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Today, I finally bought a new car. A brand new 2002 Montero Sport. A grey, 4-door, Sports Utility Vehicle. Its a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sports ES 3.0L 4-Door Sport Utility. The price I got it for is $22 thousand, out the door. I figure, its a good price, and I really needed a new car. The car I last had is a 1989 white (though you would think its a grey had you seen it with your own eyes) Toyota Corrolla. It has a blue interior, manual windows, the air condition was broken for about 15 months, and I had about 175 thousand miles on it. It wasn't in the great condition...actually it was in rather shitty condition. The front right headlight glass was broken. The windshield wipers were broken off several years ago. The battery went dead about 4-5 times in the past year and a half. The engine was replaced several times, and not for voluntary reasons. I decided not to sell it and rather just sell it to for scraps and i got about a little less than a $100. I guess that is more than I could hope for.

I came back from the Mitsubishi dealership, about 50 miles away, so I already picked up more than a hundred miles on the car. And I came rather close to getting in an accident as I was riding by a friends house to show off my new ride. As I was going down 48th Court, talking on my phone and my POD cd was in the stero with the volume at full blast, I didn't realize a stop sign. Fortunately, the man who had the right of way, realized that I wasn't going to stop and luckily (for me), he stopped. Humiliated to stop and face the middleaged man, I just kept on going and in 5 minutes, I was in the driveway of my friend Jay. I was with him and we went out with a couple more friends that night, and I made it home safely, without any more "encounters."

i've started using periods again. i'm not sure what this means, but it's a good thing; it wouldn't do to end my sentences with ellipses when i go back to school. things are looking up. life is still confusing, but things are breaking my way. i think. my love life is still like a poorly written three ring soap opera, complete with love quadrangles (pentagrams, even?) and earnest conversations about things i probably won't remember in 3 years. i think i've reached an attitude of enlightened assholeness. people are guaranteed to get hurt, so hurt the ones you're going to enjoy hurting the most. use your bastardry to foment change. be a force, good or evil doesn't matter. holy shit, that sounds like naturalism. i hate naturalism. fuck.

Untalented people never overdose.

A Denis Leary theory... Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon talented and dead from drugs, but you could put Motley Crew in a room with 14 pounds of crack and they're not dying.

Things I've done since last logging on to e2:

  • Open a record store.
Tokyo Trip Scrapbook

Current Location: sitting in the small conference room of VA Linux Systems Japan offices, on the 30th floor of the Sumitomo building in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. My point people are Tetsuro Yogo and Taku Yasui.

Tetsuro Yogo

  • Appearance -- black dress slacks and khaki dress shirt. thin Wire rimmed glasses, short schlacked hairstyle
  • Language -- fluent engrish
  • Accesories -- Mild Seven Smokes, business card case, holder of the meeting outline which dictates our schedule for this trip

Taku Yasui

  • Appearance -- debian T-shirt, Beatle-length hairstyle, Jeans
  • Accesories -- mini-laptop with Slashdot sticker on the back, which he never looks up from
  • Language -- Taku speaks almost no english, but the language barrier is almost non-existent as long as the conversation doesn't stray from technical terms. He's a smart cookie -- he's pretty much set up all of OSDN.jp's sites, done Japanese char conversion and maintained all these sites on his own.

Tally of the products consumed in the last 36 hours:

  • Henri Wintermans Cafe Creme Cigarillos: 16
  • Kirin Blue Rose pre-sweetened Iced Teas: 5
  • Kirin Fire Expresso coffee cans: 7
  • Sapporo and Akashi beers: 7
  • Sushimi pieces: 24-ish

Japanese Phrases learned (pathetic)

I read this morning that VA Software's stock was up 37.80% to $1.13. This was on the heels of announcement with a new 'significant' partnership with IBM. ("significant" quotes compliments of WSJ.com).

