A blind man's dog was sniffing my ass as I got of the train this morning. I saw him on the same train last summer, and over the winter while doing the out-of-school-temporary-work thing. As I stood there waiting for the train to come to a stop I felt this abrupt whiskery thrust at the seat of my pants, I slowly turned my head to the side to find a pathetic looking yellow labrador retriever in a harness pulling its head away and the blind man with dark glasses.

I pretended to ignore the dog's harassment. As I turned back around to face the train doors,it started working downward sniffing my calves, then finally stopping at my horridly beaten sneakers where it sniffed some more. I moved my foot to attempt to halt the groping, but it quickly followed my foot over a few inches and persisted with the sniffing. Pssssht the train came to it's usual abrupt stop and the doors peeled open.

The second time I'm sexually harassed in a (remotley) work related incident, on both occasions the assailants have been animals. Coincedence?

Today is the day of the British General Election. As usual it’s a 2 and a half horse race. I’m sufficiently upset with the moronic campaigns of the Labour and Conservative parties to vote Liberal Democrat (the half horse). I actually have very little idea what this third party stands for other than not annoying me over the last three weeks. A protest vote is not a wasted vote.

It is summer. The air is heavy with the burden of heat and the trees outside my apartment building stretch upward, bare to the relentless sun. The shade they afford is scarce, and doesn't do them any good anyways. The heat that doesn't bake homes, apartment buildings and places of business soaks into the streets and vacant sand lots. Concrete, asphalt and dry dusty soil glint aimlessly, reflecting the heat back into the air, none guiding the excessive energy in a particular direction, just AWAY.

The tired denizens of the city vainly attempt to create pockets of cooler weather in this sea of shimmering haze, and succeed with varying degrees of success. Meticulously air-conditioned, harshly lighted and haphazardly decorated office buildings dot the desert landscape, each building built like a multi-level terrarium, segmented into levels and sections with stain-resistant carpet and acoustic ceiling tiles. Within these are the cube farms.

This is where I live for one out of every four hours of my life. The rest of the time is spent driving to my job, attempting to rid myself of the mental stress accumulated at work or simply sleeping.

Today, however, I've called in sick. I know I shouldn't have, but my head feels light and my digestive system appears to be dissatisfied with my erratic diet of vending machine cuisine and whatever's easiest to prepare when I get home. I slept late, drifting in and out of dreams involving Pink Floyd, psychic transmutation, Lucifer and contact lenses. I gradually got out of bed to drag myself to the bathroom and put on a contact lens. Just one, because I slept wearing the other one. I then sat on the couch and watched pointless game shows for about an hour. After showering, I decided to set up a SMTP/POP3 server on my box. It seems to work well. Eventually, I summoned the will to actually get dressed and head over to the grocery store where I purchased stamps, bread, milk and generic antacids. My local grocery store is generally populated with an interesting mix of Mexicans and college students. I headed over to the single-guys-buying-beer line. Though sometimes longer than the other lines, this one usually goes quickly. Single guys pay cash.

Then, a stop at Blockbuster to return a movie and pick up another. I rented "The Negotiator." Back home and time to eat. Chicken flautas, little fried burritos, translated literally "flutes", spiced with garlic and salsa. Greasy but satisfying.

The Negotiator was excellent. Kevin Spacey is The Man. It's late, but I'm going to play old arcade games for a while. It brings back memories of being much shorter, cheap pizza and the rows and rows of video cabinets covered with fake woodgrain and garish logos. I'd always ask my dad for money- sometimes he even gave me a crisp five dollar bill. Put the bill in the slot, watch the squat, brown, troll of a machine eat it and jackpot! Enough tokens to fill both of my small, eager hands. Ah, nostalgia- the semi-fictionalized recollections are so much sweeter than the real memories, the rough edges worn off and polished. Suddenly, it's 3am. I'm acutely aware of my own drowsiness and fall into bed, drifting to sleep almost immediately.

Right. So as of right now it has been almost 5 days since I sent in my draft. It's the first ever deadline I have had for a book and while of course I'm proud of what I sent and did my best to make sure it was balanced, met the difficulty that was expected of it and tried to find a harmony between free roleplaying and railroading the characters, I'm still nervous.

Writing RPGs is not easy. Even after following my own advice on Writing Roleplaying Games Adventures and Supplements my e-mail account still sits right there, waiting for some sort of response. I've got another deadline coming up for a seperate game and a third still in negotiation but I still want to hear about this one. While not quite on the level with losing ones virginity, anything done for the first time that is this big or life affecting makes a person nervous.

Anyways, the Simpsons are on so I can kill some braincells and check for messages later.
I went on a walk this evening. I really like walking around LaVista, Nebraska; it's a very interesting little place.

