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Why is Christmas said to be a "cheery" time of year, full of warmth and fellowship? It seems more full of stress of being with your family and worrying about being perfectly nice, and making sure that you got the right present for the right person. And you better not have forgotten anyone, either. Why do we make and eat all of this food? Do we eat all of this food because it's a holiday and that's how we celebrate, or because we're all so stressed that we have a reaction causing us to eat? What, with earnings coming out, finals, grades, scholarships, new years filled with New Year's Resolutions, holiday bonuses, it's a wonder that we don't either all kill each other or stuff ourselves until we can't even think anymore. Oh wait, we already do the latter.

Christmas should be a time of love. Why? Our Savior was born on a date actually in September or October on our calendar, and for what? To be persecuted and killed, by us, for being perfect and perfectly innocent, to fulfill both sides of a covenant with Abraham that Abraham couldn't have ever even hoped to fulfill on his own, whether or not he knew it at the time.

OK, perhaps I'm just lonely and am wondering where everyone went, and why I'm stuck in a forced solitude.

The last two weeks have been some of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time. Finals, lots of the rushed work at the end of the semester, a job...it's been tough to manage. Usually, I'm pretty responsible when it comes to taking care of my life. But there's another side of my life that affects me more than any other. And it all starts with a girl.

Her name is Charlene. I met her through some friends, and at first I thought nothing of her. She was cute, but at first she was not the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I met her here and there; she showed me her apartment, and we went out with other people for drinks at a bar one night. Nothing really came of it. I saw her, we smiled, and it was over.

It wasn't really until I started to learn that one of my friends was deeply in love with her that I realized she was something to behold. She turned my friend down, stating that she just wanted to be friends with him, nothing more. All of the sudden, this girl, this woman, a person who I never thought twice about, became someone I wanted to see every day. I have no idea why. Fate? Boredom? I have no clue, and I still don't.

Regardless, I danced around the idea of asking her out for dinner. Once I asked, she agreed, and the date was set. I don't think she really thought twice about me, or about our little get-together, but to me, this was something to prepare for. I stopped thinking about anything but her, anything but our time alone together. It began to consume me. I know that I should never get to that point, but when a person consumes your every waking moment, there is a reason.

The night came. We spent our dinner at a small Italian restaurant. I paid; I always do. I had grilled balsamic tuna, and I don't remember what she had, because I was utterly entranced. Char (as she likes to be called) overwhelmed me, and I wasn't even ready for her. I must have looked like a fool; nervous, shaking my leg constantly, chewing my gum with a twitch at the corner of my mouth. It wasn't until the wine took hold that I began to relax, and the words that I spent days pouring over in my head started surfacing to my mouth. I asked her tons of questions...all the things I wanted and needed to know. I complimented her beauty, which started to surface so quickly that I ran out of metaphors. What caught me by surprise the most was her eyes. I won't even begin to try and explain how incredible they are.

Time flew by. The night came to a close as we walked back to my room. We had said so much to each other in so little time, and yet it wasn't even close to enough. My heart sank to my ankles when I first said, "Goodbye." This can't end. I won't let you walk away from me. I might love you sometime, but I want to spend so much time finding that love. I don't know you yet, Charlene, but of all my desires, you are the greatest. I yearn for you, for your words, for your eyes, for you. You. You make things so alive, and I haven't felt this way in ages. You must come back, and I must keep telling you that I will always want these things.

But I can't. I can't tell her any of this. I don't want to push it too fast, I don't want to scare her away, and I don't want to seem like someone smitten, who falls too easily to her charm. The latter may be true, but it was inevitable. The truth is, this girl is something that only comes along once in your life, wherein a problem arises: Every guy other than me recognizes her uniqueness and her beauty. But I am not an "everyguy." I will make that clear, and I think I already have.

"She is just a girl," I tell myself. "How can a girl do this to you? Be stronger. Be independant."

But all I want is to be in love again. True love. Char.

Antarctic Diary: December 6, 2002


I'm a day behind in my logs. Instead of writing things as they happen, I'm remembering them and realizing that remembrance is filtering. You choose to remember certain things, forget others. Lots of stuff happens that never gets recorded.

