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Gods, I love her. My little tiger striped leopard spotted kitten. When I get up in the morning, the yowling starts. Let me out, let me out, let me out! She stays in the laundry overnight…so I can vaguely curb her destructive tendencies and thus find the house standing in the morning. I let her out. Before the coffee, before the cereal…as soon as my bedroom door opens she starts calling. She yells pretty loud - leaving her there is a fairly deafening option. So I let her out.

Then this crazy little fur person walks between my feet. If I am so heartless as to not pick her up, she’ll cruise under my feet for the next ten minutes, always between my ankles, purring loudly, looking up at me when I stop as if to say “What? Oh, don’t mind me…” So I pick her up. She climbs up my chest (she still hasn’t learned about not using claws) and puts her front paws on my collarbone, or higher, and shoves her head up against my chin. Purring reaches ecstatic heights. Shove, shove. Paws kneading furiously (thank god for padded dressing gowns). If I reach up to move her claws to some slightly less tender spot, she’ll leave off shoving for a moment to lick my fingers.

I’m still allergic to her saliva, so after about five minutes of crazy cat worship, my chin and neck feel like they’re burning, and the hayfever’s starting. Occasionally, suicidally, I reach for a tissue. Nothing the furball loves more than killing tissues. She pulls them out of the tissue boxes and shreds them, leaving them all over the house. So using a tissue within reach of her claws is interesting. Got to grab the front paws, first, or those claws will be slashing around in front of your face. I put her down.

She cruises around my feet for a while, hindering my efforts to get to the bathroom and wash my now-welted skin. She sits and watches, then as I let the water out she gets distracted by the drain hole monster, and shouts abuse at it through the grating, trying to get her paws through so she can kill it. This usually concludes her ten minutes of adoration…the thought of all the things she can kill today takes over.

Her name, technically, is Mooroobar Golden Night Wing. Damn silly name for a cat – since the day we met she’s been Saskia. Sass, sassy, sasky-cat, and occasionally Sassinak, when my boyfriend forgets precisely which sci-fi/fantasy chick I named her after. She’s got large webbed paws with chunky toes, beautiful tiger stripes on her face and legs, and leopard spots all over, even on her soft white tummy. Her whiskers are deepest chocolate at their base, and white from about one centimetre out, and she's got these long black eyelashes. She’s got the softest fur – cat fur already, though she’s only 3.5 months old. I can’t tell if it’s the leopard pelt that some of the breed have, or not. It doesn’t matter. She’s got the glitter effect – when she basks in the sun her fur looks like it’s been dusted with gold…like she’s been rolling in the dust left over from my gilding.

Ye gods, she’s wonderful. She spends a lot of the day trying to kill things…my pet rats, her fluffy toys, her tail, my tissues, the newspaper. Towels are especially dangerous enemies, as is her scratching post. Socks are designed to be thoroughly killed and then hidden. She gets into the weirdest spots, without regard to dignity or ease of exit. She gets stuck behind the books in my bookshelf, so I have to pull them out to give her an exit point. If I leave the dishwasher open she’ll be found at the back, looking out ready to dodge the water pistol jet that is slowly teaching her what “no” means. She sits in the bathtub and is systematically destroying my loofah. When I leave water in the bath she sits on the edge and tries to get to anything left in the tub…trying not to fall in.

All that killing stuff requires a lot of snoozing time. She’ll sleep on my lap when I’m at the computer, a stretched out totally relaxed downtime. Inevitably she stretches out too much and starts to fall – if I don’t catch her she’ll wake up just in time to dig all her claws in and stop the fall. Ouch. She purrs in her sleep if I stroke her chin…then forgets to turn the purr off and keeps going for five minutes after I’ve stopped. When she wakes up she’ll watch my fingers on the keyboard and try to walk on it, or attempt to disembowel the mouse.

I don’t know what I’ll do when I go back to work tomorrow. She’s so wonderful, I miss her when I’m away from her. I could go on for pages more – how she comes racing up when I call her; how she and I go for walks with her on the leash and harness, madly investigating things; how my boyfriend is so besotted with her it’s funny; how she comes with us on car trips and does a meerkat impression sitting on the passenger’s lap, front paws up on the window sill, looking at all the things there are to kill out there.

I don’t daylog often. I have my diary, and my journal, and anything important that I need to remember goes in those. Anything I have a burning need to write about is usually not something that should be on E2 for everyone to see – a few too many people know who I am here. But this…I woke up this morning, and after a few cat-shoves…I had to write about her. My Saskia.

