I walked out of a tutorial yesterday in disgust - it was Systems Analysis and Design, a great subject. But the tutor walked in to the three hour tute, covered the required material in about 30 minutes, and then proceeded to sprukier about a website where we can get the textbook. "So what?" I hear you ask. Well, he not only devoted (reportedly) the next 2 1/2 hours to it, he also had:
  • The course website mirroring the commercial site! WHAT?!?!?!???!!? That is gross negligence of our education! We are a university for heaven's sake! TEACH US!
  • Prepared payslips for direct deposit in to the companies bank account! All filled out, just pay here! I know it is a convenience, but that is going too far!
  • A whole demonstration, with a student as a guinea pig to buy a book! He pressured this poor student in to buying it online with his credit card right in front of everyone!
Normally, I am a calm guy, but this was the last straw. I asked him over and voiced my concern and asked who to complain to. He said "Well, you know, I am not getting any monetary benefit from this." Yeah, like we can prove that! When I said as much, he said "You make complaints to me - " Of course I am, thats what I am doing, but who else " - or to the Faculty office." But it being well after 7pm at this point, they are closed. Hmmm.

So I rang the office, and left a message. That guy is going to be "disciplined". More to come as it comes to hand.

I'm taking a certification test today at 1300, after which I'll be halfway through (there are four tests). Making a concerted effort to chill is difficult. I had breakfast and coffee, read the egregiously depressing front section of the paper (Iranian children being born with one large eye, just awful stuff), and made it to Level 10. Only 432 writeups to Level 11. Sheesh.

Positive visualization seems to help me chill. I'm going to mentally walk through the whole process (again), starting from when I get in the building and ending with 'Congratulations!' I tend to get stomach-churningly nervous when I take a test, and it's even bad when I pass. You would think that 'Congratulations' would be a good thing, and it is, but I feel like throwing up and then passing out. This is probably something I should have gotten therapy for years ago.

So, after my last test, to reward myself, I bought Monkey Island 3. This time I'll go vintage shopping.

Tonight there is a quarterly meeting at a restaurant in Chinatown, on George Street. We've been there before, and have decided to eat right beforehand as well as after, because we don't like styrofoam balls with claws sticking out of them or lobsters deep-fried in tasty cheese.

I passed the test and wasn't even that nervous, which made me nervous. Anyway, I ended up getting a pair of trousers. Not as fun as Monkey Island, I must say.
Today I woke up late for work.

I called the boss and hurried through the morning routine. I drove in, because I would have been 1/2 hour later had I taken the bus like I usually do. On the way there, I noticed that my right eye didn't want to focus. Stepping into the factory, I realized that I was seeing two images in my right eye.

Four hours, watching the double hands whirl around both sets of numbers on the clock. Told the boss, "Sorry Dude, gotta bail."

Now, just as if the world wants to let me know something, I realize -- I work in an optical lab. Today I am finishing reading For Your Eyes Only. And in the car, on the way to the opthamologist's office, the radio plays Eyes Without A Face.

So I get there, go through the full regimen of tests. There's one really ugly one, where, in order to determine how much lubrication your tear glands are producing, they drip in some local anasthetic and insert a match-sized paper strip under your lower eyelid. Keep your eyes closed for 5 minutes.

Then they remove the strips.

Have you ever been smoking a cigarette and had it stick to your lip?

When they dropped the dilator in my eyes, it stung like fire.

When I had dilated to 9 centimeters, they took me back into the exam room and finished checking my eyes. The verdict?

My right cornea had, sometime during the night, dried out and become swollen. This distorted my vision. The doctor, who, strangely, looked shockingly like Louie Anderson, gave me some anti-inflammitory eyedrops, and said if my vision wasn't perfect by Friday, I should return for more tests.

But it looks like everything is going to be fine.

Rain is whipping around the front of the helicopter in thick swirls, you can see the heavy currents coming down from the rotorhead in the inch or so of standing water on the concrete. Every so often a particularly well-formed vortex will whip up and send a sheet swirling six inches or so off of the ground, riding over the surface in a Brownian dance of physics and hydrodynamics. The contents of a freshly burned 74-minute MD of the first Paul Oakenfold: Global Underground, New York disc is read by a tiny laser in my pocket. Encased in a sheet of anodized blue metal and a plastic bag, the player forms an analog audio signal which it in turns passes to the headphones in my cranial.

