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When his hand seeks mine, for a moment my fingers shake. But I slide my hand in his and hope that he didn't notice my hesitation, that he didn't notice I was holding back.

"Oh it's nothing." How many times have I said that to him already? How can he believe it time and time again? He trusts me to tell him, and I've tried, once or twice. But what is there to say?

When his lips touch mine, I close my eyes and hide from it all. As long as it ends there, as long as I don't think too hard on what I'm doing, then maybe denial can last.

"Openmindedly gay." That's what our friends call it. As if somehow I can ignore everything else, every impulse to the contrary, and be "straight" for him..

When he wants more, what will happen? Even with my eyes closed, I can't pretend that black is white, that male is female.

"I really like you." And I do, I do. Emotionally, he's everything I could ask for, comfortable and sweet and wonderful. Why can't that be enough? Why can't there be a relationship without the physical?

When he asks me to please him, I won't know what to do. He's a boy, and I'm a girl-- it should be natural for me. But it's not, and it never can be.

"We'll move at your pace." That's sweet of him, but what if my pace is never? What if I want to be with him- but not to be with him.

When denial can't fill the gaps any more, we'll both end it.

Because he's no more straight than I am.
Good day flying today, especially for February (my logs back to '85 show February as having the shortest average flight times). Flew the final version of the new model for the first time, and it was nice, with good roll response and a nice glide. It wasn't soarable, really, so I didn't get high enough to explore the speed range. Lands nicely.

The other three wings I flew were fine. The Talon I flew on the third flight, a regular production version, was especially nice, with little trim change as I tightened up the wing and good roll response. This was nice after the scary full-race wing I tested this weekend. There were some thin high clouds drifting overhead, so the thermals were on the mellow side, and it was really too cool for not wearing a jacket. I gave in for the third flight.

Our designer wasn't happy with the way the new (first) proto of the smaller size of the new model flew - too hot for intermediates. He took it out on me by assuming that I had answered badly an emailed technical question I brought up, and covered the fine points in a tone I expect he uses with his 6 year old daughter. They don't call him 'The Master of Communication' for nothing. If he ever takes that tone with me again, I'll call him on it, big time. There was some idle time while some certification videos were shot, so it wasn't that efficient in use-of-time terms, but the certification is important, especially for European sales, which might be better this year thanks to the weaker Dollar.

All in all positive, and that's the best we can hope for, most of the time.
What is it about Everything that makes you want to reveal... well... everything? Seriously, I write email to my friends and family back home in North America to update them on what's going on in my life, and am generally quite willing to discuss my personal life with my friends over here in Korea, but I put stuff in my daylogs here that I would never tell anyone I actually knew. I guess the only answer is anonymity, coupled with a sort of exhibitionism; a desire to bare one's soul to the world, while at the same time shunning the embarrassment that might be caused by baring it to people one actually knows.

So, anyway, I've written a love letter to my girlfriend. She's coming out to shoot some pool with me and another teacher from my school tonight, and I'll give it to her then. As I say in the letter, I haven't even written an English love letter since high school, let alone a Korean one. I wrote it in English originally, made my best attempt at translating it into Korean (it took me two hours, since I wanted to make sure it was as free of grammatical errors as I could make it), and then copied it out as neatly as I could. I'm sure it still sounds stilted and awkward, but definitely less so than my spoken Korean. Here's the English version. If it's less than eloquent, keep in mind that I wrote it knowing that I'd eventually have to translate it, so I kept it as simple as possible. Everything in parentheses is just for the folks on E2, not in the actual letter.

Dear Eun Jung, (actually, Sarang haneun Eun Jung, which literally means something like "Eun Jung, whom I love")

I haven't written a love letter since high school. Of course, I've never written one in Korean. I hope I write well. There are many things that I'd like to tell you. I hope that one day I'll be able to speak fluently. I'll study hard.

Mokpo was boring, but it's okay. I enjoyed spending time with you. Saturday night, you asked me why I wasn't sleeping. Truthfully, I just wanted to watch you for a while. You're so beautiful when you sleep. You look like an angel.

I didn't believe in love at first sight before I met you. How can you fall in love with someone before you've spoken to them? When I first saw you, though, I saw not just a pretty face, but a kind woman.

Do you remember that night? I came to Parthenon (the bar where she used to work) with my friend, 2-Pac (so nicknamed because his named is Mr. Pak). I was kind of drunk, and after you brought us our beer, I said to him, "Wow. She is so pretty. I wish I could get to know her." He was drunk too, and invited you to come drink with us. I'll be forever grateful to him for that.

