I can't breathe.

This was my first realization that night at in house trial, as I sat up in the witness chair trying to get through my direct-
trying not to faint, not to cry, not to lose control.
Everywhere I looked was black.

He's trying to say something to me...

I let myself be guided from the stand and out the door, away from the crowd of the mock trial team.
This had to happen the night when all four coaches were there, watching, judging.
I wanted to disappear.

"Take a deep breath. 1...2...3...4"

Several minutes later, I could see again.
The overwhelming dizziness was gone.
I tried to wipe away some of the tears that had coated my face.

"You should go home"

Home, miles away in Columbia... if only I could get there from here.
But even the idea of standing was hard to face, much less the idea of movement.
As for the dorm... that could never be home.

"What do you want to do?"

"I don't know" --I want to die. "Let's go finish the direct."
We went back in. My answers were sloppy at best- incoherent at worst.
It was all I could do.

Somehow I got through it.

Somehow it was finally over.
Somehow the hours of trial went by and I was still conscious.
Somehow I walked out of the room like nothing was wrong.

I made it out the door.

And no further.
Falling back into a chair, I pulled out my cell phone and looked at the time:
eleven at night. My parents would already be asleep.

Only one person to call.

A few key presses and I heard the voice of my boyfriend of the past several weeks on the line.
He had company, but still sounded happy to hear from me.
(People aren't usually happy to hear from me.)

How are you?

I tried to answer, but where words should have flowed--
there were tears instead.
To his credit, he listened, and maybe even understood.

Is there anything I can do?

--Get me out of here!--
"No that's alright. I just wish I could go home."
Home to warmth and comfort and silence

"When do you want me there?"

Silence. And then--
"Now. Soon. Please..."
"I'll call you when I get there."

A ring, half an hour later.

Finally I'm in his arms.
I've never had anyone before who would have bothered.
All I can say is thank you over and over again, holding his hand and smiling for the first tme that day.

Maybe I've finally found something worth keeping...

Hi –this is my second write up. I’m really glad you liked my first one. This is about my Saturday.

When I woke up this morning and looked out my window there was about six inches of snow! It looked really pretty!. I ran downstairs to tell my dad but he was already outside shoveling. He came in and made me breakfast and then I watched cartoons.

Then we walked to the grocery store. My dad tricked me and hit me in the face with some snow. It was felt cold but good. I tried to hit him back but he ducked.

When we got to the grocery store there was a huge, and I mean HUGE, mountain of snow. I climbed over it and almost fell.

When we were walking home I saw my friend Gracie. We started to make a snow fort but it got really cold. We went to my dad’s house and had some hot chocolate, corn dogs and Oreos. We watched some other cartoons and Animal Planet.

After a little while we went back outside to finish our snow fort. My dad took some pictures. He brought his friend Dennis with him and I hit him in the head with a snowball. Dennis has two dogs. Their names are Bailey and Jack and they like the snow. Jack is brown and Bailey is black.

After awhile, Gracie had to go to church so it was time for me to go home. My dad made dinner and I wrote this.

I hope we finish our snow fort tomorrow.

I’m writing some more songs and poems. I hope I can finish them soon.<

I don't like to write daylogs that much. Daylogging can easily be overdone, imho, but sometimes you just need to let the world into your world. And with a sentence like that I wish I could follow it up with something either profound or dramatic; but alas, I cannot. My life isn't that special.

If any of you have a stellar memory, lil Sophia is doing fine. She got sick, but she got better, so we can give a collective YAY. My girlfriend is still crazy about marriage and engagement. She went out with her mother two nights ago and went to one of those Midnight Madness wedding dress sales at the outlet store. You know, the ones where the really psycho brides push and shove and act as un-lady-like as possible to get the best dress. One woman asked my girlfriend when her wedding was going to be. My Baby said about a year and a half. The woman's was next month. I'm sure she wondered what my girlfriend was doing there.

Engagement is a scary-ass thing, especially to me. I am completely down with this girl, hell, I love her more than my own mother (it's ok mom, you can still cook better than anyone alive, and since you've become a grandmother, I've noticed a distinct improvement in your pies), but I didn't say that.

Back to the point, I was talking to one of my best friends the other night and I commented that it was a loss of manhood. He responded I was way off and it was a loss of childhood, and the beginning of manhood. I think he's right. It is a loss of childhood, and I'm not gonna lie, my childhood was the shit. I missed it at the age of 14, and I miss it now.

