So, yeah. I got myself a NEW COMPUTER.

No no no, even better than that! I built it myself. And this would be the first node I've posted with it. Wee!

And I'm enjoying this sucker. It's nice and quick. And of course, the most important difference is that unlike the old one, it's NOT running Windows 98.

Really, it was starting to get bad. I've be rebooting between 5 and 10 times a night. And of course, since it was my parents' computer, I could not go out and get a more stable operating system.

Thankfully WinXP is a lot more stable. Well, so far.

Let's have a look at some stats!

The only thing that kinda sucks is the Monitor. I'm all starving studentish, so I decided to cut costs and get a used 15 inch for $80. I do wish that I could have splurged on that.

Of course, I'll be moving into my fraternity house soon enough, since my parents have decided to move to Edmonton, and it's unlikely that I'll even have the cash to blow on a proper desk, so I guess I shouldn't whine about a small monitor.

What I just love is how the student loan system works. Because my parents are moving, I've gotta move out and start paying rent and actually buy food. But of course, because Dad now has a higher paying job, the increase in "expected parental contribution" is higher than the increase in living expenses, so I'd actually get less if I told them.

This is of course despite the fact that he's been out of a job for the past two years.

*mutter* dirty bastards

Anyways, new computer. Yay!

Update on my mom - She got transferred the Johns Hopkins hospital yesterday and received her pacemaker today. All the tests done show no other problems, just a sick electrical system so hopefully we will be changing batteries every 5 years or so for many decades to come. My brother joked we needed to ask for a remote control because if mom gets her energy back full force we are all in trouble! I'm very paranoid about cell phones near her even though I'm told anything further away that 6 inches is just fine. She comes home tomorrow. Happy, happy, joy, joy!!

Another month arrives, and Annalisa and I just finished our monthly visit. This time she came down to New Orleans and stayed with me for six days.

I really didn't want her to go back to Birmingham, but that's just me being selfish and wanting her all to myself despite existing her life in Birmingham. But given the nature of our relationship, I think such selfishness is permitted.

Sunday was my birthday, and the fact that she was here for it really made it a great day, which is good, given how shitty some of my previous birthdays have been. She gave me some birthday loot:

Other loot from various people:

Apart from the birthday, the rest of the week was spent going out to eat, watching movies, cuddling, having sex, taking baths, working (ugh), sleeping, and going out a couple of times. If this is any indication of how life with Annalisa is going to be once we live in the same city, I cannot wait to move.

Happiness is right ahead. :)

I wanna write something but I haven't got any words.

I hate the rocks along path I've taken; the thick roots coming through the soil and the constant puddles that need avoiding. I'd like to turn around and go back, but I can't. The earth has fallen away where I've already been. I can only go forward, pushing my way through the dense undergrowth, hoping to find another, easier path. Or at least one more fun to take. I've stopped at this point, to decide the best course of action. It's easier just to keep resting than to start again.

If I don't push through then it'll never get better.

i am so alone

As usual, its almost 3 in the morning and despite how much work I have to do, I'm awake in front of my computer feeling empty.

I imagine that's hardly a new story, and I tend to wonder how many noders write to the gods of everything 2 in the early morning hours.

I don't know why I'm writing here. I have no desire for your fascist xp, and that's not necessarily just because of the tragically negative number I have at the moment.

I can't help but wonder why I should waste my time writing to this invisible audience, who I'm pretty sure couldn't give a damn about my life.

But let's face it, I don't have anyone to write to anymore.

Once in middle school a sign up sheet was passed around for a group that met with the guidance counselor weekly. It came with this commercial they would announce over the loud speaker that resembled an "are you injured? do you need an attorney?" ad more than anything else. It was for students who felt alienated and alone, with the "have trouble making friends? need someone to talk to?" byline. In the process of making fun of it in front of the friends I did indeed have at the time, I managed to sign myself up as a joke. Before I could erase my name, the teacher took the sheet, and I was enrolled in a weekly meeting with a group of lonely kids and my lonely guidance counselor.

