I guess I go through stages of writing. Stages of wanting to write, needing to write, and struggling to scribble every single observation and event in my flimsy notebooks. I also go through stages of simply living.

The past year and a half have been very nice. For example, I am more or less engaged. The ring on Christmas morning will not be a surprise. Although I did not pick the ring, I requested the stone—aquamarine. He says it’s almost as beautiful as my eyes. I hope it fits my birthday and my ridiculously accurate Pisces attributes.

I have not written much about him, or us. I’ve just lived the forehead kisses, the unexpected orgasms, and the tearful confessions under flashlight lit bed sheets. Sometimes I am afraid that when I am old and gray, these moments will be forgotten and gone.

So we replay the first. I sit on porch steps and ask if he remembers. He places his hand on the back of my ankle to confirm that he does. We wait, looking at each other from the corners of our eyes, talking nonsense.

I say, “This is about the time I leaned down to kiss you.” And I do. We kiss slowly and release. He smiles. I say, “Actually, you practically mauled me with your eagerness.” Still smiling, he grabs my breast like a door knob. We both laugh. He takes his hand away.

We put our foreheads together, and I think of the cliché ceramic swans that always form heart shapes. It’s better sober. It’s better with love. I still miss writing, but it’s always a struggle without drama.

Sometimes I wish I could tell the future.

There are so many choices in my life right now. What should I study? Where? Do I like living here, or should I move somewhere else? Where do I want to be in five years? Ten? What effect will my choices have on my future?

I allow myself to look backwards in time, I begin to question and regret all of my past decisions. What if I went to college somewhere else? Would I be better off? Am I living to my potential, or is there something more?

Sometimes, when left to my own devices, I think. I think about who I am, and I wonder about who I will become. And so I wish I could know today what tomorrow holds for me and to be able to predict which of my many choices is the correct one.

The fact is that I know in my gut that one day I will be world famous. When the biographers write about my life, they will surely have a chapter on my accomplishments. However, there will be a critical chapter in there somewhere about Marc’s early days. I want this chapter of my life to reflect my integrity, and my resolve to succeed.

I cannot take back my actions of yesterday. I wouldn’t take them back, even if I could. Some of my decisions were good, some were not, and I’ve learned from all of them. In life, it’s the journey, not the destination. Going forward, so long as I stick to my decisions and learn from them, the journey of this life will be long and prosperous.

I do not need a crystal ball to tell the future. My actions define my future, and I choose to be a success.

I went to a board of directors meeting for our local ham radio club first thing this morning. We met at the new hospital out in Seneca. Some of us had never been there before. They just finished building it in October. I could hear Joe and Ron talking to each other on 2 meters about which entrance we were to use. I followed Bill since his wife is a nurse there. I parked beside him and we walked in together. He soon informed me that we were both lost. We met Jim in the lobby and found our way to the cafeteria.
We always meet at a place that has food. The average age of our club is over 50, no probably 60. Old people love to talk about food. The best part of the hospital cafeteria is the price. I got hash browns, scrambled eggs, toast, coffee and a small doughnut for $1.97. That's about the cheapest thing you'll get in there.

Joe asked, "What does UPMC stand for?"

Ron quickly answered, "You Pay More Cash."Smiles and groans all around. We gathered in a spare conference room and began to feed our faces and have three conversations going at once. Sometimes the one I'm in isn't as interesting as the one to my left. Soon we're nearly done eating and the meeting is called to order. The first topic of business is presented and as the discussion is open to the floor. We end up with three conversations going at once.

"Order, order! Jim has the floor. Let him speak."

This goes on for almost two hours. I've been around these people enough to know how they react to things, so I just sit back and enjoy the show. But it isn't long before I'm in it up to my neck.

It was snowing when we left. I still had a busy day ahead of me. Today we're cutting down a Christmas tree. I went home to pick up my son. This is a tradition with us. I passed my wife going the other way. We saw her again when we stopped at the mall. Frank wanted to get Fight Club, the book. Oh my God, he's reading. We saw the movie on FX last week and now he wants to read the book.

I remember the first time I went to get a book after seeing The Poseidon Adventure. I soon discovered the book was different and I had preconceived images of the subjects from the movie. I would enjoy that experience many times over. I can't wait to read Fight Club when he's done. That movie scared the hell out of me.

