This is my 18th birthday. I can now buy cigarettes, vote, purchase pornography, be drafted and have wild flagrant sex with anyone else over 18 that I want. All things considered, I make out pretty well. I hope you enjoy my birthday.

And thus begins the first instalment of memoirs of living with a stripper:
It's crazy really. One day, I turn 'round, and find myself in the middle of a titty-bar. Then you get that one ponderous, lucid moment, and it hits you: How do these things happen? Is this what they mean by absurdity?

And I love it. My best friend, Peaches suddenly decided to be a stripper. Well, she had always wanted to be a dominatrix. It was a natural progression. The bar is not sleazy, not dim light and ash and drool. It is what they call a "Gentleman's Club". Cigars, class. Money. Plush, with lots of purples and rouges and expensive crystal. Nice men. Executives, just letting it all hang out, talking to women who don't have airs and who are friendly and flirty. It seems that's all a man wants.

A lot of men are lonely. Peaches and I whine about how pathetic a few of them are most mornings, 3 a.m. when she arrives home (I can't sleep until she gets home. I fret.) They always expect you to meet them outside the club. Always want more. Some can't seem to make the connection between money and lap dance. Money = lap dance. Money = flirtiness. Money = company. You get no lap dance if you have no money. These girls are surviving, (quite opulently, thank you - $2000 per week), they are working. They are not sluts. They are not nymphos. If they were, they'd be screwing for free, or otherwise being actual prostitutes. Exotic dancing is a world away from prostitution. Nakedity does not equal sex. These women are desensitized. They're working. They're not really masturbating. They're not really orgasming. They're not particularly enjoying your company. They pity you. You're a wallet for them. Deal with it. Or go and meet a women who you don't have to pay to talk to and touch.

I'm chronicling this time because I don't think any noders here are strippers.

By the way, it feels strange when suddenly your best friend Peaches practises pole moves on the clothesline, and stretches her legs above her head while asking if you can see her pussy. It feels strange when she accidently gets nail polish on her buttock and asks you to remove it! But ah. Such is the life of a stripper's best friend. Go back to your average daylogs now..

(Thus concludes my E2 hiatus. I just felt I had no friends or admirers here. Now I do not mind).

Believe it or not, I have been inundated with messages from people who are friends with strippers.
anomaly, dustfromamoth, gn0sis...
Late in a season of hard racing, and so far second place in the championship, I reach the mountains of Switzerland. My Lancia Fulvia's engine revs as it waits patiently for yet another race- though this time the starting line looks more like the apex of a rollercoaster track. The view over the hood is of a rather steep grade pointing down. Thunder rumbles and rain strikes the tarmac. The steering wheel shakes as I prepare to descend...

The road weaves along a cliffside, trees and rather large boulders litter the roadside - cutting on this course is not a viable option. It looks like quite a drop off of the left side. The rain doesn't seem to be affecting control too badly. Then it happens...

The navigator calmly tells me hairpin right.

HAIRPIN right???, I've been in this championship through five different countries already and never before has there been a hairpin turn. Of course I do the one thing that comes naturally, I slam on the brakes. Of course since my Lancia Fulvia is a front wheel drive car, this just means I am now ploughing forward. Some how the car stops in time. I do a hard turn and find myself driving up the mountain. For all my panicky driving, I actually ended up following the line (in so far as there can be a line in rallye racing) not too bad and then...

hairpin left

Well this time I am at least somewhat ready for it and make that turn not too badly either. The race goes on for another five or six kilometres- well actually I totally lost track of distance and there was no time to check the odometer as I was too busy avoiding boulders and trees. But in the end I won the race and went on to win the Switzerland rally. Oh sure my car's hood is smashed and the driver's side of the car is dented and scraped thanks to a friendly neighbourhood cliff side, adn the suspension and steering is a little thrashed as well from cutting a corner a bit too much and jumping a large rock, but the day was won.

This gave me just enough points to win the championship as well, covering up some of my horrifyingly bad driving way back in Russia and my dismal rally on the ice covered, snowy roads of Sweden.

This was just a little writeup inspired by Rally Trophy. It's quite the fun little game. I use my Logitech Driving Force Wheel and once you tweak your setup a little bit this game is just plain outstanding. Sometime maybe I'll write up my experiences with the rear wheel drive cars...hmmm actually that might not be too interesting as, thus far my sorties into the world of RWD basically result in curse filled races consisting mainly of my car doing donuts. Though I've been learning...backed off to the Ford Cortina and later a bulky Volvo - the more powerful Lancia Stratos that I won, is just far too powerful to be learning tricky rear wheel controls. But damn this game is fun!
A log of the last few days.