A thought that occurred to me a while ago: who came up with the first Knock-Knock joke?

Just think for a minute. The idea of coming up with a humorous statement was certainly in existence long before then. But the Knock-Knock joke seems out of nowhere to anyone who has never heard it before. How did it begin? A possibility:

Ug the Komik: Hey, Ug, I've got a joke!
Ug the Audience: You already told me. "To get to the other side", ha ha ha. Shut up.
Ug the Komik: It's not that chicken one again. It's new!
Ug the Audience: A new joke? Is that possible? It's not the one with the guy that bites the other guy...
Ug the Komik: No, Ug. I made it up myself. OK, here's how it works: Knock Knock
Ug the Audience: ...
Ug the Komik: Now you say "who's there?"
Ug the Audience:I know who's there. It's Ug!
Ug the Komik: No, no... pretend there's a door between us... a piece of wood... A really big rock we can't see around or walk around, but can hear though. Just say who's there
Ug the Audience: But I don't know who's there. It's your joke, and I'm not telling it for you.
Ug the Komik: Yeah, but... Just say "Who's there?"
Ug the Audience: OK. who's there?
Ug the Komik: Uh... Boo!
Ug the Audience:... Yes?
Ug the Komik: Now, you say Boo who... God damn it!!!
Ug the Audience: What? Which god? And why are you crying?
Ug the Komik: Never mind!

As you can see, the first Knock-Knock Joke was unsuccessful.
Which of course, is a proud tradition that has continued through the ages.

Wore a brown mock turtleneck. More later!


TheChronicler's Chronicle of How His Life Sucks! Not really

So I go to Border. That place has the best collection of CDs I've seen outside the 'Net (the only thing they don't have consequently is Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Yes, they changed their name. No, no-one cares.) but I digress). So I'm listening to a display CD labeled as Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights. It rocked, sounding like Ambient mixed with Classical all mixed with a nice, complex drumline complete with loud, reverbed clapping that seems to be done by hundreds of people, serenading into a nice classical string orchestra.

So I buy the CD, noting that the sign under the CD mentions how Interpol sounds a bit like The Smiths. I think to myself, I love ambient, I love strings, but most of all, I love The Smiths... I'll get this!

The CD I listened to wasn't Interpol.

I ended up liking the Interpol CD anyway. However, thanks to Murphy's Law, if I go back down to Borders to see what I was listening to, they probably would have already changed the CDs. Gr.

Anyway.

I went to Ju-Jitsu, but it didn't hurt so much because I took four Ibuprofen and a Coca-Cola (to hype me up). At least I got something productive done.

I've been randomly writing down various words that interest me, most of which are nodes. Here are a few:

Fun. Now, maybe these words will help me write lyrics. Not.

I made an interesting playlist that everyone seems to not really like. But I like it, so whatever, and it's been bouncing around in my iPod forever. Please comment. This is pretty much a summary of my musical tastes (sans my Metal/Goth/Industrial fetish)

  1. Yo La Tengo - Return to Hot Chicken
  2. Radiohead - My Iron Lung
    -or-
    Steve Miller - Serenade (I changed it at the last minute)
  3. Flogging Molly - Black Friday Rule
  4. Belle & Sebastien - The State That I'm In
  5. Mr. Scruff - Get a Move On
  6. Wilco - Heavy Metal Drummer
  7. Portishead - Mysterons (Live)
  8. Squarepusher - Rustic Raver
  9. Radiohead - Karma Police
  10. Massive Attack - Teardrop
  11. Cocteau Twins - Ivo (BBC Sessions)
  12. Thievery Corporation - Lebanese Blonde
  13. Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around the Block
  14. The Smiths - Girlfriend in a Coma
  15. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - The Dead Flag Blues

It's interesting the difference a weekend can make. Last week, I applied for a new job, an opportunity to finally pull out of the dead end I'm in and get something with a potential future (not to mention a good $4K a year more in salary). I faxed the application materials to them, following the instructions on the job announcement, so I could be sure they'd have everything they needed before the opening closed on Friday. After a mediocre week, I get home Friday evening to find a letter from the HR people saying that they've removed my name from consideration because I hadn't submitted the proper application. Now, what I sent them had my work and cell phone numbers and my email address, so I'm a little miffed they chose to contact me by postal mail when they had to know I wouldn't receive anything until after it was too late to send them anything.

