Today I have started a process rolling which will lead to me doing the most scary thing that I can imagine ... that is, I have asked for a pay review outside of the normal pay review schedule.

For many many months now, I have felt that the level of pay that i have been receiving is no where matched by the level of responsibibilty that I have, nor the results that I produce. Due to fear, inexperience, laziness and a whole host of other factors, I have avoided asking for a pay rise - always hoping that the annual pay reviews would correct my perceived imbalance in compensation.

However, it is since I have been promoted to team leader of my group and have been involved in hiring staff (and hence I know their salaries), I have become increasingly outraged that my salary is below that of newcomers - especially when the newcomers know half of what I know.

The time has come for me to rectify this problem. I am going to ask for a 33% pay rise - huge isn't it :-) I'm not expecting to get the full 33%, but I do expect to get a very sizeable increase. This will at least match me close to what the other members in my team are getting.

However, the meeting with my managers manager is not until Monday - which means I now have a couple of days to stress over the whole thing. Well there is no turning back now - the wheels are in motion and I can't stop it.

A word to the wise: Fatigue and American Government test fdays do not mix.

I have been so incredibly tired the past few weeks. My first round of testing is almost over (ending with Physics come monday). I was so out of it this morning that during my American Govternment test I took seven minutes to READ a two line multiple choice question. Not only that, but even after my test had a very clear FORM A on the front of it, I placed my scantron in the stack for form c causing the professor to make me the center of attention for about two minutes:

    Prof: Mr. Toepfer!

    Me:*groggy, almost drunk sounding* Yes... sir...?

    Prof: Have we forgotten our alphabet Mr. Toepfer? Or has your marvelous German background exposed you to a style of writing we Americans are unacustomed to?

    Me: *dazed stupor* Wha....?

    Prof: A beautifully articulate answer sir! I thought perhaps you were reading in latin, or perhaps gallic or something, but even their corresponding letters place A before C.

    Me: ......k.....

    Prof: Would that I were as eloquent as you Mr. Toepfer. I'd take great pleasure in continuing our conversation, but for the time being... COULD YOU PUT YOUR SCANTRON IN THE PROPER STACK PLEASE!?!?

    Me: *Wondering why the hell he didn't just pick it up and do it himself* Sure.... Uncle fucker...

After such a boring day otherwise I retreated to my room to read net comics and eat pretzels for about... oh... 8 hours. The current task at hand is to finish the physics assignment while my wits are still mildly about me and before the server shuts down (all answers are submitted electronically to a server @ UT, which has a 5 PM Friday deadline).

The only task that brought any excitement to my day was the revision of my research paper. I spent the summer working on devising a process for the electroplating of nanocrystalline nickel (boy that's fun to say, three times quickly now, everyone...) and now am submitting the paper for consideration in both the Siemens-Westinghouse and Intel scholarship contests (both worth $100K for the #1 project).

On top of all this, I "get" to go home for the weekend, which of course means I won't get to study for my physux test because my parents will want to talk to me. Stress is fun...

Boy I could use some morphine...

Note - I am not addicted to morphine nor am I a druggy, please don't take that last comment seriously
Ok. Well it's still yesterday according to real time, but it's been tomorrow now for a few hours server time. Oh well, at least it's not eastern (US) time. Silly easterners.

And considering today is my birthday i should probably add a node here. So far not a lot planned, but this year i'll probably have a party since i didn't have anything much last year in the way of a gathering of people. Time will tell. Tomorrow my girlfriend and i will be going on our second "date" in almost 2.5 years of "going out" together =) It promises to be fun, the standard dinner and a movie, but this time, i can drive! :) Going to go see Serendipity. She has no idea where we should go for dinner, but since this is like a b-day present, i have made it her prime task in this to pick where we eat, and now to make it surprise, which completely lifts me of any responsibility..hehehe...

Supposedly my aunt and a cousin are also coming down for the weekend. That promises to be interesting. Gonna hang out with peter tomorrow, along with la girlfrienda, but she does have to work, so that leaves me with 5-7+hrs. to kill. Might work on my car a little bit. All of a sudden i've taken an interest in learning how my car works, being the geek i am. I get the basic principles, but now i want to know why and how, and what better way than cleaning all the grime off the underside which has probably accumulated since my wind dam fell off. Oops :)

Wow this is a long rambling node. Oh well, you still don't know how old i am. ;-)

Happy Birthday to me!

someone's gotta love me. might as well be me.