Which of the following components is not a part of the automatic carrier landing system?
-AN/APX-76 IFF Interrogator

The cord is slick with water dripping off of the back shell and in turn coursing down the back of my neck to trace a line of damp discomfort across flesh beneath a heavy coat and olive drab coveralls. Blowing off steam at the moment by standing in front of this plane, staring at the pilots snug in the cockpit turning over controls and unaware of the fact that I have pretty much failed my advancement exam. Calculator decided it didn't want to work about three minutes into the test, leaving me to convert 011011 0110 from BCD into binary in my head. There was a point about six years ago when I could do this. Unfortunately, the little dogged Casio had been doing it for me which made forgetting the manual override not too much of a large problem.

What is the primary purpose of this circuit?
-Refer to figure 21-A. Audio amplifier.

The exam goes on like this for one hundred and fifty questions, most of which involve mathematics I cannot complete without the use of serious scratch paper and half a dozen pencils. Meanwhile, the calculator sits mute on the table mocking me with a silent screen and cold rubberized keys. I want to throw the thing across the room except for the certain penalty of being ejected from a test that I will now fail. Chiding myself about preparedness for all situations accomplishes nothing as I stand in front of the bird in the rain, watching the pilot give the open hand signal for brakes off.

How many paces per minute at a quick time march?
-120. I think.

The tail lurches as the main mounts begin to pull forward after acknowledging with a thumbs up and the rapid open-hands-palms-toward-the-plane-closed-fists-open hands-palms-toward-the-plane signal followed by the waving forward known universally at airports everywhere. Brakes on, fists closed arms rotating, then brought down to meet leather glove covered thumbs together and knuckles down at crotch level. The tail sinks, sending up another gray wave of mist from the concrete flightline. Brakes off, unlock tailwheel hands over head palms together split hands at wrists twice then turn toward hanger. One arm straight out the other waving at the elbow in a repetitive left salute.

What is the differentiation between a BT and SAR sonobuoy?
-BT stands for bathyeothermic and SAR stands for search and rescue. BT buoys are used to survey ocean conditions (salinity, temperature, current speed, etc.) and SAR buoys are dropped to talk to survivors in the water.

The aircraft shimmies, comes loose on the tail pivot point and then swings briefly toward the hanger. Thumbs up, right turn. Left arm straight right arm arcing through the familiar motion as sodden black leather boots walk rapidly backwards, quick glances over either shoulder every few steps to make sure nothing is being backed into that could cause serious injury. Index and middle finger visible through the cut off fingers with a sliver of thumb joining them twice a second as the turn nears completion. The now ochre gloves were white the last time I stood on the flightline and did this last October. The gloves are well worn and have the remaining fingertips coated in shiny layers of cyanoacrylate (read: SUPER glue,) holding the stitching firmly in place. As always if you read the thick black magic marker across the knuckles you get LOVE and HATE. If you ready the inverted words the other direction, you wind up with GOOD and EVIL. Of course EVIL and LOVE are on the left with GOOD and HATE on the right. Salutes are always rendered with pride and always with the right hand.

What is the maximum effective range of the SH-60F dipping sonar array?
-Classified kids, classified. Shouldn't even be on this test anyway.

Nothing there after an arc into the neighboring parking spot, pass off to the end of the flightline tap both hands on front shell wave right. Straight starched attention and a final salute to the pilot who returns and then goes back to taxiing the aircraft toward the helo pads at the end of the flightline.

What is the sum of the hexadecimal numbers 0011 and 02A6?
-02B7. Too easy.

More wind and water blow past with knees bent slightly and legs tensing to meet the sudden onrush of the now visible rotorwash spraying toward where I am standing. Watching the bird go I again ponder what it would be like to lay on top of the hydraulics bay just forward of the rotorhead and watch the blades go by six inches from my face.

