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So I beat the bloody wanker with a Shitsu.

Yeah, so I was stumbling back to my dorm room after a night of drinking, and came upon a man playing a licorice whip. A licorice whip you might say? "Sounds like you had a few too many pints, eh?" one might reply. No, mind you, this man played the licorice whip, and did it quite well.

He seemed to be quite puzzled at me as I swayed in the night air marveling at his musical mastery. He didn't seem amused by my slow, but meticulous drooling and proceeded to insult me.<.p>

"Step off you dirty hoser," he conveyed to me.<.p>

What was I to do? So I beat the bloody wanker with a Shitsu.

”Isn't it great that we can create our own space, our own new worlds,” I said to Templeton without thinking about what it really meant. I guess that thought came to me because I’m reading The Hours and am in a Mrs. Brown chapter. The first Mrs. Brown chapter to be exact. She doesn’t feel like she can create her own new world, so instead she reads one. I feel bad for her.

My great grandmother had 21 children. She never lived in her own space. She never got a world of her own where she could read and think. Hell, I’m sure she never even learned to read. I am feeling this amazing freedom today. I can choose my fate and my reality. It’s like believing my own advertising. Like writing my own marketing plan. Write it and it is true. That really is the answer to life. Life is like marketing. Write it well, learn it well, feel it well and it will be true. Think you are a happy person, well there you are, oh so happy. Think you are beautiful, smart, competent. Amazing, there you are, beautiful, smart, competent. Easy. But I know it isn’t that easy, at least it isn’t when you are depressed or sick or whatever. But it can be, just try it.

I remember the first moment that I felt truly self-aware. I was 8 years old. I gazed at my reflection in window of my dad’s car. I was in the back seat. I saw myself and wondered who I was looking at. That wasn’t me, that couldn’t be me, I was a serious person, this was a child looking at me. Who was I? How did I know these people, my family? Who were they in relation to me? Then there was this moment of clarity. A blast of cold air from the car’s air conditioning made me close my eyes so briefly. And when I opened them, I saw myself clearly. I have these moments more and more now; when I touch the reflection and know my place and my truth.

I am Mrs. Dalloway. I used to be Mrs. Brown, wishing I was Mrs. Woolf. But now I am Mrs. Dalloway, buying flowers and enjoying the weather. And it doesn’t matter what happens later in the book, because I can choose to stay here. I can create my own space.

There may be some truth to The Simpsons. My roommate is worried about a series of bumps from his mid-neck to the back of his head. He's worried that he might die. I said that was a little extreme, but to go to the doctor if he thinks it's serious.

"Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer turned into the Incredible Hulk?" he asked me.

"Yeah, where he had those bumps on his neck."

"I have those too."

I felt them. They were hard, harder than cysts, not in the veins, muscular-like.

"I hope I don't die. That would suck."

That's what was bumming him out when I asked if he wanted to drink.

"My meticulous lifestyle has finally caught up to me," he said. "I'm always nervous. There's no need for it."

Oddly enough, most people here don't seem to catch on right away that I'm an American, whether it's from mien, appearance, accent or any combination of the three. This has saved me a lot of dirty looks and remarks in most of the Middle-Eastern shish kebap stands that I like to frequent, but on the other hand makes for slightly awkward encounters when people come up to me and address me with "Monsieur" or "Senor." This has probably played on my unconsciousness hard enough to directly influence my learning Spanish and French (German is the daily language of usage that we're talking about here). It also causes a number of misconceptions that go beyond my citizenship...

One such occurence happened today in the cafeteria, right before my lecture this morning. I was enjoying my daily morning ritual of sweet roll and chocolate milk when I struck up a conversation with an olive-complexioned, conservatively-dressed young man at a nearby table. With typical Yankee curtness I tried to keep the conversation on track with simple "how-are-you" pleasantries and inquiring about how his classes were going. Then, as soon as I mentioned I was an American, the man, who in turn proved to be a Syrian, abruptly asked me my opinion on the coming Iraqi war.

