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I've had a terrible weekend, occupied entirely with technical problems. I arrived at the the Sydney office at 7:30am yesterday (Saturday) and worked on a server upgrade until 11:30pm -- was back here at 8am this morning, it's almost 11am, and I'm sitting waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

Here at the agency, you see, we have a whole lot of Finux servers to handle different tasks. I took one of them down yesterday for a rebuild -- this is the server that provides fileservice to 55 or so users, mostly graphics people doing huge Photoshop jobs. I've got a sweet external 240Gb RAID disk array that connects to the server as if it were a single disk. After the backup and rebuild, I'm booting the machine off an internal 9Gb LVD disk, /dev/sda, just fine, but every time I connect the external array the machine freaks out and thinks that the external disk is sda, resulting in a VERY UNHAPPY SERVER

I've rebuilt that machine 14 times so far this weekend, in every conceivable permutation to no avail.

I've been calling around what few computer stores are open in Sydney on a Sunday fo try to find a couple of big LVD disks (say 75Gb IBMs) that I could simply connect to the internal bus, to at least get some of the critical data back on line. Typically, there isn't an LVD disk on any store's shelf. It's times like these that I curse Australia -- if I was in Silicon Valley I'd just drive to my favourite Fry's and pick up whatever tech stuff I needed...

Hopefully my high-priced consultant will sort this thing, otherwise I will have a very pissed off company tomorrow at 8am..

Dinner tonight with two local noders, alex.tan and lignocaine, at the BBQ King in Chinatown. We've been trying to get together for weeks now, and although I'm in pretty deep shit right now I'm going to make dinner, come Hell or high water.

Thanks to Rancid Pickle for keeping me company last night while I was in melt-down. E2 is better than Valium, baby.

Update mid-day, Sunday

The cavalry sorted the server out -- it seems that the bootloader was loading an image that included the RAID's SCSI adapter module before the on-board SCSI, which meant that the bootloader was loading either bogus bootstrapping or none at all. Duh.

I'm now restoring the data. Disaster averted.

Update 2pm Sunday

It seems that the woman who runs the backups here did not run a full backup on Friday like I specifically asked her to. I'm restoring maybe 10% of the data... Sheesh... Looks like I'm gonna have to run a multi-tape restore from the last incremental. This has been a horrible weekend.

Update 8:30pm Sunday

Still here, expect to be running recovery tapes until 4 or 5am. I really hate this. On a brighter note, just took a walk outside and had a funky Chinese meal with alex.tan and lignocaine, very lovely nodists both.

Update 9:30pm Monday

Just had to call a taxi to collect some offsite tapes from Jayne. Lucky she was home. Thank You Jesus! I have AIT and not DAT. Still, a robot would be cool..

Update 2:20am Monday

Still here, still swappin' tapes.... Tired eyes, E2 keeping me sane. Users arrive in 5 hours, I don't think the system will be all back for them. Oh goody, 50 users all moaning at me in a couple of hours time. I'm sure to deal with that really well...

FINAL Update 7:00am Monday

Finished the restore, recreated all the mount-points and checked permissions, tested OK, yeah! I went to init-1 to e2fsck -CV /dev/sdb and it was clean. Phew! Went back to init-3 and checked into the netatalk daemon via a Mac and HELLS BELLS THERE WAS NO DATA THERE BUT THERE SHOULD BE 230GB OF FRICKIN' DATA OH HANG ON A MINUTE I FORGOT TO REMOUNT /dev/sdb it's all okay now, man I have to get some sleep....... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

I just got back from the Collegium V BBQ. (Collegium V is my school's honors program.) I have one thing to say.

Holy shit.

I haven't had that much fun in ages! Two people brought along their guitars.. and sooner or later the dining room was full of 20 or so people singing along to all the songs the guitar players knew to play. It was awesome.

Not only that... But I got flirted with ( ; and.. A cutie knew how to sing THE (only) song I know how to play on piano that isn't a standard.. Possession by Sarah McLachlan.

Wow. See, I *HAD* forgotten how to have fun. Now it's almost like I've had a little paradigm shift. Fuck all that whining, man. None of that matters.

