soggytown!

Yay! I have arrived in soggytown! It is, of course, Thanksgiving-time now, and i am home for break. I left Tuesday morning, and was proved to be utterly, totally, unquestionably harmless by the security at the airport.

I arrived at the airport quite early on the bus, and walked across the skybridge into the terminal. I went to one of those automated e-ticket check-in stands to get my boarding pass, but the machine told me that my ticket needed attention from a Northwest agent. I decided to simply check in at the gate. I went to the security checkpoint, which had a surprisingly nonexistent line, and began to be poked and prodded. First, i had to remove my laptop from my backpack, and place it on a special tray. I then put that and my backpack into the x-ray scanner, and proceeded to empty my pockets into one of the little pocket change baskets, which i also had to scan, rather than just pass around the metal detector, which i fortunately did not set off. However, they decided it was necessary to scan my backpack a second time. They were still not satisfied, and two checkpoint people conferred over the machine's screen. They then asked to inspect my camera. The inspector-man took my backpack over to an inspection table, and swabbed it with this strange white cloth disc about 5cm in diameter, which they then put in a ledge on a mysterious chrome machine. He took my camera, swabbed it, and then removed the lens cap and looked through the viewfinder to confirm that it actually was a camera. He then took my backpack back to the x-ray machine to be scanned a third time, then helped me carry everything to another table, where i put my backpack back together. I walked past the congregation of Military Police with assault rifles, and on to my gate to check in.

At the gate, i discovered that i had been "randomly selected" for an additional security screening, immediately prior to boarding. I went to Starbucks and got some apple cider to kill time, visited the toilets, and returned to the gate. I then submitted to the screening. Two very kind, courteous security people, who i think were Northwest employees, looked over me. A man thoroughly examined my backpack, while a woman ran the metal detector wand over me and patted me down. The man searching my backpack looked in every pocket, nook, and cranny. He opened my chopsticks case, and looked at the chopsticks in there (to which i believe he commented, "useful"). He peered at my power adapter. He had me take the lens cap off my camera, and looked through it. I asked if they wanted me to turn my laptop on, and they did, so i woke it up out of sleep, then closed it again. I was instructed to drink out of my water bottle. They made me open up my umbrella, to confirm that there was nothing inside, and they looked at it closely on both sides. Satisfied, they helped me put everything back in my backpack, and sent me onto the plane. (At least i got to board somewhat early.) So, now, i can say, with authority, that i am completely, utterly, totally, unquestionably harmless.

The flight was smooth and i arrived at PDX.

I then got out of the plane and went to the west end of the terminal to take the train home. The Red Line of the MAX light rail system had just opened, and i was very excited to ride it. On the train, i miraculously ran into Joyquality, who was flying home at roughly the same time, and her mother, who offered me a ride. The train was spiffy and made me smile.

Portland was soggy and dark green and grey. Everything in the Northwest is green, grey, or dark blue. Rain is constantly falling in one form or another, and there is always moisture everywhere. I am now in Portland, and i am soggy. It's wonderful. I'm home!

This "daylogging" business is way too slow. I need an assistant to follow me around and write down things as they occur to me, when they make sense. Some things only make sense walking or drinking or looking at a woman at the bus stop, and it breaks my heart to record them later.

State Dependent Learning

doggerel
The drunken boy remembers what
the tipsy tot was taught.

canonical
"State dependent learning" is an approach to the study of learning and recall which takes mood and biochemistry into account. A classic animal experiment (Overton, 1964) showed that rats trained with a barbituate in their bloodstream were subsequently able to perform better if they were tested while dosed with the same drug.

conceptual
Human studies confirmed the effect with social drugs such as alcohol and marijuana. And internally generated biochemical states--that is, moods-- also constitute a "state" that shapes the way knowledge is stored in the brain and later recalled. These experiments are stark proof of what we already know: that our memory is a chemical construct, as is perception. Both can be altered by subtle or gross influences: a glass of grain alcohol, or the nose's reaction to the perfume of a dress.

literary
"Every Christmas seems to follow immediately after the last one; all the months that came in between don't figure in. Christmases succeed eachother, not the falls they follow." --John Crowley, Little, Big

personal
Breakups are like Christmas in that way. B and I break up, and presently I am remembering another scene: S saying goodbye. And feeling the sharp pangs I felt for J twelve years ago when she drifted off. I'm transported to the Goodbye Archipelago by a picoliter of sad molecules that my brain used to capture, in shorthand, the way their lips felt and their skin smelled.

going forward
So these half-learned lessons are fresh, even though I've been working on them for twenty years. Marvelous the way the mind can keep these accounts. You go away from sorrow into happiness, and the invisible assistant marks your place in the lesson book and shelves it for your return.