Jeff ordered Coffee, Bacon, and Croisannts for us this morning from room service, a short, petite Japanese woman brought the food in, and while taking the cover off the food accidentally tipped a glass of water on the floor -- she was quite upset and acted humiliated and apologized profusely.

Development

I've been really slacking on my Sourceforge tickets. Really. Almost 100, and I haven't really touched them in 3 weeks. Been too frantic shoehorning our Sourceforge database into DB2 so VA could get their press release. On the plus side, I fixed the editor nodenotes as per dannye's request. It took about 15 minutes and was amazingly relaxing -- coding in Everything is like going home and speaking the mother tongue.

Went drinking last night with Jeff, Hormes, and Alex -- Hormes and Alex are both programmers and several times in the conversation other coders names came up, with their primary virtue being how much code they have/could produce. I'm starting to disagree with that view, but perhaps is because the nature of my work has changed more from pure feature development to meatball surgery on the Sourceforge.net patchwork monster.

Meeting's over. See you tonight, Everything2

I first noticed that something was wrong when I was installing Windows XP on Monday night on my new home PC. The drive format had frozenand there was a burnt-plastic smell. On opening the case, I saw that the fan on top of the CPU cooler was not revolving. I rapidly pulled the plug and let it cool down.

Rebooting an hour later, everything seemed fine. The fan spun, the burnt smell had dispersed, XP installed. I left the cover off and kept an ear to the fan's noise. Last night the fan whined to a stop. After rebooting, it seems to have settled into a pattern of running for about 20 seconds, then conking out. Even when it is turning, the BIOS system health check reports that it is not running.

I unscrewed it from the heat sink and discovered where the burned plastic smell must have come from - the underside of the fan housing has a few thin adhesive-backed plastic and cellophane layers that are now shrivelled and distorted. It makes sense that it would be the first to go as it's closest to the heat accumulator.

Also a bit amusing that the fan fries itself if it fails temporarily.

Oh well, nothing that can't be solved by a swift application of money - I'll go to PC world and get a new fan (and one for the case) at lunch today.

I suspect that the original fan failure was caused by a wayward IDE or power cable, but I can't prove anything. I just hope that the reason that the fan isn’t turning is because this cheap component is fried. I’d rather that than have to replace a melted motherboard and CPU.


Update. Well, the CPU fan works just great. And I am online from home this evening with a cheap internal modem and my flatmate's connection. Using IE to download mozilla. Yay for home internet! It's been a long time.

Well it's my third day at my new job and what a job it is. I wonder how the company survived so long without an IT person full-time. There are projects that have never been finished, emails that have never been followed through and all kinds of other problems.

I'm new to the banking world, so I'm learning all kinds of new things. I'm offically a part of the operations division, my direct boss is the vice-president of operations, so I get to see what really happens to your money and how it works. Let me tell you its an impressive process.

After seeing all the things that a computer takes care of, from scanning a check to generating reports of what happened today in the bank, I wonder how a bank operated without computers. Banks mush have had a huge amount of people just dealing with records, trying to keep things balanced and in check. It must have been hard to keep the bank profitable, you might be spending more on personal then on the rest of the whole bank.

But overall I like my job, its frustrating at times as I don't know everything I should, but I'm learning and I will soon get a handle on everything, and then I can start making changes so I can leave at home relaxed, knowing that I got everything done today that I could.

Have I mentioned before how much I am opposed to weekdays?

If it's a weekday, the chances are pretty good that I won't be able to sleep, or, if I can get to sleep, it'll only be for an hour or two. That seems to be the case today. It's been even harder than usual lately, as I've been trying to wean myself off of sedative drugs. I have Klonopin and Ambien readily available, not to mention alcohol to mix them with (I know, I'm bad), but both Klonopin and Ambien disrupt the short-term/learning memory, and I'm damned sick of not being able to remember recent conversations.

Apparently my girlfriend and I had a whole big conversation about cunnilingus during menstruation a few weeks ago and I can't recall a scrap of it. Taking one to two milligrams of Klonopin and then drinking a Stolichnaya Citrona or two is directly responsible for that.

