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I haven't written in a long time. Too busy with the christmas holiday, and now New Years.

Today isn't a good day so far. I woke up in sort of a funky depressed mood. I think I am to hard on myself. In fact, I KNOW I am too hard on myself. I also got into an argument with my boyfriend over something I did to avoid conflict. Wow, worked good huh? Then traffic was bad on the way to work. Now I am at work, and that's never good. The holiday season always seems to get people down.

I need to learn to control my jealousy. Maybe that can be my New Year's Resolution. I feel a bit out of control of it at times, and its not a comfortable feeling. I'm possessive. Even selfish at times when it comes to certain things and people.

Tonight its off to St. Augustine. Hopefully things will start looking up.

As I walked with my dog toward the ancient, blood-stained West Woods, shortly after doggie rush hour, he drew the hostile yelps of the straggling pups along the way, and the big fenced in guard dog on the south side of the road. Per his routine, he deigned only to find an interesting tree to sniff, then leisurely let loose a torrent of advertising, before walking away with his tail wagging enough to display his proudly unsevered balls.

So we reach the woods, which once held guerillas. Crows own the place now, and they make it known. Me 'n the dog are playing a bit of stick when I notice a marked spike in the squack level. I look up to see a good dozen of the jet-feathered creatures scattering. Into a tree about 30 meters from me soared the source of the disturbance, a peregrine falcon. At first I can't be sure - after all it is almost the new year and the ol' wanderer should know not to be this far north. The spots on her belly were right though (but what if it was a trick of the unclouded sun?). The beak was right (but your eyes are going). And why did all the (other) crows scatter (...)?

So back to the stick, says dog. We do, and as soon as it's thrown the bird takes off. She glides, it seems to me, directly toward the stick's line of flight, and lands on a tree near where it fell. I get a much better look at the wings this time, and the spots are definitely right (on Boston Common once I was 3 meters from a perry lounging on the grass, so i know whereof I speak, 26²F and 12/28 or not). Without taking my eyes from this magnificent bird of prey, I throw the stick again. Naturally, it goes in the direction I'm looking, and the perry's small, hooked beak goes u-up...doowwn, in perfect sync with the stick. She does the same thing on each toss, and I'm starting to wonder if she's gonna try to eat it.

It's the longest conversation I've ever had with a bird, but eventually I have to realize that I'm tired and my legs ache from working all night. We leave walking towards the chicken hawk, so I don't have to take my eyes off my soon-lost infatuation. I get almost to the base of the tree she rests in, she's just a few branches over my head, and there is no shred of doubt in my mind anymore what she is. She circles the area between my dog and me once, twice and then a third time -for good luck I tell myself- and heads ahead east to rustle the crows even from their exile.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

You are an animal.


You know, once upon a time, I like to think I was on Everything's Best Users. I'm about 4k points shy now . . . and that's OK. I don't node as much as I used to. I really don't know if I have a reason to do so at all any more. Everything2 Burn-Out? Possible. I don't know. Just tired. Busy, I guess.

It's been a while.

I noticed, though, that I now have a node that sits at -8 or so. My highest rated node is no longer factual. People who came after me are now editors or gods, which is cool. I've just been lax of late.

Sitting around.

I think I'm going to send a story of mine to Zeotrope magazine. Maybe. I posted it a week ago here, Laws of Gravity, but I'm sure no-one read it. (Far too long, I guess. I didn't split up the 14 pages into seperate w/us.)

Saw Behind Enemy Lines yesterday. Owen Wilson's nose distracts me. And the movie wasn't good, either. Reminded me of every war movie ever made, and even a few non-war type films. Just recycled, very little original there.

This had so many cliches of everything mashed into it. I was even having trouble sleeping because of how much I disliked the film. It bothered me that much.

Oh well.

Okay, so I think I figured out a good way to punish and reward people. Every day, my boy, you’re going to get a certain number of disposable hands. With these hands, you can either pat people who you like (so that they feel good) or slap them (so that they feel bad). You can use these to rate the quality of the sand castles that people build while they’re in my little sandbox. And here’s the kicker—the more times you get patted, the more hands you get each day!

Sounds okay, I guess…

Oh, one more thing…I don’t care all that much about how you use your hands. They’re yours, they’re anonymous, and I don’t take them all that seriously. Woe to those that do!!!

Okay. I guess I’ll slap this guy I don’t like a bunch of times each day, then.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you can’t do that.

Huh? Why, is that against the rules?

Well not exactly. But you’re supposed to use them to rate the work that others are doing!

But you just said you didn’t care how I used my hands.

You’re using the system in a way it wasn’t intended for!

Really? How do you figure? Hands are intended to be used to either pat or slap people, and I’m using them to slap people.