I am slowly getting my life on track, but I have a lot of work to do still. I removed Micro$oft's pathetic attempt at an OS from my computer. This is good for several reasons. First off, no more Diablo II. Yup, that's the best reason. No fanaticism here. I won't preach about the niceness of a free (well, cheap, cuz I ordered Redhat from the company) operating system, not bogged down by silly liscenses. Instead, the best reason is no more Diablo II.

Diablo II, except for maybe when I was a lad and DooM and Civilization first came out, is by far the best video game I've played at this point in my life. Addictive, and rewarding, especially when your necromancer gets to level 72 in less than a week :^) Unfortunately, to get your necromancer to level 72 in less than a week you need to spend a lot of time on that video game. Which I did; and School I did not.

The combination of a fat sack of the ganja and video games with a lack of parental supervision for an extended period of time is no good. It's not kosher, and does not lead to goodness. Especially when your work ethic sucks as much as mine does, but I digress. Needless to say, I played more diablo than homework, and I'm at the point in my life where I can't afford to jack off anymore. Now the only video game I play is GnuChess, sober. This is because chess is good for my brain, better than Diablo anyway. However, I hate college. I need to get out of college. I need to move on with my life and in with my girl.

Speaking of college, I got into UMass Lowell, which, by far, has the shittiest parking lot ever on north campus. You'd think that the campus with the math, CS, and engineering majors would have a well designed parking lot, WELL YOU WERE WRONG! In my first week there my car was hit once, and I tapped someone's car already. Talk about crap.

The homework is hard, but it's worth it. It's hard transferring/getting kicked out of college and going to another. One needs to get into a groove, not to mention figure out how to turn in CS homework. ULowell is tough, but it's what needs to be done.

That's really all that's been going on in my life recently. I quit smoking back in December, and thankfully, this time it was for good. The only problem about this is that it's 10 months AFTER I told the woman I love I quit. Shame on me, I know, but atleast I got it done. Although, I felt really shitty when she was all happy for me not having a cigarette in over a year... guilt's a bitch.

Hopefully I can be out of college by the end of next year, but so much credit didn't transfer that I am not sure about that. I need to get the all important job, so I can afford the rock my woman wants, yet I have no time for a job, or atleast I feel that way. I enjoy my free time, and want to tomorrow.

It's snowing here again. We already have about a foot-foot and a half on the ground, and are supposed to get over six more inches today. I feel like I'm back in elementery school by hoping school gets cancelled tomorrow. Please?

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

won't you be my,
won't you be my,

won't you be my neighbor?

The eastern seaboard of the United States is having a blizzard. A grand, glorious, wonderful, spectacular blizzard! In addition, the northeast is having a nor'easter. I'm in snow heaven, making snow angels and generally enjoying this President's Day to the fullest.

I went out at 5:30 am for a drive around my local area. Crazy as a loon, right? You betcha! Roads were hard-packed with snow and mostly unplowed. I only got stuck once, though, driving up a hill to a stop light. After sliding backwards, and snaking my way back up the hill with tires spinning, I finally made it to the intersection and whooped with glee. When the roads are empty, and there's no possibility of me hitting anyone else, I don't mind skidding and sliding around.

Ok, truth is, I love that!

Newer friends are amazed to find out that I don't like skiing. It's not as much fun for me. But driving alone in a raging snowstorm, struggling to make up a hill without hurting anyone or anything is just the best fun you can have in a car. Well, for me anyway.

After clearing the intersection, I continued driving aimlessly around. All the stores were closed, except for Dunkin' Donuts. I pulled in and got a cup of coffee. The lady behind the counter asked me if I was on my way to work or home. I said I was out for a joy ride. She looked at me, and then burst out laughing and said "You're crazy!". I laughed as I gave her the money for my coffee and said "Yup". As I turned to leave I said "Enjoy this beautiful day." She laughed and said "You too!"

Not to worry nice Dunkin' Donuts lady, I will.

When I got back in the car, I decided to head for home. The long way. It was a lovely ride, in silence. Just me, alone on the road, sipping my coffee and enjoying the beauty of the snow falling in the dark.

After two attempts, I finally made it up my driveway and pulled into my parking spot. I sat in the car, sipping my coffee and watched as a few neighbors started come out of their homes to clean off their cars.

No joy in those faces. How sad, I thought. Of course, unlike me, they had to get to work this morning. Being a grown-up stinks most of the time, but especially on days like this.