On Saturday night we left P-'s place at 7pm to see the St Patrick's day fireworks and ate an uninspiring pizza at the Bad ass cafe in Temple Bar. Just Bad cafe is what it was. It was now nearly 8pm so we went down to the river Liffey to see the fireworks. The fireworks turned out to be further downriver, and the crowds didn't let us get much further along the river bank. We could see reflections of fireworks on the larger buildings. Doh.

We cut down sidestreets and ended up watching some of the larger fireworks in the finale from between buildings before going for a couple of pints.

The St Patrick's day parade on Sunday had some brilliantly surreal things in the procession, but it was cold and wet so we headed back quite rapidly and did not stay for the live music. We had excellent Japanse food at waggamama, with steamed soya beans. Great!

In the evening, a takeaway got us better pizza than saturday.

Today, monday, the weather was better so I headed for Howth, a nice little seaside town for final sightseeing. The boat trip around the island of Ireland's eye was cool. Back in dublin I returned to waggamama. great stuff!

Tomorrow I leave Dublin Ireland for London England. The negative thing is that I am leaving this great little place, and all it's modern yet traditional charm. The positive is that I will be in the bright lights and big city of London, where many people that I know live, where there are more career options, where as Captain Trash remarked, it seems like everything is happening.

This morning I flew out of Dublin airport at 6:45 a.m. on a non-stop flight to Amsterdam.

I have been waiting to come here since I first started smoking weed seven years ago, so I was definately looking foward to the journey.

But it is funny because it is everything I thought it would be, and it really isn't that big of a deal.

Like, I went into a cafe today and it was intersting to be able to order weed from a menu,Actually it was the coolest thing i think I have gotten the chance to do in a while. Love it! Weed, legal] yes! but it didn't feel the least bit unatural. It was totally a normal feeling, and I enjoyed it.

My best friend from home, who I might add is being quite the bitchy 23 year old t the moment have gone to a couple different cafe's and are going to go to this Irish pub later on to have a few pints.

The place is crazy though. Some looney crackhead guy was following us for a while and he kept on asking Jared is he could speak English, and Jared was so stoned that he just didn't know what to do and the guy was really getting on his case about giving him money.

Anyway, when I was about to tell this guy to fuck off, Jared finally broke down and gave him some change. I had to yell at him a he walked aqay though. I mean, it is one thing to ask for spare change, it is another thing to threatan someone in order to get it.

Unfortunately, that has been the most exciting event of the day so far. We are heading to the Van Gogh museum tommorow and I am sure that will motivate the brain to do a little more creative work than this. Cheers everyone! Hope all that got the chance to celebrate Paddy's day had a mad one yesterday!

The one day that I was looking forward to all weekend: Taking my new Honda Civic out on the road on the first of many daily commutes to work. I think I burned up only a gallon and a half of gas on the way in. The speedometer was pointed at 70 most of the way in. No cops were around, and they could care less if someone was doing 70 in a 65. I was warned that a bright red car doing 73 in a 65 has a better chance of getting nailed than a car that is of a darker color.

After I pulled in and got the day started at the company I work for, the receptionist saw the car and liked the color on it. One of the sales guys came in next and I asked him about the car while giving him a message. He didn't notice it when he walked in. I didn't believe him. How could have he walked by a shiny new Civic that is bright red.

On my lunch break, I was on my cell phone, arranging for a couple business appointments through my company (not my employer). I was able to get one set for tomorrow, but I need to set another one that is more urgent, because it is regarding meeting space for a weight loss clinic.

Added 3/18/02 at 21:57 EST: Had more things that I needed to do. One of which is to set an appointment with a tax accountant that was referred to me. I need him to prepare my income tax statement. What's good about this guy is that he can come to you and all you need to give him is your tax documents, and he'll take over and give you back the completed forms and a bill for his services.

Next on the agenda was to retrieve an audio tape and get a few questions answered by the person that I lent the tape to. Sounds like this prospect could be my next customer.

My girlfriend decided to call me, but her cell phone kept cutting out, so we didn't talk for very long. It's much easier to have our conversations via ICQ.