I went to the Coffee House last night and bought a glass of wine. I sat down and turned on my computer. Everyone left me alone for about an hour. I wrote a story while people around me played board games and ate burgers from the burger bar at Gallager's.

Eventually Pete came in. He's the guy I went hunting water with at Lake Hoare last week. He's a professor of nuclear chemistry in his real life. Tulane University. There he's a big shot. Here he's just another guy driving an ATV, picking glacier berries.

Pete's going back out in the field. He spent a week alone with Carolyn in the jamesway at Lake Fryxell. I asked him if it was an adventure.

He said he cooked jambalaya. They invited their neighbors to dinner. Tim and Karen are post doc and student staying at F6 across the frozen blue lake.

I wondered if it wasn't a little like playing house.

He scratched his head.

It wasn't. People get very close during those times, especially when storms come. But there's this natural barrier. An unwritten Antarctic rule everybody mutters to themselves in those situations.

You don't do anything that could lead to falling in love, even for a little while. Falling in love on the ice leads to disaster. Always. It never works.

So there you are eating steaks and crab legs by candle light, and you might as well be brother and sister. You get trashed on tequila. You give each other back rubs.

You put gas in the preway space heater so you don't freeze. You fetch ice for water. You make sure the generator is gassed up. You keep each other alive during storms.

Then you go home to the wife/husband and the kids.

I'm not kidding. I didn't believe it last year. I KNEW what happened in those remote two-person situations even when nobody would admit it.

This year I believe it. What happens is work. You keep warm. You talk about your families. You go back to separate tents and wake up in the morning and work through another day without an accident.

Anything else gets people hurt. Physically. Emotionally. The psychological hurt is as bad as the physical stuff. Being 20 miles from other people during a condition one storm with someone who's freaking out is bad. They may as well have broken legs.

Of course, the intelligent observer asks: how do they know this?

The way they know everything in Antarctica. Trial and error.

The megadunes guys came back from East Antarctica. The polar plateau. It was -40F every day. There were foot-long tendrils of hoare frost hanging from the ceiling of their tents every day. One of them slept in nested sleeping bags. Three. One inside the other.

Most days outside they had a 30 knot wind, for a wind chill factor of somewhere around -80F.

A lot of their gear broke. And because of the weather, their science cargo didn't get to them till they had already been there a week. So they only got in three days of science in an outing planned for two weeks.

It's a pretty big disappointment for them. Even worse is they had to stay as unwelcome tenants at someone else's camp. Those people didn't have provisions planned for an extra five people for a week. So there was a bit of friction.

And in one case, when the megadunes guys struck their tents waiting for airlift out, they had several hours outside where everyone was freezing. They had been asked to stay out of the warm camp buildings because there wasn't room for them.

In a fit of desperation, they asked to be admitted to a warm area--and were declined.

So their team leader got frostbite on his face while they built snow walls to sit behind.

Things like that happen when people are worried about survival.

Compared to them, where I went was Disney World.

Compared to them, I went to the tropics.

Ahh, it's Commercialism season! Yay! Merry American Commercialism to those who celebrate it. Not to jab at Christmas, but more so the malls. Here's a little hint I discovered this fine holiday season.:

I Had to go to the mall today. I got shopping done for my girlfriend, and my parents. However, as I walked into Sears to get to the rest of the mall I noticed Sears had a rack of "Naughty Mrs. Claus" outfits, for lack of a better name. It's the red lingerie with white trim, but they added a red stocking hat to it too, so it was the entire outfit of naughtiness. I pay it no mind as there are no blonde male fantasies scoping them out. As I walk past I hear a guy on a cell phone say, and I quote, "So do you remember that thing we talked about, they have it right here."

It was some average white guy. Dunno what his wife/girl/neighbor's daughter looks like, but we men should know better than to buy something naughty, that will end up nice puddled in the corner of the bedroom, DON'T BUY IT AT SEARS! Nothing against the store, hell, my girl got my christmas present from there last year. But it was a drill. A cordless drill. Not a Nightie. Go to Frederick's of Hollywood, or atleast go to Victoria's Secret. Or hit up your local neighborhood porn shop. Sears? I mean really.


