6th of August, 1945.

I was forced out of my job today. I had just discovered that I really quite enjoyed working there.
You see at my former job some interesting people were working alongside me which made the shittier* moments of working in a bar glide by, to mention a few:

A martial arts master who is training in a secret martial arts style called iron ox preying mantis (Go-on put it in Google you won’t find much!) (node appearing shortly!) He is a kitchen porter to give him the required muscle type and stance (and because he likes to sing songs about hating paedophiles while he works, (lets put him in the kitchen out of the way.))

A recently qualified dentist who was saving enough money to go to Bolivia so he could do charity work. Good luck, have you learnt Spanish yet?

A gay doctor who hates medicine and is going to be the most qualified personal trainer in London ‘Dr Ken; medical speciality: ‘sit-ups’

An Italian Satanist who perpetually tried to convert me to his religion (once he found out I knew so much about it. Thank You Everything2.) He could also persuade almost any girl to sleep with him. It was that ten percent who were immune to hypnosis that were the trouble…

These synopses are a terrible injustice to the people they represent. Each and every one of them is fucked up in there own endearing way. I wish them all well in their future endeavours.


* Microsoft Word corrects ‘more shitty’ to ‘shittier’. Well they of all people should know.

I like big guns

Some years ago - no, actually many years ago - I was in the Danish Home Guard (Det Danske Hjemmeværn). It is more or less equivalent to the National Guard in USA, I guess, but I wouldn't know for sure since I haven't been in the National Guard. I had a very good rifle (an old one, since the Home Guard kinda gets the equipment that the regular army can't use any more. Not that I minded; my rifle was one of the best in my division (here a platoon sized unit), and probably even better than the new ones), and I was quite good at hitting the targets. This is an advantage in many situations, and makes you popular among your comrades who won't have to jump for their lives...

The Danish Homeguard is (or was; a lot has presumably changed since I quit in 1995) divided into the Air, Army, and Naval Homeguard. I was in the Navy of course, being the daughter of a sailor. Not that I got to sail much, which was all for the good since water is bumpy and not to be trusted, but we had some other really cool devices in our division: two great big whopping Bofors 40mm (1,57 inches) anti-aircraft guns. There's a great picture of one here (look at the one on wheels: it is identical to "my" gun). It's a beaut. It is operated by a crew of minimum 5 people: the layer, who will move the gun vertically, and depress the firing pedal (the trigger); the trainer, who swivels the gun horizontally, the loader who stands on top of the gun platform and feeds the grenades into the gun; the supplier, who is responsible for keeping the grenades coming, and finally, the commander, who shouts out the orders for the others.

Of course, being so fascinated with just about anything big (hint: rhinos and sumo wrestlers...) I could not just stand by and not get into the action. So I took a lot of classes and courses, and was generally being so annoying that, in the end, my superiors relented: I was made Gun Commander. I got to be the one who stood beside the big gun and called the shots. Naturally I had to go through all the other positions (no! bad! I'm being serious here!) as layer, trainer, loader, and supplier, working hard and sleeping with a pencil between my toes, and it was a lot of fun. But the real treat was still to stand beside the big gun, binoculars in hand, and call out to the crew:

"Short, right. FIRE. Short, left. FIRE. COVER!"1 (And, once the target had been sufficiently molested) "CEEEEEASE... FIRE!"

I find it kind of cool to know that I was, allegedly, the first female Gun Commander in Denmark (and most likely in Europe), and my crew - an all-female crew - was the first all-female crew ever, as far as anybody knew. And we were good: we murdered the targets - and that did little to make us popular among the other crews. You see, the target was a wooden contraption with a big piece of plywood affixed to it. It would be towed behind a boat, across the shooting range some 500 to 700 m out, and we were supposed to aim for the plywood. Well, we did. We aimed, shot, and hit, and the whole contraption sank. This meant a lot of downtime (no pun intended). So they placed a few big orange floats or buoys for the crews to practice on. So we shot those to pieces (around this time I was told that, in the future, we were not to actually hit the targets! 'Try to... come close, but don't destroy it.'). Glorious times, those were...

These old guns had to be carefully maintained and looked after. I have disassembled, cleaned, oiled, and reassembled those guys so many times that I think I could still do it, even though it has been a good 15 years (and counting) since the last time. Most of the parts are very heavy, but I did my damndest to pick up and carry what needed to be picked up and carried. We'd always set up the cleaning station close by, so we'd only have to carry stuff a few steps. But still... The breechblock was a block of steel that weighed some... 60 kg. I could stick my arms through the hole in the block, and stagger to the table and plonk it down. The barrel, though, weighed 130 kg, and it took at least three people to shift it. Five, if it was hot and needed to be changed during shooting. The rest of the pieces were a bit more manageable. It would take us a good whole day to get our gun clean after shooting, but it was very satisfying, after assembling the gun and manhandling it back to its parking spot, to stand back and look at it, all clean and oiled and happy. Whereas we'd be all tired and dirty, sweaty and oily - but happy.

The guns have gone now. I hope they are safe and sound at some museum or other. I'd hate to think of them being demolished and sold off as scrap metal (that'd be almost 2000kg worth of metal!); they were very fine pieces of machinery or weaponry, and I can personally vouch for them being well kept during the years I took care of them.

Oh well...