No, no, no. What I mean is that you’re supposed to use them RESPONSIBLY. You’re just using them to hurt people!

But you JUST SAID you didn’t care how I used them. Look—“I don’t take them all that seriously. Woe to those that do!!!” You said that five minutes ago! *I* obviously don’t take them seriously, why are you getting so upset about this all of a sudden? Besides, why do I even have to defend myself against this when these hands are supposed to be anonymous--even from you?

Doesn’t it upset you that this guy you’re slapping is doing the same exact thing to you?

Actually, I think it’s pretty funny. It doesn’t change the quality of the sand castles I build here, so what the hell’s the difference? I come here to build pretty sand castles, flinging these hands back and forth is just for shits and giggles. I’ve apparently upset him enough to complain to you, which was the point of the exercise in the first place.

So you wouldn’t mind if I slapped you, say, 2000 times?

Go for it, chief. If it’ll make you feel better.

an email from oenone on christmas:

i would like to express
my most sincere appreciation
and love
to everyone who has watched over me
while my wings were broken

today i soar...

write me, if you will.
tell me what makes you feel alive.

my answer here...

Merry christmas to you, love--glad that you are once again your old bitter, angst riddled self...love you...
I dont think so much that I deserve the sentiment you sent me. It was however, very much appreciated...
Sorry I could not be more of a friend in your time of need than I was, but we are both very aware of my shortcomings in that area...
..alas.. As for your request...
Not sure that you really care, but I will respond in hopes that it may somehow give you some comfort, and/or hope that I, as a friend, could not.
What makes me feel alive...
1. Walking into a bookstore
any bookstore, anywhere in the world...
the smell of printed pages, the general ambiance of a wealth of knowledge, goals, dreams, aspirations, madness, and urequited loves to be discovered...
2. The sight of water
an ocean, a lake, even something so small as a stream...
any natural body of water--the timelessness of natures wonder...
our cousin in element, in that we are ninety percent water..and that I believe, is what causes so many of us to feel so relaxed, such a kindred spiriting in the company of water.
3. The redeeming touch of a child
that soft, supple, all consuming touch of a child's hand placed on our arm--that touch in which all is forgiven...
all of our transgressions, broken promises, unfulfilled obligations, unmet dreams, heartbreak. All that we have failed to be is forgiven in the simple forbearance of a child.
the only child whom I shall ever love and to whom I mean so much, in spite of myself.
4. The smile, or laughter of someone whom we love
though a gulf divides our hearts, your laughter still pierces my very flesh and sinks itself like a sliver of glass into my pulsing heart...
5. Standing alone outside, late at night, when all the world slumbers...
gazing up at the stars--to feel so alive in the face of such immensity as the universe...
the glow of the moon washing over your upturned, tear stained cheek...
the gentle kiss of the night...
I could go on and on, but for now I think that is enough...
Hope that it is what you wanted, and that it somehow
helps you ...I love you ...always..in my heart of hearts...
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.
The day was beastly hot, 32 degrees C. I am on leave, but promised that I would drop in at the office and check that the systems were running smoothly, which I did and they were. Yay! The call desk had a misconfigured PC, but I copied the firewall settings from another one and that sorted that out.

Did a lot of painting in the afternoon – most of what I had wanted to get sorted out before new year.

In the evening we (Myself, brother and brother’s friend) were off to Somerset West, a drive of about 40 minutes, to meet our uncle and a cousin on visit back from his new home Australia.

Uncle Ed used to make me very nervous. He was my mother’s gruff elder brother, with three daughters. He had a merciless sense of humour. Once when I was a callow and awkward 18 or 19 years old, he had transfixed me with his gaze and asked in all seriousness, “So, do you still smoke dope?” I was in my first year of university and had only just started with this guilty pleasure, and was reduced to embarrassed stammering in reply.

It's better now. Years later he tried exactly the same thing, and I replied in total honesty “Oh yes, years ago”. The fact that I also these days cultivate an appreciation of wine, his beverage of choice, doesn’t hurt either.

Cousin George has been in Australia now for more than ten years, and has naturalised well. We caught up on all the whereabouts and doings of all the cousins, scattered in an arc from Perth and Calgoolie via Cape Town and Pretoria over to London and Oxford.

George’s sister Cath has surprised us by emigrating with her mining engineer husband this year when we weren’t looking. She now has two beautiful little daughters. But by some ghastly coincidence both of them bear the same names as Ex’s of mine.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that George is now 42 years old. He is still sprightly and fit, but I remember him as a muscular rock-climbing youth when I was a child. He asked my age and remarked that you remember people the way that they were, changeless.

The wines: Thelema Chardonnay and Backsberk Klein Babylon’s Toring Red that I brought, and Villiera Red and another white that Ed and his wife supplied.

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