There's yr letter
There's you on my floor
There's you in the corner
There's me wondering what this is for

Have you finally met her?
Is it to say you wish for me
only the best?
I hope you never get her
I hope it's saying you know now
there's nothing left

I read yr letter
I read it five times now
But I still don't get it
All this shit about memories
and you and me
and the way it used to be

And how you half-regret it
And how it feels so good to get it off yr chest
I wish I never read it
Make me wish I was the one who left

Oh, I need a letter, ooh I need a letter
I need a letter but not that kind
I don't need a letter to help me remember
what is not
What was never mine
Oh, I need a letter, ooh I need a letter
I need a letter but not that kind

Still got yr letter
It's sweating in my hands
With a note that says
"come get her, she was never in love again"
she's waiting in line again

Oh, I need a letter, ooh I need a letter
I need a letter but not that kind
You need a letter to help you forget her
Cleanse yr conscience, let you be blind
Oh, I need a letter, ooh I need a letter
I need a letter but not that kind
Oh, I need a letter, ooh I need a letter
I need a letter but not that kind

I hope you never get it


one line drawing - yr letter

Lament.

Silly girls are everywhere. So are silly boys, in retrospect. I hate both of them. Where are the souls who love themselves, and who know what they want to feel and accomplish and test the limits of in their lifetimes? I can't be the only one, can I? Fuck, if so, this will be a depressing world for me to drudge through.

Youth spoils so many excellent people, although in turn I suppose it grants many of us the chance to see who we really are, and what we want to become. In the process though, people gravitate towards the puissance of the masses, which irritates those of us who are cognizant enough to notice what is happening, and how to prevent ourselves from falling into the black hole that the rest have created. It's like this big fucking trap, and if you never become a part of it, you have no chance at ever being truely happy, simply because others will stare down their dollar-bill clips and joints, scoffing and coughing and knowing that you're inadequate.

Of course, inadequacy is always relative to the individual. Which makes me realize: Why the fuck should I care? What deviant behavior would make me want to get off my lazy ass, drive to work, earn money so I can invest in capitalism once more, then proceed to the gym and work on my mortal shell, complete with WashBoard Abs(C) and a ticket to Hades?

A girl. I call her, email her, message her, try to set dates and times to see her. I spend hours of my day thinking and worrying about her and what I can do to improve my chances with her. I know why I do this, but I can't justify it anymore. She feigns interest, but I turn it into a golden shower of praise and good signs, when in reality I have been given a dusty cardboard box, full of old and useless tchockes.

Look here, an egg beater for the heart...

Futility mounts on my shoulders, and yet I press on, yearning for more simply because I'm "a romantic at heart." I don't even know what that means anymore. But I will keep going, keep asking her out, trying to give her subtle and quiet hints as to how much I want to deeply breathe in her scent and watch her get out of bed in the morning. I will do this because she has absorbed me, and totally ruined this whole post-mortem rebellion that I have begun to see.

She could ruin me any day. And I would love her for it.

What I did on the weekend, or, How to have extra fun at wildlife parks, at great personal risk.

  1. This writeup describes me and my companions doing something which will probably one day cause us a hospital trip. This is a risk we are prepared to take for the experience we get out of it, but we are taking the responsibility into our own hands. Don't do what we do, unless you, like us, bring a suturing kit along with you for a worst-case scenario.
  2. If you are the kind of person who should be doing this kind of thing, you probably already are doing it. If you haven't done it, perhaps you should continue to not do it. Just a suggestion.
  3. Sorry for making this writeup drag on a bit. I realise in retrospect that I didn't exactly get to the point quickly, but that was all a part of the events I describe.
  4. Animal lovers and cat people are going to go green with envy when reading this.

As I type this, I still have some grime on my left wrist. I haven't cleaned it off because I don't get dirty hands from patting a panther very often.

The place is one of the many Wildlife Reserves in the Adelaide Hills, and despite being a successful tourist attraction, it still manages to be a well kept secret. I live in Australia, where wildlife + tourism = koalas. Koalas hold very limited interest for me and my wildlife loving companions: we see through the cute and cuddly exterior and recognise them for what they are: a semi-mobile digestive tract. Koalas don't enjoy the company of humans, they just tolerate us as a means to getting fed. Koalas serve to distract the tourists while we enjoy the park's true treasures, and joyfully endanger our lives.

