The words won't come. I stare at the screen. I stare at the paper, the pen. I change ink colors; I change fonts. I sit on the coach, the floor, my bed. Nothing helps.

I have almost become a writer in the past year or so. Everything allows me to write, and get instant freeback. Always before, my only comments would come from myself, rereading the writing weeks, months later when I stumbled upon it. My comments were never positive, it seemed. I love to write fiction, but am still trying to figure out how. Writing is so much harder than it seems.

Everything has helped. I write more, and on my more varied topics. And, yet, somehow, the past few weeks nothing has come to me. I've noded a few lyrics to songs, but not many. I feel noding too many lyrics becomes noding for numbers, I thing I depise. But I can't find anything to write about, nothing worth my time or those that have to read it.

Heck, look at this daylog. I'm writing about having a writer's block. Guess it's a paradox. I hope that by writing, typing, somehow words, topics, writing will come to me.

It's not.

Perhaps I'll go back to my floor, and try a red crayon.

I can't stand being manipulated, especially when the topic is so fucking horrific. I just came in for the last 40 minutes of the 9/11 thing. I have to say, I'm really, really really wishing there was a relevant target to drop a few Trident RV's on. Of course, I'm a New Yorker.

I dunno. I mean, I just can't help but think of a friend's thesis (which is on American Presidents and the effects of foreign intervention on approval ratings) at a time like this...it just feels too damn much like drumming up support for Iraq, y'know? I mean, I'm not saying this shouldn't have been made a documentary and shown to the world, but...still.

I don't feel that the filmmakers had this motive in mind. Nor did CBS, or anyone involved in showing this. However, I can't escape the feeling that all sorts of other governmental actions are being or have been designed to 'take advantage' of the resultant public feelings.

I don't like myself when I hate.

I hate them.

I really, really want to kill them. All of them. Anyone who did it, planned it, or anyone who even shouts approval for it. I have no illusions that I'm justified, but I am very glad I'm not holding a trigger or a command authority right now, and I have to say that I have developed a bit of newfound respect for the Bush administration's pace of response. Even if I think Cheney's a completely venal scumbag trying to hijack this whole thing to finish his uncompleted war.

I mourn for all those killed in Afghanistan; our guys, Afghans fighting with us, Allied forces, especially civilians on the ground. I salute the U.S. and allied forces for their efforts.

If anyone pops up and shouts that we deserved it, in any country, I am right now firmly in favor of kneecapping them, flaying them, leaving them staked out in the dust and sowing their fields with strontium salts.

God help me.


Update:

Monday: Christ, this is worse than I thought. Upon reaching work, I've received no less than *three* snail-mail adverts for disaster-recovery services of one form or another (backup software, archiving service, 'IT Planning consulting'). All of them, when opened, had the text "September 11, 2001" immediately visible.

I must needs redirect my anger, for the nonce; at least these scumbags sent me their return address, the profiteering bastards.

music.face()

I have a new roommate, my project partner has a price on my head, and my laptop has a nice-sized hole in the corner. It's been quite an eventful March so far.

women, women everywhere

And where does the overworked Carnegie Mellon student go when drowning in work? Why, to Smith College, of course. I'm here this weekend to visit my good friend and one-time CMU student Megan Adriance, and see what life is like at a very different type of school. Indeed, life is quite different here: for starters, the university is 100% female, and their computer science department isn't their strongest. I saw all the sights around campus and around the town of Northampton, Massachusetts; it's a beautiful campus and a charming if not crowded town. (The unseasonably warm temperatures yesterday helped that out.) Although the student body is 100% female, there is a large population of openly lesbian couples in the area, cutting down the pool of "eligible" ladies. It reminds me of my rule about Carnegie Mellon: all of the women here are ugly, taken, or both.

