Her name is Janet. I have recently taken a liking to this most beautiful person. However, I am sort of aloof, and I'm not sure how to go about this situation.

I figured it would be nice if I went to a cross country meet in which she was running. This seemed to be a good idea. Unfortunately, I was out late the night before, and I slept through my alarm. I woke up just as the girls race started. Bad timing. I got out of bed and threw on some clothes and my rollerblades. I skated hard for Schenley Park.

I was unaware of just how big Schenley Park was. It took me the better part of an hour to find any part of the race. When I found the track, the guys were racing. I missed the girls. I watched where the guys ran to, and I attempted to find the finish line. Eventually I got to the finish, however everyone was done racing.

I sat to loosen my blades as my feet hurt after an hour and some more of hard blading. As I sat alone with my sorrow for having messed up she walked by me. She sat down beside me. She talked to me. She was happy I came. We began talking for a little bit, until her coach told her that he was driving back to campus and offered her a ride. That left me alone again.

But hey, she appreciated my attendance, no matter how tardy I had been. She liked that I had supported her.

Earthquake! At 5:00pm PDT a Mag 4.2 quake hit 2 miles southwest of West Hollywood, California. That's about 9 miles from my house. I was noding on my PC at the time!

Downstairs in my office, the house took a single, hard impulse. Like a fast shove. Then the floor started to occilate up and down some. I actually saved my file (!) then moved to the doorframe, shouting "Get down! Get down!" despite the fact that I was at home alone. Then it was over. My neighbor poked her head out the window and asked if everything was ok. Car alarms were going off all over.

I was stoked! Really, really thrilling. The movement just goes and goes, bigger than anything I've ever felt.

Then I went inside and had a beer.

Note: It's been a while since I've written one of these. I'm going to do a lot of complaining because this shit in my head is beginning to drive me nuts and if I don't get it out soon I might hurt someone- perhaps myself. You might want to just scroll down past this one.

A lot's been going on lately- or, actually, not much at all, which is part of the problem. Last month I got fired from my job. I was the senior graphic and web designer there and they let go of me because I "have poor communication skills, have a different idea of design, have an attitude problem and have been difficult to work with." Of course, it's utter bullshit, but I packed my things and left. I didn't really want to, but I guess I got what I deserved. We'd spent three weeks on one splash page for the corporate website. When it was done it looked like crap. It was exactly according to spec, just the way the boss wanted it, but it still looked like crap and the boss said to scrap it. I got inspired at 4 AM that morning to rework the entire thing, got it done in 2 hours and waited for the boss and CEO to see it. They liked it. At which time I told them that I did it in 2 hours, not 3 weeks and if they would simply trust me to do my job, things would go a lot quicker. I also told them that they didn't know their ass from a hole in the ground when it came to design, which is exactly why they hired me in the first place. I was "let go" a few hours later.

Funny thing is that they contracted me last week to redo their version of the splash page (which sucked), giving me only a few hours to do it. Two and a half hours and $50 later my work was done. I just spent the last of that money earlier this evening and I'm once again penniless.

Since I got laid off I've been struggling just to make ends meet. I've done a few odd jobs here and there (even ripped up a hardwood floor for $50) to keep food in my stomach and cigarettes in my lungs, but times are tough right now. I've been living on the good graces of my friends and rush design jobs, but it isn't enough to keep me healthy and happy. "There but for the grace of God go I." All in all, I've made about $300 this last month- and I'm still $50 behind in rent. Tomorrow I'm supposed to take a job as a host at a local resturant, but I'm doing that reluctantly. Dammit, I'm a graphic designer, not a fucking dinner host.

I haven't been able to write worth a damn because I've been under so much stress lately. Creatively I've been drying up at an accelerated rate and it's ruining my soul. I live to create. My novel has hardly been touched and I've been less than happy with the small amount of design work I've done of late.

Friends keep telling me that things will pick up, that money will start rolling in as soon as people realize the artistic potential that's going to waste in me. But you know what? It's horseshit. I can appreciate my friends being supportive, but platitudes don't put food on the table. I need to be self-sufficient. I'm beginning to feel guilty when friends buy my coffee or pay for pool games for days on end. I have a very independent heart and being at the mercy of my friends for assistance bugs the shit out of me. I love them, I do, but I'm beginning to resent my growing debt to them. I know that I'd do for any of them what they've done for me, if I was in a position to, but it still irks me that I'm repeatedly asking for help.

So... I'm getting a shit job at a dead-end place, doing something I absolutely do not want to do. But it's better than feeling like a mooch. Maybe, when my bills and responsibilities are taken care of, my mind will unclutter and I can begin writing again. Damn, it's a good story, but my heart just isn't in it now. Too much other shit to stress about.

Stress, stress, stress. It's going to fucking kill me one day. Loneliness, confusion, dating, women, money, bills, debts, impending war, friends, work, faith... it's all been running around in my head like a skipping record, over and over again, plaguing my mind like a bad Jerry Lewis joke on a feedback loop.

