Things I learned in 2003:
  1. Indians are the best English teachers, but you have to teach them every once in a while.
  2. You can always start just about anything all over again, but it's usually not a good idea.
  3. Soldiers are heroes; politicians are goats.
  4. A golf club swings itself; a golf ball hits itself. You do not swing or hit anything.
  5. An oil change should never cost more than a dinner for four.
  6. You don't need alcohol if you have confidence.
  7. "Dear Ndugu: I just killed my chances of going to an Ivy League law school. How are you doing over there in Tanzania? I'd wager that you're kinda hungry..."
  8. The woolly hat is the key to warmth.
  9. You can only take the LSAT once, and once is never enough.
  10. Tom Cruise can actually act.
  11. MIT counts double.
  12. Never underestimate the seductive power of Mormon girls.
  13. Learning finance is the key to perpetrating every theft worth perpetrating.
  14. Artificial tans are very artificial indeed.
  15. George W. Bush is not as dumb as he wants you to think he is.
  16. The body demands some foods; the soul demands others.
  17. Just because you know a language doesn't mean you have to use it for personal gain.
  18. Denny's might be slow and greasy at two in the morning, but you still won't want to go anyplace else.
  19. A baby's smile cures everything, when viewed by the right pair of eyes.
  20. All the answers really are inside you.
  21. Any guitarist will sound flash with some distortion.
  22. But you'd better forget about sounding like Eric Clapton.
  23. Neal Stephenson still needs an editor.
  24. Looking for love is like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks.
  25. Life is more precious than anything else... even a Macintosh notebook.
  26. Skim milk lacks spirit.
  27. 21 questions are never enough.
  28. Contact lenses make everything look clearer.
  29. Boston will never be New York City, but it's markedly better than Gainesville, Florida.
  30. God is good, but it doesn't hurt to question Him sometimes.
  31. When the heater in your car stops working, you probably don't want to ask about the air conditioning.
  32. Interstate 95: nowhere else in South Florida will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
  33. Baghdad will always be exploding as long as NPR is on the ground there.
  34. Stereotypes are useful, but not to be relied upon.
  35. A necktie affords instant credibility.
  36. An unlocked door in the middle of the night is the gateway to a million hidden worlds.
  37. Dannye can recommend some great movies.
  38. No matter how in control you think you are, something is going to surprise the living fuck out of you.
  39. It's better to have loved and lost AS LONG AS YOU GET THE FUCK OVER IT
  40. Jazz grows old; rock grows older; classical never ages at all.
  41. Ideology is for suckers.
  42. Happiness lies in the imagination.
  43. Never go to Europe on standby when there's even a remote chance of a terror alert.
  44. In Arizona, the heat really is dry.
  45. Howard Dean can out-suck an industrial Hoover.
  46. The most beautiful woman in the world can never lose her beauty.
  47. Canada doesn't suck, except when it's aggravatingly cool.
  48. If you're going to go to school in Florida, it's best to be a Gator... just ignore the crappiness of the city around you and drive on.
  49. By the time you become old enough to drink in America, drinking becomes largely obsolete.
  50. Money can buy anything, especially in Washington, DC.
  51. Fresh air is the cleanser of the urban mental palate.
  52. gn0sis does the same shit I do.
  53. Well, I take the earlier point back: you need alcohol on aircraft, especially when the Department of Homeland Security wants to prod your anus at every checkpoint.
  54. There's no crying in baseball, but there are plenty of curses!
  55. There's much, much more to life than noding.

let's hope it's a good one, without any fear...

Here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where we have a single time zone - albeit that it is the best time zone, the one against which all others are measured - it has been 2004 for three hours and thirty-three minutes. The last New Year to make any impression on me was four years ago, the biggie. Apart from that, I have always seen the New Year as merely another holiday, an extension to Christmas, a bonus. In my adult life I have so far managed to avoid working in the gap between Boxing Day and New Year, not through any religious or ideological grounds, but because I am lazy.

So far in 2004 I have written a lengthy and detailed overview of 'Open All Hours', a television sitcom. I have polished up my writeup on 'Porridge', another television sitcom, although it is clearly an inferior piece of juvenalia. Outside it is dark, because it is night-time, and it is raining, because it is the nature of Wiltshire in December to be damp. The photograph on my homenode was taken a year and a month ago, and the puddles are still there. The water is different, though, because it was very hot in 2003, the hottest year on record. I was born in 1976, a famously hot year, but I grew up during the cold winters of 1977, 1978 and 1979 - a time when men still wore moustaches, life was that grim and cold - and I find the heat intolerable.

What is a puddle? It's a hole filled with rainwater. Is a hole by itself a puddle? No. Is a hole filled with milk a puddle? Yes, I suppose, but only in a qualified sense (it would be a 'puddle of milk', not simply a 'puddle'). Is a puddle filled with tapwater a puddle, unqualified? I suppose it is, although if one had seen the tapwater being poured into the hole one might call it a 'puddle of water'. Only a puddle filled with rainwater is a true puddle. As a human being and mammal I am very conscious of water.

