happy birthday to me
happy birthday to me
happy birrrrrrthdayyy to meeeeee
happy birthday to me.

i think it was wertperch's lovely sarcastic deletion spree, camel, straw, etc.

thanks for the friendships i've gained, and the lessons i've been taught.

From the Fourth Class Regiment's Head Gouge for the week:

The Naval Academy Correspondence Course for young Naval Officers

Finish your Young Officer studies from the comfort of your own home!

Lesson 1: Navigator - Tie a brick around your neck. Sit close to the largest window in your house. Call your father every time a car comes within 1000 yards of the house with a "potential collision situation". Take bearings to random street lights and large buildings. Continue for 8 hours.

Lesson 2: First Lieutenant - Muster your kids out in the backyard. Perform uniform inspections. Order them to strip the paint, then repaint the house haze grey. When your 10 year old spills a can into the pool, reduce him in age to 9, and dock his allowance.

Lesson 3: Executive Officer - Randomly throw your cat into the pool, and blast a foghorn six times shouting "MAN OVERBOARD PORT SIDE! THIS IS A DRILL!" Proceed to inspect the kitchen. Dump pots, pans, silverware and dishes onto the floor. Scold your wife and kids for not having the galley "stowed for sea".

Lesson 4: Commanding Officer - Get a large, plush recliner put in the living room. Ban your grandchildren from your "wardroom" until they earn their Warfare Qualification pin. Order the family to "request to join the captain's mess" if you are at the dinner table. Have them come to attention and stand up if you come to the table after them. Use a megaphone to hail to pedestrians on the sidewalk outside your house that they have "entered a Naval Vessel Exclusion Zone", and that "failure to reverse course may result in the use of lethal force".

Lesson 5: Fleet Commander - Continue Lessons 1-4, except perform in other people's houses within your neighborhood. Explain they have been assigned to your battle group. Call a Captain's Mast if they attempt to call the police. Explain to police that admiralty is in effect, meaning you cannot be arrested.

I just noticed two things when I logged on to E2 today:

  1. I have been a noder for almost an entire year now.
  2. I just broke the 1000 XP barrier

These things might not mean much to some of you, particularly those that have been users for years or have several thousand XP. But for me, these two things are important.

You see, I've come to realize that I truly look at Everything2 as being a community of which I am a part. When I first joined, it was mostly to read stuff or to get more XP than my friends. Now, I have been contributing, on average, a new write-up each week for you, the noders, to enjoy. I talk in the chatterbox, I send and recieve /msg's, and I do my best to help make E2 even better. I've made friends here. Today, I heard that kthejoker was going to be on Jeopardy!. Well, I made it a point to tune in and watch him crush the other two contestants. I've been invited to brunch. The brunch was cancelled, but I was still invited. When I'm online, I get the feeling that the other noders have accepted me into their online lives.

Looking back, I'm amazed I made it this far. In the beginning, I was a horrible writer who didn't grasp what the site was for. TanisNikana, a noder whom I know in real life, would leave the room without logging out of his E2 account, and I would post crappy poems under his name. Of course I got caught; dannye locked my account and it was only after much apologizing that he unlocked it. (If you're reading this, dannye, I apologize once again.) Today, I'm really grateful that I was allowed back in. I found that I love writing about history and teaching it to others. In fact, when I graduate from high school, I wish to become a history teacher. I believe that Everything2 has played a role in that decision.

Well, that's enough rambling from me. Now go out and node! It's what you're here for.

I'm tired and sleepy. After this, I'm going to bed.

I'm even more tired of waiting for our new house to be finished. The builder said last week that we'd get a call this week with our closing date, or at least our walkthrough date. No ringy-dingy, unfortunately.

Still, our visits to the house reveal an oh-so-close building. On our last trip, the power and water were both on (and presumably, the sewer connections were good too). The air conditioner was finally installed and purring like a kitten; although the house never did get unbearably hot (this is in North Las Vegas, mind you), even in the midday sun, 90 degrees indoors, in the shade is still not exactly comfortable. This last visit, though, it was working, and somebody on the build crew made damned sure we knew it by turning it down to 72. Yeesh!