From the many stores that dot Northampton, it is very clear that the town loves journals, candles, and anything natural. Just about anything needed for college life can be purchased in town, although the offbeat brand names and promises of purity jack up prices substantially. I picked up a set of matryoshka, or Russian stacking dolls, made in India, at a shop in Northampton. What a country.

microcosm is injured

Unfortunately, it became cold and rainy outside in Northampton shortly after we returned from our shopping and dinner expedition. We decided to watch a couple of movies: first "American Beauty" on VHS, and then "Memento" on DVD. My friend didn't have a DVD player, but I had brought my laptop. I plugged it in to a nearby outlet, set it up in front of the TV, and played it. We all loved the movie, but as I was cleaning up afterwards, I tugged on the power cord accidentally.

Six pounds, four feet, and it landed on a corner. Ouch. A portion of the casing cracked clean off, although the system was still up. I immediately put it into "hibernate" mode just to be safe, as I swept up the pieces. Today, I'm faced with contacting Compaq or someone else to repair the laptop, a voided warranty, and a probable bill of several hundred dollars in parts and labor. Did I mention that I had committed this laptop to be used in a presentation on Tuesday?

Oh, and now the hard drive seems to be going bad too. Just toss it on the pile of Stuff Jason Doesn't Need.

"double" life

Last month, I remarked that living by myself in a double room had its ups and downs. I'm no longer alone: on March 1, my new roommate proceeded to dump all of his stuff into our living room, move it onto all of the available floor space in the bedroom, and then go off to a party. Although he's a business major, he still stays up late mostly to talk to friends. Also of note, I'm now living in a "triple" most nights: his girlfriend often spends the night. As with most freshmen who get to live in West Wing, the "Hey, look at my room!" syndrome is just wearing off. The worst part was the Sunday after he moved in, when as many as five people excluding me were in the bedroom at one time. He agreed that such a situation shouldn't happen again.

Fortunately, things have calmed down a bit, although I hope his girlfriend and he start to get a certain message after I keep on walking in on them while they're "studying." On the upside, my new roommate is a very neat person, so he's always keeping the room tidy. I like that.

class by class

15-412: Operating System Design and Implementation

I'm in the midst of The Kernel, an Operating Systems (OS) project that spans a total of five weeks. Unfortunately, my partner and I spent much of the first week working on OS homework and catching up on other commitments. My partner, seeing this lack of time, worked up a schedule and issued the first of several ultimatums about him expecting substantial work from me.


"... unless you start producing code, and fast, expect to find another partner"

-- my OS partner, March 11


My partner is a very smart guy: he has even been a TAfor two of my prior computer science courses. However, sometimes he can be a bit patronizing if not outright condescending. Our "meetings" often degrade to the point where he merely lectures me on the code he has written, asks me comprehension questions in a very TA-like manner, and gets mad when I don't instantly see his reasoning the same way that he does. I get assignments, but when I don't do them instantaneously or to his standards, he merely rewrites them from scratch. When I last saw him on Thursday, he basically gave me a diatribe on how he feels that I'm too dumb to work on this project, and that he will be basically assuming all the responsibility for the project. I've been relegated to janitorial work on the code: cleaning it up, commenting it, and so on. This is not where I want to be.

Obviously, I haven't been producing code to his liking. But why should I even bother? After all, when my code doesn't meet my partner's standards, he just rewrites it. He has no faith in me, and I know it. The worst part is that I'm not learning anything from this whole experience, except that it's wiser to pick a partner with a comparable level of knowledge instead of one with a substantially higher or lower level of ability. The whole thing is reminiscent of last semester's Databases debacle, in which my project partner was a former CS major who thought we could do our schematic diagrams in MS Paint.

Having a group with one dumb member and one smart member is just a bad idea. The smart one gets mad because the dumb one can't work effectively enough, while the dumb one gets mad because the smart one regards himself too highly and won't give any meaningful work to the dumb one. Last semester, I was the smart one. Times have changed. I don't like being dumb any more than I liked being "smart." I just want to work on the project.

