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My room is a bug battleground. Insects versus arachnids.

See, I just moved in not too long ago, and as I'm sharing the house with a friend of mine who already lived here, all my stuff is in boxes in my room. This means my room consists of, basically, a maze of boxes, some shelves (which also contain boxes) and a mattress.

The first wave of attackers came via a Trojan Horse. I awoke one morning to the sound of a gentle scritch-scritch noise. It took me a while to convince myself that I wasn't just imagining the noise, and it took me a while longer to locate the source. As far as I could tell, the noise was coming from one of the boxes. I studied the box intently from every angle, and deduced that the noise was located somewhere inside one of the top cardboard flaps. I said "huh," and went and got breakfast. When next I entered the room, I was confronted by a newly-hatched family of what appeared to be yellow jackets. Grabbing a shoe, I smushed them quickly.

That was the first wave.

Wave two came the next morning, preceded by that same ominous scritch-scritch noise. This time I couldn't for the life of me locate the source, but I sat there, vigilantly awaiting the emergence of my enemy. Finally, they emerged. And I smushed them, like I had their brothers from the other box. But mother nature was not finished with me.

Wave three came in the form of several large black ants. They weren't quite large enough to be carpenter ants, but they weren't quite small enough to be regular ants. I noticed them crawling around on the wall near my bed. Not one to be easily fooled, I diligently searched for the other five million ants, but could not find them. This amazed me, since I had never ever seen just a few ants. Ants always come in millions, don't they? In any case, I considered throwing away the food trash on the floor at the head of my mattress, but decided I was far too lazy to do so, and figured that when the three ants sounded the alarm, they would reveal the rest of the colony and I could eliminate them.

It appears the ants were too smart for me. They have ignored the food trash completely, even though I've tried on multiple occasions to tempt them with delicious candy, soda, and even goldfish. I never saw more than three ants at one time, either. The little bastards were crafty. Occasionally, one or two ants would join me in the bathroom for my morning shower. I thought that perhaps by killing some of them I might set an example and scare the others away. My room and bathroom are now littered with the crunched bodies of dead ants, but the others are not fazed. Every morning, there are two or three ants waiting to greet me, even still.

Wave four, like wave three, is still ongoing. Whereas the previous waves consisted entirely of insects, wave four is all spiders. The first incident occurred early one morning, when I awoke to something tickling my legs. I ignored it for a while, thinking it was just the comforter, but it didn't stop. I whipped the covers off to discover, much to my horror, that a large brown hairy spider of some sort was building a web between my legs. This little bastard was blatantly ignoring the fact that I was a living, moving being, and had gotten halfway through the construction of his new home before I woke up. I decided, unwisely, to spare his life, and merely swept him off the bed.

Later that morning, after having said hello to the ants in my shower, I encountered Mr. Spider again. He had attached himself to my shirt, and I was alerted to this by the fact that when I put the shirt on, he detached himself from the shirt and attached himself to my face. There was no kindness this time. I knocked him to the floor and smushed him without mercy.

There was a quiet period of a few days following this incident during which I thought my troubles had finally subsided. The ants weren't bothering me, and they didn't seem to mind me killing them occasionally, so things were going alright. But then, one night, I lay down in bed and reached for my book and suddenly noticed a very disturbing portent of doom: a mere eight inches from the head of my mattress, right there on the floor next to me, was the curled-up, dead body of a gigantic monster of a spider. This guy was huge. And dead. His deadness disturbed me. Spiders don't just die. Something had to be horribly wrong.

My fears were confirmed the next evening, when I lay down, grabbed my book, and noticed that the dead spider was gone. Well, mostly gone. Two of his legs remained. And a single ant was chewing on one of them. I searched frantically for the other ants, but to no avail. For all I could tell, the colony just swept in while I was away, devoured the spider, and swept back out, leaving behind a single straggler to confuse me. I know the one ant couldn't have eaten the whole thing. Right?

I went to sleep and woke up the next morning to find that even the legs were gone now. There was no remnant of the dead spider. And still, there was a single ant, poking around the carpet where the spider had been. Eerie.

That night, as I tried to fall asleep, I kept getting the distinct sensation that little tiny things were crawling on me. On my head, on my face, my arms, my legs...I knew I had to be imagining it, but it just wouldn't go away. Finally, I turned on the light and discovered -- to my horror -- that I wasn't imagining it. I was covered in tiny little translucent baby spiders. Then I remembered something I had learned as a kid when I read Charlotte's Web: many spiders die shortly after bearing young.

Shit.

Yesterday, whilst looking for something entirely unrelated in an old daylog, I came across my entry for June 28, 2001. It wasn't a long writeup, but for me it was quite an effective reminder of how I was feeling one year ago today. I was young, free and single, but a little bit lonely and feeling slightly detatched.

Things have changed.