The conversation went abruptly downhill from there.

I didn't pull any punches with him, though in retrospect I think he was expecting the response to be a little more skewed out of politeness's sake. Told him as plainly as I could that the Iraqi government was, in eyes, still a credible threat and needed to be dealt with in an appropriate manner. I didn't get up to rationalizing this stance before he kicked his chair over, grabbed his backpack in one fell motion, and stormed out of the room like a rebuked 6-year old being sent into the corner.

I chuckled and finished breakfast alone. Trying to sanitize my views in a vain attempt to make myself more popular is about as low as claiming I'm Canadian. Sadly, I have seen too many fellow expats who do both. But when it comes down to it, I have to ask, are people here more willing to accept heartfelt sincerity or superficial courtesy?

I think that the widespread reptutation of the German people can easily answer that one.

Brother can you spare a cartridge?
Saw a strange sight today... walking through the city (Sydney, Australia) streets around 9 this evening when I found my self walking towards a guy asking for money. Well not actually asking.. he had a Burger King wrapper laid out in front of his sitting spot to collect coins.

Well I guess he's not asking for food money.. even though there were a couple of coins sitting on the wrapper.

Then looking closer at what was in his hands, not the usual "NEED MONEY FOR FOOD + ACCOM" sign, but he had a Gameboy, and he was fully engrossed in whatever he was playing on it, instead of looking emploringly at passers by!

I mean dude, you need to market yourself better.. what were you saving up for? Mario Kart?

3 for $50 => $16.67 each?
The other strange thing that happened was that I went to buy a copy of "This is Spinal Tap" on DVD. It was on a rack that prominently said "3 DVD's for $50". Looking at the selection it referred to, I couldn't see much else I was interested in so I decided to pay the sticker price ($29.95) and get it anyway because I'd been looking for it for a while. Going to the cashier I had $30.00 ready to pay for it and she rung up the price, it came to $16.67. I deftly stuffed the $10 back into my wallet and handed her the money in that "Yeah I knew that, I just like flashing money around" way, thinking maybe I'll be getting away with ripping off this particular department store chain. She either noticed me flailing money about, or caught my quizzical look because she then proceeded to say,

"Oh yeah, that's part of the 3 for $50 deal, they are in the system at that price."

Wow, some system. I just imagine how many people got stuck with a copy of "Stallone:Cobra" and "Deuce Bigalow" and paid $50 thinking they were getting a good deal on the DVD they actually wanted.

(Don't be scared at the prices nice USAians, those are Aussie dollars, and worth less than Steve Irwins first pair of underwear.)

Just when I thought I could avoid all the senseless drama at this school.

My roomate is pretty much worthless. He sleeps all day and night, he does no work, and he has a serious thing with making girls hate him beyond all reason. Trouble is, after he's done all these stupid things...dating two girls two days in a row, standing up one girl for a different one, etc....he can't understand why they won't talk to him anymore.

On a side note, why is it some guys feel compelled to impress other guys and yet always pick something utterly unimpressive. If he came in one day and said:

"Hey man, I got a job today and I'm actually gonna go!"

that would impress me. Coming in and saying:

"Hey man, I just made out with that friend of yours that's down this week!"

does not. And the kicker? He didn't make out with her at all. He just picked one thing that would piss me off and tried to impress me with it.

I think I'd be happier rooming with a pack of wolves. Not even kidding.

Shiggidy shiggidy.

I'm thinking I'm going to be going to work in about 26 minutes from now. 25 minutes. I haven't had breakfast, I haven't showered. I haven't even started getting dressed.

Yes, I dress up in a big fancy suit and everything. Today I will be wearing my black jacket and a Salmon colored shirt with an orange/blue/black crazy tie. 24 minutes.