I didn't mind it much because it got me out of class and it was sort of interesting to watch the other kids respond to such benal questions as "where's your favorite place?" One girl answered that she enjoyed the local prison, because that was where she could see her father. After hearing this I felt like, to quote our dear vice president, "a major league asshole" for having joked about the program. I don't remember my answer to that particular question but I do remember the guidance counselor asking us whether any of us had ever found ourselves without any friends. As raising one's hand to such a question was middle school suicide, no matter how aptly named the program, no one volunteered themselves for scrutiny, however there was an uneasy look about the members of my group.

The guidance counselor went on to say that at at least one point in our lives we'll find ourselves without any friends, and that this was an accepted statistic.

The truth was, no matter how out of place I felt within this group, I knew I had spent most of my childhood praying for friends...more specifically, a best friend.

I'd dream of a new girl moving into the neighborhood and becoming my best friend. I don't think I've ever prayed for something more in my life, and honestly the fact that I prayed at all is a little hard to believe now.

I was always a quiet little girl, perhaps a little too quiet. I kept to myself for fear of being impolite or of looking stupid. Growing up as an only child with only adults as companions makes you all the more aware of how often children will be humored no matter how stupid their comments. I had no intention of being humored for my stupid comments, so I tried not to make any comments at all. A commentless child is not often likely to strike up the conversation that wins a million hearts, and as a result I was often friend-less. That is not to say that I didn't have any friends, but they were few and far between and I often found that the moment I became close with another girl my age she would move away. Within two years I had watched five best friends move away.

I spent my recess break volunteering in the library everyday. I loved the librarian, and I'm ashamed to say that I may have loved the hershey's hugs and kisses I would get for volunteering more than I loved the other children.

As I grew up I seemed to find that my need to have a voice could not contain itself any longer, and my worship for the loud and shameless resulted in a vomit-like expulsion of my inner thoughts to the world. I'm not the silent introverted little girl I used to be, more like the opposite really, and I have many friends. But I have learned to cope well with letting go of people, perhaps a little too well. After years of losing every best friend I had ever had, no matter how hard I prayed as a child, I became too accustomed to saying goodbye, never looking back, and being reliant only on myself.

I am the socialite with the million best friends who never really lets anyone in. At least I thought I was.

Before going to college I met a very sweet boy who oddly enough always made it feel good to be living life. It wasn't that he had the personality of a motivational speaker or that he was the epitome of every missing part of my life. It was just that as much as he was a stranger to me, he made me feel completely comfortable. For the first time I felt like letting someone in, like expanding my world to fit more than just me. I thought we were the same really. I thought I could see the same quiet introvert in him that I pretended I wasn't. I thought maybe we could be introverts together, and for a time, maybe we were. The word "love" ended up being mentioned more than a few times, however, after over a year of being the only person he ever let into his world, and him being the only person I ever let into mine, I am more than aware that there are still an infinite number of things neither of us know about each other.

Very recently, it has come to my attention that he may prefer it that way, whereas I saw us spending years discovering each other. I'm not mentioned in any of his everything 2 nodes, which was a bit pettily shocking, but I honestly don't feel like I belong in any of them. I know I'm not a part of his life he shares with other people, but I'll never know why.

Tonight I went to a concert to try and forget the new hole in my life. Throughout so much of my life music has made up for every inconsistancy and every insecurity. Music has always been there when people aren't and seeing a band play live has always been the greatest thrill I've ever felt.

