What a strange day this is turning out to be. I got up early this morning, about eight:thirty.

Made my signature scalloped potatoes (recipe at th'end of th'node). Had the whole family over for Easter.

It snowed all morning, which sucked, because it was warm earlier. In the afternoon some dipshit got me all paranoid pulling an asamoth, not to be confused with pulling a dustfromamoth. Emailed The_Custodian about his offer. Got borged. That doesn't happen often, but since it was a borging for comedic effect, I'm taking it as a blessing.

It's been strange today, and will probably get stranger. At one point, I was a nodetype.

Update from later: It snowed all damned day. I know this is Minnesota, but, really, folks, can't you give us a break?


Epo's Scalloped Spudtatoes

Peel and thinslice four or five pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes and an apple. Soak in salt water overnight. In the morning, thinslice a red onion. Layer potato, onion, and apple in a large glass cake pan. (One apple for four pounds of spuds in all you need, any more is overkill.)

Grate half a pound of cheese over the spuds. I prefer a super sharp cheddar. Make a basic white sauce, pour over spuds. Tent tinfoil, bake at 350 until almost done. Remove foil, bake until brown.

Serves a bunch, but not as many as you would think from the size of the baking pan. They go real quick.


historical note: this was noded on 4/1/2002. For April fools day, the node creation date got changed. For once in my life I was the first to see the comedic effects possible. Everything in this daylog is true.
So I officially am on the "crazy" list at work.

Everyone got together last Tuesday and took a vote, and I made it. I got the phone call later that afternoon.

"You made it, you're in."

Yes!

Anyway, it was only a matter of time you see, before I got accepted into the group of elites. Well at least we consider ourselves to be elites.

I mean we are the craziest fucking employees this company has ever had. We just work and work and work. Like robots tending to an Acme garden in some long lost Warner Brothers cartoon.

There are certain qualifications one must have in order to become a "member."

It's not that hard as long as you are willing to give up a large amount of your social time in order to earn lots of money,well maybe not lotsbut money that you never get to spend because you are always working. The past 24 hours was the icing on the cake. Afterall I spent every last second of every last minute at work, working. It was kind of fun once I got to the internet cafe. The call shop down on Aungier street is boring and annoying. I always leave with a headache, and a sick feeling in my stomach as I unfortuantely can't stop thinking about how utterly disgusting and preverted the 50-some-odd year old man was that was harassing me and asking me for drinks later.

Ew! Can we please just get a life?! I mean who honestly hits on someone when they are working in a call shop?!

Anyway, so yeah, I am now, one of them, as my fabulous manager says.

But I am proud of my accomplishment, in a sick and very twisted way. I am glad that when management needs a little Cinderella at their feet to wipe their shoes clean, they have her. At least it's something anyway.


Oh goodness, I forgot the most important part of today!

In the early hours of the morningaround half 5 I think it wasI got this interesting msg from one of my great friends here on e2. It didn't surprise me coming from him, but it is still quite a bizarre thing to occur to someone that early in the morning.

I can hear people screaming outside my window, but it doesnt' shock me anymore.

Accipiter points out this node should've been placed in August 11, 2002, but I didn't. Oops.


Even the most mundane of Sundays can be incredibly fun and interesting, if your eyes are wide open to your surroundings. Permit me to elucidate; I'll not weave a horribly lengthy tale.

Today, the family had to go pick up a few things at Save-On Foods (a huge supermarket chain here in western Canada), so we figured we would also take the time to fill our child with McDonald's, in between flying up--and down--the slide. McDonald's is remarkably filling food, especially when engorging oneself on fountain Sprite to wash down the saltiness of the fries. So naturally, I had to use the washroom before leaving.

McDonald's is not world renowned for its tidy bathrooms. I didn't want to use the urinal, so I attempted to shut the broken-locked door of the bathroom stall. While doing my business I note there's very little graffiti on the walls. There are two scribbles on the inside of the door. They said:

Bill J. sucks!

and

so does RUSSIA!

Seeing this, and being a noder who hangs out in #e, I committed a small crime. I had to. Because being a noder who hangs out in #e affords one to have the opportunity to come upon little memes which stick out in the mind, for no clear reason. So, I had to write the following underneath, in small, black letters:

In Soviet Russia, Bill J. sucks YOU!