Unfortunately for me, (23 minutes) I've been stuck here on E2 being.. well... Not so much learning, but being entertained and enjoying people's homenodes. I like homenodes. I like (22 minutes) homenodes. Why don't I leave? this is crazyness!

Yesterday at work I went across the street to the corner store and bought about 25 postcards. You'll never guess where those postcards are going to go. Probably to your mailbox. I just scrolled myself through EMAR and picked out a few names (21 minutes) I recognized. That's right, I took a two hour lunch break from my fast-paced working environment - I took time off of my commission sales job to sorta spend money on you guys. In more than one way.

Did I mention it takes 15 minutes to drive to work? No? That leaves 6 minutes to shower, put on a suit, skip breakfast, and tear myself down the road at subsonic speeds.

5 minutes. I suppose fear is taking over my few remaining minutes with E2 this morning. 4. Is this healthy? 3. ah shit.

Oh man, you know what I just thought the best thing to do EVER would be! Being able to look 1000 years into the future, to see what human civilization would be like, would we have destroyed ourselves or have been hit my an NEO, or would we all be flying spaceships, would we have been contacted or made contact with aliens by then, man that would be fucking amazing!

Okay, get this, imagine being able to look 10,000 or 1 million years into the future, that would be fucked up! God I would be so scared that the human race would have died out, and why would we have died out? Would aliens have destroyed us, or a black hole eaten us all up or a cosmic virus that killed us all wherever we were, I mean imagine if we had bombs that could destroy whole planets or whole galaxies, we'd be so fucking powerful, man, the future hasn't even happened yet! I fucking love the future! We can make the future whatever we want it to be if we group together and decide where we want to go!

My name is Bob,and I am a Credit Abuser.

When I was but a wee lad growing up in a small town in Central Texas, there was a purchasing strategy called, "layaway"

Using the layaway plan, a person could arrange with the merchant for a desired product to be held by the merchant, until such time as the person could pay the full purchase price. These plans worked for years, but changed as time went on ...minimum amounts to hold the product, minimum payments, maximum time allowed ...and finally a small surcharge for the service.

The layaway program grew until the merchant faced an inventory turnover problem. The merchandise was still being counted but it was not on the shelf, for sale! At this point many merchants began offering "credit" to their regular customers. Afterall these people were dependable, and the merchant could make a few extra percentage points on interest, and keep saleable goods on his shelves ...hell, the banks even considered this extension of credit as an asset, allowing the merchant to borrow more money to keep his inventory moving.

This program grew and prospered, and the merchant was having such good success with it, that he began to expand the credit base beyond his most trusted customers. It did not take long for the inventory problem to become a cash flow problem. The lenders began discriminating between "good" debt and "bad" debt, and the merchant was stuck with all of it because he was the source of the credit to begin with ...bad debt was no longer eligible for asset designation and became a tax write-off for those unable to get the "deadbeat" customers to pay their bills.

At this point credit tightened up as these programs were severely curtailed; and in larger metropolitan areas, the merchant had no ability to know a reasonable percentage of his customers well enough to break even on the interest against the write-offs. But, there is always someone able to tackle even a proposition such as this, on a large enough scale to make it profitable.

Enter the financial institution credit line. This allowed the merchant to receive his money for merchandise in a timely fashion -- for a small fee -- and the larger institution could balance the larger number of creditors. Any losses could be absorbed by raising the interest rates on unpaid funds ...pass it along to the consumer. And since the product here is money, the financial institutions were already in a position to pursue those who were less than responsible with their payments.

Business was so good, it had to be expanded; statewide, countrywide, worldwide ...and thus was born the credit card.

At first they were difficult to get ...and in some places difficult to use. But as their use became more widespread, and their acceptance more global, the merchants and the credit card companies acted upon the need to expand their market by increasing the ease of acquisition. The flow of money lubes the economy, and just like insurance, the more people involved in creating debt, the wider the dispersal of fault became... and the companies could still increase the interest rates at any time.

