Living here is like staring into the sun; I can only stand it for a little while before I'm forced to do something else. I hate it here. As much as I could complain about this pointless yuppie town or my idiotic school or my mind-numbing job, I can always narrow down the worst problems to the simple fact that I go home into a firestorm. They followed me into the garage just so they could get the last word.

If this is the best parenting that they can manage, something must be dearly wrong. My mother is just scared of his voice when it's stressed and timidly backs up whatever my father says. It's weak. Meanwhile, he's kicking things across the room at my brother. Am I supposed to stand still through this?

Every moment I spend going to school or working or just driving around in circles to avoid the house -- it's a testament to how shitty this stupid place is.

Two weeks ago, an American protester named Rachel Corrie stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer, then tripped and fell. The bulldozer continued in its path and crushed her.

Something of a media hurricane erupted. Though fellow leftists all but deified her, the general consensus seemed to be that her motives, while honest, were deeply misguided; that her death, while tragic, was hardly noble. After all, she was protesting the destruction of a house occupied by terrorist fanatics. Right?

Well, no.

In a world where Fox News reports unsubstantiated (and, it often turns out, untrue) claims as fact, where almost one in five Americans think the Bush administration has presented evidence that Saddam Hussein helped organize the September 11 attacks, and a majority think Iraqis helped hijack the planes, the public's ignorance on this matter is hardly surprising.

Still, the extent of that ignorance is staggering; at Metafilter, the most connected people on the planet spent kilobytes debating the merits and demerits of demolishing homes of the relatives of suspected militants before someone finally pointed out that the occupant, Dr. Samir Nasrallah, was an ordinary citizen with no connection (personal or familial) to militant activity; his home was destroyed because it was within a wide area along the Egyptian border that Israel had designated a "security strip." Like the other 10,000 houses Israel has demolished, it was destroyed without regard to preserving any of the possessions of the occupants, without ample warning to evacuate those possessions, without any compensation, without any chance for appeal.

In short, very few Americans know just how much Israel's policies in this area suck. Ninety-four percent of the homes it has bulldozed in the occupied territories were, like Dr. Nasrallah's, demolished for "administrative reasons," not because of any connection with terrorist activity. Other Israeli policies (the permanent curfew, for instance, and the strict controls on movement), while understandable, have decimated the Palestinian economy; more than 70 percent are now unemployed, and half live below the poverty line. In the short-term, some suicide bombers were prevented from crossing into Israel; in the long-term, coupled with the Israeli government's disregard for property and due process (again, understandable; again, counterproductive), it seems inevitable that frustrated Palestinian rage will erupt into further terrorism and incomprehensible that Israeli hawks ever thought the hardline policies could work.

But Palestinians and retributively slain Israelis are not the only victims. Outside the Middle East, a new wave of anti-semitism is rearing its ugly head. On French playgrounds, where Jewish children coexist with the children of Muslim immigrants, "feuj" (a slang form of "juif," the word for Jew) has become a new all-purpose pejorative. As an American fifth-grader steeped in South Park might say of a boring class, "This is so gay," a French child would call a broken calculator "completely feuj."

There is no excuse for prejudice, of course, but it is inevitable that some people will conflate the world's only Jewish state and the world's Jews, and when that state's government perpetrates inhumanities, rage will not be confined to government officials or to the people they represent.

I have Jewish relatives on three continents, but even those who needn't be concerned for their family's safety should have an interest in fighting anti-Semitism. Groups like the Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium, which visits Muslim neighborhoods to help explain the difference between Zionism and Judaism, are a start. The single most important contributor to anti-Semitism is overflowing anger at Israel, though, and the single most important contributor to anger at Israel is Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Of course, many ask why it is only Israel that should be pressured into concessions. After all, the current conflict has radicalized Palestinians just as much as Israelis; 41 percent now say the goal of the intifada is not simply to gain a state in the West Bank but to overthrow Israel's regime.

But Israel, unlike Palestine, is led by a unified government, not a fragmentary patchwork of grassroots organizations spanning the ideological spectrum from liberal to Islamic fundamentalist. As such, that government can be cajoled into immediate, nationwide policy shifts. And cajole we should, for we certainly have leverage: The U.S. currently gives more financial aid to Israel than to the whole of Africa.

I know I'm going to hell for drawing a reference from The Last Action Hero, but in real life, games of chicken end in death. America must do whatever it can to break the cycle of escalation.