We had a great time, and I woke up the next morning with your phone number in my pocket. I thought to myself, "Don't dream, Dystopian Autocrat (in the actual letter, I use my real name, of course). You're just a customer, and she was just being polite." But that night, you called me. I was surprised, and very happy.

Since that time, everything seems right in the world when I'm with you. I'm happy. I hope you're happy, too.

I love you.

For someone who seems so deadpan and cynical most of the time, I can certainly get sappy at times. ;-)
Since my “Ritalin Rant” remains my most popular node to-date, and I took a big chance with it, (because it matters) I thought I'd try again. I was not expecting so many pat's on the back for that one, nor do I for this one. But I think this needs to be said. I'm sorry in advance for offending anyone, it's honestly not my intention... my intention is to give those reading this a momentary pause to think about the truth in what I am suggesting.

I know this will be taken personally by a few but I hope you'll see the points I'm trying to make are valid.

As I mentioned before, I work in a fast food restaurant for exercise. I'm the gal in the 'back booth' who collects your money. Everyone today is in a hurry, that's obvious, and yet 2 out of 4 customers sit at my window digging through their purse or car for change to give me. This may only take a few seconds, but often takes up to a minute. The people behind them in line each have to wait while they are digging for this change, multiply this by the 10 cars in line, each having to wait 3 or 4 times and it honestly adds up. Now it wouldn't be a big deal to me, those 3 or 4 minutes extra that each person has to wait in the drive through (that they could be spending at home snuggling with thie lil one) if there was a point to this, any point at all.

Let me ask you this, ok?  You dig, and dig and find a few pennies to give me so that you won't get any back. Now what? What is it your going to do the next time when you don't have pennies? You'll GET those same pennies you didn't want from me and all those behind you in line had to wait for you to dig up.

Does this make sense?

If you do succeed in getting rid of your pennies, while making everyone behind you wait, it just means the next time you'll be getting those pennies back! I see it as a pointless cycle, the boomerang change that just keeps coming back to you.(banging head on cash drawer)

Just imagine the thousands of people in drive through lines as I write this... waiting an extra few minutes in the line while those in front of them dig out change. Thousands of wasted minutes a day all for absolutely no good reason, because if you give me your change, your just going to GET change the next time.

So you might be thinking, “I don't want 5 pounds of change in my purse!” There are plenty of alternatives to this - buy a pretty vase and put it in your house wherever you keep your purse and toss the change into it. When the vase gets full toss the change into a mayonaisse jar and drop it off at the local homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter, or Red Cross. If you can't afford to do that, then take it to the grocery store and toss it in the coin counting machine. Those are just two of the many other options available. Such as donating to E2!!

I have your change ready when you get to my window.

Your total? $12.37, so in my hand I have .63 cents (any good drive thru person should do this) so you could be at my window and gone in a few seconds... but on any given day I have at least 20 cars who take a minute or more digging for a few pennies to give me so they won't get a few pennies back.

I suppose to most this may seem trival, but our time is valuable and so is the time of the 8 people behind you in line. If you stop and think about the sheer # of people on any given day going through drive-thru's I think you'll see just how much wasted time there is a day on this pointless activity.

In an ideal world everyone would realize that change is a boomerang - no matter how many times you get rid of it, unless you have some with you - you are just going to get more! This is not an ideal world... so we will all continue to wait, and I kid you not most days there are people who will take 2 minutes just to avoid getting back a few pennies.   And you know they accomplished a major feat, they have no pennies, woohoo - next stop the gas station - ooops guess what? Their total is 12.02 and they have no pennies. You'll never guess what happens next...

The moral of this lil rant?? If you're one of 'them' the next time your diggin' for change - think about the extra minutes at home the 10 cars behind you could spend hopefully snuggling with their loved ones because I think (Or I sure hope!) I've proven my point about the change 'boomerang'. Don't worry about the pennies they are worthless, take them! Toss 'em back out the window, what's a few pennies for the precious moments the folks behind you might get to spend with thier lil ones?

And lets not even get *into* syncronicity and '6 degrees of seperation' and imagine the lives you digging for change could be changing. (or for that matter you listening to this rant and NOT digging for change could cause...)

By the way, all customers are important and treated very well by me, even those who do are guilty of this.  I smile as the -8 degree wind chill burns my ears and I wait for you to find those 2 pennies... “they'll have that for you at the next window, have a great day!”

(end rant)

While I'm discussing this issue, for anyone who doesn't know how to count back change it's pretty simple and I've yet to figure out why all managers don't teach this.

Here's how it works:

12.36 (the total of the customers order)

Now to figure out their change, the # after the decimal will need to equal 9. In this case what you would need to get the number after the decimal 3 = 9 is 6. The last # will need to = 10, in this case the 6 would need to be increased to 4.. to = 10. So their change is .64 cents.