Now I'm just waiting on laundry to come out of the wash so I can dry it and have it ready for tomorrow.

Listening to Sarah McLachlan's Angel. Feeling loneliness, despair, solitude, wanting to feel this way in a wierd sick state of mind.

Yesterday I felt so lethargic and sleepy, even though I had slept 8 hours.

...so tired of the straight line...
and the storm keeps on twisting
you keep on building the lie
that you make up for all that you lack
it don't make no difference
escaping one last time

it's easier to believe in this sweet madness oh
this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

What is at the core of all of this? Must I really try and figure it out? How long will I languish in my addiction?

Is it over now? It's been going on for a week. And the trigger is never anything that I cannot deal with, it's always something that I haven't done. I haven't talked to my sponsor. I haven't gone to a meeting. I haven't bought new running shoes, so whenever I walk somewhere, my feet and knees hurt so I don't want to exercise. In short, I haven't taken care of all of myself, only parts of myself. I've paid too much attention to the romance, not enough to the other sides of me. Balance in all is so important. I can't really handle lack of equilibrium, as I continue to demonstrate to myself.

Inspired by a recent stop at my local barber shop. I needed a haircut...

...



So here I am sitting sitting in a barber shop waiting. Waiting. I'm waiting for minutes for my turn to get a trim, been waiting for minutes but it seems like hours sitting.


Sitting.



What exactly am I waiting waiting for but to wait more as my hair leaves my scalp again? The time passes tick tick tock and the tick scissors start to time themselves tock with the ticking tick tock of the clock.

I start to go silently insane.            tick


I stare off into the barber shop mirror, antiquated and dulled with years of delirium glaring and tock tick tick. Waiting waiting as I see infinity close around the room,

ticktockticktocktock

mirror after mirror after mirror ticking tick recursion through a tunnel of little balding Italian man, all wearing grey smock mocking tock tocking about soccer (football, sorry).

TICKTOCKTOCK
             tick                              tickclicktick

I start to scream inwardly into mytockskull as the minutes turn to quarter hours, the snip-ticking of the scissors rack my spine with infinite mirrors of tension. I am suddenly alone, eating myself from the inside, burning with ice and ticktickeyticktick wishing for time to stop completely, to get the inevitable freeze over with and let me sit here forever and not tempt me with progression.



He dares not look at the tock clock anymore. The hands bend with each passing tick tick and he fears they will ignite any moment, flaring up, flaring up and engulfing the room     tock     in a sea of flame and wasting time.



Did I really need a haircut today? Were there not thousands of moments elsewhere I could have tick experienced instead of this tedium? Is life really mesaured in coffee-spoons and haircuts? The blue sky beckons. Is there not the sweet ticktocktocktick breath of a lover waiting for me just minutes (walking, not waiting waiting for fuck's sake!) away? I'm becoming vertiginous.



The mirrors spin away, the clock tock barber's smock fades, and I stare waiting.



I have reached the end of time itself, friend, and it is warm here.              tick



Finally! _ My turn! _ Finally!

So my wife asked me to get rid of everything on the Web site I'd built for her business except the front page, and to rework that to remove all references to everything that the business used to be about: the Christmas ornaments, the glassware, the candle holders. She's done with all of that. Eventually she would like to use it to show her fine art, of which we have a scanned photo of one painting. So I put it up in order to have at least some content there. This site that I was so proud of, on which I'd worked long, hard, arrg-smash-forehead-against-the-monitor hours, the site which had this nifty shopping cart I'd set up and these great product descriptions I'd written, is now gone. It broke my heart.

And then there's Christian Everythingians. Also a lot of work. Also gone.

That was an interesting ride during the handful of days it existed. Lots of people voted on it (and it was C!d four times), with the upvotes staying slightly ahead of the downvotes throughout. I only got one question about the propriety of including a certain group: a noder wondered whether Quakers should really be considered Christians. I'd thought they were -- at least, their origins were as a Christian splinter group, but I had no idea what they believed these days -- but shortly thereafter I got a message from a Quaker to please take him off the list because they pretty much aren't! My, the things one learns.

One noder said the list "disgusted" him, and was thankful that nobody he liked was on it. He later claimed to have been joking. Many people questioned whether such lists were appropriate at all on this site. Where will it end, they wondered? Isn't it ridiculous to label yourself like that? My fellow gods must have sympathized with their arguments (and I suspect they weren't charmed by the flood of similar nodes that started appearing) because in the midst of the Chatterbox debate, "Fill-in-the-blank Everythingian" nodes were branded as GTKY and the whole lot of them were deleted.

