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Today is my mother's birthday. I guess I just want to say Happy Birthday mom.

Thank you mom for everything you've done for me. I don't think I could ever repay you.

You've been there so many times in my life and we've seen so much. No other mother could compare to you in my eyes.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you!

Short story on fantasy character Heitah Wayne Zedicus.

Heitah’s Diary: Yesterday was my birthday, I turned sixteen. I have grown up in the city of Xynkie, of which I have left. I am heading towards the lands of Buronch, which are north of Xynkie, in search of my family, who I have never met. It is many miles that I will have to travel, and I may not make it there. I do not even know my parent’s names, let alone if I have a brother. But I proclaim this to the world, I will either make it to my destination, or die trying.

Heitah left his homeland in search of his family, to travel across many mysterious lands to travel to Buronch, where he thinks his family may be. Heitah took his only possession left by his father, an ancient sword with powers undiscovered, and started his quest. He left alone, at night, without telling the people he grew up with. He knew they would be very sad if they saw him leave.

He went down the old friendly trail, out of the city, over the washing creek, and through the night. Heitah was a very intelligent teenager. He was taught by the blacksmith how to use his sword, taught by the wood’s guide to know nature, and had much common sense to guide him. He noticed the many foot prints of the people who had passed by during the day. They were trampled in by mostly humans, but it was evident to Heitah that some Dwarves, Elves, and even Goblins had been on this trail.

“Goblins, ohhhh boy, just my favorite creature to fight,” he whispered sarcastically to himself.

Although Heitah was very trained in the arts of the sword, and was very familiar with his own, he was extremely frightened by Goblins. These were vile and evil creatures who haunted the night outside of his city. He had encountered the likes of them before, but had never come across more than one at a time.

“Well, I better hurry up or I’m going to have to sharpen my Willy.” He named his sword Willy, after he first acquainted himself with the sword, whipped it through the air, and thought it sounded like the word Willy.

He made his way many miles out of the city without encountering anything in the night, and was very pleased with himself for making such speeds quietly to the neighboring city, Quilchdad. Here he planned to buy supplies, and hopefully find someone to go on his journey with him. Heitah thinking to himself, “After this city, it is into the wilderness towards my destination.”

“I’d like to buy these supplies,” he said to the dealer at the shop, as he handed him a paper.

“We carry these supplies, but they don’t come cheap. Thirteen silver pieces, do you understand?”

“Yes, I have enough money for them.” The dealer went in back, got the needed supplies and returned. He handed them over to Heitah, who pulled out his life earnings and gave them away in a blink of an eye.

“Ten years hard work; one gold piece and seventeen silver pieces, and only five coins left,” he thought to himself. He had worked for the blacksmith, forging swords, daggers, and other various weapons.

Heitah walked out of the store, out of the city into the wilderness, on his way. “Zoom.” An arrow went right past his head into a nearby tree, landing squarely in the head of a chipmunk.

“Astonishing! Who shot that!”

“It was I, Rose.” An Elven girl, probably only in her thirties, young by Elven standards.

“That was an incredible shot. How did you do that?”

“It was nothing, I do it all the time. I was taught when I was but a child, and still take lessons now. What are you doing out here in the wilderness?”

“I have important business to attend to, nothing for you to worry about.”

“Oh is that so. I saw you walk out of the dealer’s shop just an hour ago. Those are a lot of supplies to have just for oneself, even for a long time.”

“If you must know, I’m heading to Buronch. I’m going there to find my family, and you can’t stop me from going.”

“I didn’t intend to. In fact, I was going to ask to accompany you. I want to get out of this boring old place. May I come with you?”

“I... guess... as long as you don’t eat too much.”

From that moment they were friends. They had different backgrounds, and different races, but they had one major value in common, honesty. They continued to travel towards the city of Buronch. A few days passed, and they bonded quite well. They always traveled during the day, and made superb timing.

Rose saw the arrow coming before Heitah did, and pushed Heitah behind a tree. The arrow went skidding down the winding path and off into a thorn bush.

“We’ve got trouble. I think it’s Goblins,” Rose snarled with hatred for the vile race as deep as Heitah’s fear.

Rose and Heitah came out from behind the tree, and began hunting for their foes. Heitah found the first one. Diving, he backstabbed the Goblin leader. After the Goblin had fallen over, he pulled out Willy, and hurriedly hunted for the others. Heitah found another Goblin, dead on the dirt floor, Rose had been here. Running towards the scream of Rose, Heitah found a Goblin about slay her. Heitah quickly slashed Willy through the air, slicing both of the Goblin’s arms off. The Goblin fell over, breathed another breathe, and died. The Goblins were defeated. The four surviving Goblins of the seven, ran for their lives. Heitah and Rose took what useful things were on the corpses; gold, and a few other supplies.

