Their work ethic still hasn't improved, but the Judges have managed to get their scores in for the Talent Show.

That's right, folks...

Merit Whore for the Ages™

in conjunction with the

Everything Noder Pageant 2003

...proudly presents, the scores from the second round of the Pageant. Don't forget that a summary of the round is available here. This is the second round where scores will count, and the competition is hotting up, though Miss Thailand has snuck out to the front of the field. Without further ado:

How they scored:

| Contestant | Node                                 |  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  | aggr | audience  |

| Spain      | Neverland                            | 3.0 | 3.1 | 1.1 | 3.0 | 4.2 | 14.4 | + 4/-4 0C! |

| D.R.Congo  | God is a high school science teacher | 9.0 | 8.9 | 9.4 | 8.5 | 8.0 | 43.8 | +16/-4 0C! |

| Suriname   | We are the servants of our muse      | 8.5 | 8.1 | 8.0 | 8.0 | 9.5 | 42.1 | +28/-3 1C! |

| Micronesia | Boba Fett wasn't that tough          | 8.3 | 7.8 | 8.2 | 7.2 | 7.0 | 38.5 | +72/-6 5C! |

| Serbia     | Fifteen minute diva                  | 7.0 | 7.0 | 5.8 | 5.5 | 6.5 | 31.8 | +20/-4 1C! |

| Ethiopia   | don't talk about those things        | 8.5 | 9.3 | 9.1 | 9.0 | 9.2 | 45.1 | +35/-4 5C! |

| Portugal   | Sun comes up, it's Tuesday morning   | 9.3 | 7.0 | 8.3 | 8.7 | 9.3 | 42.6 | +43/-6 5C! |

| Norway     | Beyond Fortitude                     | 8.7 | 6.7 | 8.8 | 8.5 | 9.7 | 42.4 | +16/-3 1C! |

| Canada     | Ordinary Day                         | 6.0 | 5.0 | 7.4 | 5.2 | 7.8 | 31.4 | +13/-7 1C! |

| Turkmenist | *withdrawn *                         |     |     |     |     |     |      |            |

| Australia  | Amy Hit the Atmosphere               | 8.1 | 8.0 | 7.9 | 8.4 | 9.1 | 41.5 | +16/-3 0C! |

| Thailand   | Riviera Beach Club                   | 9.5 | 9.6 | 9.5 | 9.9 | 9.5 | 48.0 | +26/-1 3C! |

| Iraq       | They have taken enough               | 5.1 | 5.8 | 3.2 | 6.0 | 5.1 | 25.2 | +30/-5 1C! |

The standings, after two rounds:


| Contestant |  R1  |  R2  |  R3  |  R4  | Total  | Rank |

| Spain      | 43.2 | 14.4 |      |      |  57.6  |  11  |

| D.R.Congo  | 38.4 | 43.8 |      |      |  82.2  |  6   |

| Suriname   | 39.0 | 42.1 |      |      |  81.1  |  7   |

| Micronesia | 38.5 | 38.5 |      |      |  77.0  |  8   |

| Serbia     | 44.8 | 31.8 |      |      |  76.6  |  9   |

| Ethiopia | 42.7 | 45.1 |      |      |  87.8  |  2   |

| Portugal   | 44.1 | 42.6 |      |      |  86.7  |  3   |

| Norway     | 39.9 | 42.4 |      |      |  82.3  |  5   |

| Canada     | 36.7 | 31.4 |      |      |  68.1  |  10  |

| Turkmenist | *withdrawn *                       |  13  |

| Australia  | 42.1 | 41.5 |      |      |  83.6  |  4   |

| Thailand   | 43.5 | 48.0 |      |      |  91.5  |  1   |

| Iraq       | 25.1 | 25.2 |      |      |  50.3  |  12  |

See also: March 26, 2003 * March 21, 2003 * March 13, 2003 * March 3, 2003 * February 24, 2003

Damn it's early in the morning here in my secret location...

What does your smile look like?

Immediately I thought of the digital picture I had my roommate take of me over a year ago. He had invited me to live with him in a new town, and thinking that living with one true friend had to be better than my current situation, I accepted. Not 3 weeks later he started dating a girl that lived in a town 2 hours away. He was gone literally half the week.

My smile couldn't look at all then.

So I looked for company online. Some brilliant demographic research on someone's part informed someone else that I was a single male. And so you get e-mail. And it's not even all porn. For whatever reason I have never spent a dime on anything online besides Everquest. So when I saw a personals advertisement that said FREE I had to investigate to find the catch.

There was none. They had been running free personals for a while, but it was going to end soon. So for a few months I actually met some women online without The Man making any money off me.

Got a pic?

I read that question too many times to count. It had been several years since I had last looked to the internet for companionship. Back then I didn't care what the girl from New Zealand looked like, it was enough that she enjoyed talking to me online so much she actually ended up calling me.

After a while, however, it dawned on me my roommate had a digital camera, it shouldn't be hard to put a pic of myself online somewhere.

So that's the first thing I thought of now, when asked what does your smile look like?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm the kind of arrogant bastard that would dare say my words are worth more.

Besides, some times the old ways are best.