This morning I was woken up by the same person who woke me a year ago to the day. My friend from another continent, however, did not wake me by telephone, but by getting out of our bed, as she went to turn off the alarm clock.

Life is good.

I was just sitting here feeling that warm fuzzy feeling one gets when one finds a string of good nodes, when I suddenly accidentally clicked on a link to one of these tech support people writing about how essentially anyone who doesn't similarly work tech support is just a lowly imbecile. If you call tech support because you have a problem, then you are an idiot for having such a problem with your computer and not knowing enough to fix it yourself. If you call tech support and appear to know what you are talking about, then (gasp!) you probably are thinking you know more about computers than the tech you just called. Gor blimey! I think there are too many of these nodes on E2.

First, you have no right to complain when so many of you are apparently writing these nodes while you are at work. That is not an option for a lot of people, so just sit back and write a thankful node to the users who don't know the difference between RAM and the hard drive and thus keep you in a job.

Furthermore, how dare you people complain when you are lucky enough to have a job that at least dovetails with your hobby to some extent. You know so much about computers, and thus get paid to work with computers, because you enjoy them. That is not the case for most people. Most people see computers, not as a hobby, but as a tool. For a good many people, a computer is something they have to use at work, and work is a place so very many people hate. Why in Slovenia's name would they want to then spend extra hours brushing up on computer-related jargon? Just to impress you tech support geeks? Give it up.1

Tech support people, usually, learn about computers because they are interested, rather than finding a job first and then having a computer foisted upon them when they did not want it. Obviously, nearly everyone has a good deal more specialized knowledge about the things they care about than about the things they do not. Those "idiots" the tech support people are blasting most often know a good deal about whatever it is that they care about doing. Computer illiteracy, in whatever degree, does not equal idiocy. And knowing about computers, to whatever degree, is not inherently superior over not knowing.

Frankly, you know who really startles me? It isn't the folks who can't install a printer driver. It's the people who have spoken their native language every day, for every possible function, for virtually their whole lives and still cannot manipulate it the way these techies would have the secretary down at the local H&R Block manipulate files. You know, the kind of people who stare at you blankly when you make a simple remark about the relics of the case marking sytem in English. Or when you ask them to explain the difference between "I loaded hay on the truck" and "I loaded the truck with hay". Those people. Those, I think, are the same people who used to come into the restaurant where I waited tables back in college and reply to my query of "How would you like your potato?" with "Can I have french fries instead of a potato?" Sorry for the English bias, there, but that is my native language as well as the lingua franca of E2 as things stand.

Ideally, everyone would know everything about whatever they do all day, including their language, their computers (if any), their rose garden, or whatever. But, since most of us do a lot of stuff, we need specialists. If you specialize in something you care about and people will pay you to do that, then don't complain when they expect you to know more than they do.

1Yes, I know some of you will respond that the problem tech support people face from some callers is more than a lack of jargon. Some of these users probably don't know things they should know. On the other hand, many of them have very real fears about messing something up (especially on the company's computer) and doing serious damage to their hard drives or files. It isn't all paranoia. It seems plausible to me that most of them do not actually call the start menu by that name (I don't), and so when you say "start menu", it doesn't occur to them that you mean that button because they don't call it that. Kind of like those people ordering french fries instead of a potato. The words "french fries" don't contain any reference to potatoes, so plenty of people who know they actually are potatoes make this mistake in the heat of ordering. Simple confusion. Add to this simple confusion the fear of doing real damage to a fairly expensive machine, and you get your stupid remarks on the tech support lines. Try a little empathy for the love of Mike.

It seems that every time I saunter, or SURF, as the kids say, into E2, something happens that reminds me of yet another sexual preference of mine. And really, that wasn't my intention in joining this place. I'm a member of several other message boards and I dislike nothing more than the chicks that come in and rant on and on about how they love to give blow jobs and spread the cum all over their tits and then they have nothing more to say, but they think it's so progressive and shocking to talk about their sex lives.

AND YET...

Just in stopping by the chatterbox or getting private messages or whatever, it seems that many noders are reading my mind. It's freaking me out man. They're speaking German, they're talking about smoking, they're talking about hockey...they're talking about bondage, they're calling me 'little girl' which just makes me CRAZY TURNED ON. All I need now is for a bunch of firefighters to come in and chat about their latest bi-sexual gangbang.

I mean, let me just say...I'm a pretty smart gal. I know a lot about a lot of stuff...it just so happens you guys have triggered the sex stuff early.

Just wanted you to know...I have a ton to offer.

If you know what I mean

I've joined the everything community recently. Today, the Meme Warrior movement started with the following writeup that was quickly killed (I put it in my bio). I was also told to put it here:

I am a Meme Warrior.

This is my real meaning.

This is my fundamental nature.

I see things differently.

I do not watch television.

I do not pay much attention to pop culture.

I am a Meme Warrior.

I do not believe in moral relativism.

I have my own philosophies.

I listen to my own kind of music.