Our dreams are made of sweat.

Keep training, keep peddling, just over the next hill. Keep pushing, keep the rotation. Down gear.

Peddle the downhill, climb the grade, press it, roll into it, sweat it out.

Sprint it, burn burn burn burn, you're almost there, drink the water, toss the bottle, and


The earth is for the cyclist, up and down the mountains, spanning across the salt flats, and switching out the blow-outs while never dropping a rotation. And then, we train.

I started training again today, for the tour, for myself, for the dreams made of sweat.

An interior dialogue

Is it possible to despise a country's government, and still like its citizens?

Of course. Two examples. I myself grew up in South Africa in the 1980s. I was a voter in the apartheid era, when only white people could vote. The state was despicable, yet I would not want that feeling to spill over to me personally.
Did you vote for them or against them?
Niether. I had a little round badge that read "if voting could change the system it would be illegal". I went on pro-democracy marches and demos, which you could also attribute to an excess of youthful energy and desire to get into trouble.
And the second example?
Americans. There are so many fine USA'ians that I have communicated with via this site, yet I despair of their political process.
You dislike the Bush administration? Well, remember it was a close decision. The next one should be better.
The current administration is the worst of a long series of bad ones. Richard Dawkins recently commented in a UK newspaper words to the effect that if a global multi-billion dollar company had spent a year and millions of dollars on choosing a new CEO, and had finally decided on GWB, it would reflect badly on the whole company. And the fact that GWB won (or close as dammed) the election, means that the process of selecting the opposing candidate, by the time it was down to a two-horse race, was just as bad.

There must be competant leaders somewhere in that country, but the politcal process does not bring them forward. There's a kakistocracy going on here.

Fine words coming from someone who grew up in the Apartheid state.
OK, that state was wrong, was a government of shortsighted, callous petty men, and it was eventually replaced with something not perfect, but a whole lot better. I may not have done as much as I could to bring it down, but I certainly didn't prop it up. What kept it going so long was fear of the unknown. Better the devil you know and all that.
So you dislike the US government entirely, but the people are great?
I think so. But in a real sense the government is the people, the will of the people, or at least what the people deserve. If they don't like it, they should change it. In my opinion, the way in which their politicians are funded by industry is corruption. Institutionalised corruption on massive scale, yet it is invisible. I can't even tell the difference between their two political parties. You might as well call them the "bought" party and the "paid for" party.

Saying that the USA is fine except for its politics and industry is like saying that you like someone except for their personality.

So how do you feel?
I don't know. I really don't know.

Hear the words of wisdom from Oolong:
people are responsible for their government - a responsibility they should not shirk - but not necessarily to blame for them. We know all too well that individual struggles have a way of failing to change anything, and it is only fair to blame individuals as far as they could have done better but didn't...

I woke up in the middle of the night with a jolt – I had just had a dream that we had broken up. I had crashed earlier in the night without doing my usual toilette, so my eyes were kinda stuck together with mascara and my breath, well, it was pretty bad. After peeing (and throwing a little fit because there was no toilet paper and I had to resort to my hidden stash of pocket-sized tissue hidden in the tampon box) and lying in bed for a bit going over the bizarre details of my dream, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep without some help. So I smoked a little, got back into bed, and then he came into the bedroom from the office where he had been doing work all night. He told me a bit about a new job opportunity he had found in DC, and I told him about my dream. We laughed a bit and joked around, and he tried to keep me from getting so worked up that I would not be able to sleep. So I stopped my part of the joking around and tried to focus on breathing to calm myself down. Then he commented on my breath: "It smells like marijuana and ass." I apologized and turned my head the other way, too tired to get up and brush my teeth or even take a swig of mouthwash. Then he asked, "Which would you rather do, fuck a cow or lick your own ass?" Heavy sigh from me, then I asked, "How old are you?" Him: "0.5?" Me: silence. Him: "Which would you rather do, fuck a cow or lick your own ass?" Me: "Sshhh." Him: "Which would you rather do, fuck a cow or lick your own ass?" Me: "Fine, okay, lick my ass." Him: "Ass-licker!" Me: "Okay, enough." Pause. Then him: "Which would you rather do, fuck a cow or fuck your mother?" Me: "Please stop." He asked again. I didn’t answer. Again, he asked. Again, no answer. One more time, the ridiculous question was posed. This time, I turned to face him and firmly explained that I wanted to go to sleep and I didn’t want to play this stupid game. I begged him to leave me alone and turned to face the wall. Him: "Which would you rather do, fuck a cow or fuck your mother?" Frustration welled up in me and manifested itself in the urge to cry, and knowing he becomes very concerned when I do, I let it flow. I started to sob into my pillow and screamed: "What is it going to take to get you to leave me alone? Why do I have to cry to get your attention?" He calmed me down and apologized and stroked my hair, and then I fell asleep.

