Its Sunday morning here in Australia, and I just had a huge laugh after seeing the new Toyota Camry ad in the paper. To explain why, lets take a little trip back in time.

It's January. It's summer. And it's hot. Me and five of my closest friends are in the city celebrating my 20th birthday. We'd been in Soup Plus, a funky underground jazz club for a couple of hours. Then we decided to leave, and go in search of coffee and cocktails. Skip forward five minutes. We're walking past the Martin Place fountain, and my friend and I exchange smiles. We had a brilliant idea. A minute later. Shoes off and bags in a pile. A minute later. My friend and I are swimming/splashing in the fountain. Can you blame us? It's too hot even for summer. Five minutes and a couple of photos later. And we've renewed our now dripping wet search of cocktails and coffee.

Return to present time. Now you can't blame me for having a good laugh when I looked at the latest Camry ad. It shows a picture of an empty Martin Place. A car parked in the middle. And a man in a business suit, climbing dripping wet out of Martin Place fountain. The text reads Buy a Camry, then do something crazy!!!

You can make your own opinion about me and craziness. For my friend and I it was just a little fun, and a great way to get cool on a summer night in the middle of Sydney.

I remember that night..

If it was anyone else, bexxta, i would have said the fountain dance was induced by drinking several double vodka and lemonades. But because it was you, and your free spirit, i don't think anything would have made you jump in that fountain apart from your sillyness!!!

Personally i wouldn't go near that fountain, it smelt funny *holds nose*

The Tale of A Misunderstood WU
Original pre-Node Heaven WU with explanatory note

infinite monkeys theorem

The whole idea of a million monkeys typing away for a million years and finally creating the works of Shakespeare is really a sort of backhanded compliment. Sure it took a long time -- but a monkey did it! So ol' Will shouldn't feel so special, now, should he?

Besides, how is this pertinent to E2? I haven't noticed many exquisite works of fiction emerging from the nodegel; mostly just monkeys, sex, and soy. The next node you read is far more likely to have been written by some embittered Libertarian or zealous anti-Christian than by a budding classic poet.

Yes, I'm probably talking about you, dear reader -- you complicitous little teenage bastard filling up the database with your illiterate angst. I don't care if she dumped you, they don't care if she dumped you, and she obviously didn't give a flying fuck either.

Where was I, oh yeah, there's no Shakespeare here. So, being that the average E2 node doesn't call Stratford-On-Avon home, it's at best a waste of time and at worst just lunacy to worry about how many monkeys...yak, yak, typewriters...mmeh...etc.

More appropriate here would be a whole new monkey-node rating scale. Nodes would be rated by the number of monkeys + writing utensil + time required that we estimate it would take to produce them. Most of this worthless shit would get something like 5 monkeys, a crayon, and maybe an egg-timer's worth of seconds.

5, 100, 1000, a million. Crayon, pencil , typewriter, word-processor. A minute, a day, a week, a year. Mix and match. Be creative. Let the sorry little shits know just exactly how worthless their nodes are.

I understand that literature and writing are somewhat a matter of taste. I'm not a big fan of Hawthorne: reading The Scarlet Letter in high school was torture. But if I ever run into some of you illiterate yokels at an E2 Gathering, be forewarned that I'm going to scrawl a big red "I" on your forehead. And you'd better keep your goddamn souvenir WorldCon keychain out of my face, you senseless geek.

Enough. It's dinner time. There's still some uneaten pizza left from last night. Besides, I've got crayons to sharpen and nodes to fill.

I fully intended to enter the above WU in Demeter's Great E2 Fin de Siecle Fiction Challenge. In fact the original WU had a hardlink to the challenge identifying it as an entry.

I was pleased with the writeup even though it wasn't really a story; fiction has many forms. I thought this bombastic little rant very well done. In fact, my hands were getting sore from patting myself on the back.

So, I browsed over to The Great E2 Fin de Siecle Fiction Challenge to notify Demeter my entry was ready - only to realize that I had procrastinated too long; the entry deadline had expired five days earlier. Jesus did I feel like an idiot. So I went back to my finite monkeys theorem WU and removed the fin de siecle hardlink. I wanted it to just quietly go away and hoped no one would recognize my calendarical mistake.

I didn't think anymore of it until about 10 days later - when Gritchka C!ed it. Almost simultaneously I found out it was nuked, with penalty, and accompanied by a rather annoying Klaproth message.

Through some private messaging I've come to learn this misunderstood WU had a few E2 gods/editors fooled - but not Gritchka. Obviously the person who sent it to Node Heaven didn't realize the constraints I was writing under or that it was meant to be humorous.

So, given the obvious skill required to confuse the E2 gods and editors, I have belatedly awarded myself first prize in The Great E2 Fin de Siecle Fiction Challenge. So there1.

