I live in Pittsburgh, specifically the North Hills. One way to get into Pittsburgh is to travel on Route 8, through a town called Etna, to Route 28. The road in Etna is constantly backed up because people park on the road, not off to the side. The buildings lining the side of the road are torn down in order to make the road wider, thus ending the problem of people parking.
Today I was on my way to crew with my friends. On the way we saw a stuffed animal. We decided that we should take the stuffed bunny rabbit. Eventually, we will find a reclining chair, a table, and a TV that people are throwing out. Once collected, the plan is to place all of these in my friend's front yard during the night.
root@badtz simonc# date -R
Thu, 15 Mar 2001 13:20:25 +1100

Alleluyah, it's a Thursday. Got an early ride home from Sydney yesterday, and walked in my front door at 6pm (it's usually closer to midnight). Gemma and Molly both happy to see me, and both exceedingly well groomed (Gemma from her toilette and Molly from Jim's Dog Wash).

My biggest techy drama this week is now almost resolved (pardon the pun) -- we have a load of domain names in a tricky European GTLD (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) and didn't our friendly European registry enter the incorrect IP addresses for our nameservers during a redelegation last weekend. What this means is that the WHOLE FRICKIN' INTERNET loses our nameservers and therefore our email and webservers too. I had a typically unhappy shop on Monday, and tracked the problem down by Tuesday, at which time our Euro friends corrected their error. Propagation is taking it's time though, and most of the USA and .au still can't find our machines, which is manifesting as no incoming email.

Needless to say, this is all my team's fault, according to the glares that we have been getting this week. Show me a happy user and I'll show you a well-adjusted and polite System Administrator...

The Great Sydney Fraptabulous Everythingian Get Together seems to be happening, which is such cool news.

I've got to add some more Linux stuff to my CV tonight, according to the headhunter. He's gunning for IBM and SIngTel. I hope I'm making the right decisions -- for the first time in my life I have a deep sense of career and I feel like I've got a chance here to make a smart move. I'm wondering mostly if I should go for Linux Business Guru at a big consultancy like Accenture or The Gartner Group or if I should join a hacker community in an evangelist and systems architect role at Big Blue. Suggestions and advice gladly recieved via /msg...

In other news, my "rip our entire CD collection" project is going swimmingly. I've got maybe 100 CDs done so far and I'm only 13% into my first 80Gb drive. The ripping and encoding is going slower than I expected though, probably 'cause I'm doing it all on a 233MHz P-II that's also the household's internet gateway and firewall.. Still, I am amazed by what is possible, given a 3 year old commodity PC with 64Mb and a modern Linux distribution....

Well, I've returned from my business trip to Montreal, Quebec.

Before I left, I knew that French was the official first language of the province of Quebec (unlike the rest of Canada where English and French have equal status), but I was still not prepared for the difficulty in performing simple tasks. Reading a menu from a restaurant you aren't familiar with is VERY difficult when your grasp of French is limited (dropped the subject after Grade 10). Finding a decent pop/rock radio station with English DJs is impossible. Even a simple task like playing black jack becomes a bit of a strain as you subconsciously try to translate "dix-neuf" into "nineteen", even though you can tell the value of the cards without the dealer announcing it to you.

By the way, if you intend on visiting Montreal, stay off the roads. Don't take a taxi, and definitely don't drive around on your own. I have never seen such aggressive driving, or overuse of horn/high-beams in my life. It was a white-knuckle ride during my cab ride into the city from the airport: weaving through traffic and honking persistently at "slow moving traffic". Side note: there is a posted maximum speed limit and a posted MINIMUM speed limit on the highways...very cool.

I love listening to women speak French, especially when they take their time. No ratatatat speech pattern, but a slow, musical voice. It's even better than a southern drawl.

The Montreal Casino seemed very small compared to the Ontario casinos in Windsor/Niagara Falls/Rama (and I won't even compare it to the ones in Las Vegas). On the plus side, there seemed to be a lower minimum on all the tables than I'd seen in any of the Ontario ones (more than one $5 black jack table).

In the end, it was a pretty good trip and I got some good work done in the Montreal office. Would I visit again? Sure, but I think I'd like it to be a personal trip so I could visit the sites that I missed like Mont Royal, the old section of town, and maybe catch a Montreal Canadiens game too.

P.S. The best part was coming home to my sweetie. I missed her a lot.