Well, I know I'm ultimately at fault for taking Klonopin in the first place, but you know, it's really hard to get to sleep and stay asleep without chemical assistance. I've tried everything to get to sleep in a normal sort of way and so far nothing works. I can't even meditate because I can't sit still or keep my mind clear enough to achieve a trancelike state. It fucking sucks.

It's 1:21PM now, and I've got to work at 9:00PM. I am completely uncertain about whether I will be able to sleep between now and then. If I can't... then it'll be a real fun night at work, because by the time I get off work, I'll have been awake for about 36 hours. As any insomniac can tell you, any hour awake after 20 or so makes you feel more and more like a brown paper bag full of dog poop.

There's only so many things I can do if I can't get to sleep, and I've already done all of them this morning. I read more of The Silmarillion, played a few games of NHL 2002, spent what seemed like aeons on E2, and taken the maximum number of baths one can reasonably take in a day.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my hatred of the United Parcel Service. I ordered some products from firegirl.com on August 8, and received the shipping invoice via email from UPS the following day. The "scheduled for delivery" date was August 14 -- today. See how that doesn't really make sense below:

Status: In Transit 
Scheduled Delivery: Aug 14, 2002 
Shipped to: NEW ORLEANS, LA, US 
Shipped or Billed on: Aug 8, 2002

PACKAGE PROGRESS
Date               Time Location           Activity
Aug 12, 2002  1:42 P.M. CACH, IL, US       UNLOAD SCAN 
Aug 10, 2002 10:41 A.M. CACH, IL, US       ARRIVAL SCAN 
Aug 9, 2002   2:00 A.M. WORCESTER, MA, US  DEPARTURE SCAN
              1:52 A.M. WORCESTER, MA, US  ARRIVAL SCAN 
Aug 8, 2002   9:30 P.M. PORTLAND, ME, US   DEPARTURE SCAN
              8:23 P.M. PORTLAND, ME, US   ORIGIN SCAN   
              3:04 P.M. US                 BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

As you can see, my parcel is still in CACH, IL, US, which is about 1000 miles from its final destination -- New Orleans. I will be highly pissed off if that parcel doesn't traverse the final 1000 miles left in its journey by the end of the day. However, if UPS crushes or destroys the parcel, the joke's on them -- it contains two bottles of hot sauce; one Dave's Insanity Sauce (heat level 10+) and one Thai pepper/ginger sauce (heat level 6). If they break either of the bottles, I can only hope that whoever handles the parcel isn't wearing gloves.

Today I went out with the intention of finding a Sonic Youth ticket. I’ve been trying to see Sonic Youth for 10 years, and somehow I have always failed.

My first attempt was in the fall of my junior year of high school. I was 16. My best friend and I went and bought tickets for $7 at Intermezzo on the west bank. The show was for the next week, Wednesday. On Monday I was sent to Fairview Riverside adolescent psychiatric ward, where I stayed for a week. Nick got grounded. Neither of us went to the show, and couldn’t even give away our tickets. Various other events have conspired against me, including Sonic Youth playing Minneapolis right after I left and Los Angeles right before I arrived, but possibly the most stupid way I have missed them was two years ago, when they played at the Walker Art Center, and I found out about an hour after the show was over.

I’ve known that Sonic Youth were playing on Monday for some time now, and today left my house with the intention of getting a ticket at Know Name in dinkytown. I got there to find that they were out, but the guy who works there sent me to Moose and Sadie’s, where I purchased a small piece of solid joy and delight in the form of a strip of paper with words on it. I will go to Sonic Youth, my dreams will be realized, and my plot for world domination will commence.

Other than that, I got turned down for the awake nights position at the group home. I was the third choice after two girls who’d had similar jobs and wouldn’t need training. Unfortunately for me, both of them took the job, but I have a Sonic Youth ticket, which is in many ways superior to having a job.