How often do TACAN ground stations transmit identifying pulses?
-Once a minute, sixty seconds.

For all that crap in the Gulf, they're making me Sailor of the Month for January. Oh joy. I'm not supposed to know yet, either. I wonder if they knew what was banging around in my head right now if they would still be willing to do that. Such is the breakdown between fooling everyone into thinking you know what you are doing and just guessing particularly well for seven years.

Galvanic corrosion is caused by what two factors acting with what process?
-Oh shut up, I've had quite my fill of that today thanks.

More inanity in the form of Phase Maintenance

So as to keep slightly better track of what I write and when, I've decided to try to keep the dates on my daylogs consistent with my time rather than the server's. This will includes listing entries written in the wee hours of Wednesday morning under Tuesday, since in my world a new day doesn't begin until the sun rises or I get some sleep—though fortunately it's usually the latter. As a result, this is not the original writeup posted here. It's been moved to March 6, 2001.

I feel weird replacing it like this (especially since it had acquired quite a few votes, but oh well... I've already written about how depressing it is to see my daylog reps flourish while what I consider my worthwhile nodes don't seem to get a notice, so I'll try to keep quiet about it) but the lady goddess Demeter informs me it's ok, and I respect/trust her opinion on the matter.

Enough whining about noding. Time for some informative information (and repetitive redundancy) about what I've been wasting valuable homework time on today. For example, discovering that my contributions to E2 occasionally appear in Random Nodes/sprinkling of indeterminacy/mess the Death Borg made. Whoa. Trippy. But trippier was the fact that the first of my little ramblings to catch my eye over there in that sidebar was a nodeshell I'd completely forgotten about, having lost its original contents to the nightly Word Galaxy/server backup. I seem to be getting quite good at accidentally losing writeups and replacing them. I could make it into a game: create nodeshell, come across it randomly, finally fill it in... no. Nodeshell hide and seek just seems like a really bad idea (TM). New Topic!

Random story from my life: my academic advisor is supercool. She's in charge of making sure the senior math majors writing theses don't totally goof off on their projects till the last minute (first time any faculty member's ever taken on this task) and so far she's been doing an excellent job. But this morning she went above and beyond the call of duty, in my opinion.

I was on my way to elicit some Norwegian data for my thesis (a mix of math, linguistics, computer science, and evolutionary biology—I might finish someday, in which case I'll try to node about it informatively) from a friendly prof who speaks the language, when I saw my advisor in the hall, and she asked me to stop by her office after my other meeting. I did, and she sat me down, and in less than half an hour, found out all the progress I've made on my thesis in the past month, and made me a timeline for the rest of the semester, just like that. Shablam. I felt like I'd been schooled, but in the best way possible. It was breathtaking, I tell you.

It occurs to me that my academic advisor (as opposed to my thesis, humanities, and linguistics advisors, none of whose names I want to mention for various trying not to make contact between E2 and the real world reasons) is totally my role model. (Well, her and the Powerpuff Girls, but for totally different reasons.) She's just incredibly intelligent and competent and accomplished in her field and... hot diggety, y'know? I just look up to her and admire her so much!

Really, I've loved her ever since the day in freshman calculus when some idiot challenged her authority about imaginary numbers. She politely fielded a few questions, but when he finally asked "Why should I believe you?" she simply replied "Because I do complex analysis for a living," turned back to the chalkboard and went on with the lecture. How cool is that?

She rules the world with an iron fist. I'd like to write a more coherent essay about her at some point, but for now I've got the thoughts stored here for future reference. That's really useful (though maybe I should've kept it offline). Oh well. Off to shower and homework.

Today brings with it a new experience. Tonight, I'm going to dress up like a candy raver and dance onstage while my friends in a band do their set at the Hard Rock Cafe. I can't say I've ever danced onstage before, so I'm a bit nervous. I hope I don't end up looking like a total ass.

Ah well, even if I do, I'm sure it will be lots of fun. :)

Laying in bed at midnight, restless, I go to grab a Cure CD from my car to listen to as I fall asleep, but somehow I end up starting the engine and driving away rather than returning to my bedroom with the cd. The streets are silent and seem to welcome my company.

