The last thing I remember from my old world was getting up out of the chair in my office and heading toward the bathroom.

As I rounded the corner, a large totally black shape rushed at me from the hallway and smacked into my face. Suddenly, the hallway, the building, and the light all vanished and was replaced by blackness. A great silent hush swept over me, jolting me awake.

I thought I was having some sort of attack - a stroke, maybe a brain hemorrhage. Why did my senses stop working? I felt no pain. Had I fallen down? I could no longer tell if I was standing - I could no longer feel gravity.

A thought rang out in my mind, though it wasn't me doing the thinking. It was as if someone outside was writing it there. "You have died," the thought said. "Your consciousness has been backed up into memory. Please wait - your mind may one day be reused in a new world."

The next thing I could remember was waking up here. This place makes no sense.

The Frozen Image of Perfection

It had not been snowing all that long, but the ground was already turning to white. Smoke curled from the heat filled hearths of the houses below, rising to the sky that would soon burn with the red and orange of morning. With the world fast asleep, the snow falls with its silent grace and fills the air with dreams, wonder, and beauty. The light of day soon rises above the horizon and the snow springs to life, glowing of purest white. As I wake, I see what I’ve been looking forward to, a sight that many overlook. A smile spreads across my face at the sight and I sense the joys of its presence.

I stir a cup of hot chocolate, watching the marshmallows puff out around the edges. I’ve never been so happy and so comfortable as I am now, sitting wrapped up in a blanket, watching frost frame the inside of the window panes. As always, I become overwhelmed. I cannot stay inside any longer, I must go outside and join the outdoors. Bundled up and ready for my journey, I step out onto the front porch only to have my breath taken away. This kind of beauty is rarely seen. Not one error, not one fault, just a blanket of white and soundless amazement. The details to be seen are only of which snow can make. Each branch perfectly outlined, each lade of grass hidden beneath this magic.

Walking along, I cross a pair of bunny tracks, two by two they chase each other into the distance. The striking green of the pine trees stand out against the clean white snow that lies on top of them. A soft breeze blows and stirs the falling snowflakes, making them dance and sparkle on the wind in the sunlight. Nowhere else can you find surroundings so rich, as walk through a sea of diamonds and silver, while showered with light of gold.

I don’t know how much time has passed, but I continue to walk. With each step I take, the wonder grows, and the beauty only gets more beautiful. I realize I can’t stay out here forever, but the enjoyment of this world is something that I hate to leave. As I head back home, I take one more look at what will change in a heartbeat, for the day will soon be starting. Cars will race up and down the street and children will pile into school buses. Loud music, people in a hurry, kids going to day-care, and businesses springing to action. Re-entering my house, I shut the door to keep the memory of the outdoors as I have it, not yet tainted by the norm of fast-paced days. I close my eyes to see the sun sparkle once more, the world of beauty nature has created, even though it had not been snowing all that long.

Large groups of people bother me. It isn't that I'm frightened of people. I just find I can't really have myself heard or pay attention to someone in groups of more then 4 unless its with really close friends. I'm quiet until I get to know someone too.

The night is the time to be out. I love having the darkness engulf me. It is so quiet and peaceful, everything seems more relaxed. The lack of people is also nice, nobody to bother me as I go about my business. If I'm out during the day it is for whitewater kayaking or hiking around in the woods, or combining the two. Alone with a few friends that I trust without question, out with nature.

I have my friends but other then that I'm a natural recluse. Meeting new people isn't something that happens often and it takes a few times before I really start talking to them. But I feel like when I know someone I really know them. All my friends are people I can trust, and for the most part I can. Only one catastrophic friendship failure in my life. And that was about a girl, even if I didn't know it until 3 months later.

Most people don't understand me, or my social behavior, but it works well for me, and I'm happy. So why should I care?

Tonight's best line: "I've finally found a use for Investor's Business Daily," he said as he swatted a bug with it.

I'm pissed off. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to change the name of French fries in the cafeteria to "freedom fries". Plus, French toast is now "freedom toast". Not to mention crotchety old veterans mailing medals back to France. And the streets are running red with people pouring out French wine.

Oh. My. God. I've long past given up on the general public, but I guess it's too much to expect that the people in charge of running our country act with at least a modicum of dignity. I don't care what you think about France or Iraq, but you shouldn't act like a petulant 12 year old about it, pouring out perfectly good wine (that you already paid for) and rewriting menus in an act little better than a temper tantrum.