My first encounter of the evening was with a young man who was trying to start his car. He had a Plymouth Horizon; I used to have a horizon, and his name was Bob. So here I was thinking,"I used to have a car like that," and this boy is staring at me. I smiled and giggled, and he kept staring even as I walked by. The look on his face after I smiled was one of shock, and dismay. It was quite amusing.

Then I ran into a huge flock of insects. There were these giant trees that looked like puffy ice cream cones, and they were swarming with these huge bugs. I tried to swat them away without looking like a crazed lunatic. In front of me this guy was taking out the trash, and he wasn't wearing a shirt. No big deal. I looked across the street, another guy not wearing a shirt. At the time it was really hilarious.

Eventually I found my way to this cute little park with brand new cool playground equipment. A huge yellow curly slide loomed in front me. Of course I had to try it out. At the top of the slide I stopped for a few minutes to take in the most beautiful thing, just above the roofline of this neighborhood I could see this little patch of pinkish-orange where the sun was going down. I can't describe it, but it was perfect. I finally got myself on the slide, and on the way down my shoe broke. I sat at the bottom of the slide for like two minutes just thinking, "My shoe broke, I cannot believe my shoe broke." I had to walk home with no shoes on, and there are a lot of sharp pointy rocks in LaVista. However, on the way home I did discover four teeter totters. I so wished I had someone to teeter totter with.

Teeter totters are the best.

I've been bummin' for the last few days - obsessing about a girl again. It'd been almost two weeks since we'd last spoken, and I'd figured I'd been played. Turns out that might not have been the case. I spoke with her today and she seems to be having 'family' problems. I'm thinking she's going through with her parents (at 21) what I did with mine at 18. Sucks too, because I want to see her. That _may_ happen next weekend. I'm going to drive up to her town and get a hotel. Hopefully we can hook up, smoke some wacky weed, and neck a little. Not a bad way to spend a weekend, if you ask me...

I found this really cool joke, but since it's a picture, I can't share it with you all here. Go to http://www.AskMen.com/ and check out the Joke of the Day with a title similar to "Proof That Girls Are Evil". (NOTE: The joke was on E2 already, so I just linked it)

* * * * *
LAW 1: Never Outshine the Master

Karen was thin and quiet. (I was chubby and loud then). She had a quiet intelligence about her. You had to prod her to get her to start talking, but once she did it was hard to shut her up. Karen was the kind of person who never failed at anything, but still had absolutely no self confidence.

I never saw her again, but according to word of mouth she got married in the summer of 2002.

Did you know that this website is still going to be here like 18 years from now and people will still be able to see this stuff?

It is raining in Japan. They told me it would be the rainy season while I was here, but it was sunny up until now. I even got a little sunburn on Sunday.

This is a working trip in Tsukuba. The whole time I have been stuck on one single awful problem with some code I wrote. I might as well be slamming my forehead against American brick as Japanese concrete. I haven't even begun to prepare for tomorrow's dog-and-pony show, my seminar.

I am cranky. I was spoiled by 3 days of vacation and sightseeing. Now I'm back staring dumbly at my many emacs windows hoping some solution will jump out from one of them, releasing me from this prison of anxiety. I hate being stuck.

I discovered something rather interesting about myself a few days ago. I'm a bit of a snob in some respects.

I'm extremely limited in the type of beer that I drink. I've come to realize the truth in the age old adage: what do American beer, and having sex in a canoe have in common They're both F$CKING close to water. There are a few exceptions, though. The main one being Shiner Bock, I'll drink Amber Bock if I'm decidedly poor at the time. Anything else I drink is some other alternative form of alcoholic beverage. I'm not much of a liquor drinker, but I won't drink anything that I haven't had before, or doesn't come highly reccommended. Though I refuse an offer of a drink of Tequila, too many Jackson Pollocks, too many times.

I have also developed a distinct love for cigars. I have developed a passion for Cuban grown Cohiba cigars, though I will admit an unnerving temptation to buy the dominican-grown counter parts. I've come to learn one thing: If the Cigar isn't Cuban, you might as well smoke the money you would have used to purchase such an inferior product.
I'm sure that there are those who will adamantly dissagree, but there is one exception to my standards. La Perla Habana is grown in the Dominican Republic, from a cuban seed. It's run by two Cuban brothers that are quality Nazi's. If you can't get a cuban, this is one of the next best things, not to mention that they're reasonably priced.

For those who have never smoked a Cuban Cigar, it's what heaven would taste like to anyone who smokes. It is an experience that transcends vocal explanation, and needs to be experienced.