1 So there in The Boomer Bible is the equivalent of Amen in the Christian bible.

It sometimes takes a drunk friend's latenight phonecall to make you realize the strength of a friendship...

I was reclined on the couch, comfortably holding an airline blanket (you know, the thin, navy blue kind...), my tears began to well up. I was watching VH1's tribute to the people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The song choice, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, was very fitting with the imagery that was displayed. I just couldn't help but to cry. I really needed the emotional release...

A quick aside: After the attack, I've felt the wierdest mix of emotions. I've been angered, confused, uncertain, hopeful, you name it. I've also become very numb. By the time the third day rolled around, I was tired of seeing the 24/7 live, via satellite, direct to your home, in your face coverage. Not that I'm cold and blackhearted; I just couldn't take it anymore...

*RING*. Who the hell would call me now? I answered the phone to find a very cheery and an obviously intoxicated friend. As it turned out, she and two other friends of mine were on their way up to Rochester to visit, yet another friend who attends RIT.

I should break off here to give you a little background... Somehow over the last year and a half I've switched from one group of friends to a different group of friends. I feel more akin to these people than I have ever felt with my school friends. The thing here is, they are all one year older than me. This year being the year that everyone went off to college, left me being stuck at home. It gets lonely sometimes; I'll admit that.

Ok, so on the way up to Rochester, their car broke down in Buffalo. By the way she sounded, I could tell that they were all fine, so I didn't bother to ask. "We smoked some pot before and now we've moved on to some rrrrrrrraspberry vodka," she told me quite proudly. Quickly followed up with (as drunk conversations tend to go), "I miss you Dys." (Yep, they call me by my 'net handle...) "We asked ourselves, 'Who's around to talk to now?' Even though I'm slightly drunk, I can still remember your phone number! We even made a song about it. Good times, good times. It was nice that you came up to Allegheny over Labor Day weekend. When are you going to come up again?" That made me smile. With everyone being away, I've been subconciously attempting to move away from them (I have no idea why. I really wish that I would not do that.). Hearing her say that made me realize the strength of a good friendship. Not one to talk alot on the phone, I just let her continue her stream of conciousness. She mused about how hard her Art History class is, how much fun our winter ski lodge acid trip was, and how much I need to come visit up at school. We discussed plans to go see The Recipe next weekend, and I pretty much made plans on the spot to go visit Allegheny the weekend after that.

It's those weird things that make you feel good. Even with the nation-wide unity that's going on, I still felt left out until 12:01am this morning. Maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but that made me feel one hell of alot better.

It's been a nasty week for me, and not just for the reasons that my fellow Everythingians experienced with me.

This is, if everything goes according to Hoyle, my last year of undergraduate study. I was supposed to have gotten an internship this term, but the lab I was hoping to work at hasn't gotten back to me. I emailed my contact and received the message:

Your application has been circulated, but there has been no response yet.

That was it. That was the full text of her reply. Fat load of good that does me to know. I'm supposed to be emailing somebody else to see if I can get some strings pulled, but my professor has been three days lax about responding to my message with the email address of the person I'm supposed to talk to. He's a busy guy, but I'd feel better about things if I could get pro-active.

Anyway, the reason why this is so important is that I need one more Computer Science class to win my B.S. at the end of the year. One alternative that I considered was an independent study following up the OpenGL-based graphics course I took last year. Unfortunately, I can't take that this term because, as I said, the professor who understands the subject is busy this term. Now, it would be possible for me to shuffle some credits around and take the independent study in the spring, but that would make my spring _very_ tricky.

See, I'm already trying to take Statistics for math majors, JAVA programming, and act as preceptor for a philosophy/literature class where I can talk about postmodernity. Throwing an independent study on top of that could be a serious problem... Oh, and around this time I should theoretically be finishing my honors thesis as well.

My current idea is that maybe I should start expanding my knowledge of OpenGL now, while I have time, which would mean that I'd already have work done when spring comes and I'd actually be taking the class. I don't know if that's a good idea or not.

Anyway, so it would also seem that most of my friends ended up moving out of my dorm over the summer to accomidate the annual housing crisis that occurs when the school decides to once again accept a record number of students. Not that there are freshmen here, but people my age mostly got moved into the 21-and-over dorms. As a result, I seem to be living with sophmore jocks rather than senior English and CS majors. I have the joy of being located on the first floor right next to the front door, a blessing on moving day, but not so much on weekend nights when I can hear their inane drunken conversations and smell their cheap cherry-flavoured tabacco.

From what I've overheard from conversations on the stoop, these are the types of jocks who regularly try to get into the pants of highschool girls, which means that I have to put up with their bubbly complaints about how much it sucks that they have to get people to buy their beer and cheap cherry-flavoured tobacco for them. Needless to say this doesn't make late night coding any easier, let alone actual sleep.

