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My wife did such a wonderful job cooking our Christmas dinner.
(I helped too - I made the green bean casserole)
Our goal was to create such a beautiful meal that my dad and step-mom would want to come back up next year. Seth and Ike are such a hassle to travel with - diaper bags, playpens, clothing, etc... If we can just get my Dad to drive the hundred miles or so from Waco up here to Lewisville, it makes things so much easier. Every year, we shuttle back and forth between Dallas, Austin, Waco, and Pilot Point, and get frazzled in the process.

Anyhow, the dinner was great, and everyone was satisfied.

Only one dish flopped.
It was corn casserole. (Ugh!) It was the first time she had made it. Not from a recipe, but just trying to copy something her mother had made for us the day before.

It sucked.
But, I dutifully loaded my plate and forced down a few bites. I'm all for honesty in a relationship, don't get me wrong. But my wife doesn't have a whole lot of confidence in the kitchen. I really want to build her up in this area. When she makes something good, I just go on-and-on about it. When it flops, well... I just make believe.

I almost got away with it.
After the second round of leftovers tonight, I cleared the table, and was putting the food away again. Seeing that the corn casserole was dwindling, and thinking that I wouldn't mind if it went away, I absent-mindedly hollered this to my wife:

"Jennifer, Do you want to save any of this corn shit?"
I knew I was busted... "No, I don't want to save any of the corn shit", came the reply. We haven't spoken of this again. I hope that she won't be discouraged...

Today was better. Much better.

I walked to the bank this morning because I couldn't afford the gas for my car (which was sitting on E). It was 18 degrees this morning and I was starving because I hadn't eaten since Monday- again, no money.

I got to the bank and the money was there. I praised God, withdrew $10 and trekked over to the MacDonald's in the Vanderbilt Hospital Complex (few people know it exists there, but having delivered pizza in this area, I know many hidden secrets within Nashville). I bought myself breakfast, went to the MapCo and bought smokey treats and then I walked back home. I gained a new sense of appreciation for our forefathers, who didn't have the luxury of cars or heaters during the winter months- though they were probably sensible enough not to get out into the cold if they could avoid it.

Got home and took a nap, with a full stomach and quelled sense of being. I'd found most of the air leaks in my cabin and plugged them up with old, chewed-up socks that I can't wear anymore. Now the cabin is toasty warm (except the floor, but I have a solution for that, too, which will require a little more effort but is worth it... tomorrow). I woke up at 11 AM, got into my car and put $3 of gas into it. Next stop was TGI Fridays, to pick up my final check.

I decided to stop by the cafe before going into Friday's. It was closed and no one was around except the handyman, a one-armed mechanic named Ezekiel. Zeke's a good guy with a peculiar sense of humor and self. Today he was experiencing silence- not saying a word to anyone. He does this periodically because he is under the impression that when he speaks he usually causes more harm than good. When I got out of my car, he stepped out of his pick-up truck and greeted me with a silent smile and a handshake (one-handed). I returned the handshake gladly, happy to see a smiling face. His joy for the world was infectious. I approached the cafe's front door and read the sign taped there: "Closed on Christmas. Will open at 6 PM on the 26th." I was about to leave when Zeke appeared behind me with a big smile on his face.

Being the handyman there, he had keys to the place. He opened the front door for me, let me in and poured me a cup of coffee, no charge. To get my attention he kept doing this, "Pst!" thing at me. It was nice. The cafe was dead silent, which was both comforting and eerie at the same time. He even had Half and Half there, waiting for me. I thanked him kindly and went to Fridays to pick up my paycheck, got it and cashed it at the bank.

The rest of the day was fairly quiet. I slept until 8 PM because I had been too plagued with hunger to sleep the night before. When I woke up I went back to the cafe to do the crossword and CryptoQuote, meet up with aphexious and see some more friendly faces. I needed to be social and happy. My cousin Josh showed up and we played pool. Suzy showed up at the pool hall, dropped off a special package in my care and then went back to the cafe to be sociable herself. She came back sometime later and bitca graced us with a surprise visit- we didn't expect her to be home just yet. Suzy had been wanting to talk with bitca and visit. Gihran was there, too. Yet another impromptu noder gathering at Cafe Coco. But it was less about E2 and more about friends hanging about.