I'm starting for home today.

Not for Diwali or Thanksgiving or even Christmas ... something more important is calling - Manasi1 is calling.

I'm leaving for a month, 32 days to be accurate.

I am looking forward to reaching home; meeting my parents, brother, bhabhi2, and Mowgli3; I'm most eager to see my niece though, to hold her in my hands and give her a kiss on the forehead ... two in fact ... and more ...

But the most I'm looking forward to is my return to US ... usually when I'm back in Ghaziabad for something like a month - I slowly start thinking of returning for good, what with my old life smiling back at me again. But this will not happen this time. This time, I have reasons to return ... to weather out the autumn and the winter ... and wait for the spring ...

Bye for now ... miss me while I'm away ...


1> My 3 weeks old niece. Manasi literally means 'A Lady' and is one of the names of Hindu Goddess of wisdom and learning - Saraswati.
2> Hindi for 'Sister-in-law'
3> My pet dog back home.

This is a different world....writing blind, under the moon's dim light. Soaking up the wind, as it blows gently - but steadily.
It's difficult to fully appreciate the way it blows, constant, without pause, when you're in the city.
Surrounded by barriers, obstacles that break it up, channel it, trap it.

But now, the city's nothing more than points of light, drifting noises, that float up to me.
Now, all i hear is an echo of the past...sounds that have outlived their purpose. I wonder how many have already decayed before they reach my ears?
How much laughter dies, never to be shared by more than one? How many tears fall silent, to evaporate under the warmth of a cheek...

......never to be brushed away gently, by the caring hand of another?

Me...pen on paper's the only sound I make tonight.
As I slip on a gray woolen jumper, the wind gains force...and my tears barely have a chance to form, before being blown dry.
The only sign of life is the headlights of distant cars, moving through the city I look down on.

And screams of a baby reach up, from the houses below. It knows....

It's alive

Today is going to be an uphill battle against the forces of evil, and they've captured some of my co-workers. *sigh*

Yesterday, it was announced in a department meeting that we are standardizing on an Oracle database platform. This means Oracle will be used for our inhouse database server (cost: approaching $25,000 over time). We'll be rolling out personal copies of Oracle to our Piper people for them to take with them on laptops. And this means we will be rooting for the installation of Oracle software in all of our client's offices for use with our software.

Did I mention it means we're be using Oracle for our inhouse database server? Yes, I think I did. Did I mention who will be responsible for maintaining it? Nope, I didn't. And neither did my manager. So I asked him.

Me: Who is going to be responsible fo Senior Technical Developer: Evil Laugh. You! Me: maintaining the Oracle database? Department Manager: (Senior Technical Developer) and I decided that you would be responsible. Me: Uh, I don't want to.

Me? An Oracle DBA? That's the worst job ever! Come on, you all know it, especially those of you who are Oracle DBAs. My manager told me that if I absolutely refused, I would be pardoned from the job, but that leaves him in a tight spot. Myself, I'm a programmer. I have a lot of experience doing database programming, and database administration for PostgreSQL running on a UNIX machine. This does not make me qualified to administer an Oracle database running on Windows 2000 Server.

Well, I left my manager an e-mail yesterday saying that I'd be willing to take on the job, as long as it doesn't consume too much of my programming time. So, I'll do it, but if it becomes too large of a job, I want out. This morning I'm going to make my last (of many) pitches to use PostgreSQL rather than Oracle. I figure we can use Postgres for our inhouse database, purchase one named user license of Oracle for development, and a few for our Piper guys to take on their laptops. That way, we know we support both (which we want to do anyways, since choice is good), using ODBC it shouldn't be tough. The company saves money, and I'll gladly administrate the PostgreSQL database. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

An uphill battle. Against Oracle's marketing, Oracle's market dominance, and everyone's prejudice against Free Software. The goal: saving my company money, time, and effort, and providing them with a more flexible database solution (afterall, we have the source...). The enemy wants to spend more money, and they have it all.