On Monday, I became a very lucky man. I usually don't get a chance to smoke Cuban cigars unless someone I know has left the country, since they're illegal in the US. I must be blessed, because I, through the grace of a high-holy cigar hookup, managed to snag a small box of very good cuban cigars. I was the head giddy-ass Bastard on CLoud Nine. Cries of "Snag-alicious" could be heard across downtown Nashville, as I purchased my little box of heaven, did my happy dance, and elatedly inhaled the contents. Later that night, I decided to celebrate down at Cafe Coco. I picked up a bottle of Vampyre Merlot, a sweet and wonderful Bulgarian wine.

And off I went...
As toastido can tell you I was in smoker's heaven. Apparently, from the astute observation of someone at the same table, I looked like I was a stripper away from being in a rap video. I wouldn't go that far, seeing that I was in some loose fitting pants, and a t-shirt, not a pimp suit, and carrying a glass if Cristal. I'm not sure many Rappers have even grasped the bliss of smoking a Cuban Cigar, but I'm sure they would, based on the fact that they're the best. I just simply love the taste.
It's been a while since the last daynode so I take that as a good sign that I'm in better shape than I have been for a while. It hasn't changed much so I guess I got used to it. Whether that is a bad thing or not, I still haven't determined yet so I don't know what to do about it. To heck with it all right? Let the world deal with what has become of me. I don't live with myself. I only have to look at myself in the mirror. That's even worse.

Therapy has finally ended, actually almost 4 weeks ago. I stopped going simply because I didn't want to think anymore. The world no longer seemed to matter anymore. Many would misunderstand and simply believe that I might be at the breaking point and to some degree, they are. But moreover, I think its all about getting to the point of apathy in some deeds. I'm don't really give a hoot about much in the world and won't spare one's feelings when I don't have to but I won't go out and do evil you know? I'm still not dealing with depression well but who does right? At least I tell myself that I simply will deal with it later. Emotional procrastination. Maybe I just coined a new psychiatric term. I feel prouder already.

The Baby V.O.X 5 - "Boyish Story" came out yesterday. I got me a copy of it and I love it already! How simple minds have the simplest pleasures. It's ballads are calming me down and it's faster beats getting my feet moving as I sit in my armchair. It's nice to listen to some good music while watching Jeanette Lee's body filling up my TV screen. Billiards hasn't ever been as interesting until I see a beautiful asian woman who kicks major butt play the game. But enough drooling for now I suppose.

It's the second week in a row that I've worked a 40 hour work week. It's tiring and I never knew how constricted I was before until I didn't have time to spend time with friends and family. I've only seen MrFurious. But at least my physical body is getting better due to the higher amounts of chest exercises, free weights, and other such activities. I feel good about myself for the first time in a long while, at least physically, even though I'm tired as hell. I don't mind. What else can I say?

Loneliness is a burden that shouldn't be handled by anymore but its simply a facet of everyday life. It never gets any easier nor does it get much harder but still, it isn't something that is pleasant to deal with. If you don't think about it as much, you don't seem as lonely, and if you fill your schedule, you don't have time to think. It's a temporary solution for a permanent problem but what the heck.

(transcribing this from my Japanese notebook on a perfect summer day, holed up in a deserted netcafe in a small town near the Dorset coast. Waaaay too quiet here. Been reading Richard Gott's book on time travel. Head all full up with superposition, parallel universes, space-time distortion, and the folks back home)

On days like this back home, we used to go to the beach. It wasn't a real beach, just a place down by the river on the edge of town. But there was surf (the weir, twenty, thirty feet wide, white water thundering across it, fierce spray smelling faintly of bleach) and there were warm shallows by a kind of peninsula of pale sand, with real shells in it, which formed at low tide and was accessed by a steep, twisty path made almost invisible by trees and nettles, so that it felt like a discovery every time when you came out of the trees and saw the sand, the high green primeval jungle of the cliff, and the fast current racing by. Secret beach. Our own secret beach.

The water was fearsomely polluted, people said, lord knows what shit comes out of the power station upriver - you'll glow in the dark! - but I always went in anyway. Lying on our backs watching model planes droning overhead, the sound of summer. Long walks to dry off, chewing cornstalks like yokels, muddy sneakers trailing dusty laces. On a golden summer evening with the sun going down, you could wander for miles down the river path through tunnels of leaves and out into a series of linked ponds, once a quarry. Dragonflies the size of my head. Melting orange light pooling on still, deserted lakes surrounded by head-high grass. Naughty pup sneaking off and going in, coming out all muddy and grinning and soaking me, everyone else running away from her yelling and laughing. Later, down to the beach. Sometimes at night there were bonfires, and fireworks. Stoned gigglings sat by the weir, faces wet with spray, huddled round somebody's lighter under somebody's coat in the darkness. Further upriver, past the chemical works, a string of moored boats and a tatty but cosy little clubhouse, all hideous dralon sofas and scarily loud eighties wallpaper. On the odd weekend there'd be a hilariously naff disco: a glitterball, sixtyish blokes in frilly dinner shirts, game old girls dolled up in lime crimplene boogying to a wedding dj, and all of us with linked arms swaying, howling happily along to Tom Jones and Delilah. The pool table was wonky but the drinks were cheap, and you could sit outside with the lights from the disco drawing bright wavy lines on the night water and feel utterly distanced from the city, the identikit clubbers, the too-noisy bars with no seats and no corner to talk in. Hear the water, see the stars. Feel the warm damp air. And if it got a little parky, there was always someone to lend a jacket or a friendly arm.