Eventually everyone went their separate ways.

I am not starving tonight. I am not destitute. I have survived what had to be the worst Christmas holiday I've ever experienced. I'm glad it's behind me.

Miles behind; miles to go.

I kind of long for the old days where you could toss a message on a BBS and it would go away, but it would still be read by a bunch of your friends. I'm not really sure where the magic of it all was, but there was something to the idea of putting down a load of feelings onto a message board somewhere, knowing that a controlled set of people would read it (with a slight risk of some outsider), and yet being perfectly ok with that message.

E2 comes somewhat close, but the community is far larger than anything that existed within my modest little BBS community. I used to be able to write complete garbage and completely get away with it. There was always a bit of smalltalk that preceded a good conversation. E2's "large community" frowns upon wasted space, it makes you a lot more critical of what you spew forth.

So, my little ramblings that are mainly caused by wanting to say something "deep and meaningful," which is brought on primarily because its 6am and I don't know why I'm still awake, are an exception, rather than a rule to my writing here. On the BBS, I would toss down "deep and meaningful" drivel daily, 6am, 2pm, or 8pm. The kind of drivel which many EXPECT to see in daylogs... but which I feel very self-conscious tossing down.

At about 2am, I knew I was in trouble. I had watched Run Lola Run for the third time (once in original German, once with English dubbing, and once with director/actress comentary). Then because I am me, I went to IMDB to see what else Franka Potente has done. Then I dashed over to the mud that I adminstrate. Then I read two months of stored, but unread, mailing lists. Then I got sidetracked, and read a particular user's livejournal entry. It's 6am, and I feel very deep and meaningful. All I can do is post my activities for the last few hours.

Partially because I'm terrified that I might say something "insightful" to me, but find out that my radical ideas concerning X have already occurred to others. Partially because I know that the anonymity of e2 is totally destroyed by the fact that I've advertised it, so my wife (Hi nyxie_stix!) and friends know of this site (don't YOU advertise it, too?). And finally, because I really have nothing useful to say. I keep thinking of Seymour Glass, and A Perfect Day for Bananafish, I have something I want to say, but it's not coming out.

And I know for a fact that I can't sleep -- even though my roommate just walked out the door to go to work. I think I do better when I'm not inflicted with week-long vacations.

As I just achieved one of my lowest rated nodes ever, I am reminded of what I wrote above. So, I'm going to toss that node onto this daylog, and let it exist somewhere a little friendlier to this sorta thing.

Title: Your radical ideas about...oh, to hell with it

You know, I had a very similar discussion about "There's nothing new under the sun " sort of thing, concerning music in particular. It occured to me that this idea that everything has been done, everything has been thought of, every story has been told extends backwards into the past.

If honestly, there is nothing that I can think of that hasn't already occured to someone else, then why the heck has William Shakespeare gotten the easy end of things? I'm sure that his ancestors had thought and done everything that possibly could have been thought of and done. And extend this back thousands of years.

If you can point me to someone who has honestly thought of something new, I can (given time, and energy, and care) probably find someone that either thought of it first, thought of some variation of the idea, or been the basis which that work is merely the distillation of.

When it comes down to music, pop sometimes is worthwhile. For philosophy and literature, well, things age... And aged pop literature can eventually become respected literature. And when it comes to just idle conversation: One of us, somewhere here on e2, will become a respected author, musician, or something of note (or perhaps one of us already is). When that time comes, their posts here on e2 will show up as quote nodes on e5.

Well I'm in from shoveling snow again.... Looks like we have finally hit the 3 foot mark. Must have been all the people praying for a White Christmas, but it can stop any time now. Acutally its lake effect snow. The curse of living in West Michigan where it blows in from Lake Michigan, hits land and turns into snow.

The only problem I have is with people who don't know how to drive in snow, I mean you live in Michigan for pitty's sake. Its going to snow and you are going to have to drive in it. The other type of people that I hate are those that act suprised that its snowing out. I mean look out your friggen window. I can't stand stupid people.