/me sings:

Come sit next to me, pour yourself some tea
Just like Grandma made, when we couldn't find sleep

Things were better than, once but never again
We've all left again, let me tell ya 'bout it!

My sister, Rebekah, one of the few people I have always looked up to, adored, and trusted, finally got AOL Instant Messenger. Her last year of college, and finally I can talk with her every day, after missing her for almost 4 years. It does seem kind of strange, talking with an immediate family member using the same medium I use to communicate with total strangers, but I hope she enjoys chatting with me as much as I enjoy her conversation.

One of the first things she asked about was my info, which blatantly states my addiction to Everything2. Of course, my evangelistic tendencies kicked in immediately, and now she browses the site, reads my writeups, tells her friends about E2, and might one day take the big step herself. She's already miles ahead of me, I'm afraid. Tonight, she adapted an old bedtime lyric to fit E2:

 

   Sleep tight.
   Don't let the bed bugs bite.
   And if they do,
   whop'em with a shoe,
   then write about it on E2.

Now you see why I miss her so much.

It is an hour past midnight and the computer lab around me is filled with intermittent laughter and conversations in languages I don't understand. I am struggling with God's absence from my life, again, and I am struggling with the way to express this absence.

Because, what if some of us were meant to be apart from Him? I was raised Catholic. I was taught that Hell was not a place so much as a manner of existence; to be without God, that is Hell. I think of Lucifer, the angel of light, the Christian Prometheus. The Fallen Angel brings to man the fire of knowledge. The Fallen Angel shakes his fist at the all-powerful One, the very act smacks of pride and individuality. I meditate on this myth, and I realize -- this is me.

I cannot change who I am. It is not something I want to change. I cannot live with God.

And there is, too, this feeling of sad detachment; a contradictory recognition of God's existence while at the same time denying that I can ever live with that fact. And I think, maybe He thinks so too, looking over me sadly, knowing that no matter what, I need to be apart from Him, because there is no other way for me to live. I look at Christians and the way they live -- they seem to be at peace. But to have that peace, that divine peace, that would make me less of who I am, it would rob me of the essence of my character. It was not meant to be.

So the Lucifer myth haunts me. Maybe he is my kindred spirit, forced out of Heaven not for his rebellion or his fall, but because God realized Lucifer must make it alone.

And in our solitude we discover what it is to live without unconditional love. We learn the truth of the universe, because there is nothing to stop our independent, critical eyes, no faith, no dogma, no preconceived notions of what we should find. And we discover, too, the true value of God's Love, as inaccessible it is to us. It is something precious, something beautiful, as a planetary nebula we will never see but through the eyes of a telescope.

Verizon eats shit

Earlier this month I got an email from Paytrust, the online bill paying service I use, saying that my phone bill from Verizon had arrived. I went to the site to view my bill, and was somewhat surprised to see that they wanted $95. My usual bill is around $40 (which is a major ripoff, since I only have local service and never call long distance). After perusing the bill for a moment, I realized that the balance of the previous month's bill had been carried over and Verizon was claiming it was "unpaid".

Odd, because I distinctly remember paying it.

Just for kicks, I got out my latest bank statement and, lo and behold, check number 7007 had not been cashed. So, I send Verizon the check, they forget to cash it, and then they blame me for the mistake and ask for more money? Just to make sure the check was actually sent (see, Paytrust sends it for me, I don't actually touch it), I called up Paytrust's tech support line. The woman on the other end was very helpful and, after checking her records, assured me that the check had been sent the day I authorized it and that, if I wanted, she would open a three-way call to Verizon so we could figure the problem out. I opted to just wait and see what happened. I paid Verizon the $95.

That was all two weeks ago. Today I got my latest bank statement in the mail and I was mildly surprised to find that, not only was check number 7007 cashed, it was cashed the day after Verizon sent me my bill saying that I hadn't paid them their money. Sneaky bastards.

So now Verizon has the $45 I owed them from last month, plus the $45 I owed them this month, plus ANOTHER $45 that they claimed I owed them but really didn't. And their bill support center isn't open until Monday.

I fucking hate Verizon.