I'm getting sick and tired of being sick and tired. This depression is going away, dammit, even if it's the last thing I do. I am going to forcibly drive this shit away. I need to start feeling more confident and sure of myself. I need to work again, even if it's a job I hate. I need to get out of the house and eat more than one meal a day.

I miss not being able to stop at Borders to buy a book when I feel the urge to read something new. I miss not being able to go out and see a movie when I feel like it. I miss not stopping off at Mr. Kim's Japanese resturant every Wednesday. I miss my old life, dammit, and I want it fucking back.

Joblessness sucks. Being broke is worse.

I saved a life today. Well.... perhaps not a whole life, but definitely a leg.

In itself, apart from receiving a medal of merit, and the iron cross this would not have made much of an impact on my life, but actually it did because the leg was attached to a 12 year old boy who was stuck between two branches, high up in a tree.
He was hanging head down, restrained only by his knee which undoubtedly would have shattered had he struggled.

Again, in itself: big deal. Kids fall off trees and get hurt everyday. But this was in a public park in broad daylight, and if I heard the heart-wrenching cries of agony, found the site of the accident and was able to climb the tree and rescue the leg by supporting the boy whilst phoning the fire brigade on my mobile, my question is... how comes the other ten individuals walking their dogs were so oblivious to them?

If I hadn't held up that boy, he would almost certainly have lost that leg. As it is, he'll have to undergo surgery to replace the kneecap and stop the limb from going black and falling off due to the bunged up blood circulation or something.
He is 12 years old.
He was hanging from that tree for a good ten minutes until I came.

And not one soul cared to try and find out why a child was screaming in obvious pain and calling for help.

Which bites.
Big time.

Poison Ivy SUCKS. For those fortunate enough to have never experienced it, let me elaborate. It is the devil's vine, Rhus radicans L., a low creeping and climbing vine with a sap and surface oil that cause contact dermatitis. Hah. As if those innocent words could describe the maddening itch and convulsive scratching the plant induces.

I was doing yard work at my new house yesterday, and I seem to have encountered a fair sized path sometime during the afternoon. I awoke at 4 AM with both arms inflamed and itching. After a cold shower I was able to sleep again, but upon awakening at six, my eyes were swollen almost shut. I'm debating on going to the doctor for a cortisone injection, as that's about all that relieves the symptoms for me. This bites.

Misty called and apoligised for her behavior on Friday. *sigh* I am just not sure about dating someone with bipolar disorder. Especially one who is stubborn and pushy even on medication. I suppose I can be patient at least, and see if she levels out after she's off the antibiotics, and her AD drug levels return to normal. I hope so. Ah shit the phones ringing again...better get back to work.

Yesterday I installed a little extra to my startup; every time I turn my computer on, Calvin and Hobbes appear quoting something...just now it was “A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day”- how true.

I am sad to announce that in all probability a little Italian bonsai will be undernourished and endangered soon, because as I can´t take it out directly on an (absent ) friend who gave this lovely plant to me, the bonsai will have to replace him for some time now.
Men, men, men. I don´t know.
I´ve met mostly American boys/men these last days through work, the girls don´t come as often to talk about their problems to me, apart from Katherine, a girl from Ripon College, but originally Chicago, who is already thirty and considerably more mature than most of the other students.
Anyhow, sofar everybody seems very friendly. I just walked back from University with Stephen from California who is well..amazing..he is how we Germans imagine an American in many respects..he loves to get drunk, goes hunting, and now he just told me he wants to finish school as quickly as possible to join the Marines and went on about the military careers of his brother who killed thousands in the Desert Storm and was awarded twice and how he wants to continue this military tradition within his family. He reminded me of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. I really didn´t know how to reply approriately, especially when he pointed out that the USA expects another war within the next three years and he seemed to look forward to joining in.
Excellent. I have no clue why he studies German.

The great writeup purge continues. Apparently someone's taken me on as a project--four more gone, none copyrighted, so it's purely aesthetic. Whatever. What a lonely sad job, going through the cruft of e2 looking for extraneous crap. I surely lack the motivation do do it to my own writeups. Whoever you are, good luck with that.

At least my node-fu keeps increasing. I guess that's pleasant. And I figure doing day logs will help keep the flux even.

I was hoping to do a great writeup on the real meaning of "the medium is the message" but others have already sone a sufficiently good job. I might have something to add but I need to think about it. I' m just now getting around to reading Understanding Media and it's quite a trip. Probably important for the average e2 user.

Now to more housework on my day off.

Just a rant. Nothing spectacular.

I got up at about About an hour before I'm supposed to go to Iowa Workforce Development (a office of the Iowa Department of Labor) to sign up for the IT Scholars program. With any luck, I'll have A+ and Net+ certification in about 8 months.

Now this IT Scholars program is a training program for people who have been unemployed for at least 7 days. There were a lot of people there, most of them older than my 24 years. Not suprised at the turnout, considering we now have the highest unemployment in 4 years.

