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It's interesting to look back at your own life later.

Patterns do emerge.

It is practically impossible to spot any individual behavioral pattern in your own self while you are in the "loop", but it becomes more and more easy as elements around you change and the need for any certain behavior decreases and later becomes obsolete.

What brings me to these thoughts is the fact I have been unwilling to accept the thought I need medication.

For over four years I would take pills for a month and figure "I'm healed!" as the symptoms of my disease ceased.

This continued and continued until something brought me to a stopping point: My life had changed in a whole other way that I had never come to think of before. I had rather good reconnassaince of what had happened during those years, but had never stopped to really look back. Even if I did stop, I would stop to look way too back and miss the obvious.

Dumbass, I was. What happened after time after time was I stopped taking my medication. I'd figure I was healed. I didn't need it anymore. I would for a week or maybe two live in a completely "fixed" state in which I somehow didn't need any medication This of course not due to the fact how long the stuff stays in your body. It was just simply a miracle.

But as time passed, I would indeniably, time after time, be back to my oh so familiar goddamn starting point: I was sick and needed my medication, because I was going crazy. This of course did not "remove" the earlier miracle: The miracle had just ceased to exist and needed to be renewed.

Back then no starting point existed for me - it would be just yet another faint moment, in which I realized I was not healed yet or not permanently, but I would be. Next week! Or the week after that!

What disease was this? Yes, of course a life-long one, for which no cures exist and which runs in the family. But still, I was not one who was seriously sick, I was someone completely unlike the rest.

I had to have my hopes up. That was simply because "I wasn't sick and still am not. I'm sooo special." I wasn't. Honestly. I figured I was one of them good guys who would never get any disease. Nobody needed to tell me I was "sick", because I knew I was - I was "sick", but that was just just simply because I hadn't managed to "fix" myself yet. For fuck's sake, people tried telling me, but no, would I listen: "You are sick just like the rest of us" Of course I wasn't, because I was ME. It's so fucking annoying to notice any similarity between yourself and an insurance company ad: "It could happen to you, because you are just like me."

If you have an illness running in your family and you live with some sense in your head AND you have any usual medication for it, just accept it: You are sick and you are medicated, thus you are fine. Thank god for Western medication. Worry not. That's all. You can leave it behind, as long as you comprehend the fact it is a part of who you are. For those wondering, you are not going to just suddenly become fixed if the bottle doesn't say it does miracles, because that is just not how people and medication work.

This is a sad yet a very delightening moment to write this, because I finally come to face the facts: I was wrong. I was wrong. I was so wrong, I could bang my head against a wall now to take it all away. I probably wouldn't want to do that though, because I was so sure I was right, I'd probably end up trying this all one day or another anyway.

Leave that all behind, this is, however, also a very refreshing and new time for me. I'm happy, because I know now, that I don't need to worry: Many people are sick. Seek support. It helps. Now I'm happy and I'd like to share it somehow. I would send roses to Jesus if he was alive.

If you feel this applies to you, maybe it does. Though, if it does, maybe you will just ignore this just like any other thought you would, if you feel it doesn't concern you. Because you are not like that. Nobody is.

Then again, there is a chance you are just in the same place I was not too long ago. Don't ignore that chance, because this chance to jump out of the loop may be the only one you got before it all starts all over again.

It is with great hesitation that I have decided to follow XWiz's lead and answer Lord Brawl's questionnaire for editorship in a daylog. I am uncertain as to whether I would make a good editor or not, because I'm highly opinionated sometimes, and I'm rather vocal about opinions such as my intense dislike of downvotes.

But I realise that there is a difference in a relationship between peers, where argumentation is allowed, and between the government and the governed, where a power differential exists. In my life, I have often found myself in (rather geekish) positions of authority... president of an undergrad maths society and founder of a local LUG in my recent school are two that immediately come to mind... and I'm aware that as a leader many different points of view have to be accommodated for. I am therefore wary of imposing opinions from a position of authority. I suggest and plea, but never demand.

Given that, and given how my opinions are often contentious, if I became an editor, I would probably stick mostly to the writeups I know about. Mathematics and a little science. I would probably glance at everything else as I do now, but not directly interfere. I would be afraid to muck up what I don't know much about.

Newbies... this place is for the newbies, and I am willing to roll out the welcome mat every time they show up. I will point them to the FAQ, answer questions in private messages (I already do this sometimes), be very patient, be friendly, apologise for Butterfinger McFlurry if they don't get it, because after all these years I certainly don't get it myself (I mean, I don't get the joke, but I get the politics). I've been told that I'm a good teacher, and I'm used to explaining things over and over again, without losing patience, because I'm used to explaining things like mathematics, which are invariably difficult to understand, and nobody ever gets it the first time. I'll be there to explain it again the second, third, and tenth time. It's fine. I really don't mind.