So my weekend got off to a great depressing start. Things did recover some Saturday evening with an all night gaming session at a friend's house, but I was still pretty bummed, and not at all looking forward to going in to work today. I figured it would be more of the same, except that I'd have to actually interact with people again now that my bosses were back from their three-day conference.

Today, however, started off well, and just kept getting better. My daughter woke up on her own, and was in a good mood and ready to get dressed and go to school for the first time in a week or two. She didn't even give me any trouble dropping her off, calling "I love you!" back over her shoulder as she ran into her classroom to finish breakfast. At work, I managed to quickly finish up two minor tasks I was working on, and got a message to call one of DHS's head web guys.

Far from continuing the antagonistic relationship our department has always had with them, he was really enthusiastic about a quick design favor I'd done for him, and wanted to work with me to get the code snippets ready for him to give to the web guys who needed it. In the course of our conversation, I let it slip to him that we had written some scripts that read data from an XML file to get around the fact we'd been denied permission to use a database to store the data in the past. Without missing a beat, he said, "Dude, you want access to the SQL server?" He went further to tell me that if I just sent him the table definitons and access controls, he'd get it set up himself and we could go full steam ahead.

Wow. Ever since I got this job, it's been one fight after another with them over various aspects of our website. It seemed like they hated the fact that they didn't have my level of experience and expertise with web application development, and they went out of their way to restrict what we were doing. I had tried to keep an open mind when everyone else at the office told me about the antagonistic attitude they had toward us, but I couldn't believe anything else after we were summoned to a meeting we were told was to help them hash out some web design standards, but which turned out to be a session for them to try to denegrate everything we'd accomplished since I'd come on board. Now, it seems, there's been a successful change of regime, and the web guys we're working with over there are excited about forging a new cooperative relationship, and about making use of the talent we can bring to the table.

It looks like this position will be less of a dead end, at least for a while, since I'll be able to use my experience as a developer more fully, and I may well have opportunities to learn new skills, rather than having those I do have stagnate.

A week has passed, and the pain is subsiding, but it is always right beneath the surface. When it was possible, I worked through it, but coming home to an empty apartment every evening was killing me. There are three bottles of hard liquor in the cabinet, four beers in the refrigerator, and two bottles of wine on the counter. Sometimes it feels like they are beckoning me. It has been so tempting just to drink myself into oblivion. I know it won't fix it, but at least it wouldn't hurt until the next morning. Thankfully, I haven't gone there yet. Instead, I started smoking again. My doctors would be so proud.

So many people depend on me to be a role model, to be strong for the kids. My personal life shouldn't affect my work. On the surface, it hasn't. Perhaps I am paler than usual, but that can be remedied with makeup. Are my eyes red? That must be my allergies. Do I seem agitated? Trying to make everything just right, it will be fine.

Nine hours of sleep in one week will eventually catch up to you; this time in the form of a migraine. Blinding pain combined with nausea isn't really conducive to anything but sleep, healing sleep. Nothing can compare to a ten hour nap right now.

Friends tell me that all of my feelings are valid, but I have never dealt with vulnerability well. I'd rather rage than cry, so I've lashed out. It hasn't helped the situation.

With upcoming visits and weekend trips planned, it is my hope that I can dull the pain enough to discuss it rationally. For now, I'm going to bury myself in work yet again and enjoy the good stuff. I hope to join a health club to work out some of the frustration. Taking a boxing class sounds like fun, but I think I'll start with something calmer... maybe yoga.

It's been a good, long while since I posted anything on E2. Almost two months. A lot has happened in that time.

I no longer work at the movie theater as a projectionist. As a matter of fact, I no longer work at the theater, period. They fired me. For bringing my laptop up into the projection booth. They feel that laptops pose a security risk since modern laptops can be used in various ways to "rip" movies. My laptop is nine years old, a Pentium 133 with 16 MB of RAM. The theater manager's cell phone is more powerful than my laptop. I'd been bringing my laptop into the booth for seven months and barely had a word been breathed in my direction about it. It was a bogus reason for firing me. The real reason for giving me the boot is that it was Christmas time, they were overstaffed and needed to get rid of people for whatever bullshit reason they could concoct. I got the axe not because I was doing a bad job, nor even because I was a security risk. No. I got the axe because I had senority and I was expendible. At 6$/hour with less than 30 hours/week, it's not like money was pouring out of my paycheck. And in all honesty, it was better for me to get canned. I was commuting a total of 60 miles a day, back and forth, for that job, costing me at the very least $5/day in gas money. No. They did me a favor, all things being equal.

