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Good News

There's no high drama nor amazing story nor riveting entertainment in this shaogo daylog so for those of you seeking that, look elsewhere:

Drama: visit a non-Leather bar frequented by male homosexuals. Wait around until someone breaks a finger nail.

Amazing Story: visit a Leather gay bar and listen to a man wearing Biker boots, chaps, studded belt and perhaps matching wristlets, leather vest and leather visor-equipped cap tell you (or someone else for that matter)  about the time he had sex with a celebrity.

Riveting Entertainment: don't visit a gay bar. Read the catbox.


THIS WRITEUP CONTAINS NOTHING, NOT A WHIT, NOT A CHIRP, ABOUT POLITICS. (BUT IT DOES BRIEFLY DISCUSS DRUGS).


I've stopped counting the days since I started on my new medicine. It's really a "wonder drug," just as my doctor had told me. I will inform him Monday that I regret that I doubted him. I thought, in the back of my mind, that he'd told me it would work "magic" for mere placebo effect value. Who knows? Maybe that's what either the good doctor or God knew I needed to hear. Who knows, the both may be colluding to make me a better, healthier person. (If you doubt this, I beseech you to meet with my doctor for ten minutes and then you'll take back the "pshaw!" you just uttered. My psychiatrist ought to be a candidate for sainthood, particularly for attempting to address the mess that is better known as what's left of my brain function). But the good news is that I feel very good, in a holistic sense. Much more so than I have in a long, long time.

If what I feel is what it's like to be normal, hell, I'm glad. If it's a wee bit of drug-induced manic behavior (energy the likes of which I don't recall having for years) then that's great. If it's exhilaration at being free from the long, "natural bad trip" I've been on, hell, it'll wear off but I'm sure I'll be fine anyhow.
 

Buying Professional Audio Equipment is a Bigger Hassle Than Buying a New Car

A while ago, our partner and I taught my wife what a purchase order is and how it is part of an effective system of financial control. Whatever possessed me to add to our financial system one more thing I dreaded about working for a corporation, I can't tell you. It must have been the work of Satan. I'd become possessed by demons for a moment.

The good news is that I received, yesterday, a purchase order nearing five figures for an upgrade of sound and lighting equipment for my division of our company; I'm the one who books talent and then produces concerts. Our musical shows had recently become quite a lot like early television programming with nothing missing but the visual of a test pattern. Pops, the nails-on-blackboard sound of audio feedback, muddy, uninteresting sound; we had it all. What once was quite nice to listen to and easy to adjust had become as intolerable to the trained ear as the equipment owned by even the worst of my competitors. Without getting into the technology of what was wrong with our system, suffice it to say that it was as dependable as a car that's got over two hundred thousand miles on it. And not a very good car, either.

It took quite a while to shop around and come up with estimated costs for equipment. Sony's professional audio equipment is to performance audio what a Rolls-Royce is to cars. I'd have needed five times what I'm going to spend to get a Sony system that does the same thing. The Ferraris and Maseratis of audio equipment are for home audiophiles; not the rigors of production. So suffice it to say that in my business there's nothing better than a Rolls-Royce, technically speaking.

I made up my mind to specify Yamaha equipment wherever possible. They're the sound equipment equivalent of, let's say, a Lexus. There are other, lesser brands which have a lot of cred but are closer in quality and performance to an Acura.

Pre-purchase order research of internet-based vendors revealed all kinds of deals, much lower than MSRP. Then, armed with model numbers and pricing I ran off this morning to visit the brand-new store of my old friend. He's been prospering. I found out why. He beat the price on some of the stuff I'd specified, and even better, pointed me toward ways to accomplish what I needed to do in ways that were more economical than what I'd planned.

I drove off with a half a mini-van full of boxes. The contents of the boxes cost a third of my budget. Only thirty per cent. Words cannot describe the glee this gave my wife and our partner. And to myself, of course, because this means I can buy far more...
 

Toys

I've re-worked the plan for the system, including the diagrams, charts and other graphic renderings of specifications that I am so extremely fond of creating. After I'd driven back with the boxes full of stuff, I returned to my friend's audio store and hung out, drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette or two, and trying out more fun stuff. It's kinda like the audio nerd's equivalent of a car buff's being able to test drive anything in the lot, whether he or she is there to make a purchase or not.

Now, I'm not stupid. Mentally ill, yes. But not stupid. Because the purchase order was approved so quickly and without the usual whimpering, I decided I'd encumber it all, and then some, and really turn our showplace into, well, a showplace.

