Some may ask why I’m throwing away two days of my Teacher’s Convention break to spend time in a less than exciting town of 3000 people.

The simple answer is that I have no social life, so I’m not throwing anything away. Reminding you all that this is only partly true, I’ll move on.

Since I got here, I have received no emails. I’ve done no instant messaging, and no boring teenage girls have random chatted me. I haven’t updated my web site, my opennap server isn’t running, nor have I checked Slashdot yet. In fact, I haven’t even talked on the phone.

All of these facts are probably blatantly obvious, but a point is being made. All the things I just messaged are all parts of my daily life. In fact, it’s almost become repetitive. For just a couple days, I’m escaping the routine. To give myself time to think. Time to write. Time to play guitar. Time to play pool. To live a simpler life in a town where most everyone knows most everyone, and everything is within distance of a brisk walk.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped my from bringing my technology with me. I still have this Powerbook (which, by the way, is on the verge of dying beyond death), along with CD player and tape player. Of course, AC adaptors are needed to power the aforementioned devices, and an extension cord never hurts.

This house never changes. My grandparents’ house, that is. I mean, yes, they got new flooring in the kitchen, and that Pentium 100 wasn’t there before, but relatively very little has changed. Except that everything has shrunk. The furniture, the ceiling, the fridge. It’s all smaller than it was a couple years ago. Even my grandparents have shrunk.


I could get used to this small town life.

Rarely do car doors get locked. Ditto with house doors.

There’s a fair number of pickup trucks.

Even doing the smallest, most obscure thing will guarantee you a spot in the town newspaper.

I think that if I lived here, I wouldn’t ever want a car. You can circumnavigate the entire city on bike in very little time.

Unfortunately, I still think I’d still rely on Edmonton for a few things. For instance, there’s only one computer store in the area, and I imagine it’s Mac/Linux sections leave something to be desired. Also, in terms of clothing for someone my age, there’s like, two stores that cater as such.

And yeah, you can forget about getting cable internet or DSL out here.

Indeed, a much simpler life. Maybe the kind of simple life that I need.
Thought to ponder: Birthdays are supposed to be good things. If this is so, why do so many people make them into such lousy things? Today is my birthday. For some reason, no matter what age a person is, they perceive themselves as being four times older, myself included.

The fascination with age that the average American has is at best unhealthy. Youth is considered an undesirable trait in many ways to many cultures, as wisdom is acquired through time. The mind-set in America seems to be that youth breeds vitality which in turn is a precursor to success and that wisdom is merely a figment of one's imagination.

Given this realization, I believe I shall attempt to enjoy this day and realize that I am growing wiser, not older.
Still Life with Gypsy Girl

Dark haired girl sits at desk scowling. She lifts a cigarette to her mouth for the umpteenth time, unconcerned that it hasn't been lit for almost four minutes now. Tucks it into the corner of her thin lips and straightens a few stray hairs in her eyebrow. She yawns. She always yawns when she's pissed because it's as if to say she is unconcerned. Like a cat who licks itself a moment before it pounces, it is a sign that it has better things to do than stalk prey.

Pieces of songs have jumbled in her head, and she can no longer decifer what it is she is angry about. Angry at it all, maybe? Yes, that's it. And maybe it is this moment when she decides her prey is not worth the feathers it's packaged in.

Nah. She likes to fight the good fight.

So she plans a trip. It's down to gas money, companionship and how much money she'll need to bail herself out. If it indeed comes to that. How she'll make the trip, her car spilling into lane after lane of highway...the dread of teaching someone how to drive stick, as North Carolina does like to pick on her.

The cards did not read well they have not in four months...but at least this time they promised resolution. That's all she was asking for to begin with, a shame she had to wait for something like this to bring her around. She snorts at the thought of how much trouble would have been saved if she had just said no.