So anyway, I'm sitting at my computer about 30 minutes before I need to leave to orientation for the IT Scholars program. I pull up CNN.com, and see that a 20 year old went on Sacramento, California's second killing spree in a month after losing his girlfriend and his job. He apparently said he was going to "outdo Soltys," the Ukrainian immigrant that went on a killing spree in August. Now, obviously, this guy had some issues. I say had, because the guy took his own life after a big shootout with the police. However, there's a lot of people who have a problem with the wiring between their ear, losing employment is one of those things that tends to set people off. You lose your job and your hopes; you don't think you have anything left to lose, so you go off and start killing the people that do.

Last weeks unemployment numbers were the highest in 4 years. The stock market keeps sliding. Energy prices are still high. It's the oil companys that are flushing our economy down the toilet. Captains of Industry my ass. More like Ass Pirates. They've got us bent over an oil barrel, fucking us with a raw deal on refined petrolium.

I hear so much about immigrant labor. Why do they come here? Why aren't their own countries self-sufficient? Well, part of it is all greed. Our companies are more than happy to pay immigrant to come to this country and work for less then most local people are willing to work. It seems like a great deal to the immigrant worker, because they can earn many times the wages they can earn at home. Of course, a lot of our corporation have operations in their home countries. The problem is, our corporations like to get a "good deal" on labor in other countries as well. They take advantage of lax labor laws and lax enforment of labor laws, low standards of living, the lack of minimum wages, and the lack of other opportunities all to get the cheapest labor they can get away with.

Now, I'm all for a business making a profit. Honestly, we're all in it for the money anyway. Most of us are not working our lives away because we LIKE it. We work to earn money, we work for the possibility of getting ahead, and we work for the possibility of living a more comfortable life. However, I'm not sure that we (as a workforce) are terribly much better off at the turn of the 21st century then we were at the turn of the 20th century. Sure, we have a lot of protections and manditory benefits now, but is labor REALLY doing any better? Labor Union strikes are being broken more effectively lately. Manpower, a temporary agency, is the nations largest employer, with permatemps being used to skirt benefit and wage laws.

It takes money just to better yourself to get steady employment with decent pay. Of course, where there's opportunity for people to better themselves and get a better station in life, there are those ready to cash in on it. How many "business colleges" do you see advertised, that promise a new high paying career if you get training through THEIR accreddited program? How much does it cost? How many are for Microsoft or Cisco certification? Oh yea, those Microsoft exams are $100 per test, too. Knowledge is free. The certifications that everyone wants costs, though.

I'm all for businesses making money. That's what business is there to do. However, I don't think business should be allowed to reap exorbatant profits while screwing Joe And Jane Public.

Oh well, I'm ranting, and somewhat tired ranting at that.

A man spoke with a Jamaican lilt, introducing each designer. The setting, in a chapel in Hackney, leant the proceedings the air of a parish fete. Here, several young and obscure fashion designers presented their work.

In truth, the event was badly attended. The press was noticeable by their absence and the models were rarely troubled by explosions of camera luminesence. This was not a fashion show that would influence the minds of the great and the good in London's more trendy areas but some outstanding work was on display.

I sat on the front row with my gf while a troupe of stunning women cavorted down the stage before me. Invariably tall and thin, their facial expression was set in a masque of seduction. They wore the most revealing clothes and ridiculous appendages (one girl had to carry a stuffed owl) with equanimity.

After the show we headed to The Dove, a bar near Bethnal Green. It is famed for its fine Belgian beer. I tried a Triple Karmelite. It is a strong beer at 8% strength but its character is smooth and sweet. Having supped some of Belgium's finest, it is difficult to face a Carlsberg or Heinekin again.

Whee. So the matriculation examinations have begun, and I'm on my way for a white hat, hopefully. The start wasn't from the best end (11/20), but hey, every man has to start somewhere. It's not like anyone needs to understand swedish anyways (I mean, just compare swedish and finnish presence on E2 and draw your own conclusions...).

Hey ho. It seems my spacebar magically fixed itself. Strange. Well, anyways, yesterday someone I might call a friend called. I haven't been in touch with him much lately, though he moved back here after a failed attempt studying in a university. In fact I've been a bit avoiding occasionally; I've had in past some suspicions of his motives. Specifically, sometimes it seems he thinks I'm gay. I'm not. No, it's not a closet thing. Anyhow, he called last night and started ranting about massive neural networks; specifically, he was intent on the idea of some sort of mega-brain developing spontaneously over some media in our world we aren't aware of currently (I think he meant something like in ac, asimov's Gaia or Nemesis planet etc, only more global). I, being a vicious rampant atheist, laughed at his idea and proceeded to question him if he has turned religious or if not, if he has any clue about evoluation at all. I mean, really! What sort of evolutionary pressure pushes for interplanetary consciousness? Sheez...