But tonight, despite the fact that I was watching one of my favorite bands play in a small venue, as though it were just for me, it all felt empty. I can't seem to rid myself of the habit of wanting to share every happiness I experience with that sweet private boy who has cut me out of his life. The rhythm of the bass, the unceasing beat of the drum, the unparalleled complexity and insanity of the guitar solos, and the rush of the synthesizers I'd blissfully drown in before, suddenly felt like nothing. I found myself standing completely still amongst a crowd that couldn't help but jirate and spin and dance. It was as though I were fighting off the purest happiness that could be offered, if not, at very least, a few drunk men that would take my hand to join their mad dance. But I didn't want a body to jirate with, I wanted warm arms around my waist and a chin on my shoulder. I wanted peace of mind, security, and psychic company. I'm at a point in my life which is far removed from the loneliness of my childhood, and as I've been reminded countless times, I have many friends to fill the void and distract me from the pain. But I know I sit here at 4 in the morning typing to a community of overly critical strangers, who will inevitably send my writing into obscurity, for some real reason. I am alone again, and for the first time in a very long time, I mind it very much, and I find that I have only the open hole, where loneliness never existed before, into which I can escape.

I am the biggest idiot all of you have never seen. I have a 56K Modem. Is that why I'm such an idiot? Oh no, not at all. It's what I decide to download with this slow modem is what makes me a complete moron.

I used to download many, many, many MP3's before. Like complete CD's which I have yet to listen to. That wasn't that bad. But as of yesterday, I decided that I needed to own every single one of The Simpsons episodes. So what do I do? I go to www.snpp.com and copy all the episode titles and start downloading them. Well, I already have some of them (courtesy of one of my friends from last year, and some that I downloaded by myself before).

There are two hundred and ninety-some episodes. I have almost one hundred episodes (eighty of which came from my friend which I mentioned above). That leaves about two hundred I need to download altogether. All of this with a 56K modem. It's enough to make me go insane.

I'm going to download some more episodes now. If I'm not back in five minutes, avenge my death.

*insert groan here* I don’t feel good….we will put it like that. My allergies, also known as the Scourge of God, as acting up. My right eye is almost swollen shut, making it painful to blink; I have a runny nose that doesn’t seem to feel it should stop, and the post-nasal drip is making me sick to my stomach. *sigh* Why cant we live in air-tight sun-less bubbles?! I'm just venting my anger. Why can't they make a good medication that will make me immune to these pollens?

Though, I must confess the day isn't that bad, I just woke up…. It is actually almost lovely. The humidity is down, and the air temperature is down too, the sky is a lovely shade of blue, and cloudless. *grin* almost making it worth going outside. Almost. Actually… I have to do stuff today before we leave for the party:

  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Feed and bathe myself
  • Pick up cards
  • Pick up medication
  • Pick up something for Jaimy
  • *thinks*, I know I am missing something…….
  • Oh duh. Put laundry in the dryer, and make that shirt I have patterns for.

It is so cute. I bought this cream colored cotton with butter cream colored swirls on it (its lovely), and I have this pattern for a long sleeved peasant top… I want to wear it to the party, so, I need to get it done. When I am done, I will take a picture and add it to my website for all of you who are interested in seeing it.

Tomorrow I am going to my grandfathers house….just because. *shrugs* It's kinda weird, we are going this Sat. (he lives 130 miles away); and then we are going back Wednesday for his birthday. And! I am missing a concert I want to go to because of this Wednesday birthday dinner, and to add insult to injury, we are going to a steak place for dinner too. *sigh* oh well, I love my grandpa…. It is worth it, it is worth it.

And, I have been enjoying my school-less few weeks. This is the first complete week without school. It is wonderful, I have been staying up till 5 am every night….something I love, and wish I could do all my life. And, I have been working at my new job, which isnt going that bad. It is hard work, and I need to learn how to balance everything to get it done…but I think I am getting there, if they don’t fire me first *grins*. They better not though, I bought these shoes for this job, and well, I will prolly wear them again. They are men's boots…so they would look really good with the baggy pants and tight shirts I wear. =)

Oh well, I have to be done with everything by 5….so… I better go now. I have 4 1/2 hours. *grin* This will be interesting. Good day to all of those I care about…you know who you are.

Charlton Heston announced that he has Alzheimer's Disease today at an NRA national meeting.

The NRA, in turn, pulled out their guns and opened fire.

As he lay behind the podium drenched in his own blood, he asked a senior NRA aide "what happened?"