I'm not much for social interaction with my neighbors, beyond saying hello. But this morning, being snow-giddy, I decided to invite these few sad souls into paradise. What's the point of being in a magical winter-wonderland and not sharing it with everyone? I got out of the car and walked over to where they were standing, six inches, or more, deep in the snow, whisking away all that white powder magic. I boomed out, in my loudest voice, "Good Morning!" One of the men actually jumped, but another laughed and said "Good Morning!" right back. Not nearly as loud, but it was good effort.

"Anyone want to play with me this morning?" I asked.

No response. Poor grown-ups. I felt so sorry for them.

"Seriously. Anyone want to play with me this morning?" I asked. Then I spun around in a circle a few times and landed on my back in the snow.

Shouting to the heavens, I said, "When was the last time any of you made a snow angel?"

No response. I didn't say anything else as I waved my arms and legs in the snow, making my angel.

I was about to stand up when I heard some crunching off to my left. I lifted my head and there was that nice man, who said good morning to me, gingerly trying to lie down in the snow. One really must throw oneself into a good snow angel, but I figured it's been a long, long time since he last made one and he's forgotten how to do it right.

"Good for you!" I shouted. I was rewarded with a belly-laugh.

"I haven't done this in years." he said.

The other two men came over and watched as we swished our way through the snow, making angels.

I heard the men laugh, nervously, and then one said:

"You're nuts Jack." Followed by more laughter.

"Come'on man, try it! This is great!" Jack said.

More laughter and a "what the hell" and then both men found a place in the snow field, carefully lay down on the snow and started their angels.

One of the men said "I feel stupid" as he laughed.

"Don't," I said, "This is what snow is for. Making snow angels and snow forts and snowball fights."

I very carefully got up and looked at my angel. She was perfect.

Yes, snow angels are "she's". Always. No exceptions. It's a law.

I walked over to Jack and held out my hand to help him up. Getting up from a snow angel without destroying her is an art. If you don't angels frequently, you run the risk of ruining your creation when you stand up. You lose the knack for it. Getting out of your angel is not like riding a bicycle. You do forget how to do it properly and then your beautiful angel is ruined.

After a couple of tugs, Jack came free of his angel without destroying her.

"That was fun," he said, "let's make another one."

I got a good look at his beaming face. A man, maybe in his mid-fourties, greying at the temples, the first deep wrinkles starting to set. Obviously not a man who made silliness a hobby. But he was beaming like a young boy, set free by the snow, into a world of magic. I was happy for him and our new-found friends.

"Sure," I said, "let's help the others up and we'll make more."

"Let me help you up so you don't ruin your angel," I said to the man who had been next to me. He smiled and held up his hand and I helped him to stand up.

"Thanks," he said, "I'm Joe."

"You're welcome. My name is Laura. What do you think of your angel?"

Laughing he said "It's fantastic!"

"She," I corrected, "Snow angels are always female." I was trying to be serious, but I was giggling.

"She is fantastic!" Joe said, laughing, "And so are you!"

I smiled as I watched Jack help the other man up. I heard him say his name was Tony.

"We're gonna make another angel," Jack told Tony, laughing.

"Cool" Tony said.

We walked over to another broad patch of untouched, pristine, perfect-for-angels, snow and I threw myself into it.

"You can break your back doing that." said Jack.

"No way!" I shouted, "Snow is magic! You can't get hurt throwing yourself into a snow angel."

Well, they didn't believe me, so they crept into theirs. They had just as much fun making their angels as I did though.

Being an angel expert, I got up first and helped the others out of their angels. Tony fell and stepped in his. Without out being prompted he went right back in and worked on his angel some more until she was perfect. Jack and I helped him out and she didn't get damaged this time. We stood for a moment, in perfect silence, admiring our handiwork.

All too soon, though, the real world rushed in for these men and Joe said "I better finish cleaning the car off." Oh, he sounded so sad. But he turned to me and enveloped me in a massive, rocking bearhug and said "Thank you! That's the best fun I've had in ages!" The other two men took their turns giving me a bearhug and thanked me for inviting them to play.

I pointed across the way and said "I live over there. If you want to play in the snow after work, just knock on the door." I said goodbye and told them all to becareful driving and headed for my home.

After peeling out of wet clothes and putting on warm dry clothes, I went downstairs and made some coffee. While waiting for the coffee to finish perking, I went to the living room window. Their cars were gone and they were off into the real world. I couldn't see our snow angels from where I stood. I know, in this driving snow, they won't last long. But that's ok. We can always make more.