As an aside to this, after we'd picked up our groceries and gotten in to the cab, I noticed one further golden trinket of information, if I ever need it: in Alberta, the vanity plate TURGID is taken by a blue Toyota Tercel.

Random additional fact: today is my deadbeat dad's birthday.

Well, today I'm headed off for Orlando. This will be the second time this summer I go there, but it will mark the first time I'm going there for Disney World. We will be driving up there with my cousins, which will probably take four hours. All of us will have to manage to fit in a small car. (I should've taken lessons from those clowns over at the Circus).

Now, for the long ride there, I have decided to take a few things. My CD player will be with me, of course, along with some extra batteries. I'm also going to take some of my favorite CD's, which includes Radiohead's OK Computer and Tool's Ænima. I was also considering taking my new Lord of the Rings DVD, but then I realized I have no DVD player in my car. Sometimes I wish my car is like one of those rappers in those videos.

Anyway, the reason we're headed off to Orlando with my cousins, is that one of my cousins just came from Buffalo yesterday. He goes to a sort of a religious boarding school. He's going to be here in Miami for ten days, so we thought we should make the best of it and take him to Disney World. Amazingly, he's never went to see Mickey Mouse before.

I just came back from Houston the other day, and now I'm headed to Orlando. Hitherto, this summer was turning out to be the worst two months of my life. But now it's starting to get a little better, and I guess it's not all that bad. I just hope the few remaining weeks before college can be as entertaining.

I worry that the brush strokes of smeared creams and vines and violets that flow over my comforter will branch and grow roots beneath, enclosing me alone there forever, as I lay in bed watching the first lights of the day slowly creep through the glass behind me, over the humble disarray of the room...

Despite the heat of august nights, I feel the chill of morning and cover my bare shoulders, wrapping it all around, gently but tightly so as not to feel the space or the absence...

I missed the 4 am cry of the waking birds and only now hear their distant pizzicato...

softly squeaking guitar strings hum while the Quiet Is the New Loud fellows murmur their tales into the air...

I crawl out to silence the fan so that I can hear the breeze outside my window...

and then I remember...

his name was the wind.

If I were a photocopied transparency, layered over brightly colored paper, cut into shapes and sizes representing particular aspects of reality as an illustration of a narrative, telling a story that's been told time and again, how would I invert my self, without requiring assistance to manually lift and turn me over? I want to see what the world feels like, watching me, being manipulated by me, and others. This viewpoint is too limited, and I long for the taste of soil in my mouth. Rather than be walked over by shoes caked in dirt, I want to be the dirt. Augmentation: the act and mentality of true augustness, the pursuit of the real. I am wandering from the Path I originally set out from. I've wandered so far, I'm not sure what kind of trees these are, what exactly it is I am smelling, and whether the light in the distance is just my imagination, or worth floating towards at all.

When I first started off on my own, I had a clear idea of the life I would pursue. It would be one of People, of artistic achievement, of angular representation. I remember first moving to San Francisco at eighteen, writing somewhat-quality stuff every single day of the week, going regularly to they hay-day of late-1990's San Francisco poetry revival readings. Q.R. Hand, Jr. was there. Justin Desmangles. Steve Arnston. Charles Blackwell. Craig Easley. And man, they were the shit. And we all had this synergistic relationship, where the more I hung out with these people who were older than me (same as it ever was), the more I absorbed, gained the confidence to do my own thing, be right by my self. Q.R. is in his seventies now, but he in a static way will always be one of the best friends I've ever had.

I know things don't ever stay the same. But that's not what I'm talking about. Things were going amazing. I felt I was on the path to be able to do anything in the world I wanted. Become the reality technician of fine reality modification devices I'd always wanted to be. I had support, I had an audience, and I had magic at my fingertips. But the city, underneath, somehow convinced me that I wasn't suitable to stick it out. The city squeezed. But I'm jumping ahead of my self here.

For awhile I was in and out of a romantic relationship with a girl who had a boyfriend--shouldn't I be cloaking my self here? What happened to my layers of metaphor? I was waiting for her to break up with her boyfriend when I met another girl, Tiramisu. Tiramisu was everything I wanted in a girl all at once, she sweeped me off my feet. And I still live with her, almost four years later now.