It turns out he's going the way I've seen one friend go already; flip on the kook side. He tried to say that there's life after death by rather hazy references to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics and the "everything is possible" / "everything is true" / "nothing is absolutely true" line. After some hour or two of rants about non sequitur, invisible pink unicorns, monsters who are called "glarf" and will eat anyone who says "blarf" and such, I though anyone with a sense would see why such ideas need a bit more work, but no. I'm now fairly convinced that religion does something to your brain, and I'm not talking about englightenment.

Yea, I know, it's terribly arrogant to dismiss such ideas just like that. It's the arrogance of youth, you know -- you can bet your alpha edition mint black lotus that if I look back at today when I'm some 30 or whatever (assuming I live that long... not certain at all), I'll be chuckling and thinking "such gall, to think I knew everything". Well, to future me: Screw you!

Mmm. And if you happen to harbor thoughts similar to ones I described this nameless friend above presenting, feel free to throw a tomato on the wall.

Am doing great on my diet. No really, I am. Losing weight very quickly, gaining strength in my weak little arms, I had to increase weight on nearly everything in the gym this week, what a shock! I am very happy lately, lots of exercise, and this week I will be doing a lot of work at work instead of goofing off. I'm so far behind, I have to. Spent much time at Renfaire this weekend, it was fun. Got much too drunk on Saturday though, I was a very very bad girl. That behavior won't happen again, it was shameful.

Ahem. Anyway, I haven't been writing many nodes lately, simple not-love-related happiness has found its lovely way into my life, so I haven't been driven by angst or maudlin psychodrama, and I have been too lazy to think of and actually research and write factual nodes.

My dearest M., the old ex-boyfriend, went camping with me, my two sons and a good friend (and her 5 yr. old) last weekend. It was a strange experience. His neediness, addiction, and other odd neuroses, just leapt out at me. I was surprised to find out his level of being; people's true natures (or worst, or best) are more apparent when you spend an entire weekend with them as opposed to a lunch or dinner.

I have to be the bearer of bad news. I am very sorry. I tried to contact those people who I thought should be told personally, however that was not possible in a timely fashion. For those of you who are hearing about this now, please know that I am sorry I could not let you know personally.

Hermetic, a noder among us, well loved and active in the community, died this morning, September 10, 2001, at age 26.

Details beyond this may or may not be made public information, depending upon the wishes of the family.

I'm sorry to give out so little information, but this happened only a matter of hours ago. Today is a heartbreaking day. I know many people will have many questions about this, and I am willing to share what I know with those who knew him. Please understand, however, that I am grieving also. For now, it is best to e-mail me, ophie@slack.net.

Peace and love be with him.


I don't normally write daylogs but it isn't a normal day when we, the Everything community (Everything IS a community) lose one of our members. I am referring to the very sad news that Hermetic has passed on.

I don't know what to say, really, but I feel I must say something. I didn't know Hermetic (Adam, I'm told) and don't recall talking to him in the chatterbox, but I have read some of his work. I'm told Adam is leaving behind 3 children. I wish I could do something for them, but I don't know how I can replace a father for them.

I feel my throat choking up a little. I've been a member of E2 since just this April, but I never realized how enmeshed I had become in its culture, its friendly banter and serious discussions, its... community. To lose one of the community is like losing a friend I know in real life... it's like a howl in the night, rocking you awake, suddenly very awake. I just want to take this space to let you all know how much I like and respect you (and, yes, even love you) for being here and making E2 what it is today. Thank you, everyone. Thank you, Hermetic.

Funny how a silly website can develop such feelings.

I leave you a fragment of Saliva's "My Goodbyes"... these are MY goodbyes to you, Adam.

I feel like I wasted time when I didn't have you on my mind
I feel like I'm all alone
How could I have known you would leave my side?
It all was so simple then when it all began
And I was your smile
And now you're just words in stone
You're just dust and bones
And I'll join you there in time
Oh my God, how did I make it this far?
Why can't I be where you are?
Oh my God I think I'm dying
Oh my God why can't you take it away
Or give me just one more day of just apologizing?

Rest in Peace, Adam.

I knew this would happen to us someday, but I didn't know how much it would hurt.

We all die. I just wish Hermetic had waited another fifty years or so to do it.

In his writeup under hermetic, he ended his brief description of himself with the words:

I am not at all happy.

Reading his nodes, it's obvious that he was in a lot of pain. He was not at all happy, but I hope being a part of the E2 community made him happier than he would have been otherwise.

Maybe those of you who are part of a community of faith can have your folks pray for Adam, and for those he left behind. Whether you are or are not, please let's send whatever good we can into the world by way of response.

Sometimes it gets very, very dark here, and we all have do what we can to keep the lights burning.

You are warm and wonderful, soft and softer-spoken still, murmuring one or two words at a time in my ear with tones that glowed all night. ‘I like your kisses’ you whisper when I am turned away. ‘I could kiss you all night,’ breathed softly through my hair, and I am swooning. Your hand on me gently, so quiet I can scarcely feel the pressure, only the heat through the fabric, and your breath, faster and faster.