Yesterday was a great day. I got nothing at all done at work, but we installed AIM. I got to chat with all of my friends all day. Obviously the boss wasn't in :) It was a great day.. Sara, Ann, CR, TC, and JS were all there and after work, most of us were online for a bit as well talking. Of course it was great to be able to send instant messages to Sara. I talked her and Ann into going with me to an astronomy club event this weekend, provided the weather doesn't mess everything up (crossing my fingers).

I think Sara and I might be getting together on Friday for lunch as well. I wish I could think of somewhere interesting to go. As much as I liked what we did last time, I don't want to get boring and do the same thing all the time.

I went to the gym and broke my record for the longest continuious run (18 minutes), and managed to get 30 minutes total running in the hour I spent there. I burned 835 calories and walked/ran 4.23 miles.

Well, that's about it for today. Not too productive, but very social day, and I feel great.

First, I gotta go take an eye exam, because my right contact lens just isn't up to snuff anymore.

Then I gotta go down to the DMV, because my drivers license is set to expire on my 21st birthday, April 7th.  I don't quite get it...they want you to renew the license before your it expires, and yet your license always expires on your 21st birthday.  Now, your license changes from an "Under 21" to an "Over 21" on your 21st birthday, so ostensibly the only way to get an "Over 21" license without having your license expired at any point is to actually go to the DMV on your 21st birthday itself.

That's just about the last place I wanna be on my 21st birthday.

My friend Craig is coming home tomorrow night, hopefully that'll alleviate some of my boredom.

You know you you're too dependent on coffee to wake you up in the morning when you go to make coffee and just put some water in the machine, but forget to swap out the old decaf coffee grounds from last night for nice fresh, brand new regular dark caffeinated grounds. And, to add insult to injury, you don't notice until the last sip or so, at which point you realize that the coffee is really watery and not really very nice to drink at all. Then the lack-of-caffeine head ache sets in, and you feel like a dope as you realize what you've done. You mix up a new pot, and you change the grounds to caffeinated. Yum.

So that was the lovely start to make otherwise mostly unremarkable day. Except that I had to drink my coffee on the walk to University instead of over my morning dose of internet comics, such as the delightful Sluggy Freelance, while conducting a support call with one of my clients. Yeah.

It really annoys me that a silly little problem will probably eventually result in a re-install of the operating system. But such is the joy of Windows. It's probably corrupt registry, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

"Run *toward* the volcano, Virgo!"
Thank you, Rob Brezsny of Free Will Astrology, the only horoscope worth reading (for us Virgos, at least.)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): My acquaintance Beth had a dream that she and her tribe were living peacefully at the foot of a mountain. Without warning, fiery ash and lava erupted. Everyone fled, desperate to escape. But before she had gone far, Beth heard a voice in her head say, "Run *toward* the volcano; it's your only safety." Feeling an inexplicable trust in the voice, she turned around and started heading back, whereupon the dream ended and she woke up. Soon after getting out of bed, she felt moved to face up to a certain dilemma she'd been ignoring in her waking life. When she solved the problem a day later, she felt gratitude for the dream that had spurred her to do the right thing. Moral of the story, Virgo: Run toward the volcano.
I have been able to adopt this advice semi-successfully today, running towards the perceived danger of a teaching job. Kee-rist. Still procrastinating away, at this late hour...but...but...

Found a white iris at the flower stand. I love pointy irises--that's the best way to buy them, when they look like little wet paintbrushes.

Had a moment of grace on the street, walking towards work: Everyone looked like a character actor. The man with half his tie blown over his shoulder; the woman talking on her cell phone; the woman with the very tight dress walking up the street, leaving a wake of people not-looking; a very pregnant lady talking to a friend about pregnancy, the tone of the conversation saying clearly that at forty, this was her first time; a visitor to the city looking up, then suddenly down and ahead, and then slowly back up.

I sit here watching the seconds tick by on the digital clock in my systray. It's approaching midnight - the end of the day, at least by the standard definition. To me, there's a couple more awake hours to go before I shut my eyes.

But tonight is different.

I feel strangely detached from reality. Normally, my mind is abuzz with thoughts and feelings: What am I doing tomorrow, am I going out on Friday night, what shall I get Jennae for a 21st present, what shall I wear tomorrow, should I get my burner working under Linux ....

