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(Sorry! But I feel better now.)

I had managed to get half an essay written in my scratch pad and then I ran across this. It just seems that any idea that occurs to me as being something neat and interesting has been done before. I mean my almost two year old son demonstrated how you can colour your hair with chocolate frogurt. Now, if I had thought of the idea, there would be a node here that I would find out about later that detailed effective frogurt hair dyes. Sort of like that pangram incident..


Erm. Yes? Why are you all in shining white and carrying a pointy object in one hand and thesaurus in the other?

OH! Well, I didn't know. Please don't hurt me. I bow. I prostrate. Let me kiss your..

...feet. Umm, can I ask you a question? You know everyone keeps going on about how Poetry gets downvoted?


Well mine doesn't seem to.

But I didn't even mention flanged control valves...

Ok, but can I mention other noders that live in proximity to me but who I don't actually know as a sad attempt to get upvotes?


Styrofoam boxes squeak when they open.

If you sit under a tree in a small circle of shade on a hot day with a box from the Kiwanis it will probably have this inside:

Dark brown pieces of fried chicken and big overcooked French fries. And a box that squeaks.

You will rip open a couple of small tubes of ketchup for the potatoes and wish you had remembered napkins. You will probably use your socks instead.

The music from the carnival hums in the background as you blow your bangs out of your face between bites. In the distance car wheels crunch in the gravel parking lots and kids whine as they are led away from the cotton candy booths. Filled with the scent of fried oil and cigar smoke, the late afternoon air is heavy. Balloons that have eloped from strollers slide above tents, but are too lazy to head skyward.


You close the box up and stretch. Maybe you need to go try some Skeeball

The weekly progress report:

My plan

  • Weight: 248 lbs.

  • As you can see I lost an additional pound. Still on track.

  • Exercise: 2 walks of 20 minutes each.

  • I haven't given up, but I had some trouble this last week. Getting up in the morning is tough and I started playing a massively multiplayer game lately (a tale in the desert), which didn't help at all. One thing that has been great is the support that various E2 members have been providing. It's not something that I anticipated when I started this project. To all of you who have responded with words of encouragement I say thanks. It's really helped.

  • Diet:

  • This is the one aspect of my life that is going more or less according to plan. Since I stopped the fast food for dinner, I've found that I actually enjoy cooking quite a bit. Shopping is a bit of a pain, but I've managed to eat breakfast and dinner every day execpt Tuesday. I just need to plan a little better for Tuesday, because I know I won't have time to cook.

  • Changes:

  • There's a grassy area beside the parking lot at work and I'm thinking it might be perfect for some ultimate frisbee. I've been told that this is great exercise and also very fun.

This morning, my cat woke me up at 6 am to show me that she had killed her toy mouse on a string. She was all "Mom? Mom!! Look! Look what I brought you!" and then I petted her and told her what a good kitty she was and lavished attention on her and she purred and purred.

I want her to keep on playing and being frisky forever. My first girlfriend's cat was about 7 when we got Jesse, not that old, and she had already stopped playing with stuff. Like it was beneath her dignity. And she made my girlfriend carry her around on her back. And then we had finally gotten her to start playing again -- and then we got Jesse. And Lisa (the snobby queen cat) was all "You know what? Fuck you. Just. Fuck. You."

*dramatically* and she NEVER PLAYED AGAIN.

So far, my cat plays with things still. She went through a little phase of "If you're not moving it I ain't playing with it." But I think she dropped that when she realized that it didn't really get her any more attention from me. Cause I'm just like "Hey look! It's a toy! It's the gift wrap bow you like to mangle! Look at that! Look at it move! Woo! Get the bow!... Hey, is that the mail?" and then I wander off. To her utter disgust.

So she's started playing with stuff on her own again. But now her new thing is "The sofa is my territory! I will not leave the sofa to chase that piece of string!" If I try to move it off the sofa, she just looks at me. Like "Oh, yeah, that's TOTALLY worth going all the way over there for. It's a FAKE MOUSE." I'm like "But you wanted to disembowel it so bad a second ago!"

She's all, "Whatever. You are SO human."

i have too much fun with pipelinks....

I know that the publishing gods, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to categorize some books as oversized; bound newspapers, reproductions of art, etc. This, though. This is utterly ridiculous.

