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As I am writing this in the UK, it is now 00:01 on the 16th of February, 2002. So far, nothing has happened. I actually wrote this at 23:54 on the 15th, but I've waited until now to post it. In the 60 seconds between 00:00 and 00:01 I felt slightly ill from eating too many biscuits, and I also contemplated going off to make a drink. But I didn't, I wrote this instead. I type at 70 words per minute and you could probably make a computerised simulation of my actions as I wrote this, the pauses and the typing and so forth.

In a moment I will listen to Charles Wright and the 103rd Watts Street Rhythm Bands' 'Express Yourself' again. Uh. Yeah. Lord. Uh. Then I will try to download something by Isaac Hayes.

I was just thinking - if Isaac Hayes was French and a chair, would we call him 'Isaac Chaise'? Yes, I think we would.

Well, what did you expect? Some boring stuff about relationships?

I have been best friends with Jess for five years. I never asked her to be my best friend, it just happened over time, and I'm glad it did. Over the past five years her family has become my family, we've gone on family vacations together, I even call her mom Stepmom as a joke. Her family is very religious and is responsible for most of my beliefs today because they were the first people who preached anything other than atheism to me, which I believed in for most of my life. We have been though everything together, from bad relationships, her parents' divorce and my father's cancer scare to happier times, like a week in beautiful Florida. We did not start out alike, but after a while we even had similiar speech patterns as well as almost identical views on every subject.

I realized that things changed between Jess and I a few months back when she started looking through me instead of at me, speaking at me instead of to me. For a long time I thought that I had done something wrong, said or hadn't said something and that was why our conversations had become so akward. Victoria's Secret and planning dates seemed about as interesting to me as my theory game seemed to her. She did blame me for a few things, but we both know that I never did them. After a few weeks she even started ignoring me when we were in a group of friends. I couldn't figure out why suddenly I had a stranger for a best friend. We both had changed a lot, the funny thing is I was the last one to notice it.

At first I was upset, but I see now that I have no reason to be. I know now that Jess didn't accuse me of things because she felt I had done them, but because she wanted a blamable reason for our distance. It's easier to fix something when all someone has to do is change a little than when no one can be blamed and nothing can be done. I am glad that she has friends that love Victoria's Secret and talking about their boyfriends and fashion because I wouldn't want her to miss out on what she likes simply because I don't. I also admit I am enjoying talking to new people and with each opinion I give I see how much I really have changed. I am finding myself with ideas and opinions on things I never even knew I thought about. Jess and I are starting to talk more again. People change, friendships change, I'm very glad though that people changing doesn't mean that friendships have to end.

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This will be more of a weeklog, than a daylog, actually.

Sunday

Sunday night, after having played volleyball with Edward for the first time since December, I sent him a message via email telling him that I was happy we had become friends, and that he had made it very easy for me.

Sending a message such as that causes some level of anxiety. There was nothing wrong or forward with the content, but honesty like that can make some people uncomfortable. Particularly because, about two or three weeks ago, I had told him that I'm bisexual — he was indulging in some casual behavior which was giving me quite a thrill, and I don't like to enjoy that under false pretenses if the person would have a problem with it if they knew. Despite his not having any problem with it, I don't want expressions of friendship to come off as a come-on, and there is great apprehension that it might be received that way. This, of course, is much more of a fear when my statement is made to a man than to a woman, because of the potential for the perception of a homosexual advance. (Illustrating my great capacity for worry; I've never had a problem of that sort, but I worry anyway. It's like my unreasonable fear of bees: I've only been stung twice in my forty one years, both times by yellowjackets which I'm told hurt more than your basic honeybee, but which didn't really hurt much at all; nevertheless, I'll cross the street sometimes rather than walk by a bee.)

The next morning, I walk into my office (which I share with Edward), and before I even get to my desk, he says "Good morning, Clarence. Thanks a lot for the email". I've noticed that he and I smile and laugh a lot when we're together, and we both got an early start that morning.

