The world we live I loathe it so.

It's Saturday and it's raining, again. I feel like today is going to bethe day. Today, I am finally going to start living my life, start doing what I have always told myself I was going to do.

I'm missing your bed, I never sleep, avoiding the thoughts that we'd have to speak, and this bottle of beast is taking me home.

Today is going to be the day I am going to break free of the prison that modern culture has sentenced me to serve time in.

Liberate my madness, I just want to liberate my madness.

I woke up at around one thirty in the afternoon. Slept on my friend's couch cuz the apartment I just moved into doesn't have a bed in it yet, doesn't feel like home yet. I started thinking about my life, life in general, and what exactly I want to do with the opportunities I have been given.

The earthly power sucks shadowed milk from sleepy tears undone. From nippled skin as smooth as silk, the bugles blown as one. You lie there with your eyes half closed like there's no-one there at all. There's a tension pulling on your face. Come on, come talk to me.

We all know this pattern of thought, of questioning, of self-examination, and as a philosopher, I tend to head down this path quite often.

Anyway, I am constantly in a state of struggle within the self. I am pulled in so many different directions, and even though I know what path I should be taking, I constantly hold myself back from it.

A side step thing has come to be a brilliant stance where, nobody cares at all. Nobody cares at all. Buried all your lovers clothes and burned the letters lovers wrote, but it doesn't make it any better, doesn't make it any better.

But for some reason, today I felt like I was going to finally take that first step towards freedom.

So called facts are fraud, they want us all to allege and pledge and bow down to their God. Lost the culture, the culture lost. Spun our minds and through time our ignorance has taken over.

I didn't.

I didn't and now I am tired and weary, and frustrated because all I have been able to contribute to this community in the last three or four months is daylogs. Rants and rants of bullshit that I totally had the power to avoid, but I chose not to and continue to

Remember to breath, and everything will be ok. It's alright, it's alright, it's alright.

Today wasn't the day, but maybe tommorow will be.

How can I go home with nothing to say, I know you're going t o look at me that way. And say what did you do out there and what did you decide, you said you needed time, you had time.

Lyrics by, in order of appearance: Dashboard Confessional, Slipknot, Peter Gabriel, Rage Against the Machine, more Dashboard Confessional, and Ani DiFranco.
Woke up at 11 for work at the computer lab. This is harder than it seems; I'm at college and I was out until 3am or so having a good time for a while, then not having that great of a time. But regardless, I made it there. The highlight of my day: We have a strict policy regarding food and drink at the lab. No food is allowed, and one may only drink water, and then only from a spillproof container. So I do a bunch of software installs (until today I didn't know what the hell SAS was) and I notice a kid with a bottle of Tropicana apple juice. Nuh-uh. Then, due to a brilliant stroke of genius on my part, I decide to have a little fun.

I go back to my desk, pop open the webcam for the room he's in, and figure out the computer name of his machine. Then it's Start, Run, cmd.exe

C:\>net send magnesium "Hello. ACCEL permits only water in spillproof containers in its labs. Thanks, your friendly ACCEL consultant"

He's reading from a textbook when the message appears onscreen. About 30 seconds later he looks up, sees the message, reads it, looks around the room, utterly baffled, and shows it to his friend sitting next to him.

He clicks OK. The juice remains on the desk.

This means war! I have a handy utility called psloggedon, part of the pstools suite from SysInternals. I use that to snag his username, use that to determine his real name...

C:\>net send magnesium "Chern-Huai: Tropicana fruit juice is not water. I don't want to be a hardass, but it's policy. Sorry. Thanks, your friendly ACCEL consultant"

Now he's freaked out. He pokes his friend on the shoulder and points. Both have an expression of confusion and fear on their faces. His hand tenatively reaches out and stows said juice in his backpack. My index finger is hovering above the Enter key, waiting...

C:\>net send magnesium "Many thanks."

At this point, he notices the blinking red LED of the webcam out of the corner of his eye, laughs, and waves.