Enough babbling. Let me answer the questionnaire.

Five nodes that epitomise what's special about Everything2

  1. Why the Willow Weeps. First writeup I ever chung. It has beauty, creativity, and surprise. Jonathan is a skilled writer.
  2. The City of Angels, Mexico. This... this demonstrates the strength of friendship formed in the nodegel. It was a gift for me, and one of the best gifts I've ever had. Apatrix is right: e2 is about the people.
  3. tensor. This entire node is fascinating to me, because I saw how it grew. There was discussion in the e^2 usergroup as to how to improve it, and two noders took charge of the node in different ways, both very valuable.
  4. Deals Well With Ambiguity: A Savagely Long Writeup About Why Boys Are Not Like Girls and Other Things. E2 is a lot of things. Fiction, fact, community, opinion. This opinion node does a wonderful job of expressing opinions, backed up with personal experience and with facts, in a readable, enjoyable fashion.
  5. Ambulatory Knitting. How-to's. Let's not forget the how-to's. And where else than in e2 are you going to be able to read how to knit while walking?

Three of your writeups of which you are proud

  1. Rules for Spanish Accents. Like most of my (good) writeups, this was a long time in the making. I like it because I had fun writing it, and because I was trying to be informative at the same time, which is pretty much like the rest of my style.
  2. Differential Geometry. I had been trying to write this almost since the time I joined e2, right after I wrote differential manifold (which could use a rewrite, actually), but I could never quite figure out how to make it work right. The list of examples at the beginning took quite some time to cement, and the historical sketch was then just a bit of book browsing.
  3. Age, Sex, Location. I joined e2 playing a bit with the community, and I had lots of fun. This writeup reminds me of those times.

Three writeups for the newbies

  1. Yttrium by Footprints. Because it gives a general feel of what raging lunatics we sometimes are, and because the joking needs to be explained sometimes.
  2. The little red-haired girl by Princess Therion. Because there is place for anecdote and personal opinion in the nodegel, and here's one way to do it.
  3. telic grammar by vuo. Because you really have to tell the full story with factuals, and you have to tell it correctly, though if the full story is short, that's ok too.

As for the rest of the questions...

  1. I'm constantly active on e2 and will answer questions whenever, unless pressing real-life needs take precedence.
  2. I'm not in the mentoring team because I'm not level 4 yet, but I'd be more than happy to join.
  3. Yes! I'm a subject matter expert in mathematics! (And a wee bit of physics...) In fact, this is one of my main motivations to join the Content Editors! I know it's an arcane subject and that we get a steady trickle of maths nodes in New Writeups, but that most of us are a little afraid of getting our hands dirty with mathematics! Well, I like dirt!
  4. I'm a leader of e^2, and I keep babbling on it. I'm also leader of ouatim, though that's not a "real" usergroup, since it's going to expire in less than ten months. :)

One minor thing, though... there's something that worries me slightly about being an editor, and that is that I would be getting chings before being level 4. After this writeup, I'd be seven writeups away from level 4, and those chings have been a bit of an eventual holy grail for me. Getting them ahead of time, might be... cheating? Ah, it's silly, I know, but I really wanted to node for those chings.

Gave notice on Friday. Surprised myself by being nervous all day, nervouser and nervouser over a couple of hours. Bummed a cigarette of Josh right before I went into Flash's office. I swear those things are straight magic -- no matter what is overwhelming or which bad shit is going down, just smoke a cancer stick and everything is alright again. I saw the last half of some dipshit movie recently, where Will Farrell had to drink more and stronger coffee in order to keep control as his stress level rose. I bet in the original screenplay it was the less socially acceptable tobacco, from lights to reds to cloves to cigars to a hookah.

Well hell, I feel like a smoke now.

Anyhow, Flash was not surprised that I was leaving, and didn't have any real commentary, besides "You know, we aren't going to have any developers left!" Which is true, the other developer gave notice two weeks ago and is gone now.

The expatriate club had lunch and beers and did some preemptive reminiscence before we scatter up and down the coast. Michael, the other developer, is off to San Francisco to do contract work for IBM. I tried to tell him what all I love about that city, but I don't think it took. He'll find out for himself in any case. Mac, who left a couple of months ago, is making beaucoup bux as an independent ecommerce consultant and has no plans to leave SD. He hires a limousine when he goes out with a girl now, no shit, says $350 is way cheaper than a California DUI that costs ten grand. Which is also true.

As for myself, I am going to Seattle, all expenses paid. Weirdest goddamned thing in the world to be saying out loud, to other people. Much more so than saying it on the internet. Within the next two weeks some guys are going to hop out of a truck and all of my shit is going to disappear out of my house like David Blaine. I have no idea what to do while this is happening -- is there an accepted protocol? Am I supposed to kick back in the yard and watch people do work while I sip a margarita? The alternative being, what, to sit on the floor in my house and read a book while this flurry of activity drifts through my apartment?