Well Hello, I am back. It was weird. I am still a jew though. I met lots of neat people that I will spending the next year with. Hey, Its a tugboat! Hey, its a barge! And most of them seem pretty cool. Yes, I just transfered schools. I have been at the same school for the past 11 years, and now, I am going to a catholic school. Yes, me, Ben the Jew, at catholic school. Luckily, it is coed, and I will hopefully meet some hoochy mama that will want to marry me and have my jewish children. I met this girl Katie who was cool, and this dude Brandon was cool, and this dude Adam was cool, and well, there were a lot of cool people, and I will be going to school with them.
-Sauce

A few weeks ago, I found myself overwhelmed with dizziness, nausea, and extreme exhaustion. It was the kind of sickness that doesn’t let you get out of bed to go to the bathroom. As I didn’t have a doctor in Dupont Circle, I sought one out – or rather, Pantaliamon sought one out for me. The doctor didn’t instill a lot of confidence in me, but he did have the sense to send me to the emergency room at George Washington University Medical Center. What a strange and scary place that was.

The waiting room looks like something you’d find in an unemployment office or automotive garage – it even had a vague oily smell to it, as if many years ago it had been a maintenance bay for the hospital’s fleet of ambulances and had been turned into a waiting room when hospital officials realized they didn’t have one. Strewn haphazardly throughout the room were rows of folding chairs, and on those chairs sat an assortment of sick people -- many appeared to be in terrible shape. Everyone’s attention was on a single Magnavox television set mounted high on the wall, the picture tube turned so green from overuse that the image was nearly bleached out.

Pan and I sat down and waited for the triage nurse to call me. We watched a young man in a suit who wasn’t fortunate enough to have a chair lean up against the wall and clutch his stomach. Dark circles surrounded his eyes, and sweat drooled down his forehead.

The others didn’t look much better. There were elderly black women in wheelchairs, surrounded by doting families who’d come possibly to say goodbye, and college students from George Washington University talking to their parents about colon trouble on the waiting room pay phones. There were also two construction workers laughing heartily about how they were going to get workman’s comp. They didn’t appear sick at all and had come to the hospital after their shift ended. I would later see one of them in the emergency room itself, unable to tell the nurse his specific symptoms. “It just hurts,” he said.

Hours passed, and no one was called. It occurred to me then how people really do die in hospitals – they sit bleeding internally in the emergency room without ever getting an attention. I felt my own mysterious illness wash over me and recede dozens of times. “Any of these people could die,” I said to Pan. She patted my leg. “Don’t think about it,” she said.

After five and half hours of waiting, I was finally admitted. The doctors argued with me about my irregular heartbeat, accusing me of being on cocaine. “I’ve never done drugs in my life,” I said, honestly. “I don’t even drink.” After further protest, they pretended to believe me.

Once the cocaine misunderstanding was resolved, they decided that all signs showed that I was dehydrated. So they hooked me up on an IV and rolled me out into the hallway. I saw many strange things while I lay there with saline dripping into my veins. A neighbor of mine whose bulldog plays regularly with our boston terrier was hooked to a morphine drip and pretended she’d never seen me before -- when I tried to speak with her, she coverd her face with a sheet. A sorority girl hooked to an IV flirted with a police officer who was watching over a jailhouse suicide attempt. I also saw a dead person.

A stoic orderly wheeled the body out of an operating room. It was wrapped in a sheet, reminding me of the bodies the French serial killer in the film Man Bites Dog dumped into a reservoir. It was clearly the body of one of the elderly black women I’d seen earlier in the waiting room. She had chatted with her family as though there was nothing much wrong. Now she was dead.

I wondered if she would have survived if the doctors had seen her earlier. Maybe if they hadn’t taken so much time to argue with me about whether or not I used cocaine they could have done something to save her. I later asked the head nurse about how the old woman died, but she didn’t reply. She just shrugged. I tried imagining what it was like for her – seeing people die every day. How it would feel to do her job. But for some reason I couldn’t.

