Notes from the Surf

I never expected much out of architecture before.

Program Manager
Not a faithful reproduction.

Rewarming shock: Capillaries reopen all at once, causing sudden blood pressure drop
"In 1980, 16 shipwrecked Danish fishermen were hauled to safety after an hour and a half in the frigid North Sea. They then walked across the deck of the rescue ship, stepped below for a hot drink, and dropped dead, all 16 of them."

Float like a bear, sting like a cat
Speed vs strength.

New Mexico State Legislator Introduces Bill To Move State's Money
"Egolf said the account, which is essentially the state's checking account, holds $1.4 billion and is managed by Bank of America. Egolf's bill directs state officials to study the feasibility of dividing up the account and distributing it between community banks and credit unions throughout the state."

ALBA to support agriculture, production, food imports and distribution
Haiti has no debt with Venezuela, just the opposite: Venezuela has a historical debt with that nation, with that people for whom we feel not pity but rather admiration, and we share their faith, their hope”

India: jail is the cost of filing a public interest litigation plea
police were involved in the early morning ‘sanitisation operation’ and killed nine villagers (seven from Gompad and two from nearby villages), including three women and a 12-year-old girl. “The police also cut off the fingers of a two-year-old infant,” said one witness speaking on condition of anonymity fearing police retribution.

Plan Colombia:  "Obama has decided that Latin America isn't worth it. He gave it to the right."
"Colombia remains the hands-down worst repressor in Latin America. More than 500 trade unionists have been executed since Uribe took office. In recent years 195 teachers have been assassinated, and not one arrest has been made for the killings. And the military stands accused of murdering more than 2,000 civilians and then dressing their bodies in guerrilla uniforms in order to prove progress against the FARC."

Jupille, Belgium: InBev employees block premises in unofficial strike
"They got loads of support from locals, people would bring wood to keep a fire going, couches to sit on and people from other breweries brought beer"

Serbia: “Hungry policemen cannot attack hungry workers.”
the Serbian Police Union said in its press release that it received “with indignation” the government’s announcement that it will use police to stop the “demonstrations of hungry workers throughout Serbia... That would only turn police against their own people”

On becoming a year older

Yesterday I danced the polka around the house with Tessie, and the laughter generated was a real treat for all of us.

I'm not a great one for remembering birthdays; each trip to the pharmacy to collect Christine's prescriptions results in my getting her details wrong when they ask me to confirm her birthdate. "Oh, it's the thirteenth or twenty-third, I think. March. Or maybe April..." as I hang my head, or occasionally chuckle. But one of the advantages of being somewhat exotic is that people tend to remember me, and they laugh and hand over the drugs anyway. It's sad, because if they'd only point and laugh and shout "Wrong!", it might reinforce the date in my poor old mind.

I spent about ten years in the clutches of Jehovah's Witnesses, and whilst I got out because of many disagreements with doctrine and their desire to control my personal life, when they insisted that adherhents to the faith did not celebrate birthdays, I was unfazed by it.

This unbirthdayness was highlighted this morning as we all began to move into another day. It's my habit to get up first to make tea, and I bring a cup to Christine in bed, so we can sit and talk and generally wake up together. This morning, I wished her "Happy Aniversary", the fifth celebration of our handfasting back in February 2005. My birthday never got a look in until we were all three around the breakfast table, when someone happened to mention that it was also my birthday. It's my 54th such event, and I was never much of a one to celebrate it. Contrast this with Tessie's comment that she starts to plan her birthday parties six months in advance, and she'll have a present list posted in each room of the house, filled with all the things her heart desires.

Christmas is almost as bad for me; Christine asks what I want, and my response is invariably the same: "There's nothing I can think of that I need". I then watch her exasperation rise, surface and follows the inevitable response question, "Well, what do you want?" Followed by a long silence, as I dredge around for some gift she can give me. Usually socks. This last year may have been an exception, as I really wanted a radio, and I was not disappointed. I also got some serving spoons, the lack of which I had been cursing for ages. She's good to me, I have no complaints in that regard. Oh, and for the record, I also got socks, which made me happier yet.