Which would you rather do? (Cow-fucker! Motherfucker!)

The comforting rhythm of a new CD, spinning in the background. The familiar hum of electronics that lull me to sleep every night. The atmosphere outside. These things I take for granted, and yet I've recently come to reflect on them a great deal while on break.

Shortly before I left, I realized that I had written things here that I probably didn't want those who knew me, and who read this site, to know. However, I didn't want to delete the writeup. While it is a trivial task for the site administrators to determine who I was, I would appreciate it if I was allowed to co-exist with my prior account. Anyways, to point of this daylog.

I cannot see myself as an old person. I can't even see myself as middle aged. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I will die while young. This was not an easy conclusion for me to arrive at, but it was the only logical solution. Because of this, and because of the peculiar life I lead, I've decided to change.

Now that I've said that much, it's time to change. I cannot remain timid or shy, which I am in excess. I have to be bold and confront the world that surrounds me, rather than passively taking what I'm given. However, having lived a life of introversion, avoidance, and timidity, this is not easy. I repeatedly run away from meeting people who I might like, who I may get into a relationship with, because I am scared of myself.

I've been in two relationships in the past, had two girlfriends. Neither relationship was initiated by me, I somehow managed to find girls who took the initiative and asked me out, as it must have been obvious I was incapable of doing so. However, neither relationship lasted very long.

The first relationship began with a wonderful girl, near my height, quite a rare thing. She was quite smart, attractive, and athletic. Those who know me can vouch that those three attributes definitely trigger me attraction for the female in possession of them. Despite all that I had going for me, I fouled it up horribly. So my first relationship ended a scant two months after it had began, almost three and a half years ago.

After the end of that relationship, I fell into a depression, right as the junior year of highschool started for me. That year didn't go well, ending with me being suspended, being sent to a psychologist, and in general having my parents flip out. About halfway through that year, a girl at my school asked me out. Her parents refused to allow the relationship to happen, and it turned out quite badly a few months later.

That will be three years ago this August. Since then, I have asked out two women. Both have turned me down. I'm tired of being alone. I want to lie down on my bed, holding the one I love for hours on end, listening to her breathe, being at peace with the world. This is not meant to be. Not unless I change. And so I shall.

Tlachtga Gets Friendly
How I Met My First Noder

So last night I met my first noder, the very gracious (and exhausted) wunderhorn1. He lives over in University City, and I live just west of there, so we figured, why the hell not? That and the fact that we've been msging back and forth, and it just seemed natural.

So I came over, hung out, drank a beer, played guitar, listened to music. The funny thing was that, despite my nervous awkwardness, it seemed like the perfectly natural thing to do with friends, a perfectly natural way to hang out. :)

Unfortunately, I was a little obnoxious, keeping him up till 2 am, while he was exhausted over having recently pulling an all-nighter. I think it's my sheer luck that he's as nice as he is to put up with me like that. Still, I came bearing gifts (rare 1980 R.E.M. demos), so I'm sure that kept the anoyance at bay.

Well, here's to hoping this all goes well....

Thanks for the hospitality, Tim; I hope I can repay it.
Okay, you know what? This has got to stop.

Daylogs are great. Really, they are. I think they are a wonderful repository for anecdotes, memories, and all manner of everything that doesn't belong in Everything. Daylogs are sort of the smoking section of E2. Even if you don't normally smoke, you're likely to wind up here at some time or other.

So what's your problem, Mitzi?

I'm glad you asked.

My problem is this: daylogs as suicide notes.

I know we're all living in difficult times. I know that a war is raging, that many of you are in transition, that some of you have illnesses and bills and all manner of burdens to shoulder. I know life is hard sometimes, and that winter is especially hard when Spring teases you with a few mild days and withdraws with a cruel smile.