As a planned detour from our usual Sunday entertainment, my uncle, my older brother and myself; Mick, Matt and Mike respectfully, who meet to enjoy life on a similar level twice a week, made our way to the Adelaide Hills and the wildlife reserve around midday yesterday. We visit this place every couple of months, it seems, and we so clearly get more out of it than most do.

This reserve has a number of paddock-like enclosures around it's perimeter, and a system of reasonably large cages near it's centre. As we arrived and entered, we turned left past a riot of colourful honey-eaters, each slightly different than the varieties seen in the city, and headed towards the ostrich paddock, our secret weapons concealed. The ostriches met us at the fence, and once they saw what we bore, we had a captive audience.

You see, most or all of the cages, and of course all of the paddocks, are accessible to hands; you can hand-feed the animals. In fact, the reserve sells packets of peanuts to feed the monkeys and birds with. Our secret is that the animals couldn't care less about peanuts once they know about our pockets bulging with almonds. We have to be careful not to cause riots with our almonds.

So we walked along the perimeter of the ostrich paddock, sustaining mild bruises on our hands as we amiably fed almonds to the excited ostriches, one at a time. The two birds were wrapping their necks around us, serpent-like, to make sure not one nut slipped them by.

On past a mystery cage, and a similar scene ensued with the emus. Emus are a little smaller and more reserved than ostriches, but we still draw entertainment from having our fingers mistaken for food by a 6 foot chook. We continued to wander past more birds (including rheas, which are like ostriches, but smaller then emus, and more animated and intense than both - ouch!), and stopped to scratch and feed some free-range kangaroos, including a cute widdle albino joey. We calmly walked along, not discussing our obvious destination, enjoying the scenery and maintaining our patience, as we slowly bore down on our main course.

Before long, we found ourselves at the southern end of the system of cages. At the south-eastern end of the cages, casting shadows on free-range wallabies, are four cages which are paired, each is open to one other, making two double cages. Without discussing our plans, we snuck to the shadowy east side of these large cages, checked to make sure we weren't being watched by keepers or other visitors, who just wouldn't understand, we surveyed the puma cage.

Through the cage we could see that the heat of the day had put the five pumas to sleep. They rested on the ground, looking for all their worth like giant housecats. We know these pumas; we've met before, and we fancy that we can read their expressions, and so we take our chances with them, and get a little more interactive than is normally advised. The eastern cage we were looking at houses two pumas, a male and a female. The females, we knew, were friendly and curious, very cat-like, and not above playing with some humans for a few minutes. The males, we feel, think that we are idiots, and will have nothing to do with us. They will tolerate us having our hands in the cage for a while, but will eventually groan and whinge to the females, seemingly telling them, "Stop making friends with those stupid bloody humans!" We keep an eye on them.

In the eastern cage, the male was nowhere to be seen, hiding from the heat, we gathered, in the small brick structure over one side of the cage. The female was outside, sprawled on the dirt, and susceptible to our next secret weapon.

Like our almonds, which guarantee us a captive audience of monkeys, birds and marsupials, while tourists wonder why the gibbons keep taking their peanuts and throwing them away in disgust, we have a trick for attracting the big cats. We picked our target cat, and my brother, who has far better reflexes than I do, asked me "Can I have one?", prompting me to reach into my oversized cargo-pants pocket and pass him a long, white flight feather from a goose, four of which I pocketed from our goose enclosure before I left home for my uncle's house that morning. Within moments of him brushing the feather along the fence, we were rewarded with a look of amazement from the waking puma. Being enclosed for their entire lives, these pumas probably never meet anyone as ballsy or foolhardy as us. As I said, most of the visitors of this reserve are here for the koalas, and the cats are only ever admired briefly. Here was a person who wanted to play with it, and such a thing surely happens only when we visit.

The puma rose within twenty seconds, walked to us calmly, and proceeded to chew the feather. Matt twirled the feather between his fingers, the flights of the feather entirely within the cage, and the beautiful cat, with a build slightly larger than Mick's Pit Bull terrier, gnawed on the feather, closing it's eyes in lethargic raptures of pleasure. In a short while, it began to tire of the feather, and it pressed itself against the cage, pushing it's face against the mesh in a housecat's gesture of affection. Grinning like half a watermelon, Matt leaned across the short outer fence as far as he could, and scratched the big sooky carnivore on the shoulder, and on the back.