I don’t believe it. I am so very sad to know I can’t.

Love is love is love, it doesn’t have to last forever. Love is love is love, it doesn’t have to last.

This is the fifth kiss in a year, and the four before it have meant nothing to any of the boys who have come to me, or who have however so briefly let themselves be found. I am sad and faithless and ready for disappointment.

I have my speech prepared for when you don’t call, trying to explain to you my disappointment without establishing feeling, trying to explain to myself there’s nothing to find so disappointing.

I am hoping
I am hoping
I am hoping.

He called....

I didn't know Hermetic at all. If you had asked me yesterday, "Hey, is there a noder named Hermetic?" I would have replied, "I dunno. Probably."

It seems like the consensus in the chatterbox is that he committed suicide. I don't know if that's true or not. I rather hope it isn't, not because I think he's assured damnation or something, but because I don't like suicide in general. It's his right - it's everyone's ultimate right, I suppose. Still, it's my belief that there's always something to live for, even if it's just to see what the next day will bring.

Work is slow and boring, as usual. It's not as bad, though, as it could be. A customer is trying to get his laptop modem to work with his cell phone, and he's using a 3Com cable with a generic PCMCIA modem. I updated the drivers on the modem, which didn't do any good, so I'm going to post to a.c, probably, and see if anyone knows anything there.

One of these days I'm going to post an updated w/u on Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak. I've been watching it for the past two weeks on Cartoon Network, and the format is fairly clear. Otherwise, I haven't noded much. Writeups on a couple of Nick Cave songs detailing (briefly) their inspirations, and then my w/u on Necronomicon.

I feel like I'm just killing time until the move. 9 months is a lot of time to kill. There are days at work when I'm more productive than others - I'm trying not to slip too deeply into apathy, but it's tough. I'm tired of being, as someone in this daylog puts it, a "technical support goon".

On the tech issue, Akos Maroy released a new version of Darkice, a program to feed Shoutcast/IceCast servers. Now it supports Shoutcast, so I'll be trying it out soon. The cool thing is that I e-mailed him asking if Darkice had Shoutcast support, and that's what prompted him to add it. I feel special. :)

The big news is that I got back in touch with my oldest friend (I've known him since I was 5, and I'm 25 now,) Lucas. He used to own a game shop, but he was getting undercut by upstart shops nearby, and so he sold the shop and went to work as a graphic designer. Which is very cool, as he had always been an artist.

My mom makes really good shribble soup.

It's an old family dish from somewhere, and I've never been able to duplicate it. I can come close, and those who've never had it made by my mom don't know how good it "really" is, even though they like my soup. But then I wonder if my mom's mom's shribble soup was better than hers, and if I'm only getting a pale imitation the way my culinary experimentees are getting one from my kitchen?

I think that this is how the world is getting shittier and shittier.

I'm the kids' department head at work; other people can find books there, because I've got it organized, but I'm the resident expert. After I leave the job it'll take a long time, probably more than a year, to get someone to do the job as well as I do.

No one will ever live my life that well.

Every time someone dies the world gets shittier and shittier. Sure, we all have our values and can apprentice people to our talents, but we always end up with that shadow of imitation, that "not quite as good" syndrome, until said apprentice has had time to grow into his/her occupation, whatever it may be. Or it might be as good but in a different way. There is no replacing any one of us.

So who's going to maintain my Web page after I die? Or will it just be erased? Who's going to try to publish my novels if I die before I can? Maybe they will never be read. Who will tell my friends? I think about this.

And it makes me sad beyond belief that I never knew Hermetic, because now I never will, along with the thousands of other people who left the earth just today.

And one day, there will be hundreds of millions who will never have the chance to know me.

I feel lonely.

On that note, as my body eats itself, my now-obligatory diet menu daylog:

1 granola bar: 110 calories

1 apple: 80 calories
1 crescent cake: 65 calories
1 cup blueberries: 80 calories
1 container yogurt: 110 calories

1½ cup salad: 15 calories
2 tablespoons lite Miracle Whip: 40 calories
1 tablespoon Heinz Ketchup: 15 calories

¾ cup broccoli: 30 calories
1 packet oatmeal: 100 calories
½ cup skim milk: 45 calories
¼ cup lite syrup: 30 calories
12 "Crispy Crowns" hash browns: 170 calories
1 tablespoon Heinz Ketchup: 15 calories

Calorie total: 935. To play with today: 65, and I already ate a handful of Wheat Thins so it's probably gone. I would like to eat a lot because I'm as close as I get to being depressed, but I won't, 'cause then I'll feel more depressed for breaking the diet, and it might bleed into other days. And that'd be anarchy. Oh my.

I do not daylog.