Still, though, I would have appreciated it more if they'd simply been honest with me instead of using a lousy excuse that made virtually zero sense when looked at by any relatively intelligent human being. If they'd said, "We're trimming our staff because we can't afford them. Good bye," I would have at least been able to thank them for their honesty. Instead I simply thanked them for their swiftness and left the place.

Screw 'em.

A week later I got a job doing landscaping (read: digging ditches for a living). It's winter time here in Nashville, I might add. Digging trenches in cold, hard dirt is not exactly my idea of a good time, but there are benefits to be had in this new job. I get paid $12/hour, work normal hours (as in, I get to see more than an hour of the sun each day), I get a solid work-out and I get to learn new skills. It's an honest living, I'm eating better, I'm looking and feeling fit... I like my new job. The only downside is that, at this particular time of year, snow falls in Tennessee, which makes landscaping damn near impossible. The first major snow in three years fell upon Nashville last week and I missed 5 days of work because of it. But I've been making the money up since then. $96/day, 5 days a week. That's more than triple what I was getting at the theater, so I'm not really complaining.

My bills are paid, rent will be paid, I can afford to eat more than once a day... and, get this, I've quit buying name-brand cigarettes. Am I buying the cheap-o stuff, Class-B? Nope. I am now rolling my own cigarettes.

I've come to find that rolling one's own tobacco cigarettes is cheaper, smarter and (gasp!) healthier. Virtually no chemicals to deal with. Cotton filters (optional). Fine-grade papers. And I know what goes into them because I rolled them with my own two hands. Not only that, but because they take more time to roll, I'm smoking less frequently than I used to.

I started out with American Spirit tobacco, but quickly found that, while being 100% chemical-free, it's extremely brittle and hard to roll. So I moved on to something called "Amsterdam Shag," which is moist, sweet, gentle on the throat, easy to roll and utterly exquisite on the tongue. Then someone suggested that I try a brand of tobacco called "Jester." I bought some tonight, after my Amsterdam Shag petered out, and just smoked my first Jester roll. I gotta say, it's a winner. It's cheaper than American Spirit, softer than Amsterdam Shag, moister than anything out there, smoother to smoke than the lightest cigarette on the market and leaves almost no scent once it's done. As well I've been using Abadie rolling papers, which burn almost as finely as carbon paper, leaving behind a pile of ash that is actually smaller than the cigarette butt.

The past few days, since I started rolling my own smokes, I've been coughing. The first day I coughed a lot and then, as the days progressed, I've coughed less and less. And it's not the wracking, gut-wrenching, lung-pulling kind of cough that long-time smokers complain of. Oh, no. It's the cough of purification. All the toxins that've been coating my lungs which I've been taking in from Winston, Marlboro and Camel are quickly being expelled from my body- through my lungs. I breathe deeply now and it no longer pains me.

So... I'm making more money, smoking less, feeling healthier, looking more fit and to top it all off, I've just been handed an opportunity to work as a featured columnist for a new Nashville magazine publication. That's right... I'm going to get published.

A friend if mine is starting up an entertainment magazine which will feature reviews and write-ups on the various Nashville clubs and social "hot spots." The two major magazines of this sort which already float around Nashville, The Nashville Scene and The Rage, have shitty paper quality, lousy printing and low-quality content. The Scene is a lot of fluff with the occasional political statement. The Rage is a lot of fluff with almost no direction or cohesive layout. The guys who want to start up this new mag have got significantly better quality across the board and one of the owners, who has been hanging out at the cafe for a while now, has approached me and asked me to write for his new magazine.

I'm not going to say that life is a whole lot better, but it's getting there, I think. The 3D modeling stuff is taking a lot of my time these days and that's where I've been mostly- SciFi-Meshes.Com. My first 3D mesh design, a Trek-style starship I've dubbed NX-221 USS ATHENA, is completely modeled and lacks only textures. I've got a personal tutor to help me learn the texturing thing... but I've still got a long way to go before I'll start fobbing myself off as a true 3D modeler/designer. For now, it's a damn cool hobby with potential. And I'm having a blast with it.

So... that's it for now. Dunno when I'll write another daylog. I hope the next one has even more and better news. For now life is no longer miserable for me. It's bearable and looks promising. Here's to a new year and making the best of it!

Still single, dammit, and hating every minute of it.

/me misses my grandfather - RIP January 28th 1993

Today is just another Tuesday class schedule for me. Though it is a pretty day in Alabama.

I'm posting this diary entry from a much more memorable time in my life: the time I first made out with a girl.

