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I wish that I was a better person, who sneered less. If you read my day log for yesterday you'd know that things have been difficult. I've survived thanks to my friends. Well, one of my best friends is coming to visit me at uni in a couple of weeks. I've treated him really badly. He changed a lot when he started at university a year ago. I was on my gap year and found it very easy to sneer and deride him for being fickle and shallow.Now I'm the one changing.Somehow it seemed easy to convince myself that he was the lesser man. I forgot all the times he'd persuade me to have a night out when I was feeling sorry for myself, and would have wallowed at home. The times he did, and still does, talk to me as if I was some genius in waiting - with a sense of pride that we are friends.On our last day at school together he wrote that he hoped life would bring me 'all the success and happiness that I so richly deserved'. I couldn't be so expressive. He was my first friend to overcome the sense of awkwardness and write 'love' in a card, even though I was a boy! When home was always still, but with a quiet wail I always knew I could stay at his for the night. His family became my family. I missed my retreat last year when it wasn't there.But I haven't been grateful. I haven't even be a true friend. We thought we'd be friends for ever. I'm the one who needs to work hard.

I hate daylogs.

These ineffectual blabberings of rubbish and meaningless ramblings should be banned and abolished from the face of the earth. Why? Because they’re a waste of my time and effort. I sit here for a number of minutes writing this pointless shit and for what? To have you bunch of intelligent, talented writers look down your long noses at me? To be publicly ridiculed in the catbox? To be mercilessly beaten and tortured by the torrential verbal abuse that comes hand in hand with writing an objectionable node? Yes, yes and yes.

The amount of time I waste on daylogs is incomprehensible (in comparison to the time I spend writing useful nodes). I may sit here, writing this useless daylog for maybe 30 minutes. That 30 minutes is now gone. Gone! 30 minutes I could’ve spent getting to know my dying grandmother. 30 minutes I could’ve spent doing homework and increasing the minimal chances I have of getting a decent job when I’m older. 30 minutes I could’ve spent playing Hitman 2. 30 minutes less time I spend in front of my computer screen. 30 minutes of intellectual conversation lost to nothing but nothingness.

I hate daylogs.

I should probably be doing some calculus homework, after all, I am struggling with the differentiation of logs. But instead, I sit here, staring and the little blinking cursor. Blink. Blink. Blink. I should probably take some time out of my useless daylog writing and write a useful node. Like this one.

But I won't. Why? Because I love daylogs.

The Darkness of a Full Moon, Running Toward Constellations, Reaching the W&OD Bike Trail, and Sprinting up Heartbreak Hill

Running time: 19 minutes. I’ve finally reached the bike trail. This is a major milestone.

Lungs: A bit of wheezing. Legs: Knees feel good, hips good, ankles untwisted. All remarkably unremarkable. Let’s hope this holds up.

Out of the house at 5:15 a.m. It’s dark. The new moon is completely not there, so only the stars illuminate the overhead sky.

However early it may seem, it’s not early enough for some people: the Washington Post is already sitting at the end of the driveway, wrapped in a plastic bag to keep the newspaper from getting wet from the dew and frost on the ground. Someday I’ll beat that newspaper delivery guy to his rounds. How early will that have to be?

Our neighborhood has large trees and no overhead wires: power and telephone lines are buried. The neighborhood was designed over 30 years ago with a minimum of street lights. This area was all part of a dairy farm way out in the northern Virginia country, back in the day. I guess the designers felt the need to preserve the feel of the starry country sky, so street lights were left off the drawing boards.

This is great, except for the few early morning runners who need to see the street’s quirky surface. Utility access holes, manholes, and potholes in the asphalt surface make for a bad running surface. Four years ago I had the misfortune of stepping across the edge of a rather deep access hole and twisting my left ankle so badly it kept me off running for a month or so. The colors on that ankle went from green to blue to yellow to blue again. The pain was so intense I had ankle-twisting nightmares for years.

I don’t know what direction I’m running, but it’s toward Orion. The belt of Orion is clearly in front. I’m guessing this means I’m heading east, in the direction of the rising sun.

The major constellations are easy to make out: the Big Dipper and Orion are over there, Gemini, the Pleiades. They’re all easy to see on a crisp, cloudless, moonless night.

