Decide what you believe, you cynic

Bottled water sold out at the Giant supermarket near me around 9:00 pm Tuesday night. Duct tape is also said to be gone. The Government has recently recommended that people stockpile these things in case of a radiological attack, which they hint but do not actually say they expect very soon in New York and Washington.

The question is, do they really have information about an attack, or are they just trying to get us to line up behind the Iraq attack?

A Washington D.C. news station is reporting that Avenger anti-aircraft missile batteries have been set up around the capital. What do you believe? Is it theatre, or is it real?

I bought 8 gallons of water before it sold out. I did not buy duct tape, but I live on a high floor of an apartment building, and I gauge the risk up here as fairly low. Have to remember to turn off the central heating if something does happen, though. I prepared a two-page list of contact information for my elderly mother, living in another city, and will mail it tomorrow.

I think it would be hard to hoodwink the many intelligence personnel who live in this county, so I suspect there really must be a concrete threat, and the recent warnings have not been completely fabricated. But there's no question that the rise in fear will lead to support for the war, which means that the war is now a certainty, even if it wasn't before.

I'm planning a trip to France in just 5 days. With the political tensions rising between the U.S. and France, I suppose it might be quite unpleasant for us there right now. On the other hand, maybe there will be so few tourists that we'll have an especially good time.

I must try to remember, whatever happens, that suffering cannot be avoided, and that it is a privilege to be alive and conscious of what is going on around me. Being able to experience hope and curiosity, and being able to be surprised by the infinitely varied details of the real world, are usually well worth the price we pay for being edible, endocrinally volatile beings. Strive to live another day and reflect on what you have seen.

last day-log entry: February 9, 2003 | next: none

Irony, Coincidence, Early Warning System

What ever was playing with the strings of my life Sunday wasn't plucking hard enough to catch my attention. I sat in the crampy back seat of my friend's blue Cougar, contemplating which position would be more comfortable or in the very least wake up the sleeping portion I was balanced on, as we traveled east on 70 towards Baltimore and the National Aquarium. I didn't know anything was amiss. It was my niece's birthday, she turned a glorious six at nearly 4 feet tall. My little amazon. My thoughts were mixed between seeing her later that day and my excitement at visiting the fish.

Such small, simple things. Each bringing joy in its own way.

After a long period of silence, each traveller engrossed in his or her own thoughts, I began going through the pockets of my purse to find the treasures within. I hadn't used the purse in a number of months, my discoveries showed as much. There were some snippets of paper with carb counts from a diet I had been on, some folded up bits with my name in Mayan glyphs sketched on them from nearly a year prior, and a tiny pamphlet. My mind went blank when I saw the I took it out.


I saw the faint church and rainbow that lightly adorned its surface and froze. Oh. Yeah. Andy. He hadn't been a close friend, I'd only met him once. But it had been enough. He had left a lasting impression on my life. A friend of a friend, he had gone to Juniatta and graced them with his strong presence. His joyful smiles. His happy and caring nature. And Jaime had brought him my way at her first annual Thanksgiving feast. I walked through the door, he looked at me, smiled and spread his arms out for an embrace. I was immediately taken with him.

People like that shouldn't be taken away so early in life. He shouldn't have been snatched away at 22 in his sleep.

Coming across the pamphlet, something I couldn't bring myself to discard and yet didn't know quite what to do with, reminded me of how hard the funeral was on Jaime. There had been so many people in the tiny church that day, easily fifty or more friends pressing in on the tiny Catholic church filled with family and neighbors, that we had been forced to stand. We had gotten seperated by the rest of our group. She and I had stood at the back, hovering over the last pew sniffling and sobbing into wads of tissues. I held my friend that day, knowing her suffering was worse than mine and not knowing what else to do for her.

I slid the pamphlet back into the pocket on my purse, where it remains, and tried to thrust the sudden saddness away from my happy day. Miles away someone else was crying.

At 11am I will attend another funeral with Jaime. This time her grandmother's. I will lend her my shoulder, hand her new tissues, and shield her from the scathing comments of her psychotic, freaky Baptist mother who told the dying woman she was going to hell because she celebrated Christmas and wasn't a true Christian.