Monday

An amusing thing happened today. I was sitting in Nolan's office and he opened his mouth to ask me a question, but the first thing that came out was "Hey, Honey", which is how he usually greets his girlfriend. I didn't make anything of it, but it was fun to hear (and provided fodder for a few fantasies....)

Thursday (Valentine's Day)

Valentine's Day is, of course, torturous for single people who wish they weren't (single; the people part isn't usually a problem), especially if they wallow in unrequited love as I do. I had asked Nolan to lunch on Wednesday, which didn't happen, and I certainly wasn't going to do so today. Around quittin' time, his girlfriend arrived to pick him up, and visited my office to drop off a Valentine candy with "To Clarence" written on it. I greatly appreciated that, because she has a real problem handling my love for her boyfriend, and is unpredictably very nice (because she likes me apart from that aspect) or quite vile. Though the former is more likely on any given occasion.

Friday

Two things happened today which definitely indicate that I'm making progress in my anti-shyness crusade:

  1. I attended a reception for Congressman Ron Paul – my hero – who was in Santa Barbara for some reason. This in itself is not unprecedented, but I spoke up during the Q&A session after his talk, and even though I felt my ears burning, followed up with a clarification after his answer.
  2. I was on E2 in the evening, when I got a comment from another noder regarding one of my writeups. Since he mentions on his homenode that he likes to get phone calls, I called him and we spoke for a few minutes on the subject of a maximum wage. I'd give myself a C+ (my heart was pounding and there was the faintest patina of perspiration on my forehead), with an A for effort.


C-Dawg's Office Chessboard Cam
Current streak: 46 wins
My last ten or so games have been with Edward,
who is quite enthusiastic and has exhibited marked
improvement as I've been teaching him.

Oh me and my nostalgia. I'm only 18 years old, should I really miss something that has gone by the wayside in my life. It isn't even a very important thing. It's my old family computer.

I'm at college now and I've got my new Athlon and all its wonderful speed and my super cool ethernet connection and all, but I miss my old Tandy 1000. I'm sure everyone knows the computer i'm talking about, because I've seen so many abandoned in garage sales over the years that I know about half the population of the world must have bought one. Anyhow, that was the first computer I ever used and I loved it. In fact, long after it was utterly obsolete I still loved it. Past that, I obviously still love it or I wouldn't be telling all you about it. I guess it's like what they say about your first love--you never forget them. Kinda the same thing. I like playing (insert newish game) as much as anybody, but I can't forget Gato or Huey or Night Mission Pinball or even Beast. I just can't.

Now, I know what you're thinking. I can already hear it from the scratch pad where I am typing. Why don't you just go and play your games then? Well the problem is my beloved tandy's hard drive has inexplicably failed. Bah!

Thanks much for listening to my plight.

The door to my dorm room opens, and I hear my roommate's high pitched drunken laughter echo throughout the room. Two guys follow her in. My eyes turn to my clock and the brightness of 4:13 burns in my brain. I am between sleep and life.

"I am so trashed!" Jen exclaims gleefully.

Without the aid of my glasses or contacts, myopia blurs the scene in front of me. I see Jen's slender form pass out on her bed, mewling in her throat.

"Yo, Steve, have you ever measured your penis?"
"Yeah, I do it all the time. To make sure it isn't shrinking."

One of the two princes cuts a fart the likes of which would strip the polyurethane off of a hardwood floor. That same one falls on the floor by Jen's desk. The other one falls on Jen's bed in a heap next to her. Their voices blend together into one incoherent rumble.

"WillyoupleasejustJEN!STEVE?stoptalkingcauseIfeelsosick
andI
putmybonerinmydog'smouthandFUCKTHATSHITyouaretoodamncrazy—"

I turned over once and it was morning. I knew this because one of the oafs was snoring like a buzzsaw and sunlight was beginning to filter through the green sheet that we have strung across the window in lieu of a shade. Clock dutifully tells me that it is 8:39. I roll from bed, noting Jen curled up in someone other than her boyfriend's arms and a very large man laying in the corner like a beached whale, snoring. He emits a loud fart every few seconds, after which he wakes up enough to chuckle at his cleverness.