My mommy and daddy called me last night, around 3am (when I was born), within 10 minutes of each other. I didn't answer the phone, since I had a test at 7:30am and didn't want to get up. It was nice, though, to hear the messages. My sisters called at 8:00, and perhaps I will receive other calls over the course of the day.

For my birthday present last night, one of my oldest friends said goodbye, i'm going to kill myself. Nice, that. I told as many people as I could, but in my current locale all I can do is sit and hope. The worst part is I can't really blame him.. poor guy. I.. I hope he's still alive..

Wednesday, I attended my aunt's funeral.

I am in the middle of Finals this week. Finals suck ass.

*sigh*.. I'm with cahla.. it sucks.

to end on a slightly happier note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERASER_!!!!!!!!!!


Updates
  1. My friend is alive and seemingly well. Thank the gods.
  2. Klaproth gave me a present too... he ate my best node... thanks. The good news is that it will be part of a FAQ. Who says factual noding gets you nowhere? :)
As the day draws to a close, I find myself sitting here doing an all-nighter change on a couple of Sun e4500 systems in parallel.

Great stuff. These things take forever to boot, and I do mean forever. Sure, not as long as the Enterprise 10000 but long nonetheless.

So I get to sit here through the wee small hours with nothing but das blinkenlights to keep me company. Well, I guess I have E2 while I wait.

<rant>
Does I will REMOVE the fucking toilet seat if you don't shut up really need to be Chinged over and over and over again? Why isn't there a limit on how many C!'s nodes can have? I liked it a whole lot better when you could just Cool a node once. A C! meant something back then.

But who am I to question why?.
</rant>

Ah, at last... "POST complete."

On it goes. It's going to be a long night.

Anyways,
I was on my way home tonight, when I met a cabbie (see also taxi driver for the Americans).
Me and the cabbie were talking, and I realised, everything I thought about Osama Bin Laden was wrong, at least according to this cabbie.

I mean, the cabbie told me he had met Osama Bin Laden (he even showed me his passport to prove he was from Afghanistan). Osama is apparently a top bloke.

As the cabbie said, show me any actual proof against Osama, and I'll show you a liar.

Men of honour do not launch cruise missles. Men of honour do not kill without being sure of a target.

Me and the cabbie likened the problems the USA is having with it's economic empirialism to the problems faced by the British, with their military empirialism (anybody who says the British, and the Americans for that matter, are welcome to put their noses into any other county's belief system are welcome to see the implicit irony in "God Save The Queen" "God Bless Amerikkka", and maybe even look into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you know, just to see where current US Foreign Policy is wearing thin).

I guess the most important thing I learned today is that free speech is priceless, but the ability to actually express your opinions is worth even more.

P.S. And before you ask, yes, I would die to keep my beliefs as my own personal opinion.

P.P.S. If you have any kind of Irish blood in ye, or you like to think you do, look at the tactics employed by the British in the potato famine or even just the protestant reformation, where the common folk on both sides of the discussion were pitched] against each other, purely to ensure Anglican dominance over all of the lower class, be ye Irish Catholic or Scottish Presbyterain.

The end goal of the British and American ascendancy is the complete dominion of the working classes of the world, until we all blindly salute the Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes. If you tolerate this, then your children will be next
I'm in Charlottesville, Virginia, usually sitting with my father as nature takes her final toll. I haven't had internet access since my last day log.

I found a gym that doesn't require membership for the cafe or massage and made an appointment for a massage but they are booked until Monday. Who knows what will be happening then but I booked it. I'm touch hungry; away from my family and don't even have a cat to pet. This cafe has 3 computers set up for public use. How wonderful! This place is called "ACAC" and looks great. If I lived here I'd join. I know about it because my step mother goes here and I've given her massage gift certificates before.

I'm in a hostile enviroinment most of the time here. I refuse to leave my dying father alone but the nurses are not too pleased with my "camping out" in his room. I don't think anyone helpless should be left alone in a hospital and you don't get anymore helpless than my poor old Dad (end stage Parkinsons, dementia, and can no longer swallow without aspirating). We have elected not to subject him to a feeding tube. He is 85 years old. We have hospice care and he is being kept comfortable. My being there makes a difference. Staffing is always low, I see his distress early and get medication. Heck, just my presence would be comforting but I'm also serving as a private duty nurse. My step mother is there in the afternooons and I try to find stress reducing, spirit enhancing things to do for myself.

Charlottesville has a hiking trail around most of the city. I've spent hours doing sections of it. Now INTERNET CONNECTION!! How wonderful.