Maybe we all have the reflex where when good things happen, for one thing it's unbelievable on a basic level, and for another even if it is true probably something is going to fly out of reality and fuck it up for you before too long. Or maybe that's just me. I mentioned this to Christina and she said, "What could possibly happen where your job would go *poof* besides the zombie apocalypse?" ... and I didn't have a good answer, but come on, something could. Decisions made, regretted or not, come back to roost in unexpected ways.

Got a television the other day, from a friend who didn't need it any more. Twenty-three inches of grey-faced Panasonic love, manufactured in 1984. Needless to say I have been playing lots of Tetris yesterday and today, which is what I have been missing most without a TV. If this were real life I would be anxious about having to move it, but here in fantasyland some guys are going to move it for me so who cares?

Sold my eight-foot Christmas tree on Craigslist, much to the cat's dismay. She loves generating anarchy with the ornaments and branches etcetera. I'm going to sell my giant speakers too I think, the ones I imported to California in my single vanload of crap in 2003 instead of three crates of books that could have fit in their place. Talk about a decision I regret. I might also sell my turntables and get new ones up North. No sense in letting the movers break them and I've wanted to side-grade to Technics for a while now anyway so hey.

I have friends there already: People I went to college with. People from this one website I used to post to a lot. A guy I used to drive to Missouri and play Magic with, of all things. In a way it seems almost like moving home.

A handful of crucially important people are missing of course. Such is life.

There were these strange feelings for the first time when I visited Portland. I had always expected to keep drifting, on along through the Pacific Northwest, probably over to Manhattan next. Maybe a stop in Athens, GA afterwards. Who knows, right? But after Portland my brain did this weird thing where it said, "OMG, you could buy a house there and make close friends. Attach yourself to the land. Get a tattoo of a rose on your back. Plant tomatoes." It was a surprise to have that come out of my brain -- I was not expecting it.

"Homeless" is an interesting word. When I was maybe six my mom and I spent let's say six months technically homeless, living in a motel. She worked out a deal where she paid half the nightly price and they didn't change the sheets or soaps etc. In big cities they call it an Economy Apartment, I think, but this place was on the poor edge of a tiny Kansas town. For a six-year-old, though, it was ADVENTURE!

I am curious as to how all of this will turn out. Guess I will find out soon enough.


swift gloss over of beginning that was not ideal.
pause. rewind.

Begin again

A hot shower washes everything clean. It wipes away the salt, massages away the tension, softens the lines. A good wide toothed comb smoothes away the knots. Fingers plait with practiced ease. Comfortable sweats slipped over freshly lotioned skin, followed by a fresh mug of coffee

A cleansing breath in. A letting go of expectations. A kiss off to disappointment. It can be as simple as this. Today, it works and it's OK.

I bought a Christmas Tree at Home Depot. It was not a trek through the tree farm. It was not snowballs whizzing past. It was not the hunt for the perfect tree. It was not red noses and chilled fingers. It was not hot chocolate with peppermint sticks afterward. In fact, it was not a family fun event at all. This is our first Christmas on our own. Just the three of us. I had hoped to recapture once upon a time only to discover the kids did not want that at all.

Both insist upon a tree. One grapples with the unfairness of so much life being murdered just to pretty up homes for a few weeks. The other wants nothing to do with a fake tree. Two different teens. Two strong opinions. We arrive at the compromise of picking one already "dead". Only, neither want to pick it out. They want to go to the mall instead. They have "stuff to do". And it's OK. They are becoming their own people, just as they are supposed to. How can I fault them for that?

I can not locate friendly neighborhood boyscouts selling trees in this strange town. I am left with Home Depot. I don't look for perfect. I close my eyes and brush my hands along a row of trees as I walk by breathing in sawdust and pine needles. I stop at the one that touches me back. The man in the orange apron is very happy to bag me the tree, bind it up, and truss it into my car. He asks me why I didn't look at it before choosing. "You can make anything look good with the right dressing" I tell him "But you can't change the heart inside. This one feels right. That's all I need to know". He looks at me weird, then shakes his head. I just laugh and pay the man. I never thought I would be buying a dead tree with a heart at Home Depot. Life is weird sometimes.

There is a turkey roasting in my oven on a day that is not a holiday. Baked brie with cranberries and almonds sit on a good china plate. There are candles flickering on book shelves and the strains of The Lost Christmas Eve of Trans-Siberian Orchestra belt out of a cheap boom box. The storage boxes closed up tight for five plus years spill open with Christmas past. And my imperfectly warm hearted soft touching tree waits to be dressed for the season.

The kids will come home to magic. It is not the same as once upon a time. But today, it really doesn't have to be.

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