It's now nearly two o'clock in the morning and I'm filled with that "day after Christmas" syndrome that children get. You know, "I've put up with all the festivities and the socializing (in my case, within this model, a busy Saturday night at the restaurant) and now I want to play!" Suffice it to say I'm gonna be having some fun prior to tomorrow's six o'clock show.
 

I only wish that those of you with as much enthusiasm about such things could share what I'm gonna be doing tomorrow. There will be photos, definitely; and also video if I can get a helper to run the camera. Heck, I need to have this for my portfolio of installations, because until now I was like the cobbler whose children had holes in their shoes.

Tomorrow my children will be wearing Gucci loafers.

Sometimes, when I take a walk in a local cemetery, I happen to come across graves dedicated to soldiers fallen in the Civil War. Witnessing these 19th century monuments has caused me no small amount of confusion. It is the reflections on this experience that are the occasion of the short poem below.

Why is the bark so rough to the touch?
Why is it so brittle?
Shall it fall to pieces?
My hands feel so little
When I caress its creases

Back when the bark was smooth and brown
A slew of soldiers
were sunk into the dug-up ground

Their bones do not stir
Only the humming of a passing car
would cause vibrations
For us, their war is too far
Their engraved names a blur
We worry about our generation

Across vast stretches of time
Graves and trees tower over us
But why?

Who will replace the worn-out plaques?
He, who remembers.
So where am I?

One semester over, and ten weeks or so remaining to grad school graduation. Technically I'll be a qualified archivist.

Last semester they had me sitting up late with SQL. I didn’t mind that so much, although my lack of any sort of IT background or spatial reasoning ability made it a battle.

This semester things seem to have reverted to the same old essay writing shuffle I’m good at and which is familiar to me from my BA and B-Teach. Today I found myself writing a paper and seriously considering using the phrase ‘inextricably intertwined’.

I’m 27, and I’m irrationally, unavoidably, adamantly critical of myself for being a full time student and not having a job. I would love to have a job- to jump on my bike in the morning, to go into work, to see the same people each day, to come back home and hang out with the friends my status as a gainfully employed member of society will hopefully make it possible for me to find.

I find it difficult to initially connect with people without working or at least coming into some kind of structured contact with them on a regular basis, the current result of which is that as things stand I don’t socialise much at all.

It's not that I'm not trying. I’ve spent long, long days crafting intricate applications for so many jobs I would have been great at, only to spend months waiting on electronic form letters that bring bad news.

‘Unfortunately at this time your application….’

Seriously, I would make the best assistant policy officer, if just someone would give me a desk and a computer and set me to work.

Technically, there are still a few applications pending for graduate programs which would be wonderful, but it’s not looking likely.

I graduate in June, I’m 28 in September- and things spiral downward.

A lack of a job has stopped my life in its tracks, and without a job I don’t think I can get it started again.

I don’t know.

‘Thankyou for your interest in the Department of Whatever. The standard of applications we received was very high. Unfortunately at this time...’

Fug.

So it goes, again and again.

So here’s what I’m saying, if anyone out there in Australia, New Zealand or Europe (all the places I can legally live and work and am willing to go) knows of a 9 to 5 job that could use a dedicated, fairly articulate, fast typing, widely travelled, literate, over educated young Australian with an excellent knowledge of useless stuff, from June I basically offer myself.

I’m a friendly, hard working bleeding heart with a highly strung personality and a ridiculous desire to be Kurt Vonnegut (though on my own time)

I’m also technically a qualified teacher, historian and archivist (though I can't stand doing the first and have never been taught how to do the last), but if someone’s willing to show me what to do and be patient while I spent the first two weeks screwing it up, I can do pretty much anything. I have a fanatical work ethic that probably derives from a host of neurotic character flaws, but hey, I’m never late to work.

Project officer, records officer, research officer, admin officer, correspondence officer, these are the sort of things I imagine myself doing. Universities, libraries, museums or, failing that, any office that’s not too far out in the suburban waste land, are the places I'd like to be. The aim is to work 9 to 5 and, hopefully, get a life before I’m too old and wrinkled.

I’m insecure, not in any obvious sense most of the time (though internally self doubt tends to be eating me alive most of the time) but enough that job security is very important to me. Casual/short term temp work is something I can’t do, it would have to be a contract of a year at least.

So there it is, that's what I'm putting out there, that’s how desperate I’m getting, but it's also what I have to offer to any potential employer, and given a chance I think I'd be a very good employee.