(re-reading this letter here, on the real beach:
"can we go home? or is it never the same us and never the same place?")

Familiarity, belonging, the feeling we call home. Running a list through my fingers there are maybe thirty names and faces of people I was down there with, on the beach, some close, some just the familiar faces of people you hang with, but never really know too well although you're always pleased to see them. Background faces - but when they're not there in the background any longer, how strange it all is. It's now over a year since I last saw the beach, or my five favourite people from the crowd that made up the 'us' who hung around there. On the wonky pool table, a fast break sent the balls flying mostly in the same direction, but there would always be one or two that flew off the table completely. Now here I am on a real beach, at the real seaside. And there are real waves and real sea-spray, real seagulls, real shells that were not put there by (person) trying to fool us all, and the sand goes on clean and unblemished for miles, not a footprint on it: not secret but oh so private, nobody here but the birds, and me. And I'm sitting here on a rock thinking about our little pretend beach, somewhere between the chemical plant and the power station on the edge of the city.

(crammed into our hapless little heads, endless parallel universes. where would you like to go today?)

I got very wet this morning.

My eyes popped open at exactly 5:oo AM, one minute earlier than my alarm is set to go off. It was raining cats and dogs outside. Still is, as a matter of fact.

At 6, I got into my car to drive to the metro so I could make my hour long commute to work. It's raining so hard I can barely see out the window. The traffic light up ahead is red, so I pull to a stop and all the water that's accumulated on my car rolls forward with momentum. Suddenly, a steady drizzle of water comes pouring down on my head through some crack in the sun roof of my car. Nothing leaked through any other part of my sun roof, of course. It was right onto my head.

I quickly pulled up the hood of my rain coat, but all this resulted in was redirecting the little stream of water off the top of my hood into my lap. I had a big round wet spot in my frontal crotch region and my skirt isn't one that dries quickly.

The walk from the parking lot to the metro just resulted in getting the entire front of me wet, so the wet spot blended in nicely with the rest of my clothing. I got to spend an hour riding the train, feeling like I was sitting in my own filth and wishing I was back in my bed.

I want to play hookey so bad today, but I'm off to work. I job share and it is my turn to help all the little lost possums find their way to their mom's boob.

My "baby" (13) is taking a mental health day today, a parentally approved day off from the stupidities of our public school system. I wish I could stay home too and do mom and daughter stuff. I'm looking forward to a 9 day road trip with just the 2 of us in a few weeks, yippee!

It is rainy and miserable and I don't even want to go outside.

At the very least, I'm going to be late and go out to breakfast with my daughter.

I thought we had fun, she thinks it was the trip from hell and will always shudder when she hears the word "Shenandoa" as in Shenandoa National Park where we went horse back riding, hiking and (I'll admit this part was lame) to a "music" thing featuring a very old singer turned politician who turned it into a political statement instead of a concert.

Stuff we both enjoyed:

  • the early, early morning search for bears which instead revealed 10,000 deer... I never thought I'd get so sick of deer.
  • the book on tape about hiking the Appalacian Trail even though it made me want to do it even more and confirmed her determination to never go near it again...
  • talks, time alone together (OK, mom liked these things best - daughter would have preferred the company of friends and liked her phone card best), our cute one room condo once we got to North Carolina...laughing about "Stanley" and people watching...

Enter Thursday. This waiting around is driving me insane.
I'd have my car packed to go, but I still don't know if I'm going up north in one car or two. That's the question, isn't it? I read the cards last night, for myself and Onya. My reading I had done before, and my question was "Will I stay in Baltimore?" Not very specific, but it was answered. At least by the cards, I still await her call. (Hint Hint Digo, call me!) Did yet another "last" poetry reading last night..my writing really depresses the shit out of me, that's why I don't like reading it. I guess others liked it though, two really good poets that were there seemed to relate rather well, told me of some places in Brooklyn I should read at. Onya and I had a rather emotional conversation leaving the coffee bar, about death, and life, and living. She's alot more with it than I realized...and her cards said she was going to Balty. She knows it will be good for her to get out of this southern apathetic HELL,and I do believe she's serious. I realized last night, talking to her about the death of her mom and my grandmother, that June 2 was the ann. of my grandmothers death...and I didn't remember. Why celebrate death? It floored me for a moment, then I realized, that I don't want to remember the day she died. I remember every day she was alive, and those are the days I celebrate by living my life, as she would want. I just hope that she hasn't judged me too harshly now she knows what kind of person her grandson really is. Metaphyical bullshit. Ah well, back to packing.