I shouldn't care...

...especially when she is online on MSN. I open the window only to find myself paralyzed and not knowing what to do except staring at her username. I am surprised that she hasn't even blocked me from her list. if she really wanted to get on with her own life, that's what she would do. Perhaps she's still debating on whether or not she should hold on to a dead dream. I for one can tell her that it was over when she behaved the way she did.

...if the women on the personals site ignore my smiles. These smiles are for only to give attention to someone you might be interested in. I've given out many smiles to many good-looking, decent women, only to fuel their ego a little more. Perhaps they're not ignoring and only waiting for me to e-mail them? I'm assuming here that giving a smile is enough, and that from then onwards, they make the next move. I'm quite certain that a lot of those women are just having a field day sifting through the numerous profiles of a variety of men. This place is turning into a meatmarket.

There is, however, one female with long, blonde hair I am dearly interested in. Though she smokes, she has the most daunting eyes (though not as daunting as those on Claire Forlani). And in her profile, her picture depicts her as a very trendy and fashionable person. She's wearing a bright blue sweater vest that has a high neck and no sleeves. Her arms are bare for all to see. Though her description doesn't say much about her, I was still mesmerized by the way she held herself in the picture. I want to meet her.


I finally received my book from Amazon.com. It's titled, "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" by Susan Anderson. After reading only 30 pages last night, I found the book to be intriguing. The author articulated all the feelings resulting from a loved-one leaving so clearly. She even tells of her own account of her broken relationship. I sometimes wonder if what she even proposes in this book as a "program" for healing actually worked for her.

I'll try anything once.

Happy Thanksgiving, e2.

I had never felt it before, the crushing holiday anxiety that my friends complain of. I never understood why people dreaded presents and food and seeing family.
I do now.

My mother and father grew up in small-town southern Illinois. They were high school sweethearts. Their childhood friends, her siblings, and and many of his siblings still live here with families of their own. These people have known each other all of their lives. Because of my father's job, my parents left southern Illinois right after marrying. They always intended to return "home."

It has never been my home. These have never been my people.

My father shook me awake this morning by father at six. I groggily dressed, brushed my teeth, and fell into the car to sleep for another three hours. We arrived in Carlyle before noon.
I hugged and smiled and excused myself to shower. After cleaning up, grandma told me about her cataract surgery and their new dog's personality quirks and the headaches involved in remodeling the bathroom. Then I started to tell her about work and my boyfriend and my recent vacation. Her eyes glazed over, then wandered anxiously. They settled on my mother.
"Julie? When do you want to eat?
And she got up to use the bathroom.

Two hours later. We are eating Thanksgiving dinner.
My aunt Judy says, "Jennifer, your hair is lovely. What do you do to it?"
"Layers and a good round brush. Some light styling wax when you're all finished helps too. Do you want to grow yours out?"
pause ..."Jude?"
She looks at me absebtly. "Were you saying something, dear?"

My uncle John, aunt Nancy, and cousins Andy and Adam arrived not long after we ate. None of them looked at or said a word to me or either of my sisters.

I feel an intense longing for this place and these people to be the familiar home and loving family that they are to everyone but me and my sisters...
I resent that I am looked through and ignored while my older relatives take an active interest in my cousins' jobs and love lives...
I am angry that I had to get out of bed for this.
I feel guilty for feeling this way.

It should be noted, however, that grandma's new dog is wonderful company.

Just a random rant if I may.

<RANT>
Sometimes I help out people doing things. That I don't mind. Why do some of then insist on talking while they type? I don't mean saying things like "ok, now I just need to compile... hmmm.... weird error... ok, lemme try this again...." No, I mean saying exactly what they are typing! Why? Why do I need to hear "see dee slash user slash source slash linux, enter. make bee zee image and and make modules and and make modules underscore install, enter.... " and so on the entire time! Now on one hand, if the lusers who used to call me in my tech support days would have done this, my life would have been much nicer, but the people that do this to me now are the ones who aren't idiots!

Not only that, but I have to sit on the phone, putting my life and work on hold to listen to someone fucking transpose their shell history to me! It's a waste of my time and theirs, and I don't understand it. There's just no reason! When I say "now go compile your kernel, just do it, don't step me through every keystroke!
</RANT>

Thanks, I'm feeling much better now.