My life is not interesting enough, especially not at the moment. I have just finished school, and I am looking for a job to finance further studies. I live in an apartment that I and my family just moved to, so I spend my days installing kitchen appliances and computers, wiring the house, getting furniture in and out, looking for a job, and sleeping too much. Occasionally I look out the window and see rain and wet concrete. If I were to daylog, every entry would be identical.


Today I have some writing that needs to be written. The daylogs provide a somewhat appropriate forum for this writing. However, it is far from ideally suited for it, but the writing seems not to care and seeps through my fingers, for there is really no place where it is a lesser misfit.

The thoughts I must type were triggered by the tragic news (if only those words were not so worn out!) we received today of Hermetic. Sadly, I am relatively new here (at the time of writing, I have been here for some four months), and in the dust whirled up around the boots of the army of noders, I guess Hermetic's path never really crossed mine, and I did not get to know him. Having read his writings after receiving today's news, I can but deeply regret this.

I beg pardon of those near him to be so presumptuous as to create an image of Hermetic that may be a distortion of reality and will most certainly be a simplification of it, but I feel compelled to state that it seems we have lost a dedicated noder who would put an implicit quality insurance on every piece of information or thought. More importantly, perhaps, the world seems to have lost another person who, in his own unique way, filed under the group of people who are too nice for reality to treat them well. Yes, there are many people like this in the world, most of them overlooked as I am ashamed to say I overlooked Hermetic, or in a more active manner. Still, there are too few people like this. Way too few. (It should be noted that yours truly is not one of them.)

The coming part of this inevitable writing is much more personal, and should not be associated with Hermetic. It is only related to him in that the news of the loss, what I read about and by him, and certain recent and not-so-recent events in my own life and in the lives of people that are or have been close to me led me to think certain thoughts, that are not to be related, much less equated to the actual circumstances here. Again, I know I am taking the risk of offending or hurting people, venting my uninformed assumptions here, but the importance of the following is inherent and not related to the events that contributed to its coming into being.

Life is a damn hard thing to live with. Life is by far the single most difficult thing that will happen to any human being, because it includes all the misery one will experience and every single scratch and wear and tear that one will be subjected to. Most people cannot cope with this themselves. Quoth Aristotle: "Without good friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."

Your friends need you. You need your friends. Both statements are valid even when you feel like they are not. They are always valid to a greater extent than you will grasp. Keep this in your mind roughly in the same place you keep the concept of infinity, only more accessible. Do not attempt to work out your own problems. Your friends will be glad to help you. They will feel good that they have done something to help you; so asking for help is in fact doing them a favor. And yes, your business is their business, if they are your close friends.

Needless to say, having very few friends is dangerous, as one might lose friends in a number of ways, some more painful than others, and having too many can lead to superficiality.

Friends are also, to most people, an important part in battling the effects of the hardships posed by life and sometimes even the natural chemicals in their own body. I sincerely believe that in many, yet far from all, good friends can cure depression.

Staying on that topic, I should say that I also believe there is no single way to cure depression, no universal remedy. I believe I have seen enough depression (and yes, I mean depression and not just moodiness or teen angst) in family, friends, acquaintances, lovers lost, and myself. In some cases, professional help is the way to go. Counseling and medication is a common and sometimes very effective way to go. Medication alone has been claimed to work for some, but is a very dangerous option, in the extent that it should even be considered an option. Some find that their friends are better counselors. Personally, just the thought of paying a stranger to listen to my problems and figure out how I should deal with them seems absurd. I prefer to open up to someone I know cares genuinely.

Another method that is sometimes effective is pattern-breaking. Do things differently, or do a different thing altogether, just for one time. Just the feeling that one can do something different can be enough to give a feeling of control that is sometimes lacking. Physical exercise is a subset of this. I am personally a long-distance runner (not a good one, mind you), and to me, running is therapy. I got through some of the hardest months of my life by daily sessions at the gym in the afternoon to relieve stress and tension that would make my whole body shiver at day. However, this too can be dangerous, and coupled with eating disorders can lead to really nasty results. Be careful, but be open-minded.

Depression kills. In my country alone, 2,000 people in a population of about 8,500,000 chose to end their own lives every year at the beginning of the last decade. It is a serious disease. It is caused by chemical reactions, and is not the sign of the affected having done anything wrong. It is not something to be ashamed of. It needs to be dealt with, and like any disease, the prognosis is better the earlier it is dealt with. The method should vary from person to person, but if you or someone you know are/is affected by it, make sure that something is being done to deal with it.

I am sadly aware of how futile this is, and the fact that given the same advice myself, I would take perhaps half of it. Still, I must point it out if there is even a trace of hope that it can make a difference somewhere, somehow, for someone.

Once again I would like to remind the patient reader who has come this far that the above, except where it is explicitly stated, is unrelated to today's tragic news. If I have hurt or offended anybody, I will eagerly do what I can to meet your wishes. This was written in the hope of making a positive impact, but if I find that it has the opposite effect, I will not hesitate to modify or remove it entirely. Please /msg me your thoughts.

