As of September 9, 2002:

Jericho, New York and Champaign, Illinois --> Washington, D.C.
University of Illinois --> Lockheed Martin Corporation
Full Time Student --> Full Time Employee
Computer Science Major --> Systems Integration Analyst Associate
~$13,000 tuition per year --> ~$60k salary per year
9 person house --> 1 or 2 person apartment
Fencing Center of Long Island and the Fencing Illini --> damn, gotta find a new fencing club...


UK News:

Over night, there was a severe disturbance at Yarl's Wood, a detention centre for immigrants whose applications to enter the UK have been refused. Several fires were started, apparently deliberately, in one wing of the centre, which cost £100 000 000 to build. At the time of writing, the fires were said to be under control. Several inmates of the centre managed to escape the compound during the distrubance, which is thought to have been premeditated. Numbers of casualties from the fires are not yet known. It is thought that the inmates of the centre had been unhappy about healthcare provisions made for them at the centre, which are said to be deeply inadequate. Reports also indicate that the practice of handcuffing inmates when taking them for external medical treatment had provoked resentment at the centre, which is near Bedford.

Today saw the funeral of Princess Margaret, fifty years to the day after the funeral of her father, George VI. The Princess's funeral at St George's Chapel, Windsor, was attended by family and close friends, after which her body was cremated at Slough, and her ashes placed in the royal vault at Windsor. She was the first senior member of the British Royal Family to be cremated, a step taken to fulfil her wish to be buried in the vault along with her father. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother attended the funeral, despite having injured herself in a fall two days previously.

Jo Moore, a 'spin doctor' working for controversial Transport minister Stephen Byers, faced calls for her resignation after it was alleged that she proposed releasing damning statistics about the state of Britain's railways during Princess Margaret's funeral. Ms Moore faced similar calls last year when it was revealed that during the collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers, she had sent an e-mail to a colleage announcing that she considered it a 'good day to bury bad news'. The latest accusation was not substantiated to the same extent as the previous one, but the facts were rapidly becoming lost under a pile of claims and counter-claims from different arms of the civil service. It was announced toward the end of the day that Ms Moore and a colleague had resigned.

The Labour Party has held the southern Wales constituency of Ogmore with a reduced majority, following a by-election prompted by the death of the previous MP, Sir Ray Powell. Labour has held the seat since 1918.

Results in full:

Captain Beany - New Millennium Bean Party 122
Guto Bebb - Conservative 1 377
Reverend David Braid - Independent 100
Leslie Edwards - Official Monster Raving Loony Party 187
Bleddyn Hancock - Plaid Cymru 3 827
Chris Herriot - Socialist Labour 1 152
Jeff Hurford - Welsh Socialist Alliance 205
Huw Irranca-Davies - Labour 9 548
Jonathan Spink - Green Party 250
Veronica Watkins - Liberal Democrat 1 608

Labour majority: 5 721
Conservative lead over Socialist Labour: 225

Afghanistan News:

Civil Aviation Minister Abdul Rahman died of injuried sustained when he was set upon by a group of about 1 000 pilgrims at Kabul Airport. The group, who were departing for the Hajj, had been delayed for two days, and had heard a rumour that Mr Rahman had cancelled another flight to Saudi Arabia. Nobody was arrested after the incident, and it remains unclear why Mr Rahman was at the airport. Hamid Karzai subsequently claimed that the majority of the pilgrims had nothing to do with the minister's death, and blamed factions within his own government form arranging the assassination.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived in Kabul today for talks with acting President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. They are expected to discuss the expansion of ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force, to cover areas further from Kabul. He will also visit British troops stationed with ISAF, and is likely to agree the transfer of ISAF command to Turkey.