I just sent an email which may provoke reaction, but all in all, she will probably ignore it as she ignored my aching heart. Fuck why do I bother. I guess it's obvious I still have some feeling left for her, and maybe I am really what she's seen me as; an obsessive freak who can't let go.

Thoughts and ideas of things that happened 6 months ago. Do I bother asking her if I could talk to her and tell her those ideas? Is it just clinging to that obsession?

I just want to return to being friends with her. Is that the honest truth, or is that just some lie I'm using to at least somewhat heal that obsession, by lying to myself that I have her back?

My life sucks royally.

Well, it was the usual Turkey Day around my house which means going over to the relatives house in Kalamazoo. What a fun time that is seeing almost no one really gets along anymore. Its not that we hate each other, in fact the "kids," if that we can call us, better try cousins get along quite well with everyone, its just the "adults" that have the problems.

Don't know whose fault really it is that they fight all the time, but that is normal for us.....

I spoke with my grandfather for the first time since he had heart surgery, some form of bypassor something, I don't know what he really had done, maybe some medical person out there could help me. He had a vein from his leg taken out and placed in his heart. Wow I didn't know they could do that....

Anyone ever thought about how they come up with stuff like that? I mean who first thought "lets take a vein from this guys leg and put it in his heart. I mean who sits arounds and thinks about stuff like that? I guess I don't get it. Oh well won't be the first.

I am thankful today.

Thanksgiving went pretty well. Better than I expected. The food was good, my mother didn't quiz me about getting a job, and the house looked nice. I worried too much yesterday, and now I feel dumb.

I sliced a chunk of my thumb off a few weeks ago, and now the scab wants to come off. I will not pick at it. I will not pick at it. I will not pick at it!

Watched "It's Alive" tonight for the first time. Mutant babies and Thanksgiving go well together. I'm glad we don't have any babies around here. One weird cat is good enough for me.

I am determined to celebrate "Buy Nothing Day" tomorrow, but its looking like I may have to leave the house and go to dinner. I don't think that counts though. I refuse to set foot near any malls tomorrow. Of course, my mother and sister are rarin' to go shopping tomorrow. Thankfully, they did not expect me to go with them.

I am thankful for lots of things this year. I need to focus on that for the next month as we rocket through the Christmas madness and try to avoid letting the world get to me. It's hard to do, but that's all we can do.

Survive.

On this Thanksgiving Day of the new millenium I sat and pondered just exactly what we the people really are, this is the conclusion that I came to.

We the people are a force so strong that if compiled we are undefeatable.

We the people are the very backbone of our govenment and economy.

It is the people that have the power to change our society and better our world. Yet our own ignorance and hatred toward one another is the only obstacle in our path.

We divide and hate each other because people are different or we do not understand them. We seperate color, sex, ethnicity, the good and the bad. We tell our selves to stick with our own when in reality we are seperating our own.

For we are all people different and unique in our own ways, and it is only those of us who somehow for whatever reason reach outside of our own that see this.

Fear and ignorance of each other will continue to seperate us unless we open our eyes to the truth.

We the people I hope will oneday truly be people and not pupets.

I'm writing this daylog on my palm pilot. I'm using my palm because I'm on the train. I'm on the train because I'm going to see my girlfriend. I'm seeing her because I think we are probably going to split up.

It's a classic story. Boy meets girl. Boy immediately ignores girl but girl ignores boy ignoring girl and they arrange a shared birthday party (girl's birthday is day after boy's). A few weeks after the party they suddenly, simultaneously realise they should be going out, and proceed to do so.

So far, so good.

The tension rises as boy decides that what he really needs to do is quit his job and go back to university -- the other side of the country. At first, all is well. They visit each other regularly and correspond by post with cute cards. Then, as winter sets in, cracks begin to appear. Work is piled onto boy just as he has adjusted to academic life. Girl falls foul of an evil lurgy just before she had planned to visit boy. Boy refuses to change plans and visit her, instead planning to shift a henious assignment. Girl feels neglected and left out in the cold. She tells boy she doesn't want to go out with him any more. Boy thinks it would probably be for the best, only he knows he loves her. Boy gets on last train to see girl.

...and here I am.

Either we split or we find some kind of yet-to-be-discovered formula to keep us together. Personally, I think we'll probably make the break and it'll hurt like a screaming bastard for quite a while.

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