Tonight there is nothing - no thoughts, no feeling. It's like a void - a very strange feeling for me. No rapid fire thoughts, no emotions. I'm not feeling empty, just feeling the absence of something and the more I send out my feelers across my pysche probing here and there, the less I can determine. There is something out there in my sub-conscious like an itch I cannot scratch, like a task I have forgotten to do ... but it eludes my grasp.

This void can probably be best summarised as a lack of ambition and desire. As someone who is normally driven and focused, this is a very weird and quite honestly an unsettling feeling for me. I simply don't feel like doing anything at the moment. I think I need more time to reflect on this state.

The seconds have just reset to zero. As have the hours and minutes. It is now the 16th.

This rant is in response to my love, M. I read his note to me about his addictive behavior this past weekend. And although I really love M., I really appreciate everything he wrote, because I'm an addict too. And I am very touched and honored by his trust in me and his (sometime) honesty.

Thank you, M.


But I'm about to say something to you here.


You really do rely on books too much.

How about just DOING the steps, to the best of your ability, instead of reading about addiction?

Have you ever considered that?


No, I mean REALLY considered it.


You know, when I came back this time, I was desperate. I couldn't stop any of the addictive eating or obssessing over food. At all. I got a crappy sponsor, actually two crappy sponsors, because at least I had some one to turn to. Even though their programs were rigid, or their religion got in my way. I had some one until I found N.

And I did the steps.

I admitted my addiction.

I admitted I was powerless, that I couldn't stop.

And then I said - well - yes, sure, that maybe something other than me could help me. At that point in time, it was my sponsor and the meetings.

Then I made a list of foods that I ate too much of, once I got started.

I committed daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes every 15 minutes, that JUST FOR NOW I wouldn't eat any of them.

And made a food plan.

And went day by day, hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute.

Made calls.

And then I began writing my fourth step.

And did all the other steps.

Not to perfection, not anything near it.

And found my own "spirituality" that I know will always change.

You know, it really is just that simple. Just forget all that spiritual crap, M. Just act like a tennis shoe, and please, for yourself, for me, for your karma, for your Buddhist practice of sending out good to the world, I don't fucking care WHY,



just



fucking



DO IT.




I love you.

I always will.



NO MATTER WHAT you do with your addiction, your body, your soul, your heart, no matter how much I perceive your actions as self destructive and slowly suicidal.



I will always, always, always love you forever.

love, me

Summer is coming nearer.

Things below the surface begin to move, to prepare to be born.

Once the frost is lifted from my eyes, and the chill leaves my skin, maybe I can believe that it’ll still be okay, that anything can still be okay.

Winter, and the taste of grey sky over skin.
Miles can walk now, on his big chunky sweet legs, bowlegged and smiley and determined to push all the buttons and reach all the high places.

We were at a friend’s house and he climbed stairs for the first time ever. I was really freaked out because they have hardwood floors (like we do, but we have no stairs). My Mommymind was screaming out “NO! I am not ready for you to climb stairs!” but I tried to just relax and keep watch. Of course then, as soon as I looked away he tried to sit down backwards and fell. I saw what was about to happen and lunged for him, saving him from a hard smack on the floor, but further torqueing my ribcage, which I just had adjusted.

A few days ago I was sitting on the couch with my husband, just hanging out, when suddenly I felt like a rib was poking into my lung and I could barely breath or stand upright. It turns out that my imperfect breasts are getting the best of me. All that extra weight on one side is gradually throwing off my alignment.

Night nursing while lying down has also caused problems. That is where the torque comes in. I fall asleep nursing with my arm up and my hip resting in an uncomfortable way and BOOM, twisted ribcage, kinked neck and misalligned hips.

I did get to experience electrodes on my back and current in the trouble spots. It was strange to be face down, cheeks all smashy smashy, looking through a slit in the table, knowing that there are electric currents going into my back. I went back again two days later to re-check my alignment (after the baby-saving lunge) and sure enough I had twisted it again, but this time not as bad. So I was re-aligned and then got to spend twenty of the most relaxing minutes ever on this fabulous water massage table. These powerful rotating water jets that traveled up and down my body, jiggling my butt, tickling my feet, erasing all tension from my back. There was sunlight shining through the window and blue sky. It was so great that words will not do it justice.