Ever seen the MTV show Jackass where they rode shopping carts into sidewalk curbs and bushes?

Well, Chris, some frat boys, and I were coming back from seeing Hannibal and um, acquired a shopping cart on the way home. We were riding it around the commuter parking lot, when some jackass RA started yelling at us just because we hit him with it, oops. It was lots of fun. You learn pretty quickly that when the cart tips, if you don't roll then you end up sliding. And sliding hurts.

The RA came back later and asks, "You guys like that shopping cart, huh?"

"Yes we do."

"So do I." and with that he takes it.

So we immeidiately head down to the security office and bitch that some RA stole our shopping cart (that "Dan bought from a junkyard"). I quote from the officer, "What a fucking gestapo Nazi asshole, we'll get him."

After that we pretty much dissapated back to the dorms. Around 4am I got pretty bored and went out walking down the highway by the school. It was kinda cool, but kinda was lame. I eventually noticed that there's absolutely no birds around the DC area. Nor could I see any stars, only the moon (not one star!). Yet, there's so many trees everywhere, the horizon is blocked so you can't see the sunrise either. Pretty irritating.

I guess my only real goal in taking the walk was to get myself tired so I could go to sleep, and I did. But really I walked until I got tired, turned around and walked back. Which meant that I walked back around 6am and was already really tired. I think I'm going to walk down the other way tommorrow night and see what's down that way. Maybe some wildlife refuge where they actually have animals and open spaces...
Oh my gosh, this is wonderful.

The past week has been somewhat of a delicious blur, and all thanks to my dear friend Annie who moved to Lake Tahoe yesterday. About a week and a half ago, she introduced me to a really sweet boy who I've seen 5 days out of seven this week. He's handsome, charming, smart...I sure hope I'm not twitterpated.

The only thing that's kind of funny about the whole thing is that we have the same name. I mean, how many gay Brendans can there be in LA, and what is the likelyhood of two of them knowing Annie? Simply astouding.

Considering how a few months ago I was giving up on boys for good.....well....um....can I have one more go at it? Just for old time's sake???

*bounces over to the new boi's house*

I am sick of self-analysis and see, my problem is or that and I'm sick of talking about me.

Mostly because I feel like I'm talking at myself.

And what's wrong with me? Why am I always apologizing?

This is what happenes when a geek boy cleans.

Someone who can build their own computer and take apart a car, somehow seems to not know the first thing about taking care of clothes.

That's fine, his multi-pocket jeans and long baggy t-shirts might not need proper care. But I am vain, anal and prissy, I hang up my clothes.

My best friend came over to talk to me last night, Jason took this opportunity to clean the room we have neglected for about a week.

Sweet, everyone loves a man that cleans. And seems to clean well, even my clothes were put away.

I get up this morning, look for my stuff. I find my wool, black, designer pea-coat crumpled up in the corner of the closet in a neat pile of socks, shirts, boxers...

My little, black Mossimo dress I wore the night before, neatly twisted into a ball under a pair of steel-toed boots. My black lace panties stuffed into my knee-high boots on which his huge furry cat decide to clear out it's behind.

OK, OK, so maybe it wasn't that bad, and the clothes were just neatly thrown clear of the blast of light-bulbs, computer parts and of course, tools. My black wool coat was still in a pile on the floor, covered in cat hair... Three cats and a younger brother is not favorable conditions for my prissy self this morning.

But what I really like to know, while sitting and typing this and Jason attempting to deny every word. (OK, so maybe I did exaggarate a bit), is

where are my pants?

They seemed to dissapear in a pile of black clothes, stuff, junk and more junk and after a 30 minute search, I think I shall remain pantless, and not very happy.

My life fell out of my jacket last night.

Otherwise known as my checkbook, which was doubling as a wallet.

So now I have no ID, no cash (there was $280 enclosed), no checks, no phone numbers.

And it couldn't have come at a better time, because to go along with the fact that I have no ID, no cash, no checks and no phone numbers, I also have no job, no money to pay rent this coming month, no leads and no food.

I thought I previously had a firm grip on what it would take to push myself over the edge, but after this past week of bad luck -- my holding on, not cracking under all of this pressure -- maybe I was wrong.