I'm straying from what I'm trying to talk about. A sense of loss. And I'm not talking about the romantic relationships and things like that, though somehow I've meandered to this subject. Let's ignore that I've done that. Let's just get to what I'm really feeling here. I'm straying from my path. I'm not living a life in pursuance of art. Of anything. I'm a spectator. I'm living in Portland, Oregon-- I have no close friendships. I know this is my own problem. It's very very very difficult for me to have a good friendship with a person. I'm a hermit in many aspects. I spend so much energy taking care of my girlfriend. I'm working all of the time. I'm still in school. And now, I'm on a path to become a teacher? What's going on? I haven't done a psychedelic drug in almost a year, even longer since I've had the ones I want. :) I haven't had a performance since my last in San Francisco, where I sold the last of my music CDs, and performed to the largest audience I'd ever been in front of before. And I left that to come here--where I had nothing of that sort set up. Nobody giving a damn. No transportation. No ability to stay out after nine o'clock at night. No friends. No job. No money. No food delivery except pizza. And the whole plan was so I could come up here and concentrate on school, and writing. And have I done that? No, not really. Because the school lied to me, and now it's taking twice as long as it should, costing twice as much money, and I'm having twice the amount of useless classes. And not only that, but I'm going on a path to a fucking career. What's going on?

I'm 22 years old and I already feel like there's no more time to shift this all around. Everything is too intwined. I'm wrapped in barbed wire. I already took my chance to turn things around, and that's where I'm at now. Did I turn the wrong thing around? Instigated my own demise? Here I sit, now responsible for the welfare of not only Tiramisu but her sister as well, with no room to my self. No motivation anymore without an audience. Writing mediocre. Making mediocre music. Living a mediocre life. And this is what I've come all this way for? This is what I lived a very turbulent childhood for?

I spend my days listening to other's artistic creations. I digest music ravenously. I read books and books and books and books. I digest the world situation, and I just get more pissed off that I'm not doing anything, and that I'm in no position to do anything. I feel my existence being nullified every day. And my persona, my experimental approaches to art just being more and more irrelevant. I missed my window of opportunity. Maybe I made the wrong choice all those years ago. What would that time thread have looked like? See how far we stray, I had never even set out to write anything like this. It just happened, and now I'm labeled a big whiner. And nobody likes a whiner.


Ch'ien, Modesty
Modesty creates success. The superior man carries things through. Within the earth, a mountain: The image of Modesty. Thus the superior man reduces that which is too much, And augments that which is too little. He weighs things and makes them equal.
"we're going boom boom boom and that's the way we live, and in a great big room and that's the way we live"

I had a dollar in change when I came in to work today, intending to buy a Mountain Dew which would sufficiently caffeinate me until my boss made the day's pot of coffee. Little did I know...

I put some change in the "Cold Drinks" machine. All is good until I notice: I don't hear the change hitting the coin container. Crap. Throw the rest of them in there, hoping to force them all down at once. Silence. I hit the coin return. Nothing plink-plinked down. But a dime was sitting in there waiting for me. Bang the coin return again. Get a shiny disc back. Repeat a few times. Growl. Nowhere on the machine did it have a "Contact ... for problems and comments" sticker. Well, crap. That was this morning.

Just before 4 PM, I realize I need something more than Nutella and bread to feed me. Skittles, perhaps? A Snickers? Let's see! Onwards to the vending area... Throw my 65 cents in there, hit E5 for the Runts.. whirrrr goes the little spiraly gadget.. and it sticks. I have no more change to throw in. I spent all my bills on sandwiches yesterday. There is no sticker on this machine, either, to get my money back.

Tomorrow: Shall I tackle the remaining opponent, Mr. Coke Machine? Tune in tomorrow... same Knile-time, same Knile-channel.

Asleep on a losing air mattress I dream up a carnival, and the pretty girl in a long flowing skirt teaches me to whistle.

When I got into the bed at 12:30 I was tired and sad, but I found a blue bunny in the blankets that my small son had left and I hugged it. How can I say how happy I was to find it there? I slept with it all night. It smelled like little kids.

I dream how much I miss them, all the people in my life who only come in when the timing is good. Have I ever felt this lonely and stupid? Surely, but knowing it has sucked before does not help the now, where I still wish I had a quiet place to stick my head. I thought, back against the wall, I would make something of myself, instead I make a lot of nothing and wish for more sleep.