Gypsy curls her one foot under her butt comfortably, lighting another smoke, and she sits there plotting before deciding nothing can be done about the situation for a few days. Nodding in agreement to herself, she is determined if nothing else, she's getting her painting and her stuffed lion back. Childish, sure, but comforting yes.

And her name. She wants her name back.

She ashes the butt and tucks herself into her lonely couch. She will not sleep alone at least once before she starts her journey. She's been sleeping alone for too long, and it's just not fair. Give in to a little lust, everyone else is. Obviously.

As Gypsy drifts off to sleep, she swears she hears the soft cawwing of crows and fragments of a tune ..." You say you're gonna walk on water, but you'd rather walk all over me"

and she sleeps dreamlessly because there are no more to be had....

In the land of Norrath, no one can hear you scream...

I slept most of today, after waking up wayyy too early because they had to go to work at like 10:30. One of the bad things about sleeping at a friends' apartment... Anyway, I went home and played EQ for awhile. Got Chitlin to level 32, and finally relocated him to Velious from The Overthere in Kunark... So it was a mostly productive day. Until I fell asleep anyway...

I was in a pretty good group in OT kicking the shit out of sarnaks, cacti, and the occasional rhino as their only healer when I started to doze off. So I gave em an AFK notice and layed down on the couch for a lil' bit... I was out cold for about 30 minutes. I got up and noticed they weren't too happy about my long-term inactivity, and just did a /q and went back to sleep...

I slept for about 6 hours. It felt so good...

When I woke up, I hopped back on EQ and played for awhile. Eventually, I got a call on the cell from the ex and went over to her place to talk. She's no longer my ex, kinda more like my girlfriend now.... But to be honest, that word doesn't sit too well with me but it has to do for now I guess. I can't do the whole relationship thing, but I agreed to at least give it a shot. We'll see how things turn out.

So here I am, playing EQ and writing writups on E2. I'm at the whims of my addictions these days I guess.. ;p

So, here I sit, 2 in the morning, with my corn chips and my peppermint tea. Ah, the unbridled joys of insomnia. Which is normally ok, except for when my brain has turned mushy and I can't think straight and can't remember what I just read. Doh.

My brain is flipping rapidly from topic to topic, and I can't seem to concentrate on any one thing for very long unless I really put my mind to it. I've got like sixteen browser windows open, and I'm trying to read them all at once. ADD, or too much caffeine?

I read in Discover magazine this evening about how research at NASA has led to a system where kids can be taught to overcome their ADD by playing video games. The research originally focused on keeping pilots from getting bored by monitoring their brain waves and giving them something to do if boredom set in. One of the researchers decided to wire something up to some playstation controllers so that the brain waves of these kids could control something just by paying attention. It looks pretty cool, and apparently works better than Ritalin, but takes longer for any noticeable results to show up and is more expensive.

Hmmm, it's my sister's birthday today. Happy birthday Lisa!

00:37 - Something quite a long way away exploded. My wife and I were having a drink, chatting. We looked at each other and she asked "what was that". We often hear unidentified loud bangs. But this one was definitely a bomb. I'm not sure why. (I've heard a few, working in Central London.)

We finished our cans and conversation and she went to put on the radio. A bomb had exploded outside the BBC Television Centre. I guessed it was Shepherds Bush, which is a few miles away from us. They were interviewing a BBC cameraman. He sounded shaken. I got the feeling it was the violation of his workplace that was upsetting him more than the proximity of the explosion - but he didn't say.

08:30 - The cameraman's pictures are on the news. He described the taxi as being "utterly destroyed". The pictures confirmed this. What you don't get any idea from the television is the intensity of the "bang", though.

Trivial thoughts... I wonder if the Tube will be working on Monday...

10:00 - Oh dear. The car won't start. I think the battery is flat. And we have no battery charger. We were planning to go to a DIY shed to buy timber and hardware. Instead, we walk to the local car spares place and buy a battery charger.