I also know that I'm not alone when I say that I read the daylogs daily. Why? Because I like to keep up with you all. I don't labor under the delusion that we're all friends, or that we're a real family, but I do believe that the way E2 is set up lends itself to a sense of actual community that's rare on the internet. Some of you people are my real friends, and some of the friendships I've formed began right here in the sweet little ghetto of daylogs. I messaged you - or maybe you messaged me; who knows? We started messaging one another regularly, progressed to AIM, and you wound up sleeping on my couch on your way to your next Great Adventure. So I think it's high time we discussed something a little controversial here.

Since the beginning of 2003, I have read no fewer than four - count them, FOUR - daylogs where suicide was directly threatened. I've read several others where it's more of a veiled threat, but it still pervades the writeup like the distant smell of rotting meat. Some of you may not be aware of this, but E2 was rocked by a suicide not long ago. A young man who had his whole life ahead of him, a talented and intelligent and young and loved member of our community, decided to take his own life. He left behind a bereaved family, a confused, bewildered, and hurting group of friends, and a metric fuckton of guilt, anger, and grief. So when I read a daylog that threatens self-extinction, I take it very seriously, and I'll wager I'm not the only one who does.

So I'm asking you to do me a favor. Hell, do us all a favor - yourself included. Next time you're feeling suicidal, write it down on paper. Write it out of your system. Pretend the ink is blood, if you must - pour it all out onto the paper. Every last shred of pain, of angst, of garbage. Then do this: sleep. Sleep on it. Don't tell anyone what you've written, just put it aside and go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, make yourself a cup of tea, have a bagel, and curl up with the stuff you wrote the night before. Feel sorry for the person who wrote those words. Cry some. Cuddle a cat or smoke a cigarette. Download and listen to Kate Bush's song Love and Anger. Listen to it again. Go for a long walk, then come back and read it again.

Now pretend that you're your mother, or your sister, or your best friend, and that you're reading those words from their perspective. Then pretend something else: pretend you're a stranger to yourself, and you're reading those words on a website. Those threatening, lonely, empty words. Just for a minute, pretend you are as helpless and frustrated and powerless to help as I am right now. Pretend that somewhere in the world there is a talented, intelligent, and sensitive person whose words you've often read, whose life has touched your own, however peripherally. Now pretend that you are reading words from that person that are full of self-hatred, self-recrimination, and threats of death.

Now go read karma debt's writeup. It's right here. Pay close attention not only to the anguish there but to the vast number of people who were (and still are) affected by that decision.

Now go back to your own letter and burn the goddam thing. Burn it as though it's a snake, because you know what? It is a snake. It's worse than that; it's a malignant seed that can easily grow into something black and poisonous and festering. I'm not going to give you a big rah-rah Life is Beautiful pep talk here. You know where and how to get help; you're a smart cookie. But for god's sake, mine, and yours - GET THE HELP.

My entire life has been circumscribed by death, thanks to people who refused to get the help they needed - the help we all sometimes need - to survive. So maybe it's selfish of me, but I'm going to ask you this anyway. If you can't see past your own pain, then think of mine. Think of Adam's family if you can't think of your own. Think of the community here. And please, please get the help you need, because I can't do it for you. We can't do it for you.

And it is a particularly brutal thing to telegraph your deathwish to an entire community - a community who cares about you but who is essentially helpless to do anything but watch and pray and hope for the best.

I have received a remarkable number of messages about this daylog in the short time it's been up, and someone had a good idea - this person basically asked me, "Well, if you don't want to read that stuff, what do you have to contribute?" Again, I'm glad you asked. Recently, I started a usergroup for people here who are mentally ill or who have family and friends who suffer from mental illness. The group is called bipolars, and I'm willing to open it up to anyone who is suffering from severe depressive disorder as well. It's not a substitute for good mental health care, of course - it can't even be considered a "support group" per se. It's a relatively low-traffic group for people who are dealing with the pain and alienation of mental illness, and it's been a godsend for me and a number of the folks who have joined it.

Help is available, and even if this group can't fix what ails you, someone in the group has likely felt what you're feeling right now and can point you in the direction of the right sort of help. If you decide that bipolars sounds like a good group for you, message me and we'll discuss it. Please know that I am not advocating censorship, just sense. Know also that I wrote this daylog with tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach. Nothing, but nothing, has the venomous ripple effect that suicide has. When you do yourself in, you kill a lot more than yourself. Trust me.

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