We had her. The puma was truly loving the attention and the scratch, and all three of us, being careful not to overwhelm her, scratched her as she scraped across the cage. After several minutes of this, she stopped, and pushed her muzzle through one of the big square holes in the mesh cage, and looked at us, rumbling a primal purr far back in her throat. My companions leaned back, as I reached forward, and delicately scratched the tip of her nose while she smelled me, and allowed her to take the finger partway into her mouth, as she licked me. Quietly, Mick said "Whoah." I can't describe my exhilaration. We scratched her half a minute more, maybe, before being slightly startled by a more gutteral growl from our massive feline friend as she turned her head away from us. towards the brick structure in her enclosure. The male had emerged, and while he didn't so much as show a fang or approach us menacingly, the message was clear: Play time was over. We had also noticed some other visitors heading in our direction from the north, and so we decided continue for now, and return later, while the koalas were being fed, for some more dangerous fun. We left them a feather.

As we left the puma cages and turned our attention to the wild dogs and dingos, we grinned at each other; we'd offered a feather to a big-cat, and had it play with us as if it were a kitten. With it's fine, velvet-like fur and delicate nose, it really was just like a huge cat. Comparing it with similar sized dogs, I'd estimate it's weight at 30 - 35 Kg.

The dingos there are the best behaved I've ever seen. Most dingos in captivity are fairly nasty, in my experience, but these ones are just like very polite, well-behaved dogs. They graciously accepted and ate the almonds we gave them, and pushed into our hands happily when we scratched their chins and necks. Calmly they sniffed our hands, and licked from us the dripping sweat. The dingo cage was actually re-enforced with mesh so fine as to not admit a finger, but a frayed patch near the ground allowed us to endanger ourselves anyway. The dingos watched attentively as we left them.

We wandered the park some more, played with the wombats, fed some black cockatoos, and many other beautiful birds, including the fantastic macaws, and such rarities as a pair of albino magpies. This reserve seems to have a staggering collection of albino animals, including peacocks (I think) and pheasants. We postulate that this is because these stark white animals would have little chance of surviving in the wild.

We regularly stopped by monkey cages. I suspect that the monkeys remember us, not by our appearances, nor our odour, but by our almonds. The reserve sports a variety of monkeys, often with several species co-inhabiting the same cage. I regret that I don't recall the exact species of all of the monkeys, only that there were varieties of gibbons, capuchins, spider-monkeys and others, of medium-small to small size, plus some tiny tamarins. Their tiny hands look perfectly manicured, with perfect little fingernails, each of their hands never larger than two of my fingers. And their faces are so clearly that of Man. Monkeys are funny, because they are like humans with absolutely no self-control. When we offer a monkey an almond, it will snatch it instantly, and if we offer clumsily, and the almond is not so easy for the little hands to grab, their faces light up with raging frustration! They'd kill us for our almonds if they could, this is very clear. When we don't hold back for several minutes, and continuously offer a stream of almonds as fast as one hand can give them out one at a time, they calm down a little. A group of up to five monkeys will cling to the cage effortlessly, staring at us and making the occasional whoop, forever chewing the almonds we gave them, holding two more in one hand, they will reach for us with the free hand, and scream with anger if the next almond is given to a less enriched ape.

We laugh and move on when Matt quips: "Look at their behavioural problems: we've created a stock market!". It was so easy to imagine the monkeys in suits with their one-track minds and angry expressions, desperately shouting "Almonds! Almonds! Buy almonds!" All thinking the same thing, we silently turn towards the next source of dangerous fun: The black leopard.

In the past, we've been wary of this fellow. The reserve sports two panthers, a male and a female. The female is not very active whenever we see her, but the male paces endlessly. There is a worn track where he paces along the north and east edges of his enclosure, and we've seen the way he looks at the quokkas and other nearby marsupials when they venture close. This miserable picture of captivity makes us want to vary his day, but we weren't ever sure if he was interested in us as anything but a target. At the end of our last visit, Mick topped us all by scratching it's shoulder, and while it seemed to enjoy it, the mesh of the cages of these cats is large enough that they can fit their paws, indeed their entire arm through the cage. At any time, these cats could snap, reach through and pin us to the side of the cage, before going to work on us with their teeth. We just assume that we can read their expressions well enough to withdraw before they do anything like that. During our last visit, Mick also offered a puma the sleeve of his jumper that he was holding. The cat joyfully reached out and grabbed it, and a short game of tug-of-war ensued. Mick's jumper has holes in it now.

