I'm slipping...writing another daylog...

I graduated from high school today.

13 years of public school, and quite a bit to show for it. A diploma, IB certificates, proud parents, an education, a wonderful love... At the risk of ranting, I wish I had two things during those 13 years. I wanted time and choices.

I never had enough time to pursue what I wanted. I wanted to make the steam-pipe 3500 psi air cannon. I wanted to learn Perl and maybe Python. I wanted to sleep my senior year. I wanted to move on...skip the journey that teaches so much. I'm glad I didn't. Mostly.

I wanted to take french in 7th grade. I wanted to take algebra too. Computer science was not an option, because I was taking physics. I wanted to go to a different elementary school. I wanted someone to tell me that the traits you need to succeed in high school are the opposite of the traits you need to succeed as an adult.

After all, its all about me...Right?

The most valuable lesson of high-school was a social lesson. I entered strongly disliking the "prep" crowd, the football players, the assholes who tried to lose their insecurities by feeding off the weak. I learned, probably later then most, my motivations are not the same as their motivations. It took me a while, but I respected the girl who compulsively shopped. She knew as much about brand names as I did about MacOS partition errors. I respected the jock, he was as precise with a lacrosse stick as I was with a mouse.

For all my resentment of the bullshit that is high school, I came to a better understanding of people.


So, life is good. I am entering a new phase of life. I am taking a year off from college to work at a sound studio. This summer, I am driving across the country (east to west via Canada, then back via I-80). My longtime girlfriend and I are going together...She is going off to college, that will be difficult for the both of us. I will see whether our love can survive the tempest of a long distance relationship. I do hope it does...I love her more then I ever thought I could after a mere 18 years of life.Update Fall 2005: 4 years and going strong!

People change. I guess I will accept whatever happens, good or bad. A whole new world awaits. Please don't crush my optimism.

I woke up this morning and felt a strange sensation. I needed to know that what I was feeling and thinking actually meant something. I called out to the air, demanding that it show me that I did indeed have some kind of connection. I was unwilling to travel further without some kind of sign that what I was seeing was real.

So, there we were. My friend Mark and I were looking at our regional manager and making fun of his hard hat, a normal hard hat painted with the colors and logo of his college team, Texas A & M. Then Mark began to talk about how he wouldn't mind having a hard hat with the colors and logo of his favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers. We talked about it for some time, and in the end, he decided that he could not imagine someone actually wearing such a hard hat.

We had been talking for some time about the video game on his home game console, a basketball game for which we had created a number of players based on people we knew. The conversation turned to me asking if he would consider adding players from the Boston Celtics of the 1980s, as this was one of my favorite teams and I wanted to see them play again in the modern era. He agreed, we would add them to the current squad. We went to lunch.

Outside of the employee cafeteria, we had a smoke, and watched as a truck pulled up in front. A man wearing a hard hat emblazoned with the colors and logo of the Green Bay Packers stepped out and went over to work on the job site across the street.

We went inside to get our lunch, and walked past the constantly active television sets in the cafeteria. The television was tuned to CNN and they were talking about the Celtics of the 1980s.

I am beginning to lose contact with everything. There is too much that overwhelms me with messages. I can only wonder. Is it all just mad coincidence or are these signs worth listening to?


Today I realized what my most common daytime idle fantasy is. Yes, this writeup is office-safe! By 'idle fantasy' I mean 'what my mind drifts to when I'm not thinking of anything in particular.' This does not mean 'what my mind drifts to when a woman walks by who...' but you get the idea.

If I had to name it, it would be The Up Song.

How best to explain it. Let's see, what is it composed of. Well, I drive a Toyota MR2. I like playing Descent. I am a spacenik. I hate traffic. I believe that certain events/activities call for particularly appropriate, crushingly loud music.

That's about it. It does fit together, really. See, I'll be in traffic, which will frustrate me. Then the scenario clicks in:

I flip the Magic Switch.
The car shudders slightly as it reconfigures, contours sliding smoothly into a new convex hull that is, if anything, a more violent red. At the same time, the car lifts perhaps six inches off the pavement, just enough to retract the tires (yes, like in Back to the Future Part II) and the dashboard flows in front of me, the steering wheel vanishing into the instrument cluster, the shifter sprouting a top end with several buttons and a 6-DOF 'coolie hat' that fits naturally under my thumb.