We've been giving the world the middle finger for two years, and then we're surprised that our friends and allies don't follow our orders. And since when did being an ally of the US mean that you have to say "How high?" when we order you to jump? Apparently, if you don't do exactly what we say, you're a traitor who has stabbed us in the back.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of living in a state that's a national embarrassment in a country that's an international embarrassment. "Love it or leave it," I guess, but I've always thought that was a stupid saying. Improve it. It's my country just as much as it is the country of that idiot pouring wine in the street.

Reflections on 55 hours of singledom

Getting out of a relationship gone bad, after almost a year, is very much alike to hearing a relative you hated is dead. You're glad it's over, ("Woo! No more having to put up with Uncle Pete's shit about my hair!") but at the same time, you can't help but wonder if you couldn't've made amends, and, if you had, if the relationship would've been the most wonderful set of human interactions ever concieved of.

That's something about that - not just the lost potential, something else - that makes it so hard. The logical course of action is something drastic. Not something I know just yet, just something drastic.

So far I've been forgetting, or trying to forget. Drinking, playing video games, playing guitar. None of them particularly seem to work. I've pondered heroin addiction, but the process of injecting heroin disguists me. I've pondered suicide, but eventually decided that was letting the terrorists win.

I've thought about asking someone out, partially to see if I could be happy with them, and partially out of spite. The problem is, I can't leave everything behind to ask out one girl or another. It wouldn't feel right, and besides, anyone I would ask would know about my previous relationship, and I would like to avoid explaining my tale of woe until I find a woman content with being a rebound girlfriend.

So I remain single. Sitting here surrounded by strange books and stranger records. On E2.

My former girlfriend has a lead on a new relationship. I have a lead on moping about and playing Risk. So I guess we're even.


This is now, by far, my highest rated w/u. As far as I'm concerned, it's a pithy daylog and should wallow in the reaches of single-digit reputations. Anyone care to tell me why this daylog is so special? Really. /msg me if you can explain it.

It’s been almost a year since I joined E2... I joined 1 day after my birthday, and now its almost that time again. The year has gone so fast, but E2 has seemed to move so slow; most likely due to the constant struggle to turn over worthy writeups.


I vow to be a level 3 before my birthday!



HOORAH!

Today's Headlines

US News

Freeland Takes Stand In Riot Investigation
After five days of testimony, a jury of five men and seven women will be asked whether two black men are guilty of murdering a white police officer in 1969. The defendant, Stephen Freeland, was the final witness, testifying in his own defense in response to the twelve witnesses that identified him as the shooter. Officer Henry Schaad was shot while riding in an armored car during the riots.

11 Feared Dead In Army Helicopter Crash
An Army helicopter carrying 13 soldiers on a training mission in a wooded portion of Fort Drum in New York crashed, leaving only two survivors. The Black Hawk helicopter went down on the west edge of Fort Drum, which is located about 75 miles north of Syracuse, New York and covers about 167 square miles. At a press conference at the base, Major Daniel Bohr said that one soldier walked away from the accident and one other was in serious condition.

SF Police Trial Dropped
A judge yesterday dismissed conspiracy charges against the police chief and assistant police chief of San Francisco at the request of the embattled district attorney, who said the evidence didn't support an indictment. A week ago, the DA, Terence Hallinan, said that he was ready to go to trial, but after reviewing the 1,300 pages of grand jury testimony, Hallinan decided that there was not enough evidence to continue.

International News

UN Security Council Support For War Crumbles
United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced yesterday that Britain may not participate in a war against Iraq if the Security Council does not pass the most recent resolution supporting war in Iraq. The statement was quickly retracted, but it leaves an apparent gap in the support for a war in Iraq even among the supporters of the war.

US Tests Massive Bomb
In preparations for an expected war with Iraq, the United States yesterday tested a bomb that delivers a payload of 18,000 pounds. The bomb is designed to explode a few feet above ground level, sending out a wave of fire and explosive force that will level everything within a quarter mile radius. The bomb, called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, is the largest payload ever assembled onto a single conventional bomb.

Blair Fights To Stay Alive
With support crumbling for the war with Iraq both from within and internationally, Tony Blair is facing a very tricky political situation and has thus become determined to secure the votes needed for a further resolution to disarm Iraq. Blair now supports a new set of conditions by which to evaluate Saddam Hussein's disarmament policy and hopes to introduce these before the Security Council soon.