Three feet tall. Two feet wide. four inches thick. Easily weighs 10 pounds. This is not a book; this is a monstrosity, not for any reason other than its totaly impracticality. When this thing was printed 50 years ago I'm sure the most modern page preparation and binding techniques were utilised to make sure it'd last forever. Times have changed, however; the covers are deteriorating, the pages are slowly turning to dust, the binding glue is slowly evaporating into the ether. This is a book you'd be insane to actually open because who knows what will blow away in the wind once the cover is lifted. I have become quite gifted at judging a book by its cover, it seems. I should also note that this volume was designed to be archived - it hasn't been touched in decades, wasn't anywhere near the circulating stacks. Instead it was kept in a hot, stuffy, humid warehouse. In conditions like those it doesn't matter how well the thing is bound, it'll still fall apart much sooner than if the damn thing had been taken care of in the first place. So now it's up to me to get this thing into a somewhat stabile condition.

I stare at it, and its ninety-nine identical siblings. Why isn't it tomorrow yet?

My Jenn is in the hospital again. This time they figured out what is wrong with her. She was admitted Tuesday morning, her symptoms were passing out and not breathing, she was then transported to the hospitals downtown (the world renowned ones), there they ran a whole bunch of tests including MRI's, CAT's, echocardiograms, etc. They finally made two conclusions, the first being that she had/has a blood clot that was making her pass out and stop breathing, she is on blood thinners and they are doing sonograms to make sure it's all gone. Secondly, that she has a rare condition where her skull is too small for her brain, and subsequently brain fluid is drained into her spinal cord. This condition leads to paralysis or death if not treated. What they are going to do when she is off the blood thinners (in about a month) is somehow make her skull bigger. I haven't heard how they are going to do this, but it sounds painful. Jenn is 16, and in school but luckily it's summer break and she won't miss much class… though she will miss her summer and spend most of it in the hospital. She has to be under 24-hour supervision because if something happens to her, the doctors want to make sure she gets immediate care. Luckily her parent's insurance is willing to cover this (I think they have to since it is life threatening if left untreated). My dad and his girlfriend haven't told me what kind of risks there are, there are always risks; so I suppose I am expecting the worst.

Poor Jenn.

On a farther note…on learning what your friendship really means

Lesson: You Cannot Hitch Rides with Postal Trucks in New York State

(For reference purposes, QuietLight is a 16 year old male sophmore with only 2 days left of school)

Now, of course you're wondering "Who would ever even want to?" Well, me. I have to walk to school for my Regents exams (Regents are NY's name for state testing), because our school district does not hire buses for less-than-full days of school. Whoopie. For me, the walk is not that bad; about a half hour walking, 15 minutes at full throttle.

I was about half way there, when I saw a string of 6 postal trucks coming down the street in a row in the other lane. As a joke, I put out a thumbs up, the symbol for someone that wants to hitch a ride, as the first one began to pass. They went by...
the first...
the second...
the third...
the fourth...
the fifth...
the... Oh no. This is bad. Really bad. The sixth one stopped. Aaugh! This was not supposed to happen! Either I was in trouble, or I was now going to have to get a ride from a mailman that is heading in the opposite direction and be late for the test. PANIC!

Luckily, he was laughing, meaning that he had a sense of humor. He pulled over, got out and walked across the street to me.

Mailman: "You looking for a ride, kid?"
Me: "Um...well-"
Mailman: "Your a funny kid, you know that? Sorry though. Those vans only have one seat. Here, lemme show you..." and he motions me over to the van across the street. I follow. Why? I dont know. Why not...
When I get over, I notice that the other seat in the van is ripped out, and it's replaced with a large set of divided boxes with mail in them.
Me: "Oh, darn... ok, I guess I have to walk then. Thanks anyway!"
Mailman: "S'ok, we get people tryin' to hitch from us often."

I didn't think much of it at the moment, but about when I arrived at school it hit me. "We get people tryin' to hitch from us often"? Meaning that there were more fools than I that have tried to flag down a mailman? I laughed to myself, and returned to contemplating chemistry for my test.

Moral: Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to flag down a United States Postal Truck in an attempt to gain free transportation. It does not work.

Then again, it gives a bored mailman a laugh. Well, try it if you want to, but don't say I didn't warn you.

This afternoon I visited the I-16 LAN event with our marketing lady. My transport curse seemed to be in full effect for most of the day - although thankfully the results were not as catastrophic as previously. The plan was to drive to Finsbury Park station (Babette having mistakenly driven into work this morning instead of taking the tube), take the tube to London Paddington and then a Thameslink train out to Newbury Race Course. For the first leg, we couldn't find anywhere to park so had to abandon the car to inevitable ticketing. On reaching Paddington, I was left to buy the tickets, from a strangely confused railwayman.

"Two returns to Newbury Race Course please."

"There isn't a race on today, mate."

"I know, I'm not going to a race..." (What do you take me for, some kind of mug?)

"The station's only open when there's a race on."

"Well, two to Newbury town then."

"OK, get on the - woah, no, wait, get on the Swansea train and change at Reading."