The teary-eyed aide responded, "We put you to rest."

To which Heston replied, "Funny, I can’t remember ever being awake."

Welcome to another issue of Life in the Swedish Army, the weekly dump of entries from my diary, being written as I go through national service in the armed forces of Sweden. See my wu in this node if this is the first of the LitSA write-ups you've seen. It contains some background info which will be expanded later when I get to writing a proper LitSA metanode.

This week was SLOW. Not slow the way you think about Volvo 240's, more like the way time always moves slowly when you want it to move fast, and vice versa. So in other words, this week was rather boring. Not that I don't consider long lessons in leadership theory and psychology to be meaningful, nor do I actively dislike four-hour passes of parade marching, it's just that there are other things that one gets to do while in the army that are far more enjoyable.

Rant about this week being boring ends here. This week's entries follow!

7th of August, 2002 - 18:23
A new week has dawned, so far without any major surprises. We've seriously begun training for the royal guard duty which awaits us next week, and have also been told what we'll be doing in the future; My position, the title of which I can't translate to English in a satisfactory manner (so I won't try), will have me doing stuff like driving large trucks, taking care of various computers, firing Big Guns(TM), and lots of other similarly stimulating activities. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades position, you might say.

As for the guard duties next week, I was assigned the job of telephone post, meaning on the one side that I don't have to do any of the boring ceremonial stuff normally associated with guarding the royal family, and on the other side, lots of late evenings stuck in a comms room watching security monitors and chatting with, among others, Swedish Secret Service (SÄPO), and, with a bit of luck, some members of the royal family. I am hoping it'll be fun.

(Notes): Accepting feedback: Reject, Defend, Explain, Understand, Change.

9th of August, 2002 - 11:44
Friday, and the week is slowly approaching its end. Due to some rather unfortunate circumstances I did not have the time to write anything yesterday; I witnessed a rather messy drowning accident while I and a few members of my group were having PE at the rather popular beach in Bredsand. Not very pleasant, especially since the poor victim (noone I knew) was quite dead when they finally fished him out. He's the first dead person I've ever seen, possibly the second or third if "not-sures" count. Anyway, this accident combined with my own disastrously bad luck at playing Chicago later that same evening put me in a dreadful mood which lasted until I finally found my way into bed.

Apart from the sad events of friday and lots of parade exercises, the week has been spent on lessons on leadership. We also did a funny group exercise thing called "feedback", the basic idea of which is that every member of the group says exactly what he or she thinks about his or her colleagues. More fun than I expected. Right now however, it is time for lunch, followed by an afternoon of (mostly) cleaning the barracks. I wish I was home already.

As it happened, I was excused from the cleaning due to my unfortunate presense at the site of the accident in Bredsand. One of the officers had gotten wind of what had happened and was considerate enough to call in the crisis group to make sure that none of us who were there were in any way mentally affected by the trauma of seeing a dead guy being fished out of a lake. Oh well.

That concludes this week's events. However, before I finish, I'd like to recommend to all of you one piece of music and one piece of reading no self-respecting geek should be without. <-- day 43-49 | day 57-70 -->

I feel like a slut for sleeping with my husband.

Weird statement, huh? Yeah, I think so, too. But my situation isn't exactly normal.

See, my husband and I have been married for 8 years now, since our daughter was 8 months old. Really, I wasn't going to marry him. I'd decided to do the single mom thing. But we were both active duty military, and he finally convinced me to marry him, mainly because otherwise we could have been transferred to posts at opposite ends of the continent (or even world) and he might never have seen his daughter again. After all, I was in love with him - I just had my doubts about things working out in the long term.

Well, that was my mistake. And we all pay for our mistakes, some sooner, some later. I paid by having a husband who acted like he was neither a husband or a father, but a guy with some inconvenient roommates, one of whom he had sex with. Plus, my husband is obsessive-compulsive, so the mess and disorder associated with having a baby (plus I'm not the neatest of people) drove him up a tree. He also doesn't have the knack of getting along with people, so everywhere he goes he's convinced that everyone is out to get him, and he took it out on me through constant verbal abuse and borderline physical abuse, too.