The thing about birthdays for me is that they make me uncomfortable. The fatalist in me wonders why we're expected to celebrate another year in the inevitable decline to old age and all the whatnot that it entails. We have a list of the things that others will have to do for us as we descend into that frail dotage; mine includes having to have my toenails cut, which raises some quite spectacular and satisfying shudders in my Other Half.

The Handiversary And Beyond

The main event for me on this date is the handfasting anniversary. Five years ago, we descended on Hampstead Heath along with a fairly large crowd of noders, to have a pagan celebration of our desire to spend as long as possible together. We had a delightful time in the centre of a circle of friends, spoke our vows and had a blessing from Wiccanpiper and Pandora before jumping the broomstick and retreating to the pub for food, cakes and ale. I probably never got to thank everyone enough on the day, and words will fail me if I try to do so again. Not that failing words ever stopped me before, so I wish not to thank everyone who supported us through the organisation leading up to it, all who came to wish us well that day, or sent greetings and prayers of support. It was a landmark day for both of us.

One final, special thank you is due, however, because there is one person who made it all possible, not just for that day, but for every day following. One thing we had both insisted upon was that Tessie (Christine's daughter, six at the time) also have a say in accepting me into the family. So during the ceremony, she got to answer a question regarding her willingness to have me join with her mother. It was the only time I really held my breath, and I was mightily relieved when she answered "Yes".

The past five years were glorious, despite Christine's being diagnosed with breast cancer. That changed our plans dramatically, and resulted in me dropping everything in the UK and heading post-haste to California, firstly to support her through the surgery, chemo and whatnot, secondly to marry her legally in the US, so I could qualify for my green card. Since then we've had a number of scares, and two incidences of The Return Of The Cancer, the most recent of which we're trying to view in the light of a comment from one dear noder as "...another twisty loop d'loop..."

So today, whilst I'm gloriously fifty-four and well into middle age, I am reflecting on the future. It is not all grim, neither will it be all beer and skittles, but one thing is for certain; we will make the very best of every day we can, and aim to spend at least some golden years together before the chap with the scythe comes to whip us away.

Of course, I couldn't possibly end on such a pessimistic note, so I want to assure you that although times are currently uncertain for our little family, we are not yet beaten, and that we continue to get notes of support and prayers from all religions, creeds and denominations (including, to my great delight, atheists) demonstrates that you don't want us to quit either. So may I just say that it's still my desire to approach my namesake, Saint Kevin, in pursuing a long and healthy life, not just for me, but for all of us.

Thank you, and in the words of Dave Allen, "May your God go with you".

This will probably be quite a short daylog, and is posted mainly as a follow-up to July 10, 2008, and to anyone else who is interested. In that node I talked about how my wife and I split up in September 2007, and how I was coping with seeing my young son at weekends, and maintaining contact with him through the week.

Anyway, just to let you all know, Elke and Callum moved back in with me at Christmas-time, officially the 29th of December. We'd had a heart-to-heart in the summer which led to reconciliation, but as Callum was about to start school for the first time in August, and we didn't want to rush things, we waited until Christmas for the move. Callum has now started a new school here in Lanark, and is settling in well. Elke and I are enjoying our time together again, and things are much happier all round. I just thought I'd let you all know.

Thanks for all your good wishes everyone!

"Write this down...go sit down and just pretend we are still talking."

I argued that I still had a writing assignment from his wife, which I thought was cool. The reality is I think this is a pretty cool "assignment" from Mr. Positive. I guess that's his E2 name. Really though, I don't think Mr. Positive cares what I write about, he just wants me writing. Why? He claims he likes reading. I suspect something more hidden. Maybe the college he's going to (I wonder if that makes him sound young) just did a study that the best way to keep someone from killing themselves was to keep them writing.

I know, I haven't joked about killing myself in these daylogs until now, but I've pretty much divided all my friends into two camps, those I can joke about suicide with, and those I can't. Actually there is probably a third camp of people who probably don't like it when I joke about it and worry about me, but can't help laughing their ass off when I nail a particularly funny joke.