(Buying a $1000 bracelet for under $340 + 5 year warranty = Happy Davidian)

This is my December...

This is my last write up for a while. It's the last of any kind. My time here was enjoyable and I've had help for a lot of you.

I'm going to go see a doctor on Monday about depression. Between school and my girlfriend breaking up with me, I think it's for the best. My life seems to just keep going down hill and I don't know where the bottom is. I think I've hit it but why does it feel like I'm still falling?

...this is my time of year....

I can never have a stable relationship. The women I've dated have either cheated on me or gotten tired of me. They are the type that you wouldn't expect that of them. And I don't know what to do about love anymore. I won't find it. Pretty sure of it. I'm an over weight nerd that isn't that attractive. I'm as ugly as sin. So I guess I can't blame them for wanting something better.

This is my December....

I've tried to lose weight. Tried to make myself look better and more attractive. It's all failed. I thought that this time it would be different.

...this is all so clear....

It wasn't. It's failed again. It makes me not want to try anymore. It scares me. My heart doesn't hurt as bad anymore. I think I'm getting used to being dumped. I can't feel anything anymore. I don't like that thought. I don't like not being able to feel. It means that I'm becoming cold, uncaring. I don't want my heart to turn to stone. That isn't me...

This is my December...

I'm leaving you guys with a quote. One that means a lot to me and that I say more than once a day "Recognize and deal with reality, no matter how unpleasent it may be." I've accepted reality. And it hurts. But what was I expecting?

This is me alone....

GCSE Mock Exams Diary: Week 1

I'm now half way through my mocks and to be honest, I wish I was dead. Sitting in a cold school hall for hours on end trying to work out simultaneous equations is not fun, especially when there are people who I strongly suspect are the devil in human form who have been brought in to watch us. If this is the school trying to make us panic because we haven't been working hard enough, it's damn well working. I'm not sure if what they are asking for is what we have learned and forgotten, never learned in the first place, or simply if I am an idiot.

Exams taken this week:

And that's just the first week. Next week should be a little easier because we have only got a few more exams and then we get some study leave. I am looking forward to this like I look forward to getting out of that damn cold exam hall.

There is, as ever, some amusement to be found in the tests: Questions which beg for answers involving Wonderknife, Superman and Politicians. Unfortunately, they are few and far between, the highlight being:

Q: Apart from the heat causing photosynthesis to speed up, name another way in which a gas heater in a greenhouse will increase the rate of photosynthesis.
A: Because the heater will kill greenfly.

Last Daylog * * * Next Daylog

I had originally intended to daylog every day this week but I haven't had time, so my writeup from December 2, 2002 has been deleted at my request. Some of it appears here.
I maintain a bunch of cool extensions to the gnu textutils (now coreutils) at http://alexautils.sourceforge.net/ Today I added a nice feature to sort to compare things backwards. Not in reverse order, as was already available, but right to left. I find this handy for sorting on host names, because it keeps all the .com's together, and all of the amazon.com's together, and like that.

At work this helps me to discover DIBs or Domains of Infinite Breadth. These are the web sites like "foo.com" where this.that.anything.you.can.type.foo.com brings you the exact same pages. Many porn sites are this way, as it's a very simple extension to a DNS server to simply say "yes" to any request.

At around, we left Amelia with Mary and set off to the Alexa Internet Holiday Extravaganza. It started with the Cirque du Soleil Varekai for which we had the fancy VIP passes, that let us in the Tapis Rouge tent beforehand and at intermission for high class hors douvres and entertainment. The show itself was amazing. If you've seen a Cirque du Soleil show, you know what I mean, and if you haven't, I don't think I could successfully describe it. Perhaps www.cirquedusoleil.com would help.

Afterward we walked over to the ACME Chop House for dinner and shenanigans. It started with Alexa Jeopardy, included visits from Carmen Miranda and Austin Powers and ended with the CEO giving personal gifts to each of the 25 employees. It was a wonderful evening full of genuine camaraderie.

When we got back home, we were told that Amelia was a perfect darling who went to sleep early and on her own.

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