A thought has been going through my head for the past few days, so I'm going to explore it a bit. I'm reading 1984 again and am amazed by the meaning and depth in the book. I'm a speed reader, I can zip right through a book, picking up on the plot and characters, but missing alot of the subtlety and deeper meaning. I'm finding myself re-reading sections of 1984. I'm finding myself putting the book down and thinking about what I've just read, what I've just realized, what I've just learned and recognized. I'm finding that 1984 is a classic for more reasons than one.

The thought that won't go away is this.....We need to have places in our world where peace exists, where we can get away from day to day stresses and worries, and where the "natural order" of things is restored. It doesn't matter how often we visit these places, if ever. What truly matters is that these places exist and we remember that. Winston, in 1984, has his small rented room. This room isn't being watched. This room is his. It's his space, a place where he knows sanity exists. Edward Abbey wrote of the importance of Wilderness in the same vein. He wrote of the need for people to know that somewhere, the natural order reigns, and it doesn't matter if you paid the cell phone bill or not. I was struck by Abbey's writing on the subject many years ago, and am now fascinated to find the same idea expressed in 1984

Where is my Wilderness? Where is my rented room? Where is the place I can go to in my mind where bills and work and other people don't matter? My place is actually a wilderness. It's the Seven Lakes Wilderness. When I was fighting the swirling emotions of a divorce, addictions, miscarriages and severe depression I began to hike alone in this wilderness. I would enter the silence of the trail into the basin and my burden would fall off with each step. Suddenly all my woes seemed insignificant, they assumed their proper proportion in regards to the world as a whole. One evening, standing naked in an alpine lake, watching the sun set below a high ridge, listening to the frogs, watching the nighthawks swoop, smelling the smoke from my campfire, I realized that I was going to be ok.

Edward Abbey and George Orwell are right.

In which several threads that have been tangled about Ouroboros are brought together, and the frayed knot that results is set aflame.

I spoke with my father yesterday morning. He went and got a crew cut this weekend. He will begin chemotherapy for the cancerous tumor in his abdomen today. He says he feels like the luckiest man alive that this cancer was identified before it spread.

Went over to Endgame mid-day yesterday. The store is looking pretty good. Aaron has got the new Games Workshop line Inquisitor. The miniatures look good, but the game itself seems a little flimsy.

For some reason, a film crew with star trailers was out on the main street by my house yesterday during rush hour. They were set up in front of a corner store of little note. I have no idea what they were filming, but they cut a heavily trafficked two-lane street down to a single lane and inconvenienced many commuters. I noticed, though, that the couch that had formerly graced my porch and which we exchanged for a different one on the street had not picked up on bulk trash day.

Yesterday afternoon I came home from Endgame and sat down to talk to R about his pilsner that seems to have a stuck fermentation. So R and I finish our discussion, which amounts to “can’t tell until we taste it”.
N, the Problem housemate sits on the couch and asks, “I think that I will not be going to Singapore. Would it be a problem if I stayed here until I get my head together?”
I cannot say yes, even though she has put on her innocent act. Am I to understand “get my head together” as “deal with a psychological issue”? Is there to be a set time period for this? Wait, N has gone and accosted me with this question in the presence of R in order to influence my response. I want to say “yes, it would be alright” because I want to spare R the confrontation of this issue. I hate myself right now, but this is what I say: “N, I thought that your job in Singapore would be a positive experience for your career and a graceful solution to an ongoing problem in this house that concerns you. I had been told that this is something that you and M talked about last night.”
At this, R is incredulous that there is any sort of long standing issue that he has not noticed, and all the more so because he and N are fairly close. How am I supposed to tell him that N is a manipulative bitch and has dominated M for the past two years? Well, I am not going to tell R while N sits there, that was the point of N asking me at this time, wasn’t it? “R, you and I must talk about this.”
”Later?” asks R. Something in him is broken. “Tomorrow night maybe?”

Last night a friend threw a barbecue. Korean barbecue, which, for those of you who have not had the pleasure, is grilled marinated short ribs (beef). I brought over the last four bottles of my clove cinnamon wheat ale, most of the asian americans of korean descent thought that it tasted like a dessert. I finally realized that Korean meals traditionally end with a cinnamon tea.

According to my gf, I loudly announced “Hong Kong” in the middle of the night. Asia is on my mind, I guess: violence in Nepal, Korean food, lack of a film history instructor at Singapore University.