They made their way through the forest lands, in which they had been traveling for the last three days, and came into the Swamp of Bongindea. This was the wasteland of a frog-bird race with scum all over, they looked like dead decomposing rats. Rose had been here before, and was very agitated. Heitah foolishly walked straight into the open, but Rose grabbed him by the arm and took the lead. She knew of the grave dangers here, and she wasn’t about to let Heitah get tangled in traps the frog-birds had left behind. They made their way through the swamp. In the week it took the to travel through the swamp, they did not encounter any frog-birds.

They finally reached the Desert of Stokolola. Scorching rays of sun were hitting down upon Heitah and Rose as they ventured upon the sands of Stokolola. The desert had few plants or trees, and was not very encouraging to the eye. Water thirsty and tired, they stopped for the night by the only shrub in many miles. With no wood to make a fire they knew they were in for a cold night, even though the days were very hot. Heitah found a snake just before the moon came up and sliced it’s head off with Willy. They ate it raw, too hungry to care for the taste. They went to sleep in their tent and made it through the night shivering, near each other to get warmth.

The next morning they were greeted to the tickling feeling of more than ten black scorpions crawling all around them. Rose screamed, and was vigorously stung by three scorpions. With quick and amazing speed, Heitah pulled Willy out of its scabbard and sliced off the tails of all the scorpions. Rose fainted and Heitah quickly found the wounds and began taking care of them. He didn’t know if the poison from the scorpions was deadly enough to kill Rose, but he didn’t take any chances. He did his best to push and suck out all the poison from the wounds. An hour later, Rose still wasn’t looking good and hadn’t obtained consciousness yet. Heitah was very worried that he might lose his new friend. Holding tightly to Willy and Rose he shed a tear. The tear landed on the sword and then dripped onto Rose’s cheek. She immediately woke up, and saw Heitah crying. They locked eyes and spoke no words knowing what the magic sword of Heitah’s had just done. They made surprising time that day even though what Rose had gone through should of drained her strength. It didn’t, or perhaps she had gained it back.

It took three weeks and a day to cross the scorching sands of Stokolola, but they made it. The base of a very large mountain was just ahead. Heitah pulled out the map that he had been using to get to the city of Buronch. Surprisingly the mountain was not on the map, but he was confident that his location was correct. After showing Rose the complications to their journey, they decided to go around the mountain instead of going over it. The mountain was enormous, and it was going to take at least a five day trip to the east to get around

After two days, they came upon a merchant concealed in a black cloak, with a caravan of three horses.

“Hello there merchant. I’m willing to pay you 1 gold piece for the horse that is carrying no supplies.”

“Sure... I’ll sell you her. She’s a beauty, but I’ll take no less than three gold.” Heitah was shocked at the price; three gold, when the horse was barely even tame.

“I have only one gold to spare sir, will you take my payment of one gold, and perhaps also take something from us that catches your eye?”

“Awww, I see... What about that sword th–.”

“Nooo! It is not for trade.”

“As you wish, I’ll be on my way.” Heitah was furious with the ridiculous behavior of the merchant. Rose was obviously very weary from their travels, and this swayed Heitah’s next actions. They had begun to lose weight, and were not eating enough food or drinking enough water.

“Perhaps merchant, I have another proposal. I’ll pay you one gold, for the chance at a sword duel. Winner gets to keep the sword and the horse. The winner is declared when the opponent loses a drop of blood.”

“Quite a bargain you are giving me dear boy, I accept. But you are giving me a free sword and coin.” He grinned evilly and jumped off of his horse.

Rose was shocked at the bargain Heitah just agreed to, and proposed for that matter, but it was something even Rose would do, if Heitah. If he won, they would get a horse. Heitah went into the combat mode his mentor, the blacksmith, had taught him. He won the battle after many minutes, striking a blow that just took off a piece of the merchant’s top left ear. After arguing that Heitah had won, the merchant conceded, and Heitah sheaved his sword triumpantly, took the horse, and rode off with Rose. Now with a horse, they made an even better pace around the mountain, and finally arrived in the city of Calentine. This was the last safe place to rest before Buronch.