So I just learned of the honor roll today. I've been on a slow and steady mission to get to level 6 for one reason and one reason alone: to post pics on my homenode. That, to me, is like the Holy Grail of Everything2.

Last week I was at level 4. Without having written any new w/u's, I have managed to rise to level 5, thanks to the honor roll system. After doing some math (thank you Mr. Calculator!) I was able to figure out how many more w/u's I need to reach my goal.

At this date, I will need to create 16 more writeups to reach level 6. I've written 235 so far, so 16 more should be a relative breeze, considering that I daylog a lot.

Is this noding for numbers? Intrinsically, yes, but not in the classic style, I don't think. I am, after all, doing this with a goal in mind. I will not simply node bullshit stuff that has no merit whatsoever. I will continue to try and write quality nodes (my nuked stuff notwithstanding).

In other news, I got another website completed for a client of mine. There are some minor fixes that need to be made, but those will take less than an hour to implement. The client is in the process of getting a domain name and host- and I'm buggered if I can figure out why his Mac won't view the site correctly. PC's have no problem with it. This happened once before with another client of mine, who was a Mac user, and it eventually ironed out, but I don't know what was done to fix it. These cross-platforming issues between Mac's and PC's with Flash are beginning to really piss me off.

I've also started to delve into 3D modeling a lot more. I've selected a project that I think will take a long time but will also provide me with lots of experience: I will try to make a 3D model of the Lost in Space Jupiter 2 (movie version). The guys over at Scifi-Meshes.Com have been an incredible resource for guidance and information. I have learned more from reading their message boards in the last month than I did over a 3-month period of banging my head against the wall with 3D Studio Max 4 by my lonesome.

I've already gotten to a "decent" level of expertise with rendering 3D images, but I want to be able to have my own 3D meshes instead of using other people's work. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I might be able to get the Jupiter 2 done in about a month and a half. I have to keep reminding myself that there is a greater goal in all of this. No, I'm not doing this just because I'm a sci-fi geek. I'm doing this because I have some original stories of my own that I want to, one day, turn into CGI movies. But I have to start somewhere. The best place to start, when you're learning a new skill, is where other people have already gone. Once I master the basics and move on to the more advanced stuff, I can then begin work on my original material- but that's at least a year away.

Everyone has a dream. What's yours?

It's too early. Winter already? Where did autumn go? Did I really move from the North just to find out that down here, we now get snow in the middle of October?

Last night it snowed like crazy. I walked home in the middle of it, my shoes clearly not fit for wading in the new snow. Today it looks beautiful, though - clear, blue sky and this thin, white layer all over. I baked bread and made cocoa for breakfast, looked out and thought how peaceful it all was and how nice it still is to stay indoors, warm and comfortable. Plus, I have to study for my exams, so it's not like I have any choice.

Gotta go dig my bike out and put it in the basement.

I found out by accident, really. There I was, sitting in front of the computer, bored, and suddenly I just stuck my finger in my right ear. My pinky, really. Now this sounds gross, but it really isn't. I have very clean ears. No wax in there. Every doctor who has ever looked in my ears has commented on it. "Wow, those are some clean ears," they say.

So my pinky is in my ear and I notice how warm it is in there. So warm. I instant message my friend, Berwyn. "My ear is really warm," I say. He thinks I mean outside. "No, inside," I say. Now I sound weird. What am I doing in my ear, he wants to know. It was just an impulse. Pinky in the ear.

The inside of my ear is so warm that I picture myself baking bread in there. Tiny bread. Like a tiny brick oven, I would push the tiny bread in there with a tiny stick. Like a pizza oven. This makes me laugh. This makes me feel so quirky. Tiny bread. Scoresby looks at me like I'm crazy when I tell him all of this. It makes me wonder, am I crazy or am I an undiscovered comedic genuis? Most likely neither.

I need to stop watching MTV.

