I wake up early this morning and continue with the ongoing habit of my life. For my life is made of habit, and I get grumpy if its changed. Most people must have some kind of habit built up in their daily lives, for if the average person wakes up not knowing where they shall go, or what they shall do, they will most certainly go insane. I am one of these people.

My continuous habit of life at this current time is so: I wake up with my body tired and sore from baseball practice from hell the night before. I am suffering from sleep deprivation because school starts earlier than should be legal and and the amount of homework I have is enough to keep Einstein up all night. In a daze I go to school, and while I have my first period free (yay!) I spend the rest of the day listening to teachers talk about things I'm not interested in, and doing work that will in no way help me in my future. I feel as if I'm in living in American Beauty or Being John Malkovich , trapped underwater with the surface just above but somehow I cannot penetrate it. Then, of course there is baseball practice. One torturous hour of running and doing "crunchies" until my eyes pop from their sockets and my limbs fall to the floor followed with another two hours of catching crazy pitchers. The continuous squatting metamorhphoses me into a ball of lard and bruises from what once was I'd like to think a fairly intelligent human being. Then I go home, node all night, and sleep. I wake up and the cycle of monotony is repeated again and again. I do not know or care how boring and predictable this habit of my life has become. I'm half asleep anyway and I am comforted that my life is planned out for me. Maybe someday I will habitate my way out of this recurring nightmare and become the kind of citizen society wants me to be, at least as preached by Ms. Bias in my American Government class. But for now, my life is that of a high school student.
Thursday 1st March, 10:40am

I resigned from my current job on Tuesday afternoon. Having achieved delivery of the vampireware that I've been managing for the past eight months, the managing director had another spirit-crushing project that he was setting me up for. Ethically, I could not start on work that I couldn't deliver to completion, so I had a nice sit-down meeting with him...

It was obvious after 20 minutes that if I were silly enough to stay there, my career would be stalled and my future prospects damaged. He is inherently a nice guy, and I do like him, but I can't work for him any more. He was pretty upset (there being another senior resignation that morning), and I expect he's worried that (a) I'll be really hard to replace and (b) the Technical Services team will probably follow me out the door.

I've not given him any ultimatums or demands -- I've just calmly and logically shown him that he couldn't keep me there even if my money was doubled. I've asked to have his blessing and in return he has mine. On this we are in agreement, which gladdens me.

The feeling that afternoon, having resigned from a firm that I'd lost practically all respect for, was extraordinary. I flew home that night after having a couple of beers in the airport, really happy.

Today I meet my headhunter at lunchtime. We shall see what he can turn up! I fully expect to have to travel more, not less, but if I'm to achieve my goals, that'll be the cost in the near term. Any everythingians in Singapore?

My little brother called me at 12:30 this morning. I was in bed trying to go to sleep, haven’t been sleeping well lately. It was o.k. though because he is my brother and that entitles him to call when ever he wants, plus I’ve called him much later than midnight and he was cool with it, well until it got to be about 4...

It’s funny that I still call him my little brother because he is 18 and taller than me. I guess because I’m older I’m entitled. Over Spring-Break he is coming up to visit me at school. I’ll get to show him all that is cool in New York. Maybe we’ll go to the zoo.

I spent about 2 hours driving around with my friend looking for printer cartridges for our printers. It is amazing how hard a Staples is to find around here. It is equally amazing that I have spent nearly as much money on ink as I have on the actual printer. I’ve only had it for six months.

I put a lot of research into my other node w/u today and I’m pleased with the result.

Waking up earlier than I have to just to do homework never works for me. I know exactly what time I have to get up to make it to my 9:00am class, and that isn't a second before 8:50am. Well, this morning I just happened to sleep until that time. That means that I had to go to class totally unaware of what we were supposed to be discussing in my art class of 13 honors students. This is where the pulling things out of my ass technique comes in handy. I highly suggest high school peeps learn this technique before college Anyway, amazingly I sounded quite intelligent in class today. It is an art history class, so the words symbolic, deep, and profound worked just fine for me.

The next remotely noteworthy thing that happened today was in my English class. We just finished reading the libretto for Norma a couple of days ago, and my prof decided it would be good for us to watch about 15 minutes of it. I must say that it was an interesting 15 minutes. The opera was a taping of an outdoor staged performance. There was a terrible windstorm during the performance so in addition to the irritating sound of the wind in the microphone, the characters were nearly blowing away. Watching this was also a cultural experience. The opera was sung in Italian. It was subtitled in Japanese, and there were French scene settings. Perhaps the best part of the opera was that one character looked like a floating head. She had a black dress on and because they didn't have any lights, her body blended into the background.