I pull back smoothly with my right hand, using my right thumb to slightly 'blip' the coolie hat upwards. My left hand moves to the large thruster/throttle controller that has extruded from the door in over my left leg.
The MR2 pulls its sharp prow upwards, rotating around a line just at the back end of the doors. The nose now points at Deep Blue with an eager tremble. The vehicle shakes itself slightly, bobbling in the windstream of its motion and passing cars; from the taillights, a single wedged surface extrudes itself into a perfect aerospike engine and the blue flame begins to flicker along the base edges.

I reach for the dash with my right forefinger, just in front of the stick, and pop the MP3 play button that resides there waiting.
There is a crackle of the stereo system clearing its little solid-state throat, and then the opening strains of The Up Song pour from the speakers, the entire world waiting for the breakbeat and the drums and the Loops of Fury to commence. Expectation precipitates from the surfaces and shapes around me; I can feel it being pulled into my vehicle from the frightened faces of those in cars around me as they watch this strangeness, unable to escape, their cars locked into the same traffic mass as I was until a few seconds ago. A suggestion of quiet, calm yet eager voices can be heard behind the tones of music as my steed's systems talk to themselves, making sure that all hands are shaken and all of its various parts are ready to taste air.

As the Up Song hits the opening of the beat, my left hand of its own free will slides the throttle up forward, past the ignite point and past the Cruise detent into Launch-
Blue flame pours from the edges of the 'spike, meeting at the edge and morphing into a blurred, rushing thunder of power as it batters at the asphalt beneath the back of the MR2. There is a crackling roar, the sound of systems, air, and human ears stressed to the point of distortion, and (to quote William Gibson), gravity comes down on me with great soft hands with bones of ancient stone-

I flip up the shielded release button on the stick, press it down, ride the SLAM back into the seat and watch the world fall away beneath my windscreen, a lost forgotten lover-

and like that, I'm gone.

This, then, is the 'Up song.' I use Magic Carpet Ride as an example, because the initial seven or so seconds of the launch of the Phoenix (Zefram Cochrane's Warp Ship) in Star Trek: First Contact is the best example of the feeling I want. Barely controlled power, riding the wave rather than directing, knowing that the Earth is back there behind me, made behind rather than beneath by the howling of my engines.

But what is my Up Song?

I don't quite know, yet. But you see, I plan on getting off this benighted rock at least once before I die, which means I'll have to undergo a launch of some sort. When I do, there will be music playing on my headphones, or better, directly into my skull if I can manage it - and I need to know, in advance, what that soundtrack will be.

I sometimes wonder if Shuttle crew and other professional Super-Uppers ever sneak music feeds into their headphones during launch. Especially if you can hear Mission Control, and they you, it seems like it'd be a crime not to have music at that moment - the sounds of human spirit in a moment of pure, bond-breaking freedom.

I wonder.

I'm lucky that at work, I can use the internet quite freely, as long as I have an output that is high enough. I know others are not so lucky. Since I started doing W/Us, I've been spending more and more time on e2. As you all know, this site is great, and writing for it is actually productive - it's in no way like a pointless message board. It presents an opportunity to learn, teach and improve your writing skills.

But for us who have jobs and use e2 at work, there needs to be a balance, and that balance needs to be heavily skewed towards work, mainly to avoid being fired.

So how best to control the urge to node, read and play in the catbox when you should be working?

  • First, and most drastic of all measures: don't go to e2. Somehow, you could go cold turkey, leave this place and don't return. If you simply can't stop a heavy addiction you may have to do this. It's obviously extreme, and so to be avoided. Face it - this place is a terrible thing to walk away from. (I have done this on other sites, specifically Guardian Talk, the Guardian newspaper's talkboards). This could be a useful temporary measure, though.
  • Ideally, you should only access the site from home. I don't own a PC, so I have to use the work one. Using a work PC is a bit risky, as the temptation is there to get on the internet and head straight for e2. This is the source of the problem.
  • Don't put e2 on a list of quickly accessible bookmarks, and turn off the "auto complete" in IE's options, so that you have to manually type the URL every time you visit the site. this should give you enough time to stop and re-consider.
  • Come in early, and/or leave late, so you only node outside of the hours 9 to 5.
  • Noding during a lunchbreak is fine, as long as you keep to the hour /half hour you take off for this time. I know that I certainly cannot stop from straying outside the boundaries.
  • Write any ideas down on paper for nodes etc. - this way you can then forget about them until a more appropriate time.
  • An idea, related to the above, could be to node only one node a week. This might have the benefit of producing some really good stuff.
  • I'm unsure as to whether using a text editor for all noding is a good idea - it avoids you having a huge internet history, but it also means that the temptation is a little too close to hand.
  • The catbox is fun, but it's possibly the worst thing to become involved in too heavily. It needs to be refreshed frequently, and also can be really moreish. I, personally would avoid it at work.

