The dentist is pleased - my interminable case of bleeding gums seems to have dropped off the radar. This is as much of a surprise to me (if not more) as to him - secretly I suspect I've merely run out of blood.

...

Sovereignty was nice while it lasted. The SFU professor, guest speaker regarding recent world events, tells us that either Canada permits direct US intervention in our foreign policy (immigration, refugees) to put us in the North America secure zone or manages to finangle an economic arrangement whereby we manage to successfully function on the 15% of our economy that deals with buyers outside the U.S. The big question apparently isn't whether it will happen or not, but rather how many Senators we'll be alloted: two per province or two in total? (Could be worse - could be the same number Puerto Rico got...)

...

On two separate occasions today I got caught watching individuals whose appearances I found interesting. Not considering even for a moment to look away, instead I steadily complemented the observation with a smile, which was in both cases surprisingly returned. What sort of wild bevahior has gotten into me? Next thing you know I'll be talking to girls, and we just know that leads to nothing but ruin.

...

The young man with shaved head and beard not overly-unlike mine stands nobly in stained and tattered fatigues on the concrete traffic meridian, holding up his cardboard sign for passing vehicles with a very serious look on his face.

HOMELESS
AND UNHAPPY
-----------
PLEASE HELP

Surely, thinks I to myself, the circumstances which led this young man to the streets constituted ample enough proof that a roof over his head is by no means grounds for happiness in and of itself - comfort, yes, but people with much more than him manage to be much more unhappy, I'd imagine, by virtue of his bulletless brain. Then again, he did say homeless and not "houseless."

...

At the stoplight, the old dog in the back of the pickup truck grows weary of this means of conveyance and crawls out, stretching his legs on the bumper before hopping down into traffic and heading for a grassy boulevard by the roadside. Despite honks from passersby, the owner drives on, utterly oblivious.

in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...

A typical day in my life….not today, just a typical one. (Or, "What it's like to be 21 and over in Israel")

Morning, I wake up. I got mail, I never get mail, only the bank mails me… and they send it to my parents’ home…. Haven’t updated them yet.

Oh, it’s from the Army…. Last week I got a reminder of my unit’s emergency regrouping area and 3 weeks ago I got some registered mail about updating my personal details…. I wonder what it is this time.

Reserve Service… let’s see… they want me to do a whole month this time, November from the 3rd right up to the 27th. I’m glad I didn’t plan anything. November is a good month I guess, no holidays, weather won’t be too bad. My boss hates it when one of us goes to do our service, as almost nobody goes anymore…

The drive to work was normal, nothing special, heard the news (We have news on the radio on every station, every hour on the hour, and on some stations they have updates every half hour as well) Nothing new, shots fired in Gilo, somebody was killed, soldiers and civilians fired in the Gaza area, nobody injured. Three Palestian police officers were killed in a gunfight with IDF soldiers last night. They announce heavy traffic in the south Tel-Aviv area because police sappers are checking out a “Suspicious Object

I get to work, have some coffee, check my e-mail and head out to a meeting in Hertzelia, drive to the high-tech industrial zone, to my client’s building, the Russian guy at the building entrance smiles, he likes my car… I drive a Renault Express and he doesn’t have to ask me to open my trunk since he can see the back of my car … he hated me when I had the Fiat, since I had to get out of my car and open it, which took forever. He writes down my number and let’s me in… I’m glad he didn’t start hassling me about the computer parts, I can’t stand when they do that… I know they are just doing their job, and it’s all about security, but how am I supposed to explain why a power supply looks like a bomb.

Skip, Skip, Skip, 18:00, I’m on my way home. I decide to go to the mall. Security guys at the mall don’t know me, so I have to stop while they search my car a bit, a Russian again is doing the searching, pretty cute Ethiopian chick is asking me a couple of questions, just to check if I have an Arabic accent I guess. Parked, go up the stairs, stop again at the mall entrance to have my bag checked by the guard here, this one looks Israeli born, probably just out of the army, making some money before taking a trip to South America or Thailand. I walk passed the McDonald’s and the Army Supply store “Ricochet” (Pretty big chain store) into the Camping store, I ask them about my shoes, Karrimor KSB’s which need some fixing, and they tell me it’s not in the warranty. Damn, I decide not to get them fixed, I walk back into the mall when about 10 minutes later I remember I forgot my bag in the store, I run back and when I get there I am greeted by the smiling store keeper telling me how I am lucky he remembered me come in with it because usually they would call the police to “take care of it

And CNN calls this “America’s New War”…

It’s an old war… it just spilled into the USA, that’s all.

Anxiety.
It is prevailing over me.
I know, I should be in bed by this time, I'm not
Shaking here in the room, its late night and I'm tired to the edge of breakdown
In the morning I will head for Stockholm in a frail attempt to get some distance to myself and my situation here.

