When I started on E2, I typically used Dreamweaver 4 to create my new writeups, copied and pasted. Nowadays, I simply type them directly into the edit box. Ah, progress. Hairless apes can be taught new tricks.

Well, I completed the task I set for myself- upvoting all the relevant writeups regarding the September 11, 2001 attacks. I used up every last vote and all I have left is a C!. I only use chings for special occasions.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I got to visit with my sister and brother-in-law (who is also my cousin... don't ask, it'll only boggle your mind- suffice it to say that my sister and her husband are not related to each other in any way, but I appear to be somewhat of an anomaly). Anyway, when speaking with them, the topic of the WTC attacks, of course, came up. You see, they lived in Manhattan when it occurred, but they have since left New York and moved to Atlanta, where they feel eminently safer. I can't vouch for the safety of Atlanta, but if they feel safe, who am I to argue?

It turns out that my information on Giachery's (my brother-in-law) wherabouts during the attacks was false. He was not sleeping a few blocks away, at a friend's apartment. He was, in truth, inside the first tower that had been hit. He had just debarked from the train and was milling about in the lower levels of the building when the first plane struck. He felt the shaking, heard the explosion, saw the falling debris- saw the people who'd jumped to their deaths. As soon as he realized what had happened and how tenuous his presence there was, he ran. He ran for 25 New York City blocks and didn't stop until he couldn't run anymore. He was unwilling to say more than that and I didn't press him for details. Honestly, he didn't need to say anything more; his facial expressions, his body language, spoke volumes. I now wish that my original, false information about his whereabouts at the time had indeed been true. He's a good man and does right by his wife, my sister, in all regards- to see the pain etched in his face at the memory of what he'd seen was more gutwrenching than anything he'd said.

That's when something occurred to me: the true victims in all of this are not the people who died, but the people who survived them or had to watch. The ones who perished when those planes hit were spared all kinds of misery. The ones who leaped to their deaths, who entered those buildings with an eye towards saving lives... yes, they were victims- as were the people on the streets, at the feet of those now gone towers, who had to watch countless people suffer a no-win scenario.

My gut is talking to me again. I hate it when it does that- it's very rarely good news, and this particular instance seems to be par for the course. "Gut" is to be equated with "the probability engine that is my brain." It works at higher levels sometimes, crunching potential outcomes of all kinds of things, like a supercomputer with organic parts (which, technically speaking, it is). With most contemporary computers, like the ones we're used to and that plug into a wall somewhere, it is possible to type in wind speed, velocity, trajectory, mass and other datum to find out where things in the physical world might be headed. My brain works in a similar fashion. A sort of "program" has been running in my brain for a while now, not too long, and the result it has spit out isn't making my true gut (stomach) very happy.

I hope it's wrong.

In case you're interested, here is what it says: one week, not much more and certainly not much less.

I don't know what that means, to be honest. It could mean that I'll get fired sometime this week (which is entirely possible. Hell, it's even very likely). It could mean that we will have another attack on American domestic soil. It could mean that our military action in the Middle East could escalate. It could mean that I'll fall in love with a woman tomorrow. It could be all of those things. I just don't know.

But I do know that this next week is going to be interesting to watch unfold.

The Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is "Forty-two." I'm still eagerly awaiting the Question. Today I will start reading the third book in the four-part Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy. I've never read any of the books until the day before yesterday and I'm wondering why I allowed myself to neglect such a wonderfully funny series of books.