Kabul United played the ISAF XI in a soccer match in Kabul Olympic Stadium today. The stadium, known in recent years for the brutal Taliban executions carried out there, was symbolically rededicated to its rightful use. In recent years, it has not been unusual to see corpses hanging from the goalposts during a match. However, as the match was supposed to be getting under way, thousands of locals who had not purchased tickets attempted to storm the ground, and had to be repulsed by local police and international peacekeepers. A crowd of 25 000 turned out to watch the match, but Jack Straw, who had been planning to attend, stayed away after the murder of minister Abdul Rahman. Both sides had had training from British professional footballers, and the ball had been signed by players from Liverpool and Manchester United. A minute's silence was observed before the match in memory of Mr Rahman.

Final score: ISAF XI 3     Kabul United 1

Always would we
ask for drums
misplace names
blur faces
say it's all inevitable
and keep a straight face

Never would we finish
be free
be pure
find out the truth
live to be cool
accept the inevitable
be wonderful

Someday could we
grow up
finally slip into place
question nothing
tell fewer lies
break the unbreakable
be free
own only rags
play all games
dry off
give up

We must never
let go
get any more humble
lose what we've learned
stop to think
drink any more blood
give in

Twenty-one years and most of a day,
I feel like I destroyed more than I created.

May all of you have a beautiful day today. We are all masters of our own selves, and we answer to no one in the end.

(( It's Jeeves's birthday today ))

My team at work provides SysAdmin support. Every day at 3:00 PM, we send out a test page. Usually it is some odd fact like those you see in frequent e-mail forwards.

We also have a Friday breakfast rotation. Everyone signs up on the list, and, on Friday, the responsible individual brings in bagels, donuts, or the like.

This morning, Kevin, the designate for the day, took a vacation day, and forgot to hand off responsibility to a back up. As manager for the team, I stepped up and got bagels.

The people in charge of the paging sent out a special daily test page:

In ancient Rome, a person who forgot Friday donuts was fed to the lions.

This went to anyone at my office who carries a pager. Kevin also got a message stating that the Lions would be in on Monday.

We haven't heard from Kevin yet, though one guy did get a call on his cell phone.

Hey, you have to keep the job interesting.

I hate my boss. Aargh! I used to like him, he was a distant friend. Then I started to work for him. Always a mistake. Now I can deal with him if I must, I just dont want to. Passive-agressive behaviour is a defence mechanism for stress ("What happens when you supress the desire to choke the living shit out of someone").

He may be a good engineer, but he is a manager in the same sense that a woodpecker is carpenter. He is charge of some people, that's about the extent of his managerial abilites.

One week before I am sheduled to leave, a fact that he has known for months, still I have no replacement, but he has asked me to implement a metric ton of changes, most of them off-the-cuff.

Yes, he wants value for his money, but darn it, management is about planning and timing. This is like a paniced seagull.

On an inspiration, he also asked me to move all the strings returned to the user in the program into a resource file or database where he can edit them without messing with the program. This is not a Win32/C program with a resource table, it is a website in PHP and Java. I should have laughed out loud, but all I did was mentally move it to the bottom of the priority list, which is already too long.

I didn't tell him that the new 1.4 version of java is finally out of beta, for fear that I'd be asked to "just quickly" roll it out on Friday before I leave.

What really boggles my mind is the complete lack of any conception of the need for a shakedown period. I finish all these changes on next friday and then walk away, and it all works perfectly. Never mind that it's never done that yet, not on this project, any other that this company has been involved with, or come to think of it, any other software in history.

But being proactive is not one of this office's virtues. Patching that patches is the first order of business.

But he is not a person to whom it is easy to tell things that he doesn't already know. Not easy to disagree with.

I am taking pride in making this program, this site work. Out users like us, and I get off on that. I'd gladly hand it over to someone else, but my boss is determined to mess it up and he doesn't have the faintest clue that he's doing that. If I do tell him he wouldn't understand.

I'll do what he says, it's the path of least resistance but I don't like it. It's unprofessional.

Two other employees are leaving in the near future, one with a personality clash with my boss. This would be OK, except he many years of hard-to-replace operational knowledge. This was supposed to be an easy six-month contract, don't get too involved, don't commit long-term. Sadly, all I can hope for is that I am far away when things do go wrong. Work is like that. You do all you can, and when it's over you never look back.