If you are interested in hospice care or why we decided not to artifically feed dad with a feeding care the hospice folks here gave us a wonderful booklet which is available online at www.hardchoices.com in PDF. It was a hard choice for sure but I'm comfortable that it was the correct one and this booklet really helped me.

I hope I can get my husband to bring my daughter down tomorrow and spell me while we spend the day together. We talk on the cell phone but I really feel disconnected from her. That is not good with a 13 year old.

Now to see if I can set up an email account on hotmail or something and email my friends and family. What a stress buster this is. I feel reconnected with the world.
These days, my prayers have been reduced to:

"Eternal God, Heavenly Father:
What the fuck?"

Okay, so on the 10th, Hermetic died.
The very next day, seven thousand men, women, and children were murdered, two of our national landmarks were respectively damaged and destroyed, and we learned that we could never feel safe again.
A co-worker's father-in-law died.
A friend of my mom's mother died.
At least two noders have reported witnessing fatal car accidents.
My stepbrother began having heart palpitations.
My grandmother entered the hospital, again.
To top all of this off, the night before last, OUR FAMILY DOG DIED. Yes! Our dog, whom we've had for eighteen years, wandered into my parents' swimming pool and drowned.

Every day I just look up at the heavens, and I ask, "Are we by any chance done yet? Is there any possibility this will be over soon?" It's gotten to the point where I'm almost afraid to pick up the phone.

I find it hilarious, the degree to which the end of the last century seems like such a frickin' Golden Age to me now. Will history students in the future be told that the 1990s were our age of innocence, the last shining moment before we were finally forced to grow up and face harsh reality? I can almost hear the nerdy narrator guy in those threadbare old movies they made us watch in junior high school: "During the Clinton Administration, Americans enjoyed the fruits of peace and prosperity, little guessing the terrors that awaited them in the new millennium..." (Cue ominous music)

One bright spot is Studio Tenshi, our new business. Our public debut is this very Sunday at the Encinitas Oktoberfest and crafts fair where we'll be selling painted glassware and terra cotta pots (and donating ten percent to the New York relief effort). Well, PRESUMABLY we'll be selling them. We will be there, and the product will be there, and if people decide they want to give us money, so much the better. Here's hoping!

I'm going to be more social.

I ned to make friends here on campus, if I don't I'll be miserable and stay miserable. I've decided that I want to be happy, and that happiness doesn't come from being idle, it doesn't come from stasis. I'm ready to make friends, and I've been making as much effort as I can in order to keep myself sane. This place can be good, I can be happy here. I just have to allow myself to settle in, to get comfortable, and make this place my home.

I lost my book bag, which contained a notebook which I had been filling up with writing and drawing, and had some paintings in it. The cover of the book was nice and fuzzy and bobcat skin print. Also in my bookbag was a few condoms, and maybe some nice pens. I really don't know where it is.
It was a green Eastport with two side pockets, and a small middle pocket, the straps are curved and black, and there is a small patch on the part of the bag that goes against your back. The patch is a small oriental character and the word "chaos". If you see my book bag, please return it to me, because I want my notebook and my backpack. You can have the condoms if you want.
Things I need to do soon.

AP US History position paper: 'How democratic colonial America?'
AP US History outside reading: 'Founding Brothers'
Algebra 2 Quadratic Functions


I enjoy ap us history and all but the more I go to school and take classes like 9th grade literature and 11th grade literature, have days where 3 of my classes (including alg2) consist of preparing for a test i'll never take, (in the Georgia High School Graduation Writing Test), I honestly don't think that i'm going anywhere with this high school thing. Where is it really going to take me? Well, considering how motivated and caring (i.e. affix un-) the councilors and people who are responsible for assigning my classes are, the answer is obviously nowhere.

My first job is going okay. I have the esteemed job of dishwasher. I was originally a waiter, but i'm too stupid or something for that so I think they gave me the dishwashing job because a) they are short on dishwashers b) I think the manager feels sorry for me. I'm not sure about that, but, seems strange that she would lie to me about noo needing more waiters. (I'm fairly convinced she lied because after moving me to dishwasher they hired some new ones.)

But dishwashing isn't so bad. You get paid the same per hour as the waiters, and since you have to work longer, you end up getting paid more. On the downside, you have to work longer, though. Also, you learn all the dirty secrets of resturants.

The line staff (the people who prepare the food) are pretty cool, if a bit crazy.

"Hey Thaddius, whats this for?"
"Thats the .. hobart machine.... Thats... Thats for good times."