One more thing: to pass the course, you must have a passing grade on both the exams and the projects. I'm not too optimistic about my midterm grade, and after that there's only one more exam -- the final. I could find myself in a very tight spot at the end of the semester.

80-311: Computability and Incompleteness

Right now, this course would be my only A if the semester were to end today. This is ironic, since I tend to do worst in theoretical courses. Of course, now we're in the section of the course where I have absolutely no idea what's going on, and where I don't put nearly enough time into the homework assignments. I've already neglected to do one assignment, although the lowest two homework grades will be dropped.

The worst part is that I can't work on these assignments enough, and I can't focus in class well enough to understand the material. What am I supposed to do, go up to the professor at office hours and say "I don't understand"? It's not fair to ask him to teach me the course all over again.

82-372: Advanced Japanese II

The minor is in reach, but this course is a big question mark. I ran out of time on the first exam, despite the fact that it was extended to the next class. I have already missed quite a few homework assignments, although I've been good with the more major ones so far. There's a big project that I have to present this week, but I don't have the slightest idea what to do. The person I was supposed to interview last week was on spring break, so it's not entirely my fault.

At this point, I have four options.

  1. Stay with the course. Plan A involves devoting ever more of my nonexistent free time to Japanese, and trying to get ahead of schedule for once. It also means studying well and sleeping well to improve my test performance in the future.
  2. Drop the course, and take a comparable course abroad. Plan B is looking more and more likely by the day. If I study abroad through ICU at the advanced level, I could get transfer credit for study abroad to complete the minor. My minor advisor has already OKed this arrangement, but I haven't even sent in the forms for ICU yet.
  3. Drop the course, and try again in a year. In the spring of 2003, my final semester here as an undergraduate, I will likely have a much lighter schedule than I do right now. However, at that point I must pass the course or risk non-graduation. Plan C is risky, but doable.
  4. Drop the course, drop the minor, and take three physics courses next year. Plan D emphasizes the fact that I only have three physics courses to go until I graduate with a physics minor. While I have no immediate desire to do this, it would work as a substitute or second minor next year. Coupled with the fact that I only have two courses in computer science next year, this could work in concert with Plan C above.
We'll see what happens.

82-374: Technical Japanese

Not too bad so far, although I'll have to do something about my laptop-using presentation currently scheduled for Tuesday. If I can't have another laptop on hand, which is likely, I'll have to do it by hand. Great.

Aside from that, the course is interesting and not too difficult. It should be manageable. No bitterness is required.

Ah, it's monday morning. It's only fitting that I should write about last week. To summarize: it was good. Not the others aren't goo per se; but this one had just the right amount of lack of sleep and things happening to make it good.

Well, I've got my class 7/8 license. Which means that my bike can carry me and and a passengery to a fiery death at 150 mph. Alternatively I can be wrapped around an axle on Hwy #1 someday. But seriously, this rules. I can ride at night, and give rides to all the people that want it. I gotta buy a helmet though first. It was pretty funky doing the road test in the snow. I had fun. The examinator told me later that my following distance is bad (ie: too short). That made me think of a picture I saw on the net once; a guy wrapped around a truck's axle (see above). Anyway I'd rather be safe...than dead.

Hmm...I seem to have run out of noding steam. I think I'll come back and add to this node later. I gotta node "I gotta break free" too. Crap. Still Econ homework to do...
"I'm thirsty. Anyone got change?"

"No, man, sorry. I spent mine on bus fare. It sucks that I don't have my parents to drive me around anymore."

"My parents hadn't driven me anywhere since I was like, four."

"Man, I miss being a four-year-old. That was the height of my happiness. I had no worries back then, just a bunch of toy cars and a 64-pack of Crayolas. If I could go back in time, that's where I'd go."

"Yeah? I'd go to the late 60's, actually."

"Or the Renaissance."