So what were we talking about, Mr. Positive? Well...what was *I* talking about? You sure as shit aren't saying much. I know, you are too busy. Maybe those suicide jokes add to this sense that you are trying to do too much, but I'm guessing mostly it's your new child and all the college classes.

I know what we weren't talking about, because I already told you this story. I talked to Preacher Mooch on facebook shortly after I wrote my last daylog. He asked me if he could be Mr. Positive 2. He can't, and I'll tell you why.

We WERE talking about how I'm really getting sick of peoples optimism. But it's not being optimistic that pisses me off. It's being FALSELY optimistic. I have no idea if Preacher Mooch does this, because I haven't seen the man in 10 years or so, and I have no idea who he is anymore. But I did ask him about Moses. He did some preaching about Moses, so I asked if he believed Moses really existed.

He said in the end that he didn't think it was very important. This goes against who I am, methinks. I think it's important if Moses existed or not. It wouldn't be if everyone was in agreement that god is just a nice idea that we all know isn't santa claus. God is for children. That isn't the agreement though.

Now you, Mr. Positive, don't know the extent of an evil fuck I am. I know, you laugh. You say, "yeah evil, that exists," and my whole argument is deflated. That FACTS of the universe as I see it, are that good and evil do not really exist. Now you focus on evil not existing, and that's what makes you Mr. Positive. Focusing on Moses and not worrying about whether he existed or not just makes you a Preacher, and we all know what makes a Mooch.

We also weren't talking about how I think I'm much less annoying than I could be these days because I knew Preacher Mooch. People are already sick of me never spending money on things besides mortgage, power, phone, internet, home owner association fees, gas, and the credit card bills my ex-girlfriend left me. I buy a little food, too, but not enough to not be annoying.

Case in point, I went to Egg Works with my was close to my place and we were gonna play Ticket to Ride afterwards. I didn't order anything. Now these days, despite how annoying it can be, I've adopted an "accept all charity" policy. My friend's girlfriend showed up and she offered me some of her food and in a move I had to justify to myself later, I refused. I think it's because she's friends with my ex, and she talked about her, and it was all just annoying. Annoying because it was just more of the bullshit that follows my ex in a cloud wherever she goes. "Oh we are working on a project and she'll be able to get you money soon." Moses, huh?

I do not believe Moses was a real person, and I think that whether or not I get any money from my ex is directly proportional to how much of an asshole I want to be about it, and little else. So far, I've been very nice and gotten nothing but promises. I'd kind of like to get a promise in writing. Anyway, I think these FACTS are important. Because if Moses didn't really exist and he didn't really talk to god and he didn't really get the 10 commandments, well then why should I not covet the fuck out of my neighbors wife?

So back to the point, no waffle for me ("A message from The International Pancake Institute: Fuck waffles!" -- George Carlin, RIP). For those of you that have been to the Egg Works and ordered skillets, perhaps you know, if you get scrambled eggs you get a lot more egg than if you got them say, over medium. My friend without the girlfriend got them scrambled. My friend without the girlfriend couldn't finish his meal. My friend without the girlfriend didn't offer me to clean up his scraps like the good puppy I've become.

I have never wanted scrambled eggs so fucking bad in all my life.

Thanks to Preacher Mooch, however, I didn't say a word. I didn't say a word because my friend without a girlfriend is fucking awesome. He's awesome, as you are, Mr. Positive, as your wife is, as is the only man to tell me I was welcome, as is his wife, who fantasizes about me being a whore famous enough for the Daily Show, as is the man that reminds how bad ass math is, and his wife who sends me rice and beans, as is the woman who got me my office job (so tempting to make a joke that involves pants at this point) and gives me medicine, as is a man with 1000 friends who seems to make as much time for me as he can...