Finally, I would like to send my condolences to those close to Hermetic, and to those of you who, like me, were not so fortunate, go read some of his writeups, and see why he was an extraordinary person, and then node some good stuff in the honor of his memory. Thank you.

Garden Journal 9/10/2001 Zone 7

I recently gave up the battle to save the pink "wave" petunia from powdery mildew. I picked browning leaves and kept it faithfully deadheaded then trimmed it back but the mildew was just getting worse. SO, I sprayed it with Safers Fungicide and by evening the whole plant looked dead. Pulling it out left a large gap in my front planter. Today I filled the gap with some lamb's ears, a sad pot bound bronze coral-bells and some rooted coleus. It is very hard to find any annuals for sale this time of year despite several months of good weather still expected. If I were smart I would pot up a few spares early in the year for such gaps. Fall blooming crocuses would be great. No one carries them around here. I must order some by mail next year.

The buddleia is blooming in great abundance after getting a couple of doses of Miracle Grow. On my walks I see a lot of neglected buddleias. This plant needs regular dead heading to maintain an anywhere near neat appearance. It is not an attractive bush even at its best and covered with old dead brown blooms it is downright ugly.

I found the first egg case for next year's praying mantis.

Crickets are starting to appear frequently. I catch a few for Cary's frogs when possible.

Need to order or purchase bulbs for the front planter and plant the 'piano tuner' daffodils in the groundcover under the small maple tree.

Bronze fennel is an aggressive spreader with enormous roots. Despite its attractive foliage and the fact that it is the food source for the swallowtail butterfly I am removing great amounts of it. I will save some seed to sprinkle around the local drainage ponds, along with some Joe Pye weed seeds.

Gone only a day, even now I'm remembering with distant fondness the giggles we left sitting on the shelves at the toy store like some immaterial Winnie the Pooh whose baby-toy softness makes tactile hedonism the most compelling future.

Try saying that three times fast.

Dark and stormy nights aside, I really ought to admit that I am smitten. How else could it have turned out? It's the sort of domestic romance I live for, and you filled the role wearing Donna Reed's apron and Enid's wit. What more could a homebody like me want (except maybe a fireplace)?

Of course it's ill-advised, and I expect nothing more than a lingering want and a toothache from the foil-wrapped, sweet memories you left on my kitchen counter. Even so, I'm enjoying the fuzzy admiration brought on by easy intimacy and effortless conversation. I remember who I used to be, and you bring out just a little of that in me. Not the sulky, broken boy, but the one with the sharp wit and sharper pen. He wrote you a letter last night in which he skirted the issue and asked diversionary questions. You will, no doubt, see through it. Being kind, you will say nothing, but only smile to yourself and bathe in the veiled flattery, perhaps with tea candles and the scent of lavender or jasmine.

Outcomes aside, I can't remember when I last felt this way: so confident, so whimsical, childlike, or purely satisfied. And yet, I can't say why. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc, no? It had to be you.

Thank you. See you again soon?

It now seems a bit of a trifle compared to what happened down in the US September 11, 2001 but it was a lot more personal, and could well have killed me. I was hit by a Semi on the Nanaimo Parkway just north of the interchange with the Trans Canada while heading to class at Malaspina University College. The crash occurred at 1:10pm PDT when the semi (in the inner of three lanes)changed lanes into me(in the middle lane) just after the inner lane from an intersection joined with the middle and outer lanes from an overpass. I was sent spinning into the grassy median area and nearly entered into an oncoming lane (fortunately there was not much traffic in either direction).

The damage to my car was a partially flat front driver side tire, loss of my side view mirror, smashed bodywork along the driver side, and the steering wheel was out of whack. After trading information with the Truck driver and a witness from the oncoming side I managed to drive along the shoulder for the short remaining distance to Malaspina and parked there. I called my Mom and then attended my remaining classes (ending at 9:00pm PDT) and was picked up by my Mom. Before leaving we informed campus security, who allowed us to leave the car in the lot until the next day.

I made 4th level yesterday. Woo hoo. My first thought, "Have I earned my bullshit yet?" My second thought: "Now I can C! people." I immediately signed up to mentor because I'm chill like that. I have to confess that my noding quantity spiked yesterday to meet the goal, but I don't think the quality suffered too horribly bad. I noded the last of my family recipes, a poem of mine, and some lyrics. All these things, I have been thinking about noding for a long time so I was only noding for numbers in one little sense of the term.

This weekend was a lazy one. Other than noding, I didn't do much. Still, I had some insomnia, and I took a sleeping pill last night to get some sleep. Big mistake. Today I am a zombie. I slept on the bus. I am barely awake now at my desk at work. I'm glad I don't have any meetings today.