Seriously people, if you know of any leads or job openings help me out and message me, I'm willing to send out CVs, or at least listen,

SwimmingMonkey

...

19th May: I got one, and it's good. What did it in the end was nothing but my own dumb luck, but still thanks to everyone for all the kind words and sympathy that came my way after I posted this.

A weekend realisation


So I'm still trying to get another hour of kip when this bird starts up near the tent. "Peepety-peep-peepPEEP". Pained, I roll over to unzip the tent flap, fix the feathered fiend with as good a stare as I can at that time in the morning with no glasses, and cry "Oi!, Cut it out, I'm trying to sleep!" Bird is not impressed, looks at me and I swear that it shrugged its little shoulders before raising its beak to the heavens and starting again. "Peepety-peep-peepPEEP, peepety-peep-peepPEEP!", it goes, and then stops, hops a little closer, and says "I'm a bleedin' bird, what do you want from me? This is what I do."

The Cockney perturbs me for a moment, given that I am in the Sierra Nevada, but what can I say? Bird is right, it's doing what comes naturally to it. Thousands of generations have moulded the creature into its habitat, and twittering its little heart out with delight at the sunny (though chill) morning, is part of the deal. Its inheritance covers not just the behaviour, but the right to behave like that right here, right now. I'm somewhat ashamed of myself, and apologise profoundly for disturbing its daily routine of worship. Bird is unimpressed, and carries on anyway. Awake now, I listen, and hear the song of sheer joy for what it is. Subtler than cockcrow, more melodious than sparrowfart, it raises the spirits, and like the rising sun, proclaims a hopeful new day.


Of course the conversation is imaginary, but the circumstances aren't. Astonishingly, I am camping near the South Yuba River, just north of Nevada City on a rare weekend getaway, and I am probably sitting on more gold than I could carry. The hills are packed with the stuff, not that it impresses Bird, or me, for that matter. The day before, Christine and I had been down in the canyon watching the river. I'd gone exploring while Christine painted. About fifteen feet away was a chunk of rock that sparkled. "Sparkly rock!", my heart cried, though Christine was quick to point out that it was probably not gold, but mica or iron pyrite (fool's gold). In a way I was pleased about that. To be frank, I would rather leave the pretty stuff where it is, and if you are interested enough to go and drag a few grams of gold out of the boulder, you'll have to fight me for the location.

Nevada City is one of those places that grew up from the gold rush of 1849, and it manages somehow to keep its charm, despite the changing times. There's a new gold rush nowadays, and it's called "tourism" - everywhere you see signs on old buildings, announcing things like "This is the oldest continuously-operated brick hotel still in use in Northern California", and "The most-photographed firehouse..." Despite being reminded of the several claims that Nottingham appears to have for "oldest pub" (Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem and The Salutation Inn being two), I did the necessary tourist thing, and photographed them anyway. I'd hate for them to feel I didn't care.

I like playing tourist - it feels good to get the feel for a place, some sense of its history and human use. Almost the first thing I'd done in Sacramento was to visit the old downtown, paralleling the riverfront and railway lines. The area is a tourist trap, sure, but interesting to me because it gave a glimpse of the realities of the Wild West, fascinating because right there was a backround to the old westerns that were so much a part of the Saturday morning cinema matinees of my childhood. The museum was most interesting, showing the development of the city along with the growth of gold mining. The curator, having heard my British accent, was almost apologetic for the exhibit on archaeology ("We don't have as much history as you Brits, you must be laughing at our pride..."), but in a way it was as exciting as being in the British Museum's Egyptian Room. After all, this was real history, about real people, and the realisation of all those childhood Western fantasies.


The Gold Rush is over, the sound of mining machinery and pumps has been replaced by birdsong, the rivers and canyons are no longer torn apart by those seeking wealth. The scars are still there though, if you know where to look - whole hillsides were torn apart and stripped of their treasure, and the little towns are slowly expanding into straggling roads covering the mountains, whilst struggling to maintain an income from the rich folks passing through them to find recreation in the country. In summer, these roads will be full of cars and trucks and SUVs from the city folk trying to escape the pollution they themselves cause, starved as they are of greenery in their concrete and tarmac and growing McMansion sprawl, desperate for the sound of birdsong, the tinkling streams, rushing rivers and the susurrus of wind in the trees.

It's a great land, is America, full of beauty and ingenuity and fabulous surprises. No wonder I'm happy being here. I just hope that Bird and his descendants find us easy to live with.

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