  1. In Danish the command/term for "Keep firing until I tell you to stop" is "dækning". Roughly translated it means "cover". If any of you out there knows what the English term is, I'd love to know.
NOTE: A thank you to Palpz, Jack, mcd, Apollyon, and Bennyfactor for helping me with trying to translate the Danish command to English. 'Fire at will' comes very close, but 'Fire for effect' seems to be the one. Thanks to Bennyfactor for prowling the net for me. I think I'll leave the 'cover' in the wu though...

They say not to node while drunk

Well, I'll tread with caution leaving only monarch footsteps in my wake.

I've encountered my first serious and negative impact of being in Japan. A friend I adore absolutely is now forced to leave the country because of the combined effect of her company fucking her over joined neatly with the Visa office's almost American tyranny. Shit, peace like a river? It has been none too discreetly redirected.

It is a sad day when I buy Sake from a 7Eleven, not to mention dinner, and the kombini becomes my adventure for the day. Fuck this heat, in both ways I guess. My thick ass blood is a fever-pitched rage of throbbing red. Anger is the last ingredient you'd add to such a volatile substance. Hell, my salvation for the day was discovering that izubachi is in Japan at the moment. Salvation is temporary at best and I soon discovered that he will be gone in a matter of days.


Shouganai, as they say. Not much meat to the matter, here, not much content to be appreciated. Forgive me but I needed to vent. Whining has never been an art I've practiced well.

I burned a perfectly good steak tonight; I guess my heart wasn't in it. Ate it anyway because, y'know, it was dinner so what the hell.

I drank a beer, and ate my charred steak, and cried over Sports Night, again.

It sounds crazy, but there's something strangely romantic about that particular set of circumstances, like the emotional typhoon that'd be created by Chet Baker and Edward Hopper meeting under a street lamp in the old age that Baker never reached and Hopper never acknowledged. Baker goes, 'this reminds me of a song, but I can't remember the words," and Hopper goes, "It wouldn't sound the same. Better off in your head."

And Hopper goes home and creeps down to his basement and tries to wash the arthritis out of his hands with paint thinner, maybe puts a record on the turntable. And Baker goes and gets a cuppa coffee in a corner diner and thinks about maybe getting some pie.

I'm saying, it'd be sad if it wasn't so romantic.

I has a new program is called Dragon speak it to voice recognition software it seems very strange to talk to my computer I actually got it for my son it appears that he has a problem with writing so the teacher and an evaluator thought that possibly if he doesn't have to write physically he might be able to finish a story he has a very good imagination and if you give town guidelines he can write for you but if you just give him a general task such as right as story about a frog that crossed the road he has difficulties this theory is that if he can just tell a story it might help

The preceding paragraph was written by my dictating to this new program... It's actually called Dragon Naturally Speaking, and I did buy it for my son Ian. According to an evaluator from the local school system, he may have some sort of writing disorder, I'm not sure what. It's true, Ian hates to write, and is much better at simply telling a story, so I was willing to invest the approximately $90.- for this top-of-the-line voice recognition software.

To test it out, I set up a user for myself. When you set up a new user, you have to spend quite a bit of time talking to it so that it internalizes your voice patterns. Apparently, the more you use it the better it gets at it. Alex was at his computer when I was talking to mine, and pretty soon he was almost falling out of his chair with laughter. It must be a pretty funny sight, watching someone who generally doesn't talk very much anyway reading "Dogbert's principles of business management" to their monitor.

The process of testing this program has made me realize what an intensely private person I am when it comes to any sort of creativity. I prefer to be by myself when I write, and the thought of dictating a writeup makes me very uncomfortable. Apparently, my son is the exact opposite. I hope this is an indication that maybe I've encouraged him to be creative, and not ridiculed his efforts.

I have a hard time communicating verbally anyway. It's been a complaint of at least one past partner that I can't open up and discuss important and distressing relationship issues face to face. I'm much more the type who sits down and opens up in an e-mail or by IM. I think it makes me uncomfortable not to be able to take the time to choose my words carefully. Some of this is probably residue from the abusive marriage I was in, where I had best choose my words very carefully lest my ex's wrath be stirred. I hate it; I'd much rather be able to sit down and have open and frank discussions face to face about things that bother me, but even with my love, who so often is thinking exactly the same thing I am I have problems. Any in the least sensitive issue I want or need to talk about is rehearsed hundreds of times in my head, with all possible responses gone through, and put off again and again until it can't wait anymore. I know in my head that he supports me, and that things that seem like a big deal to me he'll probably just solve or dismiss with a laugh and a smile, so I don't know why I'm like this.

The irony of this place is that because of this character trait, I've shared so much more of myself with you, most of whom I'll never meet, than with many people whom I love with all my heart. When I decided to let my sister know what was going on back when I was going through my nasty divorce, I referred her here. In return, many of you have shared with me your joys and pains, not intending to share them with me as such, but still inviting my participation. I hope I've been able to help some of you, be it only with a kind word, as much as your support has helped me in some of the truly dark times of my life. For me, that is the value and meaning of this place, and the reason that I won't let E2 fade away.

I don't mean to say that factuals and fiction, poetry and prose, are secondary. I'm a dedicated factnoder myself, and a great admirer of those of you who can write the things I myself cannot. But it's the people, the community, the love that keep me coming back here. Thank you.

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