It's the last weekend of the month, and in the course of history, September 2001 has become the worst month of our lives. This weekend marks the beginning of the best days of our lives, after all, they can't get much worse than September.

This is not the end. This is not the Beginning. This is the middle of that non existent entity known as time. Since the beginning, we have been after the past and before the future, and now is no different. There is only the present.

Life, indeed the universe, contains (perhaps consists of) a constant struggle between forces and gravitations of extremes, hopes and dreams.

The present struggles envelop our very realities, our external conflicts over the creation a Pax Americana or a Global Peace in which every individual is safe, and our internal struggles to create a view and perspective of the world which is not consumed with evil and despair.

Last month we were delt many severe blows in both of these struggles. As a community, as a nation, as a world, and as people, we have entered a new phase, and we have entered it stronger.

As two opposing forces of Global will confront each other for a million different reasons per million different individuals,

As we each deal with other conflicts that are smaller in scope yet universal in nature,

We will fight the good fight. We will fight a Jihad against misery and despair. We will fight for a fatwah concerning the beauty in all things and the good in people.

It's time to get up and live on, never forgetting the beauty and joy we cherish and the despair and misery we have sworn to destroy. It starts today, and it doesn't end.
Tonight the cops came and knocked on my dorm room because some people came in through the front door "smelling of marijuana", and so they wanted to search the three of them. Basically, one kid got caught with about 2 grams, such a moron, for a plant.
So, I'm pretty confused about why I am living in a place where the police really do control my life, through either oppresive presence, or a general fear of police on campus. I've had to fuck with the campus cops 3 times by now, they all know me. Fucking assholes. I'm going to get shot, they are going to fill my dead body with bullets, and the cop who hit me first, who took my final breath, he will be promoted, and his pay raised, and him and his family will be so happy that they move to a nicer neighborhood, and decide to have another child, Rose if a girl, and Dumbfucker if a boy.
I have rediscovered knitting and I like it.
Now, before you think 'where's her rocking chair, shawl, and when-I-was-young-stories' (although a rocking chair would be nice), let me give you some background.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knitting to live or anything. I am enjoying it though. As a child, it was fascinating to see a single thread of wool magically joining together to become something bigger. It was never serious though, and was dropped ages ago. This small off-and-on hobby of mine as a child has now re-emerged itself to completely take over the equivalent of a whole day of my life.

You see, my mother has recently gone into Grandmother Mode. For the last few months she has been knitting jumpers and what-not for her grandchildren over in Queensland (yes, I'm Australian and live in West. Aust.). So avidly has she been doing this that she reminded me of the fascination I used to hold for knitting. "If you want, Mum, I'll knit some for you." Well, no going back after saying that.

Yesterday I visited her, and consquently ended up with some knitting needles and enough wool to knit a toddler's jumper. I started soon after and haven't stopped since. I knitted while visiting, I knitted in the car on the way home (I wasn't driving), I knitted while watching TV, I knitted while snuggling with my SO, and then I knitted before going to bed. After sleeping in a little this morning, I reached over to the bedstand, grabbed my knitting and started again. I knitted in bed, I knitted while watching some TV, and then I knitted while reading stuff on the internet and waiting for pages to load. Heck, I'm even knitting now, during Everything, although obviously not while typing.

THIS IS NOT EXTREME! I just happen to be enjoying myself immensely. For the first time in a while I'm actually having fun AND being productive. I feel great! It seems my childhood off and on hobby was just the beginning for the knitting in my life ahead.

Wouldn't you know it? I went to create this write-up, and my internet conked out. Grrr. Thank goodness for cut & paste and notepad to store your writing. My internet is fixed now, so this write-up is being noded now, three days later. To update: my knitting has slowed down a little, but not by much. I have now completed the back of the jumper, one sleeve, and have started the other sleeve. Yay Knitting!

I've had a major turnaround where daylogs are concerned. I used to enjoy them, used to want to get up in the moring and write about what happened the night before; my desire has waned.

While a person's day-to-day life is part of everything, in my opinion, that doesn't detract from the actual repetitiveness of that very same day-to-day life. So, I've decided, ultimately to change my view of the daylog. In keeping with whatever daylog theories I will hold for myself to be not only true, but gospel, I will leave it to the reader to assume the following things:

I got out of bed, after rocky sleep and strange dreams.

I played with my daughter.

I smoked too much.

I played some PC games.

I did some housework.

