Two weeks ago, I was at a friends house. She talks to spirits, or rather, they talk to her. It's been like that all her life, even as a child. Whether you believe that, that's up to you, but know that I have no reason to make this up. She often knows things about people without talking to them, she tells people beforehand when things happen and she is of course very spiritual. I had only seen her once or twice before. Since I am also very spiritual or religious or however you want to put it (find Jacob Lorber on Google), we spoke about a lot of things, like our purpose on earth, about God, the afterlife, her contact with spirits and so on. At one point, she asked me whether if I knew anything about April 4th, since she wasn't that familiar with the bible yet and heard something about Eastern and Passover and the resurrection of Jesus. I didn't know anything particular at the time, but she said she had been told in a vision that something was going to happen. More specific, that the spiritual world was going to become very active on that day or the time thereafter.

At home I checked the 'net and didn't find anything substantial that could point to anything like that, so I kind of held off at that point. Until last weekend. I was going out with a couple of friends last Saturday and sometime that night my best friend asked me whether I knew if there was something special on April 4th. "Yeah", I said, "I told you, didn't I?" Apparently I didn't tell him. This friend isn't very spiritual, but does have a 'reputation' of knowing things beforehand too. He knew about accidents that happened to people he knew closely before they had even occurred. I was totally surprised. So, back I went to Google to do an even more thorough check.

To my great surprise, I ran into a page by Clyde Lewis called 'Apocalypse by numbers', about the number 444. It's a lengthy story and a must read (, under articles) to get completely flabbergasted by all this, but it comes down to the fact that he has been contacted by a few spirits, including his helper spirit with which he lived in his former life in Atlantis (yes, it did exist) called Thoth. Apparently, "Thoth was agitated because I (Chris) refused to contact the spirit world and that the spirits were trying to get me to speak my truth, to reveal what they wanted to say through me". He was also getting 'harassed' (informed is the better word) by spirits who programmed the number 444 in his microwave which woke him up in the morning. Later he figured that 444 could mean 4-4-2002 as 2002 can be seen as (2+2)=4. He was warned by another spirit, a 9 year old boy, that a holy war would begin in the spirit world which apparently would last for nine years.

At a fan site of the band Creed I discovered that "The Sorge Moon Rise happens at exactly 12:00.01am almost right on midnight and this event won't occur for over another 60 years." Also, the Jewish calendar tells us that April 4th 2002 is the end of Jewish Pesach (Passover).

Wednesday evening, I watched the midnight news. Israel seems at war, and Palestinian soldiers entered a church in Bethlehem - the birthplace of Jesus.

Until here, I have only told you facts: occurrences in the life of a 20 year old guy, who wonders what the rest of this day and the time hereafter will bring. I can say a thousand more words and tell a million perspectives, but let me use those of an extraordinary man:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - William Shakespeare

See you in July

Some of you may know I've been more than a bit unhappy about what might be called the current editorial stance. A lot of garbage is going out; a lot of great stuff is getting swept out along with the garbage. There are never any stated criteria, so it's hard to understand e.g. what's so great about lyrics (but only for English-speaking bands!) or guitar chords or "sensitive" prose, and what's so bad about E2 "culture" nodes and short ironical writeups. But the facts remain: E2 has become an irony-free zone.

We are told "don't make shit up". Because somebody might take said shit seriously! And I thought this place was reasonably adult entertainment. Grown-ups are (supposed to be) capable of elementary reading comprehension. For that matter, most 10-year-olds are also capable of the same (case in point: The Tooth Fairy. NOTE TO EDITORS: IT DOES NOT REALLY EXIST!).

I came here mostly to have some fun, and to consolidate some knowledge in certain branches of Mathematics, Computer Science, the area between them, and maybe also what little Physics I understand. These areas have their own culture, and also a few facts. Some things are both.

My writeup on "POB" was removed by a well-meaning editor. I explained its meaning "Prisoner of Bill"; this is common usage in certain portions of the Perl community. But I made 3 mistakes: I said some POBs develop Stockhold syndrome (if you believe they're POBs, you surely believe this is actually true), I forgot to begin the writeup with the word JOKE (although it is also serious), and I forgot to explain the joke at the bottom. In other words, I assumed m4d r34d1ng compr3h3ns1on sk1llz on the part of the reader.
I do my readers the courtesy of assuming they are, in fact, capable of reading and judging what they read. E2 doesn't.