"Dude, I would go back to the first time I ever smoked pot, and high-five myself."

"Oh shit! I'd go back to last Thursday so I could return that video on time. Then I'd have some change to get a drink right now..."

Hot sex.
Live nude girls.
Sex acts that will make you rush to the confession box just for thinking about it.
See Molly take it all off!

It's SPAM, all of it. It comes in my email Inbox, like that half-dollar sized rain which won't let you see three feet past your car's front windshield. I open MS Outlook and, ::SMACK::, I see eleven quick messages imploring me to view content that I have to pay for. This may be a wonderful marketing ploy, when said messages are being sent to some naive net-newbie, but it's just another sucker's gambit to me. I've been slipping and sliding on the 'net for going on ten years now. The first time I saw something like an animated GIF was back in '89, on my Commy-64. Not too surprisingly, the animated GIF was nothing more than a two or four-frame porn clip; a close-up shot of a man and woman having sex.

I saw the future of Internet Porn long before the porn industry did. I saw a virtual red-light district that could only be accessed with a credit card, digital domains wherein a customer could find anything and everything he or she could possibly imagine. Whips, dips, chains, bangs, leather, latex, rubber, real, more, less, faster, harder, parts and the whole shabang. I saw it in a miniature prophetic vision, back when I was 18, and wondered if I would ever see someone I knew someday in the future at "fuckme.com", before I even knew that Dot Coms would come into existence. "Dot Com" hadn't even entered the picture yet. I was still a little naive at the time, myself, running my own BBS. I figured that the future of digital porn would hold fast and true to the 1-800 craze, where people could force their modem's AT command lines to dial some 800 or 900 number and log into a BBS of some sort.

Being 18 at the time and somewhat of a sexual idiot savant, I didn't have the wherewithall to cash in on the future. Even if I did, I wouldn't have known where or who to take the ideas to. Besides, I was more interested in the finer, literary aspects of the Internet's future. Porn didn't interest me much. Well, there was the passing interest in Playboy or Penthouse, but that was about it. Digital porn was still too new to me to think of it as something worth thinking more about.

But, apparently, somebody "out there" was ahead of the game and was thinking hard and fast. Hence, today, my personal dislike for SPAM. It's not so much that SPAM annoys the ever-living shit out of me; it has more to do with the fact that I have nothing to SPAM people about. I can't cash in, I can only cash out.

It's maddening to see the direction it's gone. It's everywhere I look. I can't even surf the 'net for five minutes without seeing some pop-up window that extolls the "virtues" of Mindy or Candy or Simone or Rick. Digital porn has taken over the information superhighway. Which brings to mind a weird sort of mental image. Imagine driving along the road somewhere, with your kids in the backseat, and you pass by a roadside billboard that says, "Come see Tammy's tits! Next exit, 4 miles ahead! (Visa and MC accepted)"

But the 'net is something different. It's all around us. Our lives are becoming more and more dependent upon it. First it was roads, then it was phones, then it was television, then it was cars, then it was personal computers and now it's the 'net. The 'net is not just sexy, it has become sex. The sad thing is that porn has infested the Internet so completely that it's turned the topic of sex into something less than erotic. It has become mechanical and contrived, invisible. We, as a consumer-based society, have become so used to Internet Porn that we almost no longer see it. We see past it. Click. Deleted. Block sender. Switch on the Net Nanny and don't let the kids see. Sad fact, though, is that it's usually the kids who find it first- and even they aren't all that impressed anymore.

When you flood the market with a particular product, you end up lowering the demand for it. Porn is so infused with the 'net, that it's appeal has virtually disappeared. Ffffwippp! Gone. "Oh. More porn. Whatever."

Yeah, so we can find porn anywhere at any hour now. Yeah, so it can be had for free from just about any source. But so what? Dull dull dull. Been there. Done that. Burned the T-shirt.