Meanwhile, our apartment is returning slowly to the barren, cold, empty state it was in when we first moved into it. The shelving came down off the walls today, leaving holes I get to spackle in tomorrow when I'm not as tired. Bookshelves we've emptied are now (partially) disassembled, to the point that they're ready to be loaded up on the big truck when the day comes. The stack of boxes is now made of at least 70 boxes.

This move is going to be so much simpler than the last one (from Colorado to Nevada). The new house is 8.1 miles away from our apartment. We will have about two or three weeks' overlap between getting the house keys and having to surrender the apartment, so we will have two weeks to move and many trips available in which to do it. Unlike last time, when we had to pile everything we own into a giant truck and haul it all out here in one shot.

I just wish they'd tell us when the damned carpeting and appliances will be installed; that's really all that left apart from some assorted cleanups and touchups. Once they have the carpet install date, they'll know the closing date. Until then, we sit idly by, and wait for good news.

Haschel47: Don't feel bad; I think it took me nearly two years to hit level 2; I never really considered XP or level to be all that important (some of my highest-rated writeups came from my level 1 days). In fact I only got level 2 a week ago. I was wondering how stuff got voted on ... now I know. You're completely right, though; the XP and level stuff falls away completely when you just let yourself get swept up into the community Everything2 creates. It's by far the best place I've ever been as far as writing goes. Now if I can just avoid becoming a windbag...

David, this is unacceptable.

You've been gone for six weeks now, and everything is falling apart. David, this is unacceptable. It has been raining for three days and the garden still looks terrible. David, this is unacceptable. Tivo has recorded no fewer than six episodes of Tremors: The Series for you. Nickelodeon isn't even showing reruns of Invader Zim anymore. The other night I found myself watching Out of Africa and I don't even like Meryl Streep. David, this is unacceptable. Every time I call your voicemail picks up and while I always enjoy hearing your voice I think mine sounds small and dorky and I don't leave a message. I just don't know what to do with myself. David, this is unacceptable. Two of my best friends are marrying people I barely know and I think they're making a mistake and I think they might know and somehow that's the worst part. David, this is unacceptable. The toilet in the upstairs bathroom is broken again and makes strange noises during the night. David, this is unacceptable. My mother is dying of a series of little strokes just like her mother did and she never calls me anymore. The multi-vitamin I take every morning only has 20% of the rda of calcium and I'm out of milk, will I get osteoporosis? David, this is unacceptable. Our cat is a picture of lethargy and is slowly sitting his way into history. Amber is going to Italy and Michael is going to Nepal and I am here without you and you are somewhere else with Robin and Sunday is only a day away and sometimes I measure my days by the minute and that's an old lady's thinking. David, this is unacceptable. My skin is breaking out and I think I may be dying. My head hurts, sometimes I can't see if it's too bright out. David this is unacceptable. I can only read the first twenty chapters of any given book and I always lose interest before I get to the end. Sometimes no matter how I open the book the letters wriggle around on the page and I get a headache. David, this is unacceptable. My favorite movie of all time isn't available on DVD and probably never will be. David, this is unacceptable. It's raining again and it's too hot to stay awake for very long and I can barely drive for all the idiots on the road. David, this is unacceptable. I tried to call the contractors five times yesterday but nobody answered except for the bitchy receptionist and she said they were all in a meeting but I think she was lying. David, this is unacceptable. I don't feel good. David, this is unacceptable. I'll never get the piss smell out of the basement floor and it's not my fault that the waste pipe collapsed. It was that awful plumber. I wasn't even supposed to be there that day. David, this is unacceptable. The contractors explain things to me like I'm a moron who's never dealt with a major construction project before. I am not a moron. David, this is unacceptable. I'm just not as smart as I think I am. David, this is unacceptable. I made collages in Elisabeth's studio but stopped when I ran out of glue. I went back to my studio to make collages and found myself with unlimited quantities of glue but I couldn't bear to pick up the scissors. David this is unacceptable. Elisabeth tried to call her ex-boyfriend the other day and got his new girlfriend. Can you believe that? They only broke up a week ago! What next? David, this is unacceptable. I have dirty laundry in my head and all over the bedroom floor. I thought of an excellent metaphor last night and wrote it down in my notebook to use later but my notebook has a hole in it and all the excellence leaked out of my metaphor and I can't find it anywhere.