OK, so you teenagers get to do bullshit angst dating stuff in daylogs, so therefor I get to do this. Vent over.

In the evening, after writing the above, I got borged for the first time ever. it went like this (lightly edited for relevance, or what passes for relevance in the catbox):

StrawberryFrog Sorry people, I was suddenly cut of from the net at lunch today. As I was asking but 12 hours ago: is wharfinger really theonomist as is claimed by dannye in raising the bar
call SF: best ask when he's not around.
dem bones I thought I was theonomist? Wait ... maybe I'm kenata. Aw, hell... I can't remember.
EDB has swallowed StrawberryFrog. moist noder flesh
ascorbic SF: why don't you ask him yourself
ascorbic EDB: shall we take that as a yes?
fondue well spin my nipple nuts and ship me to Alaska!
Igloowhite no way motherfucker - I'm Kenata!
Gritchka Some editor's been putting libellous pipelinks in again!?
--OutpostMir-- bones: don't you keep a list of stuff like that? sheesh.
Tiefling /em grins
wharfinger Fuck that, I'm everybody.
Tiefling I'm Spartacus!
Sondheim No way dudes, IM kenata, but IB doesn't know it yet...I got him to marry me so I could napalm the wedding
--OutpostMir-- Teifling: And I'm the hospitals John Doe
wharfinger ^Davion^: That's just what I'd expect you to say, nate.
Saige ok, here's the truth - all of E2 is a fancy computer simulation, tested out on the internet. YOU -yes, you- are the only person on this site that's real.
Gritchka I'm theonomist, and so is my wife.
2002.02.15 dem bones says Hang on ... I'll see if I can't get you out of there ... NEVER TYPE THEONOMIST IN THE CHATTERBOX!
wharfinger Saige doesn't mention one important feature: The simulation is designed to provide *misleading* *hints* which are plausibly close to the truth, yet lead you in a completely wrong direction.
dannye Some damn malicious god put that pipe link in that w/u. And they've been making lewd and obscene nodeshells w/ my name on them. And one of 'em stuck his dick in my ear. Nathan, this is unacceptable!
2002.02.15 dem bones says Yikes ... it's all just a joke.

Dannye's pipelink now reads go fish. Still, the prose styles (and content) are very similar.

I know that the whole thing is supposed to be be a joke, but ideosyncratic humour doesn't travel well. I learned that after most of my 'funny' w/ups were nuked. On this site, we must make at least perfunctory observances before the altar of american values.

Well, a week of strange, a strange week it's been.

In the last week, I've lost a girl I could honeslty see myself having children with and living with into old age. She loves God so much, she can't be with me. This is no reason to be angry or bitter; I actually feel a sense of peace. She's in my life, that's all I need.

Second point - I started reading the bible. I'm actually reading the bible. I've never wanted/needed to before. I started reading to understand how she thought and why she does things. I'm now reading it for me and I feel honestly better for it. I'm questioning and enjoying it and this has to be good.

I e-mailed someone I really hurt in the past. I don't know if she'll reply but I hope she does. I did it through Friends Reunited, which is kind of strange because a)she wouldn't consider me a friend last time I spoke to her and b)can you be reunited with someone who tells you to go away and never come back?

July 30th. I got over this. She nevers calls. I can live with it. Phew

D. and I started talking about Hell last night while we were driving from Asian Cuisine to Mozart's Pastry Shop in search of dessert to cool the fiery, oniony Mongolian goodness we'd just consumed.

We'd segued into discussing Hell after talking about the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson sex tape. D. was speculating at the level of torture that would be involved in having to see that tape, and nothing but, over and over again for eternity. He offered that it might be a suitable afterworldly punishment for Corrupt Politician X.

"What do you think?" he asked.

I pondered Hell and all its meanings. "I think Corrupt Politician X should be reborn as a crack baby in a ghetto," I replied.

"Ow, you're vicious," he replied. "But what about Corrupt, Falsely-Pious Politician Y?" he asked.