I hope the angels will keep the smiles on their faces and the laughter in their souls throughout the day.

That's what making snow angels does for you.

Go outside and make one. Right now.

Come knock on my door. I'll come play with you.

Snow Sucks

Yes, it looks pretty and covers the world in a cake-like frosting. Yes, you can sled on it, build snowmen, make forts and have snowball fights. But it's a pain in the rear to shovel. I am an able-bodied, but lazy youth who's dad believes that I was born and bred to shovel the driveway. A couple days ago we had an eight-inch snowfall. While my brother and sister stared out the window in wonder I started pronouncing my high dislike for snow. To make matters worse the snow fell at night and had been tossed around into huge drifts about 5 feet tall around our garage. It was like a great wall of white.

I trudged outside with my shovel and started throwing hunks of snow left and right. I was almost done when the city plow-truck came through and dumped all the snow from the street in to a four foot high wall at the end of my driveway and trapped my car which was parked along the street. The only way I kept my sanity was by parking my sanity back in the furthest depths of my mind. When I had finally finished my 2 hour endeavor to rid my driveway of the white menace, I finally came back into the house and proceeded to do some serious slacking. Awhile later my dad came home and told me to go back out and shovel.

"I just shoveled the whole dang thing dad!" I said.
"No you didn't. Now get your butt back out there." my loving father said.
"Yes, I did and my butt's frozen." I stepped outside only to find that because of the winds, the driveway had been buried again. Then I came back in.
There is no curse word in the English language or any combination of curse words in the English language that could express my pure frustration.

I was putting my shoes on to go back outside when my pops said something that shocked my anger-stricken mind.
"You sit back and relax. I guess you've shoveled enough today. I'll handle this one."
My father took the initiative and it didn't even take my mom to get him out there.

"The husband may be the head, but the wife is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants."-The mom from My Big Fat Greek Wedding
A quote irrelevent to the subject of this write-up, but a good quote none the less.

So, this is gonna be pretty long as buffcore is down and well, I have a lot to say, here it goes..

Let’s start with the gig on the 13th. I was pretty impressed with Dropout’s with it being their first ever gig and all. I sang along to “How Rude!” and was extremely proud of Mark in his Buffcore T-shirt :) Pinkeye were pretty good too, although, I didn’t get a CD. I will be expected one Mr Lane :P

I promised myself something this week. I made a kind of pact with a friend as well, I want to keep it but it seems kinda impossible right now. Nothing, I suppose is impossible, we can all achieve everything we want if we put our minds to it. I just need to do that.

Are you ever scared everyone moves on and we are left in the shadows?

We all move on someday, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse but we have to cope with that. What if people move on and we aren’t ready? I don’t think I can move on yet, move on from all the pain from anything.

I thought I’d moved on. Moved on from caring about what you all had to say about me. I’m not sure if I will ever stop thinking about what you say about me. I used to think I would have more friends if I lost weight, if I didn’t speak my mind but then again, why lie to myself? I bought a new top the other day, a size smaller, that made me happy. It didn’t make people like me anymore, I don’t want people to like and not like me because of how I look. I do things for myself and I am glad I do them :)

You all ask my what the things I say mean. I don’t think I need to tell anyone what any of the things I say mean. Shouldn’t you all just know? If you are my friends you all know who I am talking about and what any of this means. I like that. You can read me like a book. I don’t share many emotions, I’m not really sure how. I try and talk to people about how I feel and why I do things but talking is hard, talking is painful.

They say crying is good, do you think it is? Soothes the heart and clears things up. I never really thought that, writing helps me. Yeah, so what? You all know what I think and what I feel, or do you? You read this but have you ever understood what I mean? Maybe I’m a little messed up and I freak you all out but at least I tell life how it is, or how it is in my head.

I’m tired of the fighting with you about what you think. I’m tired of fighting with my head. I’m so scared of what is going on around me. I always wanted everyone to like me and that is not always the case, is it? I’m not like any of you, I’m just me and I like it like that. I won’t do anything for any of you. I don’t see the point, will it make you like me more? Do I want you to like me anymore?

If you don’t know - don’t ask.

“I don't think of it as working for world peace, he said, I think of it as just trying to get along in a really big strange family” Brian Andreas

We are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

His mother didn’t raise him to die young or to kill. Yet here he is, tropically sunburned and not from vacation. He is home for 2 days, shoveling snow and calling it easy compared to his recent experiences, distracting both my questions and concerns with jokes.