After classes and some other "fun stuff," I went to Church for Ash Wednesday. Nothing exciting there-- that is until a bat decided to join the congregation. The singers were laughing, and the priest started joking about converting the bat because he seemed to be lost. Things started to get chaotic when the bat began swooping into people. People were laughing like crazy and all hell broke loose, but the priest carried on. I guess you had to be there to enjoy the situation to its fullest.

Now I am off to do tons of homework. Then I'll venture into bed where I probably will stay until exactly 8:50am.

It seems like the only art left is out there to make a buck.

Distensible corporate prose
as seen on the idiot box
and heard on the lips of my little sister

The nicotine poetry sellouts
churning out addicting infecting plastic song

A jingle stuck in my head again
as I smash screen, antenna and commercial breaks

tired of the society
that has lost poetry

No more wild spaces in my mind, no wilderness
It's all developed barb wire wasteland
tamed by conformity

Things like "the fabric of our lives" coming unwound from in my brain
They tell me "a diamond is forever" but I just want it out, gone from my memory
So many slogans making me think in cliche

no more wilderness to explore in my mind or in the society that has lost poetry

sitcoms sickening, sometimes it's pop culture poison
ween ourselves from the enchantment disguised as entertainment
it'll be too late tomorrow

Gumball Poetry is the coolest thing I have heard of in a long time. Thank you Zari.
"I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character! ~Teddy Roosevelt~

When I see someone changing because that person is told how they are is wrong, it makes me sad. More than sad, it makes me shake in the pit of my stomach. I have that feeling now.

Until a year ago, I always cared what others thought about me. I did what they wanted so that they would think well of me. It mattered more than caring about myself and doing what I felt was right. Peer pressure sucks. I was wrong. I bought into it and denied that which was important to me to fit in, to be thought well of. The price is too high.

Do not ever change who you are because someone tells you that you are wrong or that what you do is bad. If something is important to you, then do it. Care about what YOU think of what you do. Follow your heart, it won't lead you wrong.

now, for an amazing day rendered in 3 (bad?) haiku & short explanations:

gaming no more
uninstalled and given away
now, more productive
Had an epiphany this morning. (Well, it was morning my time. Yesterday server time.) Realized my gaming was a real tumor on my days -- all my free time (and some of the time I should have been using reading) was used gibbing people online. I estimated the number of hours I was wasting in a normal week, was briefly sick, and sprang out of bed. My computer came on, and I set about deleting my games. Gone, Quake 3 Arena. Gone, The Sims. Gone, Oni. Gone, Half-Life and Counterstrike. I pulled the cd's out of my case, put them in jewel boxes, and piled them in the corner. I estimated the cost of them all (about 35 games, at about $40 a piece), was briefly sick again. Hopefully the bulk will be gone by the end of the week...

an email recieved
a reason given for split
last year now makes sense
Erm. Something of a nda on that one. Suffice it to say, the ex explained herself, finally, and it released all sorts of "issues" I obviously had left over. Just one of those things that made me feel much better about myself, I suppose. No more blaming myself.
man running on walk
no, many men jumping there
actually, quake
Yow. I live in California for 15 years -- never felt an earthquake. Move up to Seattle...two largish quakes in 4 years. My apartment has this cantalevered walkway, so when people run on it is sort of shakes the floor. That was the thought running through my head in the first 10 seconds of the quake. The next 20 seconds were "Oh God, don't let this old-ass building fall down on top of me." One of the most genuinely frightening things I've ever had happen. But there's a sort of euphoria in the air: "This was a pretty large earthquake and I made it out alive! Woo!" I don't care that this wasn't the big one which is due to hit any day now. That feeling of relief is quite nice.

Notes written on my whiteboard in the past few days:

Y'know what I don't recommend? Walking barefoot in the cold and rain, no matter how lazy you are (shoes have so many moving parts) or how sorry for yourself you feel.

Wah.

That is all.
---Sunday, February 25, 2001, 5 A.M.

I had just stayed up most of the night moping, partly about the fact that P. and I had just decided maybe he should only visit me one night a week so he could have a little more of a life and I could get more work done on weekends, partly because I was in a mood to mope, but not doing a very good job of it (usually a mope only takes a few hours, not an entire evening of sleep dep and slowly doing homework but not nearly enough). The walking in the rain was to return a friend's ecology textbook, from which I'd taken a few notes in preparation for a takehome exam due Monday at 5 P.M.; it was also what made it abundantly clear I was wallowing in my shitty mood, hence the semi-public announcement of that fact.

"I bet if I had enough monkeys on typewriters, they'd write my thesis."---some time February 28, 2001

In quotes because it's something I actually said, verbatim, just like that, and thought it was funny, so I wrote it down. Every now and then I can be witty, or at least think I am.