My wife and I watched some movies this weekend. We rented Monkey Bone, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Book of Shadows (Blair Witch 2). Jesus, Monkeybone was bad. It was nice to see Rose McGowan, but other than that there was not five minutes in that movie worth a damn. Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was good. I'm surprised it got such bad press. My wife and I were big fans of the first one, so we really got into the sequel. Of course O Brother was good. I saw it in the theater and thought it was the funniest movie I had seen in a long time, and it holds up a year or so later on video. George Clooney really demonstrates that he can act and do comedy. Priceless. And the soundtrack is great. I never thought I would say positive things about bluegrass, but it really isn't that bad. There is some really dark, messed up bluegrass out there. Take Oh Death, for instance.

Last night before bed, she asked me who would win — Xena or the Blair Witch. I said the Blair Witch. The Blair Witch would make Xena think she won, but as Xena was carried off to the medieval funny farm, she would learn she actually killed Gabrielle, Joczur, and about 500 other people. My wife's argument was that Xena would use her shamanic powers and make the Blair Witch her bitch. She would also enlist the help of a bunch of heavies like Beowulf, Thor, and Hercules or something. I think I have the better argument, but she is probably right. Xena can do anything.

In other news, I actually had to wear a jacket today. The temperature this morning felt like it was in the 40s, but it was probably in the mid 50s. Still, the bus stop was quite chilly.

As lunch time approaches, I have done no work. I am so sleepy all I can do is click from link to link in my browser, meandering around the web like a tumbleweed. Further proof of my stupor: I just hit the Insert key about 6 times, thinking I was hitting the Backspace key. Why couldn't I figure it out sooner? My synapses are filled with molasses.

I was thinking about putting a writeup under E2 tips for Palm users, but I decided to put what I would write here. I think that node was fairly complete without my help, and my contribution probably wouldn't have added much value. Anyway, here is my Palm tip:

Set up a category in your memo pad called Everything2. Add memos called "Allies," "Downvotes," "Enemies," "Node ideas," "Nuke request," "To C!" and "Upvotes." In these memos, you do the obvious.

  • In Allies, you list the people who are nice to you so you don't forget them.
  • In Downvotes, you list the nodes you want to be sure and vote down. Not that anyone would ever downvote.
  • In your Enemies list, you list the people you want to smite, so you don't forget them.
  • In Node Ideas, you list all those miraculous node ideas you get while sleeping, in the shower, etc.
  • In Nuke Request, list all the nodes you want to give the axe (when you get around to it.)
  • To C! is fairly self explanatory. The C!s come slow, so it pays to remember the nodes you really like.
  • Upvotes is like Downvotes except better for the karma.
This is how I use my Palm Vx to navigate the nodegel.

It's kind of funny, looking into the past like this. In Internet time, most of this place is ancient history; a snapshot from a world mostly the same as today, but at the same time so very different. Browsing here while logged in feels like perusing a time capsule or flipping through an old guestbook: most of the users haven't logged on in a decade or more and you find yourself wondering if any of them even remember it existed. Wondering how they might be doing now. It's heartwarming to see it still being used, but its heyday was unquestionably long, long ago.

I was too young to remember most of this period - a snowy memory of a pets.com commercial is a memento I hold onto dearly - but I feel a little wistful for it anyway. It was a fulcrum in time where the Internet was a new and exciting frontier, before social media made daylogs blasé, where computers were usually beige-colored and if you had a Pentium III with more than 30 GB of hard drive space, you were doing well. It was the glorious heyday of the Dreamcast, a machine that enthusiasts regard now as the videogame equivalent of Woodstock. More pertinently to this particular date, it was a time where those who gathered here were grappling with a tragic loss of heartbreaking timing. More pertinently to the world, it was an age before 9/11 changed our culture and politics forever.

I was a little kid when it all went down, living in the middle of the woods in a little house in a kid's typical little bubble of a world. I remember seeing it on TV from the floor of our main hall, toy car by my hand, Mom standing off to the side. The very idea that so many other people could have, up until then, been communicating online about their ordinary pre-9/11 lives would have mystified young me, who had no idea the Internet existed. Most of what they talked about would have mystified me even more, but I digress.

Now that I'm older and maybe wiser, in a world growing madder by the day, I can't help but feel that terrible event ultimately ended up hardening our hearts. I came of age after that happened, obviously, so I never got to know the world that existed before it, the world before the hopeful optimism of the 1990s gave way to the biting weariness of the 2000s. In a way, I'm definitely still mystified by the '90s, by that peaceful period where we had so little to worry about that we in the Western world thought "conformity" was our biggest issue.

Maybe it's just my social isolation talking - my parents never truly gave up the woods, or for that matter escaped poverty. Maybe it's me subconsciously pining for a better childhood. Maybe my entire analysis is wrong and I'm an idiot. But whenever I remember this place in time, part of me wishes I could travel back in time to visit it. To talk to its people, hear its latest hits and bask in its aura. You might think with the current nostalgia boom that I don't need to, with Napster once again officially a (now legal) thing and an increasing amount of '90s media being given a second lease on life. Buddy, it just wouldn't be the same.

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