Another example - stay with me for a few examples and it'll become so clear it's child's play.

5.48 ( the 4 first # after the decimal will need to add 5 to = 9 and the 8 will need to add 2 to = 10, so the change is .52

4.24 (change = what? 76)

9.19 (change = what? .81)

see how it works? easy! The first # after the decimal needs to = 9, add what you need to to make it so. The last # needs to = 10 add what you need to make it so.

After doing this hundreds of times the change is just obvious takes a split second to figure out, and a few hundred times later it's just automatic.
On an unrelated note, I feel good today. I accidently ran over a dog in the dark years ago, it bothered me very badly (still does). I'm not and have never been a dog fan, but twice this year I've rescued dogs from likely getting run over. The first time last spring on a very busy highway, there were two dogs on a bridge with nowhere to go but into busy traffic. My girlfriend and I stopped traffic and managed to get the dogs in her car and take them to the pound. Their owners were never found but both were adopted. (I ended up with two skinned knees and a skinned elbow trying to catch one of the two who decided we were no longer friends when we got to the pound)

Today when I walked to the store there was a beautiful puppy walking across a busy street. He followed me home, and I was going to just ignore him but couldn't, he was heading back towards that busy street. So I called the dog pound and went through heck (oh boy!) trying to keep him here till they got here. He's young and very pretty, I have no doubt if his owners are not found he'll find a good home.

It's a good deed that most would probably do, but since I really don't like dogs - I do pat myself on the back for it and it does help me feel better that I saved yet another dog from getting run over (and another person from feeling as bad as I did when I ran one over)

Have pen, will slice

I’m in a very unusual position at work. For some reason -- and much to my delight -- I’ve been named editor of an 80-page coffee table book commemorating the first five years of the program. This is not unlike my experience editing my high school yearbook, except I’m now much better equipped to take care of such a large project.

The problem is, that as I go through the director’s stories for the publication, I find myself wanting to edit -- to slice and chop. His creative instincts aren’t mine, and I have strong opinions of how things should be written.

So this afternoon, I must sit down with him and very delicately explain just why I think certain passages need to be cut from his stories. About how in the wake of our budget cancellation, everything he writes is self-deprecating. “No, really -- the program doesn’t suck. We didn’t change the world, but we don’t suck.” For me, self-deprecation just won’t cut it for the coupe de grace of my work here.

Since this book needs to be turned into a sales pitch for possibly financial backers, I have to tailor it for a much better message: “We rock. They were idiots to eliminate our funding. If you don’t fund us, the world will weep.” There should be no doubt at all about how great we are -- that our loss of funding was nothing short of a tragedy and crime that must be quickly rectified. You can’t generate a sense of outrage without first establishing just how incredible you are.

The problem is that my boss is a journalist. Despite what conservative political pundits say, they don’t believe in making any subjective, unqualified statements about things -- they abhor lies. Anything venturing close to an opinion fills their hearts with fear beyond reckoning. If you can’t clear it with a fact checker then my god you might as well be going to hell. Whereas, my training is in marketing and creative writing -- all lies.

And it will take a liar, not a reporter, to save this program.

One of the cats' dingle balls tried to escape today.

I was amid the musings of whether or not I was fed up with the bothersome quirks of living with someone else, leaving for work about 40 minutes late, and I opened the kitchen door to let myself out. The moggies, of course, were sitting in a row a good couple of lengths back from the threshold, watching me go with a lazy good-bye in the air. Part of our morning ritual. As I turned to go, a one of the dingle balls, a green and red plastic, slotted globe encasing a small metal bell, made a break from behind the counter and dashed merrily out the door, with a little *dingle-dingle* of triumph as it jumped the raised bit of the doorframe and made it out onto the side porch.

Dingle balls are tricky little buggers, really. They hide themselves away in the darkest corners awaiting a hungover human to plod by in the semidark morning-after, and then, without making a sound, jump out underfoot. Each tripped human scores them ten points, plus a point for every injury sustained (doubled for drawn blood), and half a point for every non-repeated curse or epithet hurled at the thing. They keep score, I guess, though none of my cats' dingle balls have been willing to let me in on who's winning. Probably afraid I'll start playing favorites or something. But they aren't usually noted for their stamina or long-range planning. Which is why the daring one this morning made it out to about the middle of the small porch and then stopped. Either he ran out of energy or he was suddenly overwhelmed by the grandeur and repercussions of his bold assay. I could almost imagine him thinking 'Whoah... I never thought I'd actually make it. Now what?'