Rather tellingly, I'm writing this at work, and not in my lunchbreak. I wish I could take my own advice...

An attempt to jumpstart my noding again. I've been in a lull, and can't get a good noding rhythm going. Considering I want to focus more on my writing, this is not good. So, here's some more of Davidian's five-minute poetry! This one, like the one before it, is kind of pointless. Tis unfortunate, but atleast it's something.

I've got nothing to say,
there's no hurting that needs to go away
no boat, no sailors shouting mayday

It's turning into a pleasure cruise
a commercial, full of bikinis and booze
and yet, I must hit snooze

And yet I wonder, where's my muse
did she, too, hit snooze?

The words don't come
creativity has gone numb
the facts are there
yet I'm caught unaware
as I've written nothing but a crumb

I know I'm not dumb
I'm just a flair with no Ric
using bad lines; What a shtick!

I like poetry
It comes easily
If it's good? that's for the voters to see
if it's not? It'll rest, node heavenly.

Normal Daylog Banter:

I'm heading out to UPS in about 40 minutes to go see if I can get a job. I'm hoping for something office related, but I don't mind lifting. It'll be good for my muscles, but bad for my back. Eh well. I'm also heading off to Oak Island, North Carolina in 8 days. I'm planning on bringing a notepad down to see if I can get some poetry written. I'm gonna be down there, with fiancee and her (extended) family for a good number of days. Xenocide, by Mr. Card, and Snow Crash, by Mr. Stephenson are going to join me. I figure Xenocide should last me about 2-3 days, but I know Snow Crash is going to take longer than that. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of either book! So, it's library time for me, I guess.

Here are some words of advice; REMAIN ACTIVE! About 3 weeks ago I became afflicted with the utmost of tortures, shin splints. These buggers irk me almost all the time. Playing ultimate frisbee three times a week hasn't helped as much as I would like. Although I think it's slowly beginning to get better. However, if I had done some activity last summer, I don't think I would be in such a predicament. So DO SOMETHING! Pick up Soccer! Shoot some hoops! Do SOMETHING! Hell, rig up a bicycle to your computer, so you have to work your buns off to make the monitor turn on! Anything is better than nothing! Get your friends together and play Disc, hell, atleast walk in the woods (assuming you aren't trapped by the confines of humanity). When was the last time you were surrounded by nothing but trees?

Woohoo!! My last GCSE exam was today. I am immensely glad that it's all over. "High"lights include:

