A night of many firsts or Pipelinks are fun! or I plan to get downvoted.

All that knocking on wood and seeming inability to get sick have finally paid off as I currently seem to be developing my very first flu. It started as I was eating dinner at Famous Dave's in the Mall of America (for the very first time, and yes, it was delicious) with one of my friends; a slight uneasiness took over my stomach and I found myself unable to eat like I normally do. I tried heroically to finish my portion of the aptly named 'Feast for Two,' managing to pick slightly at a drumstick and put down a couple of ribs. Soon, the headache started, at the back of my head, pain throbbing intermittently (especially when my head went below my torso.) I ignored it, putting all of it off to the fact that I had consumed a large lunch not too long previous.

We finished up dinner, paid the check, and then walked over to the movie theater. Return of the King was the movie we had tickets to, so we strolled in and claimed some seats. The movie shortly began, and I tried to ignore my increasingly upset stomach. Matters were only made worse by the over-powering and nauseating smell of sausage and cheesy popcorn owned by the 40-something man sitting behind us. At this point, I thought to myself, "Self, this is why you hate the movie theater experience." (Of course, this was only exacerbated by the same man managing to loudly point out his predictions to every event milliseconds before things happened onscreen. Digression! Digression!) In any case, throughout the movie I found myself feeling increasingly cold and sick to my stomach, and slowly remembered the fact that my father also had the flu.

After I got home, I asked my father what his symptoms were. As I had not developed a sore throat, I was yet in the clear. My upset stomach cleared up rather quickly, but I was still left with my throbbing headache. I lay in my bed and read up on e2 for a bit, thinking that the worst was over.

It crept up on me, again. Slowly, I began to feel slightly chilly, something very foreign to me. It quickly became an absolute nightmare; nothing I could do would shake the miserable, miserable cold from my wretched body. I couldn't sleep, because the shivering just wouldn't allow it. One of my friends advised me to take some Advil, but I turned down the idea. I tend to shun medication for two reasons: that it (A) never seems to work on me, and (B) never manages to go down my throat.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I HAD to have some Advil, if only to diminish the hammering in my head. I stumbled into the kitchen, poured myself some orange juice, and set about locating the bottle of Advil. I quickly located it and grabbed one orange pill, placing it on my tongue and swallowing it, all on the first try. In amazement at this new development, I quickly chalked it up to gained experience at college.

I staggered back to my room, slightly elated at my newfound ability to swallow pills. At first, I didn't notice anything... after all, medicine does take a while to have any effect. My head slowly began the inexorable journey to mere throbbing, instead of throbbing pain, and I began to feel somewhat comfortable. Lying down in bed, I slowly realized that, quite frankly, sleep wasn't going to happen, as I was still shivering with gusto. I bundled up as best I could, and warmth began to percolate throughout my body. I thought, albeit incorrectly, that sleep would be coming henceforth. However, I soon began to feel uncomfortably warm, and realized that there was going to be no happy medium, indeed, no comfortable sleep, and decided to just tough it out awake.

I no longer feel cold, or even chilly. Those feelings have been replaced by hellish warmth, the kind that causes one to sweat. Soon, this sweat will give way to me feeling cold again. Thus have I found a newfound wonderment of new experiences.

Got to work at the Stop-N-Go and asked about what I figured was just an accounting error on my paycheck. "Any idea why I'm down to $7.50 an hour, darlin?"

"Oh, yeah, " she said between tearing cardboard boxes in half. "nasty old boss lady dropped you back down because you didn't meet with her."

"So this has nothing to do with my performance on the job. Just that I didn't show up for a meeting she cancelled."

"Yeah, you'll have to take it up with her, though."

It was then I decided that tonight would be Free Candy Night If I Like Your Tits.

We bought calendars for the new year. 2004. 50% off. We walked past the dog section. Hell, I used to love dog calendars. I found mine in the 'Teen Interest' section. It was almost Hello Kitty with 75 stickers and pullout poster, but then I found Emily Strange and she was the last one of her kind. So I got her. None of this makes me very original.

You got Johnny Cash. I said it might be a little sad. You said why. I said cause everyday you look up and Cash is still there and Cash is still dead.

Someone had been shopping and left their pile of things in Borders... I don't know why they didn't finish the purchase. They were going to buy Belle and Sebastian's 'Boy with the Arab Strap', the bird documentary 'Winged Migration' and the new Death Cab for Cutie record. I figured the first two were a good comment on whether i would like the last thing, so I bought it. I love the Postal Service, but this is my first Death Cab for Cutie cd. Why isn't it as good as the Postal Service? Can you tell me if their other stuff is as good? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.

I bought a black skirt. Black with red stars. It is a size 18. And I haven't worn it yet. I worry. I worry that I will get too small for it before I get a chance to wear it. But I need tights to wear under it. I used to wear green tights with tiny white dots with all my skirts. That was the last time I was a size 18. That was 10 years ago. I wore pigtails then and combat boots. I miss those green tights.

I don't miss being younger. I am 30 and I love 30. I am so much younger than when I was 20. The new year is coming. I can hear it. I can feel it. It creeps along toward me like a slow train. Like I'm waiting on the tracks. Like I have been waiting forever. And I write and write and wait and wait.

I say hello to 2004. I am a gleaner. I have no resolutions because I am a gleaner. I have no resolutions because I'm already in the middle of them. I do not resolve. I do not regret my gleaning ways.

I saw a bird head on my way to work. It looked like the little head had been ripped or cut from his body. It was horrible and lovely at the same time. While I enjoy picking up things off the ground to make my art pieces, this was something I had to pass up. I thought it would have be an amazing find for David Lynch, though.

So my old car is sick again. Not really surprising for 36 and counting, is it? But anyway. The starter drive is not engaging in the ring gear properly, so about four times out of five, it just spins, sounding like an empty blender when you hit PULSE. So far, it's managed to start each time, eventually. I'm not at all confident in that continuing to happen ...

So I took it last week to Pep Boys where I got a new starter fitted last April. Yes, I know, they're a bunch of not-very-trained monkeys over there, and normally I wouldn't trust them to do more than sell me quarts of oil, but the first time it died with starter problems was right over the street from Pep Boys so I figured, what the hell? They managed to fit a new starter last time, which is still under parts warranty. So I take it, anyway, and after a couple of hours they call me and tell me that yes, it's gone, yes, they'll replace it under warranty, BUT ... not until I fix the oil and coolant leaks that are, they claim, getting into the starter and making it short out.

Now I know I have both sets of leaks. The block has some soft plugs that are leaking coolant, and those were scheduled for fixing, and I know the rocker cover gaskets are shot and that's probably what's leaking a good deal of the oil. But still, it sounds rather dubious to me, because the starter, fitting underneath the engine as it does, is in a prime exposed-to-the-elements position as it is. You'd think it would be waterproof. And oilproof.

The guys on my mailing list seem to agree; they reckon it's more likely that the starter's just not fitted right. Anyway, Pep Boys claim that if I take it somewhere else to get the leaks fixed (they can't do stuff like that) I can just bring the busted starter over to them while it's in the shop and they'll give me another starter to have the shop install. So I'll do that; I get a new starter AND don't have to trust them to install it right. So it goes in Monday (pay day). I'll see what my regular shop says about it. They're not the cheapest place in the world, but they know old cars (on the average day, half of the cars in there are 25 or older) and they do good work.

While I'm at it, I think a new radiator is called for. Let's get those cooling issues just out of the way and gone.

In other news, my job sucks. Not that that's news or anything ...

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