They stayed only two nights in Calentine, reviving from their weary travels. Using his last silver pieces, Heitah bought the few supplies he could and left with Rose for the final week long journey until they would arrive in Buronch. The week seemed to take an eternity to an expectant Heitah, but they finally arrived there. Walking inside the city with only hope, Heitah and Rose went through the gate. The guards gave them a tip with their armor helmets and a wink to Rose. The city was a valley that Humans had cultivated for many years, and Dwarves and Elves had both come here to farm. Heitah didn’t know where to start looking, but he held firmly to his sword Willy. Getting inspiration from Willy, or from deep inside himself, he knocked on a door to a village cottage. A man who resembled Heitah very closely, in an older form, opened the door. Wide-eyed and shocked, both looked into each other’s eyes. Heitah walked forward to embrace who he though was his father, but right as he tried to take his first step, he woke up. Heitah fell off of his bed, hit his head on his dresser, and realized that everything that had happened was just dream. He already had known his family, had two brothers, and loving parents. Satisfied he would never have to go out on a fantasy and adventure like that, he got back up on his bed, and went into slumber.

Let me begin by totally contradicting myself: Despite my writing this daylog, I am not a daylogger.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with daylogging, or that daylogging is any less of a part of E2 than anything else. It's also not to say that I won't one day make more use of the daylog function, but for now, it just feels weird. I was never one of those types who kept a journal or a diary (except when I was very young), and so I tend to keep my private thoughts private. So I imagine this will be my first (and last) daylog entry...at least for a least a little while.

But something happened over these last few days that caused me to want to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, so to speak). And so here I am, posting to the daylog for the first time, haphazardly tossing my personal thoughts into the nodegel like a MLB pitcher on crack.


On Reaching Base Camp. (A short treatise.)

According to the info on my homenode, it's been 3.6 weeks since I joined the ranks of E2. I've always been a fan of the site, using it here and there to find interesting facts about soy, Mr. T, and lesbians--but I frequently used it as a real research tool, especially when it came to investigating geek memes like All Your Base Are Belong to Us, which can be confusing to folks when they don't know the background behind the meme.

Anyway (Jesus, I hate using "anyway" as a transition, but I digress), I had always intended to join E2; I suppose I was just waiting for inspiration. I needed something to node.

That inspiration (as corny and crude as it was), came on 21 Nov, when Comedy Central aired an episode of South Park entitled "The Death Camp of Tolerance." In that episode, the writers of the show introduced a new character--Lemmiwinks--whose epic journey was to find his way out of a certain man's...well, I won't go into all of that. The point is, the character was hilarious, and a quick check showed that "Lemmiwinks" hadn't yet been noded, so I finally set up an account and went to work.

I posted three nodes that night, and before I knew it, all of them had great reps and two had been cooled (thanks, btw, to Gamaliel and GoodKingNerdnor for encouraging my newbie ass in that respect). There was no turning back now; I was hooked.

Like many newbies, I quickly set my sights on Level 2 because I desperately wanted voting power. E2 was such a special place...I didn't want to just post here and there; I wanted to put my $0.02 in everywhere I could! Voting gave me the chance to do that, and so I noded the requisite number of writeups and, all of the sudden, I was looking at the long climb toward Level 3.

I use the climbing metaphor very purposefully, because it wasn't too long after reaching Level 2 that I read Kidas' excellent writeup, comparing E2 to a mountain and a noder's ascent through the ranks to a climber's march towards the upper slopes. Says Kidas (original hardlinks, not added for emphasis):

For me, this point marks the difference between the stayers on E2 and the temporary residents. According to the Prof's statistics, E2 has 10,000 or so active contributors. About 90 percent of these are on levels 1 and 2, leaving only around 1000 at level 3 and above. So from here on up, we are in the top 10 percent of all noders.

(...snip...)

Level 3 is base camp, above the hubbub of the clamouring newbies, but not yet high enough to reveal the top-most slopes. Upper base camp, Level 4, is the place where serious assaults on the higher slopes begin. Down here, below the cloud base, we new acolytes have made all the preparations; we have proved that we can climb at least a little, and we have displayed enough perseverance to convince our team leaders that we can attempt the next pitch.

I don't know why, but Kidas' writeup really struck me. I mean, what really is the difference between a Novice and an Acolyte? Ten frickin votes and a couple of extra options in the user preferences section. Nothing that sexy, and yet still appealing. Why? Obviously it is because the ascent to Level 3 is, as Kidas says, "a base camp above the hubbub of clamouring newbies"--not the highest point on the mountain by far, but a nice spot to sit for a second, relax a few minutes, and be recognized by others as a noder who isn't transient, who is here to stay, who wants not only to add to the information base but to become a part of the E2 community.