A lot of little worlds colliding.

Life is so gentle now, I can hardly believe it. Shitmas was blue, but merely because Christmas Pasts decided to drag themselves out of memory and air themselves before they got tucked back in for another year with the mothballs and cedar.

Class starts in two weeks, and I think I'm ready...Dad's okay, though the holidays always did make him a veritable badger. I have to remind him we're here to be with him and help, there's really no cause to be so difficult.

My brothers showed back up for Christmas Eve dinner, and my nephew Morgan (pint size viking) loved his stuffed gorilla, and decided to chase me all over the house with it.

Travel plans are solidifying for the Spring, and I'm looking really forward to January as being a time for me to hide. Besides, Thor will be moving the workshop over soon, and we have so many preparations before March and April.

New Year's? I asked to work that night so my mind would be busy. I refuse to feel sorry for myself when really everything is the best it has been in eons. Then Kash is having a pajama party that I hope not to wake up from until the 2nd or 3rd.

I don't know, I guess I'm actually just pretty damn thankful for the silence of winter, the only sound to break it is the tinkling of happy voices of family and friends. I want it all to just freeze right where it is, but I know it's only a matter of time before it goes spinning out again.

For my loved ones, past and present, I hope the New Year brings everything you want, everything you need, and more than you could ever imagine.

Heigh ho, shops are back open, albeit still crammed with tourists and shoppers. I'm on leave, go back to work on the third of January. Still time for a major binge over new year at the Vortex, seeing as I have been holding out on serious substance abuse.

At the hardware store this morning I got sandpaper, turpentine and polyfilla masonry patching plaster. Tha'’s all I need in addition to the supplies of bonding liquid, polyskim and merit plaster primer that I already have for my current summer vac home project.

I headed from the hardware store, down to the mall to cash in the bookshop gift voucher that my brother gave me. After browsing through the Sci-Fi (the new Peter F Hamilton is there but firstly he writes pulp that I may want to read, but not to own, and secondly my brother, who's tastes run to pulp, may have a copy already.) and travel (several city guides to Dublin – all look about the same, all aimed at the brief-visit tourist, prices mostly more than what my brother gave me) I asked at the counter if they had Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (I didn’t see it on the shelves) Yes, they keep it in the back as the copies keep being stolen. Right. I'm not sure if I should take that at face value. Maybe it was getting defaced, or maybe the muslims were frothing at the mouth at seeing it here. Or maybe what she says is true.

Now I have a copy of The Satanic Verses and I am very much looking forward to reading it again.

It is hot and I am happy enough in just shorts and no shirt. Listening to Tricky's new album Blowback. After a bit of home improvement, around 3pm I put on a T-shirt and go to gym. I made an hour on the rowing machine with less pain than before. This gets better if you do it more, I know that. Sweating more than usual though, no surprise at this time of day and year.

I am rounding off the day by getting drunk for the third time in three days, this time on my own, on Backsberg Chardonnay '99, which tastes rather acidic now. Am playing Brian Eno’s incomparable Thursday afternoon on the hi-fi. It's a lonely life but I manage to occasionally become comfortably numb.

This has been another daylog in my continued push for Level 6. I would now node some song lyrics now, but I am too drunk.

Today was a good day.

Social Security

I went to the social security office today to get a new card as proof of something in order to be employed with my new employer.

Mom needed a new name on her card too, since she married last, and we set off together. It was the best government experience I had ever had. Fast, free, and relatively painless.

Level 6!

I hit level six today; and figuring that I had written enough technical nodes to earn my bullshit I noded something highly experimental and really enjoyed the split of votes.

Now that I've hit level six, I'll have to be more repectable...or something.

It's That Friendly Type of Year

Went to my friend Steve's house for dinner. Ate tacos, drank wine, and played lots of backgammon. I am now up 3 points in the game we have been playing for 6 years. I love that fact it is always so neck-and-neck!

Thursday. I'm planning to leave the country in a couple of days.