There’s a nine minute run through the neighborhood, and then –- finally! – a short run through a small park and then I reach the bike trail. This is very exciting. The Washington and Old Dominion bicycle trail runs from the foothills of the Shenandoah mountains to Ronald Reagan international airport across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., a distance of over seventy miles. In many places the bicycle trail runs parallel a bridle trail for horses. The dirt path of the bridle trail makes for a wonderfully soft running surface for distance runners.

Marathon runners love the W&OD bike trail’s dirt horse trail surface because dirt running is much easier on the knees and ankles than hard pavement. When I trained for an earlier marathon five years ago, all running prior to getting on the W&OD was mere prelude. The real running began on the bike trail.

I’m glad to see my old friend the bike trail, glad and relieved. I spent many happy hours along this trail a few years ago.

These next few days will be hard: halfway through the run I’ll get to only spend a few minutes on the bike trail before having to return home again. Once times get above 40 minutes, that’s when I’ll be spending more time on the bike trail than on getting to it. This will happen about three or four weeks from now – mid March.

Today, as soon as my feet have touched the W&OD's asphalt top, I have to turn back and walk through the park and thence back home. The dirt path of the park is rock hard because the muddy surface is frozen solid. The bicycle ruts and the deep grooves of erosion make for such a nasty ankle-twisting surface I am forced to walk this two hundred yards back to the street.

The park is at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill, a steep incline that is an unwelcome sight after a long run. It’s about 3/4 of a mile from my home. The forced walk leaves me frustrated that I can’t run, but at least I’m somewhat rested and ready to charge the hill. It’s a good sprint up.

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I'm a programmer, not a salesman, not a liar, and I have some principles. I believe that the business world lives in hell, or is heading there and it's taking the rest of the planet with it.

I work for a company that writes big, expensive software and sells it all over the world. We have a client in Italy that is pretty big on our list "important" customers. There's some guy, who's sort-of a friend of mine in this company and he's currently working in the Italy client's office doing stuff. Ages ago he wrote a 3000 line PERL script to do something that is kinda neat. Well, the sales guys have decided to "sell" this PERL script to the client... for 2,000,000 Euros! That's great!

Now, of course there's a catch. He needs my help. "How do I make a 3000 line PERL script look like huge application written in C?", he asks. Now I have a problem. As a programmer that works for a company that you believe may be doing some shady business with your code after it leaves your hands, you kinda have to shrug your shoulders and say "My job is to write the best code I can, plain and simple". I've been doing that OK up until now. I don't write code that has no computational purpose and whose sole reason for being is to fuck someone over. Am I going to teach this, obviously skill-lacking individual (I mean, this aint that hard) to do this thing so that some sales guy can make a big commission on something that aint worth squat!? I think not! This PERL script is not worth two million euros! Hell, the client could hire a basic programmer, have him learn PERL, learn our extremely complex product and code the thing himself for far less than two million!

I had some respect for this guy. Now, I didn't have a ton of respect for him... I mean, how much respect can you have for a guy that tells people he's a devoted christian and at the same time screws around trying to climb the corporate ladder, and has absolutely no quams about doing this deed? I have now lost that little respect for him. What little respect I have left for this company is totally gone now, I believe. On top of that, I am extremely pissed off that they let their slimey world come to my desk. Is this the straw? Do I now find a new job? It just may finally happen. Is the market good out there yet? Anyone want to hire a programmer who knows J2EE and Java and refuses to code in them cuz they suck? :) Someone please find me a reputable company (it doesn't exist, does it?) and bring me on in the languages I love!

A transcript, as nearly as my memory allows, of the fools I managed to sit by on the bus home from work today. Sarah is the only name I recall.

The Dramatis Personae here are four girls, approximately fifteen years old, on their way to God-Knows-Where. Maybe to Ross Sheppard High School. I've attributed them with numbers for names, except Sarah. I sat down, and this is quite close to what I heard.

I guess it makes me a mean-spirited asshole that this conversation is now a part of the database, but if daylogs are for anything, they are for sharing the little things that make one's day better. I was unable to glean one iota of useful information throughout the entirety of the conversation; I tried to block it out with a book of Zen koans, but that didn't work either. Without further ado:


Number Two: ... big coat.