Why am I trapped in this downward spiral of bad luck? It just keeps going and going.. If I dont get a job by the 15th, I will get evicted next month. That is if I make it to next month. I have no food.

I hate the dot com world. My last employer did this to me, stripped me of my dignity...

(I keep mentally reminding myself that ''I have no food'' over, and over...)
A morning of theology, per my usual Sunday routine, spent at the Mainz Church of Christ here in Germany begins my day. After that my entire congregation went out to eat (there are ony about 15 of us.....so?)

After that, it became a Roberts day.

Allow me to explain. The Roberts are good friends of ours: they attend the same church as us, we've known them for years, my mom grew up with Mr. Roberts, I even dated their daughter for over 7 months. The Roberts, however, possess a strange property: they can extend the time necessary to complete a task far beyond anything reasonable. Take lunch for example. We ate at a fast food joint, and it took 2 hours. Their son, Will, and I made a 6 minute movie with my DV camera and my G4 (fear the DV ability of my G4). That took almost 5 hours! It's unbelievable. They only left the house at 10:00. It's like slow-motion sped up.
That made no sense, but it's as close as I'm gonna get. Now I'm going to bed, it's late in Central Europe.

i am sooo sore. Today i woke up at ten and proceeded to do nothing all morning. Stretched a lot, and went to breakfast- couldn't think of anything to node about, so I did my homework instead. I went to breakfast, sat alone and didnt talk to anybody that I saw. I had an omlet with cheese and tomateoes but I didnt eat too much as i knew that I had to go running this afternoon.

After lunch I came back to the dorm and sat around, listened to music and did some more homework. Then I went to run.

First of all, why the ultimate frisbee team decides to run outside at this time of the year is a little beyond me. I personally would much rather be running up and down the stairs in the graduate tower than doing circles around the campus in the cold. Also, I have not been living in a cold climate lately, so I forgot what to wear when running in cold weather. I nowremember that the proper running wear is windpants over shorts and at least 3 layers on top preferably including a fleece or jacket, plus gloves and maybe a hat. Unfortunately, what I went out in was windpants and a long-sleeved t-shirt over another t-shirt.

I was hurting pretty bad and I only did one lap around campus (about 2 miles) although i was mainly hurting from the cold.

However now that I am back here in my dorm, my legs have begun to hurt, due to the fact that the muscles are no longer used to running. Hence walking has become quite the chore this evening. Also my throat feels funny from sucking in all that cold air.

I made curry rice and hot and sour soup for dinner because I was feeling too sore to go to the dining commons. Still it tasted better than the food at the DC would have.

My roommate has gone missing since Friday night. I figure that he is fine, considering that if anything serious had happened i should have heard about it by now. Hopefully he will turn up soon...

I now have an old-school PlayStation. Yee-hobble. My old roommate Ragnar! gave it to me for my birthday (which was a week or so back). That, and Legend of Mana.

But of course, no memory card, so playing the game would be rather pointless... and I've beaten LoM before anyway.

So I got a friend to ferry me to the mall for some stocking up; but for reasons of some obscene ritual the mall closes at 6:00 on Sundays... so much for that. I ended up getting a memory card and Final Fantasy IX at Wal-Mart.

...and as soon as I get off work I'm gonna go play it, even though my TV card is missing a wire and I can't get any sound.

And here's hoping I'll be able to bronze-cast my lizard sculpture in class tomorrow...

11:00 wake up I woke up at around 11 this morning when the phone rang for my brother. I thought about going back to sleep, but I decided I'd had enough sleep.

Around noon, a friend calls me and asks if I wanted to tag along with him and his wife to the zoo. I really didn't feel like it, and since my leg was still sore I turned him down.

At around 1pm, I went out to get a haircut. The first place was packed so I drove to another one and there was hardly anyone there. I went to Wendys to get some food and then to Publix for groceries.

On my way home, I was listening to my collection of songs that I put together onto a CD right about the time Sara dumped me. This was not a good idea. For some reason this had an especially strong impact on me today. The last song playing when I got out of the car was Shania Twain's, "You're Still the One". I had this song in my head as I was unpacking groceries when suddenly one of the lines really got to me and I broke down and cried for about five minutes. I haven't done that since she dumped me, and I haven't done it before then in years. You have to take the lows with the highs, I guess.