Late last night I was sitting on my couch next to my roommate. We were sharing a pizza and channel surfing, and we landed on an MTV2 segment about a coming backlash against pop music. They named this backlash as the rock/rap fusion exhibited by bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, using interviews with Kid Rock, Perry Farrell, Green Day, Marilyn Manson, Billy Corgan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others. A rerun of a feature originally aired by MTV at the end of 1999, this was the program that originally caused me to write my rant about seeing the fnords on MTV, nearly two years ago.

The program ended and I changed the channel from MTV2 back to MTV. My roommate looked over in surprise. "I thought we were watching MTV before," he said.

I shrugged and changed the channel again. "No, that was MTV2. MTV doesn't ever play music videos any more, except on TRL. MTV is playing a Real World marathon or something right now."

"Damn. I thought MTV2 only played music videos. If that's true, then why did they just finish playing a one hour feature about the resurgence of rock music?"

"Actually, that was a rerun. The other thing MTV2 does is rerun a lot of old stuff from MTV. Music is still the channel's focus, but it hasn't been all videos all the time for a while now."

We continued watching television in silence for a minute or two. Slowly I remembered what had inspired my fnords rant the winter before last. I told my roommate, "Actually, all of my best writing on the Internet is about how much I hate MTV."

He took another pull from his beer. "Viacom's a motherfucker, man."

After that, it didn't feel like we had much more to say.

Actually, I don't watch MTV much anymore, because I get very angry about the state of popular music every time I watch MTV, VH1, or MTV2. I wish I could say that this is a new situation for me, but it isn't. I've been like this for a long time now, and it's getting worse, not better. These days, I need a fifth of rye whiskey just to get through an hour of music videos without stripping down to boxer shorts and a cowboy hat and shouting profanities at my TV screen. I try to avoid this behavior, because my neighbors don't much like it and it terrifies my roommate. So, most of the time it's just easier to turn off the television.

I'm very conflicted in my feelings about MTV. On the one hand, I respect the MTV Video Music Awards a hell of a lot more than I respect the Grammys, but on the other hand, I blame MTV for the ascendancy of pop music in today's recording industry.

I know blaming them for the popularity of pop music is unfair. I know that the artists, the audiences, and the record labels are all complicit in it, and that the formula we see on MTV today is a natural result of the way we spend our money. What MTV does to maintain the status quo isn't so much corrupt as it is pathetic. What's popular has nothing to do with what the people playing the videos like, just like it has nothing to do with what the record executives and adult consumers like. It's about how fifteen year olds are spending their money. And today's fifteen year olds like what they like, partly because of their parents, because of their older brothers and their older sisters. They grew up in houses playing metal, playing grunge, playing alternative rock and gangsta rap. Just as a slightly older generation latched onto those musical styles as a backlash against the disco of the seventies and the pop of the eighties, today's adolescent generation has latched onto boy bands and girl power and Latin sensations and teen idols as a backlash against the angst and cynicism of their older siblings.

These kids stayed at home and watched their big brothers set fire to Woodstock '99. They remember the candlelight vigils for Kurt Cobain. They saw gangsta rap die with Biggie and Tupac. They saw Columbine live on CNN. And they wanted no part in any of it.

And so I try not to blame MTV, but it still all comes back to them. Because we had after-school specials and Disney cartoons, but our younger brothers and sisters have Pokemon and Total Request Live. Carson Daly comes out for an hour or two every day and tells our kids who it's okay to love. And Carson Daly speaks for MTV, and MTV speaks for the record labels. It seems like the music industry made a collective decision a little more than five years ago that it was easier to market bubblegum, Carson Daly, and Gideon Yago than it was to market angst and Matt Pinfield. That music didn't need to be serious any more, because serious artists sue their record labels, go six years between albums, kill each other in drivebys, and shoot themselves. That if we couldn't have any more twenty album, multi-decade juggernauts, then we should build shorter life cycles for rock stars into the expectations of our next audience.

