fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you cool, fuck you!

Is this the answer to our problems? Of course not. No more than anything else.

I'm still insanely pissed at the world in general for the latest act of idiocy, the senseless murder of Daniel Pearl. Discussing the impact of this on international relations between the US and Pakistan, my teacher brought up the subject of the videotape recently delivered to Pakistani officials which was then given to US officials.

"I wonder which news station will buy the rights to it and how much money they'll pay for it"
"Oh, come on, Mr. Ohm, no one would do such a thing, They just couldn't."

All he did was raise his eyebrow at me, the eternal skeptic.

Someday everyone will realize that it's not "us" vs. "them". That it's us vs. us.

My prayers to both Daniel and to his family that he left behind, especially his expectant wife.

I've been in San Francisco for only two days now, and I've seen and done more than I did the four days I spent here in '97. Of course, when I came here before, I was here for Convergence III and the folks I was with were of course all about the bands and the clubbing and thus were seldom functional before 4 p.m. I could, of course, have gone off by myself, but since I have the sense of direction of a non-magnetic rock, it's generally a bad idea to send me off by myself in unfamiliar urban territory.

We're staying with D.'s friends Ed and Carol, who are an artist/musician couple who live in El Cerrito, which is just north of Berkeley. They have a very cool little house well-populated with funky art pieces and pets. Their pets have been particularly entertaining: they have two white spitzes (Bolo, their larger dog, is sitting at my feet as I type) and two cats. Only one of the cats, a big tom named Joe, has come out to make friends. The other kitty has been making herself scarce; Ed says she'll probably decide we're not a threat in a couple more days. She looks a lot like my kitty, who is also skittish around strangers (though not this skittish).

Yesterday we went to lunch at a nice little cheap Chinese place near E&C's, then poked around in Berkeley for a bit. The big touristy thing we did in the afternoon was to go to the USS Hornet, a WWII aircraft carrier that did three batte tours in the war and then later served as the recovery base for various Apollo space missions in the 60s. I'm not hugely interested in military history, but getting to poke around that ship was awfully cool. It's huge; the flight deck is three football fields long. And D. tells me that the modern aircraft carriers are about twice as big. When I stepped onto it, my first thought was that I could not conceive of creating such a huge, complex hunk of steel that floats. We only had an hour on the ship, but we got to see the coolest bits, I think. In addition to the flight deck, we got to see all three types of crew quarters, the galley, and the sick bay/medical section. They also had a nice little exhibit on the Apollo missions, complete with one of the modified Airstream trailers that the astronauts were quarantined in.

Today, we first went out to Marin County and drove through the houses in Mill Valley. This is the area where John Walker Lindh is from, and D. and I agree: setting aside the religious and political issues entirely, the kid is crazy to leave such a beautiful, vibrant place for the deserts of Yemen and Afghanistan. Mill Valley is right up there with the Isle of Capri when it comes to physical beauty.

Once we stopped ogling the babbling brooks and multimillion-dollar houses, we drove up into the hills and stopped at this little bed-and-breakfast (whose name escapes me) for lunch. The restaurant seating was on an outdoor deck that had a breathtaking view of the valley and the bay. The weather was fabulous, clear and sunny.

After lunch, we backtracked down the road and went to see the redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument. The woods were Lothlorien-like in their beauty; an hour was nice, but a whole day to walk and explore would have been even better. It was pretty chilly down in the shade of the trees; I was quite glad I had my windbreaker.

Ed and Carol dropped me and D. off in Berkeley so we could meet up with Mary Anne Mohanraj and sundry other Strange Horizons staff members at Au Cocquelet for tea and pastries. Au Cocquelet has a pretty good menu and good seating. I had a piece of blueberry pie that was quite tasty. The meeting was (predictably, since a lot of us had never met before) a little awkward at first but we had more or less warmed up to each other after a couple of hours.

Everyone but David H. went to an Indian restaurant afterward, which was a much chattier and more relaxed outing than Au C had been. Don't know why; I guess it was just an issue of breaking the ice. The food at the restaurant was good, but not better than the decent restaurants in Columbus.

So, all together it's been a good couple of days.

Yesterday was an amazing day.

The Canadians won the Men's Hockey Gold medal. Canada Kicks Ass.

Hockey is important to so many Canadians, who see it as part of their identity as a Canadian. So what happens when the gold is won? We go nuts.

