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welly well well....

what do we have here?

I take a break for a year, and what's all this then?

everything is clean?

e2 is not a community... at best, I'd say it is a VERY BAD ANALOGY.... perhaps a terrible microcosm as it were...

let this be noted for all those everything(tm) historians out there:

Myself, Ryan Gilmartin, came to this place and lurked in the days of e1... I made myself a user co-incidentally around the time of d-man's leaving of this place... I could say, I never knew D-Man, but in a way, we all strive not to ever have to know him....

with that said, I'm taking my leave of this "society".... as we should have no need for any more D-Men.... I am to resign to lurking and quipping snarky comments to my monitor....

furthermore, I have Implied Psychic Consent from They Might Be Giants, themselves, allowing me to put the lyrics to Whistling in the dark on my homenode as some sort of lame testament....

THANK YOU ALL....

and please, for the love of god, have a good day.

100 words (exactly) for ideath:

How do you get there?

There is a simple answer to this question. There is a simpler answer, then a longer answer. The final answer makes the first three better.

The second answer, the other, simpler one referenced above, is “remember as best you can”.

The third answer, the more complex one, is “You can't get there from here, this river only flows one direction”.

The first answer, the simple one, is “get born”.

And the fourth answer, the big payoff for reading this, is that you will never get back to the first year of your life.
I'm sorry.
it's sort of like this...

sitting a long while, staring quietly, intently.. and then slowly i remember something. some words i scrawled here and i think, "oh, there you are" and it is this little piece of myself i'd thought completely gone by now. idle all this time and what to do with myself now, having realized that it's mostly impossible to simply lose a piece of yourself. it just sinks so deep.. easy to forget it is even in there, really.

so much has changed in the last year. so much. boston is so far from who i am, the people that i spent so much time with.. it all seems to be such a long time ago now. i scarcely remember how to live like that.. not that i ever knew exactly what living like that was supposed to be like. never settling, anyway.. always back and forth. it's something, yes - but it is not enough.

this feels a cowards route, really. poking my head in like this, tentatively, i know that things are not the same here anymore and i know that people are not the same here anymore. i don't mind so much, i guess.. perhaps it's because i am not the same, either.
Whew, what a week.

After six or seven months of careful meditation, I've decided to start a gaggle of well-rounded activities, among them, putting finger on keyboard and letting my brain do the rest. I have been seeing a shrink for quite sometime, but now I am starting to take Paxil for my depression and anxiety. Besides that, I have started weight lifting, which will hopefully also raise my hopes. Man, I'm starting to feel like a human New Year's Resolution.

Speaking of New Year's Resolutions, I resolve to keep on cheering fo' the best f***ing team in football, who just won a helluva game against one of my old favorite teams, the Green Bay Packers. I almost broke that in the first half, when they were down by two touchdowns. David Akers will be in a lot of people's dreams tonight!

Linwood, by general consensus, is a shit hole.

A town in the west of Scotland, just down the M8 from Glasgow, Linwood was a tiny village until Chrysler opened an auto plant there in the 60s. The village expanded rapidly, becoming one of the UK's key manufacturing centres - a real, old fashioned company town where nearly the entire population worked for the same employer. This resulted in relative prosperity. People felt financially secure. Some bought property, others started small businesses. Local authorities built community resources - a sports centre, a community education facility, schools to educate the baby boom children growing up in the abundant council houses.

When Chrysler dropped the axe on the Linwood plant, 10,000 people were left unemployed. The local economy was devastated. Nowadays Linwood is an urban dystopia - the concrete block 60s architecture is beyond repair. The biggest employer is Wal-Mart. The sport, education and leisure facilities that people used to be proud of are now crumbling. Local gangs of neds smash bus shelters, set rubbish bins on fire and stab each other in the street. Grey sky meets grey buildings meets the grey rubble of the old car plant - now the site of the incredible Phoenix Retail Park.

Daily exposure to this environment can break one's spirit. I know this because for five years I took the bus into Linwood to get to school. The place wears you down gradually to the point where you feel completely demotivated and start running on autopilot. Every day seems the same as the last, with no indication that things will ever be any different, ever.