Hmm, the nuts need proper spanners rather than adjustable ones due to the limited clearance. Sigh. Hmm, the imperial set don't seem to fit. The nut isn't 3/8" or 7/16". Just a fraction over the 3/8" one. I guess I need a metric set. I walk to the local car spares place any buy a 10mm spanner. In reply to the proprietor's cheery "See you again soon", I say "Not too soon, I hope!"

11:45 - Okay, I now have the right tool and the battery came out easily. I read the charger's manual. Hmm, "open the cell caps"... I can't see no cell caps... Uh, unless that's these sealed looking things. A phone call to the AA resulted in a "Uh, not sure - we'll send someone around". I started vacuuming the living room.

12:35 - AA Patrolman arrived and looked, hummed and hawed and said "you need a large screwdriver". "Rubbish", we both thought. The caps had eight point star-shaped indents. No screwdriver was going to open this. But at least he was sure they were meant to open. He went to his van. I got a 2p, opened the caps and sent the patrolman on his way.

The battery is on charge. "Up to 10 hours". Well, we're not going shopping today, then. (10am to 4pm opening on a Sunday.) Back to the vacuuming!

15:00 - Uh, had lunch and finished the vacuuming and cleared some rubbish out of the "new kitchen" (one day it will be a kitchen). Finally finished my Document write up for Document Object Model. The next one, Node, looks even longer. I'm quite pleased with Document, though. "Node what you don't know" is definitely a good thing to try. I learned about XML namespaces and generally exercised what I'd learned so far about XML. (One day it might help me in my career. I can live in hope.)

17:15 - Hey, where'd the last couple of hours go..?

More on the bomb: They reckon the bomb was planted by Irish dissidents. Coded messages were received by a charitable organisation and a hospital about an hour before the explosion. The security services were attempting a controlled explosion when the taxi blew up. The area had been cleared and there was only one injury (a London Transport worker).

See and other BBC News pages for more.

So, I wake up early this morning....

It turns out I've lost my aop on one of the IRC channels I go on. Without me being there. They wiped the lists last night and only some of the people who were there at the time kept their aops.

Man do I feel cheated. My friends who run the IRC channel, well.... I know it isn't real life, but you get emotionally attached to things on the net. It doesn't help that I'm addicted, either.

At least I have the entire day free to do nothing. Of course I need to get my haircut, but they ain't open on a Sunday..

Hmm. I've just got my aop back. As I'm writing this... well, that means things must be looking up. I better get back to writing that XHTML tutorial....

Update 13:58

Why is there never anything on TV on Sundays? Do they assume everyone has lives so they have things to do? Anyhoo, this tutorial I'm writing, it seems to be taking up all of my computer time at the moment. My nickname on IRC is now permanently Smigs(dnd-coding). But it'll be worth it. Some people who have looked at the early version say it's brilliant already.

I never truly relised the power of CSS until today. I changed the colour of all the headings over the four pages of my xhtml tutorial with just this:

h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ background-color: white; color: red; }

Of course, everytime I write color or center, I know it should be colour and centre!

I am a little bit hungover. It was worse earlier - but now I've eaten, so it's not so bad. I did a shot at the party last night, just vodka, but I haven't done shots in years. And hung out most of the party with Brian - how strange is life, anyway? I wonder what happened to him to make him hate people so much. Had a good time; the cops came at one point and Brian got kicked out for being loud. I was apparently supposed to be a mature influence, because some one told me that they were disappointed in me cause I wasn't. Of course, that made me (and everyone around me who knew who I was) scream with laughter.

I had a good time even though I hung around with some one who insulted me. I don't know why I hung around with Brian. Maybe because everywhere I went, Brian seemed to follow me. When I told him how he hated me cause he insulted me, he asked me why I thought he kept hanging around me? I didn't have an answer for that one. This whole wu sounds unbelievably sophomoric. Maybe not.