I tried to work things out through counseling, for myself (for the deep depression I was in) and marital counseling for both of us, but he saw that as an opportunity for two people, me and the therapist, to gang up on him (since the therapist told him he was wrong for abusing me). I held on, and held on, but everytime he cursed me or threatened me or just did something totally loveless, he killed a little bit of the love I had for him.

Two years ago, just after my son's third birthday, he was transferred to Washington State from Kentucky, where we lived. He said it would only be for a year, so I decided to stay here with the kids, since my daughter had just started school and I had just started going back to college. After he left, we heard from him about every six weeks. No letters, no cards, no birthday or christmas presents for the kids, no money to help support his kids (well, he did pay my car payment and insurance..). This went on for about 21 months, until he suddenly started calling daily and professing his love for me. He wasn't too interested in hearing about the kids, although he did say he loved them. His parents and brother had died in the past year, so I guess he felt lonely.

The problem is that in the meantime (actually just before he started calling all the time) I had found the guy who is right for me (see my scratch pad for details). I fought it for a long time, because I happen to believe in wedding vows, but I just couldn't. So when my husband decided to drop in for a visit, I was understandably less than thrilled. For the kids' sake I was happy, but...

Anyway, he showed up in the middle of the night two days ago.. the kids were thrilled! (at least my daughter - I don't think my son recognized him...). I had told him that I still basically loved him, but that I was not in love with him - loved him as the father of my children and basically a good person. He cried and swore that he had changed, that things would be different, but I've lost my trust in him, and how can you love someone you don't trust? I felt really guilty about that (yes, I know I'm stupid and a sucker for a guilt trip), so I thought that since I couldn't give him what he wanted (for me to love him), I'd give him the next best thing (letting him make love to me). I thought "I've had sex with him before without wanting to, I can do it again..". I didn't take into account the effect it would have on my self-esteem, which I had painfully built back up during the time he was away, and I didn't take into account that there was someone else in the equation now - someone who would get hurt. I'm sorry, Tony, I never meant to hurt you, I was trying to do right but I did really, really wrong.

When I stopped by your house to get hugs and encouragement for the rest of his visit and confessed to you, that was when I finally realized how much having even loveless sex with him would hurt you. When you got up and went inside, that was one of the worst moments of my life. I thought I'd lost you. I didn't know what I would do if that was true. My world fell apart in front of my eyes. And I realized it was all my fault, that you'd be perfectly justified in not wanting to see me anymore. When you came back, sat down again, and told me you still loved me I couldn't believe it for a minute. I knew I loved you, but I didn't realize how much until I thought I lost you.

Tony, you mean SO much to me. I love you. I'm sorry, and I'll do my best never to hurt you again. I know I can't promise that, because I'm really stupid sometimes, but I'll do my best.


August 2, 2002 October 29, 2002 April 11, 2003

partial recovery

weill in japan: day 38

The fifth week of classes is over, and there are just eight days separating me from home. I don't feel homesick, but I also don't feel that next week will be all that much fun.

This class week started off smoothly, with activities on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday bordering on enjoyable. Then came Thursday, and its disastrous second half of reading and one-dimensional "discussion." I think the professors actually picked up on the students' discontent, because today's focus once again shifted.

Today was almost entirely devoted to real discussion, with the first activity of one-minute presentations leading to some interesting discussion on things like toys and food. This sort of activity engages the class in interesting topics, something that we had been practically begging for last week. After the second hour's more academic but still entertaining content, one student left for the day expecting a repeat of yesterday's horrific second half. She joined two other students who didn't show up today. (One other student left at 12:00 PM due to a pre-existing commitment. We ended the day with four people absent in a class of 13, none of whom was sick.)