Someone's got to do something.

One thing that everyone should understand about me is that when I have a stupid idea, I do my best to make it a reality. It's a little trait I've developed which, while it certainly makes life more interesting, can lead to some unfortunate situations.

Previous stupid ideas I've acted upon include starting Drive By Comedy - bastard child of freestyle rap and David Blaine-esque street magic, where my comedic comrades in arms and I take our sketches, stand up and improvisational comedy to the streets, much to the confusion of onlookers. I also had the idea of starting a political party devoted to heavy metal - although we're yet to contest any elections, and one day, in a quest to get thrown out of as many places as possible, managed to get myself ejected from a bowling alley, two shopping malls, three clothes stores and a sex shop (although I was outdone by my friend, who we'll call Sam, since that's what's written on the crazy bastard's birth certificate, who is now banned from all trains in Scotland, forever).

What I'm trying to say is that I love spontaneity. I consider Situationists, culture jammers and flash mobbers to be truly enlightened individuals who are actively making the world a more intellectually stimulating place.

If anywhere could use a dash of spontaneity, it's Linwood. So over the last couple of days I've called up all my buddies in various bands. I've contacted the local council. I've obtained amplifiers, monitors, PA systems and I've organised a rock festival.

What better to shake the town out of its tedium than ear-bleedingly loud metal, incomprehensible hardcore punk and oh so much moshing?

I'm willing to put considerable amounts of time and money into organising this event (concert promoting is what I "do." When people say "What do you do?" I either tell them that I'm a concert promoter, a comic book writer or a Catholic priest struggling against the encroachment of secularism on society), but there is a method to the madness.

I firmly believe that the mosh pit is a great social leveller. Go to a thrash metal or punk gig and you'll see inner city kids beating the shit out of middle class suburbanites. Guys who would normally wear a suit and tie as part of their daily routine run around in circles with their shirts off. Race, sex, sexual orientation, all become unimportant in the whirling chaos. The only time I've ever been in a fight in a mosh pit was against Nazi skinheads (not to be confused with normal skinheads, who tend to be pretty cool guys), and they started it.

In the pit, everyone's having fun.
In the pit, everyone's looking out for everyone else.

I seriously believe that a few of these events could go a long way towards building more of a community spirit in Linwood. If people have some sort of concept of local events bringing people together, maybe they'll take the time to actually find out what their neighbours are called. Maybe they'll see that they can support each other in making their environment more habitable. Maybe they'll turn away from the ever present threat of cultural imperialism and learn to play guitar.

Maybe I'm expecting too much, but at least it's gonna be fun.

So *puts on announcer's voice* ladies and gentlemen, Puny Human Promotions is proud to present:

DAZZFEST 2004

A free festival in Linwood's world renowned Tweedie Hall, featuring some of Scotland's top underground metal, punk, hardcore and indie bands.

I'm passionate about making this happen. I've got a bunch of bands willing to play for free. I'm going to advertise through local newspapers and radio stations. I'm going to put this in peoples' faces and I don't give a fuck whether they love it, hate it or react with the dismissive grunt and shrugged shoulders brought on by too much TV and not enough life. It's going on, and everyone's gonna know about it.

Well, I'm in the "other theatre" at the moment (10 Foreign Policy Adventure points if you get that reference), and I have to say it's confronting and comforting in equal measure.

Confronting because everywhere you turn you're hit with the same old brands and catchy theme songs. Except for Beer Lao and M-150, one of which is an energy drink produced by the "Central Thailand Islamic Society". The other of which is what it says.

Comforting because nothing changes the laid-back Lao. Nothing at all, be it French, American, Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese.

The internet cafe that I'm in is beside a fairly busy road in Vientiane; motorcycles pass by every 10 seconds or so. It seems anyone who's anyone has a motorcycle - that or a Mercedes with a uniformed (and I mean military) driver.

Earlier today rode out in a fine example of the ubiquitous SE Asian "tuk tuk" to a "Buddha Park" which had a huge, fat, concrete Buddha head that you could actually walk inside (through his gaping mouth). You could then take the (pitch dark) stairs down to hell, or ascend to heaven.