We went to Hoover's Tree Farm on Bucktail Road. Mr. Hoover runs a neat and tidy operation. My son picks out the tree and then we tag it. The location is entered onto the tag and when its your turn he cuts it down and hauls it out on a four wheeler with a trailer. He'll even help you tie it on your car. We were home before noon and my son was gone in sixty seconds. He's busier than I am.

I put the tree up and went out to the car to clean up the mess we made. My neighbor and his son pulled in. Today is the last day of deer season. They didn't get anything but cold. If you go into any redneck bar in rural Pennsylvania during deer season, as soon as you walk in everyone will turn their head toward the door and someone will ask, "Didja gitcher buck yet?" Just once I'd like to say, "Hell no, why do you think I'm in here with you losers?" Not many bucks taken this year. Some hunters in the area are having better luck seeing deer in bear season and vice versa. Go figure.

Figured out my user/password which I had signed up before. Spent a bit of time trying to figure out how I could do a daylog. Of Course, I was trashed by this time, after spending the evening at Frontpage and Bailey's. So, I am just testing.
Can daylogs be voted down? I don't know, I am a newbie. will wait and see.

This...was the end of it. I don't intend on getting in touch with her again. Ever.

The one fallacy I have that is a part of me, so much a part of me that I can't shake it, even now, is that I, a fabulist, can affect your perceptions of me (of us) through the sheer power of words. No matter how hard I try to be an upstanding member of New York City society (friends, bars, work, what-have-you) I can't...shake you.

I've tried. And you're still whole-heartedly embedded in my head.

Seems to me (5am, Saturday night, kinda drunk, work at 10am tomorrow) that we've spent way too much time trading unfairs. You are unfair. So am I. This is the nature of our relationship, past and present. Sucks, maybe, but. I can't...change...this.

Look. I wish the best for you in everything you go for, and you know I think you can accomplish absolutely anything you so much as think about. I am absolutely unwavering in that. It's magic, the things you do by the power of will alone. That's a trust I don't give out lightly, or (actually) ever - I'm actually willing to believe in what you used to try to teach me, drinking coffee and scribbling things on napkins that, no mater how hard I've tried, I could never really come to grips with. I wanted so desperately to be able to understand you, but our circles rarely met and...I lost that part of you. I feel like I didn't try hard enough. That's my fault, I think.

You know this, but...you can't screw up in my head, not to the point of me losing respect for what you're capable of. You are golden in how you think and what you can bend scares me, a little. Scared me then, scares me now.

- - -

It's been a year and more and...christ.

One of us blew it, here, and (me being me) I'm going to assume it's me. I miss you. And you're gone. And that's ripping me to shreds. Girls suck. You...don't.

Maybe it way a mistake for me not to fight with you when you came home and said 'this is over.' Maybe I'm a horribly fixated freak, a guy who doesn't like change to such to such an extent that, even now, I wait for you to recognize what we've both lost and similarly what we've both gained over the last year.

Maybe (as I said somewhere else) I'm anthropomorphizing a ghost.

And maybe...I'm not crazy. Maybe (just maybe) there's still something here that, even through our now wholly disparate circumstances, we can bridge. Maybe we can be real, true friends. Or maybe we can convince each other that we've made a serious mistake. Either way.

I miss you, Amy. Every gesture and every (un)necessary silence. I wish I could shake you, but I can't, and I don't know why.

We can get coffee and talk about all the inanities of live, the universe and everything...or you could tell me what's really going through your head. We could trust each other a bit. Biased? Absolutely. But balanced. And (as always) there for you. Sand then, maybe; rock, now.

Do us both a favor, and lean.

I sent that last week. Haven't heard back. For various reasons, I'm not surprised.

Recollections of Orlando
Part Two
Friends Not Forgotten I

When I first came to Orlando in 1997, it was for the most part a blind leap. The only person I really knew in town was Christine, who broke off our relationship and told me she could not bear to ever seen me again because I could not give her the kind of love and devotion she wanted from me. We're both Scorpios, so sometimes it goes that way. This left me deaf, dumb and blind after I was moved in to my apartment. There wasn't really anyone I knew, I did not yet have a job and I wasn't sure why I was even here in the first place.

Friends of mine in New Hampshire had put me in contact with a friend of theirs who lives in Orlando. The friend in question was Meg, who for a while became my closest friend and confident. An online writer's group put me in contact with Liz, who lived in Lakeland, but was more interested in participating in a kind of swinging couples deal than she was in writing. What was most important about Meg and Liz was that we had a completely platonic relationship. They were my friends in the way that I was friends with guys. We talked, we went places together, we went out together as a group, we went to parties and football games and baseball games. We just hung out together, although Meg and Liz never really connected because they had philosophical differences, most of them relating to Meg's distast for Liz's lifestyle.