Yeah, the woman's crazy...remind me to tell you why the Grinch is the only true Christian in that story.
Hrm..things were worse than I thought. She didn't just lose her grandma Saturday, she lost her grandfather too. And his kids didn't like her grandmother or her family, so they won't tell her where or when the funeral is. She may never know.

me--i want to place a personals ad
him--ooh. you'll make me jealous
me--i want to see if someone is
willing to part with their
favorite sweater.

and so...

wanted--one sweater, used. i want it to be with a few snags from picking blackberries and bits of leaves or pine needles from a day when you heard songs on the wind. let it remain rumpled from that one night where it just felt too good to exchange for pajamas. a note in the pocket to explain the tiny burn hole from the night you just couldn't say 'good-bye' would be a plus. send it, please, already broken in with dreams and love and tiny flaws...
perfect, for me.

Loneliness really permeates everything in your life. Can't really do anything without the empty feeling of your own life.

Being a social outcast basically since birth is hard to get out of, and I have tried to make friends, but there always seems to be something pushing people away. At first it was my mother a prostitute drug abuser, in fact a would-be crackwhore. The other kids wouldn't be able to come over to play.. or I wasn't allowed to go to their houses. It wasn't long before I sat in the playground alone, playing a gameboy my father had sent me. He always seemed like a stranger that gave presents for mere sympathy only he was 100s of kilometres away.

These are the earliest memories I have.

That gameboy was basically the only friend I had while I was 8-10, I only had 3 games for it. Until one of the two people I had made "friends" (both outside of school) with decided he didn't like me anymore, took it and smashed it on the ground.

Then we moved away, as my step dad was on the run from the police for dealing drugs.

Then I have my first memory of my father (despite that I had seen him most weekends from age 2-6 and lived with him before that). Having had the main male role model beat me and my mother regularly, it was quite a surprise when the first time I broke something of his accidently, it wasn't met with force. It shook my foundations.

Soon after I moved in with my father and it suddenly seemed that life would be more enjoyable.

Late primary school was plain fun, growing as a person, making friends, and becoming a social being.

High school was another story.

High school had begun, and I was at a strange, huge place and only 1 person I knew was going to the same high school as me.

Kids were starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol, which I was hugely averse to, which was the main reason I was an outcast in high school. The group that I had become part of saw me as merely something to ridicule, and beat. After coming home beaten one to many times I swore it wouldn't happen again. But unfortunately, some people just aren't built for fighting. So I figured it would be best to avoid people altogether.

Due to my father losing his job, I had to move back with my mother during my last year.

I became angry about everything that had gone in my life and how unhappy I had been. So I lost it. I stopped attending school. Went uncontrollably angry in fits of rage destroying anything in my path (by this time I had grown to 180cm, 85kg and I was built for fighting). My mother was detoxing from heroin at the time so we clashed a lot. All though I was uncontrollable I still refrained from hitting any people. Only inanimate objects.

The house we were staying in had 3 fences knocked down, 4 doors torn off the walls among other things.

After seeing a counsellor for a while, I managed to turn things around, but instead of abusing other people, I began to abuse myself. Quitely I would sit in my room with a knife and indulge myself in a little pain and a little blood, mostly justto reassure myself that I was alive.

That was a little under a year ago. And now I am currently studying to be a c++/java code monkey.

But I'm still lonely.

What ever happened to snow days at work? I listened this morning to the 200+ schools closed due to bad weather and wondered, why can't my job be closed due to snow? There was the one time the city of Grand Rapids was closed, the Blizzard of '78. Everyone talks about that in hushed tones, almost in awe. I don't remember it because my mother was pregant with me at the time.

It was an adventure today with my little car, I need a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Coming out of my driveway was fine, it was merging from a side street to a main road that almost did me in. Nothing like spining your tires and your speedometer reaching 55 mph without moving anywhere. Oh well, I Made it to work on time, I wonder who else will show up late?