The result was, of course, that I was both excited at the thought of reaching Level 3 and frustrated at the time it was taking me to do so. To borrow Kidas' metaphor again, I was making my way up the mountain, but my pace didn't exactly thrill me. I made a promise to myself that even if it meant noding night and day until the 31st, I would get to Level 3 before New Year's.

While I was working on this "quest," shuffling along in my attempt to grow as a new noder, I greatly benefited from the positive feedback and constructive criticism of folks like Bitriot, Excalibre, machfive, novasoy, mirv, wertperch, 00100, jasonm, SEF, and dannye (among others). And I enjoyed bouncing ideas off ac_hyper, who is probably my closest new E2 buddy and fellow frustrated Novice--though her writing is incredible, making me certain she'll soon vault to Acolyte and beyond before any of us has a chance to blink. (I was very glad when she didn't know what the blab! button did either, because then I didn't feel so stupid when I asked the learned folk in the chatterbox.)

The individuals listed above did everything from pointing out stupid spelling errors to highlighting common noder etiquette mistakes to suggesting additional material I should include to simply taking the time to /msg and say, "hey, nice job," which means the world when you're just a self-conscious newbie writing for a world of strangers. And when I posted a fairly personal bit about my family and Thanksgiving, supportive /msgs came from all over (and Rancid_Pickle placed a link to it in his Editor's Log, which I thought was especially courteous).

All of this further reinforced the fact that E2 isn't just some tool for cutting one's creative writing teeth; rather, it's a close-knit community of geeks and nongeeks, of noders of fact and noders of fiction, of serious noders and lovers of sick humor, of meme lovers and meme haters, but most importantly, of people who enjoy sharing their views and knowledge with an international audience of people who, in turn, also want to share.

As I started getting closer to Level 3, I found myself writing more for my own enjoyment and less for the "need to node." The result was A brief history of sleep apnea and its treatment and Colgate Total, two factual nodes that revealed a little bit more of my character in the writing. Soon they had two of my highest reps...and I knew I’d finally found my groove.

Last Friday, I was making some last minute preparations for a trip to Memphis and I happened to log on to E2 to check my /msgs. And behold (thanks to the honor roll), there was the message I had been waiting for:

You have 20 votes left today.

You gained 7 experience points!
You need 40 more writeups to earn level 4.
Wow. I had actually done it. I had reached Kidas's base camp. I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but I was pretty damn proud of myself. I had accomplished my goal, and with two whole weeks to spare.

As I said earlier, I had been hastily gathering a few items together for my trip to Memphis, and I was expected to be on the road soon, so I didn't have time to really bask in the accomplishment for any real amount of time. But as I settled into my a nice 6-7 hour drive, I had plenty of time to reflect on what had happened and, more importantly, what was to come.

I started to think about dem_bones and the whole "Earn Your Bullshit" thing. I know that's not as big of a deal today as it was back when bones first coined that phrase, but certain things he mentions in his FAQ (as well as the whole "Noding for the Ages" concept) really got me thinking.

As it stands, I have a fairly decent merit, an excellent level factor, and I'm only a few dozen writeups from Level 4. (And don't think I'm not lusting after C! power, because I surely am.) And so, when thinking back to Kidas' mountain metaphor, it seems almost natural to smile a bit, pat myself on the back, and start climbing ever higher. But something is stopping me.

Have I "Earned my Bullshit?" Have I "Noded for the Ages?" Perhaps to some degree, but there's still work to be done: novasoy was nice enough to point out that my indie film reviews of Drawing Flies, Vulgar, and A Better Place would all be made better with cast and crew listings. And mirv encouraged me to update those same reviews with DVD-specific information. jasonm suggests I bolster Back Door Sluts 9 with more information about how truly evil that video was; meanwhile, shimmer and wertperch pointed out a volley of softlink/hardlink opportunities in previous posts.

So here I am, at base camp, ready to climb ever higher, and yet stupid noder ethics make me want to stay and make everything right. These nodes have already passed muster to some extent--after all, they've received fairly high reps and many have been cooled. But the question remains: could they be better, and if so, shouldn't I make them so?

It's a dilemma, but not a very difficult one to handle. Can I make everybody happy? Certainly not. Can I make every writeup perfect? Hell no. But can I make the obvious corrections/improvements that have been suggested, when I know that said improvements will make my nodes even better for future readers? Can I put off my assault on the next peak of the mountain for a day or so, while I repair the writeups that got me where I am today? Absolutely.