He's awesome and I know him oh so well, even if I can't always explain him to other people, and I know what eats at him, what tortures him. He feels bad for the server. He does. He feels so bad if it were up to him we probably wouldn't go out at all unless he felt he could spring to buy me some food, and he has! He feels bad that there is this Mooch at the table, not contributing. Who hasn't heard the expression if you can't afford to tip, just stay home? Not any server I know. And if you've decided you can't even afford a 50% shift meal, let alone full price at Egg Works, well why are you making me look at your ugly, although we appreciate all the weight you are losing...we can really see it in your neck, face?

I credit Preacher Mooch for giving me experience seeing how much people can be annoyed with the man who doesn't spend any money.

Is that a good ending? Do I stop now? I mean, I appreciate all the time you've sat there and listened to me...I know how busy you are, and I really love attention as much as the average stripper...but when you don't actually say anything...obviously it's hard to know if you've fallen asleep or what.

Fuck it. I'll go for the double. We are having a two for one at Sketchwick's Whorehouse tonight. Come on in with your wife and we'll give you BOTH what you ask for.

So I always say that I don't know exactly when I stopped believing in god, but I think it was about the same time I stopped feeling guilty for masturbating.

I remember seeing some Jesus story on television and at some point I cried and my mother saw me and asked what was wrong. "It's just so sad what he did."

Is religion child abuse? Possibly my favorite chapter in God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Great book.

I also remember scolding (hitting?) a younger friend of mine for saying something like "goddamn" and when he complained I said fuck and shit and whatnot, I argued the bible never said not to. See, I was already starting to game the system. Most people do, but a few of us start applying logic to the whole mess and come to the conclusion that it's MUCH more likely someone just made all this shit up.

What kept me an agnostic was that it was really hard to imagine there being NO afterlife. Nothing? Just nothing? I couldn't imagine nothing. Plus, I thought atheists were the most annoying group around simply due to one little piece of what I thought was logic: at least if you believe in god, you believe anything is possible.

Even back then I was a big fan of imagination. I think by the 8th grade I was pretty much the cynical asshole (haha, Mr. Positive, I have you there...assholes OBVIOUSLY exist!) I am today.

Probably even openly admitting I masturbated, and still do, is Too Much Information for some people, but I really think there was something interesting at work back then, now that I think about it. I stopped believing in this god that gave a shit about whether or not I jacked off or not...stopped believing in a god that cared about anything humans did...or anything that happened on this planet, but I still had SOME guilt. I still frantically put away my dick while watching whatever nudity I could find on TV late at night when my father walked into the room (these days I'm convinced he only ACTED groggy and oblivious...although why they tried to tell me sex with women was not okay I still don't get). But sex stuff is not the topic, back to being godless.

Was I a Junior, yeah I think that's when I took Trigonometry...some girl said something about god and I just said, "Fuck you and your god too." It was possibly my first flirtation with open blasphemy. Depressing to think that being godless has something to do with shock value, need for attention, and all that.

So yeah, typical agnostic that didn't take any religion at all seriously as the religions themselves do for most of my life. Really, I acted like an atheist. I used to say I thought religions of the world were no different than when the high school crammed in the gym and we all shouted that our class was the best. 92! 92! Go Jews! Catholics rock! I wrote a poem in college that had a line making fun of Pascal's Wager. It was becoming more and more obvious that there were reasons to not be religious, good reasons.

I was actually pretty depressed when I had my atheistic epiphany. I was sleeping a lot, and I was on this bed. My little alarm clock with what I remember to be a red LED display was in front of my face. I looked at the time and obviously fell asleep. I woke up two hours later and the time had obviously passed since this clock is all in my face. I hadn't dreamed. And it hit me. That's what death is. You go to sleep, you don't dream, you never wake up. Suddenly unconsciousness seemed so simple. It helps when you start thinking about how life goes on for everyone else.

Death seems like a good place to stop. Let me just end with an idea I had today. The reason I can't do suicide jokes for some of my friends. I think it says something about how natural punishment is in our culture. I think when you joke about suicide, and people think about it, really consider it as a reality, they feel so wronged, and there just isn't anything they can do.

"If you committed suicide, I'd kill you!" may be an easy enough joke. But the joke is not simple paradox, methinks. I think it speaks to the helplessness of not being able to punish, not being able to fix, the finality of death.