Time passes. I sit here writing this. They are all awake, spouting their clever jokes about feces and jizz. The smell of flatulence is thick in the air.

I wonder briefly at their reasons for acting like idiots. Then I remember :

Unplug, checkout, dumb down.


The weekend seems like it will be much too long to suit my taste. I long for class, for discussions or anything to get me away from hellhole weekend dorm life.

It isn't looking like I will finish my degree in three years now. The requirements from the education department are likely to suck up at least an extra semester and probably two. It is better this way, perhaps; I would have gotten my bachelor's degree and been one of the youngest people in graduate school at age 20. I don't know if I'm prepared to meet that challenge just yet. Already, the minds that I am encountering in my upper level course work are amazing me; perhaps the extra time as an undergraduate will do me good. Then, I'll at least be a 21 year old in the master's program.

Graduate school. I'm beginning to wonder if I want to go right away at all. I'm beginning to understand why people get a job after finishing up their undergraduate work. The experience might do me some good. My problem is that I am not nearly as focused in my field as I would like to be. Getting a job would be tough under such conditions as I know I'd be likely to settle for something that I might not want.

The pressure to perform, to do something is killing me. I really need to step back from all of this. I am certain, though, that I am looking forward to being out of the dorms and on my own.

Trying to determine where I am, I am reminded of this:

There are but two plots; a stranger rides into town, and a stranger rides out of town.

It is while musing on this thought that I am reminded, more urgently, of another:

There is but one plot; death approaches.

And curiously, still musing, I find myself unconcerned.
Muppets and Rivet-heads, Oh My!

So, last night was my first venture into NYC that was for pleasure, not pay.

Let me describe the night:

First was the Berlin show at the Vanderbuilt, in Long Island. They were abfab, really. A great show, and one of the few bands that realize its the fans that make a band, not the record deals. Missing Persons opened for them..it was rather sad. The lead singer was too drunk to stand, let alone sing.

After the show ended, we toddled off home to pick up our designated driver for the city adventure, and headed off to Contempt, at Twirl on 23rd St. in Manhattan. Contempt is a bi-monthly industrial/fetish party, featuring the oddest assortment of rivets, muppets, crossdressers, and other assorted pierced and tatooed freaks.

I sat on a couch and tried not to puke up my $7 rum and coke.

Stumbled out at 4 am to greet the empty city streets, the mad dash home to the woods of Long Island, and blissful sleep.

It's good to be back, I missed New England.
I've recently heard something that makes me sick to my stomach.

My good friend (and ex-boyfriend) Phil told me that this girl who used to work with him got her car keyed. Now this would not be so sickening if it was just someone being a jerk. It was HOW this person was being a jerk that really gets me.

See, this girl is a lesbian and a feminist, and her car was adorned with one of those "Darwin" fish things and a bumper sticker that said "Goddess Bless" on it. Well, you can imagine that that was why her car got keyed by someone who didn't agree with her sentiments. You know why we know? Because they didn't just key her car. They scratched deeply across the entire side of the car, a nice big permanent response to her beliefs:

J E S U S

Now, what the hell is that about? What could this person possibly have been thinking? Okay. Trying to see it from the person's point of view. Number one possibility: Person wanted to be an ASSHOLE. Number two possibility: Person wanted to dissuade her from her un-Christian beliefs. Uh, unacceptable, on both counts.

If you wanted to be an ass, there are ways to make your point without costing your victim hundreds of dollars. There is obviously no excuse for scratching "Jesus" into someone's car just to be a dick.

It's if it was for the other reason that this is really messed up.