When I got out of there I drove home and made every light. It was like I had the road all to myself, even though it was lunchtime. I even heard Lean On Me on the radio I was secretly delighted because I love singing in the car but do not have a tape deck. Although I am not really geeked about that song I knew all the words and I belted it out to the sky, full force, feeling well adjusted and absolved of tension and crankiness.

In the News:
There's some discussion about a thing called InTether which seems to me like it's implemented at a device driver layer to encrypt data and possibly destroy data stored in a system if attempts at a higher, application layer keep failing to provide the correct cryptographic key for the data in question. So-called self-destructing crypto. How does this system prevent me from booting up in DOS, Linux, FreeBSD, etc. and making a raw snapshot of the data and performing an analysis of the encrypted data statically?

Love:
How often do people find others they genuinely like and lust over? When you find such a person, but then within the span of just a few weeks they seem a bit nervous and don't say the right things all the time, should you really just move on? Why not give them a second chance, just for kicks? Why not? What if they were just really nervous for those few weeks, or if they're just a little slow and need more time than average to get to know and understand people before they can be in sync with them? And if they act abnormally sad and confused, they might just act more stupid because they're not given the second chance they really want. Everything about relationships takes a little bit of work. Maybe it's wrong to keep assuming that if things aren't instantly perfect that one should just move on right away. Maybe you caught a really compatible person in the middle of a few bad moods. And having no compassion to ask what was wrong and work through those bad moods and no sensitivity to a fragile soul just being really scared caused you to overlook someone wonderful.

Day One of My Week Off from Work


Today I woke up late, around noon, and went down to my favorite coffee shop and wasted my entire day drinking coffee and writing and drawing, doodling and chatting until around 5:30 when I went to school.

It was a better day that it sounds.

First interesting thing that happened, (I am not making this up) as I was pulling into the parking lot across from the coffee-house I saw a guy get punched in the face.
Apparently this guy was scratching the parking attendants truck with a nail or his watchband, or something, so the parking attendant guy gets out of his little both and punches this guy right through his cup of coffee and hits him right in his mouth.
When I got out of my car and saw what happened, the guy was covered in hot coffee and blood. The guys hair was all covered in coffee and the front of his shirt was covered in coffee, and next to him his cup lay on the ground, totally busted, meanwhile this guy is bleeding out of his nose and mouth. (It sounds disgusting, but it was pretty cool to see first thing in the morning, which was actually the afternoon, but morning to me.)

So I eventually got into the coffee shop after chatting with the small crowd that had formed around the two men, had some coffee, read some more (I'm reading Naked Lunch by William Burroughs right now, it's crazy).
Later on, some kids were skateboarding outside, and they all were using one guys board (not at the same time, separately). So they are taking turns. All of a sudden the police roll up, and everyone gets off the sidewalk and "hides" in the coffee shop, and most of the skaters run off also. Here in Asheville, NC, skating is illigal on the streets, public parks or any place other than the Skate Parks, so two kids got bitched at by a cop.

I've decided that I'm going to actually do something this week that I don't work, I mean, I should do something meaningful. I'd like to be able to say "Look what I did! I made this." by the end of this week.
A few things of interest happened today. My youngest brother went back to New Jersey after spending some time with me in New York. We had some fun and he got a chance to drink legally in Montreal. Most of my friends went some place warm for spring break, so it was nice to have his company. We even saw a Crunch game. I was sorry to see him go.

I ended the ultra secret mustache project. I only cut myself once, which was impressive. I’ll post the picture that my brother took before I shaved if I ever make it to level 6. I guess I miss it, but of course I shaved it for a girl. I was planning to shave it off Monday, but that would have messed things up. Women.

In the few days of spring break that I have left I plan to study...what a nerd.

The Ides of March. I spent a highly appropriate two-thousand-and-forty-fourth anniversary of the assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar: In the morning, I went to London to sit a government test, which certainly felt like a knife in the back, due to its combination of stupidity and viciousness.

In the afternoon, I rushed to Hemel Hempstead to act as a supply teacher - which I'm not properly qualified to do. Today's topic was Roman Britain, for history. I duly told them the sad story of Caesar - although I left out the sex, as I thought that might be unappreciated. We also covered Augustus and Claudius very quickly, before moving on to Boudicca's revolt (or Boadicea's, according to taste). As she ravaged this area in particular, that captured the imagination of the ten-year-olds. We also did - by request - a spot of Latin, and then I went home, dog-tired.

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