And, yet, it still comes into my email Inbox, just as strong as ever. So, I guess some people are still interested in it. The industry is still making an assload of money. And it will probably continue to do so. Webcams changed the whole face of things. Before, it used to be that only the companies that could afford the production costs of porn were the ones who put it out there on the 'net. But now, with the advent of webcams, just about anyone can run a porn site. Hell, it's easier now to run across your next door neighbor's 18-year-old daughter, completely in the buff, on the 'net than it was 30 years ago in Playboy.

And maybe that's the thing that bothers me most about Internet Porn, now. Not that I missed the boat on a great money-making concept, way back when in a time when I didn't have many scruples, but that I could very likely see someone I know personally doing things in front of a webcam that I haven't done in my wildest fantasies. It's the possibility that my personal relationships and social interaction with another person could drastically change because, like a strange lottery, my email address was unwittingly on their outgoing SPAM list.

It's getting harder, you know. Every time I let it slip by, every time I push it to the back of my mind, or just forget about it entirely, it gets a little bit more difficult.

If this continues, soon there won't be anything left at all.

...

Jessica is in Ottawa, visiting friends and family over the next week. She was last there over the holiday break, and sometime in the fall, previous to that.

It's edging up on a year since I've gone back.

The reasons are always the same. No money, no time. The fact that I haven't been back in a year is proof of the fact that I haven't been able to spare a hundred dollars, and a weekend, in at least that long.

The fact that things have been so tight for so long do not lend themselves to optimism.

...

Stressing over the house situation is taking its toll. Venk is demanding that his thousand dollar deposit be returned to him out of my pocket, and Naveen has demanded that his similarly-sized depost be used for his last two months of rent. As the owner of the house has these deposits, not me, that's two thousand dollars that has to come from somewhere.

The pockets of Jessica and I, mostly.

Gav has come up from Ottawa to move in, a move which (one would think) should improve things around the house, financially. Unfortunately, Venk has stated that if he is to 'allow' Gav to move in (as Venk is still on the lease, even if he's 500km away, and not paying rent), I must first provide him with money, to buy him out of the lease.

Of course, if I had the money to buy him out of the lease, I wouldn't have needed to find an additional roommate. If I don't bring in a roommate because I don't have money to pay Venk, I'm not going to be able to pay rent. If I can't pay rent, then we lose the house. Losing the house impacts not at all to Venk, who is living safely in his mother's house, back in Ottawa. It also doesn't matter too much to Naveen, who goes back to Quebec City at the end of April.

I am so fucking tired of this.

So, so fucking tired of this.

The Altruistic Worm

One day a lowly earthworm is busily acting in his capacity as an agent of decay, aerating and fertilizing the soil when a fisherman happens along on his way to the river and snatches up the worm to use as bait.

Upon arriving at the river bank, the fisherman takes the worm out of his pocket and skewers him on a fish hook and casts him into the river. The worm is injured but still very much alive hanging on the fish hook when a cynical fish swam past and stopped to eyeball the earthworm as he bobbed along down in the depths.

The altruistic earthworm said to the fish, "Don't eat me, there is a fish hook through my gut, and while I may look like an appealing piece of prey, I assure you that there is a predator lurking above who would as soon eat you as you would me." The cynical fish eyes the worm with suspicion. The worm continued, "Now I can see that you are not inclined to believe me, but let me assure you I am not acting out of self interest, for I am sure to meet my doom in either case, for if you do not eat me I will surely drown in this river in short order, so it matters little to me."

The fish pondered this dilemma for a moment, and in a swift motion swallows the worm. The fisherman, seeing the float bob down, sets the hook securing his dinner and fate of the fish.


I don't know if there is a moral to this story, it sort of appeared in my head for no particular reason while I was on my way to work, and I figured somebody might enjoy it.

We sat on Elizabeth’s balcony at the University of Chicago at 1:00 A.M. and watched the storm roll in. The conversation started with her getting married soon, but it soon turned to all of the failed relationships we’d both had and dissecting them. Finally, I had to ask her about Allison.