"Crack baby. Ghetto," I replied.

"Now, wait a minute," he said. "They can't all be crack babies. And we're talking about Hell, not reincarnation."

I shrugged. "Well, first, I think reincarnation is a better way of handling things than sending people to Hell for all eternity. Make 'em do it over 'til they get it right. But if we're talking about Hell, I think that the only reason someone should go there is if they've hurt other people in a bad way. And the only logical punishment is to have to experience the damage and pain they've caused firsthand. If you're a rich politician born to a family of power and you cut funding for social programs so your country club buddies can get a nice tax break ... into the ghetto you go."

"Take Kenneth Lay and the other responsible Enron execs," I continued. "Clearly, what they need most is to live the lives of the employees they've ruined."

D. nodded gravely. "Well, that might actually generate some genuine repentance and understanding."

"Exactly," I said. "What's Hell good for if it doesn't forge a better soul?"

We reached Mozart's and found dozens of yummy desserts in glistening their display case. After much deliberation, we selected a tiramisu, a petit four, and a fruit-covered cheesecake slice to go. The manager handed me a single long-stemmed red rose along with our boxed goodies.

"But what about the Pamela Anderson tape?" D. persisted when we got back to his truck. "Who deserves that punishment?"

"That's easy," I replied. "Whoever marketed the damn thing in the first place."

We got back to my apartment and found midnighter and /jen sitting in the living room. midnighter had brought me and /jen single roses, cards, and big boxes of chocolate. We all got glasses of milk and shared around the Mozart's goodies and the chocolate while we laughed over silly jokes. Then, D. and I curled up on the loveseat and we all watched a video /jen had rented. She'd apparently expected to sulk alone at home that night, and was pleased that we successfully foiled her plan.

"What about Heaven?" D. whispered after the movie was going and the lights were out.

"Maybe it's nights like this," I whispered back. "If that's what we get, I wouldn't mind a bit."

The best way to celebrate Valentine's Day is, most certainly, not to care about it. Anna and I went out after I finished work last night, went shopping at Forest Hill for Valentine's gifts together (for each other), ate food court Chinese, and saw a movie. Just like we've done so many times in the past year. We didn't even find presents for each other, because most of the shops were closed, so we've decided our Valentine's Day will actually be next Thursday. :o)

Not that it really bothered me too much extent in previous years, when I didn't have anybody. Last year we made a bit of a deal about it though, having only been together for a month, so it was nice to have it nice and casual this year.

Oh, and it was a funny coincidence that we happened to see a Johnny Depp film on Valentine's Day both years so far... I don't feel threatened, really! *grin*

(Chocolat and From Hell, if you're curious.)

Thank god it's Friday, though. I couldn't put up with much more work, lucky we never actually do much on Fridays... sitting in on a training session this morning, then pizza for lunch...
Analysis of a near death experience

When drugged on Prednisone up it is a good plan not to get any wild ideas into your head. These ideas might include feeding your anenomes even though you don't have any tongs.

When dealing with anenome feeding often one must look out for the Sea Snake (Rudy) and the Moray Eel (Murray) as they are often food hogs. However, in recent days a Lionfish (Mufasa) was added to the tank. These Lionfish are poisonous and extremely mean.

Past experience has proven that I can out race Murray and Rudy if I am quick enough. Murry is nocturnal and Rudy is mindnumbingly stupid which have both worked to my advantage. Mufasa, however, I had no previous experience with.

Under the influence of heavy meds, I believed I was fast enough to outrun Rudy, Murray, and Mufasa. I waited until Mufasa was on the otherside of the tank and I proceeded to feed shrimp to my anenomes. I saw a flash of movement as Mufasa darted for my hand with his mouth open and spines flared. (Note: Lionfish mouths are huge. They swallow other fish whole and can easily bite your finger to the knuckle. Imagine a mouth with some fins attached.)

I jumped back flinging water all over the floor, incurring the wrath of my downstairs neighbor for the noise, and yelped like a little girl.

I am a moron when on drugs and wont do that again.

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