I'm not sure if I should indulge in the full deal of things, I really dont think you fellow noders would care about it.

in short it boils down to that I have to move, soon. relationship turning sour, economy going worse.

send me an angel? right now....

a prayer for those who feel like this, a moment of tranquility

experiment in the human condition: day 2

Today, I'm tired.

I've been at work for far too long. I'm stuck on the graveyard shift, until we get our software release completed, or everyone on the planet starts using the same time zone.

Right now, I'm expecting the first to come before the second.

Regardless, I've noticed alot of people feeling emotionally out of whack. Rightly so, but nonetheless, it makes for trying times.

This month alone, my girlfriend has attempted adultery, a close family member has had a body part amputated, my job has become joyless, and over six thousand people, who today feel like they were my closest friends, have been killed.

This whole big mess is killing me.
Parts of me scream for vengeance, to bomb the shit out of anyone who gets in the way of the You-Ess-of-Aye. Of course, those parts are throwbacks to my days on the playground, throwing clods of dirt at people who would call me names.
Bombing makes us an equal evil, we cannot do these things without killing innocent people; and that makes us just as bad as the terrorists, if not worse. (Is it worse to act out of fanatic action, or out of blind rage?). I still feel bad for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, personally.
Which then brings us to the option of bringing in ground troops. Ground troops, to climb through the moutains of Afghanastan; Ground troops, who will have to tiptoe through the mine-fields, to crawl through caves, to dig someone out who may, or may not be there. Russia has learned about this first hand. So have we. I can only hope that we are not so naive as to make the same mistake twice. Sure, we are only on a mission to go 'get the baddies', and not occupy, so that makes this incrementally better than Vietnam. Regardless, this action in itself is going to guarantee the loss of more lives of our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers.
But we can't stand back, we must exact our justice, we must take what has been taken from us.

But this will never happen, and this is the cause of my frustration.

Already, I am ashamed about some of what's going on. Racism has returned like the cough of an emphysema patient; in Mesa, AZ, a Sikh Indian was murdered in his store because he had a beard and wore a turban. I've been to his store before. Hell, I may have even spoken with him. He's gone too.

I hear people in the office allowing some of the hatred reborn from the early nineties, during the gulf war.
Just this week, I've heard the terms 'Rag Head', 'Sand Nigger', 'Camel Jockey'... These are supposed to be mature adults, and they've got no idea that they are not helping the problem, they are making it worse. Far, far worse, because a billion innocent people are being tormented for the actions of a few fanatical terrorists.
No matter who laughs at these jokes, it's simply not funny. By succumbing to the "Bomb 'em all and let Allah sort them out" mentality, we have become inhuman, uncaring, unsympathetic to the plight of thousands of years of human inequities.

And so, like most of America, I find myself glued to the television set; waiting, in fear, for the first mention of a retaliation to begin. I fear that it will be bombs, I fear that we'll kill the innocents because of the evils that their neighbors have perpetrated.

I can only have good faith that this country will do the right thing; that, by some miracle, they find a way to only punish those who have earned it.

I still hope that tomorrow I'll wake up, and this will have just been a dream.

 


Just some notes...
  • Yes, I'm American, and I love my country. Please don't assume that I'm not patriotic
  • No, I'm not a pacifist, I understand the unfortunate need for war. I've got family in all of the branches of the armed service, and I trust that they know the difference between right and wrong

Today is the neighborhood block party, and it's a perfect sunny day for it. We get to meet a bunch of our neighbors and eat lots of food and be sociable and so on. Our townhouse number ends in "1", so we were instructed to bring "an appetizer." In the spirit of being helpful, we also volunteered to bring a table. (It's the big clunky heavy industrial-strength kitchen table that we bought for $10 and would really like to get rid of.)

We were going to just get a big platter of cheese from Gigantor Food Mart, but looking through the catalog we figured we could probably save a little money if we just bought all the stuff and made it ourselves. How difficult is it to make cheese cubes, right?

So we copied the ingredients in the platter, and bought:

  • 12 oz. Havarti Cheese
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack with Jalapeno Pepper
  • 7 oz. Baby Edam
  • 12 oz. Swiss Cheese
  • 12 oz. New York Sharp Cheddar
  • 14 oz. Muenster Cheese
  • 10 oz. Cheese Ball
  • This afternoon I spent an hour or so cutting the cheese (wait'll folks at work ask what I did this weekend...) and arranging it on the platter that we bought at the dollar store. We only ended up saving like $5 when all was said and done.