So we were on our toes as we approached the big, black cat. A panther is a pretty big cat; I'd say he was a fair bit bigger than a Rottweiler, with far, far larger arms. (Technically they're front legs, not arms, but I can't help but think of them as arms when I see the articulate way they use them to snatch at a feather.) His pacing was slower today, due no doubt to the 32 degree heat. I passed Matt one feather and drew another from my pocket for myself. First one of us, then both, brushed the feather against the fence and twirled. The short outer barrier was low and close enough to just allow us to reach the feather through, but we couldn't quite touch the fence with our hands. The panther slowed his pacing further, and brushed against the fence where we stood, biting at the feathers playfully as he passed. He kept pacing, always slowing as he passed us, and after a minute, would stop by us for ten seconds or so, before walking on, and turning again and returning. He was obviously loving the attention. He quickly lost interest in the feathers, though, and just brushed his face against the cage. Grinning again and after looking up and down the paths to make sure we wouldn't be seen, Matt and I threw one leg over the short barrier and touched the panther. A visual investigation of the cats behaviour and his surroundings showed that he paced up against the growth of bamboo, clearly scratching himself, until the bamboo broke and frayed. Sensing our chance, Matt and I reached through the cage, at times one or the other of us with our entire arm in the cage, and gave the cat a vigorous scratch.

I never would have guessed that a caged leopard would be so very tolerant of humans. I can't believe that around this time yesterday, I had my arm wrapped around a black leopard, scratching it along the side, with it's back leg kicking like a dog's does when you scratch it. He was even purring loudly.

People were coming. Laughing at our luck, we moved on, to the western side of the puma cage. The two females in this cage had crashed out from the heat, far from the edge of the cage, and only the relatively unfriendly male puma was on the raised platform mounted to a tree in the enclosure, right along the fence. We tickled the dozing puma while he glared a little but tolerated it, but moved on before long.

We wandered the still unexplored areas of the park. I think about one and a half hours had passed. We patted the free-range animals, and found some cassowarys who were in an enclosure shaded by a fruiting plum tree. We took great pleasure in feeding these massive birds - whose powerful legs can eviscerate a person in an instant - almonds and plums. We bent the limbs of the plum tree and laughed at the birds cleaning the branches of plums as fast as they were physically able to.

We went through an aviary, with various pigeon sized birds, including pigeons, and saw several reptiles, water dragons, turtles and tortoises, and others, in concrete walled enclosures. Mick and Matt have a reptile enclosure of their own, and we all share a common interest in reptiles, especially large ones. Australia has a veritable fortune of reptiles or all sizes, and Mick owns a variety of bearded dragons, shingleback lizards and blue-tongue skinks, most of which were rescued in the wild after being injured by cars, but one of which was actually bred from Mick's lizards. He also owns two rather large long necked tortoises, which must have shells which are 45 cm, in a pond inside the reptile enclosure.

After leaving the reptile enclosures and passing a pen which seemed to be for the free range birds and wallabies when they got sick of being chased by tourists, we spotted a medium sized, water dragon-like lizard under a bush growing at the side of the path. "Free-range lizards?" we asked each other. This was a pretty unlikely idea; the park has loads of free-range birds, big birds with big, curved beaks, and pelicans, and plenty of other stuff eating our almonds for which the lizard would be an irresistible snack. Mick (the main man with lizards, or with catching anything with your bear hands) leaned down and grabbed for the razor toothed little lizard. The wily little escapee was momentarily got, but managed to wriggle free. His escape was short lived, though, for we kept an eye on him and eventually herded him back into the hands of Mick, who this time seized the lizard a little more surely, and we escorted him to the shaded kiosk area where many of the keepers were hiding from the sun. The first of the to notice us looked up at us with a slightly puzzled smile, and Matt, who by now bore the lizard, asked "Is this little fella supposed to be free-range?" "I don't think so! You'd better talk to him." The woman replied, gesturing to a man talking on a mobile. The man extracted himself from his conversation long enough to affirm that the lizard was indeed supposed to be behind a barrier, and to say "Ah, yes, I've got two of these; not sure what they are though!"