I wrote this at the end of my junior year in high school. I have no diary entries concerning the physical aspects of any of my relationships since. This is as steamy as my diary gets (and it probably ain't enough to soak a napkin). The names are bogus.

Here’s what happened with me and Kristen, once and for all:

At first it was planned for me and her to smoke out at my house. Long story short: she, Lauren, and Bill spent the night at my house 2 nights before the day of [their] graduation. Bill was watching TV downstairs & later went to bed in my room. That’s him.

Me, Kristen, and Lauren went to my sister’s [former] room. We drank a little vodka & smoked a little pot. Then I decided that Kristen & I should get really drunk. I poured about ½ a cup of vodka into a cup. It looked really neat [in the dark] in front of [my sister’s] honey pot candle. We drank it, slowly but surely.

Big blur in memory.

Somehow, Lauren & Kristen were on [my sister’s] bed, w/ Lauren nearest the wall, both lying down. I was lying down by the bed, beside and underneath Kristen. I slowly & cautiously placed my hand on the bed, so that my arm was raised & I was still lying on the floor. We touched. It was wonderful. So passive we were at first. Our hands kept touching & feeling, our fingers moved. [Lame smiley face drawing]. Wonderful. Once or twice I reached over to her lips. She would ever so shyly kiss my fingers. Wonderful.

All the while, Lauren kept suggesting that I leave & go to sleep. Somehow Kristen & I made it to the landing of the stairs where our hand-holding continued. I puked. I think that was before any hands. I thought that might’ve ended all; it didn’t.

Somehow Kristen & I were in my room, lying down on the floor. We kept touching. Our faces neared, our lips met. She tried to slip me her tongue, but I left.

I brushed my teeth.

I returned. We got back into it; we began kissing passionately. Wonderful. Wonderful. We ended up in the hallway, kissing. Wonderful. The tongue ring. I kissed her face, the nape of her neck. Her hair got all over the place. We laughed. Wonderful. Our legs intertwined, our arms wrapped around one another, kissing. Wonderful. Wonderful. “ “ “ “ “ “

It finally ended. Wonderful.

~~Ah! Memories.

Well, I just got back from a job interview with a tech company out in Gahanna, Ohio; the interview was short and seemed to go very well. Wyatt (the company owner) said that right now I'm their top candidate, but that he has two more interviews scheduled for tomorrow. He said he'd give me a call tomorrow evening to let me know either way.

If I get the job, I start next Monday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I came away from the interview with a good feeling. Wyatt seems like a reasonable, no-bullshit kind of guy, and I think I'd enjoy the job. It's 30 hours a week to start populating a database-driven site with links to and short reviews of webmaster's tools (CGI scripts and such). The job might turn to a full-time editing/site management position if all goes well (that's not a particular selling point for me, but I wouldn't mind, provided I continued to like it there).

The job, of course, has its upsides and downsides. That it's part-time is a plus. That it has no benefits is neutral; the last job I had at OCLC didn't give me bennies or sick leave or holidays, either. That this job pays half what the OCLC job did is a downside, as is the fact that it's a bit of a commute (close to 40 miles round-trip).

However, it's an easy commute that avoids the kind of horrendous traffic you hit downtown. And Wyatt told me that there would likely be a raise after a few months. And, after the first month, I can work from home if I choose to. And I don't have to dress up or pay for parking or punch a clock or any of the other noise you have to deal with at a corporate job. No weekly meetings or mission statements or administrivia. I can come in to work in the afternoons; Wyatt's a night owl, too.

And this job is something I know how to do, and I think do well; I've done this kind of thing before (it's not terribly unlike what I'd be doing at E2 if I ever lost my mind and went on a huge NFN spree ;-)

So, although the pay's a bit low (as in, maybe too low to pay my bills in the long term), I think I'd be happy at this place. Hopefully it will work out.

One year ago today I created my account on E2.

I had first discovered the site a number of weeks before, in early January 2002, when it was linked from Neil Schwartzman's site about the résumé spammer, Bernard Shifman. Thanks are due to Jet-Poop, who wrote the e2node on him, which ended up being the first e2node I'd ever read.

As I started noding and learning how to node (does anyone actually learn how to node before they start noding? I'd be surprised), I came to realize what a truly wonderful and incapacitatingly comprehensive this place is. It amazed me that the site had been around for years prior to my discovery of it, even though I've been a regular slashdot reader since 1997.