You won't find it on the radio.

Bands you don't know like this, this, or this.

I am not here for status.

I don't give a fuck about XP.

I don't care if I get downvoted.

I am here for one reason.

I know it sounds naïve, but...


I am here to save the world.

My ideas will infect you

Just as I have been infected.

You, too, will spread the memes...

...and become a warrior yourself.

The difference is...

My memes are good.

I want to make you happy.

I am a Meme Warrior.

Hear my battle-cry.

Come...join me...

The rollercoaster arches upward once more. In the morning, an interview with the company that wanted to employ me last month, but held off.

I thought that I had this one in the bag, but here I was again, answering questions, competing against three other people, all of them natives to this town. On the face of it, that's a 25% chance.

In the afternoon I hear that I gave the best answers, and they definitely do want to employ me and one other of the candidates, to start in a week's time. Nice people, good money.

I just feel dizzy and tired.

Now I know where July's rent will come from. Now I can get a credit card, and buy a PC on debt (special intrductory low interest rate for the first six months).

Did I say now? No, not now, next week, or soon after that. All the other lights at the end of the tunnel have turned out to be illusions, but this one is strong.

This write-up is a continuation of this one, another chapter in my diary from doing military service for 10 months in the Swedish Army. As I go along, I am translating and noding my diary entries, in the hopes that some people will find them an interesting read. This node holds day 8 through 14 - in real life that's July 24 through 28, since I have most weekends off.

24th of June, 2002 - 23:00
The first day after our first weekend leave became the roughest one so far: The morning started with physical excercise, pushups, situps, the whole kit. Not unbearably hard, but being a total computer geek, I have not exactly got the fittest body around. What really ruined the day were all the drills that followed the PE, all morning, which would not have been so bad either had my pants not started chafing the insides of my thighs for some reason. Ouch.

The afternoon was spent doing weapon excercises in full combat gear - not only a heavy load to carry, but also a sweaty one. The excercises were supposed to teach us how to load and unload our rifles, and to practice different stances (how to shoot while standing up, how to shoot while sitting on your knees, how to shoot while lying down, etc). The whole thing was done outdoors, and was interrupted halfway through by a massive thunderstorm. When lightning struck a very nearby tree we decided to move in - another reason for this was that the sound of the rain and the thunder made most orders inaudible. Still wearing full gear, we ran back to put our rain jackets and pants on, but shortly after our return the people in command decided to move the whole thing indoors. Now soaked in rain as well as sweat, we continued the excercising until dinner (at 1630 - early dinners in the army).

After dinner we were off duty for the remainder of the evening, but not without more orders - there were pages in textbooks that had to be read and all our personal equipment had to be nametagged, all before 0700 hours the following morning. I was finished on time, fortunately, and am now spending some quality time in bed. More PE tomorrow, along with medical training, which will hopefully be a bit less tiring.

27th of June, 2002 - 12:35
Monday was followed by two very busy days and so far the third seems to be turning out only marginally better. Tuesday was spent doing various drills and a 5 kilometer jog around the base which nearly killed me - need to practice that stuff more. On wednesday we packed our backpacks and went out into the field for the first time, where we learned to cook food using our personal "one-man kitchens", setting up our 20-man tents, digging urine pits, and other assorted field activities. Not too bad but very tiring.

Today has been spent training medical care (first aid) according to the ABCDE-system (Airways, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Examination) and we've also visited our top-of-the-line shooting range. There'll be a test later regarding the safety rules of the Ak5 rifle, too keep us from hurting each other.

28th of June, 2002 - 20:15
Once again I have come home after our first half-week in the field. We're going back out next week, for the whole week this time. Yesterday passed smoothly, I passed the Ak5 exam with a perfect score, so on thursday next week I'll be practicing with live ammo at the shooting range for the first time, along with all the other people who passed the test. Those who didn't will get a second chance on tuesday, we've been told.

Back to this morning. After packing our stuff together we marched back "home" and spent the time before lunch (0830-1130 hrs - the march started at 0730) washing and repairing our equipment, as well as ourselves. After lunch we had written exams on first aid and more safety procedures. I spent the remainder of the afternoon - after we went off-duty, thank God for fridays - sewing a few badges which were about to come off onto my uniform. One of the corporals helpfully "assisted" me in removing the old badges. Everything finished, I drove home at 17:00.

(Noted: Remind myself to kill whoever put the (field) lavatory in the middle of a swamp!)

<-- day 1-7 | day 15-21 -->
Our Illustrious Leader, George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy procedure today, and temporarily transferred presidential power to Vice President Cheney during his operation and recovery (7:09 to 9:24 a.m EST, 6/29/2002.)

Y'know, there's nothing more egalitarian, nothing more noble, nothing more democratic than a president bending over like the rest of us poor saps and taking one for freedom and justice. God Bless the President, and God Bless America, and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. It's stirring, really.

Well, at least I'm moved.

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