I laughed at some lame jokes.

I had a shower.

I wore clothes.

I went outside my house to do something.

I may (or may not) have imbibed in alcohol or drugs.

Now, with those considerations taken to be mandatory to any daylog I write in the future, I will still write daylogs. The purpose being, to record for posterity, such as it is, the strange goings-on, the unique goings-on. I will not write about how my hair just wouldn't work today! or how I, hee hee hee, accidentally put my pants on backwards while half-asleep. The truth is, between trying to think up and write good factual nodes, or researching a node, or submitting Node Title Edits and Nodeshell Deletion Requests, I find I have little time to actually think up and write a work-of-art daylog, so I won't. And besides which, living time is nice, too.

So, I'll do this for the time being. I'll list off the things I've done involving E2, and then, tomorrow, I'll take the liberty of recording for posterity the interesting things that have happened to me, that aren't the mundane.

I joined edev, mostly as a fool who's still trying to get into the swing of things, reading up all things edev, which has been difficult, because the real life over here's been quite busy. I also joined the Content Rescue Team, mostly as a person who submits ideas to the crew. Truthfully, I've got so much stuff regarding other nodes I want to write (which is taking much research, writing, etcetera) that I don't have time to do a good rescue. I wish I did. Then, I agreed to mentor a new noder, whose name I will withhold until the name's officially beside mine on E2 Mentoring Sign-Up.

I need to clean out my Message Inbox and start afresh; if I haven't responded to you in the past year, don't take it personally -- it's hard to get in a noding groove (or /msg groove) when large chunks of your day are spent juggling three projects, hunting four boogs, and answering five questions. Grooveless I have been. It's not the kind of workplace that would frown upon my noding; the suits, who would object, hand down their memos from on high and wouldn't know me from a delivery person anyway.

So I've got this huge backlog of msgs that make me dread looking at the Inbox (you have 177 more messages); to save time, my reply to you (yes, you -- you know who you are) is somewhere in this handy-dandy list of replies.


  • "Yes, I know."
  • "No problem, I don't mind."
  • "Yes, I read it, and liked it. Very good."
  • "We begin bombing in five minutes."
  • "That was due to the old E1 512-byte limitation on writeups."
  • "I'm actually Gail Greenwood."
  • "I agree."
  • "I disagree."
  • "Done."
  • "I'll finish it, once I figure out the concept of autonoding."
  • "Thanks, Mean Joe!"
  • "Bite me."
  • "I like Vast Conspiracy in the fourth, but I guess that doesn't help much five months after the fact."
  • "Nope."
  • "I'll add it to the node eventually."
  • "I'll add to the node eventually."
  • "I'll add two and two eventually, once I remember my name."
  • "I lost the first part of your message."
  • "I left my wallet in El Segundo."

There you have it.
I'm only a fifteen-minute walk from my office these days, so I'm spared the three-hour round-trip commute I had, back when I was living in my aunt's house in the Bronx. But the days drag even worse now, because I no longer have the crutch of coffee, coffee, and more coffee that served me so well in the past. Two or three months ago, I had to give up caffeine, because I'd started taking the supplement creatine (i.e. creatine monohydrate), whose effects are said to be muted when there's caffeine in your system. Now, at work, there are more afternoons where my brain drifts off into dreamland, my body gently slumps over the side of the Aeron (love those Henry Miller chairs!), and my eyes alternate between staring blankly at the monitor and staring blissfully at the backs of my eyelids. At first, I would give in and head to the coffee machine, but now my tactic is to take cigarette breaks -- the walk, the fresh air, and the smokes seem to help most times. There seem to be no complaints from higher-ups -- just as they've put up, so far, with my Rain Manness and my other shellshocked quirks, so the Dozing Man seems to be tolerated, especially since he's productive when not fighting off sleep. But I miss a good cup of coffee.

A couple of weeks ago, I passed my first year of service in this gig, my first-ever nine-to-five job. I've found it physically and emotionally challenging; added to the mix now is the occasional dose of paranoia (warranted or not, likely the latter), engendered by my first experience of layoffs at the end of July. It wasn't due to some dot bomb catastrophe -- the company's doing OK (we're told), it's just that the 2001 budget must have been written by Miss Rosie Scenario and cuts had to be made, in the face of mere OK-ness. Of the five programmers who were hired after Labor Day 2000, only two of us remain; in addition, three of our most beloved consultants are gone as of yesterday. Our overall workload, however, will be increasing (and already had been), and spread out over fewer employees. Oy! I think I'll have that coffee now, thanks.