What fun. Before we left, the koalas were fed, so we made our way back to the now deserted big cats, and resumed our scratchings of the panther, and of one of the female pumas. Matt wondered aloud at the possibility of us making a $1000 donation to the park, and attaining maybe after hours access to the panthers and pumas (after all, we wouldn't want to give the other people ideas: If we encourage other people to do what we do, before long at all some people would have done the wrong thing in some irreparable way. Such is the nature of man.)

Anyway, I've taken enough HDD space on the E2 servers to describe my dangerous indulgence. I think I'll have to do a writeup for the wildlife reserve though. I doubt I'll ever tire of that place.

My first daylog (indeed, my first writeup) of the New Year. After a terribly long but otherwise unproblematic flight from Montreal to Seoul, via Vancouver, I'm back in South Korea. My two weeks back in my home and native land were great. Aside from my mother and my friend Eric, both of whom came to see me in the spring, everyone I saw there, I hadn't seen in about a year and a half. I even saw my friend Mark, who lives in Scotland. I met him at university, and haven't seen him in about 4 years, but he happened to be visiting Canada at the same time I was. The trip mostly consisted of drinking Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale and playing a variety of card and board games with my friends and family. There was also some drunken naked sledding done on New Year's Eve; I have the pictures (and the scars; it was really icy) to prove it. I also met my little sister's new boyfriend, Adam. He's the first guy she's had that I actually approve of.

Meanwhile, back in Korea, my English hagwon (private academy) has predictably decayed into chaos without me. Oh, wait. It was already a seething pool of the distilled essence of chaos before I left. Anyway, the big news I was faced with upon returning was that:

  • The vice principal has rewritten the curriculum I designed before I left. Somewhat surprisingly, his actually looks workable, so no problem there.
  • Bill and Maria, the annoying couple at our school, have given their notice that they'll be quitting in two months. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. The less whiny, incompetent teachers we have, the better.
  • My favorite student, Fred, has announced that he'll be leaving the school at the end of February, to move to Gwangju, so that he can attend a school for the gifted at Cheonnam University. This is great for him, although I'll miss teaching him.
  • We lost 35 students over Christmas break. My most hated student, Layo, was among them. Hallelujah.
  • One of my classes has ceased to exist. Now I'm teaching a reasonable 23 hours a week, instead of the 26 I was pulling before. This is a short-lived reprieve, though, because they're opening a new middle school class, and I guarantee they'll give it to me.
  • The computers haven't been fixed and they still haven't decided if and when we'll have a summer vacation. What else is new?
I'm currently halfway through my first day back and work, and it's been smooth sailing so far. The vacation really helped reduce my stress level. I haven't played much Go in the last two weeks, except against my friends who are all total beginners. I was worried that I'd be a bit out of practice, but the Go books I read over the vacation seem have made me be better than ever, having won 2 out of 3 games this morning, and the one I lost having been lost in a way typical of me: getting ahead and being careless at the end of the game. I'm writing this on the one hour break I now have, due to my no-longer-existing 5 o'clock class. I seem to not be affected by jet lag, at least not much. I'm now going to go eat some dinner at the school cafeteria, teach my last two classes, and then go out for Korean beer with my housemates. Life is good.
I've been thinking alot over the last five days. A hell of alot. I've thought about how I want to change my life and how I want to change myself. I've pondered over what I think about peoples attitudes and how people react to certain situations. We aren't half dopey.

Why do we handle situations so badly?

We all seem to hurt the people that we care so deeply about. I know I have done it and I have seen it also. We all make so many mistakes, mistakes that cannot be fixed. I have made a fair few this year. I have upset people and I'm sorry for that.

There was a time when I knew you were trying to help me, to make me happy and I just couldn't take it. I didn't want to be with you. I hated that pressure, didn't you understand that? I had never had someone like this about me. Never thought I would.

I was unprepared for you...

