinical rotation starting tomorrow, etc. And the purely mundane concern of needing to do my laundry so that I'll have a clean uniform were all I could handle.

So my minister volunteered to come pick up my uniform, take it home with her, and wash it for me. Gods, I have a great minister. How many people have a pastor who will do part of their laundry for them?

I need a hug, a hot cup of tea, and to sleep until it all goes away. Since Dan's at work, I can't have the first. And the third is unfortunately not an option either, as I have to get up for clinical in 6 1/2 hours. I'm gonna go get a cup of tea and spend some time crying into it, I think. G'night.

My roommate Andy and I went to see Wilco play the Agora Theatre in Cleveland tonight. I was somewhat concerned about making this trip. (Driving at night in a city I don't know, ect.) But the drive was really painless, as we just had to get on I-90 West for two hours and get off at Euclid St.

Anyway, the theatre was was kind of interesting. It was both historically interesting (the sign in front kicks ass, and the age of the place evokes a natural curiosity) and run-down at the same time.

The opening act was a band called Califone. They were what a good opening act should be: they kept your attention but sucked enough to make wish the headliner was already out on stage.

Before Wilco came out they played this soundtrack of noise and electronic squeaks that made me think of a Tiger mauling some monkeys. After that they come out and launch into two songs from Being There. I was somewhat surprised because I thought they would come out fast and heavy with stuff from the new album. Sure enough though, the next two songs were I Am Trying to Break Your Heart and War on War both from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. These two songs were the highlight of the evening for me. However good stuff was still to come.

Let me pause here for a moment and say I was somewhat concerned with how Andy would like the show. I took him to see Jay Farrar last year in Pittsburgh, and even though he said he really liked it I wasn't sure he was telling the truth. I was doubtful because Farrar played mainly acoustic material and Andy tends to like bands like Lincoln Park and POD.

One of the things I noticed as the concert progressed, is that Wilco live is all about atmosphere. It's prominent on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with all of it's electronic beeps and thumps; I was just surprised that the band tried to recreate that same feeling in person. It's a neat feeling though, to have an outer wall of sound and then have the basic song come out of it.

I was impressed by frontman Jeff Tweedy's voice. On the records it usually seems flat and rough around the edges -- probably a product of too many cigarettes. But live, he seemed to have command of a voice that had a lot more depth to it.

I also noticed Glenn Kotche, the band's new drummer. He was a fearless wild man. I loved it. I like drummers that try and take an active part in the preformance, instead of sitting back and just providing a backdrop for the guitars or vocals. In fact he busted one of his snare drums on "Casino Queen".

Finally, towards the end of the show a woman threw her bra on stage. At first nobody noticed it, then as Tweedy looked around he noticed it on the ground. He turned back to the audience looking dumbfounded. "Well, that's a first," he said. He thanked the now braless woman and said, "Watch out, we can't have any jiggling," then pointing back to Kotche, "we have children here."

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