Business

Intel Begins Centrino Push
Today, Intel is expected to unveil its Centrino mobile technology for notebook computers. Intel is hoping that the technology will capitalize on the spread of wireless LAN hotspots worldwide. Announcements are expected to be made worldwide today, with the first announcement in Hong Kong concerning the Pentium M processor, which features the Centrino chipsets already integrated.

Airlines Warn of Economic Disaster
The airline industry is warning of an 'economic catastrophe' if the proposed war with Iraq goes forward, even going so far as to claim that a federal takeover of the airlines may be necessary for the system to survive. The industry estimates an additional $4 billion loss this year if there is a war on top of the already projected $6.7 billion loss. In addition, another $2.3 billion would be lost if the war was compounded with terrorist attacks in the United States.

OPEC Leaves Oil Supplies Unchanged
Crude oil prices remained steady overnight on news of OPEC's decision to maintain the current levels of oil production. The logic for the lack of a move, according to OPEC, was to see what kind of diplomatic solution there might be to the war situation and that there is "no shortage of oil right now." Gas and oil prices have risen recently in response to a fear of a potential war in the Middle East.

Science & Technology

Major League Baseball To Offer Live Internet Telecasts
MLB.TV, a new service from Major League Baseball, is now offering season-long audio and video packages for $79.95 or pay-per-view options for $2.95 a game. The package is intended to supplement television broadcasts, allowing fans to see and hear most of a team's games and get around local blackout rules that govern television broadcasting. The full schedule of games will be released on March 25 and will average about 45 games a week.

SuSE Set To Offer A Linux Package For Home Users
SuSE Linux 8.2, set for release next week, is being redesigned to make the Linux operating system easier for home users to use. The new distribution includes an installer designed for home users, KDE 3.1, and word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. SuSE hopes that this new distribution will begin to open up the home computing market to Linux.

Afghanistan Makes Major Telecom Push
Officials in Afghanistan are considering a comprehensive policy for the development of communications technology in the nation, which has been left far behind in the development of the worldwide information revolution during the Taliban regime. The government hopes that a comprehensive and speedy development program for their communication infrastructure will increase job opportunities, relieve poverty, and reduce the large wealth gap in the country.

Health

Assistance Device For Failed Livers Entering Testing
The University of North Carolina is testing a new device called ELAD (for extracorporeal liver assist device) which they hope will extend the lives of people with donated livers and may actually help people with damaged livers to heal themselves completely. The device is inserted via a catheter and takes blood that would normally pass through the liver and processes it externally, allowing the liver time to heal and recover.

New Anthrax Vaccine Made From Spinach
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have developed a new strategy for making a better and safer anthrax vaccine, using spinach to manufacture a key compound. The process involves the use of a spinach virus which produces a weakened form of the protective antigen that is a component of the anthrax toxin. This can be used in the creation of a vaccine which scientists hope will be more effective and less dangerous than the current vaccine.

Sports

UConn Women Winning Streak Ends At 70 Games
The longest winning streak in Division I women's basketball history ended at 70 games Tuesday night as Villanova upset #1 Connecticut 52-48, giving UConn its first loss since the end of the 2001 season. The game, which was the finals of the Big East Conference tournament, guaranteed Villanova a slot in the NCAA tournament. UConn will get an at-large bid and likely retain their top seed. Coach Geno Auriemma hoped that the loss would give the team motivation heading into the NCAAs.

Bobby Knight Returns 2002 Salary To Texas Tech
Bobby Knight returned his entire $250,000 salary for the past year to Texas Tech University because of his dissatisfaction with his performance and his team's performance during the season. "I'm just not at all satisfied with what transpired with our team in terms of our fundamental execution. I don't think it's anybody's fault but mine," Knight said. The team is 16-11 heading into the Big 12 tournament, but had gone 6-10 in the conference.

Entertainment

Broadway Strike Ends
After four days of striking, the musicians and the producers on Broadway finally reached an end yesterday, as the sides agreed to a ten year deal. The two sides agreed to a minimum of 18 musicians at the 13 largest theatres on Broadway, but with a smaller number at other theatres. The conclusion was reached at the urging of mayor Michael Bloomberg, who strongly encouraged the two sides to work it out because of the potential financial damage to New York City.

The Rolling Stones Have Songs Banned In China
The Chinese government has told The Rolling Stones that they cannot play four songs during their upcoming shows in China. The songs, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Beast of Burden, and Let's Spend The Night Together, were banned without a specific reason, but each include provocative lyrics. The songs were also cut from the Chinese edition of the Stones' recent hits compilation Forty Licks.