Last night while I was gone, somebody smashed the glass on the candy machine. When I got back at 4 AM, the RA was filling out a damage report.


At a friend's going-away(-indefinitely-to-study-scary-postgrad-AI-work-at-Berkeley) party tonight I was caught off-guard when she pressed a book into my hand as I was leaving.

What strangeness is this? Guests give the presents at parties, not hosts... looking into my hands to take a better look, I found myself recalling the look, feel and smell of that particular volume lent by me five years and a different life ago.

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus & Other Essays

When I found epic duels in verse and catastrophic debate serving my purposes no further my final act of desperate defiance had been to put this volume in a position to plead the position I'd found myself ultimately misrepresenting.

I'd have asked tonight if its words had been as effective for her as they'd been for me, but the fact that she was still here to return it to me testified silently to its success.

in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...

Approaching coherency, it has to come out sometime.

A friend in the US asked me what I thought of all this, what my city thinks. He said I always thought of Oz folk as rather spirited.... WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?

Should we be joining in the flagwaving?

doesn't he understand that I might not share his sentiments?

Today, what Brisbane thinks....
.. or at least those parts of it I've spoken to lately.

We're scared. Things are ugly, ugly, ugly right now. The redneck element are out, with death threats at mosques, an arson attempt at an orthodox church (rednecks are fucking STUPID) and throwing rocks at a Muslim schoolbus just down the road.

Several weeks ago, Australia's government (in their allseeing fucking wisdom) committed an act of piracy, sending the navy to board a Norweigan ship which had picked up a sinking boat full of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan and was bringing them here. The government used this as an illustration of their "hard line" on illegal immigration. This hardline policy was partly in response to recent media beatups and horrific racial villification. A gang of Lebanese youths gang-raped two 16 year old girls, and got off with light sentences, due to the prosecutors screwing up. News noticeboards, talkback shows, letters to the editor were full of Send 'em home and stop immigration. WHY? They didn't rape because of their background. But somehow it became the focus of the trial.

Fast forward several weeks... do we have deja vu?

The government pandered to the moron redneck extremists, and now they think they have the RIGHT to hate, and oh my god are they going for it.

This frightens me beyond description.

Reading through newsgroups, talking to people at work, it becomes clear that the madness isn't prevailing. Much of E2 is a bastion of sanity, of hope that the whole world, or even the whole of America isn't out screaming for blood. Yet I get emails from friends in the states who are afraid to go against the flow of patriotic zealotry and must confide in someone halfway across the world.

Here, all express sadness and shock at the tragedy. But as the dust settles and the body counts decrease (remember when we were told it was 50 000 dead?), more and more people aren't surprised. This seems to get misinterpreted as the US deserved it. No! This is NOT the case. No-one there deserved to die, especially not in such a cruel manner. I can't watch the news now, I can't see those figures jumping out of the buildings again. BUT HOW WILL RETALIATORY STRIKES DO ANY GOOD? Sure, it might kill a few fanatics. It's also a guaranteed method of breeding a whole new generation. If I hear one more person telling me they need JUSTICE, when what they really mean is REVENGE, I'm going to be sick.

If you ask people here who they're more afraid of right now, they won't say Muslim extremists, they won't even say terrorists.

They'll tell you they're afraid of Americans.

My fellow Americans, according to all the major news media, are frothing at the mouth for a war. An actual war. A Drop-troops-into-the-combat-zone-and-maybe-some-of-them-will-die-but-thats-okay-cuz-they're-there-for-a-higher-purpose war.

This from the people who, when some nutbag was killing off ethnic Albanians, would have shit a brick if we'd used troops to stop him. *First* we bomb the shit out of him (hitting civilian and non-intended targets in the process), then we use troops.

Not only are folks evidently willing to kill off their sons and daughters in an attempt to get back at these people, but they're willing to toss our economy into the toilet in an attempt to off them. CNN's "New War" series that has been going on this week has repeatedly stated that Americans want a full scale, WWII level commitment of forces.


Who, EXACTLY, would we be going to war with? Afghanistan did NOT declare war on us. No country has declared war on us. Who, exactly can we declare war on? Terrorists?
Weeeeeeeeeeee! That sounds like fun. Let's go attack Terrorania!

Limited military action against the terrorist cells responsible after an EXTENSIVE period of time using the full range of our nation's intelligence gathering capabilities is, in my estimation, the appropriate response.

WHY DID THEY CALL UP THE RESERVES? Who will be be defending the borders from? Why are CNN polls refering to selective service as an option? (That's "The Draft" for you folks who have never had that sobering card to fill out on your 18th birthday.) What happened to this wonderful, apathetic, greedy, stupid country?

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