    Anyway... the cheese ball scares me. It's allegedly cheddar, but it's all encrusted with almonds and stuff. I think you're supposed to spread it on crackers or something. Either way, I fear the accursed cheese ball.

    I suspect if everyone and their dog Flippy is bringing something to eat, there's going to be a lot of food leftover. So we'll probably end up bringing home lots of extra cheese to nosh on while watching videos or playing Arcanum. Yummy.


    Epilogue: There were no leftovers when I went to retrieve my platter. Which means either everyone ate all that cheese or (more likely) they just dumped the leftover food at cleanup. Regardless, I need not fear the Accursed Cheese Ball any longer.

    Oh my God!

    This morning's hangover came with uppercase neon letters. Blinking and fretting in my brain to heighten my senses and make the experience even worse.

    I'm in Paris for the week-end. Yesterday we were driving down from Amsterdam to meet up with a friend who lives here. The idea for tonight is to go for dinner with a couple of friends. I look forward to it in a masochistic kind of way, knowing that things will be alright on the night.

    Yesterday night was a blast. We arrived around ten o'clock in the evening at the hotel (located in the 6th arrondissement). After checking in we met up with my friend for a "quick drink and to catch up". We all know that tonight (or tomorrow if we consider this was yesterday)will be a big night, so let's take it easy. Right...

    We went to Montmartre on foot, or "au pied" as they say here, and sat down to order a beer. My friend unfortunately decided to order Leffe Blond, rather than normal lager type beer. Unfortunate in the sense that it is delicious but dangerous with it's 6.6% alcohol percentage. And unfortunate in the sense that it has a distinctly moore-ish taste, so you seldom stop at one.

    As you can tell from my state today we didn't either. When we were asked to leave (beacuse they were closing, what did you think?) after around seven glasses of the amber nectar each, we walked into the next open bar and continued drinking and talking. This time Guinness. A piece of advice with regards to the black Irish soup. Don't start drinking it late at night when you're drunk. It makes the rest of your night hazy. God knows how I got home...

    This morning I woke up with the sun almost shining in my face, the taste of cat droppings in my mouth and a strong urge to go to the toilet. It wasn't that I was feeling sick. More of an attempt of avoiding bio-chemical warfare in the room. After silently cursing myself for not having had at least two glasses of water before I went to bed I took a shower, which sometimes does the trick. Today it was only partly successful. I felt better but not good.

    Now I've just had lunch in a restaurant near "Hotel d'Invalides". It was good, but I can't remember the name. My hangover is almost gone. It's amazing what some orange juice, coffee and a walk in St. Germain in the sunshine can do to restore your life spirits. Paris is fantastically beautiful.

    On September 22, the first day of fall, I embarked on my third shroom trip.

    Dose: 1/8 ounce, chopped finely and swallowed with pink lemonade.

    My first two trips were primarily indoors, and while they were quite enjoyable I had a strong desire to be out of doors and away from civilization. So for my next trip I decided to go camping so that I could be close to nature and perhaps feel more at peace than last time. Five friends came with me, Ryan, Steven, Przemek, Erin, and Brian, packed tightly in my van with so much gear the suspension sagged dangerously. We picked Clear Lake as our destination as it seemed like it would be far enough away from civilization to give us privacy while tripping. It wasn't what I had hoped for in terms of wilderness, but luckily we found a secluded campsite where we were unlikely to be seen.

    The first night we set up camp, cooked dinner over the fire, and then began a two day long, non-stop drug frenzy. It started with copious amounts of alcohol, then proceeded to nitrous hits, and finally several rounds of weed. We went to bed late and woke up very early. After breakfast we took a hike in the hills, then came back for more weed, beer, and lunch, then off to the beach for a quick dip in the lake. After lunch I ate very little in preperation for the shrooms which I planned to take an hour before sunset. The plan was to dose, then walk over to a secluded area of the beach to wait for the trip to start and then walk back when it got dark and/or the ability to walk returned. It didn't work out perfectly, some people took longer than others to finish taking the dose, and so by the time we were all prepared and under way the first wave of effects had already hit me. It got progressively more difficult to walk, and the journey to the beach seemed to take an eternity. I was having some stomach cramps, which I was prepared for, but the walk was taking too long for my liking. Ryan was having some trouble too, his trip must have come on faster even than mine because half way there he had to stop and put his head down for a minute, and after that followed close behind me with wide eyes, not speaking. On the trail ahead I saw a deer going in our direction, which I took as a good omen and knew I was going to have a good trip.