The thing is when we like or love someone so badly nothing rlse seems to matter. Feelings are hurt and friendships are broken. I don't want that ever to happen to me. I can never see myself falling in love, sad ain't it? I'm not the falling in love kind, or maybe I am. I'll have to I suppose. I'll just have to see.

It isn't like I don't want. I want to get married and maybe have kids, I want to do all of those family things. I just can't see myself actually doing them. Love comes with too much baggage, too many tears and tantrums.

I just don't want to be hurt, I've seen love rule people..

Do you ever have one of those mornings? The type of morning where you wake up late, rush through breakfast and then realize you have to brush the snow off your car and it makes you even further behind? When you get to work a little behind schedule and find 6 emails waiting for you with problems, things that went wrong over the weekend. That is this morning.

Besides that, things are going great for me. My fiancee came back from winter break, this is the last time for that, so its exciting for us. I had a good weekend of watching footbal, with the National Championship for college occuring on Friday, and playoffs for the NFL occuring the rest of the weekend.

That's it nothing really exciting happening, besides some frustration with work, but overall doing ok.

The Message You Will Never Get

It's been nearly a month now. I don't cry every day any more but I am still very very unhappy every day. I am not me, and I'm not sure how to get back to being me. I have gone over every single scenario in my head hundreds and hundreds of times. And still I have no answers, nothing that makes me feel any better. I am completely lost, confused sad, and bereft.

On my rational days I know that you did the right thing my head can give me all kinds of sensible reasons why it would have gone wrong at some time and that the decision that you made for us was the right one. But my heart aches all the time, I could cry now just writing this down. I miss you every day, you are constantly in my head. I think of practically nothing else and I am desperate for you to get in touch with me. But I know that you wont, and the longer you are silent the more I will know that you didn't really love me at all because if you did you would not stay away like this.

I feel that if I could only know how you are feeling then I would be able to move on. Do you miss me, are you unhappy, do you still love me or have you realised with time that it wasn't love at all. Things happen every day that I want to share with you, I want to pick up the phone or send you a message but I don't because I'm not ready to be in contact with you and handle the consequences of what that contact might bring. To be faced with just genuine platonic friendship would be awful, although it would answer the questions I have about how you feel. But I'm not ready to go back to that stage where I wasn't able to control my emotions and to be rejected again would put me back there again.

I still don't understand how you could say, because you felt it right then, that you loved me when we were at my parents house, and that if they came back right then you wouldn't be bothered. That one thing above all others made me really think that we had something really strong that was going to work. And then 4 days later you just finish it.

I wonder if you can understand how that feels to me. Or even if you've thought about it.

Most days I would give anything for us to be together again. Throw it all away to be with you and make it work. This is the truth, the real depth of my feelings. But I keep rationalising,keep telling myself, reminding myself about the things that were wrong, and there were things I know that. Telling myself that all of these things that you gloss over short term will become bigger issues as you see more and more of each other. Sadly separation turns the person who has chosen to leave into the shining knight, the perfect person, the one thing that you can no longer have, and so human nature kicks in and you are more desperate for that person than ever before.

I need to break the spell, bury the ghost, leave you behind.

2002...

    was the year I survived dental implants
    the year I stopped shaving my legs
    the year my best friend moved far far away and we acknowledged that we were best friends
    the year I spent 8 months hating the place I lived, but didn't move out
    the year i met noders
    the year I tried (unsuccessfully) to leave e2 once and for all
    the year I couldn't get a job stamping hands at an amusement park
    the year I learned to make cotton candy
    the year my boss told me I seemed very much at home at kindergarten
    the year my female roommate fell in love with a girl
    the year my Nana told me she was proud of me
    the year I had flambe in my father's hometown
    the year I made peace with my parents
    the year I became a Scout Leader
    the year I got my first credit card(s)
    the year I went to my first country bar
    the year I drove all the way to Gold Bridge to turn down a job
    the year I didn't cry on New Year's Eve for the first time ever.
    The year I decided I might have kids after all
    The year I didn't go to Ireland
    The year I didn't go to Dalhousie
    The year I didn't apply to Cambridge
    The year I didn't buy a car
    The year I destroyed my camera and bought a better one

2003...
    the year I leave the continent?
    the year I move to Vancouver
    the year I give 85% of my possessions to the Salvation Army
    the year I go camping with noders
    the year I transfer to another University
    the year I get accepted to the creative writing faculty
    the year I learn to be a bartender
    the year I go out swing dancing on a regular basis
    the year I make my family proud of me...
    the year I quit e2?