And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged my comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

Last night, I had an extremely vivid dream that I won't really relate here (that's more dream log material), but it was rather troubling. I woke up and wished that someone was nearby, but that person wasn't there. She was asleep in the next room and I looked in at her sleeping for just a minute. I wanted to hug her, but just looking at her was enough.

I flopped around in bed for a bit and dozed on and off until it was almost too late. I rolled out of bed and literally tripped and fell on the floor. I quickly packed a bag, combed my hair, then stopped in a kitchen for a quick drink just before sunrise. I then ran down the stairs to catch the bus, then sat down and began to ponder the dream I had.

When I got to work, I realized that my morning was pretty much exactly taken from the song A Day In The Life. A little John Lennon number from thirty five years ago captured the essence of a slice of my life today.

Note: I will be doing some traveling over the next few days (in which I likely won't be able to post much until March 17, 2003, but we'll see), but when I return I will have some additional time to write here for several days because of a change in my daily schedule and routine.


Lent Diary, Day 8

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

A couple of people have recently asked me how much time I spend a day in meditation.

I generally spend a half an hour in meditation early in the morning around breakfast time, depending on how I'm feeling. Sometimes I do this immediately after waking; other times, I'll do some of my morning activities first.

My longer (and more fulfilling) meditation usually comes in the evening around sunset, although I postpone it regularly if other events interfere. This meditation usually lasts about forty five minutes and is often much deeper, especially since I have started this Lenten discipline.

What do I think about? Interestingly enough, I actually use a mantra. I clear my mind and repeat the mantra inside of my mind several times and then thoughts and feelings begin to flow. I don't try to think of particular things; I just let things flow where they may. Often, it is incredibly beautiful.

I think it keeps me quite balanced, especially during this Lent.

That with the freedom fries...

Heh, and I didn't think a first-world governance could be worse than the childish, uninformed idiots that run my country.

"Would you like some freedom with your Big Mac?"

The server has been down all morning. Everything that I do here requires the server to be up.

The last time the sever went down, the hard drive self-destructed. It took three weeks to put everything back together again. Before the crash, I had almost brought a very back-logged account up to date, only to have all that work neatly whisked away in a little puff of smoke. Oddly enough, I find myself in a very similar situation right now. I conclude that there is some accounting god that is very pissed with me.

Instead, I've spent all morning wasting time. Watching Janne Laukkanen's bounce from the Penguins to the Rangers to the Lightning just before the trade deadline. Taking the elevator between floors just to move some paperwork from one person's desk to another. Sorting mail from other offices because they can't seem to open and dispose of the envelope at the same time.

Email just in. They're waiting for a new part before they can bring the server back up. I hope to god that part isn't a new hard drive.

So Congress renames French Fries "Freedom Fries" in response to France's rather steadfast insistence that "freedom" isn't just another word for "bomb whoever the fuck you want with little public accountability".

One wonders what other Orwellian food renaming will soon follow in the congressional cafeterias:
  • New Yorker with cheese, was Hamburger (a German city!)
  • Pursuit of Happiness Waffles, was Belgian Waffles (pff a French-speaking, EU-supporting Euroweenie country!)
  • Chicago Sprouts, was Brussel Sprouts
  • Liberty cheese, was Swiss cheese (pfff either you're for us or against us, there are no neutrals!)
  • Texan Lettuce, was Romaine Lettuce (Romaine sounds European, so lets rename this to be on the safe side)
  • We Won the Cold War Dressing, was Russian Dressing
  • Boston Cream Coffee, was Irish Cream Coffee (Ireland ... another neutral nation! And it goes without saying French Roast coffee will have to become Freedom Roast coffee or, preferably, simply not served at all)
  • True American Salad, was Greek Salad (Greece is another EU nation and an enemy of our new friends the Turks!)
  • Yankeeish, was Danish (the Danes have been a little too quiet in all of this. Listen, Denmark, don't think we'll eat your pastries and buy your smart-looking blonde wood furniture by just sitting back and doing a whole lot of nothing. Seriously, other than taking Garrison Keillor off our hands for a couple years, what has Denmark done for America ever?)
  • Gov. Jeb Bush Tea, was Earl Grey Tea (Those Brits look like they're about to pussy out!)
  • Back Bacon, was Canadian Bacon (Canada sure hasn't been pulling its load as of late, what with harboring all the terrorists...)
  • Atlanta Cheese Steak, was Philly Cheese Steak (oh you thought it would stop with Europe huh? Democratic, labor-union supporting cities are just as guilty as Bin Landen!)
Looking out my office window, I watch as a woman in a huge civilian Hummer tries to parallel park. Even from up here I can see that the Hummer has Virginia tags, which isn’t surprising, because everything bad in D.C. these days seems to originate from that state. It’s no secret that the hordes of suburbanite bar-hoppers that clog our streets at night come from Virginia. From Thursday to Saturday, the curb is literally jammed with SUV’s bearing Virginia vanity plates.