If this person honestly thought that they could get the girl's attention and make her think by keying her car with the name of God's only son, I think they are the one that needs to rethink their position. First of all, vandalizing someone's car for Christ . . . isn't that just a bit warped? Could this person have actually thought that Jesus would approve of such an action? Whatever happened to WWJD? and all that? Granted, Jesus didn't have cars around in his time, but somehow I doubt that he would condone vandalization to spread the message. Second, this brings no positive message to the girl. "Oh look, someone's fucked up my car, they must REALLY be serious about saving my soul. Maybe I should think this Jesus thing over." This does not go through anyone's mind! Jesus kind of taught gentleness, didn't he? This is some pretty severe property damage, and abusive at that. I tend to think that the girl would have given the message a bit more thought if it had been tacked to her window with tape, or better yet, shared in person. Incidentally, I think she will probably be even LESS likely to hear "the word" from this point on, as she was assaulted with some semblance of it in such an abusive manner. And lastly . . . whoever did this to her really gave Christianity a bad name. Is this something that other Christians would approve of? Of course not. But this girl probably has fewer dealings with Christians than some do, being non-Christian herself, and therefore her exchanges with them will be more strongly colored by every one she encounters. This is not a way to bring her to salvation; this is a way to make her think, "Wow, Christians sure are dickheads."

Of course, the person could have done it just to be a jerk on purpose.

But I don't think so.

system shock

I can breathe now, but not for long.

I sit here on a Saturday following five of the most strenuous weeks that I have faced so far here. I only have four classes, but they haven't been easy and show no signs of letting up. My most recent project was submitted about 24 hours ago, giving me this opportunity to regroup and take care of some other matters before the next one goes out on Monday. Even in the absence of any part-time employment this semester, I frequently find myself strapped for time. Of course, all this is just getting started.

time macromanagement

In past semesters, I micromanaged my time: with as many as two part-time jobs, club activities, and a variety of classes, I tried to devote a little time to each class every night. Now, most of my classes are project-driven, foregoing rote learning in favor of large projects and opportunities to demonstrate knowledge in a wider array of methods. For this reason, I devote much larger blocks of time -- from two hours to an entire night -- for individual projects. As expected, OS is occupying the lion's share of my time, but there are days when I can focus more on other classes. Sometimes it gets to be a bit much: I have pulled two all-nighters already this semester, compared with three combined in the previous five semesters.

Looking at my schedule from a year ago, intial experiences are highly deceiving. I did not include the 22 hours per week that I invested into two desk jobs. Desk work is certainly not the most grueling pursuit, but I gave up time that could have been used more productively to make some extra money per week. This semester, my schedule is much more relaxed in terms of work and classes: without any time sitting behind a desk or answering student e-mail, my official obligations are limited to just one class two days a week, and three classes on the other three days. This is further complicated by the fact that my first class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday starts at 10:30 AM, but my only class on Tuesday and Thursday starts at 3:00 PM. So far, this has led to two instances where a sleepless night is followed by twelve or more hours of sleep the next night. I honestly don't think I could handle a double- or triple-all-nighter, as trumpeted by students and faculty alike, and I certainly don't intend to try it out. There comes a point at around 3:00 or 4:00 AM when I feel that either I have the energy to go the distance, or that I'm completely drained and must postpone work until the morning.

single life

Last semester, I had a roommate who would often stay up until 2:00 AM along with me, although he spent most of those extra hours playing games while I took care of my homework. Usually at around 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning, he would announce that he was going to sleep, prompting me to either relocate to our living room or agree with him. In a sense, he helped keep me to a somewhat regular sleep habit. In December, he decided to move next door to take the place of a friend who was graduating after four and one-half years. As luck would have it, I am still occupying this double room all by myself, leading to no shortage of personal space and room for additional stuff. If not for the lack of sheets on what was once my roommate's bed, you wouldn't know that only one person lived here. Still, without anyone to inadvertently wake me up in the late morning or to encourage me to sleep at night, my schedule is becoming more and more erratic. Sacrificing sleep to study is never a good idea, but it is becoming a bad habit.