As I've said several times in this writeup, I think Kidas' mountain metaphor is an accurate one, and I enjoy gauging myself by that metric. But while base camp is the place where one plans for his next ascent, it is also a place to rest, a place to find the energy to begin anew, and a place to look back (or down, as the case may be) at what you've accomplished.

I can't perfect the mountain, nor can (or would) I really hope to change much of it at all. And when viewed against the vast array of knowledge E2 will accumulate over its long and wonderful life, my impact on the knowledge base will eventually turn out to be quite minimal, regardless of how many writeups I place upon the pile.

But, by God, when it comes to the writeups I put on this mountain, I intend for them to be my very best work. Or, at least I intend for them to suck in way that appears artsy, so people still think I'm clever anyway. Just so long as my ego remains safe.

So give me a few days to tinker...and then hand me my walking stick and repelling gear, because it's a race to the top, and there's no way I'm gonna get left behind. :)

School is over. The longest semester of my life. The busiest time of my life period, or at least the busiest I remember.

Today is my birthday. I am 20 years old. I’m no longer a kid. Am I an adult? Didn’t I have to do something along the line? Wasn’t there a trial by fire I missed along the way?

I talked to her until 2AM last night. I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt. We talked about Star Wars, moving, big stuff. She’s amazing. I have an exam at 8AM, and I talked to her until 2AM.

School is over. Today I get my freedom back. The classes are over. The pressures are over. For a bit.

Today is my birthday. I’m going in to argue with some stubborn ladies over booking concerts for my campus. They want to book John Stewart with $50,000 that we don’t have. Silly ladies.

I talked to her until 2AM last night. I met her at a party. I never meet people at parties. I met her at a party and she was amazing. I talked to her last night and she was amazing. Did I mention I thought she was amazing?

School is over. Today is my birthday. I talked to her until 2AM last night.

Today is a good day.

Today after a long while, more than 5 months, I was prompted to visit E2 by a posting in ODP internal forum. Anyway, here are some of the things I did and noticed:
  • went through all the /msgs and followed up on the request for all the changes to my old nodes
  • sadly most of the messages were from klaproth, did go visit node heaven just to see what I didn't write that caused them to be disposed, many are just too brief
  • happily see that many of the klaproth messages are no long anonymous, I could have asked sid why, if I needed to
  • see that the writeup headers have now loads more information, how long since the writer was here, that's neat
  • noticed ariels liked one of my writeups, read her rant, do empathize

Till next time and when we'll meet again, BFN.

2002.12.25 at 02:36 jasonm says re December 16, 2002: typo: "emphatize" is empathize. done September 13, 2003

GCSE Mocks Diary: Results

Despite having spent most of the day shouting

PANIC!!!

very loudly, the results are in and on the whole, I'm not that upset. They could have been a lot worse.

I think that the combined joys of the end of the exams and the coming of holiday will provide a great excuse to drink copiously on Friday. I can't wait.


Last Daylog * * * Next Daylog

I took my trigonometry exam today. I had a 107%, so I needed at least a 53% to get an A. I studied for about three hours because, if I got an A- or a B, I would kick myself for not taking the exam seriously.

I have much studying to do for my chemistry exam, which will either leave me with an A or, if I really fuck up, something less. I think tonight I will drink, though, because after three days, I need to get the yen out of my system.

Today I will watch Amelie and read Atlas Shrugged and nodes, of course. I have almost earned the right to vote on E2. After this writeup I will need to write three more nodes and earn ten XP. I am pumped for the day I reach the wee level of novice, for then I can voice my opinion at a place where my vote counts.

I feel good today. I will be going home for three lazy weeks this coming Thursday. I plan to get some things done that I've been meaning to do for a long time. What I have planned for Christmas break:

  • start and finish all my Christmass shopping in three days
  • finish reading Atlas Shrugged
  • read one half of Shakespeare's plays
  • find a job for next summer (I'm not going to procrastinate and get stuck with a job serving food)
  • fire off a couple rounds in a .357 magnum
  • relax, relax, RELAX

Hey e2. It's been a year and two days since my last writeup. I'm coming back to the happy little land of writeups after a long year. I now live in Comfort, Texas. I kid you not....Comfort. Technically, my job is a rancher. I drive cattle, paint barns, and cut cedars with chainsaws. Now, this life being lived changed dramatically in October this year. I wanted to give ups to the site, because I am officially back. Thanks for not kicking me off, and I think you'll enjoy the stories and insight from my last 365 days.

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