I wouldn't have got far without the help of the following noders: Xamot, who first /msg'd me with helpful words of editorial wisdom; TheBooBooKitty, who gave me first node audit; and all those who had come and gone before me, most notably sensei, whose wisdom seems to permiate the nodegel and those sloughing through it to this day; Hermetic, who wrote the best damn daylogs I've ever read; more recently ephealy, with whom I shared a /msg or two about one of his writeups; and then the sort of on-again/off-again noders that seem to have fled but come back now and then for whatever reason: moJoe, one of the best of e2humor; Saige was an early inspiration to me, as was Magenta; The Alchemist for presenting me with my first C!; and to dannye for his letter case pedantry, which I share but sometimes I lose the plot.

There is also an E2 out there in the world, fully functional, as I have been fortunate enough to see and interact with. Therefore, I must heartily give my thanks to the following noders: Templeton, discofever, sauth, strange fruit, WonkoDSane, radlab0, and tandex. They seem to be the core of my E2-outside-of-E2 noders. Filling the Other Users nodelet would be the others I've met and enjoyed being around. They include: BAR, Bitca, Caitiff, Chris-O, Cow Of Doom, dann, disgruntledwren, divalessor, enth, gwenllian, Iconoplast, jessicapierce, jethro_bodine, karmaflux, LadySun, Metacognizant, Phyllis Stein, pitcher, provocateur, sighmoan, Spackle, Strong_Bow79, thefez, Walter, witchiepoo, Xeerjat, and zade.

Everyone else... well, without everyone else there wouldn't be much here, I suspect.

Whatever the case, I want to say the following unto you:

I love you all!

Honestly, it's true. Even when you're annoying me in the catbox. Or going on about GIANT SQUID AND KNIFE FIGHT MONKEY 2004, or about the whole furry thing, which I have thus far completely failed to understand at all.

So, yes. My first year here is naught but memories now, and whatever nodes I didn't have nuked. Whatever the case...

...I thank you all.

What is Christianity? Really?

I was asked this question today by a friend of mine. At first I didn't really have a response. I wasn't sure what the question was. After I cleared my mind I came up with this:

Christians was at first a reference to the early church by the Romans and was often taken as an insult. But as it soon became more common to be called one, it was taken as a common name.

Over the years the view of what Christianity really is, was and still is distorted. Christianity simply means "follower of Christ". Their are different sorts of perception of Christianity. To some it is a bunch of stuck-up hypocrites. To some it is a bunch of charismatic raving Bible-thumpers. To some it is unintellectual dribble.

Many people use the Crusades or the Inquisition as an example of the corruption of Christianity. The main problem with this argument is people fail to look at the fact that humans are imperfect and as such, things interpreted as actions for God can be twisted into power grabbers.

None of this was ever Jesus' intention when he came to earth. It wasn't even God's intention when He created the earth. God has always wanted to be close to us. The Bible says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He ACTUALLY walked with them. But then sin entered into the world and what was once holy became unholy and God cannot commune with that which is not as holy as He is. Because we would be blown away otherwise.

What makes the biggest difference between Christianity and all the other religions of the world? Friendship. God actually wants to be our friend, not only that he wants to be our best friend. People try to complicate this fact with rituals and legalistic rules, but the core of the Christian faith is just trying to be better friends with God.

Jesus made it all possible with his sacrifice. It is because he remained holy and untainted that we could come to God through his mercy. I could go into the whole Mosaic law and the sacrificing of lambs to explain Jesus' death and resurrection, but it's pointless. The point is God loves us and he wants to be with us and because of his mercy we can commune with him.

After mentioning this to my friend he said, "Huh. That's kind of cool. I never looked at it that way." None of us are perfect, but in spite of that God love us.

There is a balcony. This balcony is in Ocean City, Maryland. This balcony is one of many in a condominium. This balcony overlooks the ocean. This balcony is a place where, for one week during the summer, I find complete solitude and relaxation.

When I first set foot out onto this perch, that I long for all year, I notice the very recognizable aroma that is the sea air. I inhale deeply to remind my lungs of what they have been missing for the past 12 months.

Next the melodious sounds of the beach flood my ears. The sounds of the gulls, the sound of and ice cream truck, and most important, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

Finally, the familiar sights of the shore catch my eye. People walking about the streets, and the beach. Again the waves, with their rhythmic and never ceasing advance and retreat from the coast.

All of my senses immediately begin working overtime as I walk out onto the balcony. I take in all that I have longed for over the year. I feel a sense of calm, and cannot help but smile as I realize that I am back. Back to the place where I am sincerly content.

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