Where am I going?

I find myself at the beginning of one of my favorite roads in the hills, one full of unpredictable decreasing radius turns that gradually winds its way up to a scenic point overlooking the valley. I'm racing along now. Second gear. 6000RPMs. Music blaring.

The roads are wet. This is fucking dangerous. Slow down.

My thoughts begin to float away, to a poem in a demo that I saw earlier tonight, a poem that I had wanted to share with my ex-girlfriend as I felt it had really spoken to me and reflected my feelings.

Turn, turn. Slow down. Turn on the high beams.

It was a dark, thoughtful poem that was refreshingly raw and concise, set to a brooding piece of music that consisted of floating, hollow syths punctuated by crunchy, mechanical sounding distorted beats. I miss her. I wish the best for her. Why doesn't she care?

s h i n e o n m y d a r l i n g

The road straightens out a bit. Shifting, I leave behind thoughts of my ex. Third Gear. 5000RPMs.

"Self-destruction won't destroy you, if you've got someone lookin' out for you"

Angel. I've found a piece of myself in her. She understands me, but yet I've been growing increasingly distant with her. I wonder why?

"Love is suicide"

I spot a delicate young deer on the side of the road, who looks over its shoulder at the approaching menace. Slowing down, I think about how unnatural the world has become. Deer were not meant to be exposed to the dangers of inconsolable youth zooming around in the middle of the night.

How fragile life is.

I arrive at a point in the road that overlooks the valley. Stopping, I step out of my car into the icy night air and climb up a small embankment to a better vantage point. Stepping on sharp rocks, I suddenly wish that I had taken the time to put on some shoes, but at the same time I love the sensation and the texture beneath my toes.

This is real.

Looking down at endless sea of lights in the valley, I'm filled with a sense of wonder. I wonder if the people down there know how infinitesimally small they are?

we are part of a pattern


I love Finland.
This is probably the only country where a high-ranking police officer can appear on TV and straight-facedly say he thinks Traffic teaches us we need to start fighting the WSOD harder and prosecute all pot smokers. *sigh* Glad to see we have intelligent and open-eyed people in charge of things.
As if frustration with dumbasses on television wasn't enough, the good old Finnish military once again sent me a draft notice and traditional propaganda material. But this is the last time, no more extension for me. Civil service, here I come! Choosing between spending 13 months working or spending 6-12 months in a boot camp being pushed around by half-wits just so I can die for Finland in case a war breaks out.. well, "ain't no choice at all". No offense to anybody who did their time in the army, it is (or at least should be) a personal decision for us all.

the following bit is one of those ramblings which are completely pointless.

Today was one of the rare occasions when I somehow managed to enjoy my work. This is because lately it has really felt like work.
It's hard to explain, but I get the best feeling out of my job whenever I feel like I'm a part of something important. When I started on the company, it was on the edge of even qualifying for the "company" title. While we're still a tiny business with no fame things have evolved greatly in the 1.5 years. At the beginning it felt like I was just spending my free time at an office instead of my home, with a faster connection and pairs of eyeballs on my back. Nowadays it often manages to feel like real work. Sometimes it is stressful, other times exciting.
At least I haven't lost my knack for slacking off.

On the lighter side of things, here's a loose translation of a rather strange bit of SMS conversation between a friend and myself earlier today:

Think about it.. What if there was a squirrel with the strength of a beaver?

In that case, a pine cone would not be enough.. It would have to eat the entire pine tree.
I still don't know what the hell that was about. His weekend partying spree probably stretched more than usual.
I'm frustrated, grr...

I got a Game Boy Camera today and am still hoping that I can find a way to images onto my PalmV. Since both devices have infrared ports and a Game Boy emulator has been made for the Palm, so it's worth a try to see if it can be done by beaming images.

I've installed the emulator on my Palm, made sure my screenshot hack worked and now all I need is the Game Boy ROM and I'll be set, but the only link I've found is dead. My browser seems to know that I'm looking for something very important and keeps crashing.

If nothing works out, I'll buy an interface from Asia that'll do what I want, but they're $60US, or get a printer.