    When we reached the beach I promptly spread out a blanket and laid down. If the walk had been any longer I probably would have lost control of my stomach, which is exactly what happened to Ryan after a few minutes on the beach. Przemek, who had only taken a half an eighth since it was his first time, wasn't feeling any effects yet. Patience, the experienced told him, it will start soon. I gazed into the sky and soon patterns began to appear through the clouds,interlocking geometric shapes as if I were under a giant geodesic dome. It became more intricate as I looked. Incan patterns appeared interwoven into overall structure, then these were joined by perfectly formed Celtic knotwork patterns. The consistancy of the visions amazed me, it stayed in one place in the sky so that I could actually focus on different parts of it in detail, and if I looked away from it, it would still be in the same place when I returned my vision there. After a while it became hard to hold my eyes still and the patterns in the sky doubled into upper and lower layers which slid over each other.

    My stomach started bothering my again after a little while so I closed my eyes and tried to assume control of the involuntary muscles that were causing the cramps. I traveled inside my body to my stomach and made it relax. After this I tried to leave my body. There was a flock of birds in the trees over us and I wanted to communicate with them. I think I almost made it this time, because I started to sense the auras of my friends, but I couldn't hold my concentration long enough, there were too many distractions.

    As the sun got lower the insects became more numerous and we decided to head back to camp. I told my friends to all go ahead, as I felt like I might vomit at that moment, but when I kneeled and prepared myself, the desire to throw up went away. I got up, gathered my blanket and water, and went back to the trail. When I left the beach I entered wonderland. I could almost feel a consiousness coming from the plants all around me, and I half expected to see a white rabbit in a top hat running down the path ahead of me. I soon caught up with my companions. Steven was standing still in a fork in the path with a tall walking stick trying to decide which direction to take. He looked to me like a statue, waiting for me to approach to come to life. But as we went further down the path wonderland started to fade, and reality returned when we hit the rest of the camp sites, but not for very long.

    Back at our camp the fire was still going. I wrapped myself tightly in my blanket and watched the stars come out.

    Przemek: "Hey look, a satellite."
    Steven: "Where?"
    Przemek: "The one that's moving."
    Me: "All the stars are moving."
    Przemek: "I think I can tell the difference between a moving satellite and a moving star."

    I don't think I've ever felt as comfortable as I was then, snug in my blanket, sitting around the fire with my close friends. It took me back to childhood once again, all worries were removed, all hungers and desires were eliminated. I was perfectly content. Thinking back on it now, it was like satori, everything was beautiful, and I couldn't have possibly been more at peace.

    We must have come down at about ten o'clock, although if asked what time we thought it was we all probably would have replied about one AM. It seemed like an eternity had passed since we were at the beach. It's fortunate that it wasn't really that late though, since we were not being at all quiet or subtle about what we were doing. The sound of our laughter probably carried across several campsites, and if it had been quiet hours and a ranger showed up in our camp it would have put a major damper on the trip.

    Sad to see the trip coming to an end we went back in the tent to smoke a bowl, which reactivated the shrooms a little bit. As I was lying on my sleeping bag with my eyes closed I could see brightly colored kaleidoscopic patterns of fractals with faces and other shapes interwoven. It reminded me of Grateful Dead artwork. I wanted to sleep then, but I was unable to because of my stomach. I ate something, and then we all smoked another bowl and I was finally able to sleep about an hour later.

    This was my best trip so far, which I attribute to being away from civilization, and being with a group of friends who were on the same drug.

    Writeups of my first two trips can be found at Reliving my childhood on shrooms and July 23, 2001

    September 22, 2001 found me, once again, deep the in the outback of the American Heartland (this is not in and of itself surprising (it being where my home, wife, child, and dog are found), however it still astonishes me on some mornings when I first awaken).

    I attended a game convention - FlatCon II. If you are not familiar with the concept, a game convention is simply an event wherein game players congegrate to share their favorite games (board games, role-playing games, miniature games, etc.), learn new ones, and generally have fun. I tried a couple of new games, notably Fairy Meat (what a great idea) and Starmada (excellent, simple system).

    The highlight of the day, however, was certainly meeting Gary Gygax. No scratch that. The highlight of the day was role-playing with Gary as the game master. I played with Gary Gygax!. It was his new game Lejendary Journeys, which seemed a bit heavy on die rolling but regardless. Much fun. That evening my wife became decidely sick of hearing about it (not being a gamer herself), but she humored me, understanding that Gary is one of my early heros. The amount of time I spent playing his games once upon a time.....

    Gary seemed younger than I expected for some reason. Quite laid back, friendly, and conversational. He reminded me of a village elder, come out to share his wisdom. He was quick to spin a story - sharing how he came with the humanoid gnolls for inclusion in D&D, who the images on the original Player's Handbook were fashioned after, etc.... He signed the character sheet I used in his game, and encouraged me to bring back any old books I had for him to sign the next day (I did).

    A good day. We all need one of those, from time to time.

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