Still at the Three Judges. The biggest thing to happen over the weekend was a fight between two drug dealers, one of whom was pretty badly cut up. Spent most of yesterday cleaning out the Large Plastic Tub, didn't get out to the library. Still no real leads for a roommate.

My mother has just heard from the cousin I picked money up from: she said that she didn't give me more, since she'd seen some money in my wallet, and was concerned that she might be "enabling". She followed up with a discussion, if you can believe it, of her painful toenail, and how she feels as if she should see the doctor about it, again.

Friday, I went out and had a nice chat with a fellow from Bank of America, who gave me some job-hunting tips. Some fellow at the motel thinks I'm some kind of psychological basket case since he saw me walking on the road with my pack and bedroll. We're avoiding each other now, since he caught me discussing excercise and pregnancy with his boss's wife, thoroughly embarrassing him, he says. (What kind of guy has a serious business meeting in a no-tell motel parking lot on Sunday afternoon? Hmmmm....) Saw a good documentary on Discovery about child bodybuilding, and I'm reading a history of stage magic. I'll have more WU's for you soon. Bye.

My dad used to tell me that life had a funny way of giving you exactly what you want exactly when it's the least convenient to get it.

Six months ago, I wasn't terribly happy with my job. I was awaiting my Department of Defense Secret-level clearance sitting away from my coworkers with only about 20 hours worth of work to do in each 40 hour week. Suffice it to say, my job satisfaction wasn't breaching any all time highs. My then-fiancée was finishing her bachelor's degree at Illinois State University while I was bored out of my skull eight hours a day in California.

I was introduced to a manager in Colorado through a coworker who was looking for people for a project that was scheduled to start within a few months. The schedule slipped (as schedules are wont to do), and I fell out of contact with the manager.

Skip ahead six months, and I'm married, my wife has a job she likes selling overpriced statues to the rich, my job satisfaction is the highest it's been since college, and I'm in process of applying to graduate school at San José State University (There's $70 down the tubes if we move). We're settled into an overpriced one-bedroom apartment, we've found a supermarket we like, and I've got a new Nintendo DS with three games (1, 2, 3). Life is good.

Since life is good, this manager stops by my office out of the blue and asks if I'm still interested in the transfer. I know that I am, but I'm not certain if we are. I have no desire to tear Mrs. jclast away from her job, and we both like the area. We're anxious to purchase a house which will take years of saving in the Bay Area, but what if she can't find work there?

And just to add to my confusion, my current boss doesn't want to let me go. There may be more money in it for me, but I don't want to be the kid that threatens to leave if he doesn't get a raise. Right now, they're considering just sending me to Colorado as a part of my current department. I like that solution the best because I like my coworkers, and it means I'll get to work with my uncle (who got me the interview for my current job).

We've got a lot to talk about tonight, and it scares me a little that major decisions no longer affect just me. My income and her happiness affect us both. She's worth it; I just didn't think we'd be making decisions like this after only being married for a month.

Sanctioned silliness is the last bastion of the terminally insipid. Talking like a pirate is extremely funny – if done spontaneously, as a product of your own wit and imaginationonce. As a yearly tradition adopted by soulless cretins desperate to show how zany and interesting they are, it's a poisonous, misguided exhibition of terminal blandness. It is also an insult to real pirates.

Here's some friendly advice: just don't bother. You'll only confuse people. They're not going to change their minds about you anyway; you're incurably dull. There are, however, some alternatives if you're going to insist on making September 19th a special day.

Tell Everybody About How Much You Like Radiohead Day

Oh come on, you people all listen to Radiohead. It's personality in a package – it makes you look so deep! As an added bonus, if you talk to anybody with those thick-rimmed glasses about symbolism in Paranoid Android, they will want to sleep with you.

Wear a T-Shirt With A Swear Word On It Day

Ooh! Edgy!

Be Ironic Day

Write a biting column about how rubbish Talk Like A Pirate day is and post it on an Internet writing community, making sure to include a 'hilarious' meta-referential comment making light of your own personality defects... hey, WAIT A MINUTE!

Stop Trying To Be Clever For Once In Your Life, You Loathsome Bastard (Day)

You heard me.

Stick to wacky ties, yeah?

Previously deleted by a git.

Sold: 1993 F-150 $1,200

I know at an intellectual level that vehicles are just cold, lifeless machinery, but I swear my old '93 F-150 was sometimes like a child that throws a temper tantrum at inopportune moments when it feels slighted or put upon, such as the day the torque converter went south the same day as I mailed in the last payment. Still, for 13 years and 180,640 miles, I have put up with its bumper rash, dead starters, noisy fuel pumps, stuck thermostats, flat tires, and other gremlins, because the mechanical heart of the beast, the engine and drivetrain has been stout and faithful. To be fair, many of the times it did break down were in my driveway rather than on an the Beltway at rush hour or in West Baltimore at night. For the most part it gave me warnings of impending doom, and I was usually able to nurse it home. It has been a good backup vehicle for my Accord and Civic over the years, and it has been there to haul home everything from lumber to motorcycles to cow manure. It has also helped me haul away all sorts of junk, and helped me move twice. Tonight I sold it, and it is somebody else's problem child now. Somewhere a group of Guatamalans will be trying to get it to pass inspection, I guess. Hopefully the inspector will be kind and let it continue to roam the streets of Baltimore County for a while longer.

A New Flame

I probably would have held onto it for a couple more years, but a flyer posted by one of the locals here in Boring at the post office led me to a well maintained and very clean '94 F-150 4 Wheel Drive pickup, freshly inspected for only $2200. I strongly coveted the 4 wheel drive traction to get in and out of my steep snowbound lane in the winter, one thing the old pickup was lacking of. I also knew that a rusty cancer lurked in many of the recesses of the frame and major suspension parts of the old truck, and though it was not terminal yet, it was only a matter of time before something major underneath failed. The '94 looked at least 5 years newer than my '93 underneath, ran like a top and drove smoothly, despite having even more miles on the odometer than my '93. It was time to trade up.

Saying Goodbye

With the shiny blue '94 4X4 in my driveway needing tags and insurance, it was time to put the For Sale sign on my old red '93 and get what I could out of it. After shining it up and parking it out by the main road for a couple of weeks, and listing it on craigslist, I found a buyer willing to pay a mutually agreed on price of $1,200, which is about what I expected to get for it. Though the truck behaved itself surprisingly well during the test drives, it had one more surprise in store for me. After signing over the title and counting out the money, the truck refused to start - or do anything else for that matter. I traced the problem to a seriously and suddenly dead battery, and to add insult to injury, the strain of the shorted battery and the jump starts necessary to get the truck running caused a leak of magic smoke from the alternator. I had no choice but to fix it or lose the sale, and on the second try, I finally got a good alternator in it by 4 this afternoon. I fixed a few other niggling problems I had ignored, and finally it drove away about 7 PM, with decorative license plates, in the middle of a 3 car convoy towards Owings Mills. I better get to the MVA first thing in the morning to turn in the old tags!!

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