So I understand why these nodes are no more. They may be community-builders, but they are cumbersome and there's no good way to keep them in check and they don't "raise the bar" any. My wish for E2, then, is for some clever young developer to come up with an elegant way for noders to find others who have similar interests.

Me, I'm going to node about comics or pulp heroes or punk bands or something. I'm glad I made the effort to pull the list together, and for an all-too-brief moment it was all I could have hoped for and more. There were some happy surprises along the way (a great deal of support came from very public atheists, agnostics, and pagans, and people I'd never have guessed were Christians jumped at the chance to be included) as well as a few (very few) disappointments as some folks I'd have thought would be friendly or at least understanding turned hostile. But now it's done and gone, and it's not going to dominate my life here anymore. And that I like.

This past Friday, I was driving Braunbeck to the bus station in downtown Columbus when I was involved in a car accident on I-71.

It was the kind of cold, grey wet day that messes with your depth perception, and it was rush hour to boot. Traffic would slow down abruptly, and suddenly you'd have to brake from 70 mph to 15 in a matter of seconds. I'd had a couple of close calls already that had set my heart pounding.

Traffic suddenly came to a halt near Crew Stadium. I stopped, the guy behind me stopped. Then I heard the screech of brakes and tires behind me, and I looked in my rearview mirror in time to see a maroon sedan smash into the car behind me, which was flung forward into my car.

It wasn't a hard hit by any stretch, but I'd been hit. I looked at Braunbeck.

"What should I do?" I asked, hoping I could just drive on. I was supposed to be at Donnerick's in an hour to meet with fellow recently-laid-off employees for happy hour commiseration. And Braunbeck had a bus to catch.

"Pull off to the side," he said. By this time, traffic had picked up again, and our three cars were causing a snarl behind us.

"I can't just drive away?"

"No, you're a witness if nothing else; it'd be leaving the scene of an accident, and you could get cited," he said.

So I managed to get over and pulled off onto the shoulder to wait. We wistfully watched the now-free-flowing traffic. Fifteen minutes later, a wrecker came, and the wrecker driver, decked out in neon green-and-orange overalls, stopped traffic so the other two cars could get over. The middle car looked okay, but the car that had done the striking was seriously messed up: the hood was crumpled, the engine steaming. Radiator fluid was spilling onto the pavement. Both drivers were fine; the businessman in the crumpled sedan hadn't even been burned by his airbag going off.

I got out and checked out my bumper. The middle car's license plate had scratched my paint, but that looked to be the extent of the damage. We were lucky; it could have been much worse.

A young, politely cynical cop came out to take our statements. He had me and the guy in the middle car sit in the back of his cruiser while he interviewed us. I'd never been in a police car before; the seats are cleaner and comfier than I imagined they'd be.

"Columbus averages 77 car accidents a day," the cop told us. "Just wait; while I'm out here, we're gonna have another one right near here because of the rubbernecking if not the traffic."

The cop did his best to get us out of there in a timely fashion. Forty minutes after my car was hit, I was back on my way. I made it downtown, got Braunbeck dropped off in time for his bus, and made it back up to Donnerick's in time to see the folks I wanted to chat with.

The damage was so minimal that I decided not to bother calling the other guy's insurance company. Getting my bumper repainted is not worth being without my car for a few days. So I put the accident out of mind and got on with life and my weekend.

But today, the vultures converged. So far, I've had six phone calls from chiropractors and sundry ambulance-chasing doctors to offer their services to treat the horrible trauma of the accident I was in. When I got the first call, I was so astonished and amused I burst out laughing, and the secretary (or whoever she was) hung up on me. I've expected the other calls, and as soon as I figure out what they're about, I tell them "no thanks" and that's that.

Clearly, these folks are mining the accident reports to drum up business, but apparently they're not reading them very carefully, or they'd know that my presence in the accident report was barely a footnote.

But it does leave me pining for the days of the old-school physicians like my father who believed it was unseemly and unprofessional to even take out an ad in the Yellow Pages. He believed your work as a doctor spoke for itself, and if you were worth your salt, your patients would find you through word-of-mouth. He'd have quit if he felt he had to hire a telemarketer to find him patients out of police reports.

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