We need to not make the same mistake we made with the Vietnam Vets. Protest the war but do not confuse the players with the pawns.

Easter Update: He is home again for 20 days, this time recovering from surgery for a non battle related medical problem then it's back to Beirut. He has one buddy dead and another in Walter Reed Army Hospital. They were both battle related.

The one in Walter Reed is also a neighbor of mine. He was in a building when it collapsed. He is expected to recover but is still listed as "serious", it was dodgy for a time. His first surgery was over there, in one of those moving hospitals they have.

Too much news about people I didn't vote for doing things I don't agree with makes me go into rant mode. It doesn't raise the bar, but it does perhaps illustrate exactly the way I feel today. I guess that makes it daylog material...

At last someone in power is starting to speak out.

The collective policies of this administration are really starting to drag me down. Does anyone remember those few years when we weren't racking up debt? How about the period of time when "ally" meant "friend" and not "country who rubberstamps our war"? I don't want to hit someone first and I don't want to be drafted to fight in some decades-long guerilla war in the middle east. Fighting on a pretense didn't work in Southeast Asia, what makes people think it will work now?

We had a surplus for a while. Remember that? Remember the good feeling you got from knowing that you were paying back the cost of beating back totalitarian Stalinism? Remember how nice it felt to know that we weren't passing on more $17,000 debt per person to the next generation? Well, in two years we seem to have gone from prosperity to rampaging debt. And Enron got away with it. And so did WorldCom. And nobody cares.

I'm sick of the backdoor attacks on a woman's right to choose. I'm sick of the hypocrisy from on high. I'm sick of compassionate conservatism that neither conserves nor is compassionate. I'm sick of voting one way, just like all my friends, and having the outcome be exactly the opposite. I'm sick of loving my country in the abstract and hating my current leaders. I'm sick of having to explain to all of my friends overseas that I am not like the man on top: that I'll listen if you speak to me, that I believe that peace is preferable to war, that I don't lie all the time, and that I DON'T WANT WORLD WAR III.

When it's built, sign me up. Send me to the Moon or Mars. They're not first strike targets.

When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?

Today I slept until 1pm. When I woke up it was cold and sunny outside, the air was fresh and smelled like spring.

I wandered around the empty house for a while, wearing nothing but my boxers, deciding to heat a frozen pizza for breakfast while taking a quick shower. It's nice to sit alone in the morning, enjoying a good breakfast and a magazine about backpacking in Asia while dreaming about it. This is what I'm saving up for. A one-year trip around the world with nothing but the backpack and a couple of worn-out boots.

Being on the road must be heaven. Going wherever you want, with nothing to hold you back. Being free to lay on the beach in Thailand all day, and partying in Bangkok all night. Just go. Noone will stop you.

But so far I'm stuck here in cold Norway, where we have all the luxury and comforts I could possibly want, yet I want to get away from it more than anything. To experience other countries and cultures. Make friends in all corners of the world. Try foreign food. Try scubadiving in Bali and hiking in Nepal. Sleeping under a palm-tree in Malaysia and walking for hours on a lonely dusty road.

It's not until I have been in other countries and seen all sorts of people living under all sorts of conditions I can really understand how good our lives really are. Being able to do exactly these sorts of things is actually one of the things I should be most greatful for.

One time when I was in Barcelona I saw 3 street musicians playing guitar and singing. Then it hit me. Those 3 friends seemed to have more than me, although they had worn-out clothes and virtually no money. They were so happy and cheerful. So full of life and experience.

I just can't wait until I've made enough money to make my dream come true. Maybe will it be a big disappointment. Maybe will it be the time of my life. Anyways it's one of my biggest dreams, and without chasing our dreams, what's the point of living?

Let's just hope the world leaders can come to a peaceful solution to the problems, so it will be safe to travel anywhere in the future. Travelling and experiencing other peoples cultures is definitly the best way to prevent racism and fear and doubt about other peoples beliefs and lifestyles.

The following appeared on my homenode from 17 February 2003 until 10 April 2003. I'm archiving it here mostly for my own reference.

17 February 2003, Eugene, Oregon

I act like I have faith, and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends...

Dar Williams, "My Friends", End of the Summer.

After a month of vacation away from e2 and a week of real-life vacation visiting friends old and new in the San Francisco Bay Area, I think I can safely say that 2003 is off to a good start. I may be unemployed and lonely and bored, but my friends rock, so I must be doing something right. On that note, happy belated e2 birthday to dutchess and welcome to Grae.

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