Mmmmm, thesis. Y'know what? I've all but completely lost my sense of what time it is. Yummy.---I have no idea when, probably within the confines of February 27, 2001.

Although I went to bed at a reasonable hour (~2 A.M.) Sunday evening/Monday morning, the rest of this week hasn't fit any semblance of a normal schedule. The past two nights I've ended up going to bed ~7 A.M., and I've been sleeping in random 3 to 6-hour intervals when I get the chance. Hence my internal clock's mutiny.

~5 p.m., 28 February 2001:
I am become one with thesis to the point where I can describe the basics of it (what doesn't require any technical language) in Dutch. It's actually kinda cool.

The fact that I put a time stamp on this sucka indicates that I'm getting pretty self-aware about the whole "thesis owning my life to a degree I didn't really think possible" thing. Not that it's stopped me from continuing along my merry procrastinating and writing at odd intervals and even occasionally but not nearly often enough making some code way. Nope nope nope. Anyway, I had just submitted the abstract for the thesis presentation I'm supposed to do in April, and was thinking about the fact that my grandparents are coming to my graduation, though they've never been to California and it's a heckuva trip from the Netherlands, and then I thought how I'd really like to be able to explain to them at least a little bit what my thesis is about, and I realized it wasn't actually too complicated, considering there's all kinds of weird evolutionary biology, math, computer science, and linguistics involved. Although I'm bilingual, I've never really been to school in Dutch, so it's always cool when I can talk about remotely technical things. Also it's cool to know I can discuss technical things without using excessive jargon, so that all made me happy. Then I was hungry and went to dinner.

The moral of the story: I dunno. Probably that I never learn, even from my mistakes. And that I should be writing thesis, and y'all are hereby cordially invited to send me harassing /msg's to that effect if you catch me on E2 when I should be writing (like now, for instance). Oh well. It's only a draft, and it's due in less than 16 hours, and it'll take less than that to finish it to a state I'm okay with handing in, since I want to sleep and go to class tomorrow (today, whenever the hell it is).

This morning I went to Sydney's Taronga Zoo for a guided walk with the Sisters (er, brothers) of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence. It was me and a hell of a lot of out-of-shape queens who really need back waxes before the upcoming Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Not to mention about six large men in full nun costume.

Mother of Pearl and Sister Mary-Go-Round read poetry on the different animals (like A.A. Milne with the koala) while the zoo guide told us factual stuff. We saw the indiginous southern hairy-nosed wombat, the more aggressive of which have been known to "chew through shins." A mutant guinea pig, basically. We also stopped by various bears, giraffes, elephants, the platypus, and birds, like the Macaw, the Sun Conure and Rainbow Lorikeet parrots. Et cetera.

We got to pet the Shingleback Lizard, the Rednecked Wallaby, and the Echidna, each of which has a transmitter that takes its temperature every 30 seconds. The communists use this information for nefarious purposes and I can prove it!!

Sister Mary-Go-Round wore black Converse sneakers without socks.

After the zoo I bought William Goldman's new book then went home and showered off zoo scents.

In like a lion and out like a lamb

Beware the Ides of March

Some days I wish I was never born.

I got up today and felt like I was ready to return to America. What caused this shift, I'm not sure... can't place my finger on it exactly. But there it was, "Fuck Italy, go home!"

Of course my mind has been circling around this idea all morning and I realize that it most lilely won't happen, not till July at the earliest. If at all.

It's just some moments of my life here, I really feel out of place. I just don't get the jokes and sometimes the people drive me crazy and the trams allways come in twos after you've waited a half hour in the cold. The banks suck... and the general pace of life is often much too slow... nothing seems to work right. I'm cranky today.

But seriously, I am thinking of coming back to Chicago for some time. The only 2 things keeping me here in Italy are my girlfriend and my job, both of which are superduper. Awww, I dunnow... what the hell has got me so down today?

Fuck it.

___________________________________________________

Later ON:
I can't concentrate enought to node today.... I'm reading this great book called the Secret Chief by Myron Stolaroff. It contains a series of interviews with Jacob a now dead psychologist who for years and years used psychedelics in his therapy practices. Pretty amazing. Really makes me want to take a trip. It's been several years since my last real trip (I've had some bad E since then) and I'm itchy to go again.
If anyone knows where I can get my hands on any pure LSD let me know.

______________________________________________________

Today I went running with a couple of guys. A nice long easy run, in preparation for the track meets coming up. We went all over the outskirts of Taichung, almost to the mountains. Then we ran back. We were almost done with our run.

Accidents in Taiwan, especially scooter collisions, are as common as roadkill in the North Atlantic region of the United States that I come from. They are something you pass by quite regularly, sometimes resolved, sometimes fresh. They are something you sometimes dramatically witness. They are not something you want to be involved with.