The fun presents I received for Christmas:
I received some great stuff, including: Basketball N-64 Courtside2, model airplane P-61 Black Widow, a necklace/ring/watch, The Pillars Of Creation - Book by Terry Goodkind in the series Sword of Truth, B-digital camera, book light, new plastic glasses, Chessmaster, and of course lots of candy. I immediately started playing with the basketball game. I took Kobe Bryant up for a few dunks, and shot some three pointer contests with Glen Rice. Afterwards I pieced together my watch and got it ticking. Then I installed my Chessmaster on my computer, and read some annotation. It was a very fun Christmas, full of cheer and happiness. The best present I received was my family still being together and loving.

Reading the Odyssey:
The Odyssey, written by Homer, and the version I was reading translated by Samuel Butler, was very intriguing compared to other translations. In Book IX ‘chapter 9', the Cyclops eye poking part, I read in my translation, “Noman is killing me by fraud! Noman is killing me by force!” Take the word Noman, it the name of whom Odysseus told the Cyclops Polyphemus. But in other translations, “Noman”, is “Nobody”, or even “Noone”. I thought this very interesting. But the chapter is very funny, as they had been trapped in the Cyclops’s cave and put him to sleep with a drink to poke his eye out to later escape under sheep and rams. This is my favorite chapter in the book The Odyssey.

What I did on the day I didn’t attend school:
I slept until 10am in the morning. What a sweet blessing. I’m missing school because I’m sick, sick with what I’m not sure. I just have major headaches, severely being tired, and diarrhea. I did enjoy being able to relax, watch the television, get on the computer, and eat and drink freely. It was very nice to miss my B-day schedule, especially Math. Although going back to school the following day is quite harder and miserable, I will be able to go newly refreshed from sleeping well. Tomorrow I also have to go see the Chiropractor again, to realign my back and neck.

Today's Exciting Episode: Servo5678 vs. The Bureacracy
Or "Today I was wrapped in enough red tape to be mummified"

Today was the first day of the Spring 2003 semester at college. I had set up my schedule last October and was ready for my classes: Informational Theory, Computer Databases, Economics, and Ethics in Science and Technology. Before I left for Holiday Break I double-checked the schedule computer and all was well. Then I spent three weeks with family and away from classes and work.

Now this morning I checked one last time to make sure my classes were set up correctly. Imagine my surprise when I found that Ethics in Science and Technology had been replaced by the system with African American Studies! Apparently someone in charge of the scheduling system assigned the same registration keycode to both classes and, when the error was found, they dumped the Ethics course and placed everyone that was enrolled in it into the A.A. Studies class. I had to sort this out immediately or else I would be stuck in the class.

I started at the Computer Science building, the place that houses the department of my major. The guy behind the desk told me I needed to go to the Philosophy office because the Ethics course falls under their jurisdiction. I was sent to the Administration Building to that office. Lo and behold, imagine my surprise to find that the Philospohy office was actually in another building across campus. I made the long walk out there only to be told I needed the general Schedule Conflict office.

At that office I was asked for my ID number. I explained the problem to the girl working the desk and, come to find out, the Ethics class had been stricken from the curriculum altogether. It's still required, of course, but it's not available for the time being. I produced a list of alternate choice from my pocket, but as she reviewed the list she told me that these courses don't exist either.

I explained as nicely as I could what I needed] to make my schedule work. It turns out that, after some prodding, she admitted that the Psychology class I need to take is available. "Great," I said, "Sign me up for that." Her response: "Oh, I can't do that." THEN WHY AM I TALKING TO YOU?!?.

I was sent to a computer terminal to access the online schedule system which, of course, was down today. The error screen sent me to the department office for Psychology and they, of course, told me that my only chance to get this class was to wait for the system to become active again. After three hours of walking from building to building I had come full circle.

With nothing else to do I went home and sat at the computer and pressing Refresh at the system error screen until, at 5:30, the system came back online. I switched the classes successfully and everything should be taken care of now.

The moral of the story: A person can screw things up, and a computer and screw things up, but to really cause a tremendous screw up requires a person using a computer.

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