I remember several people asking me at different times how old I was. Why do they care? I guess if I put myself in their shoes, and look at it from that perspective, I would wonder the same thing myself. I am sure I was the oldest person at the party. Most people were 18-25. It was my daughter's party. And her roommates of course.

I wouldn't have stayed so long except she asked me repeatedly to come to the party and kept insisting she really wanted me to. Just like she invites me to go clubbing with her sometimes. Which I do - and it's true, her friends are more fun than most of mine. Why is it when people get old they die while they are still alive? It sucks when it becomes obvious that people care how old you are. That's why I don't like to tell people who I am when I'm with my daughter and her friends at a party or a club. They instantly make assumptions and treat me differently. I don't know what they're thinking; sometimes I want to, sometimes I don't. So I don't say anything to her like, don't tell anyone who I am, because she will, because she thinks I'm so cool. Of course I'm not cool at all. I'm so far from being cool it's a joke. I'm just immature and probably will be for life.

I hate men today, even more than I did yesterday. M. called and I felt obligated to call him back, so I did, but I really didn't want to have contact with him. It seems like all my hate just gets projected onto him. Other men don't know me nearly as well so he feels very threatening - I guess. And I hate his oldness right now. I hate anything old, especially a man. Both chronological and emotional. I hate being 43. I really really do.
Hello, noders.

Here are the gory details of my present dilemma. Help help help!

I need at least a Master's for my personal and career goals. As you know, I didn't get in to Berkeley. I did get admitted to Stanford, last year, but took a year deferral because I couldn't find a place to live (and I thought I might get into Berkeley in the meantime).

Now I have a place to live, but it's in Alameda, which is 30-some miles and 1.5-2.5 hrs drive (depending on the traffic) each way, from Palo Alto/Stanford. I can't move, because Marty's health (that's my cool mom, who is much older than I and has fibromyalgia, so she lives with me) has gotten worse in the last year. I've just learned that carpooling and vanpooling to Stanford exists--leaving as early as 6:45 a. m. but they only take a little more than an hour to get there because of using the much speedier carpool lanes.

There's also public transportation, but I live in Alameda, which is an island and has no BART station. I'd have to take a bus or drive to BART, take BART to Union City, take the Dumbarton Express bus across the Dumbarton Bridge (remember it from Sneakers?), and then take the Stanford "Marguerite" Shuttle from Palo Alto. I'm going to test this on Friday, but my calculations put the optimal best time at 1.5 hours (if there are no delays or missed connections).

And, of course, the real catch is the cost. Tuition was raised again this year and is now _$25,000_ a year. *gasp* I have received no financial aid, and most of the national fellowships (Mellon, etc.) are aimed at students who are already in their first year of grad school. There's no way I could work during the school year between the rigors of the Stanford curriculum and that long of a commute. And because Asian studies isn't a hot field like desperately recruited computer science, there aren't going to be TAships and other sources of money flung at me the way such opportunities have been falling into my SO's lap.

I'm almost guaranteed to get into CSU Hayward, which even if I didn't get a grant/fellowship there, costs about a tenth of what Stanford does. And it's only about 35 minutes away. However, it's not a respected school, has a tiny anthro department, no China specialists, and I'd have to make up the requirements for an anthro BA. So it might take me longer there (guessing 2 1/2 years) than at Stanford (guessing 2 years).

Additional considerations: At Stanford I'd have to quit my cool job at the museum, and I would rarely get to see my SO. Hayward's research/library facilities probably suck. Hayward is having a speaker from the TALIBAN next week (coughcough!). Stanford is one of the top three Asian Studies programs--so they have great resources, *and* it would be an extra edge in getting a rare college teaching job.

So, if you have any kind of advice on decisionmaking strategies or finding financial aid (no loans!) or your own experiences, please share them with me. I really, really need help.
Today was a great day. I woke up to get an email from Sara. That's always a great thing just by itself. But she said she would be getting together with us today to go to the Ren Fair. Double bonus :)

We got together at Ann's house, but we all decided after getting something to eat that we didn't really feel like going to the Ren Fair, so we went to play mini-golf instead. They had already been to the fair, and I wasn't really looking forward to it too much since it was going to rain (though we needed it here).