This evening I will have that talk with R. All day I have been taking notes. I would almost rather back down.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Made it to work again rather on the late side, but still before 10. Got excited that some of my programming is actually working, but now I am back in a rut. Hopefully some reflection will allow me to get over my difficulties discovering how request tracker makes the sql queries that make up its table display.

Last night went out to see my friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They have a part of a warehouse that has been divided into living spaces. They have a nice bathroom, but the rest of the place is still mostly unfinished.

I found something out yesterday. My hair looks good. I know what people might think, "How could anyone with sucka in their name have cool hair?" Measuring in around 2-2.5 inches in length, styled with thick, greasy Murray's pomade..... I know many people who compliment the style.

It's my daylog, and I'll take the piss if I feel like it. I went and saw Snatch at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema two days ago. The first time I watched Guy Ritchie's film, I wasn't impressed. I felt no sympathy or even liking to any of the characters. But, I did something different this time. A recipe I have created, called trip chips, made the experience much more pleasant. OK, trip chips are easy. Here you go:

  1. get yourself an eighth of weed
  2. remove the seeds from the pot, stems are OK
  3. place seedless marijuana and stems in a bean grinder, grind into a fine powder
  4. mix fine powder into three tablespoons of peanut butter
  5. spread mixture on and totally covering one tortilla
  6. bake tortilla in the oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees
  7. take a pizza cut and slice the torilla into wedges that look like chips
  8. enjoy, feeling will hit you about 1.5 to 2 hours after trip chips are munched

I only ate one wedge and couldn't adjust to gravity the entire evening. The movie was great. I understood what everyone said and give mo props to the film and sound editing in Snatch.

Scene: A small, dark, informal stage, empty except for a tall stool and a microphone on a stand. A single spotlight illuminates the top half of the stool, and nothing else. An unremarkable man shuffles slowly across the stage to the stool and sits. He blinks uncomfortably at the light, but seems unwilling to look directly at the audience. Finding that the microphone is at exactly the right height for him, he adjusts it down, so that he must hunch over it to speak.

Audience: Polite applause.

Sighmoan: ...uhh, thank you, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen...um...You know, when E2 first captured my attention, I hesitated to leap right in and embarrass myself, as so many have done before, without taking a good, long look at the instructions...


Sighmoan: ...er, yes...as I was saying...and there were a lot of instructions. But Everything University is nothing if not thorough in helping the New User get the most out of the Everything Experience.


Sighmoan: ...sure, sure...Yes, I RTFM, and after a few weeks, I was sure that I had a solid grasp on the system--really knew what it was all about...

Audience: Titters, knowing snickers and scattered guffaws.

Sighmoan: That's right--I was wrong. Funny, to think of it now...but, now that I've been around for a while--noded a bit, picked up some XP--I really have it figured out! Things are going to be different, and...

Audience: Explosive laughter. The stage is pelted with marshmallows and Scooby snacks--one of which bounces and hits the spotlight, causing it to short. Darkness falls. The general noise level--loud--slowly fades into the steady, ominous hum of the machine.

Yesterday was a 'rite-of-passage' kind of day--the first time I ever asked the Editors to nuke one of my own write-ups. A week ago, this would have sounded insane to me; I'm still at level 1 and will probably remain there for at least another month. The problem, however, with going back to check on ones own work is that there is always the vain temptation to re-read it and, in this case, face the fact of its dubious motivation and continuing lameness. This particular WU sucked from the start, and was a response to what I felt was an equally sucky (overly subjective and unnecessary) WU that had been C!ed. It's been bugging me, as I skip from node to node--the powerlessness of L1 and the inability to vote a node up or down. So I voted with a stupid write-up. Just what I didn't want to do--add to the crap in E2. Sometimes, you just have to say something...and who's going to want to hear me bitching in the Chatterbox? Then it hit me--that's what the "/msg" is for. No, I won't be sending poison-pen messages to the authors of write-ups I don't like. But I'll try--really try--to /msg people when I read a write-up that makes laugh or understand something that I didn't understand before. It's worth a try.

Rhapsody in Screwed :: Part ...IX?

holy shit. i am sooo tired. i fell down like a moron and slept about 12hrs on tuesday, and then i failed to sleep last night, which is a shame, because i kept fading out during class and missing the signora's excellent sense of humour. it is also a shame because i didn't get home last night and i am wearing the same linen suit and cashmere turtleneck that was so perfect last night, but is now an overheated deathtrap. oh, well. that's what i get.

International Bright Young Thing

so last night was good. i went out for chinese food and tomfoolery with the adorable young creature from my class, and followed it with a couple hours watching niall not wanting to be at werk, and some jumping on the waterbed and playing with the cats. so, i figure i'll tell the boy who wanted his computer tomorrow: "well you see, i had a hot date, and then i had a hot date, and then i had to go to class..." well, it's funny from where my sleep deprived mind is looking at it...