  • My School gym - possibly the worst place to take an exam. Ever. The floor is sprung, which is good for gym, but immensely bad when teachers are walking round to see if you're cheating and you hear this CREEAAAAKKKK! I swear that you could cheat if you wanted, because you get such good early warning of their approach you could hide your revision notes / mobile phone / Portable TV in time.
  • The excellent feeling you get when watching the head of exams realise that he had let us carry on too long. He was looking at the clock, and I could see it was 15 seconds after the end of the exam. He hadn't told us to stop yet. He kind of leaned over and stared at the clock, for about half a minute, and you could almost see the cogs turning. Finally he realised, when people had had about an extra minute, and says "Right, stop writing" while hoping no one had noticed his mistake.
  • The head of exams and his "great" technique for talking. It generally involves calling people "Mr. Reynolds" when every other teacher calls me Malcolm, and randomly calling me "a bit of a rebel" because I had my tie tucked into my shirt. And, every time he reads out the regulations, he elaborates on them. Because no matter how many times I get told that a Mobile Phone going off will get me banned from exams, I always forget the next day! It's like this incredible concentrated amnesia! It's a good thing he takes hours explaining this every day, else who knows what could happen.
  • Ahem. </sarcasm>
  • Watching a kid who I really, really, don't like* reading his paper for a decent amount of time after we had to stop and close the papers. I would ring up the exam board and get his results cancelled.
  • Watching another kid who I really don't like* turning up late looking bewildered to almost every exam. The ones he was here on time for, he managed to miss his name being called out. Although I'm sure he has a glittering career as leader of the NF ahead of him, so no problem about missing exams...
  • Trying to get through my last exam today without getting distracted by the incredibly loud group of townies talking outside (presumably about souping up their 1.4 Novas and drinking cider). The teachers seemed oblivious to the noise, and eventually another student asked a teacher to sort them out. He proceeded to do so, making double the noise they had made in the first place. Authoritah 1, Sensibility 0.
  • Sitting down to an exam and finding that my whole row had no paper. That wasn't so bad, but no teachers seemed to bother to sort it out particularly quickly..
  • For some loophole or something I don't quite understand, we got let out of the GNVQ ICT exam before the end, because we had all finished. Hey, for all I know we broke the regulations, but I don't care...
All I can say is, thank God it's over. And now, my friends, I am going to get drunk. A lot..
* - I'm not just a really nasty person, they deserve it. Trust me.
In the end, you know, what do you say? Hey, Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole, but that doesn't mean I wasn't. But I'd rather think of myself as a jackass than an asshole--one implies a haphazard nature; the other a meanspiritedness. My problem has always been that what I want and what I need is always confused, and like my dimestore knowledge of Buddhism tells me, want--desire--is the cause of all pain.

I want just a boy to fool around with... but he's still in California. Damn it. Which means that I can't tell him my news, which I'm just bursting to tell him.

Namely, I've found an apartment. Not only have I found an apartment, but I've been approved. I've given them money. And on Friday, I'm signing the lease, and moving in on August 1. This puts a lot of grief to bed, but of course opens new wounds--namely, trying to pay rent, which'll be tough; not too sure what I'll do about that, actually. Maybe a second job, I don't know.

But I know this--I'm not depressed like I have been. My fury is burned out for now. I'm a bit more reasonable. I'm a bit more rational. But that desire, that longing, is still hanging around... but that'll be satisfied, more or less, come Thursday, when the boy comes home. And more, once, I've started to play house in my new apartment.

My hope, then is that this will put a lot of my bitchiness to rest, that I'll be in better spirits, that soon everything will be in its right place... Kinda.

Act I

A few weeks ago, an obese lady with a mustache kept talking to me as we watched two girls in lingerie groping each other on a trapeze. “This is not as good as Paris” the fat lady whispered as one girl’s crotch balanced on the other’s foot. I smiled.

It was a polite smile, it was a dutiful smile, it was a smile because I was not playing, I was working. I was an agent the company and she was an agent of the government. And we were trying to make a deal. Then, I drank so much wine that I almost fell asleep and cordially said goodbye.

Act II

Last Monday, a man I work with said “Did you forget? We have a lunch date today!” I did forget but I went, appreciating the break and the free lunch. In the car, we talked about different things, seated ourselves in the restaurant, talked about more things, went to the buffet for curry and naan, and finally, we got to the real reason of why we were there.

“You can’t put comments on your reports anymore,” he said emphatically. “You have to send out your reports plain.” My comment just put into words what the numbers said. The numbers were bad. The news was bad.

I went to the bathroom to throw up for a while. Something was wrong with the food. I came back and picked up more naan bread to settle my stomach. The man said I had to eat custard.

“I am free to say and do as I wish,” I stated, hunched over, “there have always been comments on my reports, you have just never paid attention to them before.”


On Friday, my boss took me out for a sushi lunch. We sat at the bar with the curly octopus right through the glass.

“Let’s get this over with,” I said as I pulled out a pen and unwrapped my chopsticks.

He talked and talked until he exploded.

“Who are you working for?” he screamed in front of the packed restaurant, “You are supposed to be thinking of reasons to support me! Not reasons to support them!” But I am just following the law. I thought as I dutifully started to write a list of supporting arguments for my boss.

After it was over, I got up and clumsily walked out the door to find some chocolate. He picked me up in his black Jetta as another black Jetta pulled up beside us.

“There are lots of VWs around here, aren’t there,” he said idly.

“I should have gotten into that one,” I said. “Maybe it would have taken me to another job.”

The End

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