It was Liz who would introduce me to Chris. In the midst of weird events surrounding what started to become a running list of waitresses named Christina or some variation of Christina, Chris arrived. Her actual given name was Tina, but she went by Chris and pondered endlessly her desire to legally change her name... all while I was obsessed with a waitress called Tina. There was something about it that kept me constantly amused, but after the first year of my time in Orlando, Meg and Liz drifted away and became involved in details of their own lives and we stopped talking and seeing each other regularly. Chris stuck around and for the next two years became my partner in crime, my sidekick and my friend.

Chris is probably the smallest adult I've ever known in my life. To call her 4'10" would be generous, and she had a childlike body. She was tiny and often looked like she could be carried away by a good wind, but she also had given birth to three children, all through natural childbirth. I used to ask her how she was still alive, but she was a survivor. She had been married and living a stable life for several years, anticipating that her husband and she were going the usual route of having a house with children and happiness and all that we read about in books, but it did not go that way. After three children, her husband decided simply that, "This is not the life for me. I don't like this much responsibility." With that, he left her and the children, moved to another town and she spends most of her free time tracking him down to pay child support, which she regularly has to bring him into court to convince him to pay.

Chris' struggles were nothing out of the ordinary, which was the part of the story that really troubled me. Her life was in a holding pattern, a tiny woman with three kids living alone with barely enough money to scrape by, feeling alone and outcast, and she was often driven to attempts to numb herself by drinking vodka and Pepsi until she needed someone to wrap her in a blanket and drive her home.

Chris struggled with many things, but the one thing that she bled over more than anything else was the feeling she would spend the rest of her life alone, or at least until the kids grew up and moved out, "And then I'll be an old lady, so what's the point." Men tend to not mind a roll in the hay one night with a woman who has three kids, but they tend not to hang around very long. Even breakfast is a stretch. She became more and more miserable until she met Mark, a decent and caring guy who had one tragic fault, he bored her to tears. He owned his own business, worked intimately with computers and had no real concept of warmth or intimacy. Yet, he wanted to be with her, he wanted to marry her and he wanted to spend time with and live with her three young sons. It was a lesson in trading and compromising, because in the months that followed she would call and complain to me about how boring and cold her life was. Sometimes we have to make these trades. As she pushed me to help her have affairs in order to satisfy her sexual cravings, distance grew between us.

For a while, my name was Drew Peterson. The first job I landed in Orlando was with a real estate company that worked exclusively in timeshare resales. It was the best paying job I've had since being down here, but there were a lot of very questionable and even some openly crooked things going on regularly and I had to get out of there. I changed my name to Drew Peterson, using that name on the telephone and in correspondence with people because I did not want to be associated with the company. Instead of seeing why I was doing it, the company thought it was the funniest thing they ever heard and bought a nameplate for my desk. "Drew Peterson."

My best memory of that job was of Lillian, an older African American woman who had serious style and attitude. She was more appalled by the things going on in the office than I was, but she had a different route. When a client actually came into the office, complaining about what amounted to paying $600 for us to print a page off the internet, she threw open the door to the company president's office, walked the guy into the office, smiled broadly at the president and said, in an exaggerated and pronounced accent,

"Help the man."

Denise was the company's receptionist and she was one of the most scatter-brained women I've ever met, wired in such a way that she processed information in seemingly random fashion. Her logic and methods tended to be convoluted, turning a five minute job into twenty minutes of madness, but she always knew what was going on and why. She had come to Orlando from Los Angeles, where in addition to working as a secretary and receptionist she had done bit parts in a number of syndicated television shows along the lines of Highlander and Renegade as well as a few B-movies. She was tall, thin and always looked like she was within seven seconds of completely losing her mind. Outside of work she wore long, flowing skirts accented with moons and stars, flip-flops and excessive amounts of odd costume jewelry. She generally looked like she had been hit by a bus in the late 60s and had been wandering around for decades trying to find her way home but not having any idea where it was. We became good friends for a while, often going out to the movies or taking a drive along the beach.

Denise had this strange psychic tuning fork in her brain. I saw her read other people, through their eyes, and tell them stories about themselves without knowing anything about them. Talking to a waiter in a restaurant one night while we were having dinner, she asked him a question about his father and if he felt he made peace with him before he died or not. She would feel in no way strange about asking these questions. She said she simply had to know, and in fact the waiter's father had died recently and they had not spoken in years. The first day she met me, my first day on that job, I was trying to get acclimated when she walked over to me and said, "Hello. I was trying to figure you out all morning and then I realized why I can't read you. I think you're dead."