Flaming Autos and Decojoneified Kitties

"What's that smell?" Braunbeck and I asked each other as we opened the front door. We were heading out to go to the grocery store in the wee hours of the morning, but the cold outside air hit us with an unfamiliar stench. It smelled like someone was barbecuing metal cabbages. Tartly sulfurous, charcoal smoky with just a trace of benzene sweetness.

"That's burning tires," Braunbeck said.

And that's when we saw the orange glow of the flames. At the side street at the other end of our parking lot, a Honda's front half was entirely engulfed. Red-orange flames rose at least three feet above the hood; the tires were melting into the pavement, the fabric on the front seat curling and snapping as it burned.

The flaming Honda was perilously close to other cars and apartment buildings. I took a step back, not sure if someone (read: us) needed to call 911. Was the gas tank going to explode?

But the fire department was already there, their presence blocked by the smoke and flames. A firefighter let loose with a canister of foam, and in thirty seconds the car was out.

We just got Braunbeck's kitten fixed. I felt bad for having to do that to the little guy ... but there's no other choice for an indoor cat, and it would be the height of irresponsibility to let him run around intact, given the huge number of feral cats in this complex already.

So, the night before surgery, we took up all the cat food at 6, which resulted in all the cats sitting forlornly in the kitchen giving us looks of "Don't you love us anymore?" At midnight, we emptied the water dish.

It was a simple matter to collect the kitten early the next morning; we just had to go into the kitchen and he was right there. We loaded him with some difficulty into the cat carrier and took him to the vet's office with him crying every mile of the way.

I picked him up after work. The vet tech said he'd done well, but that he would likely be groggy the rest of the evening and might not want food until well into the next day. They said to get an Elizabethan collar if he licked at his incision too much.

So, I figured the little guy would be sleeping it off all evening. I figured he'd be sore and grumpy -- he'd just undergone what the vet bill indelicately referred to as a "feline castration", after all. I was prepared to carry him up to the bed and offer him a little bowl of ice chips, as the vet tech suggested.

But when we set the cat carrier down in the living room and opened it up, he bounded out. Thirty minutes later, he was playing with Simon, and it rapidly became apparent that the main task would be to keep Simon from excessively licking the incision (Simon obsessively grooms the kitten, and anything out of the ordinary gets extra attention). That night, the kitten was behaving just like normal -- eating, playing, attacking feet.

Pretty tough little cat, I must say.

The Terrorists have already won

Events this week in the UK have seen a massive increase in security measures, focussed around the main London airport, Heathrow. In addition to the 1500 police patrolling the airport and searching suspicious vehicles under the flight path, a further 450 Army personnel have been activated in the Heathrow area. The Government tells us that they have received intelligence information that an attack is imminent on the scale of the September 11th US disaster.

Whether an attack occurs or not, the simple fact that troops are on the streets and innocent motorists have their cars searched is evidence enough that extremists are achieving their aims. Just like removing garbage bins from train stations, as a prevention measure to the IRA planting a bomb in them, if terrorist groups (or are they freedom fighters?) can create an incredible feeling of unease and fear, an actual attack is hardly needed.

The measures the UK Government have taken are designed to make the population nervous and rally support for military action in Iraq. The Government needs to do this as overwhelming public opinion is against any planned war. A recent BBC poll has shown that less than 1 in 10 Britons support a war in Iraq without a further United Nations resolution. Even with a fresh UN mandate, support is still less than 50%. Has Tony Blair miscalculated public opinion in his overwhelming desire to roll into combat ? As France and Germany, with Russia and China supporting, propose an alternative to direct military action any Security Council vote for war is likely to be blocked by the nations holding veto rights.

It's a troubling time while the Government is not engendering any trust by rushing headlong into war, aggravating open sores with some Middle East nations, fuelling the fires of hatred within extremist groups and thus the need for troops on the streets "for our own protection."

Today I get my car back, after almost 2 months.

My 2000 Silver Dodge Avenger Sport was parked in front of my house the night of December 16th. Neither my wife nor I heard it happen. We didn't even know anything was wrong until the officer came to the door. My wife answered it and came downstairs to get me. I was playing Battlefield 1942 at the time. She tells me my car has been hit. Thinking it was one of the neighbor kids playing around with a baseball or something.