In all of this growth of a major industry, the responsibility for its control was left solely to the consumer. Each of us was expected to act responsibly regarding our debt structure ...and yet daily, we are bombarded with offers of cards of gold, and platinum, and titanium. We are offered 90 days like cash, Zero interest until the Diamondbacks win the Pennant, a discount on your current purchase if you will use the card...

Why wait? Prices will never be lower! And you don't have to make a payment until next year...

...in many states now, if you as a private citizen, serve liquor to your friends at a private party, in your home, you become liable for that person's physical and mental abilities until such time as it can be determined scientifically, that no alcohol remains in his system.

Excessive use of alcohol is recognized by almost every country on earth, as a societal problem, and a personal disease.

I am a credit abuser. I am now in a program. I will eventually retire my debts, and strive daily to live within a cash budget. I will be tempted every moment of the rest of my life to "buy now with four easy payments of 33.95 on your credit card."

It is up to the alcoholic to admit he has a problem before he can get help. Meanwhile, our society has become of the opinion that the suppliers of that substance, and others, share responsibility in the creation of this problem... we are now faced with the first generations of Americans who have been saturated with the ease of material wealth accumulation with the aid of a piece of plastic.

It is surely time that the suppliers take responsibility for the societal problem they have created.

Happy birthday to MEEEE!!! I am 23 years old today.

Things that happened in the past year:
Graduated from university
Got into grad school
Went to Switzerland to the particle physics lab in Geneva
Lived all by myself far away from my family and friends and dealt with how much that actually sucks
Got engaged
Nearly flunked out of grad school
Got rabidly hooked on Firefly
A fairly decent year, all in all. 'Cept for that almost flunking out bit.

To do before I turn 24:
Go hiking more
Get married
Learn French (again)

Someone asked me if I had made any resolutions for the next year. I hadn't thought about it, but now I am. Here it is: I AM NOT GOING TO SWEAR SO FUCKING MUCH ANYMORE.

Remember me?

I haven't been online in a long long time. The only reason I am able to be on right now is because I'm taking a computer class at the local Adult school. From 6-9pm PST on Tuesday and Thursday nights I am in a class room in front of a computer working through a 700 page textbook alone. It's a self-paced class.

  • Eventually I will buy myself a new laptop. At some point, in the probably far future, I'll be able to get online from that...as long as my grandmother, whom I am living with, doesn't find out.

    I'd type more, and write actual informative nodes if I had the time. I have just less than half an hour left of class today and a couple more things I would like to accomplish. I try to check e2 everytime I'm online but manage to check my email more often than this site. I'd love to hear from anyone. I'm lonely and desperate for friends right now.

  • The scene in Portland, Oregon has been very busy lately. A great many people are concerned about a great many issues, the two foremost being Oregon's 800 million dollar budget shortfall; and the pending war, or whatever it is.

    Luckily, Oregon has the Students Activist Alliance, a group of high school students that aren't about to take either one of these issues lying down. Yes, Portland, the infamous Little Beirut, is currently being led in politics by a bunch of seventeen year old kids. But what well organized and energetic kids they are! After a rally in Tom McCall Waterfront Park where they threw various items into a coffin representing the death of Public Education, they took to marching through the streets of Portland. This was a different crowd then the peace march of several weeks ago. Although it wasn't more radical, really, or more destructive, it was younger, and very energetic. As could be evidenced by the improvisation at the end of the march, where the students marched into City Hall and changed until Portland's Mayor, Vera Katz, came down and tried to answer our questions. Several members of the crowd heckled the mayor, trying to make her look stupid, which was unfortunate because she was doing very well at that without help.

    Despite the fact that, as far as I know, the marchers had no permit, the Police still decided to escort them and not hinder their marches, perhaps because tear gassing high school students complaining about a lack of schools would not be a politic move.

    So, the students of Portland, Oregon; if no one else, are making a strong statement about their future, and will probably continue to do so until things are settled reasonably.

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