"Do you pledge to honor and defend Demi Moore's leg, sailor?"

"Aye, Captain."

One of the many temporary jobs I took during my first two years in Orlando involved unloading trucks for the company that handles storage and warehousing for a number of entertainment companies, one of them being Planet Hollywood. In those days I would take any job, keeping with a philosophy that no job was beneath me and that I was just like everyone else, a common man making his way in the world.

I worked with a gigantic man named Tyrone, who had just gotten out of the Navy after eight years. All we did for two weeks was unload and move boxes and crates, at least until the last days. There was only one trailer left to be unloaded and it was a rusted wreck of a trailer, overgrown and sinking into the pavement. Inside was a collection of, for lack of a better work, junk. This trailer contained items that were used in promotions or had been discarded after Planet Hollywood decided they no longer needed them or that they had been a bad idea. The centerpiece of this trailer was a giant replica of Demi Moore's right leg. Apparently they had once built and had monstrous versions of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis outside one of the restaurants, but likely decided it was a bad idea because it frightened potential customers away. I don't know what happened to the rest of Demi Moore, but her leg was jammed in the back of this trailer. It was constructed with the knee bent, and when it was shoved into this trailer, the knee jammed against one wall, the hip against the opposite wall and the foot against the forward wall. It took us all day to get it out of the trailer and in the end, believe it or not, we used baby oil to lubricate it because it was the only lubrication we could find (and I'd rather not think about why the warehouse supervisor had baby oil in his office). To this day when people ask me what the most bizarre job I ever had was, I answer, "Rubbing baby oil on Demi Moore's giant leg." The image of two guys, sweating in the Florida sun, in the back of a trailer that was two hundred degrees inside, rubbing baby oil on a giant leg, remains one of the most surreal memory images in my mind.

There were a number of strange temporary jobs I worked at that time, including a night warehouse job for a large office supply chain where my co-worker showed up for his first day on the job with a t-shirt that said "Fuck you" on it in bold letters. There was the supply room at a department store where I was locked in with a young man who had his own roofing business and was trying to pick up some extra income with part time temp jobs, later deciding that if he was going to be locked in a hot, dusty room by a white man he might as well live in a dumpster. I worked for a resort hotel, managing the purchasing of supplies, and dealing with a little old lady who raided the ashtrays outside the service window for butts because she believed purchasing cigarettes was foolish when there was so much free tobacco sitting around. Most of it was very entertaining, but eventually I needed to move into something more stable, because I was beginning to lose my shirt... and my mind.

Why are voices of reason ignored?

I just read yet another Slashdot posting about some administrative group telling their people to ditch Internet Explorer because The Sky Is Falling or there's another vulnerability or some new virus is out that targets it, or something.

In this case, Information Week is playing Chicken Little.1

In the case of Slashdot, it's important to consider the source. They are so anti-non-open-source (now that's a new one!) that they would rather blame Microsoft than explain how to prevent problems in the first place.

I expected better from Information Week, though. I suppose everyone loves a sensationalist story, including technology mag editors. Ratings are more important than prevention, after all. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Instead, I ask: "Why aren't technology people taking charge and preventing these things before the fact?" I've been doing this for two years for one client, a year for another, and I'm sure they're all months behind in security patches yet they don't get viruses or worms or spyware or anything bad. Yet they all use Internet Explorer and Microsoft Windows. They don't even use any conventional anti-virus software.

Why aren't voices of reason listened to? Even in the face of working examples?

  1. http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=55301109&tid=6004
I had the most lucid dream last night...

Now, It'd make a great write up to today's dream log, if it weren't for one basic flaw: Well over half of it is made up, now, in order to fill in the holes left by memory.

You see, I like to write, though I don't have much in the way of inspiration, most times. So when I woke out of this insane dream, I suddenly found myself working, changing, altering bits and pieces of it, all just to smooth it out and lend a more easily followed plot. In the dream I was simply living it all out, so I didn't take time to stop and question any part of it.

Once I woke up, I just had to write something about it. I grabbed up a journal and got to work. By the time I had written several pages, the original dream was just a shade in my mind. I wish I had more skill at straight-thought writing. If I didn't think so much about it it'd be such a lovely story.

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