I also tried to develop my own style for technical writing. My preferred method of reading a mathematics textbook is to stop reading immediately after every theorem or lemma, and try my hand at the proof. It really helps me understand how profound the result is, and how it meshes in with the other results. (I cannot claim credit for this method; my best lecturers at university were capable of doing the same thing in class and without stopping the lecture; I just try to tag along.) On E2, I decided to split every result into separate "theorem" and "proof" nodes.

I firmly believe that hypertext demands information be split into small chunks, maybe containing "navigation hints" for the reader. For my technical stuff, the claim/proof split was an important part of this. It also lets me use previous results elegantly: if I say "...using the Schwarz lemma", I want the reader to know she can go to that node and immediately see the important bit: what it is. If she then wants to see a proof, she can navigate to that; if she wants to prove it herself, she has no hints forced upon her. If she already knows what the lemma is, or if she couldn't care less, she never even goes there.

If you want to know more about what I'm on about, you could read some of my stuff on regular languages. Say, read about the balanced braces language, and take it from there.

Some editors disagreed with this stance; I argued with a few of them. Last week, one of my "nodestrings" got the treatment. I wrote up on counting 1 bits, and presented some weird-looking C code to do it. K&R put the code in their The C Programming Language, as an exercise. Evidently they didn't think to force the solution down the reader's throat... it isn't that important, and it's a GREAT puzzle. So I didn't, either. I put a hint in counting 1 bits SPOILER, and an almost complete solution in counting 1 bits SPOILER SPOILER. That way, experienced bit bangers could work it out for themselves, wannabe manipulators of bits could get a hint, and apprentice bit wizards could see how to work out what a really weird C expression does.

You can't see the nodestring any more. An editor nuked the 2 SPOILERS, and told me to put them in with counting 1 bits. What's e's style for technical writing? Hard to tell -- e doesn't have enough of them (certainly not a concentration in any particular field) to tell.

Take a look at Ed Cools. How much irony do you see there? How much hard science? How much Mathematics and Computer Science? Not a lot. 2 out of the last 50 ed cools seem to be there; 6 out of the last 100 (this includes "class", which has other untech meanings).

In other words, we lack editorial expertise in these matters. Then how come stuff in these categories gets nuked? Somebody knew enough about Perl and UN*X culture to nuke POB. Somebody knows enough about writing Mathematics to tell me how to write about counting 1 bits.

So here's my decision: I need to decide permanently when I'm more relaxed. I'll reconsider my position for the next 3 months. I'll come back here sometime in July 2002, and see if I can justify to myself staying on.

That means virtually no contact by /msg, of course. Some of you have my email, or can work it out. Or you can get me at

ariels_314159 -AT-

For a while, I collected nukes I thought unjustified in my scratch pad; you might want to view it.

I hope this is "au revoir", not "goodbye"!

Although the server date has changed, here on the dirt it is still the third of April.

That said, April 4 has a history of important events. It was on April 4 that Winston Smith began to write in his illicit diary. It was on April 4 that, in the words of the band, "A shot rings out/in the Memphis sky".

On April Fourth, ten years ago... In a small town in central Minnesota, standing in a circle around a teacher tree, Noteponymous and I were wed. Ten years. We'd already been handfasted for a year.

Now, this decade flickers through my brain. The highlights of marriage that are so common as to constitute cliche and the quirky moments that are unique.

  • Conspiratorial giggling in summer rain.
  • A perfect day spent together with skies that are such a clear azure they defy description -- but I can see the color right now, and hir face against it, laughing.
  • The car spinning out of control on an icy road, landing in the ditch, both of us uninjured, but stuck there for an hour until a semi came along and pulled us out with a heavy chain.
  • Sitting in our first house, before we bought it, drinking irish coffees while the landlord pumped the water out of the basement.
  • Private tears.
  • The birth of our child.
  • Knowing each other so well, so intimately, that we not only can finish each other's sentences, but, often, have entire conversations in a glance, a gesture, a few mumbled words.

I love hir so much that sometimes I am struck dumb with amazement. Sie can make me laugh until I cry with a single word, or make me cry until I laugh with a look. I am enthralled. Sie is the fulcrum of my life.

Ten years.

Amazing how time flies and things change

I have been reading over old daylogs and realize it has been 4 months since I have written one. Lots of things have changed:

  • my boss left the company, ending a long saga at work
  • we hired another team member (not a new boss), taking some of the load off of me
  • my annulment was granted, closing that chapter of my life
  • I moved into a new apartment

It is strange, having so many of my previous preoccupations "go away". I wonder how long before I get some goals set so I can start aiming for them....because if I don't, I'll just continue to work these ridiculous hours. At least I'm taking a vacation soon, to sunny LA, where my brother lives. That should be fun.