David, this is unacceptable.

David, this is unacceptable.

David, this is unacceptable.

That's what.

  It's not the same.
    It's not the same.
      Some things are not the same anymore.

        - "Something Told Me" by Coal Chamber


Just other night I was out with two of my best friends. I've known them for quite a while now, at least six or seven years each. However, lately I just don't have as much fun with them as I used to...

I remember back even as little as one or two years ago, we were probably some of the the best friends that you could ever know when the three of us were together. We always had the most fun together doing just about anything ... even if that meant nothing at all. We got along perfectly, for the sake of the argument, but even if we did fight or argue it was mostly just for concentual laughs in the end. This is the way I loved it. It couldn't have been better.

Over the last year in school, however, I met a new group of friends. I slowly lost touch with the said friends, but I didn't even really notice. These new friends were amazing people. I had known them for a several years, almost as long as I can remember, but I never really hung around with them previously. Then I started going to parties, get togethers, and now I'm pretty much a part of the "group" as much as anyone else is. I love them. They're fantastic people, and they treat me with more respect than anyone else ever had.

Eventually I just grew away from my previous two friends, and am pretty much limited to only my new friends. Just the other night, though, I was with my old friends. We hung out, watched TV, went out for a bite to eat, told stories from our lives. It was just like old times. But unfortunately I just didn't feel the same fun coming from these things as I used to with the same people. I got bored more easily. Frustrated more frequently. And even found little things about the two friends -- well, more of one than the other -- that absolutely would've driven me insane had I not a good state of mind at the time.

I can't decide if I like it this way. I like them, but I also like my new friends.

...maybe I should just let fate decide what happens...

The best man at my wedding emailed me this week. I am unhappily good at losing track of people, because I usually don't want to bother them, but sometimes they turn up. Dana wanted me to tell him something only he would know, as a sort of password.

I told him about the Thanksgiving we spent with him in Tsaile, Arizona, when it was so cold we kept waking up to put wood on the fire all night. He took us to Shiprock and to Canyon de Chelly, and we listened to the radio in his faculty apartment at Navajo Community College and watched the horses next door drifting across their snowy pasture, nibbling tan-colored grass. The radio said that the mayor of Chicago had died.

I also told Dana about some of our Dungeons and Dragons characters. I had one called Galbraith, after John Kenneth Galbraith, and one called Tito, after Marshal Josip Broz Tito. Dana liked the names Brick Blue and Red Blue.

Dana has a girlfriend who used to be his student, and they live in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Dana is six feet seven inches tall and and is an inorganic chemist. He is the only person I know who holds a patent for something in his own name, all by himself. It's a molecule.

Gorgonzola does America in a Month

Day 3: Mackinaw City to Madison: Jerky and flyboys

(Day 2)

Similar to other days of my journey, (poor) timing played a part in making this day less fun than it should have been.

You see, I have a problem. By the time I started looking for hotel rooms, the beginning and the end of the trip were locked in. I hadn't realized this overlapped the immense EAA Air show in Oshkosh, and every hotel room in eastern Wisconsin was booked. EVERY room. Green Bay, no luck. Forget about the Door Peninsula, with weddings and all. Oshkosh, Appleton, Fond du lac, it's all the same story. I briefly considered Wausau BUT IT WAS BOOKED TOO. Finally, a Best Western in Madison has a vacancy. So no matter what, I've got a long day ahead of me, and litle time to spare for sightseeing.