There's still the off-chance that Housing Services will place me with a roommate who, for some reason, found it necessary to move in the closing weeks of the academic year. From experience, this is unlikely to happen. Three people, two male and one female, found themselves alone in double rooms on my floor during freshman year. Only one was paired with a new roommate in the very last weeks of the semester, for reasons I still don't understand. Obviously, next academic year will be another story entirely. I can pull someone in as I did in this past year, but that's a decision that I can't easly make right now.

behind the times again

As mentioned above, I'm working later and longer on just about every class. However, my final Japanese class continues to be a struggle. As my other classes are shifting towards projects, Japanese continues to revolve around regular exercises. As a result, I have once again been devoting less time than I should, leading to overdue and eventually abandoned assignments. As long as I continue to do well on larger things such as essays and quizzes, this early struggle will be counteracted as time goes on.

the road abroad

Despite two exams and a variety of other commitments this week, one goal is key: get at least one study abroad application submitted. The six organizations that the Modern Languages department recommends for study in Japan are a veritable alphabet soup of choices: HIF, IES, ICU, IUC, JCMU, and PII. While chances of me applying to more than two of these are slim to nil, I need to get the paperwork moving while there is still time. With luck, I'll know where I'm going in a month's time. I'm very excited to be able to do this, and look forward to a great experience wherever I end up.

class by class

The early returns are mixed at best, but there's still hope.

15-412: Operating System Design and Implementation

As expected, this course is taking up an extraordinary amount of time, not surprising considering that it is worth the most units of credit out of any undergraduate course in the School of Computer Science. Fortunately, my project partner -- and also my TA from Algorithms last semester -- is always willing to work on the projects and certainly knows what he's doing. My biggest concern through the first two projects is that I haven't been doing enough to prepare for these projects, leading me to be dragged through the crucial planning phases. The homework problem sets are reasonable right now, but the infamous midterm exam looms in a few weeks' time.

36-247: Statistics for Lab Sciences

Dropped. I didn't need this class, and it didn't need me: in the first lecture, the professor expressed concern at the number of computer science majors forcing humanities majors onto a waiting list. Of course, most of those computer science majors are taking the course to satisfy a requirement for a humanities minor or double-major. In any event, this course requires a couple of hours a week for homeworks and labs, and that is time that would be better spent on classes that actually matter for my core curriculum.

80-311: Computability and Incompleteness

Every semester, I tell myself that I won't be bothering with any more modern mathematics or theory. Then, I discover that I still need to. This course features weekly problem sets about concepts that I don't fully understand, dry lectures in a cramped lecture hall, and abstract subject matter that does not interest me personally. This could be the biggest question mark on my schedule this semester, but there's still room to drop it and stay at the minimum courseload to remain a full-time student.

82-372: Advanced Japanese II

Still as difficult as last semester, but the schedule is much clearer this time around. The professor is still willing to help, and often sends out helpful e-mails with reminders about upcoming events and assignments. I failed to complete a few assignments last week, but none of them were major. With luck, I can finish out the first unit successfully.

82-374: Technical Japanese

An interesting course: so far we have tackled subjects like computer history, artificial intelligence, and bio-engineering -- all in an immersive Japanese learning environment. The class is very small: just eight people, nearly all of them at the advanced or higher level of Japanese. This is the longest native-Japanese course that I have taken so far, at 80 minutes per class, and the discussion-based nature of the course makes it necessary for me to be alert and contributing for the duration.

an early finish?

My minor is finished after this semester, and I only have to take two computer science electives to finish my B.S. in Computer Science. This means that I face an unlikely decision: do I stay for the full year in 2002-03, or will I declare myself finished after a mere seven semesters? I could also take additional courses in computer science or modern languages, or even three additional physics courses to gain a second minor. The final decision on this won't come for another month or so, but I'm surprised just to see the opportunity present itself.

Back to work I go.

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