Number One: I know but I like it, ya know? That fuckin Brandi bitch from school has the same one.

Number Two: No, she doesn't. She's got the one with the stripe on the side.

Number One: Yeah--

Sarah: One of you got the time?

Number Two: Don't worry, we got lots of time. It's only like five to nine. Sarah did you call my cell last night?

Sarah: Oh my God! I swear to God I totally heard gunshots last night--

Number One: Holy shit, really?

Sarah: For real. I was like in my room, doing my nails, I just got off the phone with Jared, and I was like, you know, just sitting? And then it was like, boom boom boom. So I ran downstairs, 'cause like at first I thought it was my cat being a retard?

Number Two: Hah, my cat's a retard too.

Number One: Yeah he is.

Number Two: She's a girl. But like, this one time, I just got out of the shower, and my boyfriend gave me this necklace. You know the necklace Andrew got me, with the red heartstone on it?

Sarah and Number One: Yeah.

Number Two: Anyway I was going over to Andrew's place that night to get high and probably fuck, but I wanted my necklace. He thinks it's sexy when I just wear that.

Sarah and Number One: (laughter)

Number Two: Yeah, so like anyway? I couldn't find my necklace! So I searched my whole room, top to bottom, I emptied out all my drawers in my dresser and everything, I even looked under the bed and everything. So I run downstairs just screaming at my mom, "Oh my God mom I can't find my necklace," and she was like, "I dunno, I haven't seen it. So I was all dressed anyway, and I was pretty much ready to leave but I couldn't find my necklace still. And just when I was getting ready to go to my boyfriend's place I saw my fucking cat, fucking chewing on my necklace. Ohhhhh, my God, I was like, so fucking pissed. I totally almost killed it right there.

(brief interlude whilst Number Four enters, sits down to my right)

Number Two: So like--

Number Four: Yeah. I was just talking with Cindy.

(a tiny bag of weed is passed from Four to Two)

Number Two: Oh man I'm so hurtin' right now.

Number One: You're gonna smoke one like right now?

Number Two: Yeah, you guys wanna pitch? How much you gonna pitch?

Number One: I've got like two bucks I can throw.

]Number Two]: What about you, Sarah?

Sarah: I don't have any money, but you can cut me in anyway.

Number Two: Fuck you, bitch.

Sarah: Whatever.

Number Two: Whatever, you know you want some of this?

Sarah: Fuck off, I don't want my face in anything Andrew's been in.

(laughter all around; bus starts moving)

Number One: You're not gonna wait till after second block?

Number Two: Fuck that, man. I'm getting hiiiiigh as soon as I get off this bus. Hey, gimme your scissors and shotglass.

(items are exchanged)

Number Two: I'd rather smoke a pipe though, but I left mine at the Mall.

Number One: You dumbass, what, did you just like leave it on some table somewhere?

Number Two: Naw, me and my boyfriend were fuckin' around in the bathroom and I think it might have dropped out of my pocket. Fucking luck, man. I couldn't believe it, it sucked ass.

Number One: I don't know how you can roll that on the bus with all the moving around and shit.

Number Two: It's easy. I got skills. Andrew showed me first, and he said he learned from Joe.

Number One: Doesn't Joe roll it backwards, like with the licky side away from him?

Sarah: Yeah. I seen him do it, it's fucking weird.

Number Two: Well Andrew showed me this way and it works alright.

Devon: You know, my mother rolls away from her, that way, with the sticky side the other way.

(blank, semi-vacant stares in my direction, as we approach my stop)

Devon: Seriously. When you do the paper backwards like that, it's the only sure way to successfully roll a joint one handed, in my opinion. If you don't believe me, find someone to buy you some tobacco, and practice. It'll dry your weed out if you're constantly fucking with it.

(more stares, and a look passes from Two to One, then to Four)

Devon: I'm just fucking with you. Only retards with no sense of style would endeavour to roll a joint any way than the tried-and-true. It's probably the sign of the apocalypse that old Joe here play with his weed backwards.

(I get up, head to the door, many whispered comments commence)

Devon: Sorry about that. I was lying again. Who gives a fuck how your idiot friends roll a joint? What are you, like fucking twelve?

Man. Am I glad I never met me.

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