There's the fear of "Am I the next to go?" in the back of my mind, unwarranted because we'd probably grind to a halt, on the programming side, if we were to lose another person. I keep reminding myself of that (and of all the projects in the pipeline) when the paranoia creeps in. I'd like to last at least two years here, since two years experience would look better on the ol' resume if I have to someday begin the quest for that second-ever nine-to-five job.


Did You Know? The original first sentence of Melville's Moby Dick was "I am Joe's liver".

Sometimes it's not good to be a (wannabe) thief.

OK, I admit it, I've had a fascination to repossessing things. It's not that I hold other people's stuff to such high value, it simply is exciting to do something forbidden. Now, before you report me to authorities, let me say that it isn't Real Life I'm talking about (though I did get caught from shoplifting once... but that's another story). It's BatMUD.

Ever since I was a small newbie, I knew I would never be a tireless Achiever, always killing monsters and making tons of exp every week, nor would I know all the secrets of myriads eq-monsters, I wouldn't be Explorer with known rooms percentage nearing 100%. I wouldn't be a Socializer, known and loved by everyone and a living legend of bat-channel, or even a feared Killer holding the entire MUD in a reign of terror. I'm an Idler. But that doesn't mean I can't do anything.

Since a legendary thief tried to steal our chests by shamelessly exploiting my gullibility, I've been fascinated by the noble profession of stealing other people's stuff. And so, when I finally had the chance, I took it. My spree of solo thieving was short but succesful, and though to this day only two people know it was me or even that there was a spree, I'm quite proud of that. I outsmarted the suckers. Ha ha ha. But of course it wouldn't stop at that...

I talked with some friends and managed to convince them it'd be fun, and so, when we spotted an interesting target, city far away from civilization, we started preparing. For many months I logged their comings and goings and we observed the place constantly to make sure we known where their guards are, and then, after some weeks of finding people to help and arrange our time schedules so we could spend all day killing their guards, we struck. For whole day we hit and ran, died and raised our dead, until finally the guards were almost down. My estimated time projection was about 30 minutes when, and I still curse that moment, one of the inhabitants logged in. Our party held its breath, hid, and waited for him to go away. He didn't. Finally, we decided to go for it, and attacked the guards once again. They screamed for help like they'd done for hundreds of times before, but this time there was someone to hear it. He came around, and when we were ready to attack again, he told us "don't go there! you'll die!".

We giggled, went, died, resurrected and then told him that we might let him keep his stuff if he just went away peacefully. Yeah, terribly theatrical, but pretty damn funny. He proceeded to squeal for help in a public channel naming his attackers, and soon enough he had an angry merchant harrassing us. We laughed even harder, though when maxed-level player started pkilling it wasn't quite so amusing. Except for me, of course -- he didn't kill me, apparently because I'm running an information service he found useful.

So what was the lesson of that story? Shrug... maybe it's that sometimes virtual worlds, really, can be more than just boring monster-bashing. Even if we hardly were any true thieves, to so pathetically fail in our first attempt, it was quite fun. And even now, three months later, if one of us is spotted by that same highbie in his city, he'll throw us out, and the fellow who ran into us in the middle of killing his guards will still bitch about "evil thieves who think they can do anything they want" whenever he sees us killing each other.

But wait, it's not over yet. The reason why I'm writing this today is because a friend of mine living in our castle, the same fellow who was along in that jolly raid (and was the only one to have his name mentioned in a public newsgroup in connection with thieving, by the way...) just logged in to discover his money purse has disappeared. Quite curious, really; we went through the possibilities, and the conclusion was I was the most likely culprit. Of our castle's inhabitants, it could personally have been done by four people, of whom none has the capability to pick open a door, but of whom one --me-- has the privilege level sufficient to let anyone in to pick the door open for him. Of course, due to a design flaw, in fact most anyone could theoretically do the same, it's just much easier for me. Of course I didn't do it, but if I were him I'd be more than little suspicious... ah well.

Meanwhile, in Real Life I haven't done much I'd bother writing about. Who cares about Finnish high school-equivalent matriculation examination results, bah. Though I must admit, those mathematics tests are harder than they look.

Tomorrow, my parents drive me up to Durham University, so that I might study Physics at Grey (a college, there).