So tomorrow is August 15. August 15 is known across the world as India's independence day. So I'd like to wish all Indians a Happy Independence Day beforehand. But today is August 14, also known as Pakistan's Independence Day. So I'd like to wish all my friends and family a Happy Pakistan Independence Day. About 55 years ago to the date, Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britian, one day before India.

I'm still in Orlando as of today. We were supposed to be in Miami today, and visit family and friends for this celebration, but we had car problems, and had to spend an extra day in Orlando. Well, we'll probably be back in Miami tomorrow, Inshallah.

There are exactly two weeks until the start of college. It's going to feel pretty weird to start school on a Wednesday, but i guess it's two days of extra rest (or five days without rest, if school began the next week). Well, before I leave, I want to inform you again of Pakistan's Independence Day. Pakistan Zindabad!

It was a long day.

Up at 6 am to hurry off to the airport and say goodbye to my mom. The security people dab my duffle bag and roller bag with their little cloth explosive detectors and cheerily tell me that I can’t touch my bags anymore. “That’s fine,” I say. Up to the ticket counter where the man tells me that my duffle bag is overweight at 76 pounds, and that the extra six pounds will cost me $80. “Can’t I move some of the weight from one bag to the other?” I ask plaintively, but the man points at the friendly chemical testers reminding me that, oh yeah, ‘I can’t touch my bags’.

The air crew announces that the flight will be serving no food due to this or that reason, so it looks like the Snickers bar I had bought at the last minute will be a lot more useful than I thought. It turns out the snickers bar would keep me from near starvation, as neither of the flights served food, and my stopover in Cincinnati was all of 5 minutes, with the lines from Taco Bell being at least 20.

Getting into Cleveland from somewhere exotic is always slightly depressing, but it’s even more so when you have your own weight in luggage. Through a fairly amazing balancing act, I managed to get all my stuff over to a cab, whose cabby looked about as stoned as Ozzy Osbourne. To his credit he only looked stoned, and knew exactly where to go even through minimal interventions.

Starving, I show up at my fraternity house looking for food. My key works! I dump my stuff on the foyer and zoom into the kitchen to find a mess and a couple of cans of Tomato Soup. One of my brothers was cleaning the kitchen, something he said hadn’t been done in ‘about a month’, and told me that I should feel lucky to get that tomato soup because everything else was stolen by the summer boarders who rent rooms in our house. Realizing there are people who aren’t my friend living and breathing among us, I go back to my stuff and hide my laptop case at the very bottom of the pile.

I was hoping my room was empty so I could move right in, but the summer boarders can’t leave until they have somewhere else to go, which meant 3 days. The room I had claimed was on the third floor near the stairwell and the game room, the perfect choice. I knocked on the door to hear an interestingly high pitched voice reply, “uh, uh, JUST A MINUTE!!” Several minutes later a slightly obese kid with a bath robe opens the door asking how he can help me. The room is a complete pig sty, with clothes and junk everywhere. I block out of my head any reasons why it would have taken him several minutes to open the door. I don’t even have any desire to claim that room as mine, but I put it down on some form a while back so I feel like I have to. I tell the kid he’s in my room and ask him when he’s moving on to a better place, to which he responds, “I don’t know, Sunday?” Okay, so maybe its 4 days.

All of the trash cans are overflowing, and as I start to empty them one by one I realize that there really aren’t any trash bags to fill them back up. I check on my stuff that I had stored in the basement during the summer. Everything looks good, though my desk has a half full beer can sitting on it, caked in flies. I reach out to pick the can up and mercifully dump it out and a cloud of the little insects explodes from my touch. The flies are everywhere. The kitchen. The third floor bathroom. One of my brothers tells me they are getting fly strips. I tell him maybe we should fucking take out the trash, clean up the junk sitting in the hallway, pour out the semester old beer cans, and generally turn the house into a livable place to breath. He said, “Well, yeah, I guess that works too.”