I keep telling myself to enjoy what I have, but I can’t see what that is. I forget to eat until the nausea hits and then press my palms to my eyelids and see swirls of color, little diamond patterns with blue and purple, almost pretty enough to get lost in. I hover by the doorway, afraid to go out. Drive convinced the car will rattle apart, mother convinced I am doing things they will hate me for later, vacation with guilt in my throat because who should be relaxed while life is falling apart all around? I tell other people their futures but can not see my own. Every day a new bill a new cost a new freak-out, coming so fast I can not breathe, and just sit and cry like a big fucking baby. Freak out because I have no money, and I always thought that if I were really in a pinch my family would help me out, and then discover it is not at all the case. I freak out because I have no idea how to take care of my own self, because I have never done it. I freak out because life is heavy GET IT OFF ME. In my head I hear "SHUT UP YOU BIG FUCKING BABY", as though grief is not legitimate when life falls over and all the good stuff spills out.

I am having mood swings that are very tiresome and frightening, one minute I am gorgeous the next I am ugly and fat and my face is all fucked up. I am brilliant, then suddenly fully retarded. I am witty and then just annoying, strong and then bent over like a pack mule. I know I am not the only person in the world, I know other people have lived through much worse, but knowing that makes me loathe my own self even more for being such a wimp about this. Mope and mope and mope and shut the fuck up already who cares about your stupid little life and your stupid little thoughts about it? I run the tape backwards and none of it looks good. So many fucked up things packed into such a small span of time. When do I catch a breath?

Other times I feel like a prize fighter: Divorce? C’mon motherfucker, let’s have it. Cancer? HA, beat you, you stupid sack of shit! Poverty? C’mon bitch, I CAN EAT THE HELL OUT OF A CAN OF BEANS!! But then other things creep in. How do you win when you lost a friend? How do you win when you don’t even live with your own kids anymore? How do you win when they jump out of the car, into your arms and the first thing they say is, "Mommy, I want to wive wiss you." How do you win when you cry so hard you have to pull the car over? When you smoke like it’s food, when you sleep all day because at least in dreams when shit gets ugly you can still fly and whistle.

Alright!

Today I had my first real contact with commercial gambling.

Rawk on!!

It was in a charming little room, just off from the side of a bar in Wellington, and they'd managed to pack a dozen or more of the worryingly popular pokies in there.

"My god", I chirped happily with an unweildy box of juice in my hand, "this place reeks of cigarette smoke and despair!"

We were there long enough to lose the grand-total of $14 we had on us (sure we won some of that back, but we went ahead and gambled that away too) and so come to the decision that we don't know how to gamble.

Broken and without any juice to cry into (I'd downed the remainder some time ago) we waited outside Cafe Istanbul as another (non-gambling) friend popped in to see his girlfriend who works there.
Several National Party MP's (and some from other political parties apparently) were dining there this night, among them our reigning Prime Minister - Helen Clarke.

Being that we were outside for a good thirty seconds I got bored, so killed some time by suggesting to my partner in legalised gambling that he wait for our nations leader to come outside and seduce her.
He became very emotional at this suggestion, moreso when I suggested he walk up to her and use the line "Excuse me, I was wondering if perhaps you know my horse, Bronco?"

I was detailing him being whisked off to expensive hotels as Helen had her awful way with him (he was threatening to throw me in front of the next moving car) when the last of our trio emerged and saved me from serious physical harm.

Why do things have to happen when they do? In fact, why do things even have to happen at all?

Why oh why?!

I have been staying clean, or at least very succesfully trying to do so these past few days because of an upcoming piss test that I will have to undergo as part of my requirements for this new rifle I am getting. And no, it isn't some hard target interdiction supergun, in fact it's just a plain old Marlin model 60 .22 lr rifle.

Anyway, I have quite successfully laid off the stuff for some time already when out of the blue she has to come, to my house, when I am alone, and weak. Said weakness was even weakened even more because of my seemingly undying love for this person, a love that I have professed but up until today have yet waited to elicit a response. The funny thing is even now I still don't know what her response was, I was too chicken to ask her and just assumed that her visiting me and asking to smoke some pot with me was the response. I am so stupid.