I've written that in a very distant way, 'cos that's exactly how I'm feeling right now - it's all feeling very unreal. It doesn't feel like I won't be seeing my parents for the next nine weeks, it doesn't feel like I'll be propping up the bars of Durham, it doesn't feel like I'll be learning stuff again. But, logically, I know I will. I've 'met', via e-mail, another fresher who'se off to Grey tomorrow - and she feels much the same way. I suppose there's not a lot I can do about it... just go with the flow, and hope I regain a sense of normality by the middle of November. It'll probably sink in a bit more by the time we've left the service station. Maybe.

Stop the presses! This is my 400th node!

So.

Things that suck about coming back to work at a shitty bookstore after a nine-day vacation:

  • The section I am in charge of was TRASHED.
  • The books I am in charge of putting out were piled sky-high.
  • I was reminded of how much the place sucks.
  • New things have gone on sale that I was just supposed to know about.
  • Other things have been removed from sale that I still figured would be there.
  • Grr! WAHH! MY SECTION IS TRASHED!

Yes, I had to put that last one twice because it is a big deal. What's worse is, they wouldn't let me spend my first day back correcting it.

I've decided vacations are a bad thing. I always had the same problem with summer vacation when I was in school. Vacations make you realize how glorious your freedom is, only to take it away from you a short time later. And then you're busy again, and depressed by the fact that there is a LONG time before you're allowed another vacation, and pissed that you didn't get done the things you always said you'd do "when you got the time."

Someone bought a book that disgusts me today. I told her it disgusted me. She bought it anyway. People suck.

Everyone and their mama is buying these license plates, stickers, postcards, shirts, and photographs that promote patriotism. I don't know why we're selling these things since we're a bookstore, but I guess even our company has to grab a piece of the cash that's to be made from the disaster. I wonder if any of them know all the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Probably they know the first verse. But do they know the second? I know it and I'm not exactly patriotic; I was just bored as a child and memorized a book of patriotic songs, making use of my wannabe savant syndrome when I still had it. If people found out that others would think them patriotic if they knew the whole national anthem, I bet everyone would know it within a week. It bugs me that people are so much more focused on *looking* like they support America than they are on actually looking out for the country's interests. Nothing shows them dang terrorists like a t-shirt. Hey, you've got a flag on your car? So do I, you must be sad those people died too! Grr.

I don't have a flag. I don't even harbor bad feeling for Islamic people. I'm probably a terrorist. (So someone accused me last night in a chat room, right before he insisted Arabic spies were collecting our urine to build nuclear weapons. Don't they have their own pee?)

Enough.

Being back at work sucks, I'm still on my diet but am not counting the calories right now (I've got a good idea of where I am), and the country's gone insane. Nothing new to report.

I am tired. As usual I am sleeping late. Unusually, however, I am leaving tomorrow for a business course. The first in my new line of work. I have also been offered some part time work to teach C, and C++ to people in Dundalk. Interesting, that my life becomes so much more complicated just when I thought I had it all sussed out. I need to have more simple things to do I think.

The world is getting me down, not because it is full of sad things, but because there are so many wonderful things I want to do and I don't have enough time to devote to. That is why I am so darned tired. I need to move away from here I think, the web that has grown around me is so complex now that even I don't understand it sometimes, people I haven't spoken to for years pop out at me from the street, beautiful people, who were with me in previous lives, their names forgotten, but their souls not. Do they have a place in my life? Must I re-arrange myself to fit them in, are there already too many pieces, or not enough? I care for them all, my sincerity hidden by years in this city, years of cold indifference, the realisation that if you care about someone, and show it, that they look at you strangely. Sometimes the working environment makes animals of us all, and I have resisted it before, many times, moved jobs many times. Have I found the right place now? I don't know. All I know is that I am leaving tomorrow, as is my brother, my friend Omar, and that life is going to change. I am tired now, and the bed is calling. Good night everyone. Read this for understanding at your peril. ;-)

I feel strange today. I'm curious about some things that I'll never know. I'm stressed about finishing something I've already got done. I feel guilty about the quality of a project I didn't even have to do. An old friend asked me to call her, but I don't know if I should. And I feel both hungry and full at the same time. I feel lazy but I want to go do things. And I feel hope for something that I always figured was impossible.

I don't like today.

Well, today was rather un-eventful, mainly due to the fact that I slept all day, but what else is new for my weekend routine.