It's been five years of the Spice Girls and Destiny's Child, of Ricky Martin and boy bands, of Britney and Christina, J'Lo and Puffy and Aaron and Jessica and Mandy and Pink and 'Lil Bow Wow. MTV does their periodic features about the cyclic nature of pop music, their vague threats about the coming apocalypse of electronica and ska and swing and rock/rap hybrid super-bands, but all those features only have one message between them: record companies, you'd better keep paying us our fucking money or we're going to take away your gravy train. We're going to teach children that cute and disposable are bad things, that soft is only okay if it means something. We're going to put them in touch with all that anger and bitterness that their big brothers and sisters have, and there's going to be nothing for it except for you to go back to the real artists that you've shunned in favor of the cheap and manufactured crap you've been forcing down everyone's throats for years.

That's the message MTV occasionally sends. They send it, and when the record labels hear it, they're afraid. They pay their money, and MTV plays what they're paid to play.

And here I sit. The living room is dark except for the flickering blue light coming from the television screen. As it flashes, it illuminates me, here on my sofa in my boxers and a cowboy hat. Pan to the right, then down to my clenched fist, and there it is, my trusty bottle of Wild Turkey Rye. clenched in my fist. It's almost empty now, and when it's gone, I'm going to start cursing at the TV screen again. Before that happens, I need to shut everything down. I need to go into my bedroom. I need to read a book, I need to play some music that I'll never again hear on the radio, that I'll never again see on television. I need to stop watching MTV.

My mother is having a heart catheterization tomorrow morning, at either 9 or 10 am EST. Basically, they are cutting into the femoral artery and feeding a camera on a wire up through her arteries, and to her heart, in order to see if there are any problems. In the case that they find a problem, she is being sent directly to Columbus for surgery.

The theory of the doctors at present is that one of her bypasses (she had double-bypass heart surgery in January of 1998) has come loose. If this is the case, it means she has to have major surgery - i.e. the type of surgery it takes about 6 weeks to recover from.

Please keep her in your thoughts.

Irregular Zymurgy presents Autumnal Spiced Porter - batch number 02-8

The weather in the East Bay has begun its turn towards winter. Not that we have seasonal delineation, there may a week of summer even yet, but now foggy and drizzling days are the rule. Every time this happens I am surprised at how much I love it. The dark grey skies in the morning; the light grey of midday; wearing sweaters and coats. Yesterday I went to the brewing store to get supplies for two batches. Perhaps I didn’t get enough from the keg I sent north, perhaps it was the faint woodsy smell of autumn. Whatever it was, in addition to the supplies for the Basil IPA, I got stuff for a porter. And today, I shall brew the porter, for basil was way too expensive at the grocery store.

What I’m shooting for is a dark ale that, on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, will anticipate the spices in the roasted butternut squash, the pumpkin pie, and the dried fruit tart that will be feasted upon later.

    For those of you who have just tuned in, this evening we are brewing a spiced porter for autumn. We start with our simulation of a mash, that is, soaking the crushed malt to bring out the starches and the enzymes that the germination produces that would convert that starch to sugar. Take an 8 quart stockpot, and fill with
  • 1/2 gal filtered water,
  • 3/4 lb crystal 80L malt, and
  • 1/4 lb black patent malt.
    This pot is brought to about 180 deg F. Hold this temperature for about 30-45 minutes or while
  • 2 gal filtered water comes to a boil in a 5-gal stockpot.
    Once the larger pot is at a boil, strain the contents of the smaller pot into the larger. Sparge the steaming grains with about a pint of water.
    Add to the large pot, stirring so it won’t stick to the bottom,
  • 6 lbs dark malt extract,
  • 1 lb light malt extract, and
  • 1 lb honey.
    Allow the pot to return to boil, and add
  • 1 oz Hallertauer hops.
    After 45 minutes of boiling, add
  • 20 cloves,
  • 6 cinnamon sticks,
  • 3 oz grated fresh ginger, and another
  • 1 oz Hallertauer hops.
    Let this boil for 20 minutes. Then we strain the hops and spices out of the wort as we pour it over ice. In a hour or two we decant the bucket of wort into carboy, and add water to bring it to 5 gallons. This should cool the wort enough to pitch in Wyeast strain #1087 "Ale Blend".

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