My smile

My smile looks like it was once ugly, once hidden. My smile looks like the money my parents spent to make it perfect. My smile looks like a summer romance taught it how to shine again. My smile looks like it knows something you don't. My smile looks like it knows what you want, but won't give it to you until you admit it. My smile looks like it doesn't need you to climb on top of a pyramid and shout your love. My smile looks like it's lobbying for whispers for my ears.

Her eyes are green.

Before you read this, you must read my WU on April 1, 2003. So go on. We'll still be here when you come back. (Pause)

Okay. Now, today I did a bunch of things to fill up the day. I went to a temp office to see if I had any job oppurtunities, but after hearing the testimonies of others who had done it before me, I decided not to go through with the temp stuff.

I went to church tonight. There was tons of people there because of a conference we were having. I was only looking for one person though. I didn't see her until after the service. She was dressed in an orange shirt with a denim skirt on. I tried to pull back my anxiousness in wanting to talk to her, just a little.

See, I did call her April 2, 2003 and I finally confessed my feelings to her. She told me (at the time) that we would talk to me tomorrow night (tonight). She pulled me aside tonight and as we looked into each others eyes in that corner of the crowded room, I noticed something about her I hadn't before. Her eyes are green. I usually don't notice things like that, but this time I was actually looking.

As I was gathering myself, she smiled and that really made me lose it. I had to look away for a second because I didn't want rush this and I didn't want to seem anxious. She told me that she has really wanted to talk to me for some time. I told her that I want to get to know her better and that I want to see her more often. Then she told me that she was waiting until after our Church fast that she felt would be a better time for us to start going out. (She is a very godly woman, one of the character traits about her I admire most.) I told her that I respect her wishes and we set a date, April 23rd, to go out.

After this I wanted to just stare into her eyes forever, but I knew I had to pull away then. We said our goodbyes and I left.

Many people use the term "love" to describe the kind of feeling I was having, and maybe it was love, but it felt like a deep sense of peace and closure. I also felt a sense of a start or a beginning to something, like a gate being opened.

You can be sure, faithful noders, I will keep you posted.

P.S. Thank you all for your words of advice and encouragement (even though I got some dirty comments).

I sat in a confernce room in Building 10, enjoying some tea, waiting for the other three members of my team to arrive. I flipped through some documents describing the schema of another team's database, to refresh my knowledge before the meeting. Suddenly, I needed to drain the lizard. That's tea for you.

The plus shapped buildings at Microsoft (#1-#8) are confusing as hell. They're constructed from a central hub with elevators and amenities with four arms of two hallways each extending from it. That leaves you with four intersections, all of which look just about the same in every direction. A friend once pointed out he felt so much like a rat in a maze, that he often expected to find a chunk of cheese waiting for them when they reached their office.

The double-plus buildings (#9 and #10) are even worse: they have a third hub between the pluses, and the hubs are larger and have intersections through parts of them. Talk about taking it to the next level. When I first moved from building 27, I considered taking bread crumbs to work with me. However, I quickly found a better solution: the visible artwork and posters differ for each intersection, so no matter where I ended up, I could figure out where I was by artwork triangulation. Eventually, I didn't need the art work any more.

So, to the bathroom. Up, out the door, right, left, right, first door on the right... two steps in, my hand still on the door, the alarms going of in my subconcious stopped me in my tracks. There was something amiss. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, all I could see was the entry hall, but I suddenly knew I was in the wrong bathroom. I backed out to check the sign. That's right, I forgot one key fact: the two sides are mirror images, and I was on the opposite side from my office. Now, how did I know I'd chosen the wrong door?

As I entered the men's bathroom and breathed a sigh of relief, I saw what tipped me off: the men's had cool blue tile and beige walls, the women's had burgundy tiles and pink walls. Blue is for boys, Pink is for girls - Who knew?

On my day off today from working in the SARS ward, I get a call from an old friend now working in Sydney. She's asking me about our mutual friend, the doctor colleague of mine that I mentioned on a few days ago.

She asks me if he's in a coma. I struggle to find the appropriate words to say. I tell her he's still alive, that his prognosis is very poor. I want to tell her that he's not in a coma, he satisfies the criteria for brain death but I can't. I end up telling her he has "brain damage".

He was born in the same year as me. It's now close to a week that he has not displayed any neurological recovery. The only good thing going for his prognosis is that he is young.

He still is unresponsive to any physical stimuli. His family and fiance are still hoping for a miracle.

His death will be big news in Singapore - when? I cannot confirm.

It could have happened to any of the doctors here. Yours truly included.

Life is fragile

So today is my birthday, YAY go me!, I have made it once more around the sun. Aparently the sun has gotten a little hotter since I first started orbiting it, but to be honest I've not noticed it.

After reading the experiences of alex.tan over the last few days I am reminded about the strangeness of circumstances, the contingency of our lives. I don't want to dwell on thinkiong about the many people I have known well that have died, before their time, because of terminal illness. I'm alive and that is nothing more than a fact. I have a capacity to remember them, to make or form some meaning from my life. It seems that it would be wrong for me to abondon that capacity through grief. I have known times when abondoning that capacity was all that I wanted to do, clearly usually when engulfed in grief. I am happy that this is not one of those times in my life, but the account of alex.tans current experience brings a sharp reminder that the shattering of our normal lives can be so close, that we live so closely to others who are living through such events and such times. I wrote most of the following earlier while offline so the tonse changes somewhat. Life has a tendency to be like that.