I've been a member of this E2 community for two years now, I quietly celebrated my anniversary Septemebr 24th.

It has been a struggle to bring calm to strangers, my friends and myself. Eating and sleeping at times has been difficult, I've dropped below goal weight but I have a ten pound allowance before the docs step in. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and feel a COLDNESS in my spine; slow goose bumps creep across my skin as realization about the World Trade Center and terrorism sets in.

I had hoped my children, the younger people who had missed the last war would never have to experience a war in their lifetime. But I am so proud to have heard of the democracy in action displayed by the brave people on United Airlines Flight 93. It was a time for them to rely upon the faith that God called them to demonstrate. As the story is told we now know that a group on that plane decided it was time for action even if it meant their own lives. These people called from the plane. They called wives and families and said, I love you, but now I must do what is a greater good. One man could only get through to the telephone operator, but he made her promise to get the message to his wife. Then he asked the operator to say the Lord's Prayer with him and went forward to confront the evil which had taken over the plane. It cost him his life, but I will never know how many he saved by his courageous action. This man's faith in God enabled him to go beyond his fears and be source of good by overcoming evil.

Frauds are taking advantage of this terrible event! Hang up calls for the last two weeks, telemarketers calling my home and saying they want donations for the fire/police department. The worm knows my first name and I've told him I gave to the Red Cross, I live on a fixed income, don't call here again or give my phone number out to anyone else. Five or six times a day he calls so I called the sheriff department and filed a report and I have my playground whistle out to blow in his ear if he calls back. The first day I forgot to tell hubby of my plan of action so when he called from work I had decided to wait until whoever was calling to say hello first then Let Them Have It! After a rather long wait my hubby says,
I can hear you breathing Lo what's taking you so long to say hello? (no I didn't blow the whistle in his ear;)

Grandma once told me when I was nine or so that she hoped she didn't live past eighty. Well me and my little girl self were heartbroken at her wishes but now I see more clearly through her eyes. She had raised seven daughters two sons, and one adopted cousin through the Great Depression. Sent one son off to fight in World War II and the other, Vietnam just so I could raise and cherish my sons in a relatively peaceful time. Oh I think she would be saddened to see all of this.

Last night I dreamed about an old imaginary friend, one I hadn't dreamed about in a long time. He is a jet black wrought iron dog, I took out the key hidden in the bushes under the window sill and dropped a pin down through Cinder's metal nose locking it under his chin so he wouldn't bark while I was away. Long ago when The Dark Man in the Closet didn't appear at night Cinder would be in my dreams to bark warnings so I could crawl inside of him and feel safe there. No one could hurt me through his iron bars. Old memories and new fears.

A bright spot appeared yesterday, hope that my sons will grow up in spite of all this I'm happy to report. Wandering out into the kitchen for a glass of milk before bed and Number Two Son is watching Who wants to Marry a Prince?.

This is just like 'Who wants to Marry a Millionaire,' he explains rolling his eyes a little.

Why are you watching such a vapidly pretentious show? I agree. ('vapidly pretentious' is family phrase that's been going around the house the past few weeks)

They have hot ladies! he expounds.

I paused going down the hall back to my room. Mom is startled about his newfound interest in the female gender. I watch his eyebrows go around his forehead in confusion. Like a puppy he's fifteen and hasn't grown into his big white socked feet yet...two little hops to his left, he obfuscates for me.

Old women ....old old.

I went to bed and pulled the lavender and yellow sheets up under my chin thinking about how it's okay to have hopes, but not expectations and broke into giggles for the first time in a long time!


Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hid from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
~Isaiah 40: 27-31 (NRSV)

Devotion

The more I think about this new world the more I think that the only rational response is to fear. Osama bin Laden as a media celebrity in our world (on our cable networks and websites and in newspapers) and in the Muslim world (through word of mouth more than any other medium) is a curious phenomenon. Here we have a guy whose fame is almost entirely a result of western policy, both when we aided him in fighting the Soviets and now as our "Mad Mullah" du jour. Yet he is also an example of a religious extremist's ability to interact extensively with secular culture and emerge entirely unchanged, or even strengthened, in his resolve. Osama is not unique in this respect - nearly every one of the nineteen suicide bombers lived in the United States for extended periods of time, and Europe before that, with little contact with the rest of their network, and fully immersed in western culture - even joining the barcrawling set at times. And when they got a message telling them what to do, it doesn't seem like anyone blinked. Nor were many of these men typical suicide bombers - who are usually very young men from refugee camps and squalid economic conditions. Rather, many of them were in their late 20s and early 30s and had extensive Western education beyond flight school.