"hey, i'll pretend to be his girlfriend for the night if he's offering sushi!"

so i don't get to sleep tonight either, really...i get out of werk, go home and take a shower, and go out for sushi with niall and his (*gulp*) family. i shudder to be exposed to anyone's family. and then i get to change *again* and go out to the club. that'll keep me busy until say 01:00 or 02:00, and then i get to hope that niall is entertaining enough to keep me awake a little bit longer before i fall down and die. then, friday, i have to get up before noon so that i can try to throw this machine together and get software, etc. on it before 19:00. eeurgh. wow. that looks even nastier written out than it does in my head. at least i have tomorrow off.

"the other night, dear / as i was sleeping / i dreamed i held you in my arms..."

on the so-bright-it's-blinding side of things, i got mail from jerrett. he's about as ridiculous as i am snarky, which is a great sign. to quote: "i feel totally absurd, and totally happy to be absurd." i'm still a curmudgeonly old bastard, and getting worse by the day, but the absurdity content of my life keeps going up...everything is getting dali-esque around the edges, as i remember that i'm my own person. i can be who i want to be and do the things i see fit to do, and i don't have to give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks; i live alone for a *reason*. i'd almost forgotten...but back to the point, the mail that goes *crunch*. apparently, brass balls exploit #1 went off without a hitch, except that it took him almost a day to recognise the phone number...i snicker mercilessly. "not gonna make it to the club next week," he writes, "reenactment of three-mile island in my heart." "three-mile island in your heart," i reply, "but my mind goes the way of the bikini atoll when i remember your lips..." call it what you want, i'm not going to say it. recalling a line in an obscure song: "i love the way your atomic lust detonates my mind".

more news as it happens; you hear it first!

This is a response to E2 Public Relations Issues. It's put here because this is the place for things like this, and I don't like perpetuating self-referential fluff.

To the New Noders

One of the issues that many new noders labour under when they first come here is.. brace yourself.. one of self-esteem. That's right, I said it. They think when they get a node nuked or get rebuked by an editor that they are somehow less of a person; that the editor who chastised them doesn't like them anymore and that everyone thinks they're evil.

This is surely not the case.

You have to do an awful lot of evil stuff to make anyone (anyone of consequence anyway) hate you. Some people might be annoyed when you namespace lyrics or when you mis-spell a node title but please, under no circumstances should you take it personally.

But, sadly, the first time you realize one of you nodes was zapped, many of us (myself included) go into damage limitation mode. Rather than admiting the node was shite, we say the editor exercised bad judgment. Sometimes this is the case.. but seldom.

What is the best thing to do when a prized node gets the nukes? If you can, find out who nuked it and ask then why they did it. Don't whine, just ask nicely and most of the time they will tell you, and tell you what you should be doing differently. And if you're trying to be a decent human being and the editor in question is mean and nasty about it, well, fuck 'em.

You can't take anything on E2 personally.

To the Old Noders

Before you spazz out over the ineptitude of a new noder, and before you pass judgment on them, remember a key fact: You were there once, as well. Even though you might not want to admit it, you've done some stupid things and been an ass at times, too.

It's just life.

Before you chastise, think. Mellow. Offer your assistance, of you can. As noder, you have an obligation to help others (yeah, you heard right. Obligation) because they vote on your nodes, and you on theirs. Every user is the most important person on E2.

To the Editors

I'm saving the best for last.

Just kidding.

To the editors I have a few words to say, and they're mean ones and are bound to hurt some feelings, so brace yourself:

Remember, that as an editor, you are still a noder. You are not beyond reproach. It is possible for you to nuke inappropriately and to do things that are simply considered to be generally wrong. It happens.

This is not to say that is happens much. In fact, it happens rarely. But if a user asks you about something you've done, think for a moment before you answer and (briefly) consider the possibility that you might be the one at fault. You might not be, but think about it at least.

And, another thing: if you happen to be an editor, I will not have you complain about it. With the exception of a choice few, you know what was going to happen when you were granted an editorship, and you accepted those possibilities and responsibilities. Yes, you can voice your dislike for things, that's fine, but I really hate it when I hear an editor say "the users make my job so hard." Guess what, hombre? The users are your job. If you don't like the job, no one is stopping you from leaving the content editors group.

I don't mean to beat you editors up, because we all know you perform priceless services to us all, but remember that as an editor, you are held to a higher standard. That's why you were granted it in the first place. You are the best of the best -- remember that.

-- End Rant --

Standing in line at the Thai trattoria, waiting to order my customary beef noodle soup (though I usually have it on Fridays) I realized my eating habits are monotonous and predictable.