I laid in bed being depressed for a while. I got myself back together, did some reading, and finally I decided to go to the gym at around 5:30. I only spent about an hour there. I went back home, took a shower, and then went to the university library to study for my japanese vocabulary quiz tomorrow.

I'm feeling fine now, but I really lost it there for a while today.

Welcome to our "views of the divine" roundtable discussion...
(or, a very silly excuse to play duck duck goose.)

sunday night, 7 PM and i'm off to my "weekly witchy meeting" as it's so affectionately joked about. we'vee actaully organized a topic this week, intead of just discussing issues people bring up. we invited members from other religious groups on campus, and actually had a few new people come by to hear.

couple people gave their views, then we took a ten minute break and were going to continue with open discussion. but we waited a while while the mediator prepared her questions, a couple people wandered out for munchies and sodas. we were now ready to start but waiting on the stragglers.

one of my friends--mostly joking but not wanting to be--asked if we could play "duck duck goose" after the discussion, since all the chairs were for once in a circle (we usually sit at rows of long tables).(we'd also had way way too much sugar.) one of our (nonstudent: read "real adult" person) members, said "what is duck duck goose?". there's dead silence. "how in teh world could you not know! everyone played it as a kid!." "Well i didnt. whta is it?" the unamimous decision was to begin a game, right then and there. we played for a good ten minutes, until the straglers got back and we were out of breath. (note to guys in attendance. you all suck, you're no fun, you wouldn't play with us!)

then the meeting resumed as normal.

Paramnesia.

"Someone's in their head." Michael teased when i announced i was leaving for a walk. I hadn't had much to say that night, everything seemed leaden and colored that way: i needed to leave the house. I decided to return their video, and walk to the library to return my books. That's - what? 33 blocks plus 25 blocks? Should be enough. I said goodnight. It was 12:30, everyone was going home.

"My head? But I live there, Michael." He seems to disapprove. I tell Megan to worry if i'm not home by dawn.

As always when walking i run two minds at once: one musing, noticing, one rehearsing for encounters, attacks that i've been trained to expect. It's somehow strange that it hasn't happened yet. One mind is admiring the density of leaves, the other is kicking out at an assailant and shouting. There's no one on the streets. Maybe i'm dreaming. I'm singing songs someone else wrote, this hardly takes mind at all, it's part of breathing. I'm running like fingers over all the signs and surfaces i pass.

Cutting through a neighborhood, i pass a white house - simple design, like a clapboard church, tall narrow windows, stone steps - and i have a memory. Driving the streets slowly, inspecting each house, looking for a particular one, and this house coming into view. "Is this the one?" I ask, or someone asks me. I'm trying to remember. Is this the house? Who was i with?

Suddenly i remember this wasn't something that happened to me. This is a scene from Alice in the Cities. The lost photographer and the lost little girl, that world of vivid images and homelessness. It's almost one o'clock, and there's a melancholy Wim Wenders light, i admit. My mind has a vocabulary of others' memories and visions. It is not so small to be in my own head.

I was feeling very tired, very sad last night. So I just let that happen, and took my dog on a long walk, feeling sad, crying a bit. Missing M, and I'm afraid I will lose him forever because I need my space. I'm afraid that we will never be together again, because he won't change enough to give me what I want. I feel so immature, I'm so sure now that I am really juvenile and immature - the world looks so different to me now. Integration is really strange - it seems easy sometimes, happening in the background, but then I do weird things - have strange feelings and can't figure out what I want or what I should do about stuff in relation to people.

It seems to take a lot of energy that doesn't become apparent til later. I used to just go, go, go, and now I can't. I have lost the ability to go on forever on nothing. I think all my parts used to use my body so I felt fresh and alive a lot and didn't feel tired like I do now, so easily. I miss that! And the shades of gray feelings are different than the shades of gray before. I can't explain it. I just know that I have feelings and intuitions that I really don't understand. How could I possibly explain it in words, when I can't understand it in my gut?

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