I chose hell.

It took a while for my eyes to adjust, and when they did I kind of wished they hadn't - on all sides I was surrounded by hideous scenes of actually scary concrete statuary.

Heaven was less terrifying at least - when you got to the crown of Buddha's head you could look through his third eye out over the other assorted concrete gods in the park, some of which looked suspiciously like former Presidents of Laos, all the way to and across the mighty Mekong River. It took me a little while, but finally I gained enlightenment.

But of course! Heaven.

 

Oy! Read the pipelinks you mooks!

Swirl electric razor muffin clasp cold...I woke up with clammy sweat on my face. Part of my mind noted dispassionately that the dreams were occurring with clockwork frequency now, while the rest frantically tried to clear the persistent cobwebs of early morning. I glanced at the readout on the wall while I analyzed the disconcerting images - it was 5:32, my favorite time of the day. It wasn't surprising that the unsettling themes persisted, since I was coming up on my appointment with the exciser. It's no easy thing to have your conscience chopped off, and I guess I was subconsciously dreading it. They say it's ... wait a second. MUFFIN???

Before I consciously acknowledged the rising alarm, long strides took me out of the bedroom and into my office (for lack of a better word), energetically flinging myself in front of the terminal. Its green-glowing screen blinked on as it detected my presence, calmly running minor system checks even as I furiously punched in Everything5.mn.northwest.terra, my preferred knowledge agglomerate. I forced myself to relax as I formulated my query and sent it off to be pondered by the Machine. As the first nodes trickled in slowly, I realized I might as well make some synkaf and wait for the more pertinent knowledge to reveal itself. I stood up, feeling all of my 34 standard years weigh heavily, and wondered what my actual age was at this point. Everyone says it's hard to keep count after the second century.

I forced myself to drink two cups slowly and steadily, and to take in the view out the Window™. It was raining, of course - the heavy sheets softly lashing the exterior of my apartment block provided a steady pulsing drone to balance my leaping thoughts; the viewing distance was set to nil, to minimize distraction. Just the way I liked it. I wasn't really seeing the nonexistent view, thoughts of the dreaded muffin whirling pointlessly in my head. The chime informing me that my preset threshold of results had been reached was like a painful climax, satisfaction at the cost of a premonition of doom.

The majority of the searches confirmed my fear; a small but loud minority were optimistically deluding themselves and others, vague so-called facts and messages of spontaneous recovery. I hate optimists; I can't help it. Still, there was the slightest chance of this crisis being brought on by my imminent date with the knife ... no. I couldn't seriously think that, especially after seeing so many other dream killers who succumbed, before and after the chop. It was really no surprise; statistically, 75% of us had a brush with infection around this age, and the longer you work after that, the higher the chances on each job. The only thing left to do now was to decide how to tackle this.

But I guess I should start at the beginning, or at least where I think the beginning is...

January 12, 2004 | February 1, 2004 | TBC

A Beautiful Tool

I'm taking a shortcut through the kitchens this morning, dodging spills and well armed prep cooks alike to avoid company security. I forgot my badge today since I rushed to clear away this morning's snow and still get to work on time. A remarkable challenge considering the "slow down to a crawl" mentality of the typical New Englander driving in the snow. I happen upon a line cook that used to work for me and I stopped to say hello.

While we're discussing the state of affairs in our department and commenting on how to eat a banana and keep your dignity, I glance down to his work station and see his knife, a bright flourescent sheen along the clean blade. "Where did you get this?", I exclaim, "It's freakin beautiful!". Indeed, it was not a new knife, but one that has been well kept through the years. The handle was wooden, a little worn from use but still looked clean and solid. The blade free of pits or chips, it's razor sharp edge gleamed as it held my eye. "You don't recognize this?" he asked me, a wicked little glint in the bastard's eye. With a little smirk he said, "Remember when I first came to work for you, I didn't have any tools? You tossed me this out of your toolbox and told me if I took care of it, it would take care of me, and I seem to recall you describing what you would do to me if I lost it too.". Damn.

"So.", I asked him with a straight face, "When were you planning on giving it back?"

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