While I’m brushing my teeth to go to bed with water (because I left my toothpaste several miles thousand away), for some reason I’m reminded of Fight Club. “What a shithole. Nothing worked. Turning off one light meant another light went out.” It’s not quite that bad, but coming from my house in Utah it feels pretty close.

I’m lying in bed in the smoldering heat and humidity, in this random place with crap on the walls, my stuff in delicate piles at different strategic points in the room, and I’m realizing that I picked this choice out from many others because of the interesting opportunities it gave me. Today was today because way back in the day I saw a little flyer on the wall saying they needed somebody to run for student council treasurer. Today was today because I sat next to Erin at the meeting. Today was today because Erin went out with Mike. Today was today because Mike got me to join Zeta Psi.

Thus Bacon began his sophomore year.

last shot

weill in japan: day 43

The presentation is over, my report is ready for printing, and there are just two days of class left. Will anyone actually be in class to see them?

My morning began in less than glorious fashion as I left the house after 7:30 AM. With both my backpack and laptop bag, I had to hustle to the train station with a lot of extra weight. I barely made it onto the 7:49 AM train, seven crucial minutes later than my ideal 7:42 AM train, and arrived with time to catch the 8:09 AM bus to ICU. (The next bus after that leaves at 8:23 AM, which would get me into class about 15 minutes late.)

My presentation prep had mixed results: I was unable to use the inkjet printer at home to print to transparencies, so my only other choice was to print on paper for later photocopying onto transparencies in black-and-white. Minutes after leaving the house, I realized that the classroom has a TV with RCA inputs, and there was an S-Video to RCA cable in my drawer at home. D'oh. I could have done the presentation straight from my laptop had I remembered to bring the cable.

Only eight people out of the 13 actually showed up today, our lowest level yet. The five absentees will likely not be seen through the end of the program. It's a sad end to the program, but everyone saw it coming. I'm more interested to see if any more people skip out tomorrow or Friday.

Presentations went fairly well, although it's still not much fun to sit and listen to people talk for two hours at a time. Although I didn't have my laptop video cable on hand, I realized that the three photos I would use in my project were on my digital camera. I had the cable for that on hand, so I was able to show pictures vividly on the TV. That earned me kudos from the other students and visitors.

I brought my laptop with me to type my report on campus, expecting the same throngs of students that I saw earlier in the week. That turned out to be unnecessary: most people seem to be done with projects for the most part, so I could have gotten by with my memory device alone. In any case, I was able to get my report typed up on campus to avoid having to do lots of work at home.

Money is holding up well. I forgot to carry a one earlier in the week, so I actually have a slightly larger budget than I expected. That means more money to spend on essentials like beverages, video games, and Famicom badges. I bought another capsule today, this one of the "Donkey Kong" title screen. My collection now includes five different designs out of the 15 offered.

The heat is still bearing down on Tokyo, and my heavy backpack doesn't make matters any better. I felt very weak after walking home with all that extra weight on me, despite eating a filling lunch on campus. A one-hour nap refreshed me before dinner, but I think I should save a little extra money for buying some 900-milliliter (30.4 fluid ounce) bottles of Pocari Sweat.

tidbits

I miss chocolate milk. You can obviously make it by yourself at home, but it is not sold pre-mixed in convenience stores or vending machines. Instead, coffee milk is extremely popular. It is not as good as choco-mik.

Another drink you won't find in Japan: root beer. Just like in the U.K., many children's medicines were made to taste like root beer years ago. When companies tried to introduce root beer as a drink to the Japanese market, children hated it because it tasted like medicine. I don't drink root beer very much in the U.S., so that's not a big problem.

I attracted a couple of people today playing Taiko no Tatsujin. Maybe they were surprised by a 21-year-old white guy playing a game designed for pre-teen Japanese children, or maybe they recognized the songs I was playing along with.

There are just two days of class left, and then I leave on Saturday. I'm trying not to think too much about heading back, but class is over for all practical purposes. Welcome to garbage time.

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