Absolute brilliance rained down upon me today as the skies opened up and the sun began to shine. And shine. And shine. The sky was wiped clean of any offending clouds and all snow so recently dumped on the northeast became one big white reflector as everyone stumbled around with their eyes squinted against the onslaught. When going inside one found a few people milling about the entrance waiting for their sun-burnt vision to return.

Aside from the false-prohpet spring—more snow on the way this weekend—today was rather mundane. Got a haircut, took care of a few errands, picked up a few friends at the bus station.

Nothing more to tell, really. I’ve got that unsettled feeling again, but that has become such a commonality over the past year I suppose I should just be thankful it's not worse.

I should stop thinking about the past. It never does me any good.

gods, what a bitch of a day. i come home at 10am only to discover that there is a dead roach in my sink. ok, not too bad, i can cope. so then i pop open the filing cabinet to put some stuff away and *OH MY GOD SHE'S LAYING EGGS!* right on top of the file i need to use. i hate roaches. so i bolt upstairs and grab a can of raid. wielding bug spray like a .38 and screaming "fucking die already", i proceed to hose the 3 inch, segmented, spawning female with utter disregard for the papers beneath. fuck the papers. i can get copies of those. just kill her before she spawns the invasion. as she twitches her last, i wander into the kitchen with intentions toward a nice cold glass of *bottled* water. and...*JESUS CHRIST IT'S HER MATE!* a 3.5 inch bull cockroach comes charging out from under the cabinets as i reach for the fridge. i grab for the raid, but i'm not quite quick enough and he escapes by way of the 8086 i use to keep my rabbit out of the kitchen. shuddering, i abandon the water idea and go to class.

after class, i get some food and drink and go to work. i am walking around with no jacket because it was a nice day when i got up. whoo! of course! i walk out of the deli, and it's *raining*. great. so, sprinting through the rain, i make it to work, only to be confronted with a dying roach on the doorstep. goddammit. ok, i can cope. no, really. so, i sit down to eat lunch and notice that my inbox is in *three* piles a hand high, each. at least most of it is copies. unfortunately, hidden in there is a bookstore pickup request. and it's *urgent*. so i get to go out in the now-heavy rain and get the damn envelopes. i hate being cold, and i like being cold and wet even less. then after a few hours of staring at the copier, i got to walk home in the rain.

the rabbit has been eating the couch, again. i have two papers due in the morning. frater shinma has lost his marbles again, and i think i have a cold. i think i'll take a shower, get some food, and attempt to salvage the evening.

I wore a skirt to work today.

It was really an attempt to keep away the big black cloud that has been hanging over me lately, but it turned into an experiment in perception.

As you know, I work in a tech support sweatshop and therefore am one of few females in the building. I am by no means a supermodel but I'm not Medusa either. But today I gained much attention from many people (my ex-manager included) because of the fact that my knees were showing.

It made me think.

Back when I was in high school, I was well-known (note that I do not say popular) for my brains. I was the smart one. I was the one that people would sit next to for cheating purposes. I was friendly as well, so I had no enemies. Although I had adopted a "fuck the world" mentality at age fourteen for survival purposes, I still felt the smallest bit envious of the popular crowd. The ones that were invited to the parties and the ones that looked good in bikinis. Somehow I missed that perfect stage from both sides - at 18 I weighed 100 pounds and was a head on a stick and at 22 I'm 154 with quite a ghetto booty. Anyway, back then I wanted to be admired for my beauty and not my brain.

It's totally the opposite now. I am afraid that my credibility as a technical person has been compromised by tits and ass. That the technicians that are under me (oops, bad choice of words!) only act civil to me because they have thoughts of getting me in the sack. I have had more than one confess it to my face, both times of which I tried to ignore it. I am afraid that I am seen as someone who got the job not for what I know but rather who I did. I am certain that people talk. I have heard it.

The result of this day? Again, I have taken more internal support calls than any of the other supervisors. I have spent more time helping technicians and less time on break than anyone else. I work hard and what do they see but gossip fodder and eye candy? I wish that I were plain again.

Tomorrow I dress like a punk rocker again.

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