Needless to say Newbury Race Course station was open (I say open, I mean, the train stopped there, it's just a bus shelter and some steps basically). The two trains were jam packed with commuters, even though it was the early afternoon. Thank goodness we can put all of this on expenses.

Approach Newbury Racecourse grandstand. A couple of towering, deserted-looking buildings, one of which is draped in a huge Vodafone logo. As we get closer some young men clad in black stumble out of a side door, hunched and squinting in the sunlight. This was the place. I-16: Four days and three nights of fragging and caffeine. Tickets are £60, bring your own PC.

Inside the darkened hall there are row upon row of PCs set up on low tables. There are over 400 gamers attending the event, and this is one of the smaller ones that they run. Some of the cases are modded in wild and inventive ways (translation: they have viewing panels and blue LEDs), proof if any were needed that these are the 'élite' of PC gaming - or at least the ones with the greatest disposable income and the least discretion. One truly impressive rig is housed in a completely transparent plastic shell. One row near the end is manned by members of the same clan all clad in jerseys with their handles emblazoned on the back.

On one side of the hall there is an enclosure where a small team of administrators tend to a truckload of rack boxes - the game servers. At the far end of the hall there is a sign-in desk and a hospitality area. The organisers are selling games, exotically-shaped mousemats and 'witty' t-shirts (0nLy L@M3RZ 5P33K L33T), and there is a refrigerator cabinet stacked with cans of Red Bull and Jolt Cola (seemingly imported, if the FedEx labels on a nearby stack are anything to go by). Most importantly of all there is the Domino's Pizza ordering desk. Pizzas can be delivered directly to your seat. We are introduced to the head of the operation, a stocky, white-haired man of around retirement age, who seems to have some knowledge of running events like this (having headed up over a dozen previous I-numbers), but there is a lingering impression that he's been brought in by his sons to keep him occupied in his old age...

He gives us a tour of the site. (The point of all this, in case you're wondering, is because we are planning on showcasing a game at a sponsored area at the next event, I-17, in late August.) The first thing we are shown is the PlanetSide area, an enclosure of about a dozen PCs which has been sponsored by Sony Online Entertainment, Ubi Soft and Intel to showcase the PC version of PlanetSide (on Pentium 4 machines). They have even plumbed in a 2-megabit ADSL connection so that attendees can actually play the game 'for real' (it's an online subscription-based title). An Ubi Soft suit is hunched intently over one machine. Another of the machines is being played by possibly the single largest human being I have ever seen. Seriously, this guy is about the size of a caravan. Try not to stare. Suddenly understand the commercial importance of the pizza desk.

The organisers have hired out the entire three-storey centre. The top two floors are not being used for much at this event. On the top floor the bars are open and a group of the tournament staff have set up a projector and a set of Sirocco Crossfire speakers, and are playing Monkey Target.

Eventually we manage to drag the core of the staff to one corner and talk turkey. As I previously mentioned, Multiplay UK is run by an old guy and his (at least four) thirty-something sons. Sitting around a table with them is like something out of Thunderbirds. Fittingly, the deal they propose has some strings attached (sorry). One of the sons is the mouthpiece of the team, and tries to convince us to hire an excessive number of tables and computers.

We eventually manage to get away at around 1700 hrs. On the ground floor most of the players have manned their stations and the temperature of 400 bodies, PCs and CRTs is oppressive. Outside it has started drizzling, which is almost refreshing. We leave the gathering of fanatics to their bloodbath, and head back to Paddington.

I'm invited to the leaving do of one of the old employees at work, but I decided to turn it down thinking that I could slip home and get some writing and sleep done, instead of travelling on yet more trains. London Transport had other plans for me. I get to King's Cross St. Pancras, and find that the Northern Line isn't going through Camden - signal failure. I take the Victoria Line to Euston and find this is still the case. I wait on the platform for a while, but this doesn't work. I grab some food at McDonalds (I must have been really hungry) and wait for a bus. A Critical Mass slow cycling protest goes past at one point. Like that has any effect on a city already at a standstill... Announcements at Goodge Street see more stations wiped off the map in WarGames fashion. Signalling failure is still cited as the cause, although everyone has noticed the increasing number of police vehicles gravitating to Euston and King's Cross.

Eventually a bus arrives heading for Archway. While I'm on the bus I overhear a phone conversation revealing that the tube is back in action. I get off the bus at Tufnell Park station and get the tube up to Finchley Central, where I note down the events so far and draw some cool tanks 'n stuff.

That doesn't sound much like a horrible transport experience, but it took a lot longer in real life, or at least felt like it.

The LAN tournament was cool. If things go to plan, next time I'm going to be there for the duration...

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