As we approached our starting point, we were running down the shoulder of a wide, mostly empty road. One of the two guys was running on the outside, apparently looking ahead at an intersection. A scooter approached from behind, zooming down the road in that characteristic scooter way.

That's when my running buddy, looking ahead, decides to dart across the road. Directly in the path of the scooter. I have no more time to shout a warning than the scooter rider has to react. He simultaneously brakes and swerves horrifically. He wipes out completely. Scooter and man slide sickeningly across the pavement, coming to a stop a few yards in front of me. I am subliminally reminded of so many physics problems... Mass, velocity, force, momentum, gravity, vectors, coefficient of friction. (Wang Chi-Ho weighs 55 kg. He and his scooter wipe out on asphalt pavement with a 2 degree grade travelling at 80 km/hr. At what time will Wang come to a stop and what will his displacement be? Ugh!)

The three, no, the four of us are completely stunned. Here we are, on an almost empty road, dressed out in our running clothes, only somehow none of us are running anymore. Directly before us, motionless, lies the twisted, still form of a man, lying face-first on the road, his scooter on top of him. The situation seems utterly beyond me, utterly detached. This is something that happens in movies, on highways, to bus-drivers and gravel-trucks and drunk drivers. Not to a couple three high-schoolers taking a run. For maybe ten seconds we stand there, taking the situation in, stunned.

Finally, we begin to collect our wits. One of us picks the scooter up, that had been pinning the man's leg. After half a minute or so, the man began to stir. Another scooter, with a woman, pulled to a halt. She asks us in English, "911?" and pulls out her cell phone. She stays away, but makes the call. With the scooter out of the way, we shield the traffic and help gingerly move the man into a better position. I see his face; he has a large, swollen, bloody gash under his eye. He tries to get to his feet. Very carefully, by degrees, we support him until he attains a standing position. Betelnuts spill out of his pocket all over the road. None of us feel qualified to handle the situation. All we ever learned about first aid, procedure, and whatnot now seems lame and useless. The man can't seem to put any weight on his right foot, so we help him to the side of the road. We try to get him to sit down, but he never does. He examines a hand; it is a little bloody too, but seems intact. We apologize in Chinese, but that again seems so impossible. None of us has excellent Chinese, mine was the best of us three. Yet had this Taiwanese man understood English, I would have been just as at loss for words. What do you say? "Dui bu chi," repeats my running partner who caused the whole incident. Sorry. It's all he can think to say, in Mandarin. "My God. Damn," I mutter to myself in English. "Pai say," I repeat to him in Taiwanese. It's one of the tiny handful of Taiwanese phrases I know, but it is the best phrase in my vocabulary for the situation. "Shr wo men de tswo." I say in Mandarin. It's our fault. He hobbles. He examines himself, he examines his scooter. The few rubberneckers who had gathered zipped off, not wanting to get involved. The lady with the cell phone remained, talking to an emergency dispatcher. "Foreigners," she said in Mandarin, "three foreigners." Still the man is silent. He makes an ambiguous motion at us, and plops back on his scooter. We protest in our lame Mandarin. He revs the engine, which growls back to life. "Shr wo men de tswo." I tell him. "Bu shin," I tell him. The women gabbles a couple phrases at him, but he ignores her and slowly eases down the road. We watch as he stops at the next light, then disappears.

The lady with the cell phone has already called off the ambulence. "Dze me le?" I ask her. What next? She shrugs. The three of us remain standing silently at the side of the road as the woman buzzes off. Traffic continues blithely by. There is no sign of anything abnormal, other than perfectly good betelnut strewn across the road.

Somewhere in the city, there is a middle-aged Taiwanese man. He's got a terrific gash on his face. He has cuts on his hand. He can't stand on his right leg. Who knows what abrasions and burns he has under his clothes, what bruises, strains, sprains, tears, even breaks he has. He will minimally be in pain for days. He will have a visible scar on his face for life.

Why did he drive off? Why wouldn't he? Nobody witnessed his accident but three foreign males. Three unscathed foreign males. Probably he didn't trust us. Probably he was intimidated. He just wanted to handle his misfortune on his own. We might have claimed to had nothing to do with his accident, we might have teamed up and said he wiped out completely on his own; there would be no evidence to the contrary, none at all. We might have done worse. Probably he was on betelnut, possibly even alcohol. He could have got in trouble. I don't like to think so. Maybe he had no insurance. But it was clearly our fault, or I should say, my companion's fault. And the man just left. Never said a word, never even whimpered. Hit and run in reverse. And there was nothing we could do about it.

After a while, we stopped standing there, staring at the traffic running past, staring at the clouds in the sky, and at the lights changing from green to amber to red. We started running again.