This particular SUV is having a hard time getting into the space -- even though there is only a car, a Honda Civic, parked behind her and none in front. I watch as she keeps pulling in and out, trying to pull closer to the curb. As she has another go, the car behind her bounces, clearly struck by the behemoth military vehicle. Eventually she gives up, leaving the Hummer parked at a 45-degree angle to the curb, its rear bumper pressed up against the front of the tiny Honda.

The scene baffles me, as does car culture in general. Only two years ago, Pantaliamon and I lived in College Park, MD, shuttling everywhere in our Ford Escort station wagon. But when we moved into Washington, we gave the car to my mother, foregoing automobile transportation in favor of our own feet. At first it was disconcerting, not being able to drive anywhere, being confined to where we could reasonably walk, or where the Metro system can carry us. But now, the old life of traffic jams, honking horns, the constant feeling of oppression, of hostile drivers all around, seems impossible. How did I ever do it?

Pantaliamon’s father is a mechanic. He’s constantly telling us about a deal he’s seen on a cheap used car, constantly pressuring us to move back to the world of automobiles. He takes it personally that we don’t have a car -- as if we’re using that as an excuse not to come visit him and Pan’s family. My grandfather also doesn’t get it. He calls screaming that I haven’t come to visit him -- that I need to go right away. I explain that I don’t have a car, that I have to wait for my mother to get me. “No car?” he says, baffled. As if a car was a necessity of life, like food, water and shelter. That a human being can’t live without spending $20 a week on gasoline. And to think this is a man who grew up in the 1930’s, when the automobile had not yet become what it is today.

The owner of the Civic has come to get his car. He stands on the curb, looking dumbfounded at the Hummer parked on his hood. I wonder how he’s going to get it out of the space and on the road -- the car behind him seems awfully close, leaving him tightly sandwiched. I take comfort in the fact that I am not him -- that I will never own a car again. No matter how crazy that may seem.

It is finally spring break! Yea! I am sitting here with jon and suzanne who are teaching me all about e2. I have been a member for a while but I couldn't think of anything to write. Spring break has been going quite well for me, I am soaking up all the free time I can get. Ben is doing well. He is quite busy at work. We are trying to set up a trip to Pittsburgh PA to attend a good friend's wedding during May. I am hoping to be able to spend the summer in Pittsburgh to work and see my family and friends.

Want some news?
Today's headlines from Cnn.com:

Census has announced that they've overcounted by 1.3 million people in 2000.
Oddly enough, those 1.3 million people voted for Bush.

Texas's 300th execution since reinstating capital punishment was put on hold today.
Bush's advisors decided against "frying another" as they believed due to current world affairs that this was "no time to celebrate."

Stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Iraq could cost up to $20 billion a year for several years, according to a report released Wednesday by a think tank.
Anyone else get the feeling that after a few years Iraq will look exactly like Texas?

Three Great Lakes Still Frozen.
If you listen carefully, you can hear the collective *sigh* of global warming proponents.

According to PageSix.com "Joe Millionaire" runner-up and fetish star, Sarah Kozer, will pose for Playboy. She originally declined a $1 million offer, but accepted a $500,000 offer to only pose nude from above the waist.
I guess she wanted to give her feet a break.

I taped this notice to the doors of my children's bedrooms a couple of days ago.

ATTENTION OCCUPANT

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2003

is

CLEAN YOUR ROOM DAY

Do not make any plans for this day. You will clean your room to the management's satisfaction. This includes the sorting and putting away of all papers, as well as dusting and vacuuming. One large garbage bag will be provided.

Do not think of this as a chore. Think of it as a journey of discovery. Who knows what treasures you may unearth.

If you decide to risk the wrath of the management and not clean your room, be warned. The management will clean your room for you. The management will throw everything in the garbage bag without sorting it. This is your only warning.

A supper entirely made up of desserts will be provided for all those who participate. Requests can be posted on the marker board.

Have fun!

The Management

Several grocery bags full of paper and assorted junk has gone out the door.

Dairy Queen for supper! Yum!!!

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