There's not much more to say about Mackinaw City except fueling up and getting across the Mackinaw Bridge into the Upper Peninsula. I skip the Mystery Spot, signs for which I'd seen all the way up the Lower peninsula the day before. For about half an hour I drive US 2 along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Along about Naubinway I look at my gas gauge, and it's reading 1/4 tank. I think to myself, "My, distances are long up here" and pull into the Hog Island Country Store. First time I ever paid $1.97 a gallon for gas. It comes to $4 total, and I realize I've got a gas gauge problem. Also a low tire. I go into the store to pay for the gas and ask for an air hose. Inside, there are about half a dozen people line up in front of big display cases containing nothing but various types of jerky:

(All right, I made that last one up.)

Unfortunately, those scallops the night before had put me off my feed, so no jerky for me. I try to make up for it by buying a map and a refrigerator magnet shaped like the Upper Peninsula. Didn't help. But I got the air hose, backed up to the garage, and filled the tire. Back in the store, I had to wait another 15 minutes while various jerky customers made their jerky purchases, just to return the hose.

Back on the road, Michigan 117. The scenery resembles (unsurpisingly) Northern Maine, but flatter. I never notice the Niagara Escarpment. The crossroads with Michigan 28 has a small sign with "Musining 45" pointing to the left and "Newberry 25" to the right.

The big attraction of this part of the Upper Peninsula is Pictured Rocks National Seashore, and Musining is the gateway to it. In the Visitor's center, I get the bad news: The only way to Truly Experience the Pictured Rocks is by Boat.

Although I've no time for a boat trip, I invest two hours visiting the sights accessible by car: Miner's Castle, a peculiar rock formation on Lake Superior, and Miner's Falls, accessible down a narrow 1 1/2 mile winding road and another 1 1/2 mile hiking trail. But finally, I'm out walking around and taking pictures. At Musining Falls I witness stupid teenagers illegally walking under the falls.

In Musining I do postcards and take a GPS reading. It's lunchtime by now, but I figure I should make up some time, and push on for Marquette. The drive along Lake Superior is worth all the day's frustrations. The junction with US 41 is just east of Marquette. It's a road I'm eventually supposed to take, so I take it.

That was a mistake; I really should have gone up to Marquette for something to eat. US 41 is miles of tree-lined road with nothing else. Northern Maine all over again. I'm beginning to alternately doze off and suddenly come awake, but there's nowhere to turn around, turn off, or even pull over. I risk death for 45 miles until I finally reach a convenience store in Rapid River at the junction with US 2. Cappucino, even out of a vending machine, is like nectar in these circumstances.

The northern shore of Green Bay is a bit more developed than the rest of the Upper Peninsula. Escanaba is a sizeable town, and as you get down towards Menominee development gets thicker and thicker.

The last touristy thing I do this day is stop at the Wisconsin Welcome center in Marinette, Wisconsin, just over the Menominee River bridge from Michigan. It's 5:00 and the attendant is locking up, but grudgingly gives me a map.

So, now it's a long slog down US 41 through all those cities that wouldn't give me hotel rooms. Traffic is bad the whole way down to Fond-du-Lac, which you might expect when all of the small plane owners in the country are gathered in one place. But I had one more task: A former coworker was attending the air show. There was no chance of tracking him down, but I felt should mail him a postcard from Oshkosh, just so he'd do a double-take when he got home.

It gets dark on the drive down US 151 from Fond-du-Lac to Madison. The scenery is more like the Wisconsin you'd expect, with corn fields and dairy farms lining the road. It also begins to rain just as it gets dark.

I'm completely knackered by the time I pull into the Best Western parking lot just past I-94. And now the punch line: After all that heartache getting a room, THEY'VE NEVER HEARD OF ME. It turns out my room was at the "Inn Towner" in downtown Madison. So it's another half hour of driving the streets of an unfamiliar city before I can get into a room and collapse on the bed.

(Day 4)

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