I got home Saturday morning at about 6am. Went to bed shortly after. One would think that I could make it up to the alarm at 1pm, seeing as that's a good 7 hours of sleep. No way, no sir. Not me. How about 1am Sunday morning instead? Christ on a stick. I missed going to the bank today, to deposit my rent money. I missed seeing Dirty Girl play at The Outer Limit. I missed....life today.

Right now, I'm sitting here at the cafe (duh, I live here), waiting for NightShadow to wake up around 3, and come play pool at George's. Hopefully that will go well, assuming the sun doesn't suck all the energy out of me before that time rolls around.

Oh, how exciting my life is.

I spent most of the walk that morning thinking about the sensory qualities of a walnut I'd found on the ground. I was unquestionably still drunk. Things appeared to me edited like film. A vividly long, slow, grainy shot of that tired woman on the opposite sidewalk pulling her cart, the one with the squeaky wheel - a sound that stops all else.

Interspersed, almost static, shots of cats perched on stairs and thresholds staring as I walked by.

The walnut was already cracked and I broke the shell bit by bit between my fingers. How much a shell is like wood - and how much it's different, harder, not grained with soft streaks. Walnuts suddenly seem improbable as a method of propagation: the meat so large and obviously for eating, the shell seeming as if it would be impermeable by blind nudgings of sprouts yet cracked so readily by hungry creatures and underfoot by the careless. Seems as if it would be devoured as soon as it was exposed. How could anything grow out of a coconut? I can't attribute it to the dubious luck of cows: they were bred to impractical and unsupportable proportions by those who both protect and destroy them. These just are, large, armoured food; a thing-to-be.

And inside; the flesh, in its pale brown inner paper-skin. Their crenulation always made me think of small brains before (in halves, symmetrical) but now when I break off pieces and peel back the skin - it's white inside, smooth, and it reminds me more of bones and crimped bleached driftwood. It seems as if each of the intricate bumps and contours must have a purpose, like hip joints and earbones do, some kind of magical mechanical purpose to its shape. And so smooth, oily not like lotion or grease or anything like that, but a healthy oily. I hesitate to say - it's so typically considered a flaw - like hair that's got its own oils in it, like a wooden comb that's been run through those oils for years, like an old curved bannister that's polished by nothing but generations of hands. I imagine looking at a fingertip under high magnification. It's not the oil in the pores that shocks you. It's the way you can watch them refill after you wipe it away. It's supposed to be there.

So, the inevitable, though I'm not hungry. Walnuts have their own teeth-feel. I expect the astringent tang of tannin, having never eaten a walnut off the ground before. Don't they have excessive tannin before they're roasted? Or have I been fooled? I'm waiting for an aftertaste, of dryness, of bitterness, something. This tastes fresher than most walnuts I've had, cleaner, but that could be the morning, it could be the tiny bite I've taken. It's probably my imagination, looking for difference. Because you see what you want to see, etc.

I see the tan skin flake off under my fingernail as I bare more of the flesh. I break the shell further. The nut, as I walk, is thoroughly destroyed, catalogued item by item as I might catalogue a home I was leaving. I leave bits of shell at intersections. I am gathering my strength in order to make the day work despite my lack of restraint. Starting with the small things I can easily manage: wonder, sidewalks, litter, miracles of plant procreation. Walking.

Wondering how to capture and share this life. Sometimes glances translate into film readily, and sometimes sounds into words, and sometimes a piece of love becomes warm food I can hand over. But say I had to explain what I'm all about. Let's just pretend you asked me. I have to say my best ambition is to share with you what's so wonderful about all these things, being able to walk straight, to eat a nut, to look a cat in the eye. 'You' being the generalized 'you', that would otherwise give up on things, that would assume there is nothing between your door and your car, that would kill for one reason and sell for another, seduce without caring and put a price on the quality of life.

I haven't got a lot to offer up. I think there are others in my karass, though, I get rocks in the mail and someone has been hanging small photos in public places around here and the woman at the bakery is so generous & kind. So I won't worry too much about answering. It'll seem like a redirection when I point out a chestnut that's fallen from a tree, but really I'm crediting Bart, who brought me handful of shiny brilliant buckeyes when I was playing host-without-a-home. Then I will ask you back to my house and maybe as we walk end up holding your hand. Which is me learning from you, don't you know? And it helps me to continue to see when I'm tired, my mind is foggy and I can only think of one thing at a time.

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