I don't write as much here as I used to, but I still like it here. I do miss some people who I used to see come in and out, they have been gone for over a year...

I started smoking again today. This morning before bed I bought a couple of packs of Sampoerna Milds, which I used to smoke before one of my multiple on/off quits. Once again, upon going downstairs and outside for a smoke break, I realize that I hate smoking outdoors. It's as though the (somewhat) clean air outside somehow dilutes the cigarette smoke and makes it taste rancid, or maybe the wind outside reveals the true taste of cigarette smoke -- exhaust fumes. I can't French inhale outdoors, either, because of the wind. How am I supposed to stoke my own ego when I'm smoking outside if I can't French inhale? It's not like there's ever anyone outside when I go out to smoke, since I work all night, but that's not the point. I'll take any ego-stoking device I can get.

I went for a smoke break tonight with one of the coders in the office next to mine, who sometimes comes in at night and either comes down from an ecstasy trip or takes a nap. Occasionally he codes. But anyway, it was a bit chilly out there while we were smoking so I crossed my arms over my chest, inasmuch as that is still possible, what with my rapidly developing breasts. While we were smoking, I caught him staring at/talking to my chest. That's the first time such a thing has happened to me, and I can instantly see why genetic women hate it so much. This guy doesn't even know I'm a tranny (yet -- I'm not out at work yet), and I don't know if he was doing this consciously, or what, but there it was, and it made me feel fucking disgusting, even though I could also take it as flattery, but I won't, because coder boy doesn't know I'm half-a-girl. The male privilege becomes more and more obvious with each passing day. Strange how it didn't exist before, at least, not in any sense that I could detect it. Oh, bother.

Tomorrow I audition for the Polk Award, a small $1,000 or $500 award given to a pianist and a string player at Scripps College. There’s one other pianist in the running, and I’ve been practicing a lot these past few days.

Yesterday, I practiced my repertoire for about 3 hours in Balch auditorium where I’ll be auditioning. After about an hour of playing on the concert grand Steinway, I completely focused in on the music. The music filled the large, church-like space and resonated back through my consciousness, smothering the choir of doubt, self-consciousness and worry in my head.

It’s these moments, these hours of rapture that make the years of practicing worth it. Even learning four pieces takes years of learning, practicing and perfecting. But after living with the pieces, there comes a point where I build enough trust in myself where the very act of playing a piece changes in a fundamental manner.

The process of learning each piece takes months. It starts with learning what’s printed on the music – playing the right notes at the right time at the right loudness. After laying this technical foundation, there’s the polishing – turning the notes on the page into vibrant melodies and harmonies that go beyond what can be expressed on paper. Giving black and white circles on a staff of ten lines different colors and textures. All while continuing to refine the nitty-gritty details of notes, articulation and dynamics.

And then comes the day, like yesterday, when all of the worries about playing the right notes evaporate. And all that is left is the lush tonalities of music. Live music. Vibrant music that springs forth from the piano and takes a life of its own, turning the unidirectional act of the pianist hitting keys and making music back onto itself. So that when the music starts, it possesses the pianist and flows through the pianist. I sometimes think, I know what I’ve just played and I know where the piece is going to go, but I have no conscious control over the music. It’s been surrendered to the music that’s awakening and stretching out.

Alone in the auditorium, I play. And alone, I am played. I am no longer the creator of the music. I become its conduit. And as I play, I know that there is no doubt, no worry that can be imposed by any judge that can stop the flow of the music.

Now if that happens with real-live judges sitting in front of me, I’ll be set. Wish me luck tomorrow.

All this bullshit.

And I am at war.

I've been drafted to reserve service in the IDF's 35th transport div.

I sleep 2 hours a night, a eat the same food over and over and I don't know when the next time i'll be home is. (Atleast they gave me this weekend)

I never cared much for politics, but... I can't wait for someone to kill Arafat so I can go home and get some sleep.

I keep singing that song by The Spooks over and over.... not the whole thing, only :

You won't believe the things I've seen
Far beyond your wildest dreams
I've seen chaos and order reign supreme
I've seen the beauty of the universe so peaceful and serene
In seconds turn to violence and screams

And you get to watch all this LIVE on CNN...

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