I am 29 today. Two days ago I was filled with a huge amount of opimisim for what th next 30 years of my lfe are going to be like. Can't say why for ceartain, just was ya know. The weather was lovey, it was sunny, warm. I was about to go climbing with a good friend, things were in a good place for feeling optomistic. Since then its been pissing rain, but you'll get that (as a good friend of mine likes to say).

I like e2, I like this place a lot, it amuses me, informs me. I really like the sense of community about this place. I once even met a few noders in real life. They were as diverse as you might expect from the diversity of writing to be found here.

I've not participated much here in the past year or two. Circumstance prevented me but a lot has happened. Much water passed beneather the bridge of my life.

- The teaching gig that I mentioned in my last daylog only lasted a few weeks. It was an inense and hard experience. I learnt a lot from not, not least of which was the fact that I don't want to teach children. I spent another few months in Ireland and then I got a new job in Germany. So here I am in sunny Heidelberg working for Springer-Verlag. We make science books. Get that, I work for a company that makes books, how cool is that. I'm a copy editor. I make sure that the language our authors write makes sense and is clear. I imagine its a bit like being an e2 editor but with deadlines and money.

In Germany there is a custon. On your birthday you bring cake into the office for everyone to share. I brough in a Linzer torte and a choclate nut rich big thing, they are both very nice. One of my colleagues told the other people in the office that I do most of my grocery shopping at train stations and petrol stations (the only places in Germany open late on the weekend), so for my birthday the people in the office bought me a bag of grocies. They even hand sowed the grocery bag! I kid you not. It has an internal pocket for a botle of beer, they know me well.

I have not written much in this place for the past while, but now I have daily access, I have to be carefull. My intention is to purchase a computer soon and do all of this from home. Today is my birthday, I will allow myself to write for a little longer than I would otherwise. Two years ago my grandmother died. I had grown up with her since I was 4 years old. Lived with her. She was the last of my direct family in a strange way, its more complicated than that, but my family unit consited of her and my father, he died a long time ago. There are cousins and aunts and uncles. It is a good family and I like it. I'm not going to exchange it any time soon. A few months ago we decided to sell the home, the house I grew up in. It has been sold, and now I am living in another country and I have no longer my home in Dublin. Its a strange sensation and I suspect that it will take a few more years to get used to. I am expecting to recieve a small inheritance. I will buy a computer (for the first time in my life) and perhaps then I wll participate here a little more.

Its my birthday, YAY! go me, one more time round the sun, seen Dublin, Edinburgh, New York and now Heidelberg. Watced people come and go, felt the sun on my face, clean rock under my fingers. Breathing with life, joy of working, loved and been loved. Its my birthday, I am a little older, oldly going onward. All that is past has moulded me for what is to come.

Today is my 24th birthday.


I'm 24. That hasn't quit sunken in yet. To the oldheads, this sounds like some damn kid complaining. But to me, the kid who worshipped Peter Pan, who still thinks watching cartoons and eating cereal is a good way to spend the day, who still plays with legos and other toys, who is still very much a child, so much so that when suddenly forced with the possibility of having a child, she opted out--this does not sound good.

I'm leaving my early twenties and entering my midtwenties. Big deal, right? Oh, so you're feeling a little nervious--big deal, right? Big deal. I have a dead-end job. (Big deal.) I can't go back to grad school. (Big Deal.) I live with roommates who hate me. (Big deal, you giant pussy!) I have to wait for some test results to find out if I have a form of cancer. (Big fuckin deal--there are people dying all over this world! At least they're not dropping bombs on your house!)

Big deal. My life is a big deal to me. And birthdays are when you reflect on them. I find it interesting that the second holiest (unholiest?) day of the Satanist's year is their own birthday. Me, I hate it. I don't necessarily like being the center of attention. I don't like having the spotlight on me. That's why I haven't been acting lately, and stay back in the soundbooth.

You know, I'm not so much depressed as worried. I thought that I'd have it figured out by now. I thought I'd know where I was going by now. I thought I'd know what I wanted to do with my life by now. But I don't. Instead, I watch cartoons, play with toys, and act like a kid because I can't figure out any other way to be which won't scare the hell out of me.

And yet--and yet there are people I went to high school with who are married with children. I'm 24--by now I should (normally) have at least one kid. You'd think then that I would feel comfortable with such an idea. But I'm not. I'm very immature. And I don't know why.

So tonight, I, wunderhorn1, and some other friends of mine are going out to see The Tempest. And I'll sit in the dark and lose myself and forget who I am and where I'm supposedly going or not going for a while. And it'll be good.

Oh brave new world, that hath such people in it...


In happier news, I reached Level 3 today, which is kind of an odd coincidence. So that brightened my day.

Like I said, I'm not exactly depressed, just doing far too much naval gazing.

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