Do any of you still believe in god? Isn't it obvious that an all-powerful being that gave a shit about us wouldn't have come up with some of this shit that literally puts people in agony until death is a welcome relief?

For all my whining and all my jokes, I wouldn't be surprised if the time I longed for death most since I've been dumped was one night when my leg cramped up. I have no idea how long that pain lasted, but it was long enough for me to be struck with the idea...what if it never stopped? I was powerless to relax my calf muscle. Nothing I tried worked. It just cramped and hurt like a mother fucker and I had no clue how to stop it. Certainly death is the only humane solution at that point.

I know, I know, some of you will scoff at me possibly trying to insinuate that the physical pain of a man who is simply out of shape is anything compared to the mental anguish you just endured getting to this last sentence, but at least I'm going to thank you again...there is no god thanking me for putting up with that cramp...thank you for reading this far again.


We'll always have Paris is a line I think about frequently. If you haven't seen the movie I won't spoil it for you however to give it some context it's a man speaking to a woman about a time that he remembers fondly. A couple of weekends ago my mother-in-law invited my immediate family up to Green Bay for the weekend. Driving up my husband and I got into a fight. Like most fights what we were arguing about was a superficial triviality that didn't address the real underlying issues. By the time we got to Green Bay I was emotionally exausted and ill prepared to spend the rest of the weekend at the indoor waterpark my mother-in-law decided my children would like.

My mother-in-law rocks:

Spending the weekend with my mother-in-law went much better than I had anticipated since her goal was to spend time hanging out with her grandchildren. She paid for everything explaining that this was our family Christmas gift. Since technically I am legally separated from her son I thought it would be awkward however she was very gracious the entire time. One of the things I really like about her is that she realizes no one is perfect, not even her only son. She took us out to some great restaurants and the indoor waterpark was a blast. The girls loved it especially when Grandma bought them new swimsuits at the hotel gift shop. Spending time playing in the water with my children was one of the best things we've done as a family in a long time. Hopefully they'll always look back on that weekend as a good one.

D I V O R C E is a seven letter word:

Earlier I spoke with my sister about over making the transition from legally separated to divorced. Some part of me is reluctant to drive to the courthouse by myself. My youngest sister said that she would go with me which I really appreciate. She also found some apartments that she thought might work for me. Moving out is a big step. It's not one I'm sure I'm really prepared for but I think this is kind of like the decision to have children: there's no good way to prepare for the unexpected and regardless of how well prepared you think you are until the baby is actually there all the current parents know more about how to raise a child than you do.


Recently my district manager asked if I would be interested in moving to another store. It's a smaller store in terms of square footage but it's been an established shoe store for twenty years and our sister store sells about ten percent more than the store I work at does. While this move would be nice because it does move me slightly closer to home I am apprehensive about it because I don't know the people who work there well and what I do know of them I'm not sure I like. Recently my boss made one of our part time holiday people a permanent member of our sales team. He's come a long way since he first started as I'm sure I have.

Back to personal goals:

Recently I made a list of things I want out of life. It's been gratifying to cross a couple things off that list. I've made some changes and taken some small steps towards a better, healthier more independent me. Every job has had something to teach me. Working at a shoe store may not have been my ideal job when I took the position but I've learned a lot about myself. The journey towards self fulfillment is a long one. Being a parent is much harder than making sure you pull good numbers down at work. Frustrations build up and I'm left with figuring out mature ways to deal with people and situations that aren't going away.

Reflecting on the past 23 months:

To digress slightly it's been almost two years since I joined this website. During that time I've accumulated over 10,000 XP. I have about that many private messages. Ten percent of them are from a fled noder whose friendship I cherished. Sadly now I know that internet friends come and go. The other day someone asked me to think back on the day I joined E2. This person asked if I would still join knowing what I know now about this website. In all honesty I don't know what I would do. All any of us can do is try to make informed decisions based on the information we have now. Today, tomorrow, yesterday, if you are my friend and we met via this website I'd like to thank you for being you. You are who you do best which is why I still love Everything2.

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