What they are telling us here is that they have patience. Immediately after the bombings, polls showed that most Americans thought this attack would be followed by more in coming months. But that would run counter to everything we know about how September 11 was carried out. If there are more saboteurs lined up for the next wave (and likely there are, any organization that uses an independent cell structure uses wave patterns of attack. The US military is structured similarly) you can bet they won't be in the States now, or anywhere else where scrutiny is likely to fall. The next wave is not likely to come for at least a couple of years and probably more like 10 to 20 years. What they're doing now is waiting for us to overplay our hand, and despite the admirable restraint shown so far regarding military action, all indications are that we still don't see the situation correctly. The only worthwhile goal right now is to subvert the next attacks before they happen. We must act to do that now, and I only see one course of action that may do that.*

It is a reasonable statement that Osama bin Laden is a hero to vast populations within the Muslim world, and it would be dishonest to attribute that entirely to the western media - the poorest quality black and white newspaper photograph cannot fail to convey his charisma. If he lives, and continues to evade his enemies, he does not need to do anything else to effect the kind of loyalty he needs to inspire. He does not need to issue any orders, personally run training camps, or even be in regular contact with his network anymore. All of that groundwork has already been lain, and subordinates will pick up essential duties. Osama's job now is to be the inspiration, the proof that this can be done and gotten away with. And as long as he can do that, others will be motivated to carry out the rest of the plan.

Clearly this is a state of affairs that cannot, and must not, be tolerated. But I think George W. Bush makes a huge mistake when he says that bin Laden should be brought to justice dead or alive. While the importance of martyrs is often overstated, in this case a dead Osama will not be significantly less dangerous than a live Osama - he has reached that plateau of idolization. The only path to victory that I can see is to capture him alive and bring him to trial in the World Court. However, all indications point to a lack of sufficient evidence to convict him by any accepted legal procedure; therefore I don't believe that this is the course that will be taken. But I still believe it is the only correct action.

If you have not read the Ladenese Epistle, I strongly suggest that you do so right now. If you are an American or Israeli citizen, you must understand that war has been declared against you, and that you, personally, have been deemed an acceptable target in that war. Surely you must wish to understand why. Once you get through all of the repetitions of "praise be" and "Allah's salutations upon him" and "no power and power acquiring except through Allah," you will find that the declaration focuses far more on politics and economics than it does on religion, and at least pays lip service to the idea that the preferable way to address these grievances is through political means when those means are available.

The capture and trial of Osama bin Laden, while it may not accomplish the goal of conviction, may be used to accomplish an alternate and more effective goal. Many a revolutionary leader in captivity has switched from advocating armed action to more peaceful means of accomplishing his aims. If a trial can be dragged out over five or ten years, and if vested western interests in the Muslim world can be made to see the importance of compromise; if we give some indication that reasonable issues (like American support of corrupt Arab governments in exchange for favorable oil policies) can be addressed productively, I believe that Osama bin Laden can be transformed into an effective agent for change. I also believe that in doing so much bloodshed would be averted.

I fear that western economic interests will not favor this course of action, rightly believing that it would threaten them more than terrorism.

But I pray and I hope that our leaders use this opportunity, for the first time in two and a quarter centuries, to place greater value on long term planning than on short term concerns.

*-But I'd like to hear your ideas too. No, really, /msg me!

The quiet places are almost gone now.

I drive around, and I find that the only place I can think without people chattering their inanities is there. Not that I don't value conversation, I do. I just wish it could be more than about pop groups, video games, and football.

So often I feel like the lost one, seeking silence while others are moving to the noisy lights, Kind of morbid when you think that that is what life mostly is, noise and lights, and I am moving towards something akin to death. But maybe not for me, for me the silence is room to think, room to reflect, and realize that while I experience, I yet live, and can make a difference. The car, being the only place where I can do this anymore becomes my refuge, the radio silenced by act of will, and the destination and movements programmed into the lower order functions of my brain. I have more than enough spare capacity (like everyone else I know) to drive and think at the same time. So now I think about the WTC, about the millions fleeing as refugees, terrorised by the thought of American war and torture, of the division and isolation of muslim countries, of money, and greed, and the part they play to rule over peoples lives. I think about my family, about my town, and my county, and I hope for a better future, and when I finally arrive home I think about tidying my room, but usually there I stop thinking, and sleep.

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