“You’ve been her best friend forever, what was the whole story with her and me?”

Paul, what do all of Allison's boyfriends have in common?”

“They all end up treating her like shit.”

“Other than that. They’re all totally loaded. Allison is only looking for a man with money, she wants a rich man to take care of her. She’s going to be in for a rude awakening when she finally marries some guy only for his money and he ends up being a complete asshole.”

“So after years of friendship, sharing our innermost thoughts and desires, months of sexual tension, and a night of me opening my heart to her, the reason she turned me down had nothing to do with what kind of person I was or even how I looked. It was only because I didn’t have enough money for her?”

“That’s pretty much it.”

Fuck her.

Recovery

I am a New Yorker, and a life-long student of Chinese. I now teach at a University near Washington D.C. The newspapers remind me that today is the 6-month anniversary of the bombing of New York by al-Qaeda operatives. I was greatly affected by the bombing, but I realize that I have little innate sense of anniversaries. And I have no television, so perhaps I have healed from the event with less interference from mass culture than most others.


The World Trade Center was destroyed while I was teaching my first class of the day. I did not let myself hear the news after the first class - I couldn't let my concentration be diverted before my second class. My will-power sustained a calm 75 minute lecture, and suppressed the soft buzzing that must have been conversations about the attack.

After class, the urge to return to my hometown and make myself somehow useful was overpowering. As soon as the Amtrak trains started running again, I made my way to Washington's Union Station and got on a train to New York. We pulled in at 10:20 pm. The city seemed deserted at that point. In the morning I began looking for places to volunteer, but again and again I was turned away. There was no lack of helping hands. I had decided that my most useful skill was my knowledge of Mandarin. Eventually I was told that I might be used for translation at New York Downtown Hospital, on Beekman St. near City Hall, if I simply presented myself there. I set off at once, intending to get as far as I could by subway and then walking. Downtown Hospital is close to Ground Zero, a few blocks' walk.

I assembled a set of unofficial "credentials" as a translator of Chinese for the Red Cross: university ID, namecard with Chinese printed on the back, NY State non-driver ID, and the list of hospital addresses. Getting past the innumerable police and National Guard checkpoints was a long, long business. But eventually I made my way to Downtown Hospital. My shoes were covered with the frightul white mud of incinerated office buildings and their contents. I was assigned to a "staging area" to wait until I was needed.

From this moment on there was nothing to do, for me or for virtually any other volunteers at the hospital. We were not needed at all. The hospital staff said that the destruction had been so complete that there were almost no wounded. There were the dead and there were the escaped, and that was about all.

Attempts to volunteer in succeeding days led to the same result. Everyone I knew who worked in and around the Trade Center had escaped death, although nearly all of them witnessed the collapse of the towers. I spent a lot of time talking to survivors I knew, but eventually I came back to my university and resumed teaching.

It was very frustrating not being able to help in some way. And since my return I have felt alienated - I felt at once that the mood in Washington and at school, in spite of the nearness of the Pentagon attack, was foreign to me as a New Yorker. I felt that although the main attack was aimed at the United States, it was New York and not the U.S. that was actually hit. There is a long-standing breech of empathy between New York and the U.S., and I feel that the pain of this event belongs to us but was being abstracted by the Americans. Since September I have longed intensely to be living back in the city, and have traveled there frequently.

For months I slept badly. I had nightmares. I frequently awoke at odd hours of darkness, in a state of physical tension that could only be relaxed by rushing to the computer to read the latest news. I spent many hours each day reading the news - there are all sorts of interesting news sites around the world, but how many people do you know who actually read them regularly? I did. I got no research work done, and did little more than cover my teaching responsibilities.