As endearing and noble as the microcosmic statement of 'thing-kind' this litte display was, I was secretly delighted by the stupor of epiphany that the dingle ball had attained. I admit, I have vile moments, and it was the shadowy side of my nature which took over and used the intervening pause to scoop the little bugger up and toss him casually back inside. The cats perked their ears, and the youngest one of the three actually turned to watch it go by. This was an obvious mark of the lack of his catturity because every grown cat knows a dingle ball is only fun to play with when the humans are trying to sleep or concentrate.

It wasn't until I was on my way for the hour and a half commute to work that I began to ponder whether I had done the right thing or not. I wasn't so surprised by the self-mobilizing attitudes of the dingle ball itself... I'd tripped over him several times in the past. It was, however, the first time today that I knew his gender, simply because of the pause in which I had caught him. If he were a female dingle ball, he would not have been overwhelmed by the success of his actions and then subsequently caught, because I'm convinced that female dingle balls think their escapes all the way through, including hotel reservations and safe houses, and a false identity as a Christmas Tree ornament somewhere outside Sacramento.

Perhaps I was too harsh on the little fellow. Perhaps I should have left him to his own devices for the day, and seen whether or not he had had enough of the world and would be waiting for me on the porch when I came home. I suppose sparing him the dingle ball equivalent of a walk of shame was a kind gesture, though I doubt that he thinks so. And perhaps I'm enabling the delusions of an entire population of dingle balls to perpetuate for themselves. If I had left him outside, would the little dingle ball children grow up knowing that Outside wasn't any better than Inside, and that they really were in a place of relative comfort? Or will they still be incensed by the perceived fetters imposed upon them by an evil tyrant who rescued them from the petstore shelves and their prison of packaging, just to keep them locked away from the world in a great cavern of an apartment?

One thing is for certain... if this dingle ball has any common sense, he'll shut up about the bit of Outside he saw. He'll let them crown him with a wreath of laurel and accept in silence the accolades of heroism. Then he and his children can rest assured that the Dingle Ball Liberation Movement lives on, and they are descended from dingle balls with dreams and convictions enough to act on them. Yes, silence is the best course, since no one wants their illusions shattered by hearing about a mediocre reality.

All I know is, if they give this dingle ball a parade, they'd better damned well clean it up by the time I get home tonight.

Well, I've not been seen in these waters for about 6.2 months. It seems I grew weary of e2 for some time and now my mastery of the post syntax has faded. Regardless, here I go.

Observation: Daylogs have gotten pretty melodramatic. Don't think I'll play along to that and portray my day as some kind of vast, sweeping epic. I'm in college like thousands of other people all over the place, and the college is nothing special. I'm lazy, anti-social, and generally nondescript in pretty much every way save a penchant for biting sarcasm and my machine here which is, alas, nearing the replacement stage now.

I last wrote these things in high school, almost 2 years ago now. Things were a bit more exciting then, mostly in bad ways though. The wrong kind of excitement. My girlfriend now is, happily, crazy about me so no more of my whining and complaining about the complete unfairness of life.

Now I've got to figure out how to redirect node links again. Whee.

I was sitting at my desk in Cincinnati, Ohio doing work. I have a "manager cube"--a semi private place for executives. My team has a fairly open workspace--several desks outside a common area. We call them "neighborhoods," a term I've heard in other offices, though in mine, for navigation purposes, they are all named after actual neighborhoods.

My cube is on the other side of the neighborhood from the windows of our sixteenth floor office. A small balcony exists on the other side of the window, then a view of the Ohio River, and the new baseball stadium. It's really an awesome view. I generally sit in such a way as to face the window. Mostly, it makes me feel less isolated from my teammates.

I was in head-down mode most of the afternoon, trying to get through a PowerPoint. The radio switched from music to All Things Considered--there was an hour left in the day. After the initial news, I glanced up, and my team was gathered in one corner by the windows. Something was up, and, as I was slowly going nuts, decided it was time stretch my legs, and check it out.

A peregrine falcon was sitting on the corner of the balcony. I knew they were downtown, occasionally seeing leftover prey on the street, or looking up and seeing them glide around on the thermals the urban heat island generated.

But here one was, sitting in front of us. He (or she) was perhaps a foot or so tall, but huge talons. I never realized they were so big. She (or he) sat on the corner, and watched us. I would have sworn the falcon had come to visit the zoo: "See the office workers in their native habitat."

I went to get my boss, knowing he wouldn't want to miss it. And the eleven of us stood--ten geeks, one bird--and watched each other. He (or she) was a magnificent creature. She (or he) got bored, turning, and leaving us to gradually go back to work.

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