Now the drug taking wasn't such a disaster, that is not the real disaster, the real disaster here is that I am now confused as hell on why she even bothered to pay me a visit, when as far as I thought, she didn't care for me any more than the dirt that she walked on. I mean, somebody writes you a heartfelt letter professing one's love for you and you don't even give a no nevermind, nothing. I took that as a message of fuck off, don't be a creepy creep, and stay away. And I got over that no problem, in fact, having have done that I felt that I have moved forward on one of the biggest hurdles in my life. I was having the best time with my girlfriend of more than 4 years when she has to show up.

What I can hope for? I don't even want to contemplate, setting me up for another great fall due to false hopes isn't really high on my priority right now.

What would you do?

Should I ask her if she ever has any plans of at least giving a try being with me, me and her being an us? And if she answers in the negative, would it be right if I were to ask her never to show up again? That doesn't seem right, not being able to be friends with a potential partner just means there really is no hope for you in the long term with her right?

Do you now see, do you now feel the inner turmoil that I suffer, that I almost feel has been inflicted upon me?

down to the final four days

weill in japan: day 41

There are just four days of classes left, and enough work to keep me busy through all of them. That's not enough to stop me from a night out on a Monday.

Today was our loathed second midterm, based almost entirely on material from the previous unit. Because we only had four days' notice, I think I did poorly on the first section which centered around memorizing characters and vocabulary. I need at least two or three days of solid study to get those memorized, and I only had one -- yesterday. The essay and short speech sections were much better, since we had the freedom to choose any topics. We spent the final 20 minutes discussing our environment-related projects, which will be presented on Wednesday with a written report to be due the next day.

I was also the lucky 13th person to sacrifice a Monday afternoon to watch portions of the drama "Beautiful Life." My assignment is to summarize the roughly twelve minutes that I watched and explain it to a group of people before we watch it on Thursday. Everyone else in the class had done it once, and one particularly bitter classmate was chosen to do the assignment again despite having done it just one week earlier. (The reason he was chosen: he laughed to himself after a call for volunteers was put out.)

Two people did not show up today for the second midterm, and they will likely be joined by at least two more who plan not to do a project later this week. This means that out of 13 people, no more than nine will actually make it to the end of the course. That's about a 30% attrition rate.

money in short supply

I have about 4,900 yen ($40.80) to last me for these final four days, plus an extra 3,000 yen ($25.00) to bring with me to Narita Airport on Saturday. That seems like a good amount of money, but my lunch every day costs about ¥500 and I end up spending about that much for breakfast-like foods and drinks throughout the day. To eliminate the temptation to spend money, I've decided to bring just ¥1200 ($10.00) with me to campus every day, carrying the leftover amount to the next day. Since I can't use a credit card to buy small items like snacks or coffee, this should eliminate temptations to buy stupid things or waste money. I've already done too much of that, and it's time to spend money only on the daily essentials like coffee and donuts.

I'm not out of money overall: there is still my ATM card to get cash, but most ATMs only dispense ¥10,000 ($83.30) notes. It shouldn't be too hard to last these final few days on limited cash.

a monday special

Today, 41 days into my trip to Japan, I finally got to meet Noriko. She's an office worker in Suidobashi, near the Tokyo Dome, and was introduced to me by a friend's father. We met up for coffee, talking at length in English about life in Tokyo and New York. She wasn't too surprised to hear my comments about things like insanely overcrowded trains and near-ubiquitous mobile phones, but we still got along just fine. Unfortunately, her busy schedule and my imminent departure make future plans virtually impossible.

tidbits

I made a mistake last Thursday when I said that the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 8, 1945. It was actually August 9, 1945, and a ceremony marked the sad anniversary on Friday.

Starbucks, like many foreign food companies, has incorporated the flavor of powdered green tea (matcha) into its repertoire. A tiny Matcha Frappucino, while overpriced at ¥400 ($3.30), is delicious.

Today over lunch, some friends and I compared our unusual Japanese cultural findings. I located a pornography vending machine a couple of weeks ago, while Justin trumped us all by finding a used schoolgirl uniform store this past weekend. These stores sell school uniforms previously worn by girls, with uniforms from prestigious schools selling for higher prices. Don't ask what people do with these uniforms.

Everyone has projects to do. Even as late as 5:00 PM, the library computers were filled with people working on their project reports.

The second midterm is over, but the final week is just beginning.

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