But gradually the intensity of my feelings has eased, and I now find myself able to work. I feel I have recovered. I think that discovering Everything2 in early December greatly helped me to get over my trauma. Although I have not written about these events on E2, what helped me was the sense of being able to contribute something of my own expertise to a community of people. It is untoward that the particular teaching environment at my school now gives me less of that satisfaction than this mutant web site does.


Everything2 is strange. There is an enormous amount of junk on it, with a surprising number of gems buried here and there. It has taken me quite a while to get a good sense of what sort of write-ups are genuinely appropriate - neither the Random Node link nor the New Writeups nodelet is a reliable tool for figuring this out. I do not have the habit of BBS- or IRC-play and seldom use the chatterbox, and consequently I interact relatively little with other noders. But there is still something rather satisfying about the whole thing. I find myself treating E2 as a sort of interactive textual video game, but it is actually something more than that, too.


no previous day-log entries | next entry: March 25, 2002

I can't believe I'm still alert.

I'm apartment-block-sitting for some acquaintance/employers who have gone on a four-week, daddy's-paying holiday. This morning was one of the week's two garbage pick-up mornings. So normally, if I sleep there, in an apartment with an air mattress, a table, two chairs, and two birds that used to never shut up but now actually improve the atmosphere with their chirpiness (instead of at home, in my shared apartment a twenty-minute walk up the mountain), I'm up for garbage at around 6:30am. But today was special.

A lot of capital-S Shit happened in the fall. (No deaths, and it feels a bit wrong to complain today -- II -- but some pretty trying times nonetheless.) Result: my entire fall and winter budgets for everything but tuition, books, and barebones life went to my nation's largest and most obscenely profitable financial institution. So rent became a problem. And that problem had a hearing this morning on the other side of the city.

My roommate and I had to be there for 9:30am. And I have a theory that it is preferable, when attending meetings that have a significant impact on your future, not to smell like 85 apartments worth of garbage. So, with showering timed for, I had to be up at 5am. After getting to sleep at 2:30am. After finishing late-night laundry. Under the similar apprehension that smelling like stinky boy clothes is a close second to smelling like garbage on the "things not to smell like if you want to make a decent impression on people" list. (Okay, maybe not second.)

My roommate and I, both being uncharacteristically stupid today (if I do say so myself), waited for each other in different places for forty minutes before figuring it out. Then, he got on the subway train, and, as I followed, the train's operator, MAY HE SUFFER, closed the doors on my outstretched right arm, which, you should be informed (if you haven't been to Montreal and had this happen to you), HURTS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. (No slight intended to either mothers or fuckers.) Coffee was spilled on coat, bruise was inflicted on arm, urge to hurl double espresso at train, upon extrication of arm, was somehow curtailed.

Anyway, we got there. And the meeting was only a few minutes late. And we finally met the owner of the building. And he was incredibly nice. Not overbearingly, but quietly, genuinely -- and, I think, a bit relieved and delighted to be dealing with tenants who talked to him like he was a human being. He wasn't a pushover or anything, but we were able to come to a satisfactory agreement regarding the payment of my back rent. In front of the judge, we said nice things about his patience and willingness to work with us, and he said nice things about our general desirability as tenants (other than this particular problem). The judge remarked "What do you need from me? You've pretty much taken care of the whole thing on your own."

My arm is still sore, but everything else today has been pretty good. And, at the age of 33, I just experienced my first good landlord story.

The moral of the story would seem to be:

Once in a while, if you just talk to people respectfully and be straight with them,
things work out pretty well.

I'm not gonna rely on that or anything, but a happy ending now and then makes life seem right, no?

JinYang Silkworm Pupa
Seasoned With Soy Sauce And Sugar

I went to a Korean supermarket today to get sushi rice and kampyo and while I was poking around for tinned eel I came across these silkworms. If you shake the can you can hear them sloshing around. On the package is a HUGE bowl of worms and a glass of beer. You'd better hope I don't have your mailing address, because someone is going to be receiving these in the post.

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