After mini-golf, we went back to Ann's apartment and goofed off for a while. Sara wasn't feeling too good after mini-golf; she had called a friend who was expecting her at the Ren Fair. Apparently her friend made her feel really guilty for not showing up, and that upset Sara quite a bit. She took a nap after getting back to Ann's place while we watched some Black Adder videos. Later on, Sara woke up from her nap and was about to go home. We all said goodbye (I was sad she was leaving so soon), but Ann walked her to the door and they got talking while CR and I were still watching TV. About a half an hour later, Ann and Sara came back in and said they were going to go driving around for a bit and would be back.

CR took this time to introduce me to Donkey Kong on the N64. Sara and Ann came back and offered to make dinner. Ann had really cheered Sara up. Sara popped in during my N64 training and gave me a nice backscratch and asked how I was doing. That was awesome. I really like her, and she seems to be able to do the smallest things to really make me feel great.

Ann and Sara made dinner and CR and I cleaned up afterwards, then we watched a bit more Black Adder episodes. A while later Sara said goodbye (again) and gave me a hug before she went home. I waited through one more episode and left soon after that.

I need to do some studying for my Japanese mid-term tomorrow. I'm thinking I might do better off getting some rest early tonight so I can wake up early tomorrow and study.

Gosh, it's been an interresting weekend...

From being appearently dissed, which I will asume has reason (which can only further make an ass out of my more trustiong nadure), and left to fend with the alternate plans - Mamie is joining the Navy (I think some noders will get a kick out of that one...but they say ("yvan eht noij") - then off to other plans - bowling?!??! - how the f**k did I end up bowling...completely sober...anyway that was an interresting Friday - then went to the latenight diner...mmmm. 4AM sat...sleep

Wake up to a phone call -cool I really like talking to her...what breakfast...OK (Duh - anytime, thought at decibals to myself), shower, shave, rush into the car and meet her there...lovely...yum - Belgian waffle...

especially enjoy the joint doodle art on the advertisment designer placemat...mmm...

no - really enjoy the hug...needed one really bad at that point...need to get more...need to give more...

then I go to tune up the car...the dealership doesn't try to talk me into more work...weird...That works...I wait and continue to read about Hypnosis...when finished...go get a coffee...that's always fine...yummy...and the plans to visit my friend who lives across town...and I learn about much good music!

Then I see someone there I have not seen for about six months...and she beats the crap out of me (or my arm rather...and unsolicited)...for not buying her a pony? WTF? things get better and I get to play with hair later...I LOVE HAIR! pretty hair! Makes me think of another's hair...need to play with more hair...

Arrive home at 4 AM again...

Then wake up at 2 PM ish...roll out and Go buy CD's - cool music! then go visit friend at her coffee's a longish drive in the should be snow kind of rain...but she's surprised...heh heh heh...relax in her store and soak up the environment...(she mentions how after work she's gonna hang with other guys...and she refered to me in intorduction as "my friend ..." Ouch (but don't take it personally - not too much anyway) )...and can't play with her hair while she's working... :(

Drive back and hang out with people I haven't really been with in a while since my life is getting really busy...but that's so cool...and research more House Buying info on the web...getting sick of the apartment thing...

Well it's been a cool weekend, now I need to sleep before 4 AM!

Wish me luck - I'll need it...

I went with a bunch of friends, including Kyberneticist to the DC Blues Society's monthly blues jam at HR-57. We were pleasantly surprised to note that there was no cover charge, and got to enjoy four hours of great blues music with friends and tasty Southern food.

Needless to say, everyone put the $6 that we had planned on for a cover into the box to support the Society. Cindy even bought a hat, and filled out a membership form.

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