Surprisingly, the second half was actually discussion-based as well. By playing a game of keep-away with yesterday's reading material, we managed to cover topics of environmental interest that weren't boring or preachy. I personally hate reading and hearing people drone on about how we're destroying the planet, as was trendy ten years ago, but today's discussion was much more internationally-oriented. With students from the U.S., Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Slovenia in the class, the discussion actually went well. The fourth hour was taken up by discussions with Japanese native speakers about the environment, bypassing the professor entirely. This sort of hands-off approach went over well with the class, ending the week on a positive note.

Plans will be light this weekend, as I tie up a few loose ends with a final visit to Akihabara (buying things to ship rather than pack) and study for our second exam on Monday. With a presentation on Wednesday and a brief report due Thursday on an environment-related topic of our choice, I expect to be pretty busy in the days to come. That's okay -- I wasted too many hours into the early morning playing my three Japanese RPGs this week.

tidbits

Milestone: I am a Taiko no Tatsujin. Today, after being rudely knocked out of my Virtua Fighter 4 game by a sly challenger (more on that next) I played one game of Taiko no Tatsujin 3. After a perfect first round, a 98% second round, and a 95% third round on a four-star song, I broke 1,000,000 points for the first time. My ranking was Taiko no Tatsujin ("Taiko Master"), the highest possible. Of course, I'm not nearly as good as some of the schoolchildren who play on hard mode all the time.

Communication in arcades between people who don't know each other is pretty odd. When I and a friend played DDR with an anonymous Japanese person, the only communication was hand gestures to indicate who picks the song. Today I managed to start playing Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution in one-player mode due to a lull in the crowd. One gentleman was sizing me up, looking at my play intensely, before deciding that I was an untalented gaijin and that he wanted to play. One hundred yen and three ass-kickings later, my game was over. No words were exchanged with this guy, but I mumbled my English impression of him in less-than-nice words afterwards.

Hundred-yen shops can be deceiving. I bought a little desk clock with a thermometer today for ¥100 as an accessory for my dorm, but found that the clock didn't work. It turns out that the clock is powered by a small LR-44 size battery that is sold separately. I hope to pick one up tomorrow in Akihabara from one of the many electronics shops, but something tells me that it will cost much more than ¥100.

I called Japan Air Lines yesterday to ask about the possibility of bringing four bags: one large suitcase and three smaller soft-sided bags. After some stilted Japanese conversation and a brief wait, she came back to me with the upcharge for an economy-class passenger to add an extra bag: ¥20,800. That's more than $170 to bring a bag whose contents are probably worth less than half that much. Following the representative's advice, I think I'll put my laptop inside my carry-on bag and pack the accessories separately. I don't plan to use the laptop during the flight due to the limited battery life and lack of power outlets on board, but I'd rather keep it close at hand. My luggage will be a very tight squeeze due to the large quantities of Stuff purchased in Japan.

The student who sits next to me in class is from Hong Kong, and she told me that her English, not her Japanese, is improving as a result of the program. Between classes and whenever the professors are not present, side conversations take place in English. Hey, at least she's learning something.

I bought a few more Nintendo tin badges today: two duplicates will be given out as gifts, while I got a new Donkey Kong badge for my collection. My classmates were pretty impressed by the badges today, and I spoke at length about how I love capsule machines during the one-minute presentation today. Trivia: Many kids refer to the process of buying a capsule toy as gacha-gacha, mimicking the clicking sound of gears turning inside the machine.

In Tokyo, ordinary alkaline batteries are cheap -- even cheaper than in the U.S. Rechargeable batteries are not, however. To replace the one battery that I lost on Tuesday, I bought a pack of two rechargeable AAs from a camera shop. Cost: ¥700 (almost $6), slightly more than in the U.S. Most shops I've seen sell rechargeables for about that much. They're good high-capacity batteries, so I'm not complaining too loudly about it.

Just about every day this week, I've gone to bed at 1:00 AM for no good reason and woken up at around 7:00 AM. Six hours of sleep is still manageable, but it's been a battle at times to stay awake. A high priority this weekend will be lots and lots of sleep.

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