I live 9 blocks from where the party was, and I could hear it with my bedroom window cracked open. I knew I had to get my butt down there.

I'm not sure exactly what happenned in bigger cities, but one can assume it was much crazier. In my city, London, Ontario, with only about 330,000 people, people went downtown with all the flags, red and white clothing and hockey apparel they could muster. People in cars honked, hung out the windows, trunk, sun rooves, and even stood on the rooves of their cars. Everyone was happy, all yelling "whooo!" (including me) as they saw the other happy, proud Canadians. People high-fived eachother. Even ambulances joined in and added some of their funkier sirens (not used regularily) to the mix.

I think we only walked around downtown for about and hour and a half, but it was the most sober fun I've had in a while.

Then again, I will use any excuse to go join a crowd of equally excited people to be loud and proud.

The flags will go away for now and wait for Canada Day.

Spring fever in February! You gotta love Southern California. (You gotta! Or she'll eat you.) The weather here over the last several days has been warm and sunny, and it seems like everyone's a little distracted -- it just seems wrong to be inside and working on days like these.

So riverrun promised he'd kick my ass if I stopped writing my novel. ("Are you an assassin?" he asked me in the darkness outside Firebase Igloo, while in the distance Los Angeles burned. I'm a writer, I answered. "You're neither," he said.) So I didn't stop. When you write, it is good to have someone threaten you like this sometimes. The fact that he could clearly do it also helps.

I'm approaching it a little differently now, though. I felt completely lost in the tangled mess of half-formed ideas it had become, so I'm borrowing an organizational trick of Tim Powers' and writing character bios, scene summaries, and plot ideas on individual index cards which I can sort and stack and rearrange and tear up as necessary. One of the side benefits of this technique is that it takes me away from my computer to write. It's nice to sit at a table and work in pen and paper, and not stare with bloodshot eyes into a glowing screen like I do all frickin' day.

This weekend I'm taking Angela to Santa Barbara for her birthday. I'm not sure I'll be able to get her to leave -- I may have to go back for the cats and we'll move in under WolfDaddy's front porch.

I talked to an old high school friend on Friday. He sounds like he's gone way over the brink of despair, and is on the verge of being completely swallowed up by the darkness. I'm not sure what, if anything, to do except keep in touch and let him know someone cares. I pray he makes it through this.

"It'll offer you everything you've ever wanted, but it's all just pictures on billboards; dream cars, dream woman, dream houses.....time to wake up now and say goodbye."-Tom in The Invisibles:Counting to None

Excuse me for a moment, for I am being selfish today.

Sometimes I feel like jumping off a bridge. Sometimes I want to end it all, say goodbye, give in, and give up. I dont want to be a part of this world anymore. And I feel like I am already too caught up in the sticky web of life and all its idiocies to attempt to just abandon my desires and ignore my thoughts, my urges, my likes, my dislikes. I don't think I am going to be able to try and let go of the things that run through my brain at all hours of the day.

I never sleep really.

In a way I think somewhere in my subconcious I fear it, or I fear the process of trying to sleep.

When I am completely alone, and in the dark, this is where the chaos begins in my mind. I have nothing specific to focus on and so I focus on everything.

It is fucking maddness!

My Dad would probably assume I was pyscho if he knew some of the thoughts that sprout up out of nowhere in my mind.

Yeah, sometimes I feel like jumping off a bridge,

say goodbye, let it all slip away.

But I don't. I probably won't ever succeed in doing it. I feel too guilty I would feel like such an ungrateful, pathetic, little brat if I did.

Course I guess I couldn't think anything at all at that point, but...

No, the guilt would stop me, has stopped me in the final moments. I just break down and cry for a while before getting angry at myself and at the world for the 50 thousandth time.

Seems like it's become a repetitive pattern.

The anger, the frustration, the despair, the feeling that I am completely alone and insignificant.

Because fondue insists on including incorrect information in his writeup, I must respond in the interest of truth.

More people die in the U.S. every year than in the Vietnam War due to the proliferation of guns in that country.

This is simply incorrect. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, 8,493 persons were murdered using firearms in 2000 (there were also approximately 1,500 accidental deaths involving firearms in 1997, according to the National Safety Council) whereas more than 47,000 Americans were killed in action in the Vietnam conflict, and that's excluding the approximately one million Vietnamese that were killed during the war.

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