What is it about the rainwater that makes a puddle a puddle? No single element of rainwater - its aerial descent, its temperature and consistency - veracify a puddle, merely the fact of it being rain. If the rainwater was decanted from a bottle, it would not be a puddle. It was be an artifical puddle, like the breasts of Playboy models. A silicone puddle that only works in still photographs. Over 2003 Playboy seems to have finally crossed the gap that separates photography from illustration. Where once Playboy's models were merely unusually bouyant, where once they were subdermally inhuman, now the photograph itself is artificial, a triumph for whichever Adobe employee wrote the smart blur filter. It is curious that I mentally associate the word 'puddle' with the words 'of blood', especially given that I have never actually seen enough blood to fill a puddle, notwithstanding that puddles come in different sizes.

What are the physical limits of a puddle? A deep puddle is a well, a wide puddle is a lake, or a crater, a narrow puddle is a moat. People describe the Atlantic as a 'pond' for comic effect, and a puddle is smaller than a pond. Whatever the properties of ponds and puddles, there are a lot of them out there, in the cold, rain-sodden night. How many will survive until mid-day on January 1st, 2004, let alone 2005? I cannot tell. And what of us? We are puddles, ourselves, we are holes in the ground filled in a particular way with special water. One day the rain will stop.

Sixteen minutes after midnight

I can hear the laughing and the music, and the faint sound of crying from downstairs. Someone is being punished though I don't know why. I know the 'why' of why I'm sitting up here all alone and it makes me feel stupid. I look back on the year and have very few regrets but one big one is missings the New Year's Eve party this year. I know I deserve it. we won't go into what I did but I'll say it involved alcohol, extreme lateness, stupid choices, and breaking more of the Lady's rules than I care to think about. I can't help the tears that flow down my face silently. I know I've disappointed her and that's worse than any punishment she could decide on. I wish I could change things but there is no magical time machine.

Strangely, this internet confession has helped me whether it is sent to node heaven or not. I can't decide if it's the act of writing it all out or just remembering that others out there somewhere can understand how I feel. All I know is that I feel calmer. Thank you E2.

Just came on to say Happy New Year an stuff... drinking all night, playing ps2 and laughing at other drunk people is all good. It's sort of a wonder that I'm still coherent at this point, but no matter. Much fun for drinkies. And that new dragonball z game is sorta hypnotising to watch an all... what with yelling and cheering and stupid comments and blowing shit up. Umm... 2004 looks good so far, since I'm about an hour and a half into it and nothing bad's happened. Iz all good.

I like copypaste. It makes making paragraphs easier and fun, too! You can have lots of fun with Dr.Laurel's Peach Schnapps. i like black marker to write on schnapps bottle because... um. i need another drink.

walking across a room requires much energy and skill, because the floor sways and tries to make you fall down. hmm all the schnapps have settled at the bottom of this glass,. no matter how much i put in the damn cup there's always tons of schapps at the bottom. youd think it would rearrange itself so it was evenly srpead in the liquid but NO. spiderman is cool. mike says gonuts. it's the crazy gonuts.
wait i need html in this.. hitting enter do no good.

1/3 schnapps, 2/3 pepsi, taht's the good yums.

i think i should get off before thought lose path. must concentrate, but forget enough words so not make sense. g'night e2, hope your new years was as fun as mine... man this pespi tatses weird. i think i should go find a gorilla and teach him to guard my special treasures like my mac and my kitty. they are the important and should be protected from evil ones such as microsoft.

i go bed now and shall return a sober.. not-man tomorrow or such..
should vote but can't concentrate. play lego but there is none. Good night, happy 2004, love you all becaus eyou're SO COOL.

In an act wholly not normal for me, I am writing with sheer positive and utter happy outlook. I have the horribly common dislike for many holidays rooted in many repetitive, and often pointless traditions and anecdotes. I do, however, love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Let me stand firm and comment on what I find as the norm for responses to this:
First: Yes, my friends and I drink and party some on this holiday
Second: No, we don’t always do “stupid stuff” or get “shit faced” we simply have a fantastic time
Third: Yes, I make resolutions
Fourth: No, I never keep them
Fifth: Yes, my friends and I have established long-standing traditions for this holiday
Sixth: No, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what corporate roots this holiday may or may not have

I love New Year’s Eve. Every year since early high school the same core group of friends and I get together to celebrate. I was the original host and the party has floated from location to location but I always do what I can to help host. New people come into our lives, some move on to other things. We drink, play cards, and watch the ball drop: the usual. We reminisce about whatever stupid story we can think of that we told last year and make new jokes about them. At midnight, now that we are older with champagne in hand, I give the toast, we drink up, some toke cigars, and then one of the best parts happens: Nothing. Silence. Everyone kind of sits or stands smiling or thinking or maybe an uttered comment here or there. It’s a solemn moment of serenity.

So I got my first tattoo today. Anyone who says it doesn't hurt is a goddamned liar.

Because it stings like a bitch. Oh, sure, yeah you get used to it. After a little while it becomes even pleasurable, in the sense that pleasure and pain mix together so well.

Having just washed, rinsed, and moisturized the top of my back between my shoulder blades, I'm noding while airing it out.

I like my new tattoo.

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