You know when you're about to graduate or something, and you're so utterly immersed in the processes that lead up to it that the event is not even registering in your head? Yeah, it's that.

Mainly, i'm working on trying to get everything in order at work so i can leave for a while without everything going haywire. Now, many people tell me i work too much. Sometimes i agree with them. Sometimes i'm hardly home at all and take naps in the unfinished second floor of the shop with miscellaneous computer packing materials between me and the plywood.

But i do it because it's important, see. I'm one of three people at FREE GEEK who provide daily continuity in an organization full of volunteers. It's amazing to see the volunteerism work - on the nights when the ASS group meets, there's a thriving, laughing group of computer professionals, people with paying day jobs, programmers, administrators, doing things they're otherwise paid for for free. Staying here until after midnight sometimes, because things need to be done. There are cleancut pros working side by side and collaborating with wise and raggedy radicals. It warms my little anarchist heart. Then on regular days, there are grandmothers and kids and regular folks working toward their first computer.

The way this works is - people have lots of old computers hidden in closets and basements and attics. Maybe they never wanted the darn thing. Maybe it just got old. Maybe it broke - at any rate, there's not a really good way to get rid of them. They're bulky, they're electronic, and they're full of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Some people throw them in the river - come by FREE GEEK some time and we'll be sure to show you the monitor dredged from the Willamette. Some leave them by the curb, where they'll be landfilled and leak toxins. We don't want that to happen. We're an environmental organization. We take those in.

Then there are other people - people who are being told that their children need a computer for school, a machine they'd never be able to afford. People who are going to classes because they can't find a job and need to learn more stuff. People who are ill or retired and lonely and would rather learn something new than watch the TV. So we take all the stuff we can use from this unending stream of unwanted technology and make it into functioning computers for these volunteer/members.

Every day i'm winging it. I don't know hardware! I hardly even know software - i'm just here to teach. There are a thousand questions a day, and never, ever, ever an uninterrupted conversation. It's improv, we're improvising a non-profit, a social-services provider, a computer shop, a recycling operation. We're making it all up because it has to happen. It has to work. It has to be made to work.

Mostly we're funded by grants. Today, in the midst of scheduling classes and answering questions and trying to document testing procedures and explain our organizational structure and identify mystery components, we got bad news. Today, black Thursday, we found out that through a flub by the city, we had not gotten the grant from the Oregon DEQ that we depended on. The three of us will no longer be employed as of January 2 - just as these two men that i love dearly are preparing to take up the load i'm shedding for the three weeks i'll be in England.

This doesn't mean, as it would for some jobs, that we're done and won't be back. It means we have to find another way to earn money while still putting in our time, unpaid. It means first panic, then it means putting on the steely face of "just another hurdle" and not seeing it as an omen when we go for burritos and find that the restaurant is on fire.

We're trying desperately to think of ways to raise money. We need to tell people that we're not falling down, we're not giving up, we're making it work, still, and we need people's help to do so. We need to get the word out. Spread the word. This is something unique, this is something that we want to make into a supportable, reproducible structure.

This is so sad. I don't know what to do.

Yes, i'm unemployed, and yes, the restaurant really was on fire.

If you can make a donation, or know anyone who can give (any amount) - oh, we'd appreciate it! (Check www.freegeek.org) It's all tax-deductible. We'll also accept donated ideas on how to get word out to people who have ideals and money.

Wow, adding my day to the grand list, how amusing :-)

Anywyas, this is the first log and, well, there's not much to add. It's Boxing Day in Canada and the stores were nuts and my parents and I (with my sister in tow) went to one of the busiest malls in Toronto. Sometimes it's good to be home.

That's it really. I'm home on vacation. In a week I'll be going back to Princeton where I am a graduate student on probation (May 15 is my magic, stay or go date).

It's strange having a good time (despite the distant girlfriend who I won't see for another week) with this great shadow threatening everything. I haven't told my parents and they're all making plans for after I graduate and here I am, trying to come to grips with the suddenlly very real possibility of not graduating at all.

Sure is a good time to worry about stupid shit.

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