"Hit with what?" I say. She tells me "Uhhh, well, you better come look."

I know something is seriously wrong when I see the flood of flashing red and blue in my living room. I look out and am shocked but not mad at the sight I see. My car is only about 2/3 of its original length and about 2 car lengths ahead of where I parked it. Luckily she hit it in the back, otherwise I would have had a hard time getting my insurance and registration information for the officer.

The lady who hit me was drunk, but they could not prove it. She fled the scene on foot because her '91 Pathfinder wouldn't start again.

She is being charged with reckless driving, driving without insurance, driving on a revoked license, and hit and run. Since she ran from the scene, she traded one felony for another, DUI for Hit and Run.

The insurance company was dragging their feet for some time and they were going to total my car, but they found someone who would do it. They are the best in town, but considerably more expensive. Oh well I'm not paying for it. I have seen their work before and they do an excellent job, but it took my insurance company 3 weeks to decide on it. Since then the shop has had me thinking that I will be getting my car back in the next couple of days. That has been going on for about 2 weeks now. We will see tonight.

I will be extremely happy to see my automobile, I feel like I haven't had control of my surroundings since it was towed away. So hopefully tonight, I will be "Back in the Saddle again" as it were.

So here is my plea to the idiot drivers (none of who I am sure can read enough to get to this forum):

Please don't drink and drive you retards, and if you do, please be insured and only hit parked cars with nobody in them.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled noding.

02/13/2003 Update: My car, it drives like a dream. Aside from a couple minor and tolerable quirks, it is almost like it was never hit.

I hate when people who dislike my opinions about the army or something in America tell me to leave the country because I disagree with them. That's what is so beautiful about this country, people. I can say what I want, about what I want, without being punished for having an opinion.

That's all it is, people, my opinion. I never said anyone else should believe the same things I do, but I am allowed to say what I believe, even if no one else agrees. That is the basis of this country that military defenders claim the army is fighting for. And they have, and I respect them for that, as I respect anyone who makes a decision to fight for whatever they believe in. But that is not what this "war" in Iraq is about.

The Iraqis aren't threatening our freedoms, they're threatening the major corporations' easy access to oil. It has nothing to do with freedom. It's a war for money. So say what you want about the army and how these people are "dying so that I can bitch on instant messenger" but you're falling for the lie they want you to fall for. Yes, a lot of men and women are going to die for what they believe in, and yes, maybe their sacrifices will help my life in some way, but that is their personal reason for fighting. The deployment of troops to Iraq is strictly political and corporate and has nothing to do with the ideals of my freedom.

So stop telling me to move to Iraq or leave the country because I don't always agree with you or I practice my right to abstain from the pledge of allegiance -- These are the rights I am given as an American, whether you agree with me or not, and that is what those men and women go to war for.

today, i am seized with a grim sadness, a feeling of loss, of being touched by the dead, only to have them slip away again. i'm not the only one to feel it now, or the only of years past; it is merely a dim echo of some other great tragedy that ripples up the timeline both ways.

over the last night, i read imajica again. second time i've bothered, and i know why i waited so many years to do it again. it's the sort of story that tears the life out of me. reminds me of things said and done that i was happier having forgotten, but the memories bring with them a bleeding sweetness. it's like watching myself destroy my own happiness again and again, but this time, knowing it will happen, and being unable to change the path. hopefully, the reminder will keep me from trashing my life again. maybe it'll just induce me to do it more quickly. time will tell...

i'm sick again. the kind of sick that can really only be repaired through action, joy, and good food. i just can't seem to find enough motivation to fix myself, and with every day that passes, i become less motivated, and more sick. and the more sick i become, the more frightened i am. not that i won't get better, or that i'll die of this, but frightened of other people. i don't want anyone to see this. i'm afraid i'll lose any tiny whit of credibility i may have gained in my ten years here.

but i have two days of working my ass off in which to make things right again. by friday night, all must be well, or i may have seriously screwed up, once again.

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