  • Once a week, every week, for the past several weeks I have eaten beef noodle soup for lunch. It's not as good as the pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, but it's still pretty good.
  • Every morning for the past few months I have eaten microwaved oatmeal with raisins. It took a few tries to work out the correct amount of oatmeal (1/3 cup) and the right time in the "nuke" (1:30).
  • Once a week for the past four or five years I have Ensalata Caprisi for dinner. Roma tomatos, mozzarella cheese, garlic, green onions and of course, olive oil.
  • Every couple weeks or so, on a Friday night, my husband and I go out for sushi.
  • Every work day for several years I have eaten a banana at or near 10 am.

As a teen I once figured the amount of meat (excluding hot dogs & lunch meat) that my family typically ate in the course of a year:

I have parasites. I had planned on leading a life of leisure this week amongst the Island heathens, and instead I’m playing hostess to a horde of who-knows-what kind of small animals that I caught in Central America. What fun.

Worse than this, it will take two weeks for the medicines to completely eliminate them. I’m sure this is going to give me nightmares.

I started getting deeply embarrassed about this at the doctor’s office, until I realized that I was fascinating to them. Whatever I have, I picked it up in Honduras, and the staff at the local doctors office doesn’t get to see many exotic diseases. The Physician’s Assistant even said: “You’ve made my day!” What fun.

When I went to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled, I explained that I had gotten this in Honduras, not wanting them to think that I had given myself something with poor hygiene or something. The pharmacist was also intrigued by this – she said she loves exotic diseases and it was her favorite course in college. She asked me to call her when the test results come in and tell her exactly what sort of parasite it is. What fun.

So now I have two medicines. They both cause nausea and reduced appetite. One causes constipation and the other diarrhea, so I figure that will balance out. Two weeks. And oh yeah, no alcohol at all. It’s Spoleto Festival here – the party of the year. And if I drink alcohol I’ll get very sick. What fun!

Oh well – it was still a great vacation and I’d still like to go back. I’ll have to identify how I got these little critters though and avoid them next time.

I woke up late this morning after a long night of chitchat with my girlfriend. We had an extremely talkative night last night. I told her all about my medical mishaps, which included, but was not limited to the following.
  • The incident when the 9 foot python named Huggie decided to bite me instead of the rat in my seventh grade science class.
  • The incident when my dad and I were at the end of a quarter mile pier, fishing. I reeled in a small catfish, which I was somewhat scared to touch, due to the bacteria ridden spines protruding all over its body. Before I knew it, the catfish had managed to free itself from the hook and flopped onto my left knee. What I am guessing is the dorsal fin of this catfish, stabbed deep into my knee, sticking there; and flopping. It took my dad two pulls and a fin through the thumb before we could get that fish back into the ocean.
  • The incident when I ran across the living room carpet, sliding in my socks into a toothpick. My dad pulled it out with pliers.
  • The incident when my family and some friends were having a picnic in the woods. My dad loaded a bunch of the kids into the back of a truck, for a nice drive to a near by lake. One of my friends decided to give me a little shove (I am told that she had a crush on me and this was her way of letting me know). I flew out of the truck head first into a deep ditch. I broke and dislocated my arm.

Despite the graphic nature of my detailed discussion about my medical mishaps, she appreciated the information and honesty.

This sucks.
Our first real fight in the year and a half since we've been together.

We were headed out the door to see a movie -- he was going to drive. I looked at my keys, decided I didn't need the bulk in my pocket since he was driving. We got to the car and he realized he didn't have his keys.

Okay, so we're locked out. Big deal. Right?
Wrong. This is the fourth time this has happened in the last few months -- in my opinion, it has always been his fault.

The biggest argument broke out over whose fault it was, and who was going to have to call the third roommate at work.

Anyway, we're in the house now (no kidding, genius, most people don't have computers laying around outside), and we're not speaking. I have never even been in a small argument with him -- sure, small disagreement, but never, ever have either of us raised our voices at each other.

Fucking bummer. Guess wer're not going to see that movie today ...

Oh, I should just shut up. There are bigger issues in this world than our little fight.

She seemed so depressed today.

I talked to her for a bit today. I don't know why she was depressed though. I asked her if something was wrong. She just said no. I care so much for her I actually do care, yet... she doesn't seem to know. She is the best friend I have. I miss her so much. I wish she would come back. I miss her voice, her laugh and her smile. I miss her.

Today though, she seemed so depressed. It hurts me inside knowing that she feels bad. I want to run over to her and cheer her up, to make her laugh. I would sell my soul just to be able to make her laugh. I would do anything to make her happy. Whatever she asked of me I would do. I do anything and everything for her. Well almost everything She is my best friend. I don't deserve her friendship.

On the lighter side:

I out ran my cousins F-150 in my mini-van...YAY!

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