I woke up today with a weird situation on E2.

I originally wrote a node that I thought would be ironic and even a bit useful. It was my 25th writeup, and it got me promoted to level 2. I'm not really an XP whore, but I was wanting to get to level 2 so I could express my feelings about other people's writeups. There have been so many good factual writeups that I felt deserved some recognition that I couldn't wait to vote on them.

Well, someone immediately slapped my writeup down with the "noding about nodes" link and the reputation started to fall. I understand the need for less self-referential writeups on E2, but it was my first one I tried.

The reputation hovered at -3 for a while, so I decided to nuke it. But during that time I was still allowed to vote. And vote I did.

This morning, I woke up and checked my E2 status. I was back to level 1, but I still had 10 votes! Obviously I was assigned the votes and then they nuked the two writeups (original and nuke request), dropping me down to 24 writeups. So now I have a day to wander E2 as one of the rare level 1 voters. I feel so honoured.

I intend to use this power for good, not evil.

I find it very difficult to continue having feelings. Nothing but sadness and pain bubble up from underneath. My thoughts always go to my grandfather's molesting me. I can't keep it off my mind. Things remind me of it over and over. I hate men right now, again. It's so boring talking about being sad over and over. But it is really painful - I want to cry right now, but I'm at work. Tears keep leaking out of my eyes.

I went to a belly dancing class with my friend last night. It was a lot of fun. I didn't really know what to expect - what can you really learn in eight weeks anyway? She taught us to use our bodies in ways we were taught not to. I expect there will be a lot more of that coming up. It was cool - I think this class will help me reclaim my body - if I let it - and love my body for what it can do, not what it isn't or doesn't look like. The women there were all different shapes and sizes and ages. I really like that, because I don't feel like I'm the oldest one there.

I was definitely the heaviest one there. Not by a whole lot, though, and it didn't actually bother me. I really want to lose this last 20 pounds that have been refusing to budge for the past year. I know what it's all about, anyway. I keep choosing foods that will not contribute to weight loss. I've been doing that because it feels safer to hide behind the fat. Like I'm more protected from pain, or men, or my sexuality, or new things. When all it really does it prevent me from growing. The past two weeks I've been trying to force new awareness of this issue to myself. To really understand it and believe it. I am the one choosing inactivity and fatty foods. The previous 20 or more pounds came off in less than a year. Now I have maintained that weight loss for about 14 months. So, yes, that's obviously something I've learned to do, great.

I also realize that what I've gone through in therapy has been enormous. A lifetime of loss condensed into six months. But the worst is really over, I know it is. This is "just" mourning and growing and learning to be a single unit. The worst pain, the reliving of trauma, is really over. It's all out, out in the open. I've let go of so many things. Can't I let go of 20 pounds?
My son and I arrived home from visiting my father and step-mother in Calgary on Tuesday evening. I was nervous about the flight, and probably without reason. For anyone who has flown with a young child, you may know what I mean when I say the reason for my nerves was that the flight was in the middle of the day, and since the flight was sold out I couldn't reserve the seat beside me for him (he's only 13 months old, and so doesn't require a seat to himself). Much to my surprise, however, my little guy was a total angel. I was lucky enough, also, to be sitting beside two gentlemen (and I use the term fully aware of its definition and etymology) who made the experience even better than I could have hoped for. Both of them are fathers, and found Luca's little shenanigans adorable rather than frustrating, and at several reprises helped me by getting things down from the overhead, moistening a towel etc. I know full well that I'll never see them again (in fact, when debarking one of them said with a large grin: "Have a nice life."), and that left me with some degree of sorrow. Decent, funny and sympathetic people can be hard to come by in our modern, cynical world.

The visit out west was a wonderful experience for the entire family, and I appreciated enormously the fact that I had the time to do more than the perfunctory visit. We spent, as I have heard it called, assloads to quantity time together. Having parents so far away (over 3000 km) is trying, and I have to take every chance I can get to make sure that they have a role in my son's life. I was raised very far away from my own grandparents, and I can say I am unequivocally a poorer person for it.

Since returning, I have been correcting my students' biostatistics mid-term exam. This has been a trying, difficult experience to date. The professor and I agreed that the exam was more than fair prior to giving it to the students, and we also allotted an extra hour (three rather than two) to them so that they wouldn't feel rushed in their calculations. Despite this, the average is hovering around 55%, and a frightening number of the students really have no clue what they're talking about. The reason that this is frustrating to me is that I have gone to great pains to put the emphasis during my presentations on the theory and the big picture, rather than on the simple formulae themselves, and I have the distinct impression that the large majority of the students did nothing more than look at those very formulae. Anyone who has taken a good course in statistics knows that the math is of secondary importance; the essential information that must be absorbed is the why, and not the how, of biostatistics. Any idiot can plug values into their calculator. The hard part is understanding which method to apply and why the data require certain modifications.

I'll give you an example. One of the questions on the test asked the students to perform a Mantel test. The details of the test are not important, but suffice it to say that to compute the test you need two distance matrices, and you compute the correlation between them. We gave the students the following matrix:
XXXX 1940 1960 1980 2000
1920 0.326 0.415 0.673 0.847
1940 XXXX 0.574 0.558 0.787
1960 XXXX XXXX 0.478 0.652
1980 XXXX XXXX XXXX 0.500

This distance matrix represents a measure of the similarity of a vegetation community over time (again, this is not particularly germane to my explanation here). The first question asked the students to calculate the second data matrix which should represent the distance in time. In fact, we even told the students to calculate the euclidean distance in time. Now, for those who don't know, the euclidean distance is simply the distance between two points in space (cf. Pythagorean theorum). So, if we know the years at which the data were collected, is it hard to calculate the distance in time between observations? In fact, they didn't even need a formula; the distance between 1920 and 1940 is (drumroll please) .... 20 years! So, the second distance matrix is:
XXXX 1940 1960 1980 2000
1920 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0
1940 XXXX 20.0 40.0 60.0
1960 XXXX XXXX 20.0 40.0
1980 XXXX XXXX XXXX 20.0

Now, was that so hard? I ask that sincerely, because of the thirty copies I have corrected so far, three got the answer right, and at least 20 didn't even try to respond.

After computing this matrix, the Mantel test consists of multiplying each value in the first matrix by the corresponding value in the second matrix and calculating the sum of these products.

I suppose the reason that I feel so stressed and frustrated over this exam is that I feel responsible for their success. I don't (contrary to the fears and supersition of many undergraduate students) want them to fail, or take some sort of sadistic pleasure in watching them bomb. No, they're my charges, and I feel responsible for their failure, which is probably a little bit backwards. Ideally, if a student fails what is was, clearly, a reasonable exam, it is to some extent their fault. Perhaps we should have made it clearer to them what the exam would look like (the course was totally revamped this year), but still ...

OK, that's more than enough ranting and spleen-venting. I'm off to finish up marking, and I suppose I should steel myself for the inevitable shitstorm that's going to come down on all of our heads. I've heard that the ombudsman might be getting involved ...


Geez, that was a lot of reformatting. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to line this stuff up without tables.
Today marks day one of my first vacation in four years.

I intend to not think about my job for the next week and try to squeeze some of the tension out of me that's been knotted up for so long, take a train somewhere and become anonymous for a few days and wander around like a tourist. I'll have no schedule, no meetings, no deadlines and no need to wear anything requiring me to iron it and I've been looking forward to this for a long time.

Time marches on. Thus begins the first day of a new month.

Yeah Yeah Yeah. It's March 1st.

Typical nightly traffic last night. A few SunRPC scans here - a few DNS scans there. The occasional NetBus attempt. Same old shit. Except... I wasn't expecting a 2 meg log file this morning.

It seems one of our customers got nmapped. Again. This happened last month, too. The source is from the same Class C, so it's most definitely the same person. I called their ISP and sent them the log. The tremendous log. The log that took more than 10 seconds to send on a dual T1. He said he'd investigate the incident and get back to me. Cool.

Both yesterday and today, I stopped at the local Japanese market to pick up the "Vegetable Stew with Rice" bowl for lunch, and both times I went, they were closed. Yesterday was weird, because their hours stated they'd be open. Today, they didn't open until 10 AM, and it was only quarter 'til when I drove by. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

I think I need a mousepad.

Lunch Log: Einstein Bros Bagel - The "Holey Cow" - Roast Beef, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, and Mayo on an onion bagel. Apple Juice, and a bag of garlic bagel chips. My breath is going to be wonderful today.

Today I can't stop thinking about Mark. I just met him this semester and he immediately attracted me. He has an odd sense of humour and a sort of hidden vulnerableness that intrigues me. In any case I don't know him all that well, though I would like to get to know him better. I have two classes with him but I only sit with him in math. In the other class, OS, he sits with a group of his friends, whom I find intimidating. I am easily intimidated.

So, today I was chit-chatting on ICQ with him:

<Kitten> How was your spring break? Did you get to see old high school friends?
<Mark> I have no friends back home.
<Kitten> No friends back home? Why not?
<Mark> Because I am different.

Immediately I know he is referring to the fact that he is gay. But I am in denial. I grew up in an open-minded family and group of great friends. Surely his peers didn't hate him because he is gay? Of all the qualities a person could offer in friendship, what could be more insignificant than sexual orientation? It just blows me away. So in my stupidity I write:

<Kitten> Everyone's different. Didn't you go to kindergarten?

As if saying that I see him no differently than I see others would somehow make this painful fact for him go away.

<Mark> Different in different ways. It means that people hate me.

"NO!", I want to scream. "It doesn't mean people hate you. I don't hate you." The realization that I have led a sheltered life comes crashing down. I'm not stupid. I know prejudice exists out there. It's just that in meeting people from far away, who didn't grow up in my circle of life, that it really hits home.

<Kitten> I don't hate you. Screw the people that hate you. They don't know what they're missing.




They don't.



"Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own."
Alexander Pope

So, I just had to tell a long story to the entire class about the stripper running for mayor in Paris. I wanted to spark debate. Well. No one said anything. Silence. Silence. Silence. Silence. Change the subject. Then I thought, do they think I am a stripper and embarrassing myself?

I have been putting on make-up a little heavy lately, disgarding the bra and curling my hair. Hm. Shit. I have also been swaying my hips sexily as I walk lately. I don't know why. I lack the grace of strippers though. And the money.

It is just so damn shiny outside. Snow, street, sidewalk, rooves, trees. Covered in reflectiveness. It is impossible to walk outside. Poor crystal-boned elderly. Even a small fall can make them break something.

So, 1 more month of school. That's it. It will be over. Then I can do the ritual burning sacrifice of my GPA.

Today I begin composition on a new project which was quasi-commissioned by an old friend. He's also my old band director.

I've been wanting to produce some instructional literature for a while and also to compose something within the bounds of reasonable difficulty so that I might get it published. Something that isn't severely attached to my emotions so that I can take a step back and analyze whether this piece serves a function past expression.

Expression is good but at the same time I would like to be able to become disassociated with a work if I must, and this will be good practice.

Five Pieces For The Clarinet will be just what it says, five pieces for clarinet. The actual clarinet used will change so that, in effect, it will be one performer playing a different clarinet for each piece. The piece will be five motivically related movements in a large scale structure.

The first movement is for Bb Clarinet an it is what I'm beginning today. I'll decide on a motivic subject for the entire piece and begin developing it.

I'm very excited about this.
If anything has gone right for me today it's either the stuff that's too big to notice (like I'm still breathing-which I'm not sure is a good thing, or the astroid hasn't happened yet) or to insignificantly small (like the microbe that would have ripped apart my spleen had died cause the virus that I just had delt with or am dealing with decided it made good lunch).

Really, I had the whole day (week really) planned out, with lovely times spent with lovely peoples, work was going fine, the car, the computer, - voice mail was the last thing on my mind...but it used to work...

First off, after the less than steller night I had yesterday - working late...missing all my friends when I had planned to see them...etc...

This morning - sleep right through the alarm...get a wake up call from a friend who I missed yesterday and planned to see today telling me she might not - she wants to go see a band with another friend in it - maybe. Anyway she didn't think I'd be home and that caught her off guard...but having been sick previously, the extra sleep won't hurt me and is a great explaination...that and I planned on a half day of work anyway...She really didn't expect me there at all...I wonder...Odd...very odd...so I get ready for work.

I get to work - just in time for lunch. That actually goes well and back to the office where the two minor code changes I implimented in my function - failed miserably...things couldn't survive simplest of tests. Debuggers wouldn't help me see these errors...Frustraiting as can be. Then more paprework needs to be done...NO!

MONKEY SICK OF PAPERWORK

Let me finish my code, then the paperwork, damnit. Let me do something USEFUL!!

Then I catch the time...I need to check my voicemail - to see what's up for tonight...busy...back to work...About 30 minutes later...busy...back to frustrations with malloc and free...and dereferencing pointers...try voicemail...busy...call home, just to check...busy...weird!

More work, more pointer/malloc errors...yuch...frustrate myself completely...want to kill (an expression, but...how do you kill code? (rhetorical/sarcasm))...check voicemail...busy...DAMN!...busy...ARGH!...busy........

...busy...

Just leave early - relax...go home...then I get stuck in traffic! FOR THE LOVE OF ANY GOD! NO!

Just about a forty-five minute session of the least patient experience I ever have in my life swearing at any SOB who cuts me off...my car starts the whining, high pitched, whirring noises...Yes my druges, it gets worse!...

After I'm home I call the lovely lady I do so enjoy spending even a trifle of time with (this actually applies to many people, but I called the one with whom arrangements for some shared activity might be enjoyed)...busy... I try my voicemail from home...busy...I call the operator...ring...ring...{much discussion about voicemail problems and the two days (!!!!) they will need to have it fixed}...

Just maybe her cell phone...ring...(yes!)..."(groggy voice:) hello?"...yes my hopeful friends and interested readers...she is sick...

And now I have all this pent up frustration from a day of miserable madness...and I need to release this energy...I need also to decide what to do for dinner...And hope my insurance covers food poisoning...

Today was a great E2 day. I got three C!'s and picked up a fan or two along the way.

This is such a great outlet for writing. Maybe I'm just a frustrated author.

Or I'm just a lucky guy today.

Today, my boss wanted me to take some existing code that he wrote that is incomplete and finish it by implementing a general algorithm which he thought up. This code uses a complicated API into an application which while very flexible, is somewhat unstable and crufty. I suggested an alternative to this methodology by going directly to the data files themselves and performing the minimal required procedures which would end up giving us the exact same result as his complicated code would.

He didn't want to do it that way. He wants to go forward with the complicated API because some day we might use alternate functions of the software application in combination with the main function. This sucks. So we are going to spend two weeks developing this application interface code which will accomplish the same goal as my idea which would only take an hour to develop and another hour to run.

I got back from lunch and my boss had already left for the day to take care of some personal business. He left the SDK on my desk for taking over his code. I not only had to take over OPC, but I had to learn and install an SDK. I was not happy. I decided to throw caution to the wind, ignored his instructions, and went ahead and implemented the code my way, bypassing all the crap, and finished developing and debugging it in under an hour.

This code processed over 400 files per second and gave me the result he needed in 55 minutes. His optimistic estimate on the runtime for his code would get one transaction done every 15 seconds. The minimum number of transactions required was going to be about 17000, giving us over 70 hours of time for processing.

I'd say that a 70-times improvment in processing speed for code which was developed in less than an hour should be something to take a look at. Especially when he has already been struggling with this API-utilizing code for almost a week now, including a complete (12-hour) re-formatting of our application's data sets in order to accommodate a specific requirement of his program (I already had to stay late one night to do that).

Oh well, I'll shut up, becuase I'm complaining and bragging at the same time and neither are very constructive things to do. I apologize for the crap, but I'd just like to mark this day as one of the more annoying workdays I've had in a while. And after hearing a close co-worker mentioning that she's polishing up her resume, I've gotten to thinking the same thing.

On the lighter side, I again got some nice messages from Sara today. I can't wait to meet her tomorrow for lunch and get a feeling for how she's doing and where her interests are. She has been so friendly since valentine's day; I just want to know if she's changed her mind and is now willing to move forward into developing a relationship, or if she still wants total freedom and is just being really friendly.

I'm a bit less anxious about meeting her this week than last week. I'm still somewhat nervous about what to wear and what we will talk about. I guess I'll just have to keep in mind what she told me when we first met and went to the christmas party together: Just make it up as you go along.

Akward.

I've never actually been to a stand up comedy show before, and never really had the urge to go. But, lately I've been going out and doing things with my friends and they got free tickets... So I figured I'd go. It was a trip. I had fun... And laughed my ass off.

Of course, there's a but here. I had fun, but the ex-girlfriend came along - btw, i'm using titles like that only to avoid mentioning names, I don't really think of her as my ex. That in and of itself wasn't a problem, but it complicated a situation that's existed for a few weeks... And believe me, it's complicated. But... Only in my head. Anyway... I was sitting for a few hours with the ex on one side, and my friend on the other. Of course, the one on one side wanted to make physical contact with me - we've been very, very close lately. The other pretty much had her back to me... It was very, very akward for me - but it helped me understand things alot better.

Basically, my prediciment is really simple...

On one side, I've got the potential for a full-blown relationship with all the physical fun and experimentalism I could want. On the other, I've got someone I care deeply about but absolutely no chance of a relationship.

Oh shit.

The phrase deer in headlights comes to mind. What do I do? Do I satisfy my hormones and get into a relationship that will probably distance me - maybe even detach me - from someone I actually have feelings for? Do I stick with my emotions and use sheer will to keep the raging hormones at bay - and miss a rare opportunity to be that close to someone?

God, this situation sucks... I'm beginning to care about the ex. Intimacy does that for me, and I don't take lightly what's going on between us. I realize she's going way out of her way to get this close to me, but is it really that far out of her way? Or is she just going through a lonely time?

Oh well. I keep comming to my decision. Every hour or so, I'm like "YES! This is what I need in my life."... But it always changes. And why should I ditch on that relationship with the ex if the other doesn't care either way? How could I leave the ex like that after all that we've done? Do I really mean anything to the one I care about, or is it a lopsided relationship, or is she just cold and distant because . . . Arrgh.

It's just a little bit of history repeating